Sunday, 20 December 2015

Respecting the Hijab

“What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful.” ― Scott Westerfeld,

The topic of hijab is controversial to some, sensitive to others and a completely ‘no-go‘ zone to a few. There also, of course, sisters who are willing to discuss the topic with an open mind.

First and foremost, I'm not judging. I'm just giving a friendly advice based on observation and experience. I, myself, am far from perfect so let us try together.

Some sisters may argue that they should not be judged merely on their appearances and that donning the hijab is a personal choice. They should not be forced to do it. If they choose not to cover their head, the matter should be between them and God.

Personally, to me, yes, they are right. It's their personal right to obey God or to disobey and only God should judge them but, that does not mean that covering of the awra is not compulsory.

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.

Surah An-Nur 24:31

Now for those who are already in hijab. Alhamdulillah. It may not be an easy feat but trust me, the rewards are to die for!

But, however, may I just humbly request that you re- examine the reason or purpose or intention of you wearing the hijab. If the intention and purpose is to cover the awra and obey God, then please look at the definition and boundaries of our awra.

Abu Dawud (32:4092) - The Apostle of Allah... said: "O Asma', when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this, and he pointed to her face and hands"  This was narrated by Aisha.

This hadith shows that for a woman, the only parts of her body that are allowed to be uncovered are her face and hands. Even our feet must be covered. To expose our feet or our necks or our arms means to expose our awra eventhough our head may be covered.

The commandment to cover our awra came directly from God Almighty. To show respect to what had been commanded to us, we should follow the description of awra as told to us by our beloved Prophet pbuh. We must obey His rules on His terms not ours.

To defile, taint or tarnish the commandment by changing it to suit our whim and fancy is actually, to me, is akin to insulting the commandment. Let me give you an example, an employer gave specific instructions to the employee to perform a certain task. By not following the instructions or changing it without valid reasons would  amount to insubordination. Similarly between us and God. Any form of disobedience to Him is insubordination in the highest order.

If the intention is good, then we must be careful not to end up with an empty shell i.e.not reaping any rewards for deeds done  or worse still, incurring His wrath for failing to respect His Decree.

Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are two types of the people of Hell that I have not seen yet: men with whips like the tails of cattle, with which they strike the people, and women who are clothed yet naked, walking with an enticing gait, with something on their heads that looks like the humps of camels, leaning to one side. They will never enter Paradise or even smell its fragrance, although its fragrance can be detected from such and such a distance.” (Narrated by Ahmad and by Muslim in al-Saheeh).

Respect the hijab. Take the trouble to learn about it. Ignorance is no excuse in this technology era where information is a the touch of a button.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Good days, bad days...

“Every single day is a good day no matter how bright or dark it is, because it always brings an opportunity to start a positive beginning in your life.” ― Edmond Mbiaka

I read a Facebook status of an acquaintance recently, lamenting about the bad day she was having. Hmmmm...I remember doing the exact same thing not too long ago. Moaning about bad days, that is.

I used to blame God for everything that went wrong in my life. I also thought that every time I suffered a mishap, it was because God was punishing me for my sins. I felt that He didn't like me let alone love me because good things only happened to others but not me. I suppose I thought the worst of Him at that time...SubhanAllah...may He forgive me..

One day, the Wise Owl told me, "sister, there are no bad days only good ones. The only thing that is bad is our attitude and perception towards life." As much as I wanted to argue with him, I knew that what he said had some truth.

Everything that has been given to us is actually a blessing. How you perceived everything makes a whole lot of difference. Let me give you an example. You woke up late one morning and was late for work. On your way out, you stubbed your toe. Rather than being complaining about your day starting on a bad note, think of the positive side. One, you got a couple more minutes of precious sleep and two, you will be rewarded for patiently suffering in silence for the injured toe.

“Whatever befalls a Muslim of exhaustion, illness, worry, grief, nuisance or trouble, even though it may be no more than a prick of a thorn, earns him forgiveness by Allah of some of his sins.”
Hadith Bukhari.

I realised that I had a choice. I could continue lamenting about my woes and remain miserable or look on the brighter side of life and stand a chance of being happy. I chose the latter. 

Just like the Wise Owl said..there's no such thing as a bad day....

If a wound hath touched you, be sure a similar wound hath touched the others. Such days (of varying fortunes) We give to men and men by turns: that Allah may know those that believe, and that He may take to Himself from your ranks Martyr-witnesses (to Truth). And Allah loveth not those that do wrong.

Surah Al Imran 3:140

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

He says, She says...

“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.” ― Voltaire

I remember that there was a point of time during my course of re-learning Islam that I got thoroughly confused. Different people were telling me different versions of what they understand Islam to be. With each version that was relayed, I'd get more and more confused. It was quite frustrating. I felt that the more I learnt, the more dim witted I became.

In the end, I ran to the Wise Owl, to seek clarification and to untangle the knots in my head. The Wise Owl advised me to  go back to basics; go back to Quran and hadith.

It was then that I realised my mistake. I was not learning about Islam but rather, listening to people's opinion about how Islam should be. There is a difference between learning and listening. Different people have different views hence you will get different versions. Each will insist that their version is the correct one.

What I needed to do was to open up the Quran and try to understand it rather than relying on other people's hearsay version of the content there in. Similarly with hadith. I needed to read and study hadith on my own rather than believing the version related by others.

In the last sermon of our beloved Prophet s.a.w. on the day of Arafat, he told us,

"I leave behind me two things, the Quran and the Sunnah (Hadith), and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listened to me directly. Be my witness, O Allah, that I have conveyed your message to your people."

Sahih Muslim

When Prophet s.a.w. said 'you' in his sermon, he also meant me. He had specifically said that if we do not want to go astray, we are to follow Quran and Sunnah and not follow people.

So, truthfully, if we truly take the trouble to re-learn the Quran and hadith and try to understanding its meaning, we should be on a clear path. It's not about what 'he says or she says' but rather it's about what God says and the only way to find out is by understanding the Quran....