Monday, 24 February 2014

Wolf in a Sheep's skin.....

Every person is defined by the communities she belongs to.” 
 Orson Scott Card

            Just the other day, I was talking to someone who commented, “I have been to ‘X’ country in which majority of the people are non Muslims but I saw Islam there but here in Malaysia, I see Muslims but not Islam”.
            When I heard that statement, I was taken aback but at the same time, I understood what the person meant.
            Islam is ‘supposed’ to be the way of life for Muslims. Islam is not just a religion that is being practiced in the masjid or during festive periods. Islam is not just about fasting or reading the Quran or praying 5 times a day. Islam is much more than that.
            What does Islam teaches? Islam teaches us about being kind and nice to all living beings even animals.

“A good deed done to an animal is like a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as cruelty to a human being." Hadith

            Islam teaches us about courtesy and respecting the elder. The last time you were in a train, did you see anyone giving up their seats for a pregnant lady or an elderly person?
            Islam teaches us about love, compassion and unity but why are we  spreading message of hate and dividing people? Islam is about cleanliness and hygiene but why is it Islamic countries has the worst public toilets in the world?
Islam teaches us about tolerance and respecting our neighbors regardless of race or religion. Tell me, when was the last time you greeted your non Muslim neighbor?
Islam teaches us the positive things about life and manner but then why are we exhibiting the negative attributes?
I have come to realized that a non Muslim can possess all the Islamic qualities but a Muslim will not necessarily be Islamic in conduct. The question is, if we agree that Islam is a way of life, then why are we not emulating it? The Wise Owl once said to me, “Sister, to be identified as a Muslim should not by self-declaration but by depicting all the qualities that a Muslim should have. The best example is our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW”.
Hence, we need to ask ourselves, why are some non Muslim people, are more Islamic than the Muslims, in character and conduct? As Muslims, we need to ask ourselves where did we go wrong?.......

Narrated Abdullah ibn Mas'ud: Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "Allah Most High has allotted you your characters just as He has allotted you your provisions. Allah Most High gives worldly things to those whom He loves and those whom He does not love, but He gives religion only to those whom He loves, so he who is given religion by Allah has been loved by Him. By Him in Whose hand my soul is, a man is not a Muslim till his heart and tongue are submissive, and he is not a believer till his neighbour is safe from injurious behaviour on his part." Ahmad and Bayhaqi, in Shu'ab al-Iman transmitted it. - Al-Tirmidhi, Number 1292

Narrated Masruq: Abdullah bin ‘Amr mentioned Allah’s Apostle saying that he was neither a Fahish nor a Mutafahish. Abdullah bin ‘Amr added, “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘The best among you are those who have the best manners and character.’ ”
Sahih Al-Bukhari – Book 56 Hadith 759

Monday, 17 February 2014

Mirror..mirror on the Wall

"Mirrors have three purposes. To show you who you are. To show you who you were. And to show you who you want to be.”
― Dan Pearce

I don't really look at myself in the mirror nowadays. I mean, I do look at the mirror when I need to put on my hijab but it is always done in such a haste that I barely have time to look my reflection carefully. Sometimes, I wrapped my hijab around my head without even looking at the mirror and dashed out.

One fine day, I finally took a good look at myself in the mirror. Oh my! How I have aged! I even found a few strands of white hair. Yup! I'm definitely aging....

I remember when I was small, my late grandmother would ask my sisters and I to help her pull out her white hairs. We were rewarded with money for our efforts. I must admit, even though it was a lucrative past time, sitting down for hours pulling white hair was not exactly my favourite hobby. I would rather climb the fruit tree behind the house or search for treasures in the store underneath the house.

So the question is, what do I do with mine? Do I pull mine out or color it or just leave it be? Then, I remembered something...

Amr ibn Shu’ayb relates from his father, from his grandfather, that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Do not pluck out grey/white hair. A believer’s hair does not turn grey in Islam, except that it will be a light (nur) for him on the Day of Judgment” and “for each grey hair, Allah will write one good deed (hasana) for him and pardon one wrong of his.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, no: 4199)

I came across this hadith a couple years ago whilst listening to one of the lectures by an Islamic scholar. He said that a single strand of white hair on the head is like a light of Jannah.

MasyaAllah! If that is the case, I'm keeping my white hair intact. God knows I will need every little help that I can get.....

Thursday, 13 February 2014


“Modesty is a state of the heart. It veils the tongue. It clothes us in good manners. It envelops us with the best of behaviour.” ― T.J. Bowes

            I was talking to the Wise Owl the other day and the topic of ‘hijab’ came up. He said, “sister, did you know that the commandment about ‘hijab’ was first given to the men?”. 

            I looked at the Wise Owl incredulously and replied, “No! You must be kidding!”. To which the Wise Owl shook his head and directed me to the following verse. 

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.
Surah An-Nur 24:30

          After looking at the verse, I quickly said to the Wise Owl, “Yeah but this is not about covering of the head. This is about lowering the gaze.” The Wise Owl then told me that ‘hijab’ in actual fact of the word relates ‘haya’ or modesty, which has a wider meaning than to cover the head. 'Hijab' is an arabic word which means 'barrier' or 'partition'. The purpose of putting up a barrier is to protect and the purpose of putting up a partition is to shield. To protect or shield from what you may ask. Well...the way I understand it, it is to protect our heart and soul from any impurities or harm whether from outside influence or from the devil within us.

            According to the Oxford dictionary (Me and my dictionary!), ‘modesty means behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency. Modesty not only refers to clothing but also to conduct and character. That is clearly shown when the above Quran verse was revealed. It tells the men to safeguard their modesty by safeguarding their eyes. There is an old Malay saying ‘dari mata turun ke hati’ which translated means, whatever is seen by the eyes is carried down into the heart. What the saying means is that what we see will leave an impact or mark on our hearts hence if we see negative things then it will leave a negative mark on our hearts and vice versa. That is why it is important for us to protect our eyes from viewing or seeing things, objects or people who would not be good for us. 

            Similarly, for women, the whole concept of ‘hijab’ is not just the covering of the head or the body but it has a much deeper meaning than that. Modesty encompasses every aspect of a person from the clothing to the character. Modesty is portrayed from the way that a woman dresses to the way she speaks and also how she conducts herself in front of others. Honestly, I would cringe every time I see a sister who wonderfully garbs herself in an Islamic way, but curses or uses profanity. It completely destroys the whole picture of sereneness.  

           The thing is, I know not everyone is perfect. I, myself is still far from it but I do believe that if we want to declare ourselves as servants of God, then it is incumbent upon us to find out how do we become one and what do we need to do to stay as one. Pleading ignorance may well work amongst fellow human but would you dare to bring up that excuse with God in the Hereafter? I know I dare not! The way I see it, 'hijab' to the outside world serves as a protection against harm and impurities whereas 'hijab' to one's self is a reminder of who we really are.

            So my dear sisters, please take some time to learn about characteristic of a true Muslim women if you are truly interested in becoming one. If you sincerely want to wear ‘hijab’ for the sake of God Al Mighty then, take the trouble to find out how He likes the ‘hijab’ to be. Your effort will be well compensated, In Sha Allah……..

Rasul Allah (SAW) said: “He who displeased Allah for seeking the pleasure of people, Allah is displeased with him and those people are also displeased, for pleasing whom he had earned Allah’s displeasure. And he who pleases Allah, although by it he displeased people, Allah is pleased with him, and also those people whom he had displeased for pleasing Allah become pleased with him. Allah makes him splendid and his speech and acts in the eyes of others beautiful.” [Tibrani]

A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated:

I heard the Messenger of Allah SAW saying,

'If anyone seeks Allah's satisfaction at the expense of people's anger, Allah will be pleased with him and will cause people to be pleased with him. However, if anyone seeks people's satisfaction at the expense of Allah's anger, Allah will be angry with him and will cause people to be angry with him.’

Friday, 7 February 2014

Domesticated Diva.....

I am the Wizard of Oz of housewives (in that I am both "Great and Terrible" and because I sometimes hide behind the curtains” Jenny Lawson,

            A couple years ago, if you asked me if I consider becoming a housewife or a ‘stay-at-home-mom’ (SAHM), I would have given you a good solid ‘NO’. In fact, many eons years ago having a child was the very last thing on my mind. 

            I was never the motherly type. Somehow I lacked the ‘maternal instincts’ when I was younger. Instead of playing with dolls, I very much prefer to play with my dad’s tools. 

            Anyway, here I am at 40 years old and with 4 kids. Since I went into ‘semi-retirement’, I found that time spend with my kids are indeed precious and no money in the world can ever substitute it. 

            I have renewed respect for SAHM. Their jobs, I must say is the toughest one ever. Let us make a comparison with a surgeon. A surgeon makes between 7-6 figures monthly, ‘on-call’ one or twice a week perhaps and is able go on long luxury holidays at least once a year without being disturbed. SAHM offers little or no pay at all and very long hours. You are ‘on-call’ 24-7 so even if you are on holiday, you are working. The only time when you are not being disturbed is when you are in the toilet but even then, those are the lucky few. Now, tell me, which of the two is the toughest job? 

            The thing is, not all women can be SAHM. Some are just not cut out to do it. I know that I can’t that is why I’m a part-time SAHM (if there is such a thing!). I have met some dedicated SAHM with enormous patience with their kids that I would look like the devil standing next to them. 

            The sacrifices that they make i.e. the opportunity to make their own money (by working), their time and sometimes, their sanity; are sacrifices that not everyone is willing to make. For SAHM, their satisfaction come from seeing their children grow up confidently and successfully and not being seen with the latest Prada or Chanel.

            Oh I forgot, SAHM not only have to take care of the kids but also the house and not forgetting the husband. 

            I don’t know if I will ever be fully domesticated or a full time SAHM. I am still ‘working’ as it preserves my sanity but I am more at home now than ever. I got to know my kids better and learn to appreciate the simpler things in life such as sitting with your 5 year old watching ‘Shaun the Sheep’ and laughing hysterically with him. Or when your 13 year old comes and tell you about her ‘girls’ problems instead of going to her friends. Just the other day, my son came back from school and said, “Mummy, today we played problem solving game so if you have any problem just let me know and I can solve it for you”. My heart melted just hearing it. 

            Being a mom is a gift from God Al mighty and not just a responsibility. I take my hats off the SAHM for they have indeed found the true treasure in their gifts and understood it fully hence they are able to reap the full pleasure from it. For me now, I shall remain a part-time domesticated diva…….

“A woman who gives birth gets the reward of 70 years of salaat (prayer) and fasting. For each vein that feels pain, Allah SWT gives her the reward of one accepted hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah).

“Nabi SAW is reported to have also said 'When her labour pains commence, the inhabitants of the earth and the sky are unaware of the stores of comfort that are prepared for her. When she delivers and breast feeds her child, then she will be granted a reward for every gulp of milk, if she had to remain awake during the night for the sake of the child, she will receive the reword of emancipating seventy slaves in the path of Allah Ta'ala. O Salaamat! Do you know who these women are? They are pious, upright, with a delicate nature yet obedient to their husbands and not ungrateful to them'