Friday, April 29, 2011

Great Women in Islam

The answer for this week's quiz question ("Which of the Prophet's (PBUH) wives was a Jew before embracing Islam?) is...

 Safiya bint Huyayee was the favourite daughter of Huyayee bin Akhtab, the chieftain of the tribe of Banu Nadheer.

 In the battle of Khayber, the Jews were defeated by the Muslims and Safiya (May Allah be pleased with her) lost her husband- so she was taken captive along with all the other prisoners of war.

 The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) freed Safiya and proposed marriage to her.

 When she was given the choice to go free or marry the Prophet (PBUH), she chose to marry the Prophet (PBUH) and she accepted Islam.

 The Prophet (PBUH) paid a reasonable sum of money for Safiya’s hand in marriage and still said to her; “You are now free, if you like you can go back to your tribe or you can be my wife” And this is how she replied “ I longed to be with you while I was a Jew, how can I leave you now when I am a Muslim?”

 Safiya, before embracing Islam had dreamt of a portion of the moon which had fallen into her lap and the sun on her bosom. When she mentioned this dream to her husband at the time he said “You seem to desire to be the wife of the king of Medina?”

 She was 17 at the time of her marriage to the Prophet (PBUH), beautiful, extremely generous and always looked after the poor and the needy.

To read more you can download books from the following link:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Family Ties

I bet that the title of my post reminds many of you of the old sitcom starring Michael J. Fox. Well, if you didn’t think of that when you read the title then you probably are thinking of it now (at least for those people who were watching ‘Family Ties’ every week back in the 1980s. or so). Anyway, let me end my little digression.

Today my mother, my grandmother and I went to visit a cousin of my mother’s who we are not very close with and who we haven’t seen in ages. The reason for the visit was unfortunately an unexpected illness, Alhamdullillah my mum’s cousin is doing much better and you’d never say that he was ill at all. However, while sitting around talking, it struck us all that people in today’s time don’t really keep family ties. Besides the occasional visit and phone call, families are not as close as they used to be. This got us talking about our family, the generations that have passed, how this one is related to that one, whose father that is and who married who and so on and so forth, and I have to admit that I was a bit lost. I have never even met many of my family members and the truth is that I may meet someone who I am related to and not even know it. While my parents and grandparents still know the generations of our family that have passed, we as the new generation, are rather clueless in this regard and if it were not for our grandparents and parents, we would be totally hopeless in even identifying who our family members are.

I don’t know what it’s like for other people, but usually when people ask me about my family, it includes, my parents, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and maybe I’ll make mention of a few other close family members; maternal grandmother, uncle or aunt... Our idea of family is very limited though and this has been reduced to the nuclear family as opposed to the extended family. This is contrary to the way things were in earlier times when extended families were close with one another, and people knew how they were related and maintaining family ties was a priority. Perhaps this is because of modernization. In our parents and grandparents times people were poorer and they lived simpler lives. Families lived close to one another and if you wanted to visit your family members you could just take a walk there instead of having to get in the car and drive out to some remote area. Nowadays people have more money, this means that they can afford better homes in all areas and so naturally families tend to be scattered about and because of this distance, it becomes harder to stay in touch. Not to mention the hectic lifestyle that goes hand in hand with this modern era.

Present day trends also seem to play a huge role. It’s not often that you see extended family members all living together as one family. Nowadays it’s just parents and their children and even grandparents aren’t allowed to make decisions or even give their input about the upbringing of children. Children are taught from a very young age that their family unit consists of their parents and siblings. So perhaps a lot of this can be attributed to the modern age we live in.

Yet all of this seems like poor excuses. Listening to my mother and grandmother trace back our family roots made me realize that these very roots that go way, way back, play an important role in my life and even influences my identity. We are all a part of a family, it doesn’t matter what type of a family it may be, but as human beings, we cannot exist in isolation and thus we are a small part of a much bigger unit. Even though we may not realize it, our actions have repercussions in our entire family system, whether we see all of them or not, whether we know all of them or not.

Who knows what prayer of which one of our ancestors has been answered on our behalf? Who knows which good action of which of our family members has influenced the rest of us? Who knows what interaction between which family members has resulted in us being who we are today? I mean, wasn’t it the prayer of the mother of Maryam (May Allah be pleased with her and shower His peace and blessings on her), for righteous offspring that had an effect on who her daughter became and subsequently who the son of her daughter was. Certainly then, family members have an effect on one another, whether we know this or not.

So naturally as we were departing from our family today everyone spoke about how we should stay in touch because the young generations don’t even know the family and so on, and everyone commented on how good it was to see each other, but it’s sad to say that life will go on as usual, and I wonder if we’ll make the time to meet up again or if we’ll wait for another illness to bring us together again. Who knows? But I’ve learnt that family ties can never really be broken, it’s something that is inevitable. Sometimes we tend to feel that staying in touch with extended family is irrelevant to us, but who our family is will always be a part of who we are, whether we want to admit this or not. This is why they say that blood is thicker than water, because family will always be family and family members will always have an influence on one another, either directly or indirectly.

An important teaching of Islam is that we should always maintain family ties and breaking family ties is something that is regarded as very bad. Today I was reminded of this, and I was made to understand this a little better. I wish that me sharing this with you can help you to understand this a little better yourselves.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Great Women in Islam

The answer to the Great Women in Islam quiz for this week is:

- She was the first woman to memorize the Holy Qu’raan in its entirety.

- In her childhood she would already memorize verses of the Qur’aan that were recited in her presence.
- At the time of emigration to Medina she was about 8 years old but no Companion had a better recollection of the minutest details of the event than her.
- She acquired religious knowledge directly from the Noble Prophet Muhammad PBUH).
- She was never afraid to ask questions or for clarification about things.
- She questioned the Prophet (PBUH) about many things and because of this, Muslim women gained a better understanding of Islam.
- She always turned to the Qur’aan and hadeeth for solutions.
- Except for about 4 or 5 Companions, she narrated more ahadeeth than anyone else.
- She acquired knowledge of poetry, literature, history and genealogy from her father, Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him).
- She also learnt medicine from the numerous physicians of Arabia who visited the Prophet (PBUH).
- She excelled in knowledge and was even more knowledgeable than most of the Companions.
- She was a teacher and advisor to many.
- She was also courageous and brave.
- She was extremely generous and gave away all that was given to her without any concern for herself.

To find out more there are some nice books to read, available for free download at the following link are 2 good books:

- Great Women in Islam
- Women around the Messenger (PBUH)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It’s really nice to see good manners

It’s sad to say that these days it’s not often that we see people displaying good manners. Usually people are angry and agitated and ready to pounce on the next person like a cat waits to pounce on a mouse. Sometimes I find myself stunned at the way in which people treat each other, swearing and shouting without any concern for those around them. Just recently I was picking my nieces up from school when a grandmother of a child had a huge screaming match with the security guard at the school. The poor guy stands there the whole day making sure that children don’t leave the school without permission and taking note of who comes to fetch which children so that their safety is ensured. This woman was angry at him for some reason, but instead of talking to him about her issue, she resorted to swearing him loudly in public. It was so terrible that even my niece’s young friend had to comment on it. Let me just add here that my nieces attend an Islamic school and the woman who was screaming and swearing at the security guard, while he looked at her humbly without uttering a word, was unfortunately a Muslim woman.  Indeed it is sad that we see these examples all the time, and it seems that people just don’t have patience to deal with things in a positive manner.

So it was really nice to actually see someone displaying good manners for a change. On Saturday I was in the queue at the checkpoint of the supermarket, and the lady in front of me was an old woman, who was shopping by herself. The cashier was so nice to this old woman that I had to write about it. She greeted the old woman with a huge warm smile, patiently waited while the woman took a long time to unpack all her groceries, then smiled when the old woman said she could not afford to buy everything and left some items behind. While the old woman took a while looking for change in her purse, the cashier spoke to her happily. Then the old woman bought airtime for her cellphone and the cashier noticed that she was struggling with it, so she actually took the time to take the old lady’s phone and upload the airtime, while explaining to her how to do it. While doing this she apologised to me, as I was the next customer waiting to be served. Of course, I couldn’t be bothered how long she took. I was standing and watching this pleasant exchange with warmth in my heart, finding it reassuring that there is hope left for humanity after all.

When it was my turn to be served, the same cashier smiled at me and told me that they have to work so hard, from about 8am, till 6pm on a Saturday. “This shop is always busy”, she told me; “even when it’s not the end of the month”. I thought to myself that if this woman who had to work so hard, for a salary that’s probably not that great, could still be so nice to people, then what excuse do we have? And I have to add here that Saturday happened to be a cold, grey, rainy day in Johannesburg, and while the rest of us slept comfortably in our warm beds, people like this particular cashier, had to wake up early to go to work. And while we have the luxury of getting in to our cars, which most probably has some sort of heating system, and then go to the shopping centre to buy what we need and some things we don’t really need, this woman and many others like her, have to wait for public transport (which can be a mission in Johannesburg) and then go to work, watching how easily people can spend money on luxuries. Yet, despite all this, she can still have good manners and a lovely smile on her face!

Now, I don’t mean to pick on the faults of others, and I really do pray that Allah makes it easy for all of us to display the best of manners. I also understand that people have bad days and that sometimes we just get so angry that we really can’t control our feelings, but just look at the difference between the first woman I mentioned here, and the second one I mentioned. Look at the example they’ve set and the impact they’ve had on the lives of people around them. Which woman would you rather be around? Of course the answer to that question is obvious.

Our Noble and Beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the most excellent of people and displayed the best of manners. I’m sure you all know the story of the time the Prophet (PBUH) offered to help an old lady with her parcels and while they walked she warned the Prophet (PBUH) to stay away from a man named Muhammad, because she had heard bad things about him. (The bad things were things like he divided the nation by preaching his message, he says that the religion of their ancestors are false, etc, -and no attack on his character as this was impossible). Then when they reach her home she asks the Prophet (PBUH) ; “What is your name young man?” And the Prophet (PBUH) says humbly; “Muhammad”. Can you imagine what good manners and great character the Prophet had? To listen to someone say all these bad things about you and remain silent and humble, and still continue helping them. SubhanAllah. There are so many other stories, but this one always moves me.

The point is that we have no excuse for bad manners and rudeness. No matter how bad a day we’re having, how sick we feel or whatever difficulties we may be going through. Even if the next person has wronged us, there is no excuse to treat people badly. Screaming, shouting and swearing is not the way Muslims are supposed to be. Good manners and good character is an important part of our religion. It’s what attracted people to Islam in the time of the Prophet (PBUH). Without it we will never have an impact on anyone. We should all try to be more like the cashier I met on Saturday, if we were, the world would be a better place.

May The Almighty Allah guide us all and help us to have good manners and the best of characters. Let us remember the teaching of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that even a smile is regarded as charity.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Great Women in Islam

Inshaa Allah I am going to be having a weekly mini quiz so that we can all learn more about the wonderful women in Islam.
Each week I will be asking one question (Please see the sidebar and give your answer).

Then next Friday I will put up the correct answer and give some information about that Great Woman.

I think this is a fun way to learn more about our wonderful role models in Islam.

Inshaa Allah, I hope that you all like this too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Inspiration Award from Maryam

I'd like to Thank Sister Maryam who was so kind to award me with The Inspiration Award.

Maryam has recently started her blog, but Alhamdullillah, she already has some great stuff posted on there. Check out her blog,

I really like her motivations behind the blog and I look forward to reading much more, Inshaa Allah

Image from:

Monday, April 11, 2011

A sad day for so-called freedom

The news headlines this morning read that "FRANCE HAS OFFICIALLY BANNED THE BURKA".

So much for "freedom"!

I won't write about this again, we all know this issue way too well and I've written about it before. I just feel very sad that this ridiculous law has actually been officially passed. Also, just reading peoples comments in response to the articles shows me that bigotry and intolerance, mixed with ignorance seems to be the order of the day.

And they continue to sell us their false ideas of "freedom" and "democracy".

I know this comes as a victory to many, including some Muslims who argue adamanatly that the niqab and burqa is nothing but a cultural symbol. In all the arguments, discussions, debates and discourses, everyone seems to be missing the main point.

The freedom to choose what they want to wear has just been taken away from our Muslim sisters in France!!!

How can anyone celebrate this?

All I can say is that Allah sees all that happens and Allah is The Knower of all things.

Allah says in the Holy Qur'an  8:30 "Verily they plan, but Allah also plans and Allah is the best of planners".

May Allah gives us all, especially our French Muslim Sisters, the strength to continue in His Path. Inshaa Allah!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Money makes the world go round

On Friday I got a call from someone offering me funeral insurance or something like that. Some people might not have a problem with this, but I was irritated to think that people today will try to make money out of any situation, including death. They make everything sound so wonderful, like it’s going to be a huge benefit to you and they’re not going to profit that much. Like they’re all “do-gooders” trying to make sure that people’s basic needs are met. Yet, the truth is that they make a whole lot of money from innocent people who are working hard just to keep their heads above water.

It’s the same thing with all types of insurances, there’s always some loophole or hidden clause and the insurance company or financial institute ends up getting a large amount of money that you have been paying for months on end. It really irritates me. Recently my brother needed to claim from his car insurance. They’ve been paying car insurance for like the past 8 years, and the amount the insurance company was willing to pay was not even a small fraction of the amount that they’ve already paid. So what happened to all that money they've paid? Of course the insurance company gets it, how else do they make their business?
It’s a really ridiculous system, and I’ve always believed that if you just save up money on your own then Inshaa Allah when a need arises you’ll have the money that you require.

At least the person who tried to sell me the “funeral plan” on Friday was not as persistent as some other people who call you. She accepted it when I told her that I wasn’t interested. Some of these sales people are very persistent and they sometimes act like there’s something seriously wrong with you if you’re not interested in what they’re selling.

I have to wonder...Where did all of this come from, insurance, medical aid schemes, hospital insurance...when did it all start? I mean, things used to be simple, people actually used to care about each other, and then the economic boom came along and changed everything, and now people only care about each others’ money! The more money you can get from someone, the more valuable they become. The strange thing is that the rich people never get caught up with things like insurance or medical aid schemes or the likes. The rich man understands too well that these things take more from you than what they give to you and we all know that the rich man does not like to part with his money. So it’s the working class people who get caught up in all this. We work hard to earn an honest living and then we end up giving a big part of it away and when we need to claim it back, they tell us that we’re only entitled to a small percentage. This entire system makes no sense at all.

Anyway, it sounds like I’m ranting too much so I’ll stop writing about this issue now because I think you get the point. There’s just something else that strikes me with regards to this, and this is how it relates to our reliance on Allah (SWT). Somehow things like insurance make people feel secure. So if I had to go ahead and sign up for the funeral insurance they offered me on Friday, then I would be secure and comfortable believing that my funeral expenses are all sorted out. Or if I have insurance, then I’m secure because I believe that if something happens to my belongings then the insurance will cover it, and so on. Yet, these things do not guarantee anything and in fact creates a very false sense of security. When we rely on Allah Almighty completely for all our needs, then we have true security and we most definitely have a guarantee that all our affairs will be in order, because Allah definitely isn’t interested in making money off us!

Money makes the world go round, yet it has so little to offer us, and it has so little value!

Image taken from:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Inspiration Award from a truly Inspiring Sister

I Received The Inspiration Award and I have to say that the sister who gave me the award is truly an inspiration to me. she embodies a true Muslimah, someone who is able to be great at home and in her chosen field of study. While she cherishes her role as a wife, this does not stop her from excelling in her studies. This balance is rare and indeed inspiring. There is so much more to this sister though, and I am not doing her justice, so I suggest you see what I mean for yourself.

 Rose Water, Thank you for the lovely award!  

Now for the rules...

Thank and link back to the person that awarded this to you. (Which I've already done above)

Link posts by you and fellow bloggers that YOU find inspirational.
(I too find it strange to find my own posts inspirational, so I'm just going to add the posts of other people here).

There are many inspiring posts, but the following ones stand out for me: (in no particular order).

Crossing the Road - From Prejudice to Knowledge (Marie)

Be Patient (Xenia)

Vanity (Amira)

Noor (Rose Water)

My Parents (Blue Pearl)


Now... I give this award to 10 blogs which are all inspiring in their own way. Some inspire me for the humour and wit, some by the wise words, some by the great images and videos, some by the interesting stories and poetry, and some for their goals and ambitions,  but all are an inspiration.

Again in no particular order...

Reflections 4 Muslimahs

Sweet serenity

True Colours Revealed

Stay Blessed

Black Jubah

The Colour of our skin

Muslimah Bloggers Directory

Xo Xo... Sweet Success

Bubblez Island

Dear Little Auntie

Flowers Image from: Teddy bear image from:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Favoured Ones

Recently during a session of our women’s workshops we got into a very important discussion. Two of the women present were reverts to Islam. They both married men who were born Muslims and they became Muslim before they married. These women shared a little bit about their lives with us, and they mentioned that as a revert into Islam, things are not very easy. They explained how certain people in their families and community were not willing to accept them as equals and how they always had to work hard to prove themselves as worthy Muslims.

It was disappointing to hear their accounts of the negative reactions they receive from fellow Muslims, especially because those people who are fortunate enough to be born as Muslims are supposed to be the one’s working harder to attract people towards Islam instead of turning them away. In any case, I loved the reply that was given to them by one of our very knowledgeable and experienced facilitators. She told them that they were the ones who had been favoured by Allah. Allah chose them to come to Islam and they were blessed, and they would be given great reward in the hereafter, Inshaa Allah. She then urged all of us present that day to treat our fellow Muslim sisters in the manner set out for us by the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). She reminded us that those who have come to Islam should be welcomed with open arms, and these people will indeed be favoured by Allah on the day of Judgement, and she emphasized how we shouldn’t take things for granted simply because we were born as Muslims because we all have to work hard to attain Jannah (Paradise). Alhamdullillah, I thought that was an amazing answer, and it seemed like it really helped our two sisters to feel more positive about their lives.

I decided to write about this because it really is such an important topic. I have always admired people who have come to Islam. I find it amazing that they have such a zeal for knowledge and they follow the rules of Islam with such urgency and strictness that you can’t help but be amazed. The thing I’ve noticed is that those of us who were born as Muslims have tended to become too comfortable in our lives, and we take many things for granted. Sometimes we even carry out acts of worship in ritual fashion, and we believe that since we are Muslims all our lives we don’t need to gain more knowledge about Islam. We thus tend to become complacent and remain in a static state.

In contrast, those who have reverted to Islam are continuously striving to better themselves. They regard the religion as a beautiful gift; they hold fast to it and work hard not to ever lose it. They appreciate what they have been given and they see the true beauty in it, and what’s more, they want to share it with everyone so they tend to do more daw’ah work. In fact, most of the people who work the hardest to spread Islam in today’s times are revert Muslims. This should make us wonder, shouldn’t it? Especially when it is the duty of every single Muslim male and female to spread Islam.

Those who revert to Islam read more and learn more, and they insist on doing things exactly how they should be done. The Islam they portray is true Islam because it is not tainted with cultural or familial ideas of things. They focus only on Sunnah and Qur’aan and their understanding of Islam is not based on old traditions. I remember hearing about someone who became a Muslim and within months this person had already learnt Arabic and could speak the language well. SubhanAllah, this is amazing! I am still struggling to learn Arabic and I know very, very little of the language.

I have to agree that those people who have reverted to Islam are indeed the favoured ones! There is so much that we need to learn from them and so much inspiration that we can gain from them. The ideal should be for us all to come together and love one another, as true Muslim brothers and sisters should love one another, purely for the sake of the Almighty Allah. There should be no differentiation, it doesn’t matter if you are a Muslim your whole life, or if you have recently become a Muslim, the only thing that matters is whether you are going to die as a Muslim! (May Allah save us all from death without Imaan (Faith).

I can’t remember whether I heard this from someone or if I read it, but I remember that there are 3 types of people; Those who live with Imaan their whole lives, but die without it. Those who live without Imaan their whole lives, but die with Imaan. And those who live with Imaan and die with Imaan. May Allah make us all of these people who live with Imaan and die with Imaan, Inshaa Allah!

Image from: (Check this site out, it's very interesting)