Friday, 20 June 2014

Footie Fever

“Football is like life - it requires perserverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”
― Vince Lombardi

It's the World Cup football season. Everywhere, everyone, well..almost everyone, is talking excitedly about football. Some have dark circles under the eye due to lack of sleep. Some have the whole game chart hanging on their wall. Each have their own favourite team that they are rooting for. For those whose team was eliminated, they suffered tremendous sorrow and some even bordering on manic depression.

That, is how passionate people are about football. Some say that football has become like a religion for the die hard fan as they eat, drink and sleep football. Their entire life evolves around the game. The fans would know each player by hard and feel an emotional connection to their team. In football also you can see grown men bawling their eyes out, crying for the game. Such, is the power of football.

I, myself have never been a fan of the game. No matter how hard my husband tried to 'enlightened' me about the game, I just don't get it. Then again, I'm not a sport's fan hence it makes no difference what game is on.

I am passionate about other things in life but sports is not one of them. In a funny way, trying to be a true Muslim is like being a football fan. We must eat, drink and sleep Islam. We must feel passionate about it. We must feel the love for it.

Get to know all of the prophets and their role in history as how we diligently study about each player in the team. Know the the rules of Islam and live by it as how we commit to memory the rules of the game. Respect the commandments in Islam as how we respect the rules of the game. Wake up in the middle of the night for prayers as one would wake up for football.

Get to know our 'coach' Prophet Muhammad SAW. He is the best teacher ever known to mankind. Study his moves, conduct, sayings and take his advice to heart. I can assure you that you will not find a better 'coach' than him.

The next step, idolise your Creator more than how you would idolise the players. Love Him. Run to Him when He calls. Cry for Him. Eat, drink and sleep for Him. The most important thing of all........Try to  become His most ardent die hard fan....Trust me, you will be the most contented and happiest fan of all....

Hadith Qudsi 15:
On the authority of Abu Harayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (PBUH) said: Allah the Almighty said:
I am as My servant thinks I am (1). I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assemble better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a fathom's length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.

Related by al-Buhkari (also by Muslim, at-Tirmidhi and Ibn-Majah).

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Art of Learning

"Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ― Albert Einstein

Once upon a time ago, I was telling the Wise Owl that I had trouble understanding lessons being taught by a particular scholar. The lessons that were taught were simple enough but why couldn't I comprehend it? Is God slowly taking away my understanding? Have I done something wrong?

Then the Wise Owl told me, "Sister, between every student and the teacher, there is a hijab or veil. If God removes that hijab then the student is able to absorb whatever that is being taught. If not, the student will not reap any benefit from the teaching"

Hmmm.... in a way, what the Wise Owl said, made sense to me. The question is, how we get the hijab removed?

The Wise Owl said that everything we do, we must seek the blessings of God. There must barakah in all our actions otherwise we will not reap any rewards. To get the barakah, we need to set our intentions right.

For the teachers, the intention must be to share the knowledge sincerely and honestly. The teacher must not teach with the intention to obtain fame or recognition or even financial gains. Even if the student is poor, the teacher must teach willingly, for the sake of Allah SWT. If the teacher's intention is right then the veil will be removed and whatever that being taught will be easily received and understood.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah(sallallaahualayhi wa sallam) said, "He who does not acquire knowledge with the sole intention of seeking the Pleasure of Allah but for worldly gain, will not smell the fragrance of Jannah on the Day of Resurrection.''
[Abu Dawud].

As for the student, intention is also important. The intention must be to learn for sake of Allah SWT and not just to acquire academic titles. 

Abud-Darda (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahualayhi wa sallam) said, "He who follows a path in quest of knowledge, Allah will make the path of Jannah easy to him. The angels lower their wings over the seeker of knowledge, being pleased with what he does. The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth and even the fish in the depth of the oceans seek forgiveness for him. The superiority of the learned man over the devout worshipper is like that of the full moon to the rest of the stars (i.e., in brightness). The learned are the heirs of the Prophets who bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only that of knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].

It is very important for the teacher to make lesson easy for the student to understand. The whole purpose of teaching is make the student understand otherwise, it is pointless. Imagine if no one benefits from your efforts. Isn't it frustrating?

Prophet SAW said "Teach others, make things easy, not difficult. When any of you is in a state of anger, let him keep silent.”
(Related by Al-Bukhari)

So, now I understand that if I can't benefit from one teacher, I shouldn't despair. Maybe there's something wrong with the teacher but then again maybe there's something wrong with me. Bottom line is, I must not give up. I honestly believe that God decides everything, even the teachers whom we are to learn from, so just follow the flow.

Some knowledge we are not meant to learn and some will be taught to us whether we like it or not. So, each time we are about to learn something new or learn from a new teacher, check our intentions, recite Bismillah and pray that God grants us His blessings and baraqa.....

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Where Art Thou Romeo....

“We accept the love we think we deserve.” ― Stephen Chbosky.

One starry night, my eldest daughter asked me, "Mummy, are you going to choose my husband for me?" At that moment I couldn't resist teasing her. I gave her an evil laugh and said, "I will lock you up in the tower until you are old enough to marry and then choose a husband for you!" My daughter looked at me unperturbed and said, "Mummy, please! Be serious! I'm not Rapunzel".

Sigh! Kids nowadays have no sense of humor!

Ever since my daughters were small, my husband and I have been gently educating our daughters about a woman's awra. I made decision a long time ago, not to force them to wear hijab but rather coax them by explaining the beauty behind it. Alhamdulillah, they embraced the concept of awra willingly but of course, they had their 'off' days when they just refused to wear hijab when going out. Since they have not reached puberty yet then, we decided to let it slide once in a while but now, since they have come of age, they understand their relationship with Allah SWT and why they have to cover their awra.

When my eldest started her secondary school, I think my husband was more traumatized than I was. One day, my daughter came back from school and complained to the father that they were a group of boys who were disturbing her. Being the protective father, hubby was ready to go out and purchase a shot gun but thank God that he didn't! Anyway, the next day when my husband picked my daughter up from school, he asked my daughter to point out the culprits. So happened, the boys were standing on the roadside.

Hubby calmly drove over to the boys, rolled down the window and asked in a booming voice, "Are these the boys who were disturbing you?" The boys jumped and looked as if they have just seen a crazed grizzly bear and then bolted from the scene! After that, they dare not to even look at my daughter.

After that incident, we decided it was time to explain to our daughters the boundaries between boys and girls in Islam and also why. They asked a lot of questions but in the end, they got a rough idea of the dos and the don'ts.

I must admit that it is quite a challenge nowadays, to bring up children in accordance to Islamic principles. Our kids are exposed to many things that it is difficult to shield them sometimes. The type of friends that our kids have also has a contributing effect on their behaviour. We must somehow strike a balance in trying to educate our kids and still be flexible but educate them we must! We as parents will be questioned later.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Everyone of you is a protector and guardian and responsible for your wards and things under your care and a man is a guardian of his family members, and is accountable for those placed under his charge." (Bukhari and Muslim)

In my case, I have mountains full of sins to atone for but if my soul is taken before I finished repenting, it is my hope that I have brought up righteous children who will pray for me and my husband.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) in this context, said: "When a believer dies, his work ceases to be except in three areas: a perpetual Sadaqa (charity), some useful knowledge he leaves and a righteous children praying for him." (Muslim)

So back to my daughter's question, I told her that I can't predict the future. If we find someone suitable for her, we will still let her decide. We will never force her to marry if she doesn't want to. If she finds someone that she likes, then we will accept but we as parents still have to right to say 'no' if we find her candidate not to be suitable for her.

Then, my second daughter interjected, "You mean mummy,  we can actually go dating?" I gave my daughter the sweetest smile and said, " Yes sweetie but only if you bring mummy and papa along!" Hehehe.........

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Shopaholic Diva

“Women usually love what they buy, yet hate two-thirds of what is in their closets.” ― Mignon McLaughlin

I used to be a shopaholic. I have this thing for handbags. I simply couldn't resist them. Occassionaly I would buy clothes but most of the time it's handbags. My poor husband even had to build a cupboard specifically for my bags as our closet couldn't fit all of them.

I also would get super duper excited when I see or hear the word ‘sale'. I felt giddy buying things and I always, always ended up buying things that I didn't need but want. Most of the time, the new stuff got hurled into one corner of the closet because I would still be using the same ole stuff until it disintegrated. Pathetic right?

Sigh! But that was a thing of the past.

One fine day, the Wise Owl told me, " Sister, do you know that we will questioned for every cent that we spend? God will ask if we used the wealth that He has given to us for good causes or did we squandered it away wastefully."

Oh my! That effectively got my attention. My mind immediately remembered the dark corner, deep in my closet, full of stuff that I don't need, honestly. ears started turning red from embarrassment. Thank God I was wearing hijab so the Wise Owl couldn't see the tell tale sign of my guilt.

" Verily, spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin (devils), and the Shaitan (Devil - Satan) is ever ungrateful to his Lord."
Surah Al Isra 17:27

Errrk! I don't want to be brothers with satan! Ok, so I needed to change my definition of 'need'. I told myself Prada handbag is NOT a necessity and neither is 20 pairs of shoes.

Actually, if you really identify your 'needs' as opposed to your 'wants', you will find that you can get by with very little. Of course, you need to be realistic about it. Like I said before, a Prada bag is not a necessity no matter what the situation is!

After revamping my list of necessities and, of course, my closet, I find myself spending less on trivial things. Shopping during sales has become a vague memory of the past. Of course, there were isolated cases when I lost my head at a warehouse outlet sale but those cases are rare in between and in those circumstances, I can only plead temporary insanity. Also, thank God it was only food stuffs.

At the current moment, I wouldn't say that I am a completely reformed shopaholic and I'm still a diva but I can safely say that my shopping bill has gone down tremendously (much to my husband's delight!) and there are no more dark corners in the closet. I must say, that should account for something, right?