Components of Hajj

In this article we shall try to understand the pillars and obligatory actions of Hajj. In the subsequent articles we shall go into details regarding the actions performed on each day In Sha Allah.

The essential parts of Hajj are four, the obligatory actions are seven and everything other than the essential parts and obligatory actions is Sunnah.

The Pillars of Hajj are four: 

Before we commence with the obligatory actions of Hajj, I would like to briefly describe our movements and the places that we go to in accordance to the days.

The obligatory actions of Hajj are seven:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we will learn in detail later on, Hajj is of 3 types, Tamattu’, Qiraan and Ifraad. If the pilgrim is doing tamattu‘ (‘umrah followed by Hajj, exiting ihram in between) or qiraan (‘umrah followed by Hajj without exiting ihram in between), then he must offer a sacrifice (by slaughtering a sheep), because Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“whosoever performs the ‘Umrah in the months of Hajj, before (performing) the Hajj, (i.e. Hajj-at-Tamattu‘ and Al-Qiran), he must slaughter a Hady such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, he should observe Saum (fasts) three days during the Hajj and seven days after his return (to his home), making ten days in all. This is for him whose family is not present at Al-Masjid-al-Haram (i.e. non-resident of Makkah)” [al-Baqarah 2:196].

The rest of the actions and words of Hajj are Sunnah, such as tawaaf al-qudoom, staying overnight in Mina the night before ‘Arafah, idtibaa‘ [uncovering the right shoulder from the beginning of tawaaf until the end, by placing the middle of the rida’ (upper garment) beneath the right armpit and the ends of the rida’ over the left shoulder], walking at a rapid pace [when doing so is recommended], kissing the Black Stone, reciting the adhkaar and du‘aa’s, and climbing as-Safa and al-Marwah.

The difference between an essential part, an obligatory action and a Sunnah action is that Hajj is not valid without an essential part, whereas if an obligatory act is omitted, Hajj is still valid, but the one who omits it must offer a compensatory sacrifice (a sheep), according to the majority of scholars. As for Sunnah actions, the one who omits them does not have to do anything.

In the next articles In Sha Allah we will go in details of the steps of Hajj

The Importance of Hajj

Characteristic of our species, Homo Sapiens, the importance of any subject holds great magnitude in our eyes, let us now then understand the importance and benefits of Hajj.

Before we enlighten ourselves with the benefits of performing Hajj, I would like to request you all to take a few minutes and introspect, introspect on your lives, however much old you are, think about what you have accomplished until now, whether you can guarantee even a single day in your entire life which you have spent without even a blob of sin and can affirm that you have spent the entire day with only productivity?

Such retrospection definitely give rise to one certain emotion in my heart, that of jealousy, envy towards a newborn, born with a clean slate, with a pure heart, without even a shed of sin scarring his life. Oh! What wouldn’t I do to be like that, to start a fresh, to start anew!

Praise Be To The Almighty, The Most Merciful, The Most Kind

Did you know that we demeritorious people stained by stains and stained repeatedly by sins have actually been  granted by our Lord, The Most Loving an opportunity to actually wipe off our slates clean, to spring back, to start a fresh

Hajj is that, which gives us this opportunity

Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying. He who came to this House (Ka’ba) (with the intention of performing Pilgrimage), and neither spoke indecently nor did he act wickedly would return (free from sin) as on the (very first day) his mother bore him.

Truly, we have to admit that this by far is one of the greatest rewards that we could ever hope to receive

Another hadith that shows the importance of Hajj is:

Narrated `Aisha: (The mother of the faithful believers) I said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! We consider Jihad as the best deed.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best Jihad (for women) is Hajj Mabrur.”

But Oh wait, dear readers, we aren’t done yet

Let me now tell you that Hajj also enables us to get the greatest of all rewards.

As Muslims our ultimate goal is Paradise, so know this, Hajj is our way to paradise

It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“From one ‘Umrah to another is an expiation for the sins that came in between them, and Hajj Mabrur (an accepted Hajj) brings no less a reward than Paradise.

Also Abdullah (bin Mas’ud) narrated that: 

The Messenger of Allah said: “Alternate between Hajj and Umrah; for those two remove poverty and sins just as the bellows removes filth from iron, gold, and silver – and there is no reward for Al-Hajj Al-Mabrur except for Paradise.”

What more could we even hope for, truly this ought to make us say Alhamdulillah from the very depths of our hearts

But Oh dear friends, do focus on the ahadith, all of them give emphasis on an accepted performance of Hajj, or Hajj Mabrur, please comprehend that by spending copious amounts of money so as to perform Hajj is not sufficient to attain Paradise, paradise cannot be bought, it has to be earned. An accepted performance of Hajj is that which is perfectly performed and is not tarnished with ill deeds. It is also maintained that an accepted Hajj is that which is worthy of being accepted by Allah, hence we need to make absolutely sure that the Hajj that we perform is definitely performed in the best way we can.

We need to give it our all, we need to put in our best, hence the purpose of this article series

Actions can be manifested by knowledge and knowledge has to be attained, so please look out for our next article whence we shall divulge on the pillars of Hajj and the obligatory actions of Hajj

Note: Please click on the ahadith to get its reference

Also please read on the same vein http://aateam.org/blog/our-salt-bags/

 

 

The Obligation of Hajj

When we are asked the meaning of Hajj, pilgrimage is usually the first word that pops up in our mind, but we need to recognize the difference between meanings/definitions and translations

Pilgrimage is the translation of Hajj in English, but Hajj in itself is defined as intention

Yes surprisingly enough Hajj also means intention, so the meaning of the words of Allah, the Most High in Surah Al’ Imran (97) is the intention to visit the House of Allah.

فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ

(Aal Imran, 3:97)

“In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.”

It has been said that Hajj is an obligatory act but as a species who claim to have intelligence, we require proofs and evidences for any statement made, so here are the proofs that mandate Hajj obligatory:

1.

فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ 

(Aal-Imran, 3:97)

In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds

وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ ۚ     

(Al-Baqarah, 2:196)

And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of the Prophet) The Hajj and ‘Umrah (i.e.the pilgrimage to Makkah)

  1. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Messenger of Allah stood up and said:

Allah, Most High, has decreed Hajj for you. Al-Aqra’ bin Habis At-Tamimi said: “Every year, O Messenger of Allah?” But he remained silent, then he said: “If I said yes, it would become obligatory, then you would not hear and obey. Rather it is just one Hajj.”

  1. Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam

Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):

  1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ).
  2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.
  3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity).
  4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)
  5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan

All these evidences indicate to the fact that Hajj is indeed obligatory. It is obligatory to perform it once, anything more is voluntary

Now that we have established the fact that Hajj is an obligation, let us now see on whom is it obligatory, is it obligatory for all the Muslims or are there some specifics that need to be highlighted.

There are five conditions that make Hajj obligatory on a person:

1 – Being Muslim

This applies to all acts of worship, because worship done by a kaafir is not valid.

2 and 3 – being of sound mind and being an adult

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

“The pen is lifted from three [and does not record their deeds]: from one who is sleeping, until he wakes up; from a child until he reaches puberty, and from one who is insane until he comes to his senses.”

Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4403; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

So a child is not obliged to perform Hajj, but if his parents take him for Hajj, his Hajj is valid; the child will have the reward of Hajj and his parents will also have a reward, because when a woman lifted up a child and asked, “Is there Hajj for this one?” the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Yes, and you will have the reward.” Narrated by Muslim

4 – Being free

Hajj is not obligatory for a slave, because he is distracted by his duties towards his master.

5 – Being able to do it

This includes being able both physically and financially.

What is meant by being physically able is that one is sound in body and can bear the hardship of travelling to the sacred House of Allah.

What is meant by being financially able is that a person should have surplus funds that are sufficient for doing Hajj after paying off debts and taking care of shar’i obligations and basic needs

If a person is physically and financially able to do Hajj, then he is obliged to hasten to do Hajj.

  • If he is not physically and financially able, or if he is physically able but he is poor and has no wealth, then he is not obliged to do Hajj.
  • If a person is financially able but he is not physically able, then we look at the matter further.
  • If his problem is something that he hopes will disappear, such as a sickness from which he hopes to recover, then he should wait until Allah heals him, then do Hajj.
  • If his problem is one for which there is no hope that it will disappear, such as a person with cancer or an old person who cannot do Hajj, then he has to appoint someone to do Hajj on his behalf, and the duty to perform Hajj is not waived because of his physical inability if he is financially able.

The evidence for that is the report narrated by Bukhari (1513) according to which a woman said:

“O Messenger of Allah, Allah’s command to the people to perform Hajj has come when my father is an old man and cannot sit firmly in the saddle. Can I perform Hajj on his behalf?” He said: “Yes.”

Therefore, in this article we have now learnt that Hajj is obligatory and then have learnt on whom it is obligatory. In Sha Allah in our next article we shall look into the benefits and virtues of Hajj.

Refer to https://islamqa.info/en/41957 for more insight on those whom Hajj is obligatory on
Click on the ahadith to know their references

The Hajj Series

There is indeed a vast multitude of religions that the Earth witnesses, however, most of these creeds hold a common denominator in the term pilgrimage!

Yes pilgrimage! The Buddhists perform pilgrimage in Bodh Gaya etc. the Hindus in Kumbh Mela etc. the Jews’ make pilgrimage to the western wall of the temple Mount, and of course Muslims perform Hajj, but have you wondered from where did the concept of pilgrimage originate from? Well read on!

If you’ll introspect you’ll certainly notice many concepts found in Islam also found in several other religions, such as zam zam rechristened as Holy water in Christianity, the Qorbanot in Judaism which basically translates to animal sacrifice which ahem is also “surprisingly” found in Islam…

Well, the list could go on and on, it truly could, however, since the theme of this article isn’t the similarity of Islamic concepts to other religions, I shall leave it to your common sense and rationality to cognize the origins or so to speak imitations of these religious concepts; for indeed it is only the true religion that can be imitated and never vice versa.

Well now, before my dear readers feel the urge to leave this article incompletely read, I shall with haste now come to the subject matter of this article

As most of my intelligent readers may have already conjectured, it is indeed Hajj that I wish to talk about.

With Hajj not far away, the proper knowledge of Hajj is definitely the most sought after topic presently.

Regardless, you may have read countless of articles on the topic and as I felt really lost as to what/how to write on a topic now so clichéd by time, it struck to me to write accurately and with complete authenticity a proper series on this topic that shall endeavor to suitably explain the steps, importance and everything that you may need to know about Hajj In Sha Allah

Your complete instruction manual In Sha Allah

After all, for most of us, Hajj is only once in a life time enterprise, we definitely have to take steps that we put in our best efforts to perform it.

And as common sense dictates, actions cannot be achieved without knowledge, so let us now embark on our quest to learn the A-Z of Hajj In Sha Allah

Keep your eyes peeled out for the next article wherein we will highlight the importance of Hajj and on whom is it obligatory upon!

May Allah accept our endeavors ya Rabb!

Bint Ayesha, AAT

Return To Your Lord

In the name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful

Ever felt like you’ve reached a low point in your Iman? That after being a very enthusiastic gainer of good deeds you are becoming lenient and your enthusiasm is fading?

I’ve felt that many times. I’m sure we all do. it’s pretty common to feel that way. Imaan is just like a roller coaster, sometimes it goes up making us feel contented and sometimes it goes down and low, a danger zone. Yes! I call that a danger zone. And it is must for us to take steps to come out of that perilous zone.

In the hustle and bustle of life, we often forget to follow Allah’s commands. We are indulged in the comforts of this world, shrugging off everything related to the after-life, and hence our iman begins to drop.

It is usual for us to feel lackadaisical in following and abiding by Allah’s commands. It is a human nature to sin and to err.

so here are some tips to pick up your iman and give you that much-need iman boost:

  1. Open the Qur’an and see what Allah wants to tell you:

The Qur’an is the nourishment of every person’s soul, the light of the heart and guidance to the straight path.

Allah (glorified and exalted be He) says:

“Indeed, this Qur’an guides to that which is most suitable.” [Qur’an: Chapter 17, Verse 9]

Whenever you feel like you are losing your energy and that your performance is starting to drop, quickly turn to the Qur’an and you will always find a way out.

2. Read books related to Islam:

There are a variety of books that one can buy from bookshops or kiosks which are related to Islam. Try reading Stories of the Prophets. They’re interesting to read and will give us knowledge about the lives of the Prophets and the difficulties they went through. it’s sure to help your iman rise.

Start with one book and see the snowball effect!

3. Sit with those who learn and practice Islam:

A man learns the best from his friends.

As cliche as it sounds, the reality is: The more time we spend with a person, the more prone we are to gather their habits.

The bottom line is: Spend time with those who learn and preach Islam.

4. Make dua

Dua is a weapon of a believer. Make dua during prostration. Make dua that your Iman be high. Make dua that you be persistent in gaining good deeds and in pleasing Allah.

In the end, I’d like to remind you all to jot down the tid bits which will help us in raising our Imaan.

I ask Allah to make us better practicing Muslims than what we were yesterday. Aameen

Maha Bassad, AAT

Eating and Drinking

Every act that a believer does is to please Allah (Glory be to Him) alone. With good intention, a believer turns any lawful act into an act of worship. However, every deed to be accepted has to be in accordance to the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and with sincerity. Eating and drinking is part of our lives, well…it’s our survival need. A believer can turn these acts into acts of worship if he follows the etiquettes of the prophet (peace be upon him) during eating and drinking and other right intentions made out of it.

Allah’s messenger (peace be upon him) said: “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few morsels to keep him alive. If he must fill it, then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink, and one-third for air.” (Tirmidhi)

Etiquettes before Eating and Drinking:

1) The food must be lawful, pure, and obtained lawfully.

2) The food/drink served should not be made for impermissible reasons such as Durood, Fatiha, in the name of other than Allah (Glory be to Him).

3) Eat /drink with the intention of worship.

4) Cleanse our hands.

5) It is better to eat/drink in a simple and unadorned manner. Avoid excessive formalities because Islam teaches simplicity.

6) Sit humbly and modestly, whether on the floor or on the table. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I do not take my meals while leaning.” (Bukhari) There should be no sign of haughtiness in a believer.

7) A believer eats only when he feels hungry; he eats to live and not live to eat. ‘Umar saw a man with a huge belly and said: “What is this?” He said, “A blessing from Allah.” He said, “Rather it is a punishment from Allah.”

8) When the food is served, wait for the elderly or guest to begin first.

9) Be wary of your companions and give preference to their need.

10) Do not stare at your companions. Refrain from acts which disturbs/harms others.

Eating with poor people is selflessness, eating with peers is fun, and eating with elderly is honor.

Etiquettes after eating/drinking:

1) Cease eating before feeling fully satisfied.

2) Do not throw away what’s left.

“…and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not those who waste by extravagance” (07:31)

3) Wash/cleanse hands and plate.

4) Floss and gargle (khilaal) your mouth.

5) Recite the following dua at the end: ‘Praise is to Allah Who has given me this food and sustained me with it though I was unable to do it and powerless.’

The next time you settle down to enjoy a meal, remember these tips to gain rewards even whilst you fulfill your basic need of food and drink.

Maliha Rahmat

Five Steps to Good Character

Good character is recognised amongst every society on earth, be they muslim or otherwise, modern or ancient, all civilisations have acknowledged good morals. Some civilisations have higher standards than others, and Islam has the highest standard of all. Indeed, the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was “sent to perfect good character,” (Adab Al Mufrad, saheeh by Sh Al-Albaani) for which he himself was a role model, as Allah says, “And indeed, you are of a great moral character.” (68:04) Thus, a true muslim desires to perfect his character, and emulate the best of people following the Sunnah in their mannerisms.

Soon, during the month of Dhul-Hijjah, for those who embark on the journey of a lifetime; facing crowds, rushing to and fro, tensions can sometimes run high. It is important that during this auspicious occasion we ensure the best of manners to secure the rewards, and not reduce the value of our Hajj.

Our religion prides itself for upholding good morals, and places great importance on character, so much so that there is great reward for it,

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: By his good character a believer will attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day. (Sunan Abi Dawud, Saheeh Sh Al-Albaani)

And it is narrated that he ﷺ used to say, ‘The best among you are the best in character (having good manners).”‘ (Bukhari)

Hence, we find that good character is extremely important, for it is a means by which one can enter paradise, and enjoy life for eternity. We can go on listing the virtues of good character, for they are many, but let’s be brief.

There is a great consequence for neglecting one’s character;

For on another occasion, Abu Ad-Dardha narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “…Indeed Allah, Most High, is angered by the shameless obscene person.” (Tirmithi, saheeh)

After learning the importance of good character in our religion, one would naturally desire to possess good character.

  1. Learn what is good character, and what isn’t

For example: Aisha reported: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), said,

“Verily, whoever has been given the quality of kindness has been given his portion of good in this life and in the Hereafter. Maintaining family ties, good character, and good treatment of neighbours will build their heavenly abodes and increase their life span.” (Musnad Aḥmad, Sahih by Sh Al-Albaani)

Hence, kindness, good treatment to family, neighbours are all part of good character.

Abu Wahb narrated that: Abdullah bin Al-Mubarak explained good character, and then he said: “It is a smiling face, doing one’s best in good, and refraining from harm.” (Tirmithi, saheeh)

And there are many other narrations concerning this.

One can also learn from the seerah for the most excellent in manners was the Prophet, whom Allah praised for his excellent character.

2. Learn the consequences of Bad Character: observe how bad character can affect you in this life, and how people would lose respect for one with bad character. Notice, how one with bad morals negatively affect a person’s reputation, until their bad traits become their signature. Also learn how bad character can affect one’s hereafter and the punishments for it.

3. Implement what you have learnt by avoiding what is not good character, and performing what is. This should come as a natural consequence of what you have learnt. True learning is only so, when one implements and applies what they have learnt.

4. Learn the immense rewards in store for good character: in this life people will love you and respect you. You will be honoured and revered. And in the hereafter, Allah has prepared what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard and what has no crossed the heart of any person.

Abu ad-Darda narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The heaviest thing which will be put on the believer’s scale (on the Day of Resurrection) will be good morals.” Related by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi who graded it as Sahih.

Also, Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Messenger of Allah was asked about that for which people are admitted into Paradise the most, so he said: “Taqwa of Allah, and good character.” (Tirmithi, Saheeh)

5. Follow it up with the duaa of the Prophet:

Ibn Mas’ud narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,

اَللَّهُمَّ كَمَا أَحْسَنْتَ خَلْقِي, فَحَسِّنْ خُلُقِي

(Allahumma kama ahsanta khalqi fahassin khuluqi)

“O Allah You have made my creation perfect, so make my moral characteristics also be the best.” (Ahmad, authenticated by Ibn Hibban)

 And in another narration,

اَللّٰهُمَّ اِنِّیْ اَعُوْذُبِكَ مِنْ مُنْكَرَاتِ الْاَخْلَاقِ وَالْاَعْمَالِ وَالْاَھْوَاءِ

(Allahumma inni a’uthu bika min munkaratil Akhlaaqi wal a’maali wal ahwaa)

“O Allah! I seek refuge in You from a bad character and bad actions and bad desires.” (Tirmithi, Saheeh)

May Allah aid us in attaining the best of character.

 

 

 

Who is a Religiously Committed Wife?

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encouraged marrying women who are religiously committed, as he said: “Women may be married for four things: their wealth, their lineage, their beauty and their religious commitment. Choose the one who is religiously-committed, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may your prosper).” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5090; Muslim, 1466.

A religiously committed muslim woman is to be sought for marriage as the Prophet told us as our purpose in life is to worship Allah and a religious woman would help us to do that and make our children ongoing charity for us even after our death, now what are the characteristics of this greatly admired woman?

  1. Aqeedah:

A woman with the right aqeedah i.e; she is a Muwahid who has not fallen in innovations and other misguidance is the right woman as she is the home maker and will have a great impact on the husband and children.

  1. An obedient woman, who obeys her husband:

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: It was said to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): Which of women is best? He said: “The one who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her, obeys him when he tells her to do something, and does not disobey him with regard to herself or her wealth in a way that he dislikes.” (Narrated by al-Nasaa’i (3131)) ‘

Three things are mentioned here in this hadith-

(i) When he looks at her, he is happy with her: her religious commitment, attitude, behaviour and appearance.

(ii) When he is away from her, she protects his honour and his wealth.

(iii) If he tells her to do something, she obeys him, so long as he does not tell her to commit sin..

Al-Ansari said, “The woman is the key to the security in every society and the foundation of the family.” (Al-Majmu’1/173)

  1. Enjoins her husband to do good deeds and stops from bad deeds.

A good wife will always advise her husband to do good and will have better ways to stop him from doing anything haram. Allah says, “…They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and hasten to good deeds. And those are among the righteous.” (3:114)

It is reported that Umar ibn Al Khattab said, “There is no goodness in people who don’t give advice and there is no goodness in people who don’t like to be advised.” (Risaalaat Al-Mustarshideen, 71)

  1. She should fulfill her husband’s rights with regard to his wealth and herself, even when her husband is absent.

“If a man is married with a righteous wife, he will live a harmonious life, even if he is poor.” (Sh Salih Al Fawzan, Al-Ittihaf, pg 858)

Allah says in the Quran:

“Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity and their husband’s property).” [al-Nisa’ 4:34].

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“guard in the husband’s absence” means: they are obedient to their husbands and even in their absence they guard themselves and their husband’s wealth, seeking the help of Allah in that, because no one can do that by himself or herself, for the self is inclined towards evil, but the one who puts his trust in Allah, He will suffice him and help him in his religious and worldly affairs.

(Tafseer al-Sa’di)

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

A righteous wife will be with her righteous husband for many years, and she is the one who is meant in the hadeeth in which the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “This world is temporary conveniences and the best of its comforts is a believing wife, who when you look at her she pleases you and if you tell her to do something she obeys you, and if you are away from her she protects you with regard to  herself and your wealth.”

  1. Doing acts of worship and obedience, and refraining from haraam things.

Al-Khateeb al-Sharbeeni al-Shaafa’i (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

According to the hadeeth: “If a woman prays her five (daily prayers), fasts her month (Ramadaan), guards her chastity and obeys her husband, it will be said to her: Enter Paradise by whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish.” Narrated by Ahmad (1664)

  1. She should have knowledge and seek it:

Having knowledge of the deen is important to do all of the above.

Therefore, women possessing these qualities are desirable for marriage, even though we should keep in mind that the level of each of these characteristics may differ in different women but the more modest, knowledgeable and devoted to worship a woman is, the more desirable she is as a wife.

Ahmad ibn Harb said, “if six characteristics are gathered in a woman her goodness is perfected,

  • Guarding her five prayers
  • Yielding to her husband
  • Pleasing her Lord
  • Guarding her tongue from backbiting and gossiping
  • Forsaking worldly possessions
  • Being patient following tragedy

(Siyar A’lam An-Nubala)

May Allah give our youth spouses who are better for them here and in the hereafter. Ameen

“A pious woman, even if she’s not stunningly beautiful, her character and religion make her attractive.” (Shakyh Ibn Uthaymeen, Sharh Riyadh As-Saliheen, No. 280)

 

 

 

Heeding The Call

Midway on our lifes journey, I found myself

In dark woods, the right road lost. To tell

About those woods is hard–so tangled and rough   

                                                       [Dantes Inferno

                                                       Canto I (1-3)]

The ritual of sabbath keeping in my grandmother’s household was one that was strictly adhered to. “Six days shalt thy labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work” (King James Version, Exodus 20:9-10).  Our favorite after school pastimes, was to make way on Friday afternoons for the humming of the vacuum cleaner, and the inevitable arguments about who’s turn it was the clean the bathroom.

“No, Grandma said you had to clean the bathroom.”

“I did it last week. It’s your turn.”

“Nah ah. No way Jose.”

The fresh aroma of Pine-Sol infused with the chalky perfume of Ajax cleaner is to this day entangled with my memories of sabbath preparations. Intoxicated by the cleaner fumes a sense of satisfaction washed away the chagrin I felt for having once again been duped by my brother into cleaning.  The words of my favorite hymnal rose up from inside of me, and encircled the clouds of steam that fill the cramped space.  “Rejoice ye pure in heart.  Rejoice give thanks and sing,”  the wish wash of the brush gliding across the porcelain enamel, accompany my song leaving the bathtub sparkling with my achievement.  A crimson hue spied through the tiny window tucked awkwardly in the upper left corner of the room, welcomes in the sabbath.

Our two bedroom apartment normally filled with the sounds of cartoons, or video games, gave  way to the tranquility of sabbath. Family Radio blanketed the background as we gathered together in the living room, bibles in tow. My grandmother, brother and I each taking turns to pray.  This scene would replay itself throughout my childhood and teenage years.  By the time I entered university, sabbath was my favorite time of the week. Long gone were the memories of the little girl whom without fail would hurriedly skip towards the exit of our church where pastor Williams and the deacons lined up to bid the worshippers farewell.

“It’s sister Henry’s granddaughter,” the deacon standing to the left of pastor Williams said laughingly. The two men chuckled with anticipation. Our dance of question and answer, followed by the birth of more questions, conceived by my dissatisfaction of the pastor’s answers, always ended with the same question.

“How can Jesus be the son of God, and God be God and the Holy Spirit be God?”

“It’s a matter of faith, little sister Henry.”

“But I believe in God, pastor Williams, I just don’t get it?”

“When you have faith you will understand.”

I could feel a dissatisfied yet a polite smile would creep onto my face and my eyes would lower as my grandmother’s fingernails gently dug into my shoulders nudging me along. “If I have faith,” I muttered. This issue of faith would haunt me until I learned to tuck away my doubt into the attic of mind, where all of life’s unanswered questions came to dwell.

Only a shadow memory remains of the little girl. She has grown into a college freshman and my new role in life exempted me from sabbath preparations. My main responsibility was to continue bringing home straight A’s and making my family proud. Friday afternoons were spent studying at school. Taking a break, I would linger through the rows of books in the basement of the college library.  The musty bouquet of books untouched by human hands for decades, often lured me to a darkest corner of the library. Surrounded by books, I tilt my head to the right and silently read the titles, grabbing those that appeal to me.  With an array of books, tucked under my arms and spilling out of my hands, I found a corner and spread them on the floor.  Kneeling down besides the substantial pile, I got into a comfortable position, and flip each book to the back page, removing the library card from its pocket.  “Wow, 1950,” I thought . The book in question had last been checked out in 1950, and therefore the chosen one to flip through first.

I can no longer remember the title of the book that would rock my faith to its very core. All I recall is that as I read and reread the pages, an overwhelming sense of dread overtook me. Suppressed tears clouded my vision, as I continued to read;  my head spinning with this newfound revelation. A string of words dominate the memory, Council of Nicaea, battle over the divinity of Christ, a claim that Jesus had never said he was the son of God. Could this be true? Months of research followed.  Each book reconfirming what the other had propagated. The question regarding the Trinity, the Christian doctrine that one God exists in three distinct Divine Persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, that I had tucked away in my mind violently imploded, leaving a gaping hole of doubt. How could I be saved from Hell if Jesus had not died for my sins?

The nineteen year old me carried this unspoken burden of knowledge with a heaviness of heart.  It weighed on me, dragged me down, invaded happy moments, tormented me with a stream of unanswerable questions.  Maybe I should become a Jew? But how could I be a Jew, I can’t give up on the belief in Jesus.  I knew he must have existed. And I love him. What else is out there?

By my sophomore year I landed a job as a tutor, and my afternoons were spent tutoring members of the basketball team. How the question of my chastity had arisen I cannot recall, but what I do remember is one of the players asking me if I were a Muslim.  No of course I wasn’t, I didn’t even know what a Muslim believed. The only girls he knew who guarded their chastity were Muslims like him.

“I’m a Christian,” I protested.

“So you believe Jesus is God,” he retorted.

“No, no I don’t.”

“What then?”

His question pierced me. But I knew that only one answer was possible.

“I believe God is one. Jesus is Jesus and not the son of God. And he’s not God.  There is only one God.”

“What about the Holy Ghost?”

“I don’t know. All I know is that the Holy Ghost isn’t God. God is one.”

A sparkle in his eyes shot a smile in my direction.  Leaning towards me he beckoned me to come closer.

“Then you’re a Muslim,” he whispered.  “You need to read the Quran.”

“What’s that?”

“The unaltered word of God.”

Our conversation was interrupted by other players gesturing him away.  It was time for basketball practice.

Before leaving he turned to me and said, “Stay sweet and pure. Allah loves the pure of heart.”

Over the next week I watched the door nervously as students entered, eager to continue questioning him about his…wait…I didn’t even know the name of his religion.

“Hey Ivan where’s Talik?”

“He went back to Turkey, some family thing.”

My eyes lowered in disappointment.  A quizzical look formed on Ivan’s face.

“Why you wanna know? You his girl or something?”

“Nah,” I replied.

“Then why you look like you wanna cry?”

Shifting in my chair I hesitantly allowed the words to form and spill out of my mouth.

“I wanted to ask him about his religion.”

“Oh, hey girl you don’t wanna know ‘bout his religion.  He’s a Sunni Muslim. I’m a Nation of Islam Muslim.”

“What’s the difference?”

“I’ve seen you with your brother. You black right?”

“Yeah, but what does that have to do with anything?”

“You look so white.”

“Ivan, come on.”

“Since you a sister I’m gonna be straight with you.  The white man enslaved the tribe of Shabazz, from the Lost Nation of Asia.  Black people in America are the descendants of those people. The Master Fard Muhammad is the Mahdi, the Messiah, see girl Jesus wasn’t the Messiah, that’s a lie the white man uses to enslave us. Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that there is one God and his name is Allah.  85% of the population is deaf, dumb and blind. And these dumb fools are brainwashed by 10% of the population, the white man, who enslaves their minds with a slave mentality…”

“Stop, boy you crazy.”

Ivan laughed.

This was long before Facebook or widespread use of the internet. There would be no way to contact Talik. But I remembered his suggestion that I read the Quran. In the weeks that followed I would replay our conversation in my mind.  The Bible is the word of God.  So how can the Quran be the unaltered word of God. And who is Allah?”  No longer able to resist my desire to read the Quran, I put my guilt aside.  My faith in Jesus as my Savior had been shattered and I was racked with guilt for my blasphemous thoughts. As I read the table of contents of the Quran, the word surah, sent me into a tailspin. After consulting the dictionary my confusion only intensified.  “Surah, noun, a soft twirled silk fabric,” I read out loud. Slamming the dictionary shut I decided to just start at the beginning, Surah a-Fatihah: The Opening.

  1. In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
  2. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds,
  3. The Beneficent, the Merciful.
  4. Master of the Day of Judgment,
  5. Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help.
  6. Show us the straight path,
  7. The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.

My hands began to quiver uncontrollably.  “I’m going to burn in Hell forever. No, no, no way I’m a Muslim. God is God not this Allah.”

A shadow of doubt lingered in my heart. A few months later, as I scanned a row of books in my favorite bookstore, I chanced upon a brightly colored Quran.  I felt courageous enough to try re-reading al-Fatihah. I quickly slammed the book shut and reaffirmed my idea that Muslims were devil worshippers and I certainly wasn’t one of them.

Over the years that followed, I drifted further and further away from my Christian beliefs. Eventually I stopped praying.  My life slipped into darkness. Following the death of my parents, I became utterly, painfully, and hopelessly lost.

“You need to stop living a worldly life,” my grandmother said over the telephone.  By this time, I had moved back to Amsterdam, the city I had called home until the age of 9. At which time my brother and I were sent to live with our grandmother, in New York City, my birthplace.

“Go back to the church,” she commanded. Her words fell on deaf ears. Responsible for the upbringing of my little brother and sister after our mother’s death, I felt I needed to instill within them the love of God.  I taught them what I knew of the Bible and studied the Seventh Day Adventist quarterly my grandmother religiously sent to us. I taught them to turn to God for everything and to pray each day.  Yet, I myself, still couldn’t believe in the Trinity.

It was the movie Agora in 2009 that finally helped me acknowledge I was no longer a Christian.  It chronicles the last days of the life and death of Hypatia of Alexandria, a Greek mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, who lived in Egypt, c. 350-370 AD – 415 AD. Her death scene in the movie is mild by comparison to how she actually was murdered by a Christian mob. Stripping her naked inside a church they stoned her to death, then dragged her naked bloodied dead body in the street for all to see before tearing it to pieces. The story of Hypatia resonated with me like no other story of history. I couldn’t figure out why.  Finally, after months of searching my soul for answers I realized why I had been so profoundly moved by Hypatia’s persecution and death.  She had been murdered because she was a pagan. She rejected Christian doctrine and affirmed her belief in her pagan gods.  It was the hypocrisy of the Christians who killed her I could not accept. They preached love, and that God is love, and yet they would kill a great thinker for her religious beliefs. Was is not up to God to judge her? And did God want us to compel people to worship him?

Drifting without a religion, I tried praying over the next few years. My mind would wander before I could even formulate my first thoughts to God.  Prayer, which had been my solace, was now lost on me.  “Satan get thee behind me,” I uttered in the darkness of those desperate nights. I begged God to show me the right way.  As I prospered in my professional life, privately I was slowly dying. Enjoying success at work I earned the respect of my all-male team, with me as the only female exception.  I became well known within the company.  I was the golden girl at work, loved by my managers, rewarded financially for my hard work and dedication; working long hours and volunteering whenever needed.  Work had become my escape from the disconnection I felt. Single, I rarely socialized outside of work expect for the odd coffee with a select few. My little brother was now 21, and although he still lived at home, my life no longer revolved around his upbringing. My younger sister had moved out on her own years earlier. I didn’t know what to do with my free time.  I began tutoring friends and friends of friends and in October 2012 met Amine.

“You teach Dutch me,” he said in broken Dutch.

“Okay,” I replied.

Nearly a month of intensive two hour daily conversational sessions followed. My little brother sometimes joined in ensuring I didn’t assimilate my Dutch to make it easier for Amine to understand.

“You have to speak properly,” he would interject.  “Don’t speak like him. If you don’t speak properly he won’t learn to speak Dutch correctly.”

I had a tendency to dumb down my Dutch but my brother was correct and soon Amine was formulating complete sentences.

Tea and cookies became our favorite treat after our sessions.  It was while we were enjoying a cup of mint tea and chocolate chip cookies that Amine surprised me with questions about the Bible.

“Tell me about Isa. I read the Bible in my country but I don’t understand about Isa.”

“Who?”

“Wait, I google.”

“Oh, Jesus. Sure, well….”

Amine listened intently.  I spoke slowly, after all, it was my chance to convert him, and save him from a life of ignorance and possibly Hell. As I drew my story to a close, Amine laughed.

“That’s crazy.  Islam is the truth.”

He searched his telephone and handed it to me.

“Read,” he said.

“What’s this?” I replied.

“Read. It’s Quran.”

Surah Al-Ikhlas

1       Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One,

2       Allah, the Eternal Refuge.

3       He neither begets nor is born,

4       Nor is there to Him any equivalent.”

Closing his eyes Amine recited the verses in Arabic.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ

اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ

لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْ

وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌ

He explained to me that Jesus (peace be upon him) was a prophet, a man, who was born by virgin birth, as a prophet of God. Allah, I learned that night, was Arabic for God. And Mohammad (peace be upon him) was the best of creation, the last prophet to be sent as a Messenger of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).  The language barrier faded away and I could no longer detect any mistakes in his speech requiring correction. Instead, his words penetrated my heart, I could feel something move inside of me. I knew immediately I wanted to be a Muslim. This was the truth I had been searching for since I was a little girl questioning pastor Williams.  A lifetime of questions were answered.

“Read,” Amine said pushing the telephone back into my hand. “Al-Baqarah” he whispered.

“There shall be no compulsion in religion; the right course has become distinct from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it.  And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” Al-Baqarah 256

 لَآ إِكْرَاهَ فِى ٱلدِّينِ ۖ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ ٱلرُّشْدُ مِنَ ٱلْغَىِّ ۚ فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِٱلطَّٰغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِنۢ بِٱللَّهِ فَقَدِ ٱسْتَمْسَكَ بِٱلْعُرْوَةِ ٱلْوُثْقَىٰ لَا ٱنفِصَامَ لَهَا ۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

His recitation sent shivers down my spine. With tears flowing down his cheeks, Amine took a deep breath and continued to recite.

 يَٰٓأَهْلَ ٱلْكِتَٰبِ لَا تَغْلُوا۟ فِى دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا۟ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلْحَقَّ ۚ إِنَّمَا ٱلْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ٱبْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُۥٓ أَلْقَىٰهَآ إِلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ ۖ فَـَٔامِنُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِۦ ۖ وَلَا تَقُولُوا۟ ثَلَٰثَةٌ ۚ ٱنتَهُوا۟ خَيْرًا لَّكُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا ٱللَّهُ إِلَٰهٌ وَٰحِدٌ ۖ سُبْحَٰنَهُۥٓ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُۥ وَلَدٌ ۘ لَّهُۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ وَكِيلً

Pressing the telephone back into the palm of my hand, he could not speak, overcome with emotion. Words were no longer needed.  I read.

“O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers.  And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you.  Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth.  And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.”  an-Nisa: 171.

That night I lay awake in bed contemplating what had transpired. My heart full of joy and peace had no doubt that Islam was the truth.  But what would people say if I became a Muslim? My grandmother would be heartbroken and spend her days worrying about my salvation. Who cares I told myself. God is calling me to the truth. I decided to confide in Suzanne, my Muslim friend at work.  With my mind made up, I took Shahada two weeks later at Suzanne’s local mosque. The next day the office was abuzz amongst my Muslim colleagues.   I discovered that we had a prayer room in the office.  And was invited by a coworker, Mohammad to have dinner with him and his wife.  She too was a revert, having accepted Islam, twenty something years earlier. I welcomed the invitation as I wanted to learn more about Islam.  I felt so utterly overwhelmed by a wealth of information. Where to begin? The library, my home away from home would be my starting point. I soon found that the library, which had once been my friend, could no longer be relied upon.  Desperate for the truth I turned to God in prayer, and began my quest for knowledge. Mohammad by proxy would become my first teacher.  I was a Muslim now, but I had no clue what was next. All I knew was that I believed and finally my heart brimming with faith, understood.

Based on my memories by Nour M. Fox

Student Loans

With summer holidays setting in, many welcome the break from school. For others this summer will mark the end of their school life as they move up the ladder into higher education. Following summer, they will begin their ‘student life’ at university.

But for those of us who reside in the UK, going to university usually entails taking a ‘student loan.’ This student loan has a clause included that post-graduation if one earns over £21,000 annually, one must pay back the loan with interest.

It should be made clear, that whether this is permissible is not a matter of personal opinion. As muslims it is the opinion of Allah that is the deciding factor, in all our affairs. Hence our opinion can only be in line with the opinion of Allah.

There are scholars who argue this loan is haram, and others who argue it is perfectly permissible. We are not here to discuss the two opinions, rather I would like to highlight some important facts to bear in mind, no matter which of the two opinions you take.

Firstly, a scholar, mufti, or any other religious authority is not infallible. They are capable of making mistakes in their judgement. Hence, we should not blindly follow their opinion. We should look at the evidence for and against any opinion before coming to a conclusion.

Secondly, you should know that riba, often translated as usury or interest, is forbidden in Islam, in no uncertain terms, completely. Whether it is given any of the previously mentioned names, or a new name, if the principle is the same, the ruling is the same. Ibn Qudamaah said, “every loan in which it is stipulated that something extra must be paid back is haram with no difference of scholarly opinion.”

Narrated Abu Juhaifa: ‘The Prophet (ﷺ) forbade the one who takes (eats) usury the one who gives usury...’

Hence both paying and receiving riba are both forbidden.

Jaabir said, the Messenger of Allah cursed the one who consumes riba and the one who pays it and the one who writes it down and the two who witness it and he said, they are all the same.” (Muslim)

Many think they have found a way out, by not intending to pay back the student loan, however, this is deceitful. Furthermore, one would be a witness to that contract, and have signed it, and agreed to its conditions.

And Allah says (the translation of which is): “O you who have believed, fear Allah and give up what remains of interest, if you should be believers. And if you do not, then be informed of a war [against you] from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your principal – [thus] you do no wrong, nor are you wronged.”  (Surah Al Baqarah, 2:278-279)

Thirdly, consult your heart. If something itches in your heart, then know that it is wrong: your fitrah is telling you it is wrong. Your heart and soul are naturally uncomfortable with sins.

On the authority of an-Nawas bin Sam’an, that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Righteousness is in good character, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about.” [Muslim]

And on the authority of Wabisah bin Ma’bad (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “You have come to ask about righteousness.” I said, “Yes.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels at ease and the heart feels tranquil. And wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and causes uneasiness in the breast, even though people have repeatedly given their legal opinion [in its favour].

A good hadeeth transmitted from the musnads of the two imams, Ahmed bin Hambal and Al- Darimi, with a good chain of authorities.

And lastly, better to be safe than sorry:

Narrated An-Nu`man bin Bashir: The Prophet (ﷺ) said “Both legal and illegal things are obvious, and in between them are (suspicious) doubtful matters. So whoever forsakes those doubtful things lest he may commit a sin, will definitely avoid what is clearly illegal; and whoever indulges in these (suspicious) doubtful things bravely, is likely to commit what is clearly illegal. Sins are Allah’s Hima (i.e. private pasture) and whoever pastures (his sheep) near it, is likely to get in it at any moment.” (Bukhari)

Before you head off on journey, consider these matters. May Allah ease your affairs, and guide you and us.