Monday, September 30, 2013

Seeing Red

Last July, yeah I'm a little slow, ds3 tested and got his Red Belt. Masha Allah. He has beat out his older brother and everyone else in the family. Dd4 and ds5 still have not gotten their yellow belts even and have totally lost interest. The others make rare visits to prove to the teacher they still exist I guess, jk. Maybe next year dd5 can give it a whirl since she is always asking to go. I hope she will stick to it like ds3. When they first started she was just a baby in the car seat. As for me I don't know if I'll ever go back. Allahu alim..only God knows.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Al-Imran (The House of Imran) - Chapter 3: Verse 32
"Say, 'Obey God and the Messenger.' If they turn their backs, God does not love the unbelievers."
In his commentary of the verse Imam Ibn Kathir says that his verse indicates that to disobey God's Messenger is to reject the faith. God does not love anyone who may be described as an unbeliever, even though he may claim to love God.
In his well-known biography of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, Imam Ibn al-Qayyim writes: "There are well documented reports of many a person from among the people who follow other religions or idolaters who have admitted that the Prophet was a messenger from God and that whatever he said was the truth, but they nevertheless did not become Muslims by that mere admission. When we consider this fact we are bound to conclude that to be a Muslim is much more than the mere knowledge or even the admission of the truthfulness of the Prophet's message; that knowledge and admission must be combined with conscious obedience of the Prophet and the implementation of his religion in every aspect of life."
Compiled From:
"In The Shade of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 2, p. 66

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Remembering the Dead
The Prophet, peace be upon him, has strongly recommended that the dead should be remembered only for their virtues and not for their failings. The seriousness of this type of insult is emphasised by the fact that the dead are unable to defend themselves against attacks on their personal integrity and good name. The Prophet has thus instructed the Muslims to 'mention only the virtues of your deceased ones and avoid talking about their misdeeds'. [Mishkat]
In yet another Hadith he directs the believers to 'avoid reviling the dead as, by doing so, you hurt the feelings of their living relatives'. [Mishkat]
To relate all this to the moral character of the believer, the Prophet has elsewhere declared that the avoidance of insulting others is indicative of the strength of one's character and faith. 'The believer is not abusive, nor is he a slanderer, nor does he curse.' [Mishkat]
Compiled From:
"Freedom of Expression in Islam" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 180, 181

Personal Accountability
One reason why taking responsibility and holding ourselvs accountable is challenging is that we live in an increasingly victimized society. To practice accountability is essentially a 180-degree turn from this basic, overwhelming cultural phenomenon of victimization. As the Russian proverb says, "Success has many fathers while failure is an orphan."
On the other hand, this is also a reason why taking responsibility is so powerful in building trust. While victimization creates dependency and distrust, accountability creates independence and trust. And the geometric effect is powerful. When people - particularly leaders - hold themselves accountable, it encourages others to do the same. When a leader says, "I could have done that better - and I should have!" it encourages others to respond, "Well, no, I was really the one who should have noticed that. I could have supported you more."
This is also true in a marriage or a family. When someone says, "I'm sorry I spent that money impulsively. That wasn't in harmony with our agreement," or "I shouldn't have yelled at you. That didn't show respect," or, on the other hand, "I committed to you that I'd be there, and I was," that acknowledgement of accountability encourages others to be accountable for their own behaviour. It also creates an environment of openness and trust.
Compiled From:
"The Speed of Trust" - Stephen M. R. Covey, p. 203

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Al-Araf (The Heights) - Chapter 7: Verse 188
"Say, 'I hold not for myself [the power of] benefit or harm, except what Allah has willed. And if I knew the unseen, I could have acquired much wealth, and no harm would have touched me. I am but a warner and a bringer of good tidings to a people who believe.'"
The Prophet, peace be upon him, is the leader of all the Prophets. Many miracles are ascribed to him and people learned the religion from him. People acquired piety and righteousness by following his prescribed path. In this verse, Allah instructed him to give people an account of his helplessness making it clearly known to the people that he is neither capable of exercising any authority nor possess any knowledge of the unseen. One can easily derive from the fact that as long as he does not even possess an authority to gain a certain advantage for himself or to ward off an evil from inflicting him, how could he benefit or harm someone else.
The knowledge of the unseen is one of the Attributes of Allah and the Prophet is His Messenger. The mission of a Messenger is to warn people about the dire consequences of bad actions and to give people glad tidings about virtuous deeds.
The Prophets do not enjoy the distinction of having been awarded the keys to the unseen to the effect that they may have knowledge of someone's innermost feelings or could make predictions about whether or not someone is going to be blessed with a child, whether one's business is going to yield profit or incur a loss, or whether someone is going to emerge victorious in a battlefield or face a defeat. As far as the above things are concerned, everybody is equally unaware about them regardless of his status. However, certain remarks which are made in reference to a certain context out of one's wisdom do sometimes come true and sometimes they don't.
Compiled From:
"Taqwiyat-ul-Iman" - Shah Ismail Shaheed, pp. 74-76

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Austere Living
One day Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, came into the house of the Prophet, peace be upon him, to find him lying on a simple mattress which left its marks on his body. Umar started to sob.
'Why are you crying, O Umar', said the Prophet.
'I thought of Caesar and Chosroes sitting on thrones of gold, wearing silk. And you are the Messenger of God, yet here you are sitting on this simple mattress.'
'O Umar', said the Prophet, 'are you not satisfied that they have this world and we have the next?'
So simple and austere were his living habits that he went half-hungry most of the time. Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, reported that for three consecutive nights, a fire was not kindled in the homes of the Prophet because there was nothing to be cooked. When asked how they managed, she said they depended on water and dates (the two blacks).
Where is the basis for the image of a self-indulgent, luxury-loving ruler with his 'harem' which some critics of the Prophet have contrived to draw for him?
Despite the austere simplicity of his life, the Prophet's homes were by no means unhappy or devoid of pleasure and delight. It is a great tribute to the personality of the Prophet that those homes, lacking any comfort or even abundance of food, were yet full of love and happiness.
Compiled From:
"Sunshine At Madinah" - Zakaria Bashier, pp. 154, 155

Educating the heart, the mind and the imagination in order to train ourselves to see better, hear better, smell better, taste better and touch better is one of the requirements of the autonomy and freedom that lie at the heart of modernity, of advanced technologies and of the globalization of the means of communication. In an age of global communications, anyone who has not been trained to be critical of information is a vulnerable, fragile mind who is open to all kinds of potential manipulations. We also need the time to distance ourselves, to analyse situations and to evaluate critically what we perceive. Nothing is easy. This spiritual exercise is crucially important because it gives meaning to the most elementary actions in life: seeing, hearing, touching ... and thinking, praying and creating. Spirituality consists in the added meaning that is inherent in even the simplest human actions. It may take the form of faith, thought, art or love, but it always involves a choice, an act of the free will, as opposed to emotion which is a passive reaction, imposed and sometimes uncontrolled: an ocean of difference between the two. Emotion is to spirituality what physical attraction is to love.
Compiled From:
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 126

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Allah's Attributes
Al-Shura (The Consultation) - Chapter 42: Verse 11 (partial)
"There is nothing that is similar to Him"
Since Allah's Attributes are unique, it is not possible for mankind to understand the exact nature of Allah's Names and Attributes, even though it is possible to understand the concept that any Name or Attribute refers to. For example, Allah has described Himself in the Quran as al-Hayy, which means, 'The Ever-Living.' Mankind understands that Allah is Ever-Living; that He was always with life, and will always be with life. He also understands that, even though he himself is alive, the life that he has is very different from the one that Allah describes Himself as having, for man's life was given to him, and it shall be taken away from him, in contrast to the characteristic of life that Allah describes Himself with. In addition, man does not have the power to create life, unlike Allah. So man has the characteristic of life, and Allah describes Himself as having the characteristic of life, but the actuality of the two characteristics differ as much as man differs from the Creator. Therefore, mankind understands the concept of Allah's name al-Hayy, but can never understand the actuality of it. The same analogy applies for the other Names and Attributes of Allah.
Compiled From:
"An Introduction to the Sciences of the Quran" - Yasir Qadhi, pp. 30, 31

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
The Noble Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Make matters easy, not difficult" [Muslim] and "You are sent to facilitate matters and not make them difficult." [Tirmidhi]
In this age of ours, people are in dire need as could ever be for facilitation, out of mercy for them. Their determination has weakened and they have become reluctant to pursue good activities while the obstacles in the path of goodness and their desire for committing evil has increased.
It is therefore more advisable to give people the license of facility instead of ordering them to follow the strictest rules. This is what the Prophet did with the people who had just entered Islam, or with the bedouins of the desert. The Prophet used to accept those who vowed not to perform more than the basic faraidh and not perform the voluntary acts of ibadah; the Prophet used to say of them: "He will be successful if he is truthful (in what he said)" or "He will enter Paradise if he keeps his promise" or "If anyone of you want to see one of the people of Paradise, let him look at this man."
The Prophet adopted such an attitude towards such people because of his kindness and consideration of their difficult circumstances.
Compiled From:
"Priorities of The Islamic Movement in The Coming Phase" - Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, pp.140, 141

Textual literalism is not necessarily connected with intolerance, political radicalism or violence. On the positive side, the insistence of the Salafiyya on comparing societal practices with the practices of the early Muslim community allowed for the abandonment of some unjust customs, like the exclusion of women from the mosque. On the other hand, this approach can degenerate into a simplistic and literalist reading of the Quran and the Sunna. In particular, literalistic readings often diminish the relevance of historical context for understanding the true meaning of the Quran and the Prophet's Sunna. Such readings also give little attention to the need to reconcile particular rulings with general principles and values articulated in the Quran and the Sunna. Finally, literalistic readings can efface the role of the human interpreter. Decrying "man-made" institutions, literalists seem unaware of their own roles as human interpreters when they select particular passages to justify their positions.
At the same time, we must also recognize that many Muslims who practice what might be called a "liberal" reading of the Quran can be as intolerant of other opinions as their ideological opponents. Intolerance is rooted in the belief that one's own reading is obviously correct, whether that reading is based on a literalistic approach to the text or on a conviction that (one's own) reason is such a perfect instrument for assessing truth, justice, and fairness that interpretations in conflict with that assessment are dismissed out of hand. This attitude is not just intolerant, but, in contemporary scholar Khaled Abou El Fadl's words, "authoritarian." He says, "Authoritarianism is the act of 'locking' or captivating the Will of the Divine, or the will of the text, into a specific determination, and then presenting this determination as inevitable, final, and conclusive."
Compiled From:
"The Story of the Qur'an: Its History and Place in Muslim Life" - Ingrid Mattson, pp. 212, 213

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Eid baking.

Last Eid my kids made chocolate chip cookies,cheese cake and my daughter that's married made sugar cookies with cookie cutters I purchased from Lantern Court and dh and the kids made sugar cookies using a cookie gun
and I made two cakes; Hello Kitty which I was supposed to make a long time ago but things kept on happening like trips to Malaysia, lol and a Kit Kat cake. We brought the desserts to my son's house and ate them after a dinner at a restaurant to celebrate Eid.

Monday, September 9, 2013

My trip to Malaysia Part 9 Surprise Trip

Floating Mosque
Crystal Mosque
Well just before we were to go to KL my brother-in-law's wife (no word for that in English) suggested, no insisted that before we left that I should go once again to Terengganu, this time to see the Floating Mosque and the Crystal Mosque. I had vaguely heard of them before so I was game but was unsure if dh would agree to this last minute trip. I wasn't sure what was going to happen as everyone talks behind your back..ok fine talks in Malay while you stand there like a dummy, lol so was pleasantly surprised when the trip was on! So we were driven all the way down to the two mosques where we stopped first to get souvenirs and then to pray in the Floating mosque then went on the Crystal Mosque and Taman Tamadun Islam Edutainment Park. Later we went to A&W which is halal there and driving back in that area noticed the beautiful beaches which are so much better than in Kota Bharu..sorry to all Kelantanese but its true. The skies there are the most beautiful blue and seriously I could retire there if I could bring all my kids there with me. We had a wonderful time there with all the cute replica mosques and the amazing displays and films. I wish I could get  a copy of the film as it was so well done and informative and correct. I wished I had seen the Crystal Mosque during the night instead of the day because that is when its at its most spectacular best. All in all an amazing trip and I'm so happy we got to go and so grateful for kind in-laws.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Noble Role
Al-Baqara (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 251 (partial)
"Had it not been for the fact that God repels one group of people by another the earth would have been utterly corrupted. God is limitless in His bounty to all the worlds."
This powerful statement takes us beyond the limited narrative and its personalities and events to reveal the fundamental Divine wisdom underlying the constant contention, power struggles and battles among the multitudes of mankind in the tumult of life. It depicts the incessant strife and the spirit of competition and rivalry that drive human beings to their various ends and objectives in this world, according to the overall Divine scheme under God's wise hand which leads them all towards progress and higher standards of life.
Were it not for this spirit of struggle and competition, life would be dull and stale. The conflict of interests and the variety of objectives that people seek in this world are the means by which human talent and energy are released and brought into play to reinvigorate and revitalise the human experience for the good of mankind. This dynamic movement produces the true human force of goodness, brings truth to the fore, enhances man's sense of right and wrong, and firmly establishes justice on earth. It enables true and sincere believers to identify their noble role in life. It provides them with the will and strength to persevere and fulfil that role in total obedience to God's order and tireless pursuit of His pleasure and blessings.
God then intervenes on the side of the believers so that the truth they are upholding will prevail. Human conflict becomes a positive and constructive struggle for the good of mankind and a better life in this world. The fact that the smaller group of believers have placed their trust in God, and are devoted to fulfilling His ultimate will in protecting life and establishing the truth and defending it, enables them to eventually triumph and prevail.
Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Syed Qutb, Vol. 1, pp. 306, 307

Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Animal World
Islam views the animal world as a world in its own right, just like that of the human world, with its own characteristics, temperaments and feelings. Since they are a community like mankind, they too deserve mercy and affection. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "The Merciful showers mercy on those who are themselves merciful." [Ahmad]
The Shariah has prescribed legislation regarding compassion to animals. It is prohibited to mount an animal for a long period of time whilst it is standing still. The Messenger of Allah said, "Do not take the backs of your animals as chairs." [Ahmad]
Wanton killing of animals for fun and sport has been strictly prohibited. The Prophet said, "Whoever kills even one bird wantonly, it will complain to Allah on the Day of Judgment, 'O my Lord and Cherisher! This person had killed me in vain and not for any benefit.'" [Nasai]
Likewise using animals as targets for practice is also prohibited. The Prophet has cursed the person who uses a living object as a target. [Bukhari, Muslim]
Compiled From:
"The Islamic Civilization"- Mustafa Sibai, pp. 124, 125

We must learn to say 'we' again. Just as I can say 'I' and still belong to myself, we must be able to say 'we' whilst acknowledging our common sense of belonging. Some would like us to sit down at a table and discuss the best way of saying 'we' and of respecting 'one another'. And yet it is quite possible that the method itself is what is preventing us from getting the results we want.
Theories and debates about 'the sense of belonging' actually make it impossible for us to feel that we belong. We are talking about a feeling: we come to feel that we belong because we live that feeling, because we experience it. The common law protects us, but it is common causes that allow us to respect and love one another (by acting together 'for' some cause and not just 'against' a threat). A common commitment to respect for human dignity and saving the planet, or to the struggle against poverty, discrimination, every type of racism, and to promote the arts, the sciences, sports and culture, responsibility and creativity: these are the best ways of developing a real conviviality that is both lived and effective.
We become subjects who can say 'I' when we have discovered the meaning of our personal projects: we become 'we', a community or a society when we can decide upon a common collective project. In most circumstances, it is not dialogue between human subjects that changes the way they see others; it is the awareness that they are on the same path, the same road and have the same aspirations. When our consciousness acknowledges that we are travelling the same road, it has already half-opened the door to the heart: we always have a little love for those who share our hopes. 'We' exist by the sides of roads that lead to the same goals.
Compiled From:
"The Quest for Meaning" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 48-49

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What's the Old Woman up to?

So I've really neglected my blog. Kids are back to school now so here I am. What have I been up to? Mainly two things; trying to get healthy again and helping new converts. In the last few months I've been going to see a homeopath after being nudged by my hijama practitioner and by a reader of this blog. I'm not cured but I am seeing results. I could tell you what I'm taking but in homeopathy they tailor the treatment to the individual and they look at your whole life ie past, emotions etc I will post more about this as I go along in my treatment insha Allah. As for helping converts well it all started with me trying to find a Muslim Buddy. Perhaps you have heard of this? Its a program under New Muslim Care which is under the umbrella of Mercy Mission. I asked them if they could find me a buddy but they never could in my area. Then I saw that in another city nearby (over an hour away) there was a convert running a New Muslim Care group. I got inspired as I had thought that only raised Muslims could run such groups. So 4 months ago I started a chapter and am helping a handful of converts in my area. Insha Allah I hope I am making a difference and it gets me out of the house. Besides these two things I've recently gone camping in a Provincial Park for the first time and it was fabulous. We even had Muslim neighbours! The sunsets were amazing and the stars sparkled like a million diamonds. I highly recommend it. I think next time though we should bring a separate tent for prayers and oh better flashlights! Insha Allah I hope to finish my posts about my trip to Malaysia.