April 29, 2010

April 26, 2010

Sometimes we forget to remember

My Internet was down for more than a day. Man that was frustrating! I felt lost without it. I mean these days I usually do everything with the Internet. Any info I need, any key word searches- with Internet at my fingertips I'm tuned in to the world around me. Not to mention my constant blogging and emailing. So to have no Internet for like a day or so- it really felt so weird.

But then it got me thinking! Last year this time I didn't even have broadband Internet. I hardly used Internet- I used to check my emails from my phone, and I used other resources for daily needs. How did I become so dependant on it soo quickly? How could I feel so lost without it when, up until recently, it wasn't even a part of my daily life?

That's life, I guess... We get accustomed to things so quickly and we begin to forget the time when we never even had it- and I guess that's when we begin to forget what a big favour it really is. Because all of life's little conveniences- they really are favours that Allah has bestowed upon us. Its so easy to forget that. Its so easy to take things for granted. And when Allah gives us those little reminders (like when your Internet goes down) that's a wake up call to show you that it really is a gift. And its a reminder that we should be grateful for all that we have.

So here's hoping that you and I all remember the numerous favours that we have been fortunate enough to receive. And here's hoping that our eyes are always open wide enough so that we are able to see those favours and acknowledge the generosity of our most Supreme Creator. Insha-Allah

April 22, 2010

Weekly Wise Words: The Importance of Modesty

"Verily, modesty and faith are related to each other; when one of them is taken away, the other is also taken away."

April 21, 2010

Calling all Hijaabies- Young and Old!!!

I thought that I'd share this with all of you. It sounds awesome...

Sisters, every girl or woman, no matter what your status is, when you decide to wear Hijab or progress to a stage of higher Hijab, the decision is not always as simple as should be. Yes, it is part of our Islam to adorn the Hijab, but many of us, especially those of us who live in the Western world, do not wear any form of Hijab. No judgement on any person, Allah is the judge and we should support each other and guide and teach one another to become better people.

To think back, there were always a lot of questions I had, and always thoughts of doing the right thing followed by my whims to not give up my so called “Freedom”. But once I came back from Umrah Allah shukr, everything became really simple, but I kid you not, I still had a fight ahead of me. There were days of frustration, that I felt that my face looked a little fatter, or that my scarf made me look really clumsy and that it did not blend in really well with my different environments.

What really helped was talking to other ladies, those who already adorn the Hijab and those who were thinking of doing it. Together we shared our experiences, triumphs and glory days, there were also the bad days, which get even lesser as the days go by and you get stronger. That’s when the fun kicks in, it’s amazing, and yes Hijab can be fun.

Appreciating the journey of wearing hijab made me want to do something where other sisters could also begin to appreciate their own journeys. After much pondering , Allah (SWT) guided me towards a fellow Muslim sister and together we came up with this fantastic idea about a blog called, “Hijab Diaries”, where you can tell us about your experiences, share or ask for advice, and this is especially wonderful for our youth, and to promote Hijab amongst them.

So here you go sisters please take advantage of this blog, it’s your platform and opportunity to be heard and to help others in need.

Sister’s each one of us has our own “hijab story” to tell, how we came to wear hijab, what motivated us, what it was like, how people reacted to us and so on and so forth. This is the place for you to share that story. Please send your stories to hijab.diaries@gmail.com and insha’Allah we will post it on the blog. You can follow the link below to get to the blog:

This blog is for all Muslim sisters, it is all of ours so we would love to see many stories posted.
So off you go and start writing your story, and we will do the same!

By Zeenat Sirkhot in association with Zarina Hassem

April 20, 2010

She's at it again!

Check out Jennie Ridyards response to all her responders.

Her latest colum is called 'facing off to the hidden truth'. To read and leave comments visit: http://www.citizen.co.za/index/article.aspx?pDesc=122603,1,22

April 19, 2010

A cure for stress

There are times when you feel like you just can't take it. Too much work, too much pressure, too much problems... Its time like these when you start doubting yourself, you feel emotional, you feel drained, you snap at everyone (and then feel bad about it later). You can't concentrate in your salaah, your problems overwhelm you and you just don't know what to do. Yip, we all go through it every now and again. what can we say, we're human right??? Well, I have just the solution... [hmm this is beginning to sound like an advert :) ]

Simply read this: Innaa lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raawji'oon (To Allah do we belong, and to Him do we return)

Sounds familiar- well it should. It just so happens to be that wonderful verse of the Qur'aan that everybody recites when they hear of someone passing away. But there's a misconception there- this verse is not just for when people die. No, it is rather for any time that any one of us are faced with any difficulty. Wonderful right? The solution is so easy. We don't need to stress and freak out, and we shouldn't let our problems get the better of us. Instead we should just recite this simple verse- and then turn to Allah (SWT)  for help!
I'm telling you, and I'm speaking from experience here- it really helps!!!

When I feel crazy stressed out, I try to do the following and it always helps. Sure, we all slip up and handle our stress wrongly every now and again right? (My poor sisters usually have to bear the brunt of this!)- but next time try the following:

  • Talk to Allah. Cry by Allah. Tell your Creator all your problems and beg for help. (just the crying and the talking will already make you feel better.) When you can talk to Allah- why talk to anybody else?
  • Read the above verse along with the verse which meaning is " Allah is sufficient for me." I'm telling you, when you read this and you have a firm belief that Allah will help you- Allah will help you! Insha-Allah Ameen.
  • Try to read Qur'aan. When I read Qur'aan I try to, just for that moment, abandon my worries and focus on what I'm reading. When I do this its like a wave of calm washes over me and I instantly feel better. Try it and you'll see. (Better yet go and read (and understand) the complete verse that the Aayat above comes from. It's in Surah Baqara ( Surah 2) Aayat 156. You'll see how truly beautiful it is.
  • Know with absolute certainty that you are capable of handling whatever you are going through (this knowledge can get you through anything). Know this for sure because Allah has stated, something to the effect, that Allah does not place on a man a burden that he cannot bear. So that means that if you're going through it, you can handle it.
  • Trust that whatever difficulty you face it may be a blessing in disguise. Through your patience you may be able to attain reward. How beautiful is that?
So next time you feel overwhelmed and just plain down frazzled, try some of the above! Insha-Allah it will work for you as well as it works for me!

Image taken from: http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/concepts-and-ideas/8608673-broken-rope.php?id=8608673

April 15, 2010

Weekly Wise Words: When In Need...

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) is reported to have said: "(Every) one of you should ask his need from his sustainer to the extent that he should ask Him for salt, and for a shoelace when it breaks."

April 13, 2010

You gotta see this...

Ok, so I usually like to keep these posts light-hearted, and I don't like to take it, or myself, too seriously. But its articles like the one below that really irks me out. Ok, fine- I understand that everybody's entitled to their own opinion- and this is what the article is, opinion and not fact. But still, I think that writers like these need to open up their minds before they open their mouths. Now I know that talking about it is actually giving the article and the woman far more importance than is due, but I think that we, as Muslim women, all need to know what others out there are thinking. Ok, so what am I going on about? Well, read the following article and then see for yourself...

This article appeared in yesterday's (Monday 12 April) Citizen Newspaper.

Peering out from a prison
Jennie Ridyard’s column appears in The Citizen every Monday.

Some days – spotty days, wrinkly days – I want to put a paper bag over my head; indeed, some people would recommend a plastic one, securely tied...

However, a paper bag is not acceptable daily wear, and neither is a balaclava unless you’re robbing a bank, because hiding your face smacks of subterfuge and threat.
Even hoodies are banned from some shopping malls because they obscure the face, that vital tool of human communication, under standing and recognition.
So why should a veil be acceptable to us then, simply because it carries its own quasi-religious untouch- ability?
Now, I’m all for the freedom to wear exactly what you choose and to express your religion as you see fit, but hiding a woman’s face to express some patriarchal notion of piety is not freedom of expression at all.
No, it is the stultifying of expression, the smothering of discourse, the concealing of a person – a woman, always a woman – and her feelings, thoughts and opinions as if she were a secret or jewel or object and not a valid, equal being.

A veil obliterates a woman. It robs her of her face – pivotal to human interaction – and also of her very identity.
The veiling of a woman diminishes her just as much as strip bars and centrefolds do, because both actions imply that she is purely a thing of lust and carnality; that her very existence is sexual; she is merely a creature of physicality – whether on show or under wraps – and not a whole, complex person to be judged by intellect and character.

And the oppression of women under the guise of the Islamic religion is abominable.

The Qur’an does not demand it at all. It asks for ordinary modesty, but while decency is one thing, alienation and imprisonment in a fabric tomb are another entirely.
The warped ideology promoting burkas does not value women’s rights at all, and too often women are forced to wear the veil under threat of acid attacks, beatings, stonings, insults and even murder.
Veiling is a bedfellow of a Taliban-like obsession with erasing a woman, taking away her voice, her face, her vote, her education, her right to health care, a job, a life, to choose for herself, to go where she will, to do what she wishes and thinks what she dares. It takes away her humanity.

Put on a veil, sister, and you might as well put on a shroud.

taken from: http://www.citizen.co.za/index/article.aspx?pDesc=121818,1,22

Offensive, right??? Now you know why I'm going on. Seriously, who does this woman think she is? She writes under the guise of trying to free oppressed women, trying to give a voice to voiceless women- but she is, in fact, taking away the voice of so many women who decide to veil themselves- by writing her own opinions on a subject she clearly knows nothing about. Let her give the veiled woman a voice, let her sit down and talk to one of these woman for at least 5 minutes before she makes her own judgements. Let her ask her what her opinion is and why she has decided to veil herself- perhaps then she will actually know what she is talking about!

So what do you guys think about the article? Hit the comments below!

April 12, 2010

Change can be good!

For years my father used to love the same old tea. Lemon Tea. It was all he ever bought. Day in and day out he would drink that exact same flavour without changing or getting tired of it.

The other day he went to the shop and bought a few different flavours. (He had previously  tried some different flavours but I guess none of them ever stuck.) Now we stood and laughed at the different varieties that he had brought home- cherry, green tea, lime- there was no way he was gonna enjoy these flavours right? My sister and I even joked about how we would enjoy the cherry flavour but how we didn't think he would like it. "Oh well", my sister- the resident tea maker said. "We might as well give it a try right?"

To our great astonishment my father really enjoyed the cherry tea. He enjoyed it so much that when my sister gave him his good old lemon tea the next night- he didn't like it anymore. Yip, his beloved lemon tea now waned in comparison to the delicious cherry taste... who would've thought???

Ok, so I'm not just telling this story because I have some weird storyteller compulsion. Rather, once again, I took a lesson out of a silly little incident. From it I realized that while we are all usually apprehensive to change, it can sometimes bring about surprisingly wonderful results. Its natural to be afraid of the unknown, but if we never embrace the unknown, how will we ever truly know anything...?

I hope I can remember this lesson and use it next time to remind myself that while change may be weird and scary- it may just be better than what I could have ever imagined.

April 8, 2010

Weekly Wise Words: Planting for the Hereafter

"No Muslim plants a plant or sows a field, and birds, men, and beasts, eat therefrom, but it is his almsgiving."
Bukhari, Tirmidhi

April 5, 2010

Judging others

The other day I bumped into an old family friend. She wasn’t dressed in what I would call modest clothing- and wasn’t wearing hijaab either. Obviously I never said anything but I clearly did notice how she looked and thus, a thought or two clearly must have gone through my mind.

A few days later we had this shindig by my house and she came along with her father. Now even though I really hate judging others, I must have judged her in some way or another because I was actually surprised when she spoke passionately about taking care of her father and of trying to attain Jannat. Here was this girl who didn’t always wear abayas and scarves, and yet she was striving to look after her father and spoke beautiful words about working towards trying to earn Jannat.
Sometimes we have this tendency to think that those who dress modestly and wear hijaab and niqaab are better Muslims. We tend to look at those who don’t dress this way as if they are somehow lower. Now I’m not saying that it’s all right to wear skin tight jeans and no hijaab! Ladies, you know you gotta cover up right! Instead I’m saying that we have to stop judging our Muslim sisters.

How many times do we pull our noses at one of our sisters and silently judge that we are better than them? How many times to we criticise what others have done- without even knowing what we would have done in a similar situation? What gives any of us the right to think that we are better that anyone else...? Allah is the only Judge, and only He knows the insides of us all.

If you look around you might see that the one with the best manners may not dress as modestly as you do. On the other hand you might see that the niqaab clad sister has terrible manners and treats people badly. Who can judge which one is better? Surely only Allah can. It’s about time we stop judging others- thinking that we’re better just because we do so and so and this and that. We should all remember that only Allah knows and should rather leave the judging up to Him. Don't you all agree???

April 1, 2010

Weekly Wise Words: The Answer to all our Problems

Verily We have fully explained every type of subject matter to mankind in this Qur'aan. However, most people have chosen not to accept.
 Surah 17, Aayat 89

Finding Faults

You may have heard this one... or maybe not.

There were 4 men reading salaah in a Masjid when the Muezzin walked in and called the azaan. The first man broke his salaah and said: "Is it time for azaan already?" Then the second man broke his salaah and criticised the first man fro breaking his salaah. To that the third man replied (after having broken his salaah too). "Why did you comment?" and finally the fourth man broke his salaah and said: "At least I wasn't a part of this argument."

Ok, so its a silly little story, but if you really think about it you'll see that its really meaningful. It teaches us that we should not criticise others, because by criticising them we are in fact harming ourselves and our own good actions. Had these men just left each other and focused on themselves, then they wouldn't have spoiled their own salaah.

You know that old saying? When you point one finger at someone, 3 fingers are pointing back at you!

The thing with all of us is that we are so busy finding fault with others that we don't even have the time to see the fault within ourselves. Because really, if we actually spent our time trying to correct and better our own deeds, we really wouldn't be noticing and picking apart others. You see it everyday, people criticising the clothes that others are wearing, while they themselves are not dressed properly; people commenting on the conduct of others, while they themselves have bad manners and people finding fault with others, when their own family members are far worse. Whats wrong with us. When are we going to stop finding fault in others? When are we going to pay more attention to our own flaws and less attention to the flaws of others?

Whats worse is that we don't even have the power to change others, we can only improve ourselves. so while we out there trying to fix everybody but ourselves, we fail to realize that the only people we could ever really fix is ourselves! Maybe we should seriously consider this next time before we begin to judge and criticise others...
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