A Handful of Earth: Musings of a Muslimah

Alhamdulillah I am here, sitting on a beautiful beach in a foreign country, a cool breeze cutting through what otherwise would’ve been 30 degree heat. The noise of my family and others having fun in the background, the sea waves crashing gently onto the shore. It feels like the perfect place for me to be in, alhamdulillah.

As I relax on the sun-lounger I scoop up a handful of earth, stare at the infinite grains of sand, each one a different shape and shade. And I think about how we came into existence.

SubhanAllah. A truly amazing thing to wonder about and so important to remind ourselves.

‎إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى خَلَقَ آدَمَ مِنْ قَبْضَةٍ قَبَضَهَا مِنْ جَمِيعِ الْأَرْضِ فَجَاءَ بَنُو آدَمَ عَلَى قَدْرِ الْأَرْضِ فَجَاءَ مِنْهُمْ الْأَحْمَرُ وَالْأَبْيَضُ وَالْأَسْوَدُ وَبَيْنَ ذَلِكَ وَالسَّهْلُ وَالْحَزْنُ وَالْخَبِيثُ وَالطَّيِّبُ

“Verily, Allah the Exalted created Adam from a handful which He took from the earth, so the children of Adam come in accordance with the earth. Some come with red skin, white skin, or black skin and whatever is in between: thin, thick, dirty, and clean.”

Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2955

Alhamdulillah for Islam, a religion of peace and unity.

A religion that recognises and celebrates race and diversity but does not see a difference of colour. 

All praise is due to Allah swt, alhamdulillah!

‎وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ خَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافُ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَأَلْوَانِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّلْعَالِمِينَ

“Among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Verily, in that are signs for people of knowledge.”

The Quran 30:22

Some people however, claim not to be racist and yet when it comes to their own business dealings or perhaps a marriage proposal or any other personal matter, they are suddenly “weary”.

Why are muslims “weary” when it comes to personal matters. Where is the trust and tawaqul (hope in Allah swt)? 

I have witnessed this “undercover” (and sometimes blatant) racism within the muslim community far too many times and yet we are clearly told in the Quran by our Creator Allah swt as well as taught extremely clearly by our beloved Prophet Muhammad S.A.W that any kind of discrimination related to race is prohibited (haram).

Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

‎انْظُرْ فَإِنَّكَ لَيْسَ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْ أَحْمَرَ وَلَا أَسْوَدَ إِلَّا أَنْ تَفْضُلَهُ بِتَقْوَى

“Behold! Verily, there is no good in red skin or black skin, but rather only by virtue of righteousness.”

Musnad Ahmad 20885

The above hadith is clear in teaching us that we should not judge someone by the colour of their skin but look closely at their character. 

So why is that over 1400 years later some muslims still think their race is more superior than others, whether it be Arab, Pakistani, Indian or any other. They think themselves above others purely because of cultural background. 

I have personally experienced racism from within my own community and I am fed up of it. 

Enough is enough! 

Attitudes need to change and judgements need to made purely on a persons character and behaviour NOT the shade of their skin colour, what language they speak or where they originate from.

Allah says to us:

‎يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

“O people, We have created you male and female and made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most noble of you to Allah is the most righteous of you. Verily, Allah is knowing and aware.”
The Quran 49:13

Alhamdulillah for Islam.

A religion where every race is welcome but where no one is judged by the colour of their skin. 

Alhamdulillah!

May Allah swt guide us, open up our hearts, save us from discriminating against others on the basis of race and skin colour and enable us to become His perfect slaves. Aameen. 

http://www.modernmuslimahmusings.com

We are here! Spain


Alhamdulillahi Rabbil Alameen

My family and I made it! Finally! This journey has had many many tests so far (I will not bore you with the details), but honestly it has been extremely challenging and all I can do is to remind myself…

“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear.”

The Quran 2:286

May Allah swt make the rest of our visit easy, safe, enjoyable and return us with a renewed and strengthened imaan. Aameen.

“Verily, with every hardship there is ease.”

The Quran 94:6


http://www.modernmuslimahmusings.com



Family holiday to Spain : Day 1

So we all woke up bright and early, left on time, checked in and went to board the flight and were told we had missed our flight! 

I couldn’t believe the words I was hearing…I actually thought I had not woken up and was having some sort of nightmare, I had to check that I was awake and that this was happening. 

To top it all, just looking at my children’s deeply disappointed faces was the tipping point for me and I shed a few tears. 

SubhanAllah, you hear about these things happening to other people but when it happens to you it just seems so surreal.

Believe me when I tell you that planning, preparing and packing for a family with three young children is no easy task. My instant thought was this cant be happening. My second thought was how did this happen? And my third was how much money are we going to lose? (Yes, you guessed it, quite a bit). ‎

اِنّا لِله وَاِنّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْن

Then we waited over 3 hours at the customer services desk while my husband and I took turns to look after the children, mainly the youngest who was very quickly starting to lose his patience. 

It. Was. Not. Easy.

We were tired, the queue was neverending, we were surrounded by really annoyed people, the children were really upset , our youngest kept having a meltdown every 10 minutes that lasted for about 20 minutes…

It was a real test of patience.

Alhamdulillah, all glory is to Allah swt, we made it to the front of the counter and managed to rebook for tickets to fly out inshaAllah in two days time, and as we were going to go for two weeks, inshaAllah it would still be ok. 

We made our way home after about 5 hours at the airport accompanied by a toddler tantrum that lasted three quarters of the way. 

Thumping headache – understatement of the year…

However, as I write this, it makes me think about all the positives…subhanAllah you probably think there aren’t any after that! But alhamdulillah I would like to share them inshaAllah and I hope these words might resonate the next time you are going through a hardship. More importantly I hope they become engrained in my own memory as a reminder.

1. When we were initially told we had missed our flight, neither of us blamed each other. You might think well “why would you?”, but usually in challenging situations the “blame game” always gets played. Alhamdulillah this time it didnt and I think this set the foundation of utmost patience during this testing time.

2. When we had to queue up at the customer services, we took turns and worked as a team to see to the needs of the children. In this way not only did we manage to sort out our tickets but also managed to get all our luggage back quite quickly (others who had been with us had still not found their luggage hours later). Again you might think “isn’t that what anyone else would do?”. Well yes, probably but in some cases some couples might argue and out of vengeance make each others lives a little more difficult. 

3. I think out of all of this the financial hit on us has been the worse part but as I explained to the husband (I surprised myself by saying this quite soon after we were told), that this is all from Allah swt. At the end of the day, as muslims if we believe in Qadr/destiny then we have to accept that this is all part of Allah swt’s plans for us, and even though we don’t understand it, we have to believe that there is goodness in this situation, short term and long term. This reminder helped him but deep down I think I was saying it to myself, and I feel that it was this that kept me calm and patient throughout this ordeal.

4. Coincidentally, we made an agreement yesterday, and it was basically that  no matter what happens we will not get into an argument of any sort this holiday. Now again, you might think “why does that even need to be said in a marriage, its natural right?”. When we made the agreement, we were applying it to actually being on holiday, getting there was assumed. However, perhaps having said those words and made that agreement actually helped to remind and reinstate something that is always taken for granted especially in marriage. But lets face it, we can all do with reminders, and thats not just reminding our spouses but actually ourselves! 

5. As muslims, we believe that sometimes hardships and trials are averted through the giving of charity, or someones dua/prayer for you and ultimately Allah swt’s mercy. I really do believe that something much worse and perhaps unthinkable was averted and instead we were put through this test, a test more bearable. As I mentioned this to my husband, I also said that, the day you find out what danger was averted, you’ll wish that you hadn’t complained at all and you will feel grateful for it.

6. Lastly, if anything, I would like to hope that this experience has strengthened our marriage more inshaAllah. And more importantly I would like to hope that this trial and challenging experience has strengthened our imaan and relationship with Almighty Allah swt. 

And if that is the case inshaAllah, then it was worth every single tear shed, tantrum thrown, extra expenses and moments of difficulty.

Alhamdulillah!

اللَّهُمَّ لَا سَهْلَ إِلَّا مَا جَعَلْتَهُ سَهْلًا ، وَأَنْتَ تَجْعَلُ الْحَزْنَ إِذَا شِئْتَ سَهْلًا

Transliteration : allaahumma laa sahla illaa maa ja‛altahu sahlan, wa anta taj‛al-ul-ḥazna idhaa shi’ta sahlan

Translation : O Allah, there is no ease except in that which You have made easy, and You make the difficulty, if You wish, easy.

Aameen

Sources: Ibn Hibban in his Sahih #327 and Ibn As-Sunni #351.

I look forward to sharing our holiday  experiences with you soon inshaAllah. 

Birthdays

To celebrate or not? 

I have found fragments of evidence that suggest my parents did celebrate our birthdays with small family gatherings and home made cakes.

However, as we grew older and my parents became more interested in Islam, the notion that birthdays were not a celebration from Islam were embedded into us and we were deprived of further celebratory gatherings and more importantly cake!

Not that we minded much, but at times it did pinch a little especially in my teen years when friends would talk about gifts received or birthday treat outings.

However, as I got older and became more interested in Islam I began to appreciate that birthdays were far from celebratory events. If anything, for me personally, they became and still are dates of regret, where I ponder and question myself, another year past, another 365 days gone, what have I achieved? How often did I please my Creator in those 8760 hours? 

And the day passing usually becomes a reminder of my death date approaching nearer and my life getting shorter.

I know… so depressing, right? But so morbidly truthful.

People who do celebrate and go all out may argue that its quite the opposite, a day of reflection on how much has been achieved. 

Nope. Not convinced at all.

However, since my children have become a little older and understand the concept of birthdays, I didnt want to deprive them completely.

We still do not celebrate but we always make a point of making a really BIG deal on the two Eid celebrations of Eid-Ul-Adha and Eid-Ul-Fitr. 

Another idea I had about a year ago was the idea of marking their birthday dates with a fundraising project. 

Seeing as none of us could get away with being reminded its our birthday via family, friends and society, I thought why deny it? Why pretend it doesn’t exist? 

“Ok so yes your birthday is coming up…so lets do something special for someone else…”. 

After all, as muslim, we should appreciate and be grateful for all Allah swt had blessed us with and given us, why not give something back? As we know, for muslims, charity is a huge part of our faith.

“Believe in Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and spend of that whereof He has made you trustees. And such of you as believe and spend (in Allaah’s way), theirs will be a great reward”
[al-Hadeed 57:7] 

I also think I was being a little selfish when I thought up this idea, I hope that inshaAllah my children will use these times of the year to do something (big or small) for charity as a habit which inshaAllah will become a sadaqah jariyah, a continued charity for us, their parents even after we have left this life. 

Don’t get me wrong, I mean I wouldn’t stop my children from partaking in other peoples birthday gatherings (that would be just cruel) and I have nothing personal against anyone who does celebrate but I really believe that by explaining our beliefs to our children and then finding a more meaningful alternative will really enrich their lives inshaAllah. And that they will attain Allah swt’s pleasure and reward for themselves and inshaAllah for us their parents!

If you are interested in doing a charity project with your children (either as an alternative to birthdays or just because…) then here are some ideas to get you started inshaAllah:

1. Bake some goodies together and gift them to your neighbours (muslim and non-muslim). Not only is this a charity in terms of kindness but it will increase love and understanding within the community. Or have a mini bake sale and donate money to charity.

2. Get the children to ask family and friends to donate money for a local charity or food shelter, then take the children shopping and get them to donate that food. When children experience hands on the collection, buying and donating of food and groceries, they will appreciate the cost of things and also come to understand that poverty is not restricted to “other poorer countries”. SubhanAllah so many people are living below the poverty line in our own cities, we should do what we can to help them too.

3. Create a online charity fundraising page via one of the many online charity pages such as btmydonate, justgiving or crowdfunding. And get the children to collect funds or encourage people to donate directly online.

4. Go litter picking with the children and encourage family and friends to help too(wearing appropriate and protective clothing ofcourse). Not only is this a charitable act but its also great for the environment and also a great form of dawah too!

5. Discuss and agree an activity with your child/children that they would like to do, it could be educational such as memorise a dua, surah or prayer, or a challenge such as a 24 hour silence or even something fun such as dress up as something and do a mile walk. Then encourage family and friends to sponsor them and then donate.

6. Get your children to ask friends and family to donate money and buy toys and gifts, make home made get well cards or cards with comforting messages and get them to gift them to a local hospital, hospice or care home.

7. Make a “sadaqah/charity” box and encourage your children to save money the whole year round, and donate to a particular charity or buy needed items for someone in need and gift it to them.

 It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah said: ‘Spend, O son(people) of Adam, and I shall spend on you.’” 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5073; Muslim, 993. 

I hope these ideas help and if you look online you are bound to find many more! Just remember no effort is too small, you will be teaching your children the invaluable lesson of being generous and selfless, your bond with your children will strengthen by doing something as a family project and they will learn life lessons that will continue to benefit them, you and future generations inshaAllah.  

May Allah swt enable us to love, nurture and teach our children in a way that is best for them and us and in a way that benefits us all in this life and the Hereafter. 
Aameen.

Slow down! 

I don’t understand why some parents are so impatient for their little ones to grow up? “Cant wait until he’s weaned… Can’t wait until she’s walking…Can’t wait until he starts school…Can’t wait until she graduates…”
Feels like yesterday we were dreaming and hoping for each one of ours…
Feels like yesterday I had each one close to my heart, two hearts beating in one body…
Feels like yesterday we brought each one home from the hospital…
Everything feels like yesterday…
They are growing too fast….way too fast…
Wish ours would stay as they are…
☹️

May Allah swt enable us all to enjoy and appreciate every single moment (easy and challenging) with our children and love and nurture them in the way Allah swt wants us to and is most pleased with. Aameen!

Dolls and Daughters.


So I finally gave in to my 9 year old daughter yesterday when I bought her one of these “hijabibarbie” type dolls. 

For about the last three years or so I had refused to buy her one and had hoped she would “grow” out of wanting one. In my mind I didn’t want her growing up with this particular image of how she should look (she has far too many “idealistic images” already bombarding her via media and advertising!).

Don’t get me wrong she has her fair share of ragdolls, homemade style crocheted cuddly dolls and various others. Just not the tall, blonde, slim, fair, red lipped, out of proportion, plastic “barbie” types.

The other day however, we were out having a “mother and daughter” day and she saw some.

As expected she instantly spinned around , looked at me with her innocent little face and pleaded me with those lovely eyes of hers, mashaAllah laquwata illa billah.

If you’re a parent/ aunt/ uncle/ grandparent/ older sibling or anyone who spends time with young children then I’m pretty sure you know EXACTLY what I am talking about! 

My instant reaction was the same it has been on many occasions before- an immediate “dont even think about it!”

The poor girl was so confused as we walked away but this time a few steps later she demanded an explainaition.

“But WHY? Why do you hate these dolls?”

I looked at her and thought its time, she deserves an explainaition.

“Well, I just dont want you to think this is how you should look as you get older.”

“What do you mean?”, she looked genuinely confused.

“Well, i just dont want you to grow up thinking that this is how you should look- you know…with light skin, blue eyes or a skinny and very tall body and legs, because thats just not how Allah swt has made you and you shouldnt feel you need to be a certain way. You might end up feeling ungrateful towards Him amd you might not be happy with yourself”, I explained with a sense of responsibility maintaining eye contact the whole way through, a real serious look on my face. 

Well the look on her face was… well imagine the look a person might give when they think you have completely “lost the plot”.

“Mummy….”

“Yes darling?.”

“Its just a doll… Im just going to play with it, its just a toy!”, her “lovely” eyes rolling.

“Ok well if you put that way…”.

And so she got her doll, surprisingly they had different “shades” of dolls and ofcourse it helped that the doll was appropriately covered. 

However, this whole experience made me question my parenting. 

Had I been too harsh in my decisions of the past? 

Should I have had this conversation sooner to check her understanding? 

Had my failure in this aspect of parenting deprived her of many hours of fun?

Had my overthinking and protectiveness deprived my dear daughter part of a “normal” childhood experience?

One thing was for sure, I had underestimated that my daughter is now at an age where her sense of logic and intelligence has developed way more then I realised and it has since made me realise that I need to “discuss” issues more openly with her if I am to know what she actually thinks rather then just “lay down the law” and assume she wont understand. 

Another parenting lesson learnt. 

Our keys to Jannah…inshaAllah

‎بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم

Yet again another anniversary. An anniversary that no one will celebrate, perhaps not even remember, not even know of. 

There are three every year.

Three days of the year when I would quietly mourn just for while.

In the past I have shared ahadith, quotes and poetry written by others to express these feelings but today I write my own. 


Our Three Keys.

As the days of the times each of you left would draw near, I used to feel dread and shed many many heartbroken tears.

At times I hadnt even realised that its THAT day. Until I realised.

Memories emerging always seemed to creep in fast. Blurring my mind and heart with visions of that painful past. 

As that day would draw near, every blur in my mind and smear in my heart would become crystal clear.

Always affecting me with pains deep into the pit of my stomach and cramps crawling down into my back. Empty mind and hollow heart.

Every time. One. Two. Three. 

Three times. Every year. 

But I learnt. 

I learnt about the beauty of our faith. 

Where a painful loss is a beautiful gain. 

Where for even a prick of a thorn sins are forgiven. Losing each of you was so much more than that, and for that I know so much more we will be given.

The deeper the loss the more worthy the gain. The prize much more vast than this worthless worlds pain.

A reward our eyes cannot see, a reward indescribable by our limited speech. 

A bounty too big for our small minds, a honour too great for our sin filled hearts. And yet it is there. 
Awaiting us.

Three promises from the One who created everything. 

Even though we are His disobedient slaves so sinful, He is the Knower of All, He is the All Merciful.

Even though you all left us each time without a single cry,  a single smile or word. 

On that Day your very first words will be for us! And the First to hear you will be the One who hears everything!

Your very first actions will be screening us against the Fire. Our three delicate shields strong against the raging flames. Our protection will be your only desire!
Your very first steps you will take when you are told, “Enter your parents into Paradise” and it will be the best you all will ever do for us. Not a single thing in this world equates to this and not the world and everything it contains. Nothing. 

And now when those days descend upon me, I silently shed a tear or three. 

These tears are a reminder of the rewards that await us like the rainbow after a storm, and now instead of emptiness my heart is filled with joy.

No more blurred mind. No more smeared heart. One day, a new life, our forever fresh start. 

Just waiting to be with you three. Him and they and us is all that matters to me. InshaAllah.

Author: http://www.modernmuslimahmusings.com

References:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah upon him, said, “Indeed the miscarried fetus will confront his Lord if He enters his parents into the Fire. So it will be said to him, “O fetus which confronts his Lord! Enter your parents into Paradise.” So he will drag them by his [umbilical] cord until he enters them into Paradise.” [Ibn Majah]

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah upon him, said, “By the One in Whose hands is my soul, the miscarried fetus will drag his mother to paradise by his [umbilical] cord if she was patient [with the miscarriage], hoping to be rewarded.” [Ahmad]
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The death of one of one’s children is a screen against the Fire, and the same applies to miscarriage, and Allaah knows best. Al-Majmoo’, 5/287; see also Haashiyat Ibn ‘Aabideen, 2/228 

It is narrated on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah, the Mother of Believers may Allaah be pleased with her that she said: The Messenger of Allaah , said: “No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allaah Expiates some of his sins because of it, even if it is a prick he receives from a thorn.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

It is further narrated on the authority of Abu Sa‘eed Al-Khudri and Abu Hurayrah may Allaah be pleased with them that the Prophet , said: “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah Expiates some of his sins because of that.” [Al-Bukhari]

Love | Musings of a Muslimah

As a teacher, I was recently asked to run workshops where pupils explored the purpose of their studies. We looked at themes such as intentions, tawakkul (trust in Allah swt’s plan) and ihsan (excellence in faith) and it led me to realise that they all lead to one path- the path of loving Allah swt.

We all have our own definition of love, some believe it is do with emotional feelings towards another, some think it is more about the physical aspect of relationships and others say love is such a thing that cannot be defined, often relating it to emotions between worldly beings. However, as Muslims our concept of love should be clear and alhamdulillah Islam teaches us about this beautifully.

We need to understand that there can be no greater love then the love Allah swt has for us, His servants. After all Allah swt is Al-Wadud, The Loving One. Once we realise this and accept it fully, then everything else will fall into place for us like pieces of a puzzle inshaAllah.

A few days ago I was reminded of this love when my daughter came home upset that her best friend was leaving school. Whilst comforting her, I asked her that people will come and go, friends will leave, siblings will move away, parents will one day die but who will always be there for you? Not only does Allah swt love us, but His love is constant, eternal and everlasting unlike the love of worldly beings.

“If you tried to number Allah’s blessings, you could never count them. Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” The Quran 16:18

If this is not love, then what is? If we think about all the blessings, it is beyond our comprehension and imagination when we think of all the unasked blessings Allah swt has bestowed on us.  Arrogance, ingratitude, ignorance…call it what you want but sometimes we focus so much on what Allah swt has not granted us that we forget to remember all that He swt has. Are we truly grateful to Allah swt for our very being and everything our life encompasses? And in striving for this how can we show our gratitude and our love to Allah swt?

“Say (O Muhammad SAW to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. accept Islamic Monotheism, follow the Quran and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” The Quran 3:31

Follow the Quran and Sunnah and inshaAllah Allah swt will forgive us, because He swt is the Most Merciful and He swt loves us. As muslims we know that we show our obedience and love for Allah swt through additional acts of worship such as nawaafil salah, fasting and abundant recitation of the Quran etc.

By doing the above acts we could attain closeness to Allah swt inshaAllah but what about those of us who aren’t able to do as much of the above as we would like to? For me and many others, especially women, by the time we fulfil our daily duties there is not much time or energy left! Alhamdulillah many of us are blessed with the role of daughter, wife, daughter in law, mother, sister etc. Not to mention the women who also have to juggle working in different professions. MashaAllah there are many who are doing it all!

May Allah swt continue to grant them strength, patience and success, aameen.

So what else can we do? After all, every muslim be it man or woman wants to love Allah swt and be loved by Him.

  1. Intentions

One thing we can see in Islam is that many if not all acts of worship are based on intentions. We have to make intention for our daily acts of worship, such as wudu, salah or fasting etc. Even major acts of worship require intention first such as Umrah and Hajj.

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said: “Verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended. So the one whose ‘hijrah’ (migration) was to Allah and His Messenger, then his ‘hijrah’ was to Allah and His Messenger. And the one whose ‘hijrah’ was for the world to gain from it, or a woman to marry her, then his ‘hijrah’ was for what he made ‘hijrah’ for.” Al-Bukhari and Muslim

So every time we plan to do something, even the tiniest most menial chore, we should try to make intention that we are doing this for the sake of Allah swt, starting our day with “ya Allah , whatever good I plan to do today, reward me for it and know that I do it because I love You”.  This way cooking, cleaning, laundry etc can be transformed from chores to actual acts of worship.

“The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said, ‘Allah says, ‘When My slave intends to do an evil action, do not record it. If he does it, then write it down as one say’ah (evil deed). If he intends to do a good deed and does not do it, then write down as one hasanah (good deed), and if he does it, then write it down as ten.” Saheeh Muslim (1/117, hadeeth no. 128

SubhanAllah what better then to gain reward even if we don’t manage to get the task done!

In relating EVERYTHING back to Allah swt and having the intention of doing everything for His pleasure will make us more conscious of Him, and will inshaAllah prevent us from sinning and enable us to develop the characteristics loved by Allah swt, such as generosity, compassion and kindness.

  1. Patience

Every day we are put through various levels of hardship. Ranging from the traffic jam on the way into work, the flu bug making your child sick, feeling exhausted 24-7 etc . And then there are those really serious long term difficulties we have no control over such as major illness of a loved one.  It is really important to remind ourselves and others that:

  1. a) it is a test of your patience, and Allah swt is doing this to forgive your sins and to raise your rank in the akhirah
  2. b) He swt wants you to seek help from Him through patience and prayer
  3. c) perhaps there was something worse written for you and instead through His swt love and mercy he changed it to a lighter difficulty
  4. d) there is good in this hardship that is beyond our capability of understanding
  5. e) we will inshaAllah get something better in return

“And how many a prophet [fought and] with him fought many religious scholars. But they never lost assurance due to what afflicted them in the cause of Allah, nor did they weaken or submit. And Allah loves the patient.” The Quran 3:146

We need to remind ourselves in all our daily difficulties, challenges and hardships that Allah swt tests those He loves most and He loves those who are patient with His decisions.

  1. Forgiveness and remembrance

Instead of just “thinking aloud” why not change that to “talking to Allah swt”.  In the car whilst driving or in the kitchen whilst cooking? Who else is better to talk to, to cry to, to seek forgiveness from or to just say thank you to?

Indeed Allah loves those who repent and purify themselves.The Quran 2:222

Some people think praying salah is the only conversation between us and Him, but if we believe and know that he is Al-Alim, the All-Knowing then conversation and dua should be outside of the salah too. In seeking forgiveness and remembering Him often, not only will Allah swt love us but our own hearts will find peace and contentment inshaAllah.

With the daily challenges we face, and the disappearance of time we need to take every opportunity available to become closer to our Creator and not treat other acts of worship such as salah or fasting as the only means of attaining closeness to Him, or to loving Him swt.

Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘if Allah loves a person, He calls Jibrael saying, ’Allah loves so and so; O Jibrael love him.’ And make an announcement amongst the inhabitants of the heaven: “Allah loves so and so therefore you should love him also, and so all the inhabitants of the heaven would love him, and then he is granted the pleasures of the people on the earth.” Al-Bukhari and Muslim

How beautiful is the thought that perhaps our name could be among the announced? InshaAllah!

May Allah swt love us and may He enable us to love Him in the way He wants us to. Aameen.

Miscarriage | Musings of a Mother

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

My intention for sharing this personal experience with you is to raise awareness of the difficulties of such a heart-breaking experience. Miscarriage is taboo in many cultures, often hidden away, even a thing to be ashamed of. In fact, it is actually something that Islam teaches us very openly and beautifully about. I hope that by reading this post, it reminds someone never to give up and to remember Allah swt’s promises. It might even give someone the “tools”to support a loved one in their time of need. Sometimes not knowing how to respond makes us look as if we don’t want to, even though it’s all we want.

Recently, I met an old acquaintance and as we were talking about what we had been up to for the last ten years or so, we spoke about many things including work, family and children. She commented on the age gap between my three children.

My children. Mashallah laquwata illa billah.

I didn’t think anything of the conversation. But a few days later it came up. From nowhere. Playing on my mind… and slowly began pulling at my heartstrings.

Again.

My first pregnancy had been pure bliss, well…apart from the standard sickness, usual aches, pains and tiredness. My husband and I were over the moon when our daughter was born.  Alhamdulillah!

We had read somewhere that, “when a muslim girl is born, she becomes a reason for her father to enter Paradise, when she grows up and marries a man, she completes half of his religion and when she becomes a mother, Paradise lies at her feet.” 

We felt blessed, a straightforward pregnancy, a not too complicated birth and we had her in our arms. Alhamdulillah. We decided we wanted our children to be close in age and nine months later we were expecting our second child. It was great! Our daughter would have a sibling to grow up with.

However, Allah swt had other plans for us and at seven weeks we suffered our first miscarriage.

“Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi Raji’un”, truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return. The Holy Quran 2:156

How easily we say this to others, but we only understand the true meaning when we are the ones returning His swt gifts back to Him.We hadn’t even been to see the GP nor had our first appointment. But we had known. From four weeks and two days we had known and for the last three weeks we had dreamed up an entire new life.

Every second of knowing I was pregnant equated to seconds of thinking about our baby. Would it be a boy or girl? What would they look like? Would they be like me or their abbu?How would our daughter respond to them?

We were shocked. I was confused. Was it my fault? Was there something wrong with me?Had I done something wrong?… So many questions.

But no answers. No one I spoke to could tell me anything to clear my confusion. The only response was “it’s very common; every one in four pregnancy’s end in miscarriage, there’s no real reason…”

Close family and the few friends who knew didn’t know how to respond, they were sympathetic at first but then it was never really mentioned or spoken about. As if it had never happened…no acknowledgement of the loss of our baby. I knew they cared but I felt as if perhaps it wasn’t important enough for them, even though I knew that wasn’t the case. The days of confusion slowly blurred into weeks of feeling “empty”. I just couldn’t shake off this feeling of emptiness and the need to replace this loss that had left us before we had had a chance to live it. To love it.

Three months later we were expecting our third child. However, this time no excitement just anxiety. And prayers. Lots of praying for protection of our baby. As the days passed, hope inched its way up. Alhamdulillah we had passed seven weeks, it felt like a major milestone. More and more I started thinking “this is it”. Finally I was in my twelfth week and our first scan was due just four days away.

It began with the same symptoms as last time and I.JUST.KNEW. This time the physical effects were so much worse. But the emotional pain…even more unbearable. I felt broken. I don’t even know how my husband felt. He never showed his emotions- perhaps he was too busy looking after me and trying to stand strong for us. But he was affected.

This time I was numb. I remember returning from our emergency scan and just lying on the sofa where the words of the consultant confirming the worst alongside the same rubbish excuse of “one of those things…” going through my mind. I had been pregnant three times in seventeen months. I was drained. I was exhausted. I didn’t blame anyone. As a muslimah I understood and accepted that this was Allah swt’s plan for me and that insha’Allah something better would be given in return. BUT I still wish I had had someone to speak to, someone who would listen, someone who would acknowledge my loss and affirm what I felt. Someone who would tell me the many comforting ayahs from the Quran and many consoling hadiths that I would learn about in years to come.

After our second miscarriage I threw myself into my work. It was easy; I was a teacher and decided I could not even think about having any more children. And so I worked. I worked really hard with all my heart. It was tough, I became Deputy Head teacher and within a short while I had to take over as Head teacher. We had the dreaded Ofsted inspection and I had been stressed in a way that I didn’t even think was actually possible. The day the inspection ended was the day I found out I was pregnant with our fourth baby.

SubhanAllah, as grateful as I was, the fear of losing this baby too was even greater. Although this pregnancy was physically fine, the emotional anxiety that it carried made it incredibly difficult. As great as the NHS are, I referred myself to a herbal specialist and followed the course of medication given.

Alhamdulillah after what seemed like an eternity, my eldest son was born kicking and screaming. And as they placed him in my arms I made a dua which I still make and always will, “ya Allah, make his worth that of three, make him as strong as three, as intelligent as three and as pious as three”. Aameen.

Finally I felt like I had woken from a bad dream. We concentrated on our little family, trying our best as every parent does. When my son was about a year and a half I attended a Janazah course, a day you learn how to perform the rites of the deceased and it was there where they told us of a need for a muslim bereavement service especially supporting mothers who had lost their children including prenatal loss. I felt as if they were talking directly to me- did they know about my experiences? Of course not but the fact was that there just wasn’t enough support available. I had experienced that first hand.

The chairman of the Gardens of Peace Cemetery wanted to start the free service as a registered charity and was looking for volunteers to be trained and support the cause. I felt my calling- the need for support at a time when you feel NO ONE understands what you are going through is one of the worst things ever, having no one to talk to could even lead to other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. I didn’t want my sisters in Islam to feel the way I had. And here was an opportunity where I could actually do something to help. So I became one of the very first volunteers for the Muslim Bereavement Support Service.

“He (or she) who relieves the hardship of a believer in this world, Allah will relieve his (or her) hardship on the Day of Judgment. He (or she) who makes easy what is difficult, Allah will make it easy for him (or her) in the world and the Hereafter. He(or she) who conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his(or her) faults in the world and the Hereafter, for Allah helps the servant as long as he(or she) helps his(or her) brother(or sister).”                                                         Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2699

What began as a few people wanting to help and support others has now grown into a fantastic team of trained volunteers who support not only mothers but also any woman who has suffered bereavement. The training I received didn’t just equip me to support others but if I’m completely honest helped me deal with, understand and fully accept my own loss more.

The Islamic aspect of the training in particular helped me to understand the “whys?” and instilled in me a hope that enabled me to understand that my suffering was actually going to be worth something. That all the while when I had felt others hadn’t acknowledged our loss, Allah swt had and that He swt has in store for my husband and I delights of the heart that are unimaginable. InshaAllah.

Allah tells us in the Holy Quran:

“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As- Saabiroon (the patient). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’ They are those on whom are the Salawaat (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones”.                                                                                                                                                         The Holy Quran 2:155-157

So for the last few years, I have been helping sisters from all backgrounds, ages and circumstances, supporting them through their loss.

All was going well when alhamdulillah I found out I was expecting our fifth child. Our family would be complete, but subhanAllah at twelve weeks I suffered my third miscarriage.

It was happening all over again. But this time it was different.

I had all the ayahs and hadiths going through my mind, reminding myself that this is a test…Allah swt wants to bring you closer to Him…He wants to forgive your sins… He wants to raise your ranks in the Akhirah… He wants to take back what He has given you and reward you with that which is better.

“If Allah wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials”.                                                 Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 70, Number no, 548

I remember that night as I lay exhausted, weeping, begging my Creator.

“Ya Allah I am patient with your decision, and I put my trust in You and I expect my reward only from You”, and I kept repeating that in the days and weeks that followed, subhanAllah as broken as my heart was, this time I was aware that Allah swt was really listening. The thing is that He swt always had been, it was me that had taken so long to realise.

“And Allah loves As-Saabiroon (the patient)”.                                                                                   The Holy Quran 3:146 

I dealt with my third loss in a way that I am sure I wouldn’t have been able to if I had not been a part of the Muslim Bereavement Support Service.

BUT it didn’t mean I wasn’t heartbroken.

The soul accepts but the heart still weeps. And really it’s ok to weep. Its ok to weep if we feel sad, it’s ok to weep if someone beloved dies. It’s ok to weep if we miss that person and miss them like crazy. It’s ok. It is NOT A SIN, it is NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS and it is certainly NOT NON ACCEPTANCE OF ALLAH SWT’S WILL!

For even our beloved Prophet Muhammad S.A.W wept:

Anas bin Malik reported that: “The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) entered the room and we accompanied him… And Ibrahim (the Prophet S.A.Ws son) breathed his last. The eyes of Allah’s Messenger (S.A.W.) were filled with tears. Abdur Rehman Ibne Auf said: ‘you are weeping, O Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.)’. He (S.A.W.) replied: “Ibne Auf, This is mercy”. Then he (S.A.W.) said: “Our eyes shed tears and our hearts are filled with grief, but we do not say anything except that by which Allah is pleased. O, Ibrahim we are sorrowful due to your separation.”                                      Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abi Dawood and Sunan Ibne Majah

And though I wept for days on after, and still do every now and then, I had hope and felt blessed that Allah swt had chosen us, He swt had chosen me.

“Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full, without reckoning”.                                       The Holy Quran 39:10

InshaAllah.

I went on to have my youngest son, within a year of our third loss, Alhamdulillah Allah swt is the Most Merciful. People see us as a family of five but my in my heart it will always be eight.

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“When a person’s child dies, Allah the Most High asks His angels, ‘Have you taken out the life of the child of My slave?’  They reply in the affirmative. He then asks, ‘Have you taken the fruit of his heart?’ They reply in the affirmative. Thereupon he asks, ‘What has My slave said?’ They say: ‘He has praised You and said: Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un (We belong to Allah and to Him we shall be returned).’ Allah says: ‘Build a house for My slave in Jannah and name it Bait-ul-Hamd (the House of Praise)’”.                   At-Tirmidhi, Number 1736

With tears in my eyes and a smile on my lips, I remind myself about how one day inshaAllah, my husband and I will be reunited with our three children at the gates of Paradise where they will refuse to enter without us and where we -all eight of us will reside forever in our Bait-ul-Hamd. In the meantime, they are playing in the Gardens of Paradise with our beloved Prophet Ibrahim A.S watching over them.

 

Dearest reader                                                                                                                                             May every hardship you go through become a means of attaining closeness to Allah swt , may every loss you have suffered be a means of gaining His swt’s pleasure, may you be reunited with your loved ones in the akhirah in Jannatul Firdous. May Allah swt bless you with the best in deen, dunya and akhirah. Aameen.

For services or more information  about the Muslim Bereavement Support Service visit http://www.mbss.org.uk, or call 0203 468 7333 or email: info@mbss.org.uk

 

As they increase in age…so do my worries.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم

Alhamdulillah she has just turned nine years old. My eldest.


The coolness of our eyes and the contentment of our hearts. May Allah swt always keep her like that. Aameen.

Once a shy little sweet girl, is now turning into a notsolittle girl. A girly girl who likes pretty things, arts and crafts and has the biggest sweet tooth ever! Mashallah laquwata illa billah.

However, as time goes by and her  character develops and changes, so is her physical appearance. And alhamdulillah as happy as I am to see her thrive and grow, there is a worry inside me that grows alongside…

I remember being that age, I lived in jeans and dungarees, a bit of a tomboy… the son my parents never had. It was only a couple of years later that I wasnt allowed to wear those “boys” clothes, and had to start wearing traditional asian clothing.

With my daughter however, I have started much earlier, not necessarily having to wear traditional asian attire but as long as her clothes are modest, loose fitting and cover her appropriately.

Some people asked me why from such a young age, some even criticised.

One word.

Well actually two.

Sex education.

(And no not the type we learn in school, although I’m going to have to have that discussion with her at some point…)

Sex education. Surely teaching our children to dress modestly at a young age is key to starting to teach them about modesty and haya. Teaching them that their body is theirs, a gift from Allah swt and should be looked after and well protected. (Thinking to myself… from prying eyes and evil thoughts).

Hijab. Another controversy.

“She’s only little, why do you make her wear it?”

I dont.

Honestly I dont and I never have. Encouraged with love? Definitely, but never forced.

Alhamdulillah, having it as part of school uniform and seeing me wear it, has embedded a natural habit and she sees it as a normal part of “getting ready” each day.

Surely instilling good habits from a young age will inshaAllah go a long way and make them easy to do at an older age?

All too often in my profession, I see the same mistake repeated. No encouragement, teaching or training given. She hits thirteen and boom! “Happy Birthday… heres a hijab”, not literally but almost. And that goes for many other things like limiting where she goes, who she sees, what she wears and how she behaves. Some people think their child is magically going to transform overnight. No one does. No one can. May Allah swt make it easy for those parents and increase understanding and love between them and their children. Aameen.

I remember at university classes meeting a forty something fashion student, cropped hair, cropped jeans, cropped everything. And then meeting the same student in the prayer room, fully covered praying salah. And she would turn up for every single salah.

When she saw me she laughed and said,”from a young age my parents taught us no matter what, never leave your salah…so I havent, I just cant…”. SubhanAllah. May Allah swt strengthen her imaan and grant her happiness wherever she is. Aameen.

Some time ago a close friend messaged me regarding my parenting skills and wrote, “you’re amazing mashaAllah. Such a wonderful example to the rest of us x”. Now as flattering as that message is my response was, “not really- feel like I should be doing loads more… just blagging my way through this parenting malarky x”.

Its so diffcult “getting it right”, they dont come with manuals and we dont get any training!

Alhamdulillah all is not lost, Allah swt tells us,

قَالَ لَا تَخَافَا إِنَّنِي مَعَكُمَا أَسْمَعُ وَأَرَىٰ

“He said: Fear not, surely I am with you both: I do hear and see.” The Quran 20:46.

We are not alone and we never will be, alhamdulillah Allah swt is always with us.

And what we can do is make lots of dua, seek help and guidance from Allah swt, try our best and leave the rest to Him swt.

May Allah swt enable us all to teach, guide, protect and do the best we can for our children, and may our children grow to be the best of human beings. Aameen.