Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blessed Eid

I know this is rather late for most of you have already celebrated Eid, but nonetheless since our Eid Celebrations in South Africa have only begun, I'm posting this now, rather late than never I guess.

I thought I'd just add a little info. on why the celebration is called Eid, hope you find this useful, Inshaa Allah, I know I did.

May Allah Almighty make it easy for us all to continue with all the good that we have done in The Blessed month of Ramadhaan and may Allah make it easy for us to stay away from all the bad that we refrained from in the month of Ramadhaan, and may Allah give us a year filled with peace and blessings until the next Ramadhaan-Inshaa Allah.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lovely Blog Award

This post is long overdue, but anyway I am thankful that I have some time to do this now.

I'd like to thank a special lady for giving me this award. Marie is a woman with a kindness and caring that is rare today. She would do anything for the people she loves and her openness and acceptance of others is something that I admire. Marie, may you always be blessed and may your efforts and sacrifices be accepted.
The thing I like the most about Marie's blog is that it gives off real emotions and experiences, giving the reader the sense that she is indeed inside Marie's world, actually sharing her experiences. If you don't already know this blog then you should check it out now!

Okay, so now the part that I don't really like that much, 7 things about myself. Oh Where to start??? Okay, here goes...

1. I like to experience things for myself instead of being told about it.
2. Similarly, I don't like hearing things about someone from others, I like to make up my own mind about what type of person I think someone is.
3. I've come to learn the best life lessons from the strangest experiences.
4. I truly believe that nothing in life is a problem if you have faith in the Creator.
5. I think that living a life of simplicity is the best way to live.
6. I always have to finish things I have to do quickly, otherwise it begins to work on me.
7. Tonight I feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy for the Blessed Eid Day which I will be celebrating on Wednesday, Sad that tommorow is the last day of the Blessed month of Ramadhaan. Guess all good things have to come to an end right?

Well, since that's out of the way, let's award some other lovely bloggers... (This is in no particular order)

- After Hardship There Is Ease- I've recently come across this blog and was intrigued by it after reading an amazing post about Sister Aminah Assilmi . It's an interesting take on life and I love the name of the blog.

-Crafty Muslimah- This blog really makes me feel at home, since this sister is a fellow South African (although from another city). I love the pictures that are posted each day, these are simple things yet they say so much.

- Inspirational Quotes Everyday- I think the name sums up the blog very nicely.

- Rose water- Most of you already know this blog, but for those who don't, you'll find a variety of posts here, from spiritual to cooking, this blog perfectly shows the diversity of and multifaceted nature of Muslim women.

- Spill Beans- This blog is just fun, even the serious posts are written in way that makes you smile.

- Sweet Serenity- I always find great reads at this blog, which also discusses a variety of relevant topics.

Well that's it for now people. Thanks again to Marie and to all the great bloggers who've been awarded and also those who haven't been awarded.

For those of you celebrating Eid- Have a Blessed Day!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

That Ramadhaan Feeling

Although I am very happy that it’s the Blessed month of Ramadhaan, I have to admit that things don’t seem all that right this year. Usually there is a particular “feel” in the month of Ramadhaan. You just feel like its extra special and you somehow feel different inside. This year has got me wondering because that extra special feeling I usually have seems to be amiss somehow. The days still seem special, the nights still peaceful, the moments spent in recitation of the Glorious Quraan or praying salaah still seem more meaningful, just like every year, then why do things still seem so different? And then it hit me...

Last year Ramadhaan I was honoured to have spent the last ten days of the month in the best place on earth, the Blessed City of Madinah. Nothing can compare to those ten days, and my years of special Ramadhaan’s seem bleak in comparison. The late night Taraweeh prayers with the most beautiful Quraanic recitation still lingers in my mind. The search for a small space in the extra full Masjid Nabawi so that you can perform your prayers, standing squashed up amidst a huge crowd of women and not knowing if my space to put my head down is still going to be there when I need to prostrate, or whether another woman would have found her way in. The scrambling for a glass of zam-zam water to break the fast at the time of Iftaar. The scores of people, leisurely enjoying the serenity of the entire place. The families sitting together eating their final morning meal before they begin their fast, while others are immersed in prayer. The early morning sounds of Quraan being recited from the Masjid Nabawi as Qiyaam-ul-Layl (late night/early morning voluntary prayers) is being performed. The continuous hustle and bustle, shops open till late, people completely at leisure, food and water being handed out as you walk on the streets. Every single person doing the same thing, every single person seeking blessings from Allah Almighty. The completely packed city, with more people than you’ll ever see together at the same place, at the same time (except of course for the amount of people in Makkah in Ramadhaan which exceeds the scores of people in Madinah and if you had to consider Hajj time which is much fuller). This was Ramadhaan in Madinah, how can I ever have that old time extra special feeling again, after experiencing something so amazing.

As I sit here in South Africa this Ramadhaan I am extremely thankful for my experience last year, and I am glad that during this Blessed month people around me seem to be trying so much harder to be better people and better Muslims, but my heart still longs for Madinah, and the longing  of the heart is something that is not in our control. Last year this time I was there, in the Blessed City, this year I will pray that the light, peace and happiness that I experienced there, can be experienced by all of us, over and over again. It’s true, you don’t have to be in Makkah or Madinah to receive blessings,  you can connect with your Lord, even from the corner of your room, in your house, anywhere in the world, even in South Africa. The connection is definitely much more vivid there, but it’s Ramadhaan, a month I like to regard as a month of gifts, a month of opportunity. There are opportunities to receive blessings, to be granted forgiveness , and for the acceptance of prayers, but most of all, there are extra opportunities to connect with Allah and find the Ultimate Truth.

It is the last few days of Ramadhaan, these nights are the most blessed as I’m sure you all already know, if you can remember me in your prayers, then please do so. Let us take the opportunities we have right now; we have no idea where we’ll be next year.

Image from: http://navedz.wordpress.com/2009/09/05/picture-perfect-friendship-across-nations/

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Women in the Glorious Qur’aan

Yesterday was “National Woman’s Day” here in South Africa, and obviously, for this day, women and their achievements were proudly brought to the fore. Newspapers included articles about women and their work, even government found it necessary to talk about the most pressing issues that women have to deal with. I think it's really great to do this, but Why all this isn’t done on a more regular basis is a major question,! Never mind that for now though, I clearly remember posting something about that last year on “Women’s Day” so there’s not much point in repeating myself, now is there?

Since it is the Blessed month of Ramadhaan and I have been spending more time reciting the Glorious Qur’aan, (only through the mercy of Allah) the thoughts that came to my mind yesterday were about women in the Qur’aan. A few days ago I recited the Chapter in the Qur’aan on women. SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah), it feels really nice to know that the Noble Qur’aan dedicates a whole chapter (one of the longer ones) to women’s issues. So actually here we have a place where women’s issues and women’s rights are discussed on a continuous basis, not just on one day. All we have to do is read about it. Let me just mention here that this Chapter is not the only place in the Qur’aan where women’s issues are discussed. Also, the Qur’aan is not something that is static, and which only applies to certain people at a certain time. The Qur’aan is alive in its messages and its words apply to us all and will continue to apply to people in years to come. This is definitely not a book with outdated information which requires a new publication every year or two.

I was saddened however, when I thought about what people have done to the idea of women in the Qur’aan. I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about; Those people who have found it appropriate to blaspheme the Glorious Qur’aan by saying that the Qur’aan encourages women abuse and oppression of women. Now I know that they’ve put forth their arguments in a way that may seem convincing to many people, especially since they take out “quotes” (or I should say half-quotes, or incomplete quotes) from the Qur’aan to backup their erroneous arguments. And I also know that these very people would regard me as an oppressed Muslim woman who doesn’t know any better, but I can tell you that anyone who reads the Glorious Qur’aan with an open heart, with good intention and in completion will agree with me that indeed the Qur’aan is the best advocate for women’s rights!

My sadness was decreased a bit when I recalled some other verses in the Qur’aan where Allah Almighty speaks about  people who distort verses of the Qur’aan, and who use the verses out of context to back up erroneous claims and lies. SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah)! There is nothing that Allah is unaware of.

So for those who say that the Qur’aan advocates inequality between males and females, I deny this false claim and plead with you to read properly. For those who say that the Qur’aan encourages women abuse, I ask you to open your mind and read with understanding and for those who claim that the source of oppression of women is the Qur’aan once again I strongly disagree with all these claims. When I read the Glorious Qur’aan it makes me feel special. It makes me feel worthy and it makes me feel like it doesn’t matter what the whole world may say and do, because Our Creator, The One, Allah, knows best about every single one of us, male and female, and I am reassured over and over again that the Glorious Qur’aan is the best advocate for women’s rights . This is indeed a place where women are given a status of importance. If we but only take the time to ponder correctly, with open hearts then we will see that this is the truth.

Allah wants people to live together in peace and with kindness. So much so that Allah Almighty keeps encouraging men to be kind to their women. Even in the case of divorce (and we all know how ugly divorces can get), men are urged to treat women with kindness.  In all instances women’s needs are considered, even in the case of divorce. These needs include emotional, psychological, physical and financial. The rules are clear, the injunctions are clear, there should be no need for confusion. Allah says plainly that men should live with women in kindness or part with them in kindness. Another example is that according to the Qur’aan, men are allowed to marry up to four women, but if they fear that they will be unjust then they should marry just one. There are many other instances such as these which make it clear that Allah Almighty only wants what’s good for us, and Allah understands the nature of men and the nature of women, BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE!

Allah Almighty says in the Glorious Qur’aan that it is Allah who knows best about all His Creatures. Allah is The Creator, Allah is The Knower and Allah is the One who has set out clear guidance for both males and females. What Allah has prescribed for us is definitely what is best for us. I can say with conviction that the Most Glorious Qur’aan does not encourage or excuse any of the actions that people claim it does. One of Allah Almighty’s beautiful names is “The Just” and Allah will not put forth anything that will harm or oppress anyone, man or woman!

Glory be to Allah and All Praise be to Allah who has given us the Most Beautiful Book, the Qur’aan in which is clear guidance and only Truth! May Allah open up our hearts to accept and understand this truth, inshaa Allah.

 Ten days of the Blessed month of Ramadhaan have already passed, the time is going too quickly. I hope that you are all making the best of this time we have being given and I wish you all the best for the remaining days of Ramadhaan!