Different Muslims

One big question that plagues the minds of many non-muslims, “why are there different muslims?” It seems so weird. The truth is there only is one type of muslim.

A muslim; the one who submits themselves to the will of Allah.

But this is the sad reality, not all muslims are on the same page. Some hope for the pleasure of Allah, and Jannah. Some hope merely to be saved from the fire. Some hope for the largest mansion, others the most expensive car, others the biggest bank account and fewer still want a football team of kids…And this is where the problem lies. We have forgotten our true purpose, and have attached ourselves to aspects of the worldly life, forgetting that it is a temporary abode which will inevitably come to an end.

Back to the question. Islam is a complete way of life that governs the way a person lives, from the moment one wakes up until he returns to his bed. In this sense one may describe islam as a package, you either take the whole package or leave it, it cannot be tailored to suit one’s preferences. One of the causes for different muslims, is that many have adopted Islam and turned it into a buffet! They pick and choose what they want and layer it on their plate, leaving things that don’t fit their lifestyle. So in other words they build Islam around their established lifestyle, rather than basing their lifestyle on Islam, which is how it should be. Many attempt to bargain with Allah, and some go ‘fatwa shopping’ picking the most lenient of answers to their daily problems in order to have the easy way out. It is these people who crown the ignorant as ‘Great Shaykh’ and ‘Maulana’ and ‘Mufti,’ in attempt for the ignorant to give them a carte blanche to do as they please.

But little are they aware that Allah says, “O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.” (Surah Baqarah 02:208) to pick and choose from the religion is a trap of Shaytan.

Another reason why there are different muslims is ability. Islam is a religion that was chosen for us by Allah, our Creator who knows us best. When he chose for us Islam, He knew that each person is an individual having different characteristics and abilities. While the core of islam is fixed is obligatory upon every muslim, there are voluntary matters that are flexible. For example there are the obligatory prayers; which are compulsory upon every muslim, but there are in addition to that voluntary prayers which one may choose to do, if they have the ability. Thus some have the ability to ‘do more’ and others stick to the bare minimum, which is perfectly fine.

Another aspect which causes differences is means. For example, one should stand to pray, but if one is disabled, he lacks the means to do so, Islam permits that he sits, and if he unable to sit, Islam permits him to lay down. Similarly one who does not have the means to give charity is absolved from this responsibility. Again, Allah knows each one of us, and He knows the means available to us, as long we use the means and do not neglect them and strive hard all is ok.

The fact that faith (iman) fluctuates, is also a reason of difference. One may feel spiritually strong one day, but the next day he feels weaker, and in fact faith can fluctuate within the same day. Moreover each individual is on a different level of faith based on their ability, and devotedness. It is the choice of individuals to work towards increasing the faith.

I hope this brief few words have summarised the main reason for differences amongst muslims. The topic of sects, groups and partisans (known as hizbiyyah) is a whole other issue which has no end, and one that needs a lot more attention detail. Thus I have explained the main reasons for differences amongst the main body of muslims. These points mentioned here will explain why one woman dons hijab and another walks exposed, why one shaves his beard and another leaves it to grow. I hope you get the picture, and this is in no way a scholarly piece of work.

Sticking to the Salaf

salaf

There is a fair amount of negativity towards the word ‘salaf,’ and anyone who uses the term. Some are afraid of it. Others think it is something evil, others think it refers to a deviant sect! Allow me to clarify.

Salaf, is short for salaf-us-salih; meaning righteous, pious ancestors or predecessors. Meaning those who came before us and were upon the right guidance. This includes the sahabahs, the generation that followed them, and those that followed them. In fact the sahabahs are the best of them.

The Prophet peace be upon him said, “The best of people are my generation, then those who follow them, then those who follow them,” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Prophet peace be upon him certified the first three generations that followed him, as being the best and upon the right guidance.

The Sahabahs specifically have been praised by Allah as He says, “And the foremost to embrace Islam of the Muhaajiroon (emigrants) and the Ansaar (helpers) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” [al-Tawbah 9:100]

This indicates that He granted them special virtues, and elevated their status. There were no other believers at the time of the revelation of this ayah except for the companions. They are guaranteed Allah’s pleasure, and His reward because of their deeds, and position.

What prevents us from following these exemplary people who sought nothing but the pleasure of Allah, by preserving this deen from change and corruption. They championed the flag of Islam, and defended its borders. They learnt directly from the Messenger peace be upon him, so how can we know better than them when He, peace be upon him approved their actions.

The Prophet peace be upon said, “My ummah will split into seventy-three sects, all of whom will be in Hell except one group.” They said: Who are they, O Messenger of Allah? He said: “(Those who follow) that which I and my companions follow.” (Tirmidhi, Hasan)

The division of the ummah, has made it lose its unity, and everyone adheres to his sect and party, this imam and that imam, forgetting the words of the Prophet peace be upon him. Why do we split ourselves? Do we want to even so much as taste the fire? If proof comes to you that the first three generations and the Prophet did something, then do it, and if proof comes to you that they left it, then leave it; for they were upon the truth.

In the famous hadith of Irbaad bin Saariyah, the Prophet advised the sahabahs what to do when difficult and tremulous times affect the muslims. He said “I counsel you to have taqwa (fear) of Allah, and to listen and obey [your leader], even if a slave were to become your ameer. Verily he among you who lives long will see great controversy, so you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the Khulafa ar-Rashideen (the rightly guided caliphs), those who guide to the right way. Cling to it stubbornly [literally: with your molar teeth]. Beware of newly invented matters [in the religion], for verily every bidah (innovation) is misguidance.” (Tirmidhi, Hasan Saheeh)

The Khulafa Ar-Rashideen were amongst the salaf, and they were the best of the salaf. They were the cream of the crop; thus we should seek to imitate them and cling to their ways.

The great scholar of our time, Shaykh Bin Baaz said, “the condition of the present-day muslims will not be rectified except by following the same path of the salaf, who adhered to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger and shunned all that contradict them.” (Majmoo’ Al Fatawa, pg 27)

I leave you with the words of Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, who said “Whoever among you wishes to follow (someone), let him follow one who has died, for the one who is still alive is not safe from fitnah. The companions of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) were the best of this ummah, the most righteous of heart and the deepest in knowledge and the most straightforward, people whom Allah chose to accompany His Prophet and establish His religion. So acknowledge their virtue and follow in their footsteps, and adhere as much as you can to their morals and religion, for they were following right guidance.” (Narrated by Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr in al-Jaami’, no. 1810)

So the next time you see the word salaf, don’t freak out. It simply refers to those of our predecessors who were righteous, primarily the sahabaah and tabi’een, and atba’ tabi’een.

The Status of the Scholars

scholars-iconsIt has become all too common to hear that this scholar has become khawarij, that one has become this, the other one over there is kaafir and the list will go on until the people say there are no scholars left upon the truth! The tongues lash out all too easily at the scholars! If it is indeed true that the scholars have become ignorant, what have the ignorant masses become?!

Have we forgotten that the scholars are human beings like ourselves? They too make mistakes, and they too are prone to the traps of the Shaytaan just like any other person. The scholars are not infallible;
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “If a judge passes a ruling to the best of his ability and knowledge and gets it right, he will have two rewards. If he passes a ruling to the best of his ability and knowledge but gets it wrong, he will have one reward.” (Bukhari, 7352; Muslim, 1716).

The scholars sway between one reward and two rewards, as for us we sway between sin and more sins! The scholars have been gifted by Allah with sacred knowledge, that only comes with good deeds, for this knowledge is not granted to just anyone; one has to work hard to earn this elevated station. The scholars are not labelled scholars for no reason, rather it is a symbol of their perseverance. How can we speak ill of the scholars when Allah has elevated their status and made them the inheritors of the Prophet.
“Allâh will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge,” [al-Mujaadilah 58:11]

Rather, if we are aware of their mistakes, we should advise them, and correct them, and if we are not able to, then at least make duaa for their right guidance and reformation.
There are many Ahadith that point to the virtue of the scholars

It was narrated that ‘Abu’d-Darda’ said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. The angels lower their wings in approval of the seeker of knowledge, and everyone in the heavens and on earth prays for forgiveness for the seeker of knowledge, even the fish in the sea. The superiority of the scholar over the worshipper is like the superiority of the moon over all other heavenly bodies. The scholars are the heirs of the Prophets, for the Prophets did not leave behind dinars or dirhams, rather they left behind knowledge, so whoever takes it has taken a great share.”
(Narrated by at-Tirmidhi (2682), Abu Dawood (3541) and Ibn Maajah (223); classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh at-Targheeb, 1/17)

The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets! They have inherited knowledge which automates righteous action, they have inherited the task of the messengers, to preserve the deen in its pristine condition, and have shouldered the enormous responsibility of conveying the message of Islam. We should assist them in this endeavour and strive to be like them. We should hold and not slander them, nor curse them or accuse them of falsehoods.

On another occasion, Abu Hurayrah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that, the Messenger of Allah said, “The world, with all that it contains, is accursed except for the remembrance of Allah that which pleases Allah; and the religious scholars and seekers of knowledge.” [At- Tirmidhi].
The scholars deserve respect, and honour. They are the carriers of this deen, the preservers of the earth. They are beacons of light, reminding the people, guiding the people. To feast on their honour is backbiting them and thus human cannibalism, how revolting an image!

We ask Allah to guide them and us, to preserve them, and to raise their ranks. Ameen.

When You Don’t Know

Knowledge is sacred. It is precious, and treasured by those that truly possess its reigns. But it has become abused by those who are ignorant of its value. The struggles and toils of the scholars of the past and present is unrivalled. Very few are willing to make a sacrifice to drink from the vessels of sacred knowledge. Those that do, appreciate its sanctity, but those who are drip-fed tid-bits, or who rush to every dirty glass to drink, lose sight of the value of knowledge, and thus it is turned into mere entertainment and sport.

Sufyan Ath-Thawri is reported to have said, ““Knowledge is three hand-spans: the first breeds arrogance, the second breeds humility, and in the third, you realize you know nothing.”

How true is his statement! Many enter the realms of knowledge, and when they take their first step, they think they know it all. It is for this reason today, the average person on the street will issue his own fatwas, and let his tongue savour the reputation of the scholars, forgetting the etiquettes of saying, “I don’t know.”

Such circumstances are the breeding grounds for arrogance, as one feels a sense confidence buoyed on by new-found ignorant audiences, and social circles that give him an ear. Sadly, many halt at the first hand-span as haughtiness gives rise to their ego, and they believe they know it all. They rush to drink from the dirty water-spouts, and ignore the gushing fountains of pure authentic knowledge. They forget that Allah has said, ““So ask the people of the Reminder if you do not know” [al-Anbiya’ 21:43] They are blinded by their ‘compound ignorance,’ and as such refer to themselves as scholars, though they may be far from the truth.

Allah reminds us, “And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those [one] will be questioned.” (Surah Al-Isra 17:36)

That’s not to say all who enter the field of knowledge become arrogant. There are those who embark on this journey sincerely seeking the pleasure of Allah and His qurb (nearness), they keep an open mind and know that they must ascend the steps of knowledge gradually, but steadily. And so, they set sail hoping to travel the seas of knowledge.

One who chooses to continue to the second span, one will progress along the blessed road of knowledge, where he will realise that the fountains were mere beginnings and an ocean of knowledge is before him, and it is vast. He knows that many have long preceded and surpassed him. This stage stimulates reverence and love for the scholars, thereby casting humility on the seeker of knowledge.

Humility inspires the seeker to travel further into the third span, the more he learns the more he realises that he doesn’t know. He feels dwarfed by the scholars of the past knowing that his knowledge is less than a drop from the ocean. He realises that it is from the mercy of Allah that he has been allowed to drink from the vessels of knowledge. He weeps, for he has many shortcomings, yet he rejoices hoping for the pleasure of his Lord. Such are those who bear in mind that Allah has said,

“We raise in degrees (of knowledge) whom We will, but over every possessor of knowledge, is One [more] Knowing.” (Surah Yusuf 12:76)

We ask Allah to grant us knowledge that is of benefit, and to grant us humility in our knowledge.

knowledge

Effacing Sins

burden of sin

There are times in life when the world feels like it is closing in on you, the sins you carry on your back weigh you down. You feel as though you were the worst person alive, entrapped in a soul inclined sin. You’ve committed so many sins that your repentance feels hollow, hypocritical even, and so you refrain from repenting anymore; thinking you’ve done too much. You’ve crossed the limits. There is no more hope. It’s a dead end.

“Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”” (Surah Zumar 39:53)

Allah is All-Forgiving, Ever-Forgiving. He forgives, and forgives, and there is no limit to His forgiveness. Our deeds are never too many in comparison to His mercy. All we have to do is; ask. Ask and Allah will forgive. He will absolve us of the responsibility of bearing the punishment, if we just turn to Him. He will forgive us over and over, no matter how large or small the sin is.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah, Blessed and Exalted is He, says, ‘O son of Adam, as long as you call on Me, I shall forgive you of what you have done, and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if your sins were to reach up to the clouds in the sky, and then you were to ask for My forgiveness, I would forgive you and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if you were to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you were to meet Me after death, not worshipping anything besides Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as the earth.’” [Tirmidhi]

How can we ever despair of a Lord who promises mercy and forgiveness? We must not quit on ourselves; rather we should strive no matter how many times we fall. Allah would bring forgiveness to us and pardon us, and He, Glory be to Him, would not mind. Allah never breaks His promise.

Remember Ya’qub chided his sons saying, “and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.” (Surah Yusuf 12:87)

It is only those who do not believe in Allah and do not believe that He is Merciful, it is those who will lose hope. The doors of repentance are always open. They are wide open in the depths of night and in the early morning. They never close. Allah loves it when we return to Him repenting, so would He not accept our repentance?

Ask Allah’s forgiveness, and remember that good deeds erase sins. Allah says, encouraging us to engage in good; “Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember.” (Surah Hud 11:114)

On the authority of Abu Dharr Jundub ibn Junadah, and Abu Abdur-Rahman Muadh bin Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Have taqwa (fear) of Allah wherever you may be, and follow up a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out, and behave well towards the people. (It was related by at-Tirmidhi, who said it was a hasan (good) hadeeth)

It is incumbent upon one who remembers that he has sinned, or one who remembers that he is the midst of sinning to seek Allah’s pardon. He should atone for his error by following it up with a good deed, for it will cancel out the evil action, and will bring an even greater reward, as Allah says, “Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds; for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Al-Furqaan 25:70)

This is from the Mercy of Allah, that He exchanges our sins and errors into good deeds that will benefit us. What are we waiting for? The forgiveness of Allah is encompassing, His Mercy is vast, and it is waiting to pour down upon us. May Allah have mercy upon us, and may He forgive us for our many errors.

repent

Live for the Akhirah

A common expression, repeated by many, and believed by even more; “live in the moment,” meaning live today, but prepare for your life tomorrow. But the truth is; whilst tomorrow is guaranteed, and time will always move on, life is not. No person has any assurance that they will live life as they know it, to see tomorrow. The correct phrase should be; “live for the akhirah.”

live for the akhirah

The earth and all that is on it is bound to perish. This life is a temporary enjoyment; whilst the akhirah is ever-lasting.

“And this worldly life is not but diversion and amusement. And indeed, the home of the Hereafter – that is the [eternal] life, if only they knew.” (Surah Ankabut 29:64)

We all have a portion on this dunya, and we are allowed to build and expand, and plan and prepare for tomorrow. But that should never lead us to believe that tomorrow on earth is guaranteed. Tomorrow may come, and you may be in your grave. We are allowed to take from this dunya; but what we possess of the luxuries of life should be in our hands and not our hearts. By holding it with our hands, we will be able to release it when the need arises. However, if it is in our hearts, it will be engraved, and will occupy a deeper seat, and will be difficult to let go of. Of course this has many negative effects; such as delusion with the life of this world, attachment to the dunya, forgetting our purpose, just to name a few.

Rather our iman, and beliefs should be rooted in our hearts, where it will remain firm in the face of calamity, in times of tribulations, and in moments of distress. Iman is what will gain us the mercy of Allah and thus a good place in the hereafter.

“Our Lord! Grant the good of this world, and the good of the hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the fire!”

live like a traveller

When Seventy Thousand Angels send Blessings!

Eyes watering and red, with the temperature rising, and an agonizing pain coursing the body, lying on our sides, and when swelling in our throat dutifully sends a stabbing pain, a groan escapes through our mouth…

At this moment, the doorbell rings and enters someone, a platter of brownies in one hand and a basket of freshly picked strawberries in the other, with a dazzling smile that reminds one of bright sunshine and golden buttercups, a soft voice that enquires about our wellbeing. A streak of happiness gushes forth and satisfaction sets in, as we realize that our existence may have some weight in the hearts of others.

Certainly when one is ill, not only does the physical and biochemical state of our body change, but our attitude also undergoes some modification, for the time being at least, and we learn to be more appreciative, and even a simple smile from others sends warmth down our hearts.

So dear friends, can we then not try to appease these dejected ones, by simply visiting them, as we do acknowledge the significance of our short detour to their houses in their lives.

visit the sick

But our intentions should be pure, and we should strive to principally please our Rabb by doing these humble acts of kindness for verily the Messenger (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “The one who visits the sick is like a person who is in a fruit garden of Paradise until he returns.”
[Sahih Muslim]

Subhan Allah, “a fruit garden of paradise,” indeed if only we were to perceive the magnitude of this phrase, then certainly we would hasten to the sides of our sick brothers.

But the glad tidings do not cease here, for the following ahadith just intensifies the rewards for this simple deed:
Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “There is no Muslim who visits a (sick) Muslim early in the morning but seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until evening comes, and if he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until morning comes, and he will have a garden in Paradise.”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi (969)

Allahu Akbar, think about it, seventy thousand angels, angels who don’t know about disobedience, who are pure, to think that they were to pray for us should indeed stir our hearts.

Furthermore, Imam Ahmad narrated that Jaabir (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever visits a sick person is plunging into mercy until he sits down, and when he sits down he is submerged in it.”
Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 2504.

And also, The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever visits a sick person or visits a brother in Islam, a caller cries out to him: ‘May you be happy, may your walking be blessed, and may you occupy a dignified position in Paradise’.”
Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi (2008)

Visiting the sick does not involve only those whom you know, rather it is prescribed for those whom you know and those whom you do not know. This was stated by al-Nawawi in Sharh Muslim. Also one should follow the proper etiquettes whilst paying such a visit.

My dear friends, compared to the intense amounts of reward, that this deed brings us, shouldn’t we bring about a change in our attitudes and opinions. Visiting the sick, now should no longer seem to us as a colossal task, rather the rewards that this simple deed brings to us is indeed phenomenal.

So finally my friends, let’s take the initiative to rush to our ailing friends with the sole purpose of pleasing Our Creator, and to pave for ourselves the path to Paradise by the mercy of Allah, whilst making our sick friends smile.

Bint Ayesha, Writer, AAT

The Pioneering Muslim Community

An epoch, expanding from the 5th century CE to the 16th century CE, where literacy in the European world was yet scanty, an eon labelled by historians as the ‘Dark Ages’ however astoundingly, this time was nowhere near dark in the Muslim world, on the contrary the Muslim civilisations were blooming and flourishing as a rainforest of fragrant flowers.

In Christian Europe, for many centuries, the only people who had mastered education were the monks and scholars presiding in monasteries. The reawakening and rediscovery of their classical Greek and Roman heritage first began when some of these Christian monks ventured south to the civilised Muslim lands of Al-Andalus and Sicily.

islamic empire

With the rapid spread of Islam to the East and West and resultant expansion of the Islamic Empire, Muslims benefitted the people as they were successful in large arenas of knowledge. Caliphs and Sultans warmly welcomed physicians and others to their courts and they were given assistance in their research.

Care and proper treatment of the sick and diseased, were also one of the concerns of the many Muslim physicians. Therefore, it’s not surprising, that the first true hospitals resembling the ones today were established in Baghdad during the time of the caliph Harun AR-Rashid (786-809 CE). One of the most famous hospitals (bimaristan, a Persian word) in the city was founded by the Persian physician Al-Razi (865-925 CE).

Al-Razi
Al-Razi

Cleanliness being one of the important issues for Muslims, Al-Razi came up with a phenomenal idea to find out the best location for the construction of a hospital. He took the efforts of hanging pieces of freshly slaughtered meat in the various parts of the city so as to see the longest time it survived before spoiling and then constructed his hospital in that area. Bimaristans were often built on hills or near rivers to take advantage of the fresh air and water. At this time, the first real pharmacies or drug stores (saydaliyyah) were also opened in Baghdad.

Islamic history impresses itself upon us and we can’t help but admire it. Looking back we realise there is yet much to learn from our ancestors. May Allah forgive us and make it easy for us, Ameen.

Bint Hasan

Valentine’s Day

valentines-day

It’s that time of year again, and we all could benefit with a reminder or two.
The origin of Valentine’s Day celebration is not clear. Some claim that it began with St Valentine of Rome, who was imprisoned and sentenced to death on 14th February for performing secret marriages for young soldiers who were prohibited to marry. Others hold that it was a Saint Valentine who helped Christians escape Roman prisons. And third opinion is that it is a Christianised version of the Roman festival of Lupercalia which was originally a Roman pagan celebration. Whatever the origins of Valentine’s Day, it suddenly took a romantic turn, and by the 18th Century it was a lovers celebration.

Sadly, this celebration is gaining popularity amongst many muslim households, and some parents will even encourage their children to participate. We should realise that this celebration is a promotion of immorality, and evil practices which have no place in Islam. Practices that pave the way to destruction, in this life and the hereafter.

Let’s address the issue of being alone with a non-mahram. Being alone with a non-mahram woman with evil intent, or good intent will only lead to evil. One may think he is above these fitan and is trustworthy, and indeed he is, he is trustworthy, and he is pure, but the Shaytaan is not so. And none of us should trust the Shaytaan. The Prophet said, “no man is alone with a (non-mahram) woman but Shaytaan will be the third among them.” (Tirmithi) This includes cousins, maids, bosses; no man and no woman are permitted to be alone together.

Do we really think that Shaytaan is merely dining with us? That he is merely the third in company? No it means, that he will try and try until he succeeds in leading us astray. He will strike the first spark of a flame, a flame that will burn the hearts, and will consume those who are touched by it.

And what devastating consequences does these relationships have! Broken hearts, weeping eyes and torn families, and not to mention; the wrath of Allah! No one is different in this issue, it is not real love that one falls into, rather it is the Shaytaan who has blinded you, and once he has made you do the unthinkable, he will flee, then you will realise that it was all a ‘dream,’ but it will be too late, as your dreams will be shattered because of guilt, and the magnitude of the sin will envelop you. But no amount of regret can change what has passed, so why begin in the first place? We ask Allah to protect us.

Another issue, relating to the topic of valentine is touching a woman who non-mahram. Shaking hands is common and in some societies hugging is the norm. Many give the excuse that, ‘I shake everyone’s hand the same way,’ but is it really true? ‘I hug everyone the same’ Really?! I think not, and deep inside you know you don’t.

Nonetheless, the Prophet peace be upon him taught us, “if one of you were to be stabbed in the head with an iron needle, it would be better for him than touching a woman whom he is not permitted to touch.” (At-Tabarani)

Subhanallah! To prick one’s finger with a needle is painful enough, now imagine being stabbed with one. That’s even more painful. And now stabbed in the head! Yet this pain as excruciating as it would be, is better than touching the hand of a non-mahram woman. The sin of touching the hand of woman is serious, and is punishable, now how about those that go further?

The Prophet said, “the Zina of the eye is the (lustful) look, the Zina of the ears is the listening, the Zina of the tongue is speech, the Zina of the hand is the grip (touch), the Zina of the feet is the walking (to the place), the heart yearns and desires and the private parts approve all that or disapprove it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) Each limb of the body is punishable for the sin it commits, and each is able to commit sin in its own way.

Let us not engage in that which is displeasing to Allah, and protect ourselves from His anger and punishment. May Allah safeguard us.

Averting Stares

lower gaze

One of the most horrible things is; when people stare. It makes you conscious of your appearance, and it makes you uncomfortable. For sisters, it can make them feel violated and abused. Yes, sight has the power of abusing, especially when one stares at something which does not rightfully belong to them. So to help sisters, defend themselves against the inquisitive eyes of those who do not know how to lower their gaze, we’ve created a list of helpful tips:

1) Remove all your make-up (or cover your face): our faces are the centre of attraction; by applying make-up we only enhance this feature. So don’t leave the house with make-up my sisters, as it defeats the purpose of hijab. If you really do want to wear make-up (or it’s a pain to find the make-up wipes), then embrace the niqab, and I don’t mean the one with eye holes, because it will only accentuate your eyes if you are wearing make-up.
2) Dressing Appropriately: The way you dress speaks volumes about your character. If you are all ‘blinged’ up, it is only natural that you will turn heads. Similarly clip-clop heels should be avoided. Wearing all black is usually less conspicuous, but this depends on where you live. Cover what is meant to be covered, and anything that may attract attention.
3) Ignore: A lot of times those who stare are in desperate need of attention to boost their personal ego, so by noticing them; feeling bothered by them, only heightens their egoistic pursuit. In such circumstances it is best to ignore these type of ‘starers.’
4) Screw your face: a smiling face is easy prey. So screw it as much as possible, it will put people off!
5) Lower your voice: when talking on the street, whether on your phone or to the person beside you, it is best to lower your voice. While there is a difference of opinion over whether the female voice is awrah or not; a voice that implies happiness and openness will naturally incur unwanted attention.
6) Look down when you walk: the scenery is beautiful, and your facial expressions will show that you are enjoying what you are seeing; thereby showing an open character. Looking down shuts this off. Be sure not to bump into anyone though!
7) Turn around: this is a common defence mechanism, but it doesn’t always work. Sometimes, the ‘starer’ will make ‘tawaf’ around you to get a better look!
8) Give a ‘dirty look’: by dirty look, I mean a look that gives people the chills, the look that may just send the person to their grave (not literally) But you know what I mean right?! This will send a warning signal.
9) Remove yourself from the situation: This is probably the easiest way out, simply move to another place or out of view of the person who is staring. Sometimes being in the wrong place at the wrong time, doesn’t help. Being the only female in a crowd of men, is naturally going to attract unwanted attention. In such a scene it is common sense to leave. But in other circumstances, where it is normal for you to be, such as at the store, it may seem unfair to leave especially if you were there first, but remember your dignity is priceless.
10) Walk next to your mahram: seeing another male automatically warns others. It’s extra protection to have one with you. Sometimes you may need to have a word with your mahram, so that he can take the necessary measures. (leave it to the men, as they say!)
11) Advise them to Fear Allah: This is only for the brave and outspoken. It requires a lot of confidence, and necessitates a screw face, and perhaps a ‘deep angry voice’. Sometimes people forget, and a reminder that one day they will have to stand before Allah is sure to awaken their inner goodness.

You probably began reading this article, thinking I would list the ways in which sisters can defend themselves. While a defensive stance it good, a precautionary, preventative one is better. Cut the chances of running into such a situation by preparing yourself first. Then worry about how to react if such a situation could arise afterwards. It’s easy to blame men when they can’t lower their gaze, but as women we too need to realise we are equally, if not more at fault. Many a times, the sister in question is dressed inappropriately, or behaving so, and thus lands herself into trouble.
Our sisters are the jewels of the ummah. As an ummah we should protect them, and their honour. We should cherish them and not reduce them to the lowly standards existent in non-islamic cultures. So, to my brothers, lower your gaze and save the sisters the hassle. Have the dignity of the Prophet at the forefront of your mind. To my sisters, dress and behave like a real muslimah should. Remember the Ummaha-tul-mu’mineen, the best of women, and aim to be like them.

“Teaching your sons to lower their gaze is just as important as teaching your daughters to cover up.”

The AAT Writers 