Saturday, December 25, 2010

Reflections of a year gone by

So it’s that time of the year when we look back and wonder where on earth the time went to. Seriously, I remember it being May just the other day (unintended rhyme:)) and now we’re a few days away from 2011. We are indeed living in the days when time flies. In any case I have to say that Alhamdullillah this has been a very good year for me. Surely it has also been a very busy year, but I suppose that anything you want to do takes work. While I’m thankful that the busyness has momentarily stopped and I can take a bit of a rest, I’m also sad for the days gone by. I know that I can never get the days that have passed back and I wonder if I have made the best of that time that I have being given.

I don’t believe in making “New Year’s Resolutions”. It doesn’t really make that much sense to me. I believe that we should be changing, growing and trying to do more valuable things with our time constantly, on an everyday basis. So yes, I would like to make more effort to better myself (on all levels), but this is something that I want to be doing continuously, not just when the new year begins and then as time goes by I forget all my resolutions and resort back to my old ways.

A new year beckons and I have to say that I am quite excited, (although not in the I have butterflies in my stomach and can’t sleep sort of way). I am eagerly anticipating what lies ahead for me in this coming year. With Allah’s will I pray that everything will be good and I am hopeful that whatever happens in my life in the next year will change me for the better. With each passing year we should look at ourselves and evaluate whether we have changed, learnt more, strengthened relationships, helped others, improved ourselves in different ways...but more importantly, we should look at whether we have strengthened our bond with our Creator and at the efforts we have made to reach closeness to Allah Almighty.

For me 2010 has been a year of learning, a year of growing, of eye openers, of building new relationships with new Muslim sisters, and strengthening old friendships. It has been a year of joy and some sadness; a year of stress, craziness, tight deadlines, sleepless nights, new experiences, and eventually peace and contentment. I am not that exact same person I was last year this time and I know that next year this time, I will not be the exact same person that I am now. I only pray that Almighty Allah never leaves me and continues to guide me, because without Allah (SWT) in my life I cannot achieve anything and my life would be absolutely futile.

Shukr Alhamdullillah for the days gone past, and In Shaa Allah the days to come will be even better.

May the Almighty Allah forgive us all, guide and protect us and help us to accept what He has willed for us so that our days on this Earth can be well spent. May Allah bring us closer to him and never leave us alone!

To everyone out there, I wish you all the best for the days to come.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The good feeling of meeting old friends

Last week as I was coming out of the bank I was greeted by an old friend. We used to work together a few years ago. She was waving to me excitedly from across the road. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and so even though we were short of time we stood there speaking, animatedly catching up on recent happenings. As we stood there and spoke, another old friend, who also used to work with us at the same time, suddenly came up to us, she was on her way to the bank as well. We stood there for a few minutes, the three of us chatting and laughing as we spoke.

In a few short minutes we had managed to speak about our most recent happenings, how we’ve been doing, how our families were doing and we even managed to get in some discussion about Muslim women and their contributions to society. After our short break from reality we all walked away to continue with our tedious chores for the day, but we were smiling and we felt quite good.

That’s the way it is with old friends, especially friends who have so much in common with you. You may not see them in years, and when you do you can pick up as if you just saw them yesterday. I believe this is a blessing and mercy from Allah Almighty as well. Allah puts people in our lives, and bonds are created, and for a moment in our lives we spend every day with those people, and then it’s time to move on, but even though we see much less of those friends thereafter, the bonds that were created still continues on, and the good times you’ve spent together will never be forgotten.

This is because each encounter we have with different people contributes to making us who we are today. So in actual fact, we are all linked to one another eternally; sometimes in small ways, and sometimes in big ways. Some things I will never forget from the people I’ve associated with over the years. For instance, one of these friends I met last week is responsible for teaching me how to wrap my headscarf in the way I still wear it now. Other things are more subtle, and we may not even realize how we have being influenced. Even though things may not always be great between us and the people we mix with (we all have our good and bad moments), in the end, the effects that people have had on us cannot be denied. We cannot meet and associate with people and remain unchanged, and this is one of the beautiful things about life. Subhanallah!

So last week my friends and I went in our own directions and we probably won’t see each other for a while again, but it certainly was good to have met my two friends again.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Patience is definitely a virtue

Have you ever being driving behind a really slow car, or worse, a really slow truck. So you become irritated and decide to change lanes, but as soon as you change to the next lane, the slow car in front turns to go somewhere and the lane that you were in then becomes the faster lane, and you’re thinking; “stupid, I should’ve just stayed where I was and had a little patience”. This happened to me again this morning. It’s happened before, and each time I tell myself, “next time I’m just going to have patience and take it easy”, but next time I still find that I am not patient enough, and I am not a speed freak or anything, I just really don’t like being late for appointments and thus I lose my patience. In any case, this morning I really began to think about life and patience.

You often hear that “PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE”, but I guess this has become one of those clich├ęd things that we tend to ignore because we’ve heard it so many times. But seriously, when you really consider these words, you’ll find that it is absolutely true and I think the thing that makes patience the biggest virtue is that it’s something that is not always easy to practise. When I think about things, it seems that most problems in life wouldn’t be a problem at all if we just had patience. All our worries would be non-existent if we just patiently waited to see what Allah (SWT) has planned for our lives.

Allah Almighty repeatedly tells us in the Holy Quraan that through patience and prayer we will be successful, and Allah loves it when we are patient! So how come patience is something so difficult to maintain? I think it’s because we’ve become accustomed to having things our way and getting everything we want when we want it, without having to wait. Everything is so easy for us, Alhamdullillah; but we don't realise that we are in the “instant gratification” age. We don’t know how to wait for things. If we want to buy something we can do that easily, most of us don’t have to save up for ages to buy simple things, like our parents had to do. Of course there’s this interesting thing called “CREDIT”, that’s contributed to this, so it has become easy to get out the credit cards if you don’t have enough cash. (Let me just add here that I am totally against the entire system of credit and of course all the interest money that accompanies it).

Nevertheless, this instant gratification doesn’t only apply to things we buy, it applies to other aspects of our lives as well, and because of this we expect things to happen in our lives immediately and when they don’t, we don’t know how to handle it effectively.

This applies to our duaas (prayers) as well. We know that we should ask Allah (SWT) for things, but then after a short while if it seems that we are not getting what we asked for then we may begin to wonder why our prayers are not being answered. If we were to remain patient then we would see that surely Allah (SWT) has listened to us and accepted our prayers, the results are just going to happen on its own time.

I am guilty of being impatient on many occasions and I have to keep reminding myself of the extreme importance of having patience. It also seems that when we’re supposed to be the most patient, that’s when patience is the hardest to practise. Someone once told me that when you think you can’t be any more patient, that’s when patience actually really begins! Shoo, it seems really daunting doesn’t it, but I really think that this is one of the major keys to living a happy life. There are many examples in my own life that has shown me this, I’m sure that you can find many examples in your life too.

So I guess the next time I’m driving behind a really slow car or truck I should just sit there, take it easy and enjoy the ride, even if it is really, really slow.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Very Important Lessons-Part 3- The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and the Sunnah

This is the final post about the important lessons I learnt in a recent meeting with a local Moulana.

This post is about our relationship with the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Moulana posed a very important question to us. He asked us what the reason is that we go to Madinah... We thought that this was obvious at first, but then we began to fumble a bit because knowing this Moulana, the fact that he was asking us this meant that he had an answer that was not so obvious.

Well, we all began to say things like, 'we go there to greet the Prophet (PBUH)', or 'we go there because the Prophet (PBUH) is there', or 'that’s a sunnah because the Prophet (PBUH) went to Makkah from Madinah'... Moulana sat and listened to us silently, as we continued to blurt out what we thought were obvious reasons. Then when we could no longer come up with anything else, he calmly said, ‘well there’s two reasons that we should go to Madinah’.
1.       To fulfil the right of the Prophet (PBUH)
2.       To thank Allah (SWT) for having sent Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) onto this earth.
Naturally Moulana explained this a little bit more. For the first one he explained it as follows: Imagine if a mother and daughter have a fight, and the daughter goes to see the mother thereafter, to greet the mother, because even though they’ve had a fight, the daughter knows that it’s the mother’s right that she goes to greet. So she goes, and while she’s there she realizes how much pain she’s put her mother in. This will soften her heart and remind her that she should be pleasing her mother and not displeasing her. This will make her want to do whatever the mother wants, right?

So, likewise, when we go to see the Prophet (PBUH) because it’s his right that we go and greet him, when we’re standing there in front of the Beloved Prophet, we should reflect on how much pain we may be causing him by abandoning his sunnah (teachings and way of life), and when we do this, it should make us want to change. We should then make the intention to change our lives and start following the way of the Prophet (PBUH). Thus, our hearts should be softened and we should repent to Allah.

Since our love for the Prophet (PBUH) is supposed to be more than even our own parents, imagine how much distress we should feel when we realize that we may be causing pain for the Prophet (PBUH) because of our actions. We are his Ummah, so if we do not act accordingly, then this is a cause of distress.

Can you see how this Moulana always makes us think about things in a meaningful way, even though we think it’s so simple and obvious? What I like is that what he has to say always makes us reflect on our own lives, even though this self-reflection is difficult, it’s necessary. Every time I self-reflect I am forced to focus on how much I don’t know and all the things that I should be doing, but am not currently doing.  It’s very scary, but Alhamdullillah, it helps to give me perspective and through Allah’s mercy each time it helps me to do a little bit more.

The second reason for going to Madinah, to thank Allah (SWT) for sending the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is something that we all know about a bit more. Allah (SWT) sent the Prophet (PBUH) as a mercy to all humanity so we should be thankful for this all the time because we will never fully be able to comprehend just how much of a mercy the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is.

Since hearing about these 2 specific intentions, I really wish that I could be invited by Allah Almighty to go to Madinah again. If this was to happen then Insha’Allah I would be able to make these 2 intentions and hopefully earn the pleasure of Allah (SWT) and also bring my life more towards the sunnah. If I never get to go to Madinah again then it is also okay, because as the Moulana explained to us, Allah might be more pleased with someone who prays a million miles away if their intention is corrected, and that person who may never get to go to Madinah may be closer and more beloved to the Prophet (PBUH) than the one standing right in front of him in Madinah. So Alhamdullillah, wherever we are we can still strive to perfect our intentions and bring our lives towards Allah and the Messenger (PBUH).

May the Almighty Allah be with us all and help us to bring our lives more towards the beautiful Sunnah of our beautiful Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Insha'Allah Ameen!

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Very important lessons- Part 2- On Knowledge

So as I promised, I will now tell you about the other important lesson I learnt from our meeting with the Moulana I mentioned in my previous post.

This lesson is about knowledge. The Moulana related a story to us. He said that Imam Shafi (rahmatullah) went to Imam Malik (rahmatullah) for some advice. Imam Malik told Imam Shafi that knowledge (ilm) should be like salt and Practise (‘Amal) should be like the dough. What this means is that there’s no point of having tons of knowledge if you’re not going to put any of it into practice.

I really agreed with what the Moulana was saying. He went on to say that these days it seems that people have bags and bags of salt but no dough. He explained this to us further to make a point (you know Moulana’s like using analogies) so he said, imagine you’re having a wedding, and the first thing you go out and do is buy ten packets of salt. Before you even get the rice to cook the food, you go and buy the salt. What if you don’t find rice when you want to cook the food? What will you do with the salt then? Would there be any point in having the salt? He then asked us to consider how much salt is needed when making dough. When looking at the proportion between 'dough' and 'salt', it was clear how much more we should be focused on putting things into practise.

Shoo, these questions were so simple, yet so thought provoking, so profound, and so, so relevant. I thought about all the books I have and whether I’ve managed to actually put into practise the things that I’ve read from these books. I couldn’t help but wonder if my quest to gain knowledge would lead to me practising what I have learnt or if it would be of little use. It also made me think about something else...

It’s true that people in today’s times have a lot of knowledge, about many different things. It’s never being so easy to acquire knowledge, and yet I had to agree with the Moulana that not much of this knowledge is being put into practise. When I thought about this more deeply I realised that this is because knowledge in today’s times is very closely connected to ego. Many people feel good about themselves when they have knowledge. It’s become a status symbol to have knowledge. If you have the Masters degree or PhD then suddenly you’re respected and your word means something because after all you are “knowledgeable” and the Degree behind your name testifies to this. So yes, most definitely there is an abundance of knowledge, but how much of this knowledge is beneficial is another story.

I have always being someone who values knowledge. I just like learning new things, and I’ve always enjoyed reading and researching different things. My only wish is that this does not become a form of pride and egotism. I know now that if I have ten packets of salt, but no dough, then the salt I have becomes totally useless. I pray that I can be someone who can put what I have learnt into practise. Insha’Allah!

I’m sure that this has made you think about knowledge in a different light, I know that I, for one, have begun to think about it differently, and since I’ve heard Moulana speak about this, I just can’t help noticing how many bags of salt there is and how little dough.

Would't be great if we all (myself included here) began to use the salt we have to make some more dough!

May Allah (SWT) give us all beneficial knowledge, which will be a means for us to gain His Pleasure, and may Allah Almighty give us all the ability to share and practise the knowledge that we have.

Let us remember that the best way to share is through our example!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Very Important Lessons- Part 1- Repentance

I’m part of a community Muslim women’s group. I think I mentioned this before in a previous post. We conduct various workshops with ladies, hoping to somehow assist them to live more positive lives and to have more positive relationships (Insha’Allah Allah will accept our efforts). For our own self growth we decided to meet on a regular basis with one of the Moulana’s (spiritual teachers) at the Masjid where we run our workshops. The aim is to gain whatever wisdom and guidance we can to improve our own lives, because if we are not concerned about improving ourselves, then how can we assist others to improve themselves.

For me these meetings are always profound, even though the messages are so simple. Perhaps it’s because of our intention for going there, or maybe the way in which the Moulana gives us the time to think and reflect, I’m not sure. In any case, what I’ve learnt from our last meeting left such an impact on me that I thought I’d share it with you all.

The first thing I learnt was that the answer to any difficulty is to make taubah (repent for one’s sins). Although we always hear this, there was just something in the way the Moulana spoke that really made the point. He explained to us how one day the doors of repentance will be closed and then the entire mankind will be deprived of Allah’s mercy. He reminded us that this day may be soon. He urged us to make taubah because this is the key to help with any difficulty. This made me reflect and think. How often do I truly make taubah? You know really beg for forgiveness from the bottom of my heart, sit on my prayer mat and cry because of guilt for my sins, that type of taubah. Okay so maybe I recite istighfaar on my tasbeeh (prayer beads), but is this really taubah? I felt guilty, I still feel guilty while I’m typing this. My self-reflection made me aware that I definitely don’t make taubah often enough. This is something that I have to remedy.

Another thing the Moulana brought to our attention is that when we commit sins, our Imaan drops to a lower level. He recited a verse from the Holy Quraan and explained it to us. He told us that Allah (SWT) tells us that in order to bring our Imaan back to its former level, we need to make taubah. He also emphasised that the best time to make taubah is Tahajjud time, because this is when Allah (SWT) sends His mercy down to us.

Since that day I’ve been trying to make taubah more often, sometimes it’s difficult and I feel rushed for time, but I know that this is something that I have to commit myself to, because I most definitely do not want to be deprived of Allah’s mercy and start repenting when it’s far too late.

The strange thing is that the more I make taubah, the more I’m reminded of Allah Almighty’s Mercy. I remember hearing in another lecture that Allah (SWT) loves it when we repent and if we did not commit sin then Allah would have created another nation who would be able to repent for their sins, because Allah Almighty, The Most Merciful wants to shower His Mercy and Blessings on us. SubhanAllah, Allah truly is Amazing!

May Allah (SWT) accept all of our repentance and help us to receive His mercy and forgiveness, Insha’Allah Ameen!

There are other important lessons that I learnt from our meeting, but I will put that in my next posts Insha’Allah.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Different types of addictions

It’s about 4 months now that I de-activated my Facebook account and voluntarily became an outcast to the social network world. This was just something that I had to do, for a number of reasons. You see, from the outset I knew that facebook was strangely addictive, I even warned other people about it, but the thing with this, just like other “addictions” is that the good is focused on more than the bad.

What was being presented to me was this wonderful world where I could keep in touch with old friends, re-connect with former school mates who I haven’t seen for years and know what my friends and colleagues were doing on an everyday basis (or more like on an hourly basis in this case). It made me feel connected to other people, like I was part of something special and meaningful. It started out with casual visits to facebook, and then it became worse. Everyday I’d have to check my facebook page, and even though not much changed each day, (except of course for people’s constantly updated status messages, which seemed to focus on every minute detail of their lives), I’d still feel the compulsive need to go online and see what was going on.

I have to admit that it was difficult for me to deactivate. It seemed as if though I would be missing something important in my life, it definitely took a lot of contemplation. But after speaking to Allah (SWT) my resolve was strong and I knew that I had to do it. When I finally decided to ‘take the plunge’ it was strange. As I was about to click on the final deactivate profile button , these pictures of some of my friends showed and it said; “Are you sure you want to leave and so will really miss you”... or something to that effect.( I obviously can’t remember the exact words). I immediately felt all warm and fuzzy inside and seriously considered going back and not deactivating, but something inside made me wonder why there was so much emphasis on me staying activated. I guess like any other “addiction”, the system requires there to be a number of addicts otherwise the system will not be able to function.

See the thing with facebook and in fact the internet in general is that it provides this vast space where people can take on any identity that they want to. They can project themselves in a variety of different ways. Cyberspace allows you to be anything and anyone that you want to be, it provides a sense of escapism from the mundane nature of everyday life. Everyone seems so interesting and everything seems so exciting and intriguing. This sounds very similar to other forms of addiction, doesn’t it?

In the last few days I was reminded of my facebook “addiction” and how my life is better off without it. Since I deactivated my profile, I was able to see who my true friends were, and which people were there simply as part of the illusion. My true friends still somehow found another way to keep in contact, even if it is more difficult, and those who were just part of the virtual world of illusion, well they remained there, they were the ones who were not meant to be in my real life, the ones who could only really connect with me on a superficial level, the level of social cyberspace.

Addiction is a strange thing. People can become addicted to many different things, and just because it may not fit in with the usual ideas of addiction, doesn’t mean that it’s not an addiction. Addiction also exists on different levels. The way to find out if something is an addiction is to see how easy or difficult it is to leave that thing. If it’s difficult, then more often than not, whatever it is has become an addiction, and addictions are dangerous, for very obvious reasons.

At this point I’d just like to add that I’m not saying that facebook or the internet or anything else is bad . What I am saying though is that life should be about balance. Indeed Islam in itself teaches us about having a balanced lifestyle. Furthermore, it should be about consistency. The way someone is on facebook should be the way they are when you meet them in person. The relationships that people foster in cyberspace should be relationships that can be continued in the same manner in person. If this is not possible, then I think one needs to question the validity of those relationships and interactions.

What I’ve learnt is that it’s really hard to let go of things that make us feel good, but sometimes we just have to take the step and let go and once we do this, we will know for sure what is real and what is part of the illusion.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our Blessed Elders

Last week I spent some time with three old ladies. My grandmother (aged 80); her older sister and a cousin of theirs. Now of course, these old ladies must not know that I’m referring to them as “old ladies” because this is something that will disturb them, and with their hectic social calendar and constant outings, they make me sound like the “old lady”. As my grand aunt put it; “please call us ‘senior citizens’ that sounds so much better”!

Well anyway, times with them are always; well... let’s just say it’s interesting! You see, these old ladies always have a funny story to relate, and the way they communicate with each other is a story on its own. In one conversation they would have spoken about fifty years of things that have happened. You know, this one who married that one’s daughter and then their child married so and so and this one was related to that one, and it goes on and on until me, as an outsider feels so confused that my head begins to hurt. So many people, so many families, so many experiences, sometimes it seems that they know the whole of Johannesburg... I’m sure you can all relate to the stories of old people.

The thing is though, that every single time I’m with these old ladies, I am reminded of their value and just how much I can learn from them. Now, they may not know how to use an ATM (even if you keep showing them), and cellphones and computers may seem alien to them, and don’t even think about trying to explain to them what the internet is because it will leave them befuddled, to say the least. But these women have so much more knowledge than any of this. This is knowledge that cannot be ‘googled’ , it cannot be found in any book or any television programme (even if it is something educational). This is knowledge that comes with experience (80 whole years of experience!).

The amazing thing is that from their various experiences these ladies can teach you practical knowledge, things that can help make your life easier, and they do this in the most simple of ways. These are women who have not being spoilt by throwaway nappies (diapers), or washing machines. They had to suffer through many hardships in life and they had to do their own work, and because they were not spoon fed in life, they’ve learnt little ways to make life easier and they’ve learnt how to save things instead of being wasteful.

Another thing I was reminded of last week is that Allah truly and surely accepts the prayers of the elderly. It is Allah who takes special care of all their affairs and gives them exactly what they need. It is Allah who sustains them and helps them, and although Allah Almighty is the Sustainer of every single person, it just seems to me that Allah has special mercy towards the Old, or I should say; “the Senior Citizens”.

So, the lesson I’ve learnt is that I should be spending more time with the elderly, because although they can leave you feeling confused and lost, they also have a lot to teach (far more than people give them credit for), also if they make a prayer for you, Insha’Allah Allah Almighty will readily accept it, and the cherry on the top is that Allah (SWT) will give you so many blessings for this!

Now I think all of you may want to go out there and spend some time with the old people in your own families, and if you have no old people in your family, then go out there and find some old people in your community, because although we all think that old people need us, the real truth is that we are actually in need of them!!!

May Allah Almighty be with all of our old people, keep them safe, make easy their difficulties, sort out their affairs and most of all, May Allah (SWT) continue to bless them in abundance!!!

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

The importance of family

Last week I was reminded of just how important it is to have family. My sisters and I had to organize a book launch for an Islamic education series we have been working on. The weeks before the launch were gruelling, with all the planning and running around trying to ensure that we got everything done. Finally the day of the launch came and Alhamdullillah everything went really smoothly. This was due to the will of Allah (SWT) but we were fortunate to have the support of our family. Mum was there preparing the snacks and ensuring that the food tables were sorted out, our father and brothers were there, running last minute errands and helping to put up the decor. Our sister-in-law was there to assist wherever we needed her, and after the event brothers-in-law popped in and helped with the tidying up, even the kids were assisting with whatever they could. Having the entire family involved (and we are a very big family- Alhamdullillah) just made everything so much easier. I am so thankful to Allah Almighty for blessing me with a supportive family, this just reminded me of the importance of family. Without family people are weaker and they cannot accomplish as much as individuals as they can as groups.

This reminded me of one of the things I liked when I went for umrah recently. All over the place families could be seen together. Since it was Ramadhaan, families could be seen sitting together at Iftaar time, and at sehri (suhr) time. They could be seen relaxing outside the Haram Sharief after the taraweeh prayers. Children played happily nearby their parents, while adults chatted with each other. The family atmosphere was striking and in contrast to the way it is in a modern “westernised” culture. I can’t speak for every country, but here in South Africa, people are quickly beginning to follow in the footsteps of other countries, and what’s happened is that “the family culture” has been replaced with “the individual culture”. So instead of families spending time together and doing things together, individuals tend to go off and do their own thing. For many people, as soon as children reach the stage of adolescence they begin to see it as something embarrassing to be with their parents and so parents go out alone while children go out on their own.

This move away from the family is very obvious when looking at Western cultures and ideals. The popular idea is for people to become independent and move away from their families. This is regarded as a mark of adulthood. In my opinion, what this does is not only weaken people, but it also weakens society as a whole. Without a solid family structure and support from family, people become more vulnerable, and while it may be true that they learn many things when they are on their own, they also at the same time, lose out in many ways.

The extended family has become mundane, an old and traditional thing and so children see less of their grandparents, aunts and uncles and their idea of family is restricted to parents, and siblings. The size of families are rapidly decreasing, so whereas before it wasn’t strange to find women with 6 or 8 children, even more, now the norm is to have a few children and 3 children families are regarded as big. This may be the modern trend, but I find it very sad.

Growing up in a big family (I come from a family of 8 children) has made me a stronger person and it has also saved me from many things. You constantly had your big brother watching you, or one of the younger siblings innocently blurting out your secrets to your parents, and while this may have been irritating at the time, in retrospect I have learnt to appreciate it.

In these times when people are forgetting the importance of family, I think it’s even more crucial to discuss this issue. It’s easy to be an individual within a family structure, being a part of family doesn’t mean that you can’t be your own person, or that you can’t gain independence, but knowing that you have the support from people who love and care for you, just makes things so much better. It makes individuals stronger!

In many countries it is not a strange thing to see families together. We spent some time in Egypt a few years ago and there it was natural to see families doing things together. Everyone would go to the shopping mall together and while mothers and daughters shopped, fathers and sons would sit together watching soccer matches and discussing things, and thereafter the family would all have a meal together. The entire atmosphere was conducive to family life, and this was beautiful.

The trend of individualism is causing damage to our societies and family members are becoming increasingly isolated from one another to such an extent that parents don’t even know what’s going on with their own children. Husbands and wives live separate lives, sisters and brothers hardly speak to each other and no one listens to grandparents. Perhaps I am “old-fashioned” but I prefer the family culture to the individual culture any day. I just hope that more people could understand the importance of family.

Alhamdullillah, I am so grateful to Allah Almighty for blessing me with a huge family, even if they all make me want to scream sometimes!

My prayer for everyone is that Allah (swt) keeps families together and increases the Muslim ummah by increasing our families. May Allah Almighty unite the hearts of family members, keep love and mercy within families and strengthen the bonds of family,Insha'Allah Ameen!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

The biggest waste of time

I used to like watching soap operas on t.v. Before it used to be those silly American ones, you know, the ones with the ridiculous story lines, crazy plots, mad twin brothers or sisters, people coming back to life, becoming possessed, losing their memory, plotting against each other... and so on and so forth. Every day I would be ready to watch it, that is until I realized that nothing really happened at all and the same thing would be repeated each day, just in a different manner. When you actually thought about it, the same old stories were going on and on, not for days, or weeks, or even months, but for years. It was frustrating!

Thankfully I stopped wasting my precious time with that nonsense, but it didn’t end there. I was still caught up in the trap. I started watching South African soaps, and when they just began on t.v. they were very different from the American ones I used to watch. Here they dealt with important issues such as HIV/AIDS, racism, affirmative action workplace policies, poverty, etc. An embodiment of all the issues that Post Apartheid South African society has to deal with on an everyday basis. This made me believe that these soaps were worth watching.

Recently though I stopped watching those too, because the same type of frustration was beginning to fester. I’d watch my favourite Afrikaans soap 7de Laan (which means 7th Avenue in English), every single day and by the end of the week the same thing that happened on Monday would still not have been resolved. I guess that’s the point of soapies right? They have to keep the viewers addicted; if they resolve everything quickly then nobody will want to watch. I’m so grateful to Almighty Allah for making it easy for me to stop watching these things because now I am able to see exactly what a big waste of time it really is.

Last week I went to visit my grandmother, and she just loves watching soapies. So on two occasions while I was there she was watching soapies that I used to watch. On both of these occasions I was very disappointed to see that South African soaps, are becoming just as crazy as the American ones. The first time I was surprised to see that someone who had very clearly died was back in the soap, as usual some crazy plot was written up where he “came back from the dead”, you know he wasn’t really dead, everyone just thought he was. The second time, the “bad girl” of the soap returned after years just to bring up old wounds and cause more drama. How do we so easily accept the nonsense they feed us, I wonder?

So yes, I am now totally convinced that soap operas are the biggest waste of time. Think about it, how much time would be people have if they weren’t watching these things every day, can you calculate quickly? At least one hour every day right, so that’s 5 hours a week, and 20 hours a month and 240 hours a year. That’s a lot of time, and that’s the minimum! Now imagine how many other better things we could be doing in that time. Makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?

And you know what else, on top of wasting time watching it, you also don’t have to worry about wasting time thinking about it, or talking to others about it, or reading up about it, and whatever else comes with it. Gosh, I feel so bad for all the time that I’ve wasted with these things. The best thing is that when you stop watching it, you don’t even miss it, so you most definitely don’t need to be watching it. This is just my experience, I'm sure that many of you would agree with me though.

May Almighty Allah help us not to waste the precious time that He has given us on this earth and may we become of those who make good use of their time, doing good deeds that will please Allah instead of wasting precious hours on futile and frivolous things. Insha'Allah Ameen!

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Varying degrees of nakedness

Recently I went to see a friend of mine. Usually we meet each other in a public space and my friend is someone who has decided to completely cover herself. She wears a long burka, cloak and the niqab (face covering). Although she removes the face covering and the burka in the presence of women, she still wears the long cloak. This is how people are accustomed to seeing her. When I went to see her that day at her home she was wearing a long pants and a long top and both of these items of clothing was not tight fitting. When she came out to greet me she said “I’m sorry I’m so naked”.

This was interesting, here she was, dressed quite decently and yet she felt naked and uncomfortable with me seeing her like that. This made me think, nakedness obviously means something different to each individual, based on their ideas about things and what they become accustomed to. In contrast to a woman who seems very comfortable walking in public barely covered, here was a woman who was still completely covered and she was feeling naked. It’s strange how people’s perceptions of things differ and this is why it’s always important to understand a person’s perception of things instead of simply making assumptions.

There’s something else that I think is important here, it seems that as one progresses spiritually, our perceptions of things change and so as we move on to a different stage in life, things change accordingly.  I remember times when I would walk in public without my hijab, feeling very happy and not thinking that anything was wrong. Now even the thought of leaving my home without hijab makes me feel uncomfortable and without my hijab I definitely feel naked. See how my own perceptions of nakedness have changed as well. So as we progress we begin to change our ideas and we cannot imagine ourselves the way we used to be. The clothes we previously wore seems inappropriate and flimsy and as we move on to cover ourselves up more we become uncomfortable with our old dressing habits, until eventually we reach the stage my friend has reached, where a long top and pants makes us feel like we are naked.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s all about becoming accustomed to a certain thing. A woman who has never covered herself will find it strange to see a woman who is covered and thus it will be easy for her to make judgements about it. If that same woman begins to cover herself then the opposite will occur and she will then begin to look at women who are uncovered and find that strange. So just like everything else in life, as we progress so too do our perceptions of nakedness change as well. 

 Other people will never understand the joy it gives Muslim women to cover up because they have never experienced this themselves and they have not become accustomed to it, so it will always remain something strange for them. But the adverse is true as well, because Muslim women will never understand the need to shed your clothes and walk around almost naked, and you know what, as a Muslim woman, I don’t think I’d ever want to try and understand that, because in my opinion that would be real regression.  

May The Almighty Allah guide us all and save us from all that displeases Him. May Allah guide people towards the path of righteousness Insha'Allah!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The smallest things count

Today I was reminded of such an important lesson, from such a simple thing. I have this tasbih (prayer beads) made from soft wood. While using it I noticed a small piece of wood sticking out from one of the beads, and decided to pull it off. As soon as I did this, the bead cracked in half and is now just basically hanging on a thread, about to fall of f completely. “Strange”, I thought, that this tiny piece of wood was actually the thing keeping the whole bead together. This reminded me that the smallest things in life count a lot, and sometimes they may even be the most important.

The small things we take for granted and dismiss as insignificant, these may actually be the things that Allah (SWT) rewards us for the most. There’s so much wisdom in this, because without the small things, the big things will not be in order. In order for the big things in life to function properly, the small things first have to be mastered. There are so many little ways in which we can make important differences in the world. After all didn’t our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) say that “even a smile is charity”?

So, perhaps it will help us all to first focus on improving things in small ways, we can begin with ourselves, make small changes within ourselves, change our behaviour and actions slowly and in small ways, and finally all the small changes we make will amount to big changes Insha’Allah; and with the help of Allah (SWT) we do not know how important an impact we can make in this world.

Let us try not to forget the importance of small things in life, because it may just be the things that are holding the bigger things together.

May Allah Almighty make it easy for us all Insha’Allah.

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Friday, October 1, 2010

We should always be thankful!

Our first day in Madinah Munawwarah on our recent umrah trip is one that I will always remember. It was the month of Ramadhaan and we were all fasting. Although there are allowances made for travellers that they do not have to fast if it is difficult and they should pay the fast in thereafter, we all decided that we could manage to fast because Alhamdullillah we were in good health. Alhamdullillah, the fast was going really well, we did not even feel hungry, but since it was quite hot and we had just travelled from Jeddah to Madinah (which was approximately a 5 hour drive); we were quite thirsty by Iftaar time.

Not knowing how things were at the Haram Sharief, we happily prepared to go a bit early for Maghrib Salaah, thinking that we would easily be able to break our fast with Zam Zam water, which is usually readily available in Masjid Al Nabawi. We took our dates with us to break our fast, we didn’t care much about food because we were not that hungry, but we just needed water, water was essential that day!

When we got to the Haram we were in for a surprise. They usually keep the Zam Zam water in these huge cans and people can get water from there, but every one that we went to was empty. Not only was the water completely finished, the plastic glasses that they have on the side of the cans were finished as well. After some searching my mother found one that had a little water in, it filled about one glass and since we didn’t have any more glasses with us we couldn’t get more of that water. When people saw some water in there they started rushing towards it. It was crazy that day, we were so unprepared and really didn’t expect any of that.

Afterwards we realized that what usually happened was that as soon as Asr Salaah is finished, people begin preparing for Iftaar, they fill their glasses and bottles with Zam Zam water, get their dates ready and have their food (which consists of bread and yoghurt) ready. So if you come a bit too late then the Zam Zam water in the cans are finished as obviously millions of people there are breaking their fast at the same time and just as you, they all need water too.

As I walked around that day searching for a can with some water in, I made my duaa and asked Allah (SWT) to give us some water, that’s all that we needed that day, such a simple request, yet so taken for granted. Every other day we break our fast with an abundance of water, readily available to us, not only do we have water on our Iftaar tables at home, but we also have juices and cold drinks, sometimes even milkshakes. Here we were in search of water, and unable to get it. Yet we were still so fortunate because if we really wanted to we could leave the Haram and take a walk to a nearby shop and by some drinks, or something like that. What about those people who are in search of water every day of their lives, and they have no alternatives, because they are truly destitute? How much shouldn’t we be thankful for? How many of these favours of Allah do we take for granted? Simply because we do not know what it’s like not to have it.

Alhamdullillah Allah answered our prayers that day, and after some more searching we found a can full of Zam Zam water, and it had glasses! As we broke our fast that day and drank the water, we could not possibly deny Allah (SWT’s) mercy. Truly Allah answers the call of His servants. Now we could begin to understand the reality of fasting in the month of Ramadhaan and how it unites us with our fellow Muslims who are suffering around the world.

It’s amazing how many of Allah’s favours we take for granted without even realizing it. May Allah help us to always be thankful for every little favour He has bestowed upon us and May we never be in the situation where we are destitute. May Allah (SWT) ease the suffering of those who are destitute; Insha’Allah Ameen!

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Keeping it simple

Alhamdulillah, going for umrah teaches you many lessons, not only spiritual lessons, but practical lessons that can be applied to everyday life to help you live a happier life. For me one of these lessons was that we are supposed to live as simply as possible, extravagance and waste has no place in the lives of Muslims.

Although we all know this, sometimes we still get carried away and we forget exactly how we are supposed to be living. One day as I was sitting in the Haram Sharief in Makkah it dawned upon me that actually even those of us who think we’re living simple lives are still way too extravagant. I was waiting for Salaah to commence, I went early and had a lot of space to perform my Salaah very comfortably, then just before the Fardh Salaah began crowds of women filled the space around so much that all I had was a tiny little space to perform my Salaah. At first I was a bit disturbed by this, but anyone of you who has been for Hajj or Umrah will agree that there’s nothing much you can do about this situation. It always happens, the space becomes really packed at the time of Fardh Salaah and even if you were waiting for hours before that, you still only have enough space to put your head down in prostration.

The amazing thing was that although it was so full, each one of us had enough space to prostrate, and then it hit me. In life, all we really need is that tiny little space. Wanting more space to perform salaah too comfortably is extravagance. Allah (SWT) makes sure that every single one of His servants has the place that they need. Just like in life Allah makes sure that we all have what we need to survive. When we want more than what we really need, this is when the problems begin.

So, striving for more than what we need is actually a waste, and we will all be answerable to Allah for this on the Day of Judgement. All we really need is a simple life, where our needs are fulfilled, and nothing more than that. The single space to prostrate, with no extra space, that is all we need!

I know that it’s difficult to live a simple life with so many temptations around us, but one thing is certain, living simply brings about peace and contentment, and wanting more than we actually need is selfish because we are depriving others of what they should be getting. This is just one lesson that I’ve learnt on my umrah trip. I wish that I can always remember it and that I can begin to act upon it, and I wish that this teaches someone out there an important lesson as well.

Like I said, there are many lessons to be learnt from one umrah trip. Insha’Allah I will have the chance to share some more, and as always it would be great if people shared their lessons with me as well so that we learn and grow from each other’s experiences.

May Allah Almighty make it easy for each one of us to reach closeness to Him, and may He make it easy for us to learn from His signs and lessons, Insha'Allah Ameen!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'm back

As-salaamu-alaykum all

Alhamdullillah I have just returned from a wonderful umrah trip and I have so much to say, (or write) but I first need to recover and I'm really not in the mood to get back to my normal, everyday life. I'm sure those of you who have been to Makkah and Madinah can relate to this.

When you are in these Holy places it seems like time is unimportant and your life focuses around prayer times, every worry, problem or concern seems trivial and it seems unimaginable that life could be about anything other than worship of the Almighty Allah.

Of course worhsip comes in different ways and forms and we have to get back to reality (unfortunately), but the good thing is that Allah is everywhere, and since our test in this world is constant, we have to do what we can to try and make sure that we pass this test. Nevertheless, umrah teaches you many important lessons and I don't think it's possible for anyone to return from a trip such as this unchanged.

I am so very thankful to Almighty Allah for taking me on this amazing trip and I pray that every single Muslim can have the chance to go on such a trip themselves, so that they too can experience real truth and beauty as well as witness the signs of Allah, blatant and obvious!

The one thing that I will say is that it was beautiful to be amongst thousands of Muslim sisters, standing shoulder to shoulder (with absolutely no space in between at times) and know that we have the exact same objective, an objective so simple, yet so profound. The reason for our lives, our worship of the One God unifying us, even though we come from different parts of the world.

Alhamdullila, Islam is truly amazing and so simple, and it really makes so much sense. Going on this trip has reminded me of this and if we do find Islam to be complicated or difficult, if we do think it contradicts our lives, then there's something seriously going wrong.

Amidst all that's going on in the world, the different challenges that Muslim women have to face around the world, the issues that Muslims in general have to deal with, it was really great to have some time to forget about all that and to be a part of millions of people worhsipping Allah, constantly and proudly. Allahu Akbar! Indeed Allah is the greatest, Allah's signs are the best and most beautiful, Allah is Truth and Allah's promises are certain!

I hope that all of you can experience what I have just had the honour to experience, and so I say to all of you that we do not need this world, the material things in this world are a waste of our time and will never satisfy us. There are people who have nothing, who go for umrah with a few belongings in plastic bags, who sleep in the streets, and yet they are there, spending their time, worshipping their Lord with no concern in the world. This world will hold us back from what is true and as we strive for this world, we will miss out on the true reality of everything. May Allah make it easy for us all to detach ourselves from this temporary world and may He take every single Muslim to His Holy places!

Insha'Allah I will have more to say soon, right now thought i'ts time to get some rest.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Just letting you all know that I will not be posting anything for the next few weeks. Alhamdullillah with the mercy of Allah I will be going to Makkah and Madinah to perform umrah. So that means a Time-out for me, from blogging and everything else!

Please remember me in your prayers, and since I won't be around I hope that you all enjoy the rest of Ramadhaan and have a wonderful Eid.

May the Almighty Allah be with you and your families.

Stay well!

As-salaamu-alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Making the best of the month of Ramadhaan

It comes once a year, and it always seems to pass so quickly. Yes, we are now in the second ten days of the month of Ramadhaan already and it seems that time is just passing too quickly. Before we know it this Blessed month will be over, and we will all be involved in Eid Celebrations. Some of us may be wondering whether we’ve made the best of the month or if we just ended up wasting very precious time. Besides the obvious ways to make the best of the month of Ramadhaan, like Fasting, reading Quraan Sharief and performing all our Salaah, there are other ways to make the best of this Holy month.

So, how can we do this?

Well, I was just thinking that the second ten days of Ramadhaan are the days of forgiveness and surely we are all hoping and praying for the Almighty Allah to forgive us, I mean, what would we do if Allah (SWT) was not so willing to forgive us, we would certainly be doomed. This made me reflect though, and I started thinking about how willing people are to forgive each other. Why does it seem like it’s so difficult for us to forgive someone who has done something to us. Yes, it hurts when someone does something to you, but if we depend on Allah’s mercy and forgiveness, and if Allah The Greatest forgives us even though we continuously transgress, then why can’t we be the better person and forgive others.

The only thing stopping us from forgiving and letting go is our own egos and pride. When we believe that we have a right to feel the way we do, then it becomes very difficult to forgive others. So let’s try to gain more blessings from this wonderful month by forgiving those that we have grudges against. Let us remember that if Allah Almighty can forgive us so very easily, when we do all sorts of wrong, who are we to believe that we can’t forgive others? Let’s make an earnest effort to let go of all the negative feelings we have towards others, because this too is in the spirit of Ramadhaan, and indeed this is how Muslims should be all of the time.

May Allah (SWT) forgive us all for all of our sins, known and unknown, those committed intentionally and those done unintentionally, those committed in the light of day and in the dark of night, and even those sins which we do not recognise and consider to be sins! May Allah have mercy on us all, and make it easy for us to forgive others!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Best wishes for the Great month of Ramadaan

May Allah accept all of our prayers and efforts and make easy all of our difficulties in this blessed month and may it be easy for us to continue with the good long after the month has passed!

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Every day should be Woman’s Day

 Yesterday was National Women’s Day in South Africa. The country went all out to honour women, focus on their achievements and celebrate their uniqueness. Parades were held against the abuse of women, speeches were made talking about gender equality, women’s rights and the fair treatment of women were emphasized. All that is great, really, but I wonder if people have still remembered that today, or have people simply gone back to their normal everyday lives, thankful for the public holiday yesterday and have they already forgotten all about women and the issues they have to deal with?

I’m not saying that Women’s Day is unnecessary, but I think that Women’s Day should be celebrated every single day. There should be no need for a special day, because the celebration of women should be in everyday actions. The way women are treated, cared for, the work they have to do, the issues they have to deal with, the abuse they should not be suffering, these things should be dealt with everyday.

I’m busy reading a lovely book called “Enjoy Your Life”, and in this book the author talks about the type of person you should be and how you can foster positive relationships with others. He specifically uses examples from the Sunnah to illustrate his points. One chapter is dedicated to the treatment of women and it really is beautiful when you understand the true Islamic way of how women should be treated. In today’s times people have many things to say about women and how Islam “proposes” women should be treated. All this negativity is contrary to the teachings of Islam and with a proper understanding of the Quraan and Sunnah, one will easily understand that women are celebrated all of the time, when Islam is practiced properly.

Men are cautioned about respecting a woman’s feelings, they are warned that a woman’s ways cannot easily be changed, they are asked to have patience, and they are forbidden from causing bodily harm to a woman. In addition, it is their duty to care for women, and protect them physically and financially. Yes, these are the teachings of Islam, which is really much more comprehensive than this. In a nutshell though, when people practice Islam properly, then truly every day is Woman’s Day.

So while it’s great for the country to recognise the importance of women in society, it doesn’t help to have one special day dedicated to women, but the rest of the year women and their issues are forgotten. Indeed Women’s Day should be every day, and Islam shows us exactly how this is possible, if we only follow the true way in completion!

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Friday, August 6, 2010


Every day I see self-degradation,
Disguised as liberation,
People boldly displaying their bodies,
Sometimes to the extent of complete nakedness.

False beliefs of freedom,
People disiullusioned and deceived,
They look at us and they condemn,
Yet real truth and purity they have not perceived.

It seems to me that they’re the ones who are truly trapped,
I wonder if they have self-respect,
Deceived into believing in individual free will,
Yet dominated and driven in ways so subtle.

I’ll rather cover myself and maintain respect,
I do not ever want to be like them,
Let them look at us and dissect,
Trying to find ways to criticise and condemn.

Islam is my religion, my life,
It will never degrade me, it will only uplift,
Deception and illusion is clearly rife,
But Islam will continue to keep us adrift!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

If we could only follow the example of the Ansaar

The other night my family and I were having a discussion about the relationship between the Ansaar (People of Madinah) and the Muhaajireen (Muslims from Makkah who migrated to Madinah) in the time of the Prophet (SAW). My father mentioned something so relevant. He said that the example of the Ansaar is amazing, imagine people giving up half of what they had for their fellow brothers so easily. Half of what they had for people that they didn’t even know, people that they had just met! Subhanallah! Here we are in today’s time and we can’t even share our country with our fellow human beings from neighbouring countries because we’re too afraid that they’re taking our jobs, or our living place and so forth.

This was in reference to the recent news headlines here in South Africa. A really strange thing happened, the Soccer World Cup was hosted in South Africa this year as I’m sure you all know, and everything was great. Then just after the world cup, news begins to spread about xenophobic attacks. A few years ago there were terrible attacks on foreigners from neighbouring African countries like Zimbabwe, Somalia, Nigeria....countries in disarray. Local South African’s burnt their shops down, protested and drove foreigners out of their homes claiming that they are stealing resources, jobs and homes that are needed by South Africans. Obviously this comes from somewhere, and there’s no doubt that people are frustrated with poor living conditions that are not improving, but can you imagine how wonderful things would be if we were to adopt the example of the Ansaar towards the Muhaajireen.

This year it was reported that foreigners in South Africa were not willing to risk being attacked again so many of them packed up and left the country to go back to their home countries where they are offered no hope or solace. This was extremely saddening and it was disturbing to think that human beings could behave so negatively towards each other. Two things convinced me that the only hope for humanity is Islam.

I was performing salaah when a sister came to perform her prayers next to me. She was a foreigner, and at the time when the country is abound with discussions of xenophobia, this sister seemed so at peace, like she didn’t have a care in the world, sitting there performing her prayers, it was clear that she had a right to that space, just like everyone else. That reminded me that Islam does not have any barriers. In Islam we shouldn’t care about what country someone comes from and if we understand Islam, we won’t even think that they’re taking out jobs or living place, because we’ll understand that everything a person gets is willed by Allah. If we truly understand Islam then we will give more than we take and we will always think of others before we consider ourselves.

The second thing that reminded me that Islam has the perfect system, not only religiously, but socially as well, was a truck, parked outside a Masjid, filled with belongings of foreigners. I don’t know what the plan was for the truck, but it reminded me that the Masjid should be a place of refuge for all Muslims, and this once again shed light on the true teachings of Islam.

I sometimes wonder what things would be like if the whole world were Muslims who followed the teachings of Islam strictly. I think it would have been wonderful. I think that people would feel safe with one another and they would not have to fear for their lives or the lives of their family members. I think that everyone would be willing to share, like the Ansaar of Madinah did. I think it would have been wonderful. But Allah (SWT) in Allah’s infinite wisdom knows best and all I can do is try my hardest to practice the great examples of truly amazing and unselfish people, and in this I hope that maybe someone will understand the truth about Islam, because it really is something to marvel about.

May Allah (SWT) help us to become unselfish and generous in all ways. May Allah (SWT) also ease the plight of our fellow brothers and sisters who have to suffer difficulty after difficulty, moving around the world just to find some peace and make a decent living!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And that’s why I stopped caring...

Anyone who may have been watching CNN last Wednesday (or Tuesday Night in some places) would have seen the main story, continuously playing. “Lindsay Lohan will be spending time in jail”. Larry King had a special segment where he interviewed Lindsay’s father and his lawyer. This story was big news and even someone like me who has been out of touch with the world of celebrities suddenly found myself paying attention.

Watching this story really made me feel sad for this young woman. I remember her in “The Parent Trap”, a cute, innocent little girl, and I couldn’t help but to contemplate on all the false promises of this temporary world and the outcomes of this. This reminded me exactly why I stopped caring about Hollywood celebrities and their so-called fairytale lives.

There was a time when I did care; in fact I cared a lot. Like so many other people I was upset by the news of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt’s divorce. I was happy when Julia Roberts finally seemed to find her soul mate. I was intrigued by the friendship of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and thought that it was “so cool”. I had my favourite celebrity couples, and the one’s I hated together. I read about their lives and wanted to know more. They were interesting and their lives together were glamorous... Well of course that’s what they need us to think right, otherwise we’d all just lose interest in them.

Alhamdullillah my eyes began to open up to reality and soon all the “glamour” and the appeal began to reveal itself for the fake that it really is. Looking at celebrities with open eyes I could now see how sad most of them really are and how much they’ve become entrapped in a world which offers them many pleasures, but forget’s to mention that with these pleasures comes heartache, loneliness and constant worry. A world that offers no peace and privacy, and a world where a woman cannot afford to leave her home without her make-up, because if she does she’ll make entertainment headlines and everyone will be talking about how “ugly” she looks.

When I look at this and I see what Islam offers women, I feel extremely grateful that I am a Muslim woman. I may not have exquisite beauty, the perfect figure, fame, money, huge mansions, fancy cars, designer clothes, ... but I am thankful to my Allah that I do have peace of mind and self-esteem. I do not have to wonder who I really am and whether I’ll ever be accepted for just being myself. I do not have to search for anything and everything to fill my life, because despite all that I have, I still feel empty inside. No, Alhamdullillah, being a Muslim woman affords me the luxury of knowing that I am fulfilled by my faith and belief, and this is a gift that is incomparable to anything else in this world.

When I step out of my home donned in my hijab and covered modestly, I know that others may be looking at me, feeling me sorry, believing that I am oppressed, but in my heart I know the truth and my love for Allah and Islam empowers me more than anything. It makes me want to be a better person, because it reminds me that I am more than just a physical figure, I am a whole human being! People may not be making a big deal about how beautiful and popular I am, but at least I can feel free, knowing that those who do show an interest in me are genuinely interested in me as a person and not as an idolized figure.

It seems like everything regarded as glamorous in this world actually comes with a price, and I am so grateful for being a Muslim because Islam offers true beauty and there are no illusions or deception. I still believe that it is sad to see people like this who live in a society that makes them think they are free and liberated, but in reality, they seem more oppressed and trapped than I will ever be.

All praise is due to Allah for giving us Muslims the perfect way of life, one that allows us to find true peace, contentment and happiness, because as Allah reminds us in the Hold Qur’aan, “it is only in the remembrance of Allah that hearts find rest”.
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