Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Day of Judgment and Justice

The Day of Judgment exists because justice is not always meted out in this world, and even when it is, it is carried out by human standards and it is rarely ever resolved in a manner that gives each person their absolute due.
On the Day of Judgment, no human being can plead with the judge or jury for sympathy or justify their actions or silence their opponents; on the Day of Judgment, there will only be Divine Justice against which none can utter a word of opposition.
Human transgressions against the rights of others are so easy to commit, so easy to justify, so easy to defend. If we do not hold ourselves accountable for them right now, know that there will be a Day when we will be held accountable by the Most Just. Even the animals on that Day will have their rights in this world avenged - how much more so, then, will the rights of other people be upheld and exacted?
" “Allaah will judge between His creation, jinn, men and animals. On that Day, Allaah will let the hornless animal settle its score with the horned until, when there is nothing left to be settled, Allaah will say to them, ‘Be dust.’" (Silsilat asSaheeha)
It was narrated from Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sitting, and two sheep locked horns until one of them defeated and subdued the other. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) smiled and someone asked him, “Why are you smiling, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “It is amazing. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, their score will be settled on the Day of Resurrection.”
“O Abu Dharr, do you know what they are fighting over?” He said, “No.” He said, “But Allaah knows and He will judge between them.”

Women Abuse, Too

It is disturbing to know that women verbally abusing their husbands during fights is not viewed as equally abhorrent as men being verbally abusive to their wives. As Muslims, male or female, one should never allow themselves to be so overcome with anger that they find it easy to spit out vile words to each other - particularly to one's spouse, who deserves our greatest efforts in controlling our tempers.
Even worse is when women laugh it off or shrug it off as 'just another fight, no big deal.' It IS a big deal. Even in moments of anger, the angels are writing down every word that passes through our lips, and a single word can be seen in the Sight of Allah as worse than an ocean of poison.
It doesn't matter what hardships we face as women, we *don't* have a blank cheque to flip our ish and go ballistic.
At bare minimum, we must be conscious that we are being held accountable by Allah for our words and actions, even if it doesn't involve our spouses or our children. But when it's targeted towards them, towards those whom we are meant to be a source of comfort and safety, how much more terrible is it, especially if we are the first to demand excellence of treatment?
More than ever, it is necessary for us to admit and acknowledge that abuse is not a solely male-to-female problem - we too are equally responsible for perpetuating it, even if we don't view it as something that serious, let alone abusive.
The upholding of women's rights does not equate the eradication of basic adab and akhlaaq, towards men or anyone else.

Indeed, God is with the Patient

When we think about the Saabireen, oftentimes we need look no further than our own parents or spouses or the masjid aunty/uncle we say salaam to every Jumu'ah.
People who are complete strangers to us and those whom we are closest to can be of those who endure trials and tribulations so difficult that we cannot possibly understand what they endure... and yet they do, with taqwa and smiles that mask all that they have to go through in life. Allah alone knows the true depths of patience they exhibit in moments of heart-wrenching agony.
Whether it's financial struggles, health issues, relationship difficulties, family matters, or any other type of personal and spiritual fitnah, the Saabireen are not those who find it easy to coast through these tests, but may in fact find it even more difficult to experience them and restrain their anger, frustration, and hurt. They are not necessarily perfect, they may well find themselves making mistakes that they regret with regards to how they react, but they are also the first to turn to Allah in repentance for their frustration and beg Him to make them stronger and able to pass His tests in a manner pleasing to Him.
The Saabireen are not merely those who spend their days in fasting and prayer and who display outward piety, but those who struggle within themselves during times of deep human pain and are able to - if only by a thread - control their words and their actions when others would find it easy to justify their rage.
And truly, for those who are able to accomplish such a feat, Allah has promised: {Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account.}

Listening to my father reciting aloud in Salatul Maghrib and watching my daughter praying with him makes me feel dangerously sentimental.
For real, though - the simple act of a Muslim man leading his household in such a basic and fundamental act of worship is powerful. So is a Muslim woman leading her family's womenfolk in salah - for one's daughters to hear a woman's voice rise in the recitation of Qur'an.
It is so, so important for children to see & hear both parents/elders of both genders leading them in salah. It will impact them forever. On a spiritual and emotional level, the sight & sound of witnessing and participating in 'ebaadah together is indelible to a child's psyche.
You'd never guess which moments will stay with them forever... for me, it's the sound of my father reciting the last few ayaat of Surah YaSeen and Surah alQiyaamah in Isha, of hearing my grandmother complete her daily wird every day after Salatul Fajr, of seeing my mother cradling her mus'haf after Maghrib, of my grandfather's baritone rumbling with the Divine Words.
For my daughter, I hope that she too carries moments like these in her heart - that she remembers praying with her family, that she recalls her sujjaadah laid out next to mine, our feet nestled together, her purple prayer outfit swishing against the folds of my abayah, that her ears echo with the recitation of the Qur'an in the mornings and evenings.
Rabbi ij'alni muqeem assalaati wa min thurriyyati, Rabbana wa taqabbal du'a.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Mahr Q&A

Regarding the issue of stipulating salawaat, ayaat of the Qur'an, or obligatory acts of worship such as Hajj for a woman's mahr (1):
The story of Umm Sulaym (radhiAllahu 'anha) cannot be used as an evidence for the validity of requesting a mahr that is related to worship or thing without a specific value.
The incident regarding Umm Sulaym (radhiAllahu 'anha) and Abu Tal'ha (radhiAllahu 'anhu) took place before the Hijrah, whereas aayah 24 of Surah anNisaa', which specifically mentions the Mahr, was revealed several years after the Hijrah of RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam).(2)
All four madhaahib are agreed upon that the Mahr must constitute something of value.
"As one of the conditions is the status of dowry itself; being lawful and having pecuniary value in terms of a commodity whose transaction is considered legal by Islamic law."(3)

To illustrate:
يجوز جعل المصحف ذاته مهرا لكونه متمولا، ولا يجوز جعل العمل به مهرا لكون ذلك غير متمول.
"It is permitted to set the written copy of Quran as mahr because it is of monetary value, but it is not permissible to set acting upon the Quran as mahr as it has no monetary value." (4)

However, women do have the right to waive their dowry if they choose to do so freely and without coercion. (5)

RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) gave all his wives a Mahr of monetary value. Dollar-to-dollar, the price depends upon currency etc. but it was, at the time, equivalent to 1487.5 grams of silver. (6)
2) حدهما: أن ذلك كان قبل هجرة رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) بمدة، لأن أبا طلحة قديم الإسلام من أول الأنصار إسلاماً، ولم يكن نزل إيجاب إيتاء النساء صدقاتهن. الثاني: " أنه ليس في ذلك الخبر أن رسول الله (صلى الله عليه وسلم) علم ذلك ".
http://www.almoslim.net/node/225727

Monday, January 02, 2017

Our Men's Pain

As much as I rail on about what Muslim women face, I do want to take a moment to say that many of us don't recognize that many Muslim men go through heartache, racism, discrimination, painful marriages & even more painful divorces, and so much more.
Women suffer because of toxic masculinity, but men are the first victims of it - when their own sense of self is battered and broken almost from infancy. There are very few men who are raised to understand and implement true qiwamah - with all the positive attributes of masculinity rather than merely the outward trappings.
Regardless, Muslim men go through so much on a daily basis, in ways that we almost never even think of. Mental health, physical health, self esteem, spirituality, family pressures, struggling to break away from certain types of cultural programming... as women, we are often so focused on the pain that we face constantly, that we don't recognize the pain that our men go through.
And while it is, in a way, socially acceptable for us to air our grievances - at least amongst ourselves - men don't always have that luxury. In so many cases, Muslim men find themselves being reamed out in public and in private, with few places to turn for emotional support - including from their spouses.
And yes, we women complain that our men don't understand & support us emotionally, but we don't realize that while we often have safe spaces to turn to other women & find consolation, our men rarely do. Sometimes, just sometimes, we need to be there for them the way we have others who are there for us.
Allah describes spouses as garments for each other, as those with whom we should find tranquility, & while I (& others) spend an awful lot of time berating men to be that type of spouse, we need to remember that those ayaat apply to us too. Being a supportive wife isn't just about cooking his meals & popping out his kids; it's also about setting aside our own egos and being willing to listen and to comfort and to support. You don't even have to agree with him, but you can certainly make him feel that he isn't on trial from the moment he opens his mouth.
Our men are strong, but they aren't invulnerable. They screw up, but they're not (all) villains. They're (usually) upholding the patriarchy, but they're not always misogynistic. They are human & crave the sweetness of the human experience just as much as we do. Often, they are wounded & hurting far more than we can imagine, & yet take on still more for the sake of their parents, their wives, and their children.
These men are, in many ways, #TrueQawwam even if they are not perfectly so.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

"How would you feel if it was your daughter?"

"Brothers, how would you feel if someone abused your mother/ sister/ wife/ daughter?"
Guys.
Guys.
You don't get it. Dearest shuyookh, your intentions are sweet, but you don't get it.
Men DO abuse their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. They watch their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters be abused.
And they let it happen.
Maybe they don't always approve of it. Maybe they feel bad. Maybe they genuinely think it's terrible.
But they let it happen.
"She's married now, we can't interfere."
"She needs to be more patient, all men get angry sometimes."
"She just needs to stop being stubborn and get used to it."
"Divorce is the most hated thing in the sight of Allah."
"Men will handle their own business, we can't get involved."
And so another generation of sons, brothers, husbands and fathers grow up watching their womenfolk being lashed at with both words and fists. It's normal, after all.
Some will break the cycle, recalling the horror they witnessed; these men, the true qawwam, will block the blows rained down upon their mothers and protect their daughters and show their wives only the greatest respect.
But many will not, because gheerah is no longer about protecting one's womenfolk from harm, but about protecting male ego and so-called honour built upon insecurity.
"Brothers, how would you feel if someone abused your mother/ sister/ wife/ daughter?"
Not enough to make it stop.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Barakah

How do you know if there is barakah in your life? So often, it seems to be an almost indescribable quality, a concept that's difficult to recognise due to it being so unquantifiable.
And yet, you will know when you have it.
When the food in your fridge comes together in a wholesome meal that satisfies the family; when your paycheque stretches more than you ever imagined it could; when being with your loved ones fills you with contentment; when you experience joy in the simplest of things; when your fears and worries no longer overwhelm you so much; when difficult times are bearable because you know that they're a means of bringing you closer to Allah; when you don't feel the gnawing urge to make more, spend more, accumulate more; when good things happen unexpectedly and you're eager to share the benefits with others; when you find yourself indifferent to shallow societal standards and are happy with living your life your own way... all of these are signs of barakah in your life.
Outward wealth or meeting arbitrary standards set by others are no marker of how blessed you are. How you feel about what you already have, however, most certainly is.
Verily, Allah is the source of all blessing and He is the Most Generous to His slaves.

...

I once wrote about how one can tell if there is barakah in their life - how one feels a sense of contentment, of richness and fullness in their lives even when things are, outwardly, difficult.
How, then, does one tell if we *don't* have barakah in our lives?
If barakah is blessing and spiritual fulfillment, then its opposite is its loss.
To be starved of barakah is to find oneself reluctant to pray even the briefest of voluntary rak'aat, to glance at one's mus'haf and think absently, "I'll read it later," only for the glossy emerald green cover and gilded script become dull beneath a thin veneer of dust.
To be starved of barakah is to feel restless and anxious, to feel a gnawing ache for more, to accumulate more, to demand more; to outwardly have all the trappings of success and privilege handed to you on a silver platter, yet there is no true joy or beauty in one's heart.
To be starved of barakah is to have one's bank account filled with wealth earned from haraam; to have debts both material and spiritual strangling one's sense of peace; to eat an extravagant meal that fails to abate the appetite; to constantly crave the next fix, the next big hit, unable to quell the yearning desire for something inexplicably just beyond our reach.
It is terrible and heartrending, a malady unrecognized by doctors or self-help books - but not without cure. Ash-Shaafi, the Healer is also al-Qareeb, the Ever-Close; He is Al-Mujeeb, the Ever Responsive to our calls - and He has promised us that there is always, always, a way out of the abyss.
{He who draws close to Me a hand's span, I will draw close to him an arm's length. And whoever draws near Me an arm's length, I will draw near him a fathom's length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running. And whoever faces Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, I will meet him with forgiveness nearly as great as that, provided he does not worship something with me.} (Hadith Qudsi)

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Sh Muhammad Akram Nadwi on Female Leadership

This won't be too detailed, but a really interesting tidbit from Sh Akram:
With regards to the hadith of Abu Bakra about how a nation will never succeed if they are led by a woman, it has been taken greatly out of context and misunderstood.
The full story is that RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) sent a letter of da'wah to the Kisrah, who tore up the letter. In response, RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) made du'a that his empire be torn up just as he tore up the letter. Shortly after, Kisrah died, and his daughter was elected the ruler. When RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) heard the news, he made the remark that is so well known today - "Never will a people be successful who give their leadership to a woman."
However, what is not taken into consideration is that he was remarking *very specifically* about the nation of Kisrah - that *they* (a people who had made a woman their leader) would never be successful, not because their leader was a woman, but because RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) had made du'a for their entire empire to be destroyed.
Specifying "a people... who give their leadership to a woman" was merely referring to the people of Kisrah, whom (it appears) were unique at the time for having a female leader. Yet it must be understood that the hadith of Abu Bakra is not a blanket statement to be used at preventing women from having *any* positions of authority.
As a side note - Abu Bakra was the sole Sahabi to use this hadith as an evidence against recognizing or acknowledging A'ishah's leadership in the Battle of the Camel. If, truly, the hadith was meant as a general statement against women being leaders at all, then surely the many, many other Sahabah who were still alive at that time would have used it as an evidence against A'ishah and used it to warn her that she was not allowed to assume leadership of men. Instead, numerous Companions of RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) accompanied her, and even those who opposed her politically during that time did not ever use this statement against her.

One point that Sh Akram made in his explanation of the hadith on female leadership was that sometimes RasulAllah used a general phrase while referring to a specific individual.
There was another incident wherein this can also be found:
Abu Hurairah (radhiAllahu 'anhu) narrated a hadith which said, "The child of zina is the worst of the three."
When A'ishah (radhiAllahu 'anha) heard about this, she said, "May Allah forgive Abu Hurairah! He did not hear correctly and thus he is not teaching correctly. The hadith was not said like this. Rather, there was once a man from the hypocrites of Medinah who used to verbally abuse RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) a great deal. This eventually upset him, and he asked his Companions, 'Who amongst you is willing to protect me from this man?' They told him, 'This man, in addition to his already ugly character, is also a child of zina.' Thereupon RasulAllah commented, 'The child of zina (i.e. this man) is the worst of the three (i.e. even worse than his parents, who committed the sin of zina).'"
Thus we can see that out of a certain type of eloquence (and tact), a general phrase was used by RasulAllah that was known and understood by all his Companions in attendance to refer to a specific individual.

And Allah knows best.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Woman's Honour

I am particularly repulsed by the Muslim males on social media who feel perfectly at ease referring to Muslim women by various vulgar terms that insinuate aspersions against their chastity ("hoejabi" etc), claiming that they are doing da'wah by calling out fitnah. In truth, it has nothing to do with da'wah or gheerah, and everything to do with these males' inability (& perhaps refusal) to lower their gaze & control their own painfully adolescent hormones.
Not to mention that when they take it upon themselves to police the words & actions of other women who don't fit their particular model of "ideal Muslimah-ness" (i.e. invisible), often - once again - they resort to crude insinuations.
The issue of adab aside, the biggest no-no here is that for ANYONE to smear a Muslim woman by attacking her chastity is horrifically wrong. (Then again, I don't expect these punks to have read the Qur'an beyond the second half of Juz 'Amma, let alone read Surah Nur or its tafseer.)
To spell it out for those who can't be bothered to actually open the Qur'an or listen to a tafseer on the topic - slandering a woman's chastity carries a Hadd punishment of 80 lashes, having one's testimony be rejected permanently, & being labeled as one of the Faasiqoon.
There is a huge difference between faahisha (lewdness) & zina (fornication). Seeing someone flirt, dress inappropriately etc is NOT zina. As much as we are to despise faahishah in all its forms, we *cannot* label anyone perceived as immodest as zaani/zaaniyah. The requirement for 4 witnesses in order to claim fornication is extremely serious. The Sahabah held themselves to that standard strictly, as demonstrated in the story of Abu Bakra - and we are to hold ourselves to that selfsame standard.
Males of Muslim Twitter/ Facebook/ social media, chew on that for a bit before chewing out Muslim women whom you know nothing about, & whose honour is worth more in the Sight of Allah than your pathetic egos & obsession with control. Acting pious & religious while violating the rights of a fellow believer is a very obvious sign that you are not, in fact, pious at all.
And if all that isn't enough for y'all, I leave you with the story of Al-Ghaamidiyyah: the Sahabiyyah who committed zina, who begged for the Hadd to be implemented on her, & whose Tawbah was sufficient for seventy of the people of Medinah. Her honour was greater than yours.