Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Gradual Doom
Al-Araf (The Heights) - Chapter 7 : Verse 182
"But those who deny Our signs - We will progressively lead them [to destruction] from where they do not know."
When a person chooses the path of virtue and patiently perseveres in it, taysir or facilitation usually takes him into a new phase where his wise choice finds Divine support and help. If on the other hand a servant chooses an evil course in life, misusing his freedom, and persists in it, then the phenomenon of facilitation takes on a rather terrible form, against which we should always seek Allah's refuge. It is termed istidraj or driving someone to destruction gradually, by degrees or little by little. It is difficult to tell when facilitation actually takes on the form of divine help or emerges as istidraj, gradually drawing a sinner to his final doom.
Man moves forward with great zest and force of his own free volition either in the direction of the good or on the path to disaster. In the one case, man is helped and supported by Allah, whereas in the other he is encouraged to keep on his chosen course until he meets his doom. But in both cases, whether one receives divine help or is gradually drawn to his final punishment, it is man himself who makes his choice and decides which way he is going to follow. Thereafter he is either helped along the course of his choice or simply encouraged and drawn on towards his final doom.
Compiled From:
"Freedom and Responsibility in Quranic Perspective" - Hasan Al-Anani, pp. 111-114
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Bedtime Recitation
When going to sleep it is recommended to recite Ayat al-Kursi, Surat al-Ikhlas, Surat al-Falaq, Surat al-Nas, and the end of al-Baqara (2:284-86). This is something to give particular attention to and is emphasized to heed, since rigorously authenticated hadiths concerning this have been established.
Abu Masud al-Badri, may Allah be pleased with him, relates that the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) said, "The two verses at the end of al-Baqara are sufficient [in their blessings] for anyone who reads them in one night." [Bukhari]
Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "I have not seen any rational person who has entered Islam sleep until he had recited Ayat al-Kursi (Quran, 2:255). [Darimi]
Uqba ibn Amir, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Messenger of God said to me, 'Do not let a night pass you unless you recite therein al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq, and al-Nas.' Thereafter, not a night passed me unless I recited them." [Ahmad]
Compiled From:
"Etiquette with the Quran" - Imam al-Nawawi, pp. 107, 108
Meal Manners
Spiritual masters traditionally have focused on hunger. The goal is not to create a nation of anorexics but to cut the knot that binds self-discipline.
Ramadan is a time to experience hunger with good cheer and renewed gratitude. It is divorcing oneself from the world and being reminded of our spiritual soul. But a person can rob Ramadan of an important benefit by overeating at night in order to make up for what was missed during the day. The night become night-long buffets and worship vigils become secondary (or ignored).
People who have a problem with eathing should start at least by lessening the portion of what they normally eat, which is the beginning of discipline.
The combination of overeating and a breakdown of meal manners impairs a person's ability to build fortitude. A Muslim begins each meal in the name of God. The purpose of this, in addition to sanctifying a mundane act, is to consciously remember the source of the provision. And if one eats alone, he tries to find company to share the meal with. When the meal is complete, he praises God. If one is hosted, he thanks the host and offers prayers.
Compiled From:
"Purification of the Heart" - Hamza Yusuf, pp. 146, 147

Monday, June 24, 2013

Old Muslim Grandma in the shoe.

Did you know that besides having 10 children I also had a grandchild? She is 6 yrs old and the daughter of my second oldest, my daughter. Well in April she just had another one! Masha Allah. Alhumdullilah. She had another daughter who is like a baby doll for the older one! The amazing thing is that she looks like me! Masha Allah. I sure wish they lived closer so I could snuggle her all the time. Speaking of babies, did you see this new product? No I didn 't buy it ,but I just saw it a couple of days ago, while buying some presents for my friends' newborn babies. I guess this would be good for when you are exhausted.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Al-Maidah (The Table Spread) - Chapter 5 : Verse 48 (partial)
"Had God so willed, He would have made you a single community."
When it comes to relations between free and equal human beings, autonomous and independent nations, or civilizations, religions and cultures, appeals for the tolerance of others are no longer relevant. When we are on equal terms, it is no longer a matter of conceding tolerance, but of rising above that and educating ourselves to respect others. This requires a very different intellectual and emotional attitude. It begins with the recognition that the presence of the other within my own conception of the world is both a fact and a necessity. The above verse expresses the essence and finality of this diversity in no uncertain terms.
Recognizing the diversity of paths and the equality of all human beings are the two preconditions for the respect that allows us to get beyond the power relationship characteristic of relations of tolerance. Respect implies an active and proactive attitude towards others, rather than a passive attitude: we have to be curious about the other's presence and being, and try to know the other once we have learned to recognize him. Recognition, active curiosity and knowledge introduce our intellects and hearts to the world of the complexity of others. We begin to gain access to their principles, hopes, tensions and contradictions, as well as the diversity of currents that run through their universe of reference. Tolerance can reduce the other to a mere presence; respect opens up to us the complexity of his being. At the same time it teaches us to recognize that the other is as complex as we are: he is our equal, our mirror, our question. The other exists within me, and I exist within the other.
Compiled From:
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 48-49
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "When the believers pass safely over (the bridge across) Hell, they will be stopped at an arched bridge in between Hell and Paradise where they will retaliate upon each other for the injustices (dhulm) done among them in the world. When they are then purified of their sins, they will be admitted into Paradise." [Bukhari]
The Prophet also stated: "Whoever has wronged another concerning his reputation or anything else should beg him to forgive him before the Day of Resurrection when there will be no money [to compensate for wrong deeds], but if he has good deeds, those good deeds will be taken from him according to the wrong he has done. And if he has no good deeds, the sins of the oppressed person will be loaded on him." [Bukhari]

Any kind of harm that a person does to another is a form of dhulm and is forbidden. A Muslim may not harm another's honour, wealth or life. If a person strikes, abuses, curses, cheats, backbites or harms another person or if he helps another wrongly against someone, falsely accuses someone, lies about someone, and so forth, then he is committing dhulm. In fact, if a person prevents another from getting his due rights, he has committed dhulm. Dhulm is also inclusive of the misuse of power by people in positions of authority.
Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of al-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 922-924
Cool Tips!
5 Great Goals for Ramadan
1. Give a dollar a day in charity...or five or ten
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was always generous but even more so in Ramadan. Let's open our hearts and dig a little deeper in our wallets this year. Even less than a dollar a day adds up. Whatever you can give, it's the intention that counts.
2. Call/email your relatives
You'd think that given the easy access to email, competitive long-distance calling rates, phone cards, etc. these days, we'd keep in touch with family and friends more often. But the opposite seems to be the case, as we get caught up in life's "busyness." Strengthening ties with family members and keeping in touch with friends is part of our way of life and an act Allah is very pleased with. This Ramadan, call family and friends or at least email them a Ramadan card and ask them how their fasting is going.
3. Go on a technology diet
Even if you work in the IT industry, you can do this. Avoid checking personal email and surfing the web during your fast. After Iftar, instead of plopping yourself in front of the screen, go to Tarawih. The same goes for the television. The point is to try to give our full attention to spiritual elevation this month.
4. Read 5 minutes of Quran a day...just five, not more, not less
Even if you feel you've got absolutely no time, set a timer or the alarm on your cell phone and find a relatively quiet place. You can read the first page of the Quran you open or follow a sequence. The choice is yours. The point is simply to connect with God through His revelation in the month of the Quran.
5. Forgive everyone who has hurt you
Still got a festering wound from the fight with your friend last year? Still upset about something your spouse said during a heated argument? Or are you still bitter about the way your parents sometimes treated you as a kid? Let go of the anger and pain this Ramadan and forgive those who have hurt you. Forgiving someone is not only good for the body, but it's also great for the soul. And in Ramadan, ten days of which are devoted to Allah's forgiveness, shouldn't we lesser beings forgive too? If you find it very difficult to forgive everyone, forgive at least three people.
Compiled From:
"10 great goals to set for this Ramadan" -

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Cycle of Life
Al-Rum (The Byzantines) - Chapter 30 : Verse 19 (partial)
"He it is who brings forth the living out of that which is dead, and brings forth the dead out of that which is alive, and gives life to the earth after it has been lifeless. Likewise shall you be raised to life."
It is a continuous cycle that never stops for a moment of the night or day at any place on earth, in space, or the depths of the sea. At every moment this great miracle occurs, but we remain heedless of it because of our long familiarity with it. Not a moment passes by without a life coming out of a dead thing, or a living being dying: a small bud shoots out of a seed or splits a stone to come into a life; or conversely a branch or a tree withers away. Still in the heap of dying plants and trees a seed or a stone is ready to start the life cycle again, and out of that heap gases spread into the air or provide nourishment to the soil that becomes fertile. At every moment life starts in a foetus, a bird or an animal. A corpse buried in the earth becomes part of the soil and gives it vapours and gases that make new life matter and nourishment for plants, which in turn provide food for man and animal. A similar cycle takes place in the depths of the sea and in limitless space. It is an awesome, fascinating cycle if we would only contemplate it with insight, guided by the light of the Quran.
Likewise we shall be raised to life. It is all an ordinary, simple matter, familiar in the universe, ocurring at every moment of the night and day and in all places.
Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol. 13, pp. 369, 370

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
When you imagine something, an image from the studio of your mind is brought to life on the stage of your inner vision.

When you imagine someone greedily sucking on a sour lemon, his face all puckered up, your salivary glands become active. This is a physical reaction to a stimulus coming directly from your mind. Likewise, if you imagine beautiful and provocative sights, they will produce effects on your body as if you were looking at those things. When you talk to someone on the phone you never met, your mind automatically constructs an image of that person based on the timbre of their voice. When you imagine a loved one you miss very much, your mind might wander to that far-off place where they are, so you will fancy yourself sitting and talking with the one you love, oblivious to everything that is around you.

Think about what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Have you considered if there was a river at the door of your house that you bathed in five times a day, would any dirt remain on you?" His Companions concurred that no dirt would remain. Then he said: "The five daily prayers are the same. Allah wipes away our sins with them." [Bukhari, Muslim]

Can you read this without imagining yourself going out your front door and finding a river crossing your path? If this never happened to you before, then let it happen now. The time that you have for yourself is precious. You do not have to spend it all sitting in the cage of your circumstances, as if your mind was a prisoner behind the iron bars of the moment at hand.

When you read in the Qur’an about the delights of Paradise and the punishment of Hell, does no image come to mind? What then moves us, when we read these verses, to turn to Allah in remembrance and devotion, when nothing in the Hereafter resembles the things of this world except in name?

Every change in life requires imagining it first. Imagination is the secret means that transports us to our goals. It enables the mind to absorb the stresses of life and conceive of a better future, empowering us to surmount our obstacles and solve our problems.

You must first imagine the circumstances that you want for yourself and society. Then you must take an appropriate course of action. Your goals are essentially what you imagine your future to be. Our dreams and aspirations have their origins in our imaginings. The imagination works upon the heart and the mind.

If you come to the point when you cannot imagine a world any different than the one that surrounds you, then your life will become tiresome indeed. All progress starts with the imagination. It is the only way to reach beyond the closed doors of the future.
Compiled From:
"Imagine" - Salman al-Oadah
All Revelation reached the Prophet, peace be upon him, in the course of his earthly experience, with the exception of the verses that establish the fundamental pillars of faith (al-iman) and the duty of prayer (as-salat). The Prophet was raised to heaven to receive the teachings that were to become the foundation of Islamic worship and ritual, al-aqidah and al-ibadat, which require that believers should accept their form as well as their substance. Unlike the field of social affairs (al-muamalat), which calls for the creative mediation of people's intellect and intelligence, human rationality here submits, in the name of faith and as an act of humility, to the order imposed by Revelation: God has prescribed requirements and norms that the mind must hear and implement and the heart must love. Raised to receive the injunction of ritual prayer, the Prophet and his experience reveal what prayer must in essence be: a reminder of and an elevation toward the Most High, five times a day, in order to detach from oneself, from the world, and from illusions. The prayer enables us to liberate our consciousness from the contingencies of space and time, and fully comprehend the meaning of life.
Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 73, 74

Sunday, June 9, 2013

My trip to Malaysia Part 8 -Kuala Lumpur (not)

Insha Allah soon I will get to this post. :) This trip is almost over..well the reminisces.

Whoops I'm getting a little ahead of myself. I left out some important stuff that happens before the KL leg of the trip.

After eid and before we left for KL we did some things like get my daughter's IC card which was the whole point of the trip or in my opinion a good excuse for the trip. IC means Identification Card. Since my kids have dual citizenship, they qualify for it. The guy who worked there even told my husband that I qualify for it too. Yippee! And so do my kids from my previous marriage which we never knew before and tickled them pink to know!

 We also went to KB (Kota Bharu) mall to shop for clothes. Aside from getting new abayas and baju kurung at places like D'Yana, Perempuan and First Lady for ourselves and my second daughter who wasn't there for the trip, we also got Eid clothes for Eid-ul-Fitr 2013. The Eid clothes were from First Lady who also has men's clothes (baju melayu). Since Eid had just happened though, it was pretty picked over and we couldn't get the colours we wanted in all the sizes we needed so we chose a colour that we weren't really into, but alhumdullilah, we managed to find matches for everyone, except 2 which we found the same styles but a different colour. But dh was very happy that this time he didn't have to buy material and give all our measurements to a seamstress to sew; not only did he save time but also money. What's amazing is that we can even find our sizes since we are all taller than the average Malaysian. (actually this happened after we got back from KL but we did got to Tesco and get my daughter an abaya). Nevertheless we did go shopping ;)

This time period was also used to visit the graveyard where my parents in-laws are buried. The last time I went to Malaysia they were alive and well so this was hard for me. We recited Quran for them and made dua. I was expecting the tombs to have flat slabs on them with their names but they have these little white clay things (sorry I don't know what they are called) on them. Then we went to visit some other relatives who lived nearby.

Stay tuned for the next installment which features our surprise trip.

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Dealing Nobly
Al-Hujurat (The Chambers) - Chapter 49 : Verse 11 (partial)
"O you who believe, do not let people mock another people; for it may be that these are better than them; nor should women mock other women, for it may be that these are better than them. And do not taunt one another nor insult each other with nicknames."
Mocking people is a form of ignorance, whether it is lampooning, caricaturing, or name calling. Humour and levity are important in human life. But levity as a way of life harms the spiritual heart. And laughter and amusement at the expense of the dignity of others is wholly inappropriate.
Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Do not belittle anyone, for he may be a saint of God." Even if one sees a man inebriated and bellicose, vomiting in the street, one should not ridicule him, for one does not know what his future holds. Imam al-Qurtubi once said, "When he was bowing down to idols in Makkah, Umar ibn al-Khattab was still beloved to God." Only God knows the seal of people and their destinies. A Moroccan proverb says, "Never mock any creature of God, for it might be beloved to He who created it."
There is strength in dealing nobly with people. It is simply a better way to live. The essence of mockery is to humiliate people. Those who mock people in this life shall be mocked in the Hereafter, for it is a divine law that God recompenses people with the like of what they have done.
Compiled From:
"Purification of The Heart" - Hamza Yusuf, pp. 141-143

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Dignity of Individuals
Justice is a condition for peace, and the Prophet, peace be upon him, kept insisting that one cannot experience the taste of equity if one is unable to respect the dignity of individuals. He set slaves free and recommended that Muslims pledge to do so constantly: the faith community of believers had to be a community of free beings. Revelation showed him the way, and, as we have often seen, he never ceased to give particular attention to slaves, the poor, and the lowly in society. He invited them to assert their dignity, to demand their rights, and to get rid of any feeling of inferiority; the message was a call for religious, social, and political liberation. At the close of his mission, in the plain lying at the foot of the Mount of Mercy (Jabal ar-Rahmah), men and women of all races, cultures, and colours, rich and poor, were present and listened to this message, which stressed that the best among people are so through their hearts, which are determined neither by class nor by colour or culture. "The best among you is the best toward people," he had once said [Bayhaqi].
In the name of human brotherhood - addressing not just Muslims but all people (an-nas), as he did during the farewell sermon - he taught each conscience to transcend the appearances that might hinder its progress towards the Just (al-adl). In the presence of God, nothing could justify discrimination, social injustice, or racism. In the Muslim community, a black man called the believers to prayer, and a slave's son commanded the army; faith had freed the believers from judgements based on deceptive appearances (linked to origin and social status) that stimulate unwise passions and dehumanize them.
Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 212, 213
Public Safety
It is street life and connected neighbours that make a neighbourhood safe. We think the Police can keep us safe. In our concern for safety, we too often defer to the professionals. Police are not the answer. They are needed for crime; they cannot produce safety.
There is in every neighbourhood structures for citizens to volunteer: Citizens on Patrol, Neighbourhood Watch, safety meetings, educational pamphlets hung on people's front doors by the police. These go under the title of crime prevention. They are a useful warning system and help us watch out for criminals, loitering, strangers hanging out in the neighbourhood, but they still function within the retributive mindset.
The shift is to realize that safety occurs through neighbourhood relatedness. The efforts that move in this direction focus on identifying neighbourhood assets. On creating occasions for citizens to know each other through clean-up campaigns, block parties, and citizen activist movements to confront irresponsible landlords, and abandoned houses and lots. Anything that helps neighbours to know who lives on the street. Every neighbourhood has certain connector people who know everyone else's going on. We need ways to recognize these people and others.
If we looked at the assets of the neighbourhood, we would realize that youth are on the streets in the afternoon, and retired people and shut-ins have the time to watch what is going on. When we recognize the gifts of these people, safety will be produced.
Compiled From:
"Community: The Structure of Belonging" - Peter Block, pp. 166, 167