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Posts Tagged ‘deen’

Rahma Salie, her name means mercy. She was my first friend in college; she and her husband, Micky, and their unborn baby died on 9/11.

I met her during international students orientation. Although she has thousands of friends all over the world, when she spoke to you, it felt like you were the only person that meant something to her.

I asked our mutual friend, Naho Kamikawa, to share some memories of Rahma-

But one day stands out clearly, and it is the day and moment we all met – at the International Student’s Orientation at Slater. I remember how I ran into Rahma and I think she was already with you and Sabene when I greeted her at the brunch buffet.

A couple of days later, we visited you and Sabene at your dorm room at Bates, beautifully done in newly laid out carpet. We hung at in your room and we talked about our exciting days to come.

I also remember how she became very involved and in touch with her religion at Wellesley. I also knew her very briefly back in Tokyo too, but I think it was at Wellesley where she embraced Muslim [Islam].

Away from home for the first time during Ramadan, we would try to figure out ways to sneak food into our dorm room for Suhoor. The dining hall  had a huge freezer with 6 flavors of ice cream, we sneaking in laughing and tripping- Suhoor with mint chocolate chip icecream was delicious. Our friends, Heather volunteered to fast with us, it was the first time either one of us had to explain why we fasted to anyone, we had always just done it- We started searching for answers so we could give them to her, talking with Heather was my first step towards practicing my deen.  I remember Jum’ah with Rahma, in a small room in Chapel, getting jealous because the Hillel room was so large . Apprehensively, going to our first AlMuslimat meeting not sure if we would be accepted.

She met Micheal while she was still in college. Micky, as he was lovingly called,  was raised as a Greek Orthodox Christian accepted Islam prior to his marriage to Rahma.

The last time I saw her was on Newbury Street in Boston, where her parents now run a café. We introduced our fiancées’ to each other, giddy in each other’s happiness.  She must have been glowing and happy when she boarded that American Flight 11, she was going to attend a friend’s wedding in Los Angeles. Her baby would have now been my daughter’s age. The lesson I learned from 9/11: never take a day for granted, for life is very fragile and very short.

My pain in her loss in no less than anyone else’s in America, just because we are Muslim. Her friends still miss her and mourn her, many are gathering together this weekend at the college campus where Rahma spent 4 years of her life. 9/11 was personal to me then as it is now.

Sometimes you can not explain all the pain and suffering which man experiences as a result of evil but if you see it as preparation for the experience and attainment of joy and contentment of good.  ‘Evil is not created or valued for its own sake, rather it is created for the necessary manifestation, realization and accomplishment of good. Hence, at the cosmic plane, evil which is limited and relative in nature contributes to the realization of the total good.’

She would not want to be remembered as a victim for she was such a positive ruh (soul) . Her friends still gather from all around the world every year to celebrate her life. Family and friends add pictures to a virtual memorial. There are photos of uncles and aunts from Sri Lanka, and cousins, best friends from her childhood in Japan, roommates from college, wedding pictures, a life interrupted. Inna lil lahi wa inna ilay ho rajioon. To Allah she belonged and to Him is surely her return. Please say a dua (prayer) for my friend. She really was a genuinely amazing person. May Allah SWT grant her Jannah tul Firdaus and give sabr Kamilah (divine patience) to her parents and siblings. The constant reminder of how she died, forces them to relive her death over and over again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My sister Umme Maryam translated and transcribed this lecture by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed (db) from Urdu- I have condensed it for readability.

It is written in the Maktoobat of Imam Rabbani Mujaddid Alf Thani that the night of 15th Shabaan is the budget night of the Islamic calendar year.  A simple example is that every nation prepares a budget for the upcoming year, a sort of “to-do list” which determines what tasks need to be undertaken.  Once prepared, the (national) organizations work according to the outlined policies.

Allah’s system is similar, a to-do list is prepared in which all  the tasks to be undertaken in the upcoming year are finalized.  The children to be born, the individuals written to die, the sustenance (rizq) one gets, the accidents, the diseases, the honors bestowed, the humiliations destined.  All the activities of the next year are drawn up.

That is why the Holy Prophet said, “I prefer to be in a state of fasting the day the next year’s list of dead is drawn. “ We do not know whose name will be in that list. No one knows when one will die.

If we ponder, all the problems facing human beings are related to this (list of) sustenance in one way or the other.  A woman is unable to bear children, a man cannot get married (his attaining a wife is also related to rizq), a person is unsuccessful in getting a job, getting a job is included in rizq.  So if you look closely, the majority of our problems are sustenance-related. i.e. somewhere, a daughter does not get a proposal, a wife does not get her husband’s love, a husband does not get his wife’s loyalty.  Someone’s business fails, another is crushed under debt, one works tough hours but cannot pay for his children’s education.

Since the majority of our problems are related to rizq, and this is the special time the list of rizq allocation is being prepared, then it makes sense that this is the time one should beseech Allah the most.

15th Shabaan to 27th Ramadan- Time to Ask

When this list starts being prepared, Allah grants a special mercy to the people, He gives the people a true chance and a lengthy time to ask.   This time extends from 15th Shabaan to 27th Ramadan.  The decisions are finalized on the 27th of Ramadan and then the list is forwarded to the angels for execution.  In other words, had the Lord wanted, then the decision would have been made in one night alone and the deed would be done. But no, the slaves are granted a chance to ask for a longer time.  Ask for shifa for diseases, protection from difficulties; ask whatever you may, the doors of Allah’s treasures are open.

That is why Ramadan is such an important month.  It is a month of blessings and mercy.  Allah says,

‘O My slaves, remain hungry and thirsty, you will get reward, you heart will attain Nur, divert your attention to Me, ask Me, and I will give you.’

Because Allah wants to forgive his slaves, He gives us more than a month to ask. So instead of being pushed around by and spreading our hands in front of the created, why not ask the Creator?  He wants to Give, then why not ask the One who loves to Give. Ajeeb, Allah is happy when He gives and man is happy when he gets.  Ask Allah.

That is why the days and nights of Ramadan are very important. We should not pass them in negligence.  We should ask. We have time until Ramadan 27. The more we ask, the better Allah will destine for us. This is the time to ask, to be Mutawajih illallah (attentive towards Allah).

Another Ajeeb bounty of Allah is that He has informed us; the faster’s dua is accepted by Allah at Iftar time. So, present your needs haajah in front of Allah and ask for Allah’s mercy.

Kullu yaumin wa laylatin daawatun mustajaabah.
Ramzan sharif ke har din aur har raat mein usski dua qubul hoti hai.
A person’s dua is accepted in every night and day of Ramadan.

Preview Of the Coming Year

How one spends Ramadan, that is how the coming year will be spent.  For example, if one is not regular in praying tahajjud, and he strives to pray Tahajjud all of Ramadan, then you will witness that it will become easy for him to pray tahajjud in the upcoming year.  If a man who cannot protect his gaze (from looking at non-mahram women),  strives to protect it completely during Ramadan, then the next year he will be cured of this disease. So those individuals who say we cannot do muraqabah, dhikr or tasbeehat regularly should try to do it in Ramadan

Be particular for one month, and you will see the rest of the 11 months you will receive help from Allah.  Therefore, we have to create the specimen, and Allah will give us the ability, the tawfiq (to do that particular kind of ibadah) for the rest of the 11 months according to that specimen.  We never asked the tawfiq for tahajjud, we never asked protection from falsehood, takabbur (arrogance), hasad (jealousy), and keenah (malice). Swhy complain?  That is why we should spend Ramadan the way we want to spend the rest of our lives.  Make a schedule.

Shaykhul Hadith Maulana Zakariyya Kandhalvi did not speak to anyone unnecessarily during Ramadan.  Once his friend said to him, Ramadan comes to us as well but it does not come like a fever like it has come upon you. In reality, Ramadan should come upon one like a fever so you are gripped in the fever.

If we do not protect ourselves from lying, backbiting, unnecessary gazing in the month of Ramadan, then how do we expect to protect ourselves during the rest of the year?

Can’t Blame The Devil

We find proof in hadith that before Ramadan, Jibrail (AS) comes down and handcuffs the (major) devils (shayateen,) so that they may not ruin the fasts of the ummah of the Holy Prophet .

Now if the big devils are chained, then why does one still commit sins in Ramadan?  There are two answers to this:  Either the little devils are enough to entice a person to sin, to seduce, to cause him to slip, so the person doesn’t need the big devils to commit sins as the small ones are enough.

Or, other ulema say, that just like a piece of iron is still hot when taken out of the furnace (it remains severely hot you cannot touch it for a good half hour), similarly, the nafs (self/ego/soul) which was soldering in the furnace of sins all year long, even when removed from the furnace of sins in the month of Ramadan, will still emanate the heat of the sins it committed.  The ones who are drowned in sins all year long will feel the evil of the nafs in Ramadan.

The sins committed in the month of Ramadan are not due to major shayateen, but due to the human nafs itself.  Thus, (Ramadan) is a ‘litmus test’ of our spiritual diseases.  Whoever wants to check his spirituality, then do this easy test in Ramadan.  If your spirituality is sound, you will remain protected from sins in Ramadan. And if your spirituality is unsound, then you will commit sins in Ramadan just like you used to commit outside of Ramadan.  This is because the soul is weak.  The sins of Ramadan are very harmful, because they are due to the mischief and evil of the nafs. You can’t blame the devil.

There are so many blessings of Ramadan that if one pays even a little bit of attention, the Lord forgives.  Nabi mentioned a tribe at the outskirts of Madina, Bani Kalb, which was renowned for their possession of sheep.  Each family of the tribe had hundreds of sheep, so much that when the sheep came out for grazing they used to fill a huge valley between two mountains.   Nabi said that during each night of Ramadan, the amount of dwellers of Hell, equivalent to the hair on the sheep of Bani Kalb, are freed from the hellfire. Now if the sheep used to fill a whole valley, imagine how much hair (wool) would the sheep have?

When the River of Mercy is flowing, then isn’t the one who does not reap its benefits (by seeking forgiveness) the most unfortunate?  See, the love a mother has for her child is so deep that if someone curses her child, she leaps like a lioness to defend him.  ‘Who are you to curse him?’ she will exclaim unable to stand the abuse.  Thus, love does not allow one to say even one word.  But when a mother’s heart is hopeless, pained, broken by her own child, then even if someone curses him she says Ameen.  The same situation is described in the following hadith.

Jibrail (AS) came and made dua. “May the one who finds the month of Ramadan and does not get himself forgiven be destroyed.”  And when the Holy Prophet heard this, he said Ameen.  So this means the one who does not spend the time of Ramadan in worship pains the heart of the Holy Prophet .  How can one be heedless in this month of mercy?

Ramadan to Hajj- An award ceremony

Allah’s slaves worship and pray during this time.  The tradition is every worker gets compensated for the work he performs.  And when someone does some unique work, he gets recognized by special honors.  Some get awarded medals, some get Presidential honors etc.  Allah’s tradition is that he rewards his slaves for their ibadah in Ramadan by calling him to His house after Ramadan.  Hajj is, in essence, a convocation, an award ceremony of sorts for the work performed in Ramadan. Worldwide, whoever spends Ramadan enjoyably, Allah calls him to His house to distribute rewards.

Our Shuyookh say, Ramadan is the month of work and Zulhijja is the month of reward.  Allah gives a period of two months in between (the work and reward).  This is because if Hajj was on 1st of Shawwal how would people be able to reach His house from the world over?  They are humans. Preparations have to be made; some travel by air, car, some by boat, and some by foot.

Ya’teena min kulli fajjin ameeq.They will come to Us from deep and distant highways.

His slaves needed time, so Allah gave them time to travel in Shawwal and Zulqaddah to reach His house.  From the 1st Zulhajj, Layalin ashr (the ten Holy Nights) start. These nights are so wondrous that Allah has sworn by them in the Holy Quran,

Wal Fajr. Wa Layaalin Ashr.By the dawn. And by the 10 nights.

Allah is so happy that all His admirers of the world are sitting in His house just like the hosts of a wedding function are so happy when all the guests arrive.    That is why He swears by those ten days.

Just think, Hajj is not about praying salah.  You do not go to Hajj and pray two rakat salah to complete Hajj, because the main purpose of Hajj is not performing salah. Hajj is whoever reaches the grounds of Arafat on the 9th Zilhajj between Zuhr (noon prayer) until Maghrib (sunset).   This is rukn e azam (the greatest obligation) of Hajj.  If salah was a requisite for Hajj, then everyone would be in need of wudhu; and weak people like us would be running to do ablution.  And the many women who traveled from so far would come and be unable to pray salah (due to menstruation).  Allah is so merciful.  Even if a sick or unconscious person reaches Arafah, then his wuquf (stay) is complete.

Hence Nabi mentioned, I never saw shaytan so humiliated as I did on the Day of Arafah.  The only other day he was as humiliated was on the Day of Badr.  He screams, shouts, and pours dust over his head, “My effort of years has been wasted!”

And Allah forgives His slaves.  Not only the ones who reach Hajj are forgiven., look at how Nabi favored his ummah in this amazing dua.  

‘Oh Allah, forgive the pilgrim (Haaji), and forgive the one the haaji prays for.’

This dua shades the duas of pilgrims until Qiyamah.  Allah forgives the pilgrims as well as the one the pilgrim prays for.   If we were to depend on our duas alone, our false tongues would take us nowhere. But now, our duas are shaded by this great dua of the Holy Prophet himself.  Our duas get accepted.

When Allah’s guests arrive at Arafah, Allah bestows them with an unusual honor.  He says, ‘Ask whatever you want, I will give according to your wish! ‘  He gives the choice to His slaves.

After Arafah, our Lord calls us to Mina for a few days.  He wants us to express freedom from our two enemies: Nafs and Shaytan.  First, we sacrifice an animal (Qurbani) and symbolically pass a knife over our ego.  Second, we throw stones at Shaytan to express our hatred towards him (Rami).  The reward for throwing stones at Shaytan yields great rewards.  The jurists write, a pilgrim throws a total of 70 stones at shaytan during his Hajj.  Every stone expiates such a major sin that if that sin were not forgiven, it most definitely would have dragged that person into hellfire.  So 70 kabirah (major) sins are forgiven after Rami.  Subhanallah!

Then the slave says, ‘Oh, Allah we have expressed freedom from shaytan, and have sacrificed an animal – we have slit our desires with a knife’. Now Allah says, “You are mine! Now come to My House!”  Now is the time of meeting and visitation (deedar and mulaqat).  Because of this reason, this tawaf is also named Tawaf e Ziarah (The Circumambulation of Visit).

So, this Tawaf e Ziayarah is reward of Ramadan.  Then after Tawaf e Ziyarah, live there as many days you wish, do Tawaf e Wida (Farewell Circumambulation) and return to your homes.  Subhanallah!  Ramadan is the month of effort and Zulhijjah is the month of reward.

Don’t Waste Ramadan

This was the reason that Allah’s Habeeb used to wait for Ramadan and make dua two months before it came.

Allahumma baarik lana fi Rajaba wa Sha’baan wa ballighna Ramadan.
Oh Allah bless us in Rajab and Shaban  and make us reach Ramadan.

He knew the importance of this month that is why he made dua two months before it came.  We need to strive in Ramadan.  It is one month.  How hard is it to leave sins for one month?  When our salaf (pious predecessors) wanted to extoll the virtue of a person, they used to coin it this way, ‘He has passed 45 Ramadans of his life.’  The witnessing of a Ramadan was considered a standard of nobility and savance i.e He has passed 45 Ramadans therefore he has had so much time for worship.

That is why for six months our elders made dua for Ramadan to come.  And after Ramadan, for six months they made dua for their Ramadan to be accepted.  All year round, duas for Ramadan were made.

There are no words to describe the blessings of Ramadan. Hazrat Ali (RA) used to say, “Allah does not want to punish the ummah of His Habib Rasoolullah ”.  When someone asked, what is the daleel? He answered, “Had Allah wanted to punish the ummah of Rasoolullah , He would not have gifted Ramadan to them.”

The purpose of gifting Ramadan is that no one remains unforgiven, everybody may be forgiven.

Ulema write that Yusuf (AS) had 11 brothers .

Ahada ashara kawkabaEleven stars…

.. and the 12th was Yusuf (AS).  So they were 12 in total.  Eleven committed a mistake but were forgiven due to the twelfth one.  So Ramadan is like Yusuf (AS).  If the ones who commit sins for 11 months, spend Ramadan the correct way, then Allah will forgive the sins of those 11 months due to this holy month of Ramadan.

May Allah grant us the tawfiq to value this time. Let’s prepare now.  Preparing for Ramadan is not merely buying grocery and foodstuffs and arranging for delicious meals and drinks.  This is a need. Need is separate from purpose.  True preparation is to leave sins now, do taubah now, and get busy in ibadat (worship), nafl (involuntary prayers), zikr (remembrance), tasbeeh, tilawat (recitation), start this routine now!  We still have a few days left.

Imam Mujaddid Alf Thani gives an example, that when day breaks, then 11/2 to 2 hours before sunrise is called subah sadiq (true morning).  The day breaks in the black darkness of the night.  And the morning light starts emanating and increasing until 15 minutes before sunrise it is as bright as it is after the sun rises.  Experience tells us that if a person wakes up late for Fajr, he looks up at the sky 15 min before sunrise and assumes that his salah has become qaza.  But when he looks at the chart, he realizes he still has ten minutes to pray Fajr.  However the light is so bright it seems the sun has risen.

What this means is that the subh sadiq of barakah starts on the the 15th of Shabaan and each day the nur increases until the 29th of Ramadan the anwarat are as much as they would be in Ramadan.  That is why in these days, even a layman wishes to do more good deeds.  And the sahib e batin (those bestowed with the inner eye) see mercies being showered from the sky like rain.

Value this ni’mah. Ask Allah. Our Rabb has given us the chance to be forgiven.

May Allah forgive us and include us in those people.  Ameen

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I am in the midst of wedding hungama ( craziness) my sister-in-law is getting married. Amongst the angst of what to wear and what to pack and the matching shoes, the menus and the favors & decorations- I feel like I am losing contact with Allah; salahs are read hurriedly because the tables needs to be set up and centerpieces are waiting for a final touch up. Monday fast are delayed because the abundance of food, scrumptious desserts and hospitality.  My soul’s connection is shaky, interrupted by the many loved ones coming together from places far and near. I read the following story on Haq Islam, it brings me down to reality, May we remember Allah (SWT) in our festivities, in our happiness as we do in our sadness, Ameen.

A pious man relates that in one of my journeys I once saw a young Bedouin girl.

“Where do you stay?” I enquired

“The jungle”, she replied.

“Do you not feel lonely?” I asked curiously.

She answered, “Oh Shaykh, one who befriends Allah and keeps His company can never be lonely”.

I asked, “Where do you eat?”

She replied, “Allah knows best from where He provides for His creation. He gives it to those who believe in Him”.

Then she went on to say, “The hearts that are alive with the recognition of Allah’s oneness and have relented to His love, their food is the love of Allah and His Company”.

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Last year, Mr. LF came back from a business trip to Europe puzzled over Swiss grocery stores’ policy of selling the plastic one-use grocery bags. My response was GREAT idea! Finally California is catching on to the idea, the ban has passed the state assembly hope the Senate has the gusto to pass it too. It would prohibit grocery stores from offering plastic bags and would require customers to pay for paper bags by June 2012.

There is a joke about desis; that you can tell if you are a desi (from Southeast Asia) if you reuse grocery bags or the empty yogurt cups.  I guess because we are cheap. Better cheap than a polluter I say. So if they aren’t for FREE anymore, we will definitely reuse them.

This is such an easy way to go green. Imagine how many resources we can save. As Muslims, it is incumbent on us to protect the planet that Allah has given as an Amanah (trust). As Muslim moms, we are the ones who usually buy the groceries for our homes- how hard is it really to make it a priority NOT to use plastic single use bags, paper or plastic.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that in the United States alone more than 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are used each year. Worldwide, the number of plastic bags used is anywhere from 500 billion to 1 trillion every year. Meanwhile, Americans throw away about 100 billion plastic bags each year, according to the Worldwatch Institute, as only 0.6 percent to 1 percent of them are ever recycled.

They choked up gutters, suffocated dolphins, accumulate in your drawers. It takes a 1000 years to biodegrade one. The little pieces of plastic act as a sponge for chemicals. They soak up a million fold greater concentration of such deadly compounds as PCBs and DDE (a breakdown product of the notorious insecticide DDT), than the surrounding seawater (Reusablebags.com).

Marine life then eats these pieces and dies. It is estimated that over a 100,000 different birds, seals and whales die every year (Reusablebags.com). After the animal dies its carcass decomposes and the plastic is free to roam the ocean and kill again.

These days every store sells multiple-use bags for usually a dollar. They last so long, I have some that are a few years old and they still look the same. Just rinse them out from time to time. Otherwise use canvas bags, they are the best. No one will look at you like you are a weirdo any more than they already do.

Ask the clerk NOT to bag things that already come in bags ie. the bag of oranges, onions. And Milk and Juice jugs are easier to carry without a bag-ever had one burst because the bag broke?

It take just a bit of retraining our habits. Keep the bags in your car and return them to the car when you have emptied out the grocery! I have a big insulated bag (free from American Express) I that I keep in the car along with several reusable bags. Most stores even give you a nickel back for every bag you reuse.

plastic vs paper? NEITHER use an insulated reusable grocery bag

Reuseable grocery bags

Sometimes I forget to take the bags ( am so not perfect :P), that is when I ask the clerk to give me paper bags as a last resort. They are not that great (it takes one gallon of water to produce ONE paper bag) but at least it can go in your compost bin and you are much more likely to reuse them. You can make bookcovers, use it as craft paper or wrap a gift. Or if you absolutely must use a plastic bag- please RECYCLE them.

The next step for my house is getting rid of the single-use Glad garbage bags- I have heard of biodegradable/compostable ones  iA

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my article as published on suhaibwebb.com; dedicated to my husband as 11 years pass from the day we became man and wife.

I am from Generation X, raised on ‘Pretty in Pink’ and Sweet Dreams romance novels. Some of my friends read Mills and Boons, others raved about the unattainable love in the Thorn birds; but I preferred the grand passion of Wuthering Heights. That was my idea of a romance – filling each other completely, a religion of love.

It also came from Indian movies; rich girl falls for poor guy, they dance around trees in the rain, then drama ensues from the family, enter Prem Chopra character, the guy runs off with girl, the end. Sometimes, he would dash in with a monologue and take her away while she was getting married to someone else. How many girls are still waiting for their Sir Salman/Saif/Shahrukh Khan to take them away on a white horse in a red lehnga?

When in love, according to Freud, “against all the evidence of  her/his senses, a wo/man who is in love declares ‘I’ and ‘you’ are one, and is prepared to behave as if it were a fact.” This love is so destructive, so impossible. Based on these notions, I have nursed many a heartbroken friend: in ER after she burnt herself with a cigarette because she wasn’t allowed to see him, helping hide another’s bruises under makeup, where he punched her for talking to his buddy. My own quest was for the eternal flutter in my heart. What were we thinking? Allah made us; He put these feelings in our heart, so why didn’t we ever think of turning to His book to see how ‘boy meets girl’ really works? It’s all in there.

I read of a great courtship, a love story that is so romantic it’s divine. The setting – Madyan, the land of frankincense, I can almost smell it lingering in the air. Historian Abdulla Al-Wohaibi writes that Madyan was “a flourishing ancient town with numerous wells and permanently flowing springs whose water had good taste. There were farms, gardens and groves of palm trees.”

Here we meet Safurah, the daughter of Shuyab `alayhi assalam (peace be upon him) at the side of a gushing spring, ‘keeping back, stopping her sheep from drinking with the sheep of the shepherds.’ And Musa (as), a fugitive on the run for eight days, crossing the burning desert sands from Egypt, feeding off nothing but tree leaves.

Their meeting is a beautiful example of chivalry; a perfect model of what it means to be a man and a woman. She didn’t need him; this was her daily routine and she waited out of her sense of modesty. She and her sister were strong women, after all herding their father’s flock wasn’t easy work. They were surrounded by rowdy men, reminding me of scenes from Liberty market in Lahore, Cairo’s Khan Khaleeli or the Westfield mall in Generic town, U.S.A. where rowdy boys hang out – men yelling, pushing, with little dignity or sense of composure. He, however, was a gentleman amongst the uncouth.

She didn’t need his help, she could have waited until all of the other men were done and then watered her flock, but that’s what makes it so special – that he still stood up to help her. Musa (as) was thirsty too but his sense of doing the right thing was stronger than his fatigue or his hunger. He was honorable – he could have ignored the sisters, could have said “I’m too tired, too important.” He had no relationship with these women. He didn’t know what family or religion they were from. All he saw was someone was being treated unfairly and for the sake of Allah, he was ready to help.

Sisters, a man like that will get you far in life. He will be just with your children, your parents and his parents. He will help you in your faith, your home and your life. As for the ones pushing each other to get the water from the well, they are the same brothers who will keep fighting for the dunya: keep working away for the next promotion, the next beamer, and you will be left on the side like the two sisters from Madyan.

When Musa (as) approached the water, he saw that the shepherds had put over the mouth of the spring an immense rock that could only be moved by ten men. ‘Musa embraced the rock and lifted it out of the spring’s mouth, the veins of his neck and hands standing out as he did so.’ He watered their sheep and put the rock back in its place.

After Musa (as) did this kind act, he went back in the shade of the tree and made du`a’. Unlike some MSA brothers who like to walk the sisters to their apartments and then ask them if they have food in the fridge, he didn’t ask the girls “Hey! I did you a favor, can you help me out now?”

No, he lies down on Allah’s green earth and makes this beautiful du`a’:

28:24

“So he watered (their flocks) for them, then he turned back to shade, and said: ‘My Lord! I am truly in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!’” (Qur’an, 28:24)

`Ata’ bin As-Sa’ib said in Tafsir ibn Kathir: “When Musa made that du`a’ the women heard him.”  What a beautiful du`a’ to make for all of us who are looking for a good partner or bliss in our married lives. This one du`a’ to Allah gave Musa (as) a job, a house and a family all at once. When you have nothing left except Allah, than you find that Allah is always enough for you.

The two sisters came home with the well-fed sheep, surprising their father Shuyab (as). He asked them what had happened, and they told him what Musa (as) had done. So he sent one of them to call him to meet her father.

She said: “My father is inviting you so that he may reward you for watering our sheep.” In Tafsir ibn Kathir it states
there came to him one of them, walking shyly, meaning she was walking like a free woman. Narrates `Umar ibn-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him: “She was covering herself from them (Musa) with the folds of her garment.”

Safurah is intelligent and intuitive. Abdullah bin Masud praised three people’s intuition:, Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra) about `Umar ibn-Khattab, Yousuf ‘s (as) companion, and Safurah’s when she asked her father to hire Musa (as). “Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.” Her father said to her, ”What do you know about that?” She said to him, “He lifted a rock which could only be lifted by ten men, and when I came back with him, I walked ahead of him, but he said to me, walk behind me, and if I get confused about the route, throw a pebble so that I will know which way to go.”

He didn’t follow her, looking at her from behind – subhan’Allah. Imagine the scenario: he was a prince who must have had women throwing themselves at him but he ‘lowers his gaze’, which is the hukum for all Muslim men, but how many really adhere to that? Here Musa (as) is not Safurah’s husband yet, so he asks her to walk behind him, knowing very well that he doesn’t know the way but she does. It wasn’t a matter of ego or superiority; he was concerned about her honor as she was alone, without her sister; this way he was protecting her. Look at their society too – if all the men were such boors, could you put it past those people to gossip about her walking with him?

I often wonder how Musa (as) grew up to be this way? He came from such privilege, so much fahasha (corruption) existed in the court of Pharoah; he could have had any woman he wanted. But he learnt how to honor women from his pious foster mother, `Aasiya (ra); and continued this respect even hundreds of miles from his mother’s eyes. Mothers can be shields for their sons – even if the fathers are Pharoah.

Back to our courtship: Musa (as) takes Safurah’s ‘lead’ by making her throw stones to direct the route. Brothers, there’s a lesson for you here: it’s ok to ask for directions and to consult with a woman. Such a man’s bravado would be insulted today; he would be considered crazy or sexist,  asking a woman to walk in his shadow and then make her do all the work! Armed with our liberal arts education, we often undervalue a man’s masculinity. Such hoopla is made over where the husband walks, in front, side by side, behind you. My husband is a foot and some taller than me, so big deal if he sometimes walks faster than me, he’s got longer legs. Other times he walks behind me especially in crowds and he is often there by my side. It doesn’t define us. Shouldn’t it matter more whether he is ahead, behind or by my side spiritually?

Safurah then hired Musa (as) and chooses to marry him under her father’s guidance. There was no long engagement and no endless conversations – no promises of unending love. How many times do we pass up great partners because we haven’t clicked? What did she like about him in those short meetings? First of all, she sees he is not a wimp, he stood up for her when they were strangers, imagine what he would do for her when she becomes his sahib-e-hayat (wife).

He complements her life; she needs a man in her household, to help her run her business (we see the same theme in the blessed union of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and our mother, Khadijah (ra). This story reinforces in me the reason why my husband is always going to be the leader of my family. He leads well, so that I may willingly follow.

Musa (as) agrees to the terms Safurah’s family sets for their marriage. She admires his trust in Allah, his ability to problem solve, his strength and his manners. If women looked for his four characteristics in a man, instead of the countless other things we focus on, will we not find our own beautiful Musa?

Further, if we are consumed by the love we have for our spouse, will there be space in our hearts for Allah? Heathcliff and Catherine of Wuthering Heights had replaced God for each other. They needed to fuse their identities and thought they had attained heaven. Bronte’s mysticism notwithstanding, love like theirs is asocial, amoral and irresponsible. After reading Musa and Safurah’s love story though, I learned to love my husband for the right reasons: for his support, his strengths, and his sense of responsibility for the sake of Allah. After ten years, he still makes my heart flutter; but he doesn’t need to complete me. It’s enough that he complements me. And it is this evolving courtship that will inshaAllah knock the tunes out of every Indian movie.

References:

Abdulla Al-Wohabi, The Northern Hijaz In The Writings of The Arab Geographers 800-1150 B.C., p. 142

Emily Bronte, I Melani. Religion, Metaphysics and Mysticism in the Wuthering Heights.

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A Love Story

Reading this story made my heart ache thinking about how ungrateful we are, how quickly we get unsatisfied with our husbands whom we claim to love. These days when Brangelina is the ultimate in relationships, when Muslim girls look up to Kareena Kapoor to show them what love is- you come upon a girl like this, a man like this. How pure their love is. For the sake of Allah. May Allah grant him shifa’a kamilah and pious children & make our daughters like her-women who understand that their one true love is Allah and a man who loves Him is worthy of being their companion.

A Different Kind of True Story Hijab flutter ~ Amira | Source: SaudiLife By Faraz Omar The exceptional characteristics some people display are quite dumbfounding really, particularly when you put yourself in their shoes. This story published in today’s Saudi Gazette is one such. Unfortunately, the Gazette didn’t publish it online, but one can find it in the Feb. 18 print edition on Page 3. Let me type the story up for you: JEDDAH — The love between an Islamic preacher with sp … Read More

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Love for the Prophet

Written by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad

Love for the Prophet  is a humble attempt at an English translation of the shaykh’s famed book “Ishq Rasul .” The shaykh emphasizes the importance for us as a nation in loving the beloved Messenger of Allah, and provides vivid and powerful examples of love from the lives of the Noble Companions to great traditional scholars from our glorious past. The shaykh highlights that our expression of love must not be mere lip service, but should resound from our entire being as we strive to follow his beautiful example in every phase of our life.

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