The only Muslim fasting in Greenland

Assalamualaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

Amazing subhan’Allah! Imagine fasting, praying teraweeh and qiyaam all alone – and soon, Eid prayers by himself! Not sure if I’m able to stay motivated throughout Ramadhan if that was me.

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The power of Dua

Assalamualaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

A friend asked me this question couple of days ago: How did you convince your mom to allow you to wear niqaab?

I replied her saying that it’s a good question because I don’t know. I didn’t sit my parents down and explained to them why I want to wear niqaab or gave them the daleels from Qur’an and Sunnah. I have done neither of that but there’s one thing I realized which proved effective al-Hamdulillah and that is: lots of patience and dua.

When I had the intention to wear niqaab, I was thinking to myself that it’ll only be possible after I got married because at that time, my parents were against wearing big hijaab and abaya. Each time before leaving my room, I would actually make dua that my parents would not tell me ‘go back to my room to change out of my old woman’s clothes’. And if I wasn’t verbally poked fun at by my family for dressing that way, my relatives would do a good job at that. Everyday felt like a battle just to properly cover my aurah.

Subhan’Allah over a period of five years, there was a transition from my former tight clothes to much looser ones along with bigger hijaab. Al-Hamdulillah, it was all by His will. I was starting to wear baggy pants with longer tops, followed by skirts and then dresses and finally abaya. My mom changed her wardrobe as well. One day she told me that she wanted to get rid of clothes that revealed her figure because she didn’t feel comfortable in them and it was replaced by bigger and longer tops as well.

The last bit I want to share is about something which took me by surprise. A couple of months ago, my mom came over to visit me for a few days. We were walking back to my dormitory and the there were a few sisters walking ahead of us. I’m not sure if I have mentioned this before but I’m currently studying at an Islamic university thus the types of clothing we usually see is sisters with baggy abaya and khimar. I was telling my mom that the colour of the sister’s khimar is beautiful but left the part where ‘the khimar is beautiful too‘ out of the conversation because I know how she feels about it.

But then she said it. “The khimar is beautiful too. Do you want me to get it for you tomorrow?”. I was squealing in delight inside, completely taken aback by those words and thinking did my mom actually say that? I controlled my excitement and tried to reply calmly like it was no biggie, “Yeah sure, but just one will do”. The next day when she went out, she bought three different coloured khimars and told me, “Make sure you wear it to class”.

My intention for sharing these is not about my ‘journey to wearing niqaab’ or anything of that sort. The point I actually want to make is that dua changes the impossible to possible if Allah wills it. Several times when we make dua, myself included, we might not have that 100% trust in Allah SWT that it’ll change any of our situations. To those who do not believe, the thought of raising our hands and asking from a Higher being for help may sound incredulous but we Muslims, sometimes fall into that category too. We think, “how is it possible to get out of this problem. No one can help me and you want me to make dua?”; “How can I do this when there is no one supporting me?”.

The truth is, we lack trust in Allah SWT. We know He is there to help when we are in need, but we may think that it is only through our efforts and hard work will things get done. We only give credit to ourselves when we manage to achieve something or solve a problem. But it is only when we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, then He comes to the picture as a last resort for help.

If you ask me five years ago, whether there will come a day where my parents will let me wear niqaab, I will tell you that that’s not possible. But I look back now and thought that I must have forgotten that Allah SWT is the controller of our hearts and situations. We think that we have everything within our grasp but the One with ultimate control over everything is Him. I don’t believe I put 100% trust in Him when I made dua seeing how my situation seemed bleak at that time but I knew I had no one to turn to for help except Him.

Whatever situation any of you are in right now, and you feel like there is no way out and no one to listen to you, make dua and be patient of a better outcome. Pray two rakaah for relief if something is distressing you and open the Qur’an when you are in need for answers. Our dependence and reliance is on Him to provide ease for our hardship, not on people and especially not thinking that only we can help ourselves.

Allahu Alam.

At the top of my head..

Assalamualaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

*just a short rant..

“La Tahzan, Innallah Ma Ana..” (9:40)

If there’s one thing I learn from staying abroad without having my family with me (or in my case, I don’t see my brother/relatives often) is that you can never rely on people. This is not to say that we entirely reject/seek help from others, but we should realize that placing full dependence on people will only result in disappointment. Either people turn you away when you need it desperately or they are half-hearted in helping you. We forget that when we need any assistance, we should be asking Allah SWT for help first before asking others. Why do we turn to everyone else THEN we ask Allah SWT as a last resort? Only Allah SWT is able to change our situations and humans are only there as means to help you but the results lie solely in His hands.

I also use this reminder to console myself each time I feel down. Don’t be sad! I admit that when I’m miserable, I hope for someone to cheer me up. Maybe pull me up again, brush the dirt off my clothes and tears from my eyes and say everything is alright. But what I don’t realize is that you don’t exactly need people to always make you happy. Only YOU can make yourself happy. How? Allah SWT has given you His book to read in any situation you are in – “Verily in the remembrance of Allah do the hearts find ease” (13:28). If we truly believe this, then pick up the Qur’an each time you are feeling low. Don’t wait and depend on others to put that smile back on your face because not everyone will be there for you.

A personal take on the recent events..

Assalamualaikom wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

Most of us would have read in the news that the derogatory movie about our beloved Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam which led to many protests and also unfortunate deaths. If there’s one lesson we never fully learn throughout history is that how we react to such insults never result in a positive outcome. Why? I don’t remember a time where we actually responded in any way other than through protests and carrying equally insulting slogans during demonstrations. The result? Casualties, lives were lost and yet the issue is not still resolved.

Riots and violent protests are contrary to the teachings of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam. We want others to hear our voices but how can anyone use fire against fire? I received an email about how the protests that took place in Sydney would further cause more disruption and chaos instead of educating the public about the true teachings of Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam. The protests were supposed to be a peaceful one but with inflammatory slogans such ‘behead those who insults Prophet’ do not exactly spell out ‘peace’. The sister said that when survey was done amongst the youth, majority of them have not even seen the movie and yet their response was emotional rather than a rational one. And this made me think about how we are quick to react to insults by non-Muslims but when we see another Muslim doing haraam, skipping their obligations, we close an eye to it. We choose to ignore when it is a greater insult to Islam that we are not performing our duties as Muslims rather than insults by ignorants who lack knowledge of Islam. It’s not that Muslims should be accepting of derogatory comments made against our beloved Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam but we should know where our priorities lie. An article which I came across recently mentioned that it is usually those who rarely support da’wah work, or being involved in Masjid/community events are the first to spring to action when there is an insult against Islam.

What exactly are our priorities? Is it important that we retaliate violently when someone mocks our Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam as compared to speaking up on the current issues that our Ummah is facing? Refer to Suraah Anbiya’: Allah SWT speaks about Prophets being mocked for generations – this was not something recent but in fact has occurred centuries ago. Yet, this remains true even in our times. Yes, we stand up to defend him but we must not forget that no matter how these haters try to defame his name, they will not succeed. Like the 9/11 incident, it compelled others to study about Islam and eventually becoming Muslims when the irony is that, the perpetrators are supposed to be Muslims. The same could happen if we remain patient in times like  this and respond to it tastefully. There are other issues that our Ummah need to address and can be rectified but yet we choose to remain silent – domestic abuse, issues faced by teenagers, the practise of cultural traditions that contradict religious customs, oppression faced by our brothers and sisters around the world and the list is endless.

The killing of US official and casualties caused only taint the image of Islam and reinforces the perceptions of non-Muslims that violence is part of our beautiful Deen. I remind myself and all of you that Allah SWT has commanded us in the Qur’an to ‘invite others with beautiful preaching’ and that ‘if you find those insulting your religion to leave them immediately’ or say ‘salaam’ (peace) and walk away. Ask yourself if how you are responding is in accordance to the teachings of Islam.

In response to the movie, a sister I know created an event to raise awareness and shared about Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam. They gave out flowers to the audience during the event as well. I can’t say how impressed I was to see such a beautiful initiative being carried out. We need more creative ways like this to give da’wah (also like how iera did theirs during the Olympics) and channel our energy towards something which can benefit others. In the end, when we handle such insults in a rational manner, the tables are turned against these haters themselves.

Having good akhlaq

Assalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh everyone,

I’ve been wanting to write about this since months ago but never actually set aside some time to sit at a quiet place and do some self-reflection. The irony is that I haven’t been involved in anything important but I’ve been using the time to read and learn something new insha’Allah.

You know how we keep on saying that ‘Don’t judge Islam by people’s behaviour; Islam is perfect but Muslims are not’ and we try to emphasize that the focus should be on its teachings only? I can’t help but say that as much as this is true since Muslims are not perfect  themselves, ultimately it is not always the case in reality. Whether we like it or not, people will judge our religion according to the way we behave and how we treat others unless they are able to separate between the fact and reality. But how many people are able to do just that? Honestly speaking, even I sometimes question if the reason for that person’s behaviour is influenced by their religion. For example when I read about the situation in Syria, I wonder if this is from the teachings of the Alawites. And the same is true about the Buddhist in Myanmar who are killing and ousting our Muslims brothers and sisters from their land.

Why I’m writing about this is that I had an interesting conversation with a sister couple of months back about how we formulate our perception according to our experience with other people. She was brought up in a family that did not have a strong Islamic background so she only started practising Islam when she was studying at the current university that I’m in (which has great emphasis on Islamic studies even if you are not undertaking an Islamic course). When you are an undergraduate, you are required to take some subjects on Islamic studies and you will also be tested on your recitation of the Qur’an (according to what I was told since this doesn’t apply for postgrads). As for the sister, she doesn’t know how to recite Qur’an well enough to pass the test. Her teacher didn’t understand that not everyone was brought up with Islam and as a result she was constantly reprimanded and criticized.

After years of being treated with contempt by her teacher, she developed a strong dislike for religious people because according to her, they look down on those who are not as practising as them. She sounded disgusted when she spoke about these ‘religious people’ because she perceives them as ‘thinking they are better than others’ and for ‘being a hypocrite because they only appear religious but don’t behave like one’. I can only empathise with her and agree that the reason why she feels that way is because of how she was treated in  the first place.

I can also understand because the same happened to me in my madrasah when I was young. An ustadhah we had would always march in our classroom angry and flustered for god-knows-why. She would not only hit us for making a mistake in our Arabic, but called us names like ‘stupid’ and ‘dumb’. She eventually left the madrasah but that created quite an impression on me (she was not the only one who gave me a bad impression btw). Later on in my teenage years, I chose to stay away from religious people because of the perception that they were hypocrites.

What we don’t realize is that as much as we stress on the importance of gaining knowledge, we forget that the same amount of importance should be placed on improving and cultivating our akhlaq. Yes, it is our responsibility as Muslims to learn the finer points of our religion (e.g. understanding fiqh of salaah, fasting) but it is also our duty to study about our Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam who is the best example and strive to emulate him. In Qur’an itself, there are constant reminders in many suraahs on how we should treat one another (e.g. look at Suraah Hujuraat).

We must remember that our relationship is not with Allah SWT alone but with other humans too: ‘Hablum Minallah wa Hablum Minannas’. When we call ourselves Muslims and dress like one, remember that inevitably, there will be some people out there who are not able to differentiate from ‘teachings of religion’ and ‘the followers of religion’. Somehow it is always assumed to have correlation with each other. Our akhlaq is also part of our da’wah to other non-Muslims AND Muslims alike so its important that we watch how we behave and treat others. Don’t be the reason that cause others to reject Islam/have a bad impression on Islam or for other Muslims to run away from us. Be the reason that when others look as us, they are drawn to Islam and its beautiful teachings.

#remindertoself

Updates

Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh! 🙂

How’s everyone in the blogging world doing insha’Allah? Good I hope 🙂

Subhan’Allah I just realised that I have not updated this blog for many weeks! There had been so many things to do lately ya Allah but I had some time to breathe recently lol. So some updates from my side….

1) Abstract for a paper due tomorrow and I have not done much research! 😦 My partner went MIA so I decided to do it alone .. but procrastination got the better of me. If the abstract is accepted (which at this point in time, I can only *dream* of it being accepted), I may have a chance of presenting the paper in Jordan. And all expenses paid for 😉 But it’s 2am and nothing is done!

2) When my parents picked me up last weekend, I decided to keep my niqaab on. They know I’ve been wearing behind their backs (well at least I wasn’t doing anything haraam!), but to see me in niqaab and out with them is something neither of them expected. My dad, masha’Allah, he didn’t say anything but he was smiling when he saw me. My mom, on the other hand, wanted me to remove niqaab but for the two days they were there, she let me keep it on. Once we reached home however, she told me to remove it and I can only wear it abroad. Well to tell you the truth, as much as I was disappointed to hear that from my mom, I’m glad that we are making progress al-Hamdulillah! 🙂 I’m not sure if I had written about this but 5 years ago, to wear proper hijaab (i.e. loose clothing and bigger hijaab) was disapproved by them so much so that it would be a big issue each time we went out.. so to allow me to wear it abroad, we are a step closer to actually keeping niqaab 🙂 May Allah make it easy for them to accept niqaab and keep me firm in wearing it!

3) I wrote some time in January this year that I terribly miss my sisters in Australia.. Part of me felt like, who could possibly replace them because they are such a wonderful bunch of sisters! Allah is Great because I keep meeting sisters who are like seriously firm on the Deen (May He keep them firm!) and very knowledgeable too. One of them is a hafidhaah and she studied tafseer from Al-Azhar University before. Now, masha’Allah she is pursuing her Masters in tafseer too. When she speaks, she quotes from the Qur’an in Arabic and then translates for me. Best of all, I’m amazed by her akhlak and despite her knowledge, she’s very humble. Believe me or not but I met her only once before and after staying at my room over night, I developed this love for the sister like I’ve known her for years. O Allah, you have blessed me with such wonderful sisters in my life who always remind me of You al-Hamdulillah!

4) Honestly, I have so many things I would love to share on this blog but time is really not on my side at the moment. Insha’Allah, I’ll write when I’m free 🙂

5) Ok here’s the best news of all: I’m heading to Medina-Makkah this Sunday! It was really an unexpected decision to do umrah this year. I was actually planning to head back to Australia for a sister’s wedding and hang out with them but my parents decided that ‘hey, let’s do umrah instead!’ so it was a really random decision. I’d rather do Umrah anytime then Aussie lol. To be His guest is not always easy so I would not give up this opportunity to visit His house again. Insha’Allah I’ll be away for 12 days.. Please keep me in your duas that everything goes smoothly! JazakAllah Khayr!

6) Ramadhan is coming prettyyyyy sooon! In a few weeks! 🙂 Everyone prepared/preparing for Ramadhan yet? This year is slightly different for me because I’ll be celebrating Ramadhan back home.  The last time when I fasted Ramadhan in my country, I wasn’t exactly practising so I didn’t appreciate this month much. Al-Hamdulillah I’ve been told that there are frequent qiyaams for sisters by sisters at masjids nowadays. Sisters who have memorized the Qur’an will usually lead the Qiyaam and masha’Allah they have such a lovely recitation! Really looking forward to the eemaan rush! Do any of you have such activities in your masjid?

I got to start cracking my brain on the abstract soon! So what did I miss whilst I was gone.. any updates from you guy? 🙂

Fastabiqul Khairat <3

Assalam alaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

[update] I pray that all of you are in the best of health and eemaan insha’Allah. I haven’t been blogging much lately because subhan’Allah, work seems to be piling up :/ Al-Hamdulillah ala kulli hal! I wanted to apologize too if I take a loooong time to approve and reply to the comments. And also some of the posts have been written weeks ago so I don’t keep track when they are up..

If anyone is wondering why I use this phrase ‘fastabiqul khairat’ [or ‘race to all that is good’] as my blog title, it’s actually a reminder for me from time to time that I should increase in good deeds. Subhan’Allah, I’m impressed when I browse through blogs I find that sisters and brothers out there are doing so much for Islam and yet I’m still lacking farrr behind. There are posts on raising awareness about Islam, clearing misconceptions, reminders … a whole list of them! I would like to tell all of you to keep it up insha’Allah!

Apart from online reminders, we should also find a company of friends who are constantly encouraging us to become better Muslims. If you have friends who are always racing you to do good deeds, you’ll find yourself joining in the race with them! The people we spend most of time with affect our eemaan whether we like it or not so we need to watch who we are friends with. I’m sure some of you can vouch for this..

Subhan’Allah, I unexpectedly became close friends with this sister who is masha’Allah such an eemaan booster to me. She’s in one of my classes and although we sit together sometimes, we rarely speak to each other much except after class but we are always rushing home since it’s already late. Recently, I invited her to have lunch with me .. it was one of those days whereby I was feeling a bit impulsive so when she crossed my mind the night before, I sent her a text message about lunch. Al-Hamdulillah I felt like my eemaan skyrocketed up the roof from that few hours spent with her lol.

I learnt that she prays all her salaah at masjid despite staying quite a distance from masjid. It is of course preferable that a woman prays at home, but at the same time Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam did not forbid the women from going to the masjid because of the rewards one can attain from congregational prayers.  Not everyone is able to do that! She does volunteer work at a few Muslim-based NGOs here and she goes for Islamic classes despite the workload! And there are a whole list of other things which I found out too after doing some ‘digging up’ from her lol.

Bottomline is that: I’m strangely jealous of her good deeds and now I’m finding ways to ‘overtake’ her lol. My dormitory is the closest to the masjid and yet I find it difficult to perform all of my salaah there. But subhan’Allah, just knowing that the sister will be at the masjid has become sort of a motivation for me. She has listened to me whine about school work and her advice has always been reminders taken from Qur’an and Sunnah. There is a saying of Prophet sallallahu alayhi salam (which I plucked from the book called “In the Early Hours”):

The best friend is one who makes you remember Allah when you see him

Also,

Whoever Allah wishes good for, He will grant him a righteous friend who will remind him if he forgets and aids him if he remembers

The writer also mentioned something beautiful:

And the Qur’an says: “Bind yourself upon those who call upon Allah morning and evening” [Al-Kahf: 18: 27-28]. As soon as you see the seed of iman planted in your heart and you recognise it in someone else’s and you find that he agrees with you,  you will feel ten times stronger. Social scientist have also discovered that group life is one of the most powerful forces to stimulate and improve human being

 Ya Rabb, I am truly blessed for all the righteous sisters I’ve met for the past few months ever since I came here al-Hamdulillah. There had been some really amazing sisters, apart from the sister mentioned above, who are equally as inspiring. I’m excited to meet more of them insha’Allah.

May all of us be blessed with the best companions who will be of benefit to us in this Dunya and Aakhirah!