December 31, 2009

Moderation is the Key

The Prophet (salAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'aala) has not created a sickness, but that He (Subhanahu wa Ta'aala) has created a cure for it - except for old age. So drink the milk of cows, because they eat from all sorts of plants"
[Recorded by an-Nasa'i, al-Hakim and others. Verified to be authentic by al-Albani, may Allah have mercy on him, in as-Sahihah and Sahih ul-Jaami]

In another hadith, the Prophet (salAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "Raise cows, because their milk is a cure (from disease) and their butter is a medication. Their meat, however, is (a cause of) illness"
[Recorded by Ibn us-Sunni, Abu Nu'aym and al-Hakim. Verified to be authentic by al-Albani, may Allah have mercy on him, in as-Sahihah]

I came across these ahadith a few days back and I decided to do some research to see whether what the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told us so long ago, has been 'scientifically proven' by the medical professionals. Subhan Allah the wisdom and knowledge of our beloved Prophet (PBUH) was well ahead of that of the learned of our times.

I'd like to point out that the hadith doesn't necessarily say that red meat is haraam but instead reminds us to be cautious of our consumption of this type of meat. We all know the health benefits of red meat, especially now since it's been stressed on so much but what we tend to overlook is - moderation!

Excessive consumption of red meat can result in clogged arteries, boost blood pressure, and allow cancer cells to sneak past the bodies own self defense mechanism. Diets high in red meat are known to shorten life span & lead to diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, ulcers, pneumonia, influenza, liver disease, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and more.

Look after yourselves, follow a nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle and make the most of what you've been blessed with. Good health is a blessing from Allah, don't take it for granted.

December 30, 2009


At one of the Al-Kauthar courses I recently attended the Sheikh mentioned that Allah has given us knowledge about the lives of the Prophets and Messengers of the past for a reason. We're not meant to just read it as a bedtime story to entertain ourselves but instead need to extract possible wisdoms and lessons from it. We need to use their life experiences to enhance our own. The more you read and ponder the more you will learn. Knowledge is a bottomless pit, you can never fill it to the brim.

We all know that Allah created mankind from clay. Ibn Katheer in his book (Stories of the Prophets) says:

"Allah choose clay which has the qualities of calmness, clemency, perseverance and growth."

The possible wisdom I extract from this piece of information is pretty apparent. Allah gave us freedom of will to the extent that we can refuse Allah's command. He grants us the freedom of denial, disobedience, and even disagreement with Him. His Kindgom will not diminish if the disbelievers do not believe in Him nor will it be extended if many people believe in Him. The disbelievers will lose and the believers will gain but Allah is above all of that. By choosing to reflect the qualities of clay in our demeanor we will be able to attain success both in worldly affairs and in matters concerning our deen.

Ibn Katheer also says:

"Allah created Iblis from fire which has the qualities of heedlessness, insignificance, haste and incineration. "

Iblis is arrogant, vain, disobedient and an outcast. He has been humiliated and disgraced and yet he is cunning and shows ingratitude. He is our eternal enemy. Man is hasty. When Allah blew the soul into Adam (AS) and he felt the pangs of hunger in his abdomen, he sprinted towards the fruits of paradise even before the soul had reached his legs. This is how we have been created. But that doesn't mean we do not have the will to persevere to change this within us. By succumbing to the whispering of Iblis we become nothing but reflections of him.

Everyone bears the consequences of their deeds. Allah knows the outcome of events before it happens but he does not force things to happen. He has granted free will to mankind and it's up to us whether we want to obey Allah and work towards attaining paradise or disobey Allah and become dwellers of the hellfire, like Shaitaan.

The choice is ours.

June 23, 2009

Answer to Your Supplication is Delayed for a Reason‏

There is an interesting situation that confuses many: the believer who is affliced with a calamity, and who then invokes Allah constantly, yet sees no signs of an answer to his prayers. Then when he comes near to the point of hopelessness, the true worth of his heart is found out. If he is pleased with what Allah (swt) has decreed for him, without losing hope of Allah's Favor, then in most situations it is at this point that such a person's supplications are answered, answered because his test is over: his faith has shined through and the Devil has been defeated. So it is at the time of near hopelessness that the worth of man is judged. This meaning is alluded to in the saying of Allah:
"Or think that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger (pbuh) and those who believed along with him said:"When (will come) the Help of Allah?" Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!" (Qur'an 2:214)
After Ya'qub (as) lost his son, much time elapsed, yet he never lost hope of relief. Instead of relief, another of his sons was then taken away, and even then he did not lose hope of Allah's Favor and Mercy:
"So patience is most fitting (for me). It may be that Allah will bring them all (back) to me, Truly He! Only He is All-Knowing All Wise". (Qur'an 12:83)
And similar were the words and sentiments of Zakariyyah (as):
"And I have never been unblest in my invocation to You, O my Lord!" (Qur'an 19:4)
Never, therefore, should one feel that too much time has passed by without his supplication being answered. One should realize that, whenever one is tested with hardship, one's mettle and faith are being tested. To pass such a test, one muct drive away the whispers of the Devil and then turn for help to the Most-Merciful, the Most-Generous the Most-Wise.
- Gems and Jewels, by Abdul Malik Mujahid.

June 17, 2009

Dealing with 'Attention Seeking Behavior'

Attention seeking behavior is often also about power. When your child engages in such kind of behavior, they are also implying that they, in that particular situation, have power in their hands, and there is little you can do about it.

Simply changing your reaction to such behavior can help nip it in the bud and also show them that you are in charge. Instead of giving them what they want, i.e. attention, minimising your reaction will get results.

Whenever possible, distract yourself and your child with another activity or simply walk away and let them deal with the consequences of their behavior.

In some situations, not intervening and letting the third party involved (in cases where they are in someone else's territory or comfort zone) deal with the situation themselves can work. Most of us often believe that we are always responsible for our childrens behavior and it is a reflection of our parenting. When your child is old enough to understand the consequences of his/her actions, it often doesn't require any intervention. The lesser attention you give, the easier it is to get them back on track.

For more tips go to

June 02, 2009

Profound Saying of Ibn Qayyim (r)

Ibn Qayyim (r) said: "When the slave wakes up as the night encloses upon him and his only concern is Allah and how to please and obey Him, then Allah takes upon Him to fulfill all of his needs and remove from him all that causes him anxiety. Allah also makes his heart free to love Him only, his tongue free to remember Him only and his body free to serve Him only.

However, when a slave of Allah wakes up when the night encloses upon him and his main concern is the world, Allah will make him bear the burdens of it's anxiety, grief and hardships. Allah will entrust him to his own self and He will make his heart busy, stealing from it His love since it will be preoccupied with love for creation. Allah will keep his tongue from His remembrance because it will be engaged with His creation; his body will be kept from obedience since it will be enslaved by its desires and services. And he will toil like a beast of burden toils in the service of another. And all who turn away from the worship, obedience and love of Allah, will be put into trial with the worship, service and love for creation."

Allah (the Exalted) says:

"And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) fromt he remembrance of the Most Gracious (Allah) (i.e. this Qur'an and worship of Allah), we appoint for him Shaitan to be a Qarin (an intimate companion) to him. (Qur'an 43:36)

Ibn Qayyim continues to say: "Seek out your heart in three situations:
-When you are listening to the Qur'an
-When you are part of a gathering of remembrance
-When you are alone and away from the world and it's distractions.

If you cannot find your heart in these three situations, then ask Allah to bestow upon you a heart, for indeed you are bereft of one."

The Seven Foundations

The life of a Muslim must stand on seven foundations:

1. Adherence to Allah's Book

2. Following the way of Allah's Messenger (pbuh)

3. Eating that which is lawful

4. Refraining from harming others

5. Staying away from sins

6. Repenting frequently &

7. Fulfilling the rights of others.

June 01, 2009

The Most Difficult Deeds

Ali (ra) said: "Amongs deeds, there are four that are most difficult to adorn oneself with:

1. Forgiveness when angry

2. Generosity in hard times

3. Chastity when alone &

4. Speaking the truth to the one that fears it. "

Death - Are You Prepared?

Hasan (ra) said, "No day passes without the Angel of Death looking upon people's faces, studying them five times, and those he finds engaged in merriment or committing sins, he exclaims dissapprovingly: "Poor, pitiable slave who is heedless of what is intended for him (death). Do as you please, for indeed I have for you a wink (of the eye) by which I will cut off your aorta."

May 29, 2009

The Many Guises of Backbiting

Ibn Taimiyyah (r) said that there are those from the people that backbite or listen to backbiting, and they do so to please the company they keep, with the awareness that the victim is likely to be innocent of some of the things that are uttered about him. Often such offenders feel that if they were to attempt to end such conversation in a gathering, their presence might become unwelcome or burdensome.

There are many methods and guises that are employed when one mentions another in a negative way.

- Under the pretense of being informative. one could say that it is not one's habit to mention others, except for the sake of relating another's condition to someone.

- Or one could state that by Allah, indeed so and so is one to be pitied thereby showing superiority over one who is to be rejected.

- Another method might be to say that so and so is a good person, however he has such and such qualities, thereby justifying himself in revealing another's faults.

- One could also simply state that we should forget so and so, and make supplication for their forgiveness as well as our own, intending only to belittle the one that was mentioned.

- There are those who backbite to raise their own status. When they hear of someone's error, they employ words like, "Had I not prayed for so and so last night in my prayer, the news of their sin would not have reached my ears."

- When a person states of another that he lacks understanding in a matter, the implication is personal superiority for the one that mentions the other's shortcoming.

- There are those that couple jealousy with backbiting - the act of being critical or belittling to those that are praised in the company of others.

- Some people also backbite for the sake of humour, playfullness and lightheartedness. A person finds a certain amount of satisfaction from being appreciated for his story-telling abilities; speaking ill of some one in a humorous fashion adds flavour to a tale.

- Some engage in backbiting by showing surprise and amazement at another's actions: "How is it that someone could do such a thing?" Yet others mention people and their actions with the pretense of sympathy for their actions or misfortunes. In reality, the one who backbites actually finds contentment and satisfaction at the mention of others and their misdeeds.

- Another form is relating someone's misfortune to their enemies, so that they too may find pleasure in putting them down.

In reality all these tactics are designed to try to deceive Allah and to please the creation, and in reality, the many that follow these methods only serve to deceive themselves.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "A man might speak a word without thinking about its implications, but because of it, he will plunge into the Hellfire further than the distance between the east and west." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6477) and Sahîh Muslim (2988)]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever can guarantee to me what is between his two lips and what is between his two legs, I can guarantee for him Paradise." [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6474)]

Al-Hasan al-Basrî said: "Backbiting has three manifestations, all of which are discussed in Allah’s Book. They are: backbiting, tale-telling, and slander. As for backbiting, it is to say about your brother something that is true about him. Tale-telling is to say something that you have heard about him. Slander is to say about him what is not true."

Allah says: "O you who believe! Shun much suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would abhor that. And keep your duty (to Allah). Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful." [Sûrah al-Hujurât: 12]

Allah says: "O you who believe! Let not some men among you deride others who may be better than they (are), nor let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Evil is a bad name after faith." [Sûrah al-Hujurât: 11]

Allah says: "Woe to every sneering defamer." [Sûrah Humazah: 1]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "One of the greatest of the major sins is to stretch out one’s tongue without right against the honor of a Muslim." [Sunan Abî Dâwûd (4877)]

Backbiting pertains to a disease of the heart. May Allah save us from this most evil of actions and protect us from it's temptations. Ameen!
Page 51; Gems and Jewels, compiled by Abdul Malik Mujahid, Darussalam.

Sound Advice

Advice of Jundub (ra)
- I advise you to fear Allah.
- I advise you to adhere to the Qur'an - for it is light in the darkest of nights and it is guidance during the day.
- Apply it, but if a trial such as poverty comes to you, give precedence to your religion over wealth.
- If the trial worsens, continue to put your religion before your wealth and your soul, for indeed the only one who is destroyed is the one whose religion is destroyed. The one who is poor is the one who has lost his religion.
- Know that there is no poverty after Paradise and there is no riches after the Hellfire.
Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra) said: "I advise you with five:
- None of you should hope except from His Lord and none of you should fear except his sin.
- None should be shy (when faced with a question) to reply humbly with "I do not know."
- And none should hesitate to acquaint themselves with the matter that they are ignorant about
- One should know that the patience to Iman is like the head to a body; if the head is cut off, the body perishes as well.
- Whoever desires richness without having wealth and abundance and without having a large clan, then let him turn from the depravity of sin to the honor of serving Allah."
Fudail bin 'Iyad said: "If you are not able to fast or pray, then know that you are shackled and confined by your sins." Allah (the Exalted) says:
"Yes! Whosoever earns evil and his sin has surrounded him, they are dwellers of the Fire (i.e. Hell); they will dwell therein forever." (Qur'an 2:81)
Ibn Mubarak said: "I saw that sins cause hearts to die, that base actions lead to their addiction, that avoiding sins is life for the heart, and that it is better for your soul for you to disobey it."
Hasan Basri advised some of his students admonishing them about avoiding the state of being proud. He said:
1. Do not deceive yourself into becoming too proud because you are in a good or righteous environment, for there is no place that is better than Paradise, and our father, Adam (as), experienced there what is known to all.
2. Do not become proud merely because you worship often, for consider what happened to Iblis (satan) after he spent a great deal of time worshipping.
3. Do not think yourself great because you have met with righteous people, for there is no man more righteous than the Prophet (pbuh), yet the disbelievers and hypocrites did not benefit by simply knowing him.
Luqman (as) said: "If you are in prayer, take care of your heart; if you are eating, take care of your throat, if you are in another man's house, take care of your eyes; if you are among people, take care of your tongue. Remember two matters and forget two matters: Remember Allah & death; forget any good that you have done to another and any evil that was done to you by another."

The Slander Incident

All of us are aware of the slander incident that took place during the time of the Prophet [pbuh] involving his wife, Aishah (ra). While I was reading about this a few days back, four main point stood out to me:
1. The manner in which the Prophet [pbuh] handled the situation. He did not succumb to heresay but instead sought Allah's help and said to her, "If you are innocent, Allah will acquit you, otherwise, you have to beg for His forgiveness and pardon."
2. Aishah (ra)'s response to these words, "Should I tell you I am innocent, and Allah knows that I am surely innocent, you will not believe me; and if I were to admit something of which, Allah knows, I am innocent, you will believe me; so there is nothing for me and you except the words of the father of Prophet Yusuf: "So (for me) patience is most fitting. And it is Allah (alone) Whose Help can be sought against that which you assert" [Qur'an 12:18]
3. The revelation of Allah coming down at the decisive moment acquitting Aishah (ra) of all the slanderous talk fabricated in this concern. "Verily! Those who brought forth the slander (against Aishah (ra) - the wife of the Prophet [pbuh] are a group among you." [24:11]
4. The principal elements involved in the slander affair, Mistah bin Athatha, Hassan bin Thabit and Hamnah bint Jahsh, were flogged with eighty stripes. As for the man who took the principal part, ‘Abdullah bin Ubai, he was not flogged, either because the corporal punishment commutes the chastisement in store for him in the Hereafter, and he does not deserve this merit, or for the same public interest for which he was not killed previously. He, moreover, became the butt of reproach and humiliation amongst his people after his real intentions had been unequivocally exposed to all the public. [Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/364,2/696-698; Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/113-115; Ibn Hisham 2/297-307]

Almost a month later, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] and ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab were engaged in the following talk: "Don’t you see ‘Umar if I had had him (Abdullah bin Ubai) killed, a large number of dignitaries would have furiously hastened to fight for him. Now, on the contrary, if I ask them to kill him, they will do so out of their own free will." ‘Umar replied "I swear by Allâh that the Prophet’s judgement is much more sound than mine." [Ibn Hisham 2/293]
Subhan Allah! The Prophet [pbuh] truly was a blessing from Allah (swt) to mankind. There is no problem in our life that we are faced with, except that there are examples from the Sunnah on how we are meant to respond to it.

Always Forgive Your Enemies, Nothing Annoys Them More

I've often come across this saying and always wondered what it truly meant. It's not easy to forget and forgive some one who has wronged you. It's human nature to feel anger towards some one who has caused you harm, either physically or emotionally or both.
We've been sent unto this Earth as a test from Allah (swt). Our every breath and every action should be done for the sake of Allah (swt) and to please Him. We have been created for the purpose of being a sincere slave to Him alone, and to worship Him in a manner best known to us. Everything else that follows is just a mere means of 'existence' to help us pass through this phase of our lives, yearning for a better life in the hereafter. Allah (swt) sent down the Prophet (pbuh) as a example for us to follow. The Prophet (pbuh) taught us how to implement the teachings of Islam and make it our way of life.
If you read about the life of the Prophet and how he handled different situations he was put in, there is so much we can learn. I'd like to share with you one of the many incidents that have touched my heart and have left a profound impact on my mind.
"In Shawwal, ten years after receiving his mission from his Lord, the Prophet [pbuh] set out towards At-Ta’if, about 60 kilometres from Makkah, in the company of his freed slave Zaid bin Haritha inviting people to Islam. But contrary to his expectations, the general atmosphere was terribly hostile. He approached the family of ‘Umair, who were reckoned amongst the nobility of the town. But, to his disappointment, all of them turned deaf ear to his message and used abusive language as regards the noble cause he had been striving for. Three brothers from the chieftains of Thaqeef —‘Abd Yaleel, Mas‘ud and Habeeb — sons of ‘Amr bin ‘Umair Ath-Thaqafy met the Prophet [pbuh], who invited them to embrace Islam and worship Allâh, but they impudently jeered at him and refused his invitation. "He is tearing the cloths of Al-Ka‘bah; is it true that Allâh has sent you as a Messenger?" said one of them. "Has not Allâh found someone else to entrust him with His Message?" said the second. "I swear by Allâh that I will never have any contact with you. If you are really the Messenger of Allâh, then you are too serious to retort back; and if you are belying Allâh, then I feel it is imperative not to speak to." said the third. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], finding that they were hopeless cases, stood up and left them saying: "Should you indulge in these practices of yours, never divulge them to me."

For ten days he stayed there delivering his message to several people, one after another, but all to no purpose. Stirred up to hasten the departure of the unwelcome visitor, the people hooted him through the alley-ways, pelted him with stones and obliged him to flee from the city pursued by a relentless rabble. Blood flowed down both his legs; and Zaid, endeavouring to shield him, was wounded in the head. The mob did not desist until they had chased him two or three miles across the sandy plains to the foot of the surrounding hills. There, wearied and exhausted, he took refuge in one of the numerous orchards, and rested against the wall of a vineyard. At a time when the whole world seemed to have turned against him, Muhammad [pbuh] turned to his Lord and betook himself to prayer and the following touching words are still preserved as those through which his oppressed soul gave vent to its distress. He was weary and wounded but confident of the help of his Lord:

"O Allâh! To You alone I make complaint of my helplessness, the paucity of my resources and my insignificance before mankind. You are the most Merciful of the mercifuls. You are the Lord of the helpless and the weak, O Lord of mine! Into whose hands would You abandon me: into the hands of an unsympathetic distant relative who would sullenly frown at me, or to the enemy who has been given control over my affairs? But if Your wrath does not fall on me, there is nothing for me to worry about."

"I seek protection in the light of Your Countenance, which illuminates the heavens and dispels darkness, and which controls all affairs in this world as well as in the Hereafter. May it never be that I should incur Your wrath, or that You should be wrathful to me. And there is no power nor resource, but Yours alone."

Seeing him in this helpless situation, Rabi‘a’s two sons, wealthy Makkans, were moved on grounds of kinship and compassion, and sent to him one of their Christian servants with a tray of grapes. The Prophet [pbuh] accepted the fruit with pious invocation: "In the Name of the Allâh." The Christian servant ‘Addas was greatly impressed by these words and said: "These are words which people in this land do not generally use." The Prophet [pbuh] inquired of him whence he came and what religion he professed. ‘Addas replied: "I am a Christian by faith and come from Nineveh." The Prophet [pbuh] then said: "You belong to the city of the righteous Jonah, son of Matta." ‘Addas asked him anxiously if he knew anything about Jonah. The Prophet [pbuh] significantly remarked: "He is my brother. He was a Prophet and so am I." Thereupon ‘Addas paid homage to Muhammad [pbuh] and kissed his hands. His masters admonished him at this act but he replied: "None on the earth is better than he is. He has revealed to me a truth which only a Prophet can do." They again reprimanded him and said: "We forewarn you against the consequences of abandoning the faith of your forefathers. The religion which you profess is far better than the one you feel inclined to."

Heart-broken and depressed, Muhammad [pbuh] set out on the way back to Makkah. When he reached Qarn Al-Manazil, Allâh, the Almighty sent him Gabriel together with the angel of mountains. The latter asked the Prophet [pbuh] for permission to bury Makkah between Al–Akhshabain —Abu Qubais and Qu‘ayqa‘an mountains. Full narration of this event was given by ‘Aishah [R] (the Prophet’s spouse). She said: "I asked the Prophet [pbuh] if he had ever experienced a worse day than Uhud. He answered that he had suffered a lot from those people (the idolaters) but the most painful was on the day of ‘Aqabah. I went seeking support from Ibn ‘Abd Yalil bin ‘Abd Kalal, but he spurned me. I set out wearied and grieved heedless of anything around me until I suddenly realized I was in Qarn Ath-Tha‘alib, called Qarn Al-Manazil. There, I looked up and saw a cloud casting its shade on me, and Gabriel addressing me: Allâh has heard your people’s words and sent you the angel of mountains to your aid. The latter called and gave me his greetings and asked for my permission to bury Makkah between Al-Akhshabain, the two mountains flanking Makkah. I said in reply that I would rather have someone from their loins who will worship Allâh, the All–Mighty with no associate." A concise meaningful answer fully indicative of the Prophet’s matchless character and the fathomless magnanimous manners. [Bukhari 1/458; Muslim 2/109]
(Taken from Ar Raheequl Makhtum; The Sealed Nectar, Biography of the Prophet [pbuh])
Subhan Allah! How many of us can say that if put in a similar situation we will exhibit the same amount of patience and trust in Allah (swt)? How many of us, despite being abused so much can make sincere dua to Allah (swt) to bless the offsprings of the wrong doers and bless them with the guidance of Islam?
There is so much we can learn and so much more we need to do to be the type of Muslims our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) wanted us to be.
Have patience and trust Allah (swt) alone, and He will surely set your affairs in order. Forgive your enemies, for they know not, and a greater reward is in store for you in the hereafter, which is better for you than the rewards in this life.

March 12, 2009

Thought Processing…

Last night after much contemplation I decided to do what I usually wouldn’t. Many a times opportunities such as these have arisen in the past but I never mustered the courage to actually be a part of it all. But this time I told myself that things will be different and unless I let myself experience it I won’t be able to say whether it was a good or bad idea. It might sound like what I did was some mammoth task and when I do reveal what it was it might seem trivial to some of you but the fact that I haven’t been the type of person who is known to do something like this, makes it a big deal – at least for me!

I attended a ladies only dinner organized by the members of a forum I frequent and even though I spoke regularly with many of the lovely girls in cyber space, it was the first time I actually ‘met’ them in person. It was a great event and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was always nervous about going to such gatherings because there’s always the slight fear of whether you will ‘click’ as easily in real life as you do online. And let’s face it we tend to come out of our shells much quicker and easier when we’re sitting in the comfort of our home as opposed to having a face to face conversation with someone.

I think given the circumstances, I did pretty well - if I should say so myself! I even surprised myself a few times by cracking a few jokes (which actually made people laugh!) and also by initiating conversations, something I rarely do at a first meeting with someone. People who’ve known me for a while would find this absurd, because I can be quite a chatter-box but when it comes to treading on unfamiliar territory, I do have my initial reservations.

Getting together with like minded and similar aged people makes such a huge difference to the usual monotone life us moms tend to lead. We are so engrossed in our children and the whole job of making sure everything is running smoothly we let ourselves take a back seat. My brain is in dire need of some stimulation! Sitting down at that table last night and enjoying a warm meal without any interruptions felt amazing. It’s funny how we take so many things for granted but when we become parents we learn to be ever grateful for those little things that didn’t really matter in the past.

I sometimes miss the days when I led a carefree life, not thinking about anything or anyone else but myself. Every stage of our life we go through leaves us yearning for what we’ve left behind but what I’ve learnt is that instead of cribbing over what we don’t have it’s best to close that chapter on a happy note and move on and try to find contentment in what we have in this point in time. Yes being single was fun, but having a soul mate & being able to experience motherhood is a blessing from above and I wouldn't trade it for anything else.

This outing for me was like a breath of fresh air. Going away for those couple of hours and indulging in something I truly missed was sheer bliss. At one point I just sat there looking around the room and watched everyone indulge in conversation and the whole atmosphere felt so light and rejuvenating. When I got back home last night, I had renewed energy and the ‘oh! so boring’ routine didn’t seem so boring anymore. I was able to look at things in a different light and appreciate what I’ve been blessed with. Sometimes it so happens that you get engulfed by what you do day in and out it begins to feel burdensome. Little time-outs such as these help you refresh your mind & makes things seem so much better than before!

I thank Allah for everything he has bestowed upon me and ask Him for forgiveness for whining about the things that I should be grateful for. I thank Him alone for giving me this opportunity to re-assess my thoughts and helping me in bringing back the happiness and fulfillment I found in the little things I achieve everyday.

February 18, 2009

Toddler Rules of Possession

1. If I like it, it's mine.
2. If it's in my hand, it's mine.

3. If I can take it from you, it's mine.

4. If I had it a little while ago, it's mine.

5. If it's mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours in anyway.

6. If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.

7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.

8. If I saw it first, it's mine.

9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically
becomes mine.

10. If it's broken, it's yours.

(This was posted on the board in my child's kindergarten)

February 12, 2009

My Baby is Growing up!

Today was day two of Kindergarten for my first born. After I sent her off this morning I couldn’t help but reminiscence about the past and how she has grown over the years. In the blink of an eye she has transformed from an infant to a confident little girl who is eager to learn new things and explore the world around her. She is ready to spread out her wings and fly away from the secure nest I had created for her. It’s hard to let go, harder for me than it is for her. She seems ready for it but I can’t believe that the time has come when she is not my baby anymore. She is an individual with changing needs and I as a parent need to accommodate for her and help her reach her full potential & even beyond. Soon she will learn to read and write and develop this whole new world with friends of her own. There will be much more on her mind than telly-tubbies and playdough and she will be faced with challenges big and small. The big wide world out there is waiting to engulf her and make her a part of the rat race and strip her of her innocence.

When I went to pick her up I was excited to see her again and couldn’t wait to bring her back home. Those few hours I spent away from her, all I could do was think about her. When I walked through the door to where she was, my eyes yearned to see her face again. There she was sitting patiently waiting for mummy to come get her. The minute she saw me her eyes lit up and she ran towards me and gave me the biggest hug ever and then proceeded to give me the wettest kiss ever! I was so overwhelmed, I just stood there and soaked it all in.

This is just the beginning, but to see my darling get past her first big milestone gives me immense happiness. I am ever grateful to Allah to have blessed me with two beautiful children and to have given me the opportunity to experience these many facets of parenthood. We are both embarked on a journey that is so unique and exhilarating. It’s one of those things that you would want to do over and over again and no matter how much you do it, it will not satisfy you and there is always going to be a lifelong yearning to relive these moments of sheer bliss.

The Victorian Bush Fires

All of us are now well aware of the Victorian Bush fires that have claimed so many lives and destroyed hundreds of homes and wiped out complete towns and communities. So many are mourning the loss of their loved ones and their life long possessions.

It's amazing to see how the community at large has gathered together to help those struck by this natural disaster and everyone is offering their support by all means possible and helping to make a difference and assisting the people in putting their lives back together.

I was browsing through one of the news websites and the title that caught my eye was how the Australian Jewish community was doing their bit in providing aid to the victims of the bush fires. What I cannot comprehend is, why can't we as Muslims also make an effort and do our bit.? Don't you think we should participate actively and get the word out that that we too as a minority care about the welfare of these people, and use it as a means of mass dawah? Why can't our masajids organise fundraisers and offer to be drop off points for donations or even offer refuge to the victims? Is it that hard to go out there and provide consolation to those grieving the loss of their loved ones?

We have always been portrayed by the media to be among those who are hermits and do not 'integrate' and mingle with the common man. Islam is a religion of peace and spreading the word of Allah and calling people to Islam should be of utmost importance to us. Making use of such opportunities can help us refute the allegations that have been made against us by the media.

Has it ever occured to you that there could have been Muslims among those who have lost their lives and homes? The Jewish community has records of all the Jews in the area and are doing their bit in locating them and making sure they are all safe. Do we have something similar in place? If there have been Muslims who have lost their lives, it is our duty to make sure they are buried accordingly and to offer prayers for them.

We need to wake up and stop being aloof to the happenings around us. Take an active part. Go out there and volunteer to offer your support. Make yourself known as a caring, kind and considerate MUSLIM. Do it for Allah's sake and for the sake of humanity.

February 09, 2009

Tag Post: 100 Things

I nicked this idea off sis Nicola's blog. Listed below are "100 Things". The ones in blue are the things I've tried and the rest are those I haven’t.

# 2, 4 -7, 12, 24, 26, 30, 32, 33, 48, 62, 64, 68 & 78 are the things I’d like to do some day, insha’Allah.

100 Things

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumping
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted/Sponsored a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favourite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Qur’an
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

I won’t tag anyone in particular. Whoever wants to join in can do so. Just leave a comment once you’re done.

February 04, 2009

The Destroyer of Delights

Last night while I lay in bed, finding it hard to fall asleep I was thinking about life after death and about our time in our graves. SubhanAllah the darkness and silence of the night reminded me of the atmosphere in our grave and it sent shivers down my spine. We are so engulfed in this dunya and everything it contains we fail to realise that death is lurking over us and we can be here one minute and gone the next. Are we prepared to face our Lord? Are we making enough dua to Allah swt to protect us from the torments of the grave?

It was narrated that Haani’ the freed slave of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan said:

When ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan stood by a grave he would weep until his beard became wet. It was said to him, “You remember Paradise and Hell and you do not weep, but you weep because of this?” He said, “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The grave is the first of the stages of the Hereafter; whoever is saved from it, whatever comes afterwards will be easier for him, but if he is not saved from it, what comes afterwards will be worse for him.’” And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have never seen any scene but the grave is more frightening than it.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2308; Ibn Maajah, 4567; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1684).

The first thing that will happen after being lowered in our grave and when our loved ones depart is the questioning by the angels. This is explained in the following hadith:

It was narrated that al-Bara’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: We went out with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) for the funeral of a man from among the Ansaar. We came to the grave and when (the deceased) was placed in the lahd, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sat down and we sat around him, as if there were birds on our heads (i.e., quiet and still). In his hand he had a stick with which he was scratching the ground. Then he raised his head and said, “Seek refuge with Allaah from the torment of the grave”, two or three times. Then he said, “When the believing slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with white faces like the sun, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. They bring with them shrouds from Paradise and perfumes from Paradise. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O good soul, come forth to forgiveness from Allaah and His pleasure.’ Then it comes out easily like a drop of water from the the mouth of a waterskin. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that shroud with that perfume, and there comes from it a fragrance like the finest musk on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this good soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the best names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is opened, and (the soul) is welcomed and accompanied to the next heaven by those who are closest to Allaah, until they reach the seventh heaven. Then Allaah says: ‘Record the book of My slave in ‘Illiyoon in the seventh heaven, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it I will bring them forth once again.’ So his soul is returned to his body and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Allaah.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘My religion is Islam.’ They say, ‘Who is this man who was sent among you?’ He says, ‘He is the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ They say, ‘What did you do?’ He says, ‘I read the Book of Allaah and I believed in it.’ Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘My slave has spoken the truth, so prepare for him a bed from Paradise and clothe him from Paradise, and open for him a gate to Paradise.’ Then there comes to him some of its fragrance, and his grave is made wide, as far as he can see. Then there comes to him a man with a handsome face and handsome clothes, and a good fragrance, who says, ‘Receive the glad tidings that will bring you joy this day.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which brings glad tidings.’ He says, ‘I am your righteous deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, hasten the Hour so that I may return to my family and my wealth.’ But when the disbelieving slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with black faces, bringing sackcloth, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O evil soul, come forth to the wrath of Allaah and His anger.’ Then his soul disperses inside his body, then comes out cutting the veins and nerves, like a skewer passing through wet wool. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that sackcloth, and there comes from it a stench like the foulest stench of a dead body on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this evil soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the worst names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is not opened.” Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited (interpretation of the meaning):

“for them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle” [al-A’raaf 7:40]

He said: “Then Allaah says, ‘Record the book of My slave in Sijjeen in the lowest earth, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it I will bring them forth once again.’ So his soul is cast down.” Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited the verse (interpretation of the meaning):

“And whoever assigns partners to Allaah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place” [al-Hajj 22:31]

He said: “Then his soul is returned to his body, and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘Prepare for him a bed from Hell and clothe him from Hell, and open for him a gate to Hell.’ Then there comes to him some of its heat and hot winds, and his grave is constricted and compresses him until his ribs interlock. Then there comes to him a man with an ugly face and ugly clothes, and a foul stench, who says, ‘Receive the bad news, this is the day that you were promised.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which forebodes evil.’ He says, ‘I am your evil deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, do not let the Hour come, do not let the Hour come.’”

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4753; Ahmad, 18063. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1676.

Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-kasali wa’l-haram wa’l-maghram wa’l-ma’tham. Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min ‘adhaab al-naar wa fitnat il-naar, wa fitnat il-qabri, wa ‘adhaab il-qabri, wa sharri fitnat il-ghina wa sharri fitnat il-faqair wa min sharri fitnat il-maseeh il-Dajjaal. Allaahumma ighsil khataayaaya bi ma’ al-thalji wa’l-baradi wa naqqi qalbi min al-khataaya kama yunaqqa al-thawb al-abyad min al-danas, wa baa’id bayni wa bayna khataayaaya kama baa’adta bayna al-mashriqi wa’l-maghrib.

O Allah! I seek refuge with You from laziness and old age, and from debts and sins; from the torment of the Fire and from the tribulation of the Fire, and from the tribulation of the grave and the torment of the grave, and from the evil of the tribulation of wealth, and from the evil of the tribulation of poverty, and from the evil of the tribulation of the Dajjaal (Antichrist). O Allah! Wash away my sins with the water of snow and hail, and cleanse my heart from sin as a white garment is cleansed from filth, and put a great distance between me and my sins, as great as the distance You have made between the East and the West).”

Taken from:

February 02, 2009

Beloved Nabi - May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him

On Friday I was delighted to be able to attend a couple of lectures by our beloved Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury (May Allah preserve him, Ameen.) I am so glad I went, it was very uplifting and I learnt so much. Alhamdulilah!

He mentioned a hadith I hadn't come across earlier and it made me feel so proud to be a Muslim and to have a Prophet as dear as Muhammad (pbuh). There truly is so much we can learn from his way of life . His character was one of complete himility and based on sincere trust and submission to Allah (swt). He was a model of kindness and humbleness. I'd love to share this hadith with you all:

On the day of Khaibar, about twenty women accompanied the army. The Prophet (pbuh) found a young girl walking among the ranks so he called to her because she was too young to be by herself. He took her behind him on his camel. The companions said that when he wanted to rest, he got off the camel first, brought the camel down, then he took the young girl’s hand and helped her to the ground. When the battle was over and the Muslims won, the Prophet (pbuh) was dividing the booty while his eyes were searching for the girl. He found her and asked her to approach. When she came, he got a necklace from the booty and gave it to her insisting to put it round her neck himself. That girl, after she grew up, used to say, "By Allah, the necklace has never left my neck from that day and I asked that it be buried with me so that if I meet the Prophet on the Day of Judgment I will come to him with the necklace around my neck and I will tell him, 'Here is the necklace, O Prophet of Allah, remember the necklace!'"

Here are some verses from the Noble Qur'an that speak about the Prophet (pbuh)'s exemplary character:

Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad pbuh) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much. (33:21)

And verily, you (O Muhammad pbuh) are on an exalted standard of character. (68:4)

That this is verily the word of an honoured Messenger [i.e. Jibrael (Gabriel) or Muhammad SAW which he has brought from Allah].(69:40)

January 28, 2009

Beat the Heat

Melbourne is experiencing it's hottest days in 100 years and all that is on my mind right now is the heat. SubhanAllah, I'm very bad at coping in hot weather, which is kind of surprising given that I spent most of my childhood in Saudi Arabia. I guess the laid back lifestyle there makes it easier to get by.

It has been forecasted to be over 40 degrees for four consecutive days with today being our first. Alhamdulilah, I'm glad I can stay home in this sweltering heat but my heart goes out to those who have to actually get out of their homes and go to work. We've had a relatively easy start to summer, but looks like now it's making up for the mild days that went by. Alhamdulilah, atleast we got to go out and do some summer activities, and I'm hoping after this scorcher of a week we have some respite and I can venture out again with the kids and get a breath of fresh air, inshaAllah.

So before I start whinging all over again about how hot it is, maybe it's a good idea to list the good things about summer to lift up my spirits.
  • More daylight, which means more time to stay outdoors
  • Lots of reasons to dig into a bowl of ice-cream (low fat perhaps)
  • On days when you feel fat you can resort to some yummy smoothies. Add whatever you like - strawberries, blueberries, yoghurt, store bought vanilla custard (Yep, Try it!), mangoes and any other seasonal fruit you can get your hands on.
  • Going to the beach and feeling the sand under my feet and splashing around in the water
  • Scrumptious BBQs
  • Family picnics and day trips, my favourite!
  • Shopping
Before I sign off I'd like to share this hadith that springs to my mind everytime the heat starts getting to me.
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "In very hot weather delay the Zuhr prayer till it becomes (a bit) cooler because the severity of heat is from the raging of Hell-fire. The Hell-fire of Hell complained to its Lord saying: O Lord! My parts are eating (destroying) one another. So Allah allowed it to take two breaths, one in the winter and the other in the summer. The breath in the summer is at the time when you feel the severest heat and the breath in the winter is at the time when you feel the severest cold." (Sahih Bukhari).
So what is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about summer?

January 21, 2009

Never say Never

Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. - Michael Jordan
As a school aged child I was often encouraged by my dear mother to strive hard and achieve my goals. No matter how tough a situation might seem, stubborn persistence and faith in Allah and in myself would get me through and the sweetness of success was well worth the effort. We had a motto – “Never say never. You can and you will” and when ever I would stumble and needed motivation I’d repeat it in my head until it made me confident and gave me renewed energy to complete the task at hand.

Now being a mother myself, I realise the impact this has had in my life and I am ever thankful to my mom for guiding me through and being the strong pillar of support at times when I needed her most. I must admit though that after having children I’ve let myself take a back seat and have put off many times what I want to do with my life but now I realise that if I want my children to succeed I need to show them how and the only way I can do that is by chasing my dreams and succeeding myself. Only then will I be able to arm them with the ammunition they require to excel in both this life and the next.

There are some simple rules I follow to help my children believe in themselves and stop them from being a quitter. I feel that this form of encouragement and support from the parents and caregivers should be practiced from a young impressionable age. Every task they embark upon should be taken as a challenge and they must endeavour to be successful. There are surely going to be times when they might fail, but ceaseless efforts will eventually make them a winner. As the saying goes,” A winner never quits and a quitter never wins.” Embedding in them the qualities of a winner and giving them the power to hold on despite the most adverse circumstances will help them easily overcome their obstacles and obtain desired results.

This holds true in matters both concerning this life and the next. Our ultimate goal is Jannah, and to attain the highest level of Jannah we need to put ourselves to the test and strive to be the best of Allah’s slaves. By incorporating qualities of a true winner such as optimism, determination, confidence, patience and above all faith in Allah (swt) we can be assured that we will be where we want to be, InshaAllah.

Life will often present to us situations that will throw us off track and make us feel like we cannot go on but at the end of the day what matters most is not what happens to us but how we react to it. Accepting change as a challenge will help lift our spirits and make life smooth sailing. There will be times when will be required to pick ourselves up, dust off and get back in the race and those who manage to achieve this are the true achievers.

I too have some goals I want to achieve and after procrastinating for the past few years I’ve realised that if I want something badly, I cannot expect it to come to my doorstep. I need to strive towards it and I know deep down that I do have the capabilities of accomplishing my goals. It’s only a matter of believing in my self and letting go of my comfort zone and stepping out in the open and tackling my fears head on.

This is a reminder for me more than anything else to go back to being a fighter. I can, I will and I have to…

75 Ways to Encourage Children