Respecting Our Differences

15 03 2008
“Waste no time debating what a good Muslim should be. Be one!”

by Muhammad Alshareef

Imam Malik one day entered the Masjid after Asr. Towards the front of Masjid An-Nabawee he drew closer and sat down. Rasul Allah had commanded that anyone who enters the Masjid should not sit until he first prays 2 rakas as a salutation of the Masjid. Imam Malik was of the opinion however that Rasul Allah’s forbiddance of praying after Asr took precedence and so he would teach his students to not pray the tahiyyatul Masjid if they entered between the Asr and Maghrib time.

At that moment that Imam Malik sat down, a young boy had seen him sit without first praying the 2 raka’s of Tahiyyatul Masjid. The young boy scorned him, “Get up and pray 2 rakas!”

Imam Malik dutifully stood up once again and began praying the 2 rakas. The students sat stunned: What was going on? Had Imam Malik’s opinion changed? After he had completed the salah, the students swarmed around and questioned his actions. Imam Malik said, “My opinion has not changed, nor have I gone back on what I taught you earlier. I merely feared that had I not prayed the 2 rakas as the young boy commanded, Allah may include me in the Ayah…

“And when it is said to them, ‘Bow (in prayer)’, they do not bow.” – al mursalat 77/48.

Imam Ahmad held the opinion that eating camel meat nullifies ones Wudhu, an opinion that the majority of scholars differed from. Some students asked him, “If you find an Imam eating camel meat in front of you and – without first making Wudu – then leads the Salah, would you pray behind him?” Imam Ahmad replied, “Do you think I would not pray behind the likes of Imam Malik and Sa’eed ibn Al-Musayyab?”

Allah created humans with differences. It is the law of creation. Different tongues, different colors, different cultures…all that on the outside. On the inside, humans were created with many degrees of knowledge, intellect, and comprehension of concepts. This is all a sign of Allah’s all encompassing power to do whatever He wills:

“And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are signs for those who know.” [30:22]

Humans shall differ, that is not the issue. The issue is: How as a Muslim should one confront these differences of opinions and what should be our relationship with someone of a different opinion.

Allah ta’ala commanded us to call and advise people in this Deen of Al-Islam. Many Muslims set off on this mission blindfolded, not realizing that the map was there in the Qur’an also. In fact, in the very same verse where Allah commanded us to call and advise people in this Deen, Allah taught us how to do it. Read the following verse carefully:

“Invite (fi’l Amr – Allah is commanding) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction and argue with them in a way that is best! ” – Surah An-Nahl 16/125.

There is no need to philosophize. No need to talk in the flower gardens. It is right there, plain and simple for anyone who would take heed.

There in that Ayah are the three ingredients to apply when we disagree with someone. The same Allah that taught us to debate the truth, taught us how to do it:

1 – With Hikmah (wisdom)
2 – With good instruction, and
3 – To argue in a way that is best.

What does it mean to have Hikmah when differing with someone? The grandsons of Rasul Allah(saw) once set one of the most beautiful examples of Hikmah in advising others. Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn – in their young age – once saw a senior man performing Wudu incorrectly. Together they arranged a plan to teach the man without insulting him, advising him in a manner befitting of his age.

Together they went to the senior and announced, “My brother and I have differed over who amongst us performs Wudu the best. Would you mind being the judge to determine which one of us indeed performs Wudu more correctly.”

The man watched intently as the two grandsons of Rasul Allah performed Wudu in an explicit manner. After they had completed, he thanked them and said, “By Allah, I did not know how to perform Wudu before this. You have both taught me how to do it correctly.”

We must understand that there are two dimensions to Hikmah. Firstly, there is the Hikmah of knowledge – Hikmah Ilmiyyah. And secondly, there is the Hikmah of Action – Hikmah Amaliyyah.

Some people may have Hikmah of knowledge. But we see that when they try correcting others, advising them, they lack the Hikmah of Action. This causes many a common folk to reject the Hikmah of knowledge.

To illustrate this hikmah of knowledge without Hikmah of action, a brother once completed the Salah in a local Masjid and then proceeded to shake hands with the people on his right and left. The brother to his immediate right slapped his hand and snapped, “That is not part of the Sunnah!” The man replied most correctly, “Oh, is disrespect and insult part of the Sunnah?”

To show Hikmah when we differ requires the following:

Sincerity

One: If we differ, our intentions should be that we are differing in the sincere hope of coming away with the truth. Our intentions should be sincere to Allah.

We should not differ just to release some hate or envy in our heart. We should not differ to embarrass someone like we may have been embarrassed.

Rasul Allah said, “Whoever learns knowledge – knowledge from that which should be sought for the sake of Allah – only to receive a commodity of the material world, he shall not find the fragrance of jannah on the day of resurrection.” – An authentic hadith narrated by Abu Dawood in Kitab Al-Ilm.

Kindness and Gentleness

Two: To have Hikmah when differing means we should rarely depart from an atmosphere of kindness and gentleness, we should seldom allow ourselves to become angry and raise our voices.

Fir’own (Pharaoh) was one of the evilest people that lived. Musa was one of the noblest. Look at how Allah told Musa to advise Fir’own…

“Go, both of you, to Fir’own. Indeed, he has transgressed. And speak to him with gentle speech, perhaps he may remember or fear (Allah).”

A man once entered upon the Khalifah and chastised him for some policies he had taken. The Khalifah replied, “By Allah, Fir’own was more eviler than me. And by Allah, Musa was more pious than you. Yet, Allah commanded him…’And speak to him with gentle speech, perhaps he may remember or fear (Allah).'”

Take Your Time and Clarify

Three: To have Hikmah when dealing with others is to be patient and clarify things before snapping to conclusions.

Imam Ahmad narrates with his chain of narrators leading to Ibn Abbas who said, “A man from Bani Saleem passed by a group of the Prophet’s companions. (At that time of war) The man said ‘as salamu alaykum’ to them. The companions concluded that he only said ‘as salamu alaykum’ to them as a deception to save himself from being caught. They surrounded him and Malham ibn Juthaamah killed him. From that event Allah revealed the verse…

“O you who have believed, when you go forth (to fight) in the cause of Allah, investigate, and do not say to one who gives you (a greeting of peace), “You are not a believer,” Aspiring for the goods of worldly life; for with Allah are many acquisitions. You (yourselves) were like that before; then Allah conferred His favor (i.e. guidance) upon you, so investigate. Indeed, Allah is ever with what you do, acquainted.” – Surah AnNisa, 4/94. From Tafseer Ibn Katheer.

Speak Kindly

Fourthly, never trade in kind words for harshness, especially when dealing with other Muslims.

Look at the power of a sincere and polite word: Mus’ab ibn Umayr was the first of ambassador of Rasul Allah in Madinah. Before Rasul Allah had arrived in Madinah, Mus’ab taught ahl al-Madinah about Islam and they began to enter the Deen.

This enraged Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaadah, one of the chieftains of Madinah. He sheathed his sword and set off for the head of Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr. When he confronted Mus’ab he threatened, “Stop this nonsense you speak or you shall find yourself dead!”

Mus’ab replied in the way that should be a lesson for us all. This man before him did not stop at rudeness and ignorance, he wanted to slit his throat.

Mus’ab said, “Shall you not sit and listen for a few moments. If you agree with what I say then take it, and if not, we shall desist from this talk.” Sa’d sat down.

Mus’ab spoke about Allah and His messenger until the face of Sa’d ibn Ubaadah’s face shone like a full moon and he said, “What should a person do who wishes to enter into this Deen?” After Mus’ab had told him he said, “There is a man, if he accepts this Deen, there shall be no home in Madinah that will not become Muslim. Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh.”

When Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh heard what was happening, he was infuriated. He left his home to go and kill this man called Mus’ab ibn Umayr for the dissention he had caused. He entered upon Mus’ab and announced, “You shall desist of this religion you speak of or you shall find yourself dead!”

Mus’ab replied, “Shall you not sit and listen for a few moments. If you agree with what I say then take it, and if not, I shall desist from this talk.” Sa’d sat.

Mus’ab spoke about Allah and His messenger until the face of Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh’s face shone like a full moon and he said, “What should a person do who wishes to enter into this Deen?”

Look at what a kind word did. Sa’d ibn Mu’aadh went home to his Madinan tribe that night and announced to them all, “Everything of yours is Haram upon me until you all enter into Islam.”

That night, every home in Madinah went to bed with Laa ilaaha illa Allah…all because of a kind word.

Part II: Who wins?

Mu’aawiyah ibn al-Hakam al-Salami. When he came to Madeenah from the desert, he did not know that it was forbidden to speak during the salaah. He relates: “Whilst I was praying behind the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), a man sneezed, so I said ‘Yarhamuk Allaah (may Allaah have mercy on you).’ The people glared at me, so I said, ‘May my mother lose me! What is wrong with you that you are looking at me?’ They began to slap their thighs with their hands, and when I saw that they were indicating that I should be quiet, I stopped talking (i.e., I nearly wanted to answer them back, but I controlled myself and kept quiet).

When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had finished praying – may my father and mother be sacrificed for him, I have never seen a better teacher than him before or since – he did not scold me or hit me or put me to shame. He just said, ‘This prayer should contain nothing of the speech of men; it is only tasbeeh and takbeer and recitation of the Qur’aan.'” (Saheeh Muslim, ‘Abd al-Baaqi edn., no. 537).

Islam showed us how to differ with one another. Some people think that we should never differ at all and all disagreements should be avoided. Nay, this is an incorrect assumption, for the Qur’an and Sunnah show clearly that when a mistake is made it should be corrected. Indeed helping others do what is right is a requirement of the Deen, sincere Naseeha.

We see when Rasul Allah turned away from AbdAllah ibn Umm Maktoom, the blind man, Allah corrected him in the Qur’an…

“(The Prophet) frowned and turned away, Because there came to him the blind man But what could tell you that perchance he might become pure (from sins)? Or that he might receive admonition, and that the admonition might profit him?” – surah Abasa, 1-4

When Haatib ibn Abi Balta’ah (may Allaah be pleased with him) made the mistake of writing to the kuffaar of Quraysh and informing them of the direction in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was headed on a military campaign against them, Allaah revealed the words:

“O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies as friends…” – Surah Mumtahinah/1

And so on. Thus we learn that when a mistake happens it should be corrected. However, the method of correction is what needs our attention. Whenever Muslims argue, it is as if each party carries a banner of: ‘I must win and you must lose!’ Careful study of the Sunnah however shows us that this is not always the case with the way Rasul Allah acted. Consider the following examples:

“I lose and you win!”

A Bedouin came to Rasul Allah and told him, “Give me from what Allah gave you, not from the wealth of your mother nor from the wealth of your father.” The Sahaabah were furious at the man and step forward to discipline him for what he said. Rasul Allah commanded everyone to leave him.

Then by the hand, Rasul Allah took him home, opened his door and said, “Take what you wish and leave what you wish.” The man did so and after he completed, Rasul Allah asked him, “Have I honored you?” “Yes, by Allah,” said the Bedouin. “Ash hadu an laa ilaaha illa Allah, wa ashhadu anna Muhammadar Rasul Allah.” (Meaning he embraced Islam)

When the Sahabah heard of how the man changed, Rasul Allah taught them. “Verily the example of myself, you and this Bedouin is that of a man who had his camel run away. The townspeople tried capturing the camel for him by running and shouting after the camel, only driving it further away. The man would shout, ‘Leave me and my camel, I know my camel better.’ Then he took some grass in his hand, ruffled it in front of the camel, until it came willingly.

‘By Allah, had I left you to this Bedouin, you would have hit him, hurt him, he would have left without Islam and eventually have entered hellfire.”

“I win and you lose!”

A Muslim should not have an apologetic stance to everything he is confronted with. There are times when the truth must be said, when there is no room for flattery.

When the Makhzoomi women – a women from an affluent family – stole, people approached Rasul Allah to have her punishment canceled. Rasul Allah became very angry and stood on the pulpit and announced, “By Allah, had Fatima the daughter of Muhammad stole I would have cut her hand off.”

No room for flattery, the truth must be stood up for. It is here that the etiquette of disagreement that we talked earlier about should shine.

“I win and you win!”

There doesn’t always have to be a loser. We see in many cases that Rasul Allah gave a way out for the people he differed with. When he sent the letter to Caesar, he said in it, “Become Muslim and you shall be safe, Allah shall give you your reward double!”

He did not say surrender or die! Nothing of the sort. Become Muslim and you shall win, rather your victory shall be double.

I shall end with this shining example of how to act with other Muslims from our role model, Abu Bakr:

Abu Bakr once disputed with another companion about a tree. During the dispute Abu Bakr said something that he rather would not have said. He did not curse, he did not attack someone’s honor, he did not poke a fault in anyone, all he said was something that may have hurt the other companion’s feelings.

Immediately, Abu Bakr – understanding the mistake – ordered him, “Say it back to me!” The companion said, “I shall not say it back.” “Say it back to me,” said Abu Bakr, “Or I shall complain to the Messenger of Allah.” The companion refused to say it back and went on his way.

Abu Bakr went to Rasul Allah and related what had happened and what he said. Rasul Allah called that companion and asked him, “Did Abu Bakr say so and so to you?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “What did you reply.” He said, “I did not reply it back to him.” Rasul Allah said, “Good, do not reply it back to him (do not hurt Abu Bakr). Rather say, ‘May Allah forgive you O Abu Bakr!'” The Companion turned to Abu Bakr and said, “May Allah forgive you O Abu Bakr! May Allah forgive you O Abu Bakr!” Abu Bakr turned and cried as he walked away. Let us leave today with a resolve to revive this air Rasul Allah and his companions breathed, an air of mercy and love and brotherhood.

http://english.islamway.com/bindex.php?section=article&id=254





Isn’t The Woman There My Sister???

25 11 2007

Isn’t the woman there my sister?
in Islam, I mean to say
For I just took my shahadah
at the masjid here today

Isn’t the woman there my sister?
I openly ask without any qualms
The one who just walked past me
Without offering me her salaams

Isn’t the woman there my sister?
Though she stands alone to pray
Each time I move to touch her shoulder
She takes a step and pulls away

Isn’t the woman there my sister?
the lady that is not of my race,
for both of us are muslim women
with varied hues making up our face

Isn’t the woman there my sister?
Who laughed and made fun of me
And those other sisters of mine who listened
Doesn’t their silence make them also guilty

Isn’t the woman there my sister?
Who didn’t call me when I was sick
For she seems to only show concern
for those special sisters, in her own clique

Isn’t the woman there my sister?
Who I invited for iftar in my home
But unfortunately she did not make it
How I wish she had bothered to phone

Isn’t the woman there my sister?
Don’t we both love our religion – this Deen?
Then why am I sharing my lament
About her being uncaring, indifferent and mean?

Isn’t the woman there my sister?
Won’t she open up and try to treasure
The love I want and need to share with her
As we both seek Allah’s Merciful Pleasure

Taken from: www.islamicpoems.com





If You Want To Know How Muslim Women Feel…Ask A Muslim Woman!

17 11 2007

The transcript of the video (for those who can’t view it)

I invite every person, I invite every woman here, every non-Muslim woman here, to stand to the side when we leave here and talk to a Muslim lady. I mean now, let’s not ask Barbara Walters about how Muslim women feel. You know, let’s not ask Tom Brokaw how Muslim women feel, let’s not ask CNN, ABC, FOX, let’s not ask the London Times or the Australian Times, let’s not ask Non-Muslims about how Muslim women feel how they live what are their principles what are their challenges. If you want to be fair ask a Muslim woman, ask my wife. Ask my mother, you see, ask a Muslim woman that knows her religion who has a relationship with her creator, who is stable in her society understanding her responsibilities her relationship, ask her, and after that I think you should be fair to don’t need to ask someone else, but the problem is no one really wants to ask Muslim women, we want to take pictures of women in Afghanistan, and pictures of women in Palestine, and pictures of women in Pakistan, and pictures of women over here, and we want to listen to what people say about female circumcision as if Muslims is got women thousands, 10, 20, 30 thousand, 40 thousand women all over the world is being circumcised, it’s crazy, Stephen Spielberg stuff. And let me give you a statistic that you should know about. If you take a, if you take a quota, in this room right here, I’ll tell you this, most every Muslim woman in this room, will be a college graduate or is a college graduate or is very intelligent and very much socially endowed and within her family the structure we find that women control the wealth more so than wealth, more so than wealth, now what’s that say to you. Now where you find, where you find women oppressed women exploited women mistreated, among Muslim that’s because those Muslims themselves are not representing the principles of the religion, and in every religion you got black sheep. But then again, you can’t tell me, that the 148,000 prostitutes that walk the street in the UK or the 76,000 prostitutes that walk the streets of Holland that have licences to do so, you can’t tell me that all these little young naked little girls walking around Australia with no clothes on, you cannot tell me that they represent liberation. You can’t tell me, that the 2,350 abortions, murders, that take place with these young women, you can’t tell me that it represents sophistication, you can’t tell me that represents liberation. You can’t tell me that a naked woman sitting on a chocolate bar, a naked woman selling everything, toothpaste, everything, you can’t tell me that doesn’t represents exploitation, so let’s put things in context, let’s talk about things correctly, and lets be fair, let’s be objective, we can talk about that a little bit more if you want, but let me give you one more statistic, one more, prostitution, venereal disease, abortion, and paedophilia, and this horrendous number of children being raped and kidnapped that exists in the western world, is almost unheard of, in the Muslim world. So I think the statistics kind of like speak for themselves.





The Last Sermon of The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)

20 10 2007

Mash’Allah this is truly beautiful! Insh’Allah wa can all read this, ponder it and benefit from it.

Last Sermon of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

 
This sermon was delivered on the Ninth Day of Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah Year 632 A.C (10 A.H.) in the ‘Uranah valley of Mount Arafat’ in Mecca.
After praising and thanking Allah the Prophet (saws) said:”O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that he will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligations shall henceforth be waived. Your capital is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn ‘Abd’al Muttalib [the Prophet's uncle] be waived.Every right arising out of homicide in pre-islamic days is henceforth waived and the first such right that i waive is that arising from the murder of Rabiah ibn al Harithibn.O People, the unbelievers indulge in tampering with the calender in order to make permissible that which Allah forbade, and to forbid that which Allah has made permissible. With Allah the months are twelve in number. Four of them are holy, three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Shaban.Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope of that he will be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right, then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste. O People, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadhan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white – except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware: do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me, and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur’an and my Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.

All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O Allah, that I have conveyed Your message to Your people.”

Mountains of Makkah by Zain Bhika (drums):





Great Women in Islam:Ramlah Bint Abu Sufyan

30 09 2007

        ____________________________________________________

       Ramlah Bint Abu Sufyan

____________________________________________________

Abu Sufyan ibn Harb could not conceive of anyone among the Quraysh who would dare challenge his authority or go against his orders. He was after all, the sayyid or chieftain of Makkah who had to be obeyed and followed.

His daughter, Ramlah, known as Umm Habibah, however dared to
challenge his authority when she rejected the deities of the
Quraysh and their idolatrous ways. Together with her husband,
Ubaydullah ibn Jahsh, she put her faith in Allah alone and
accepted the message of His prophet, Muhammad ibn Abdullah.

Abu Sufyan tried with all the power and force at his disposal to
bring back his daughter and her husband to his religion and the
religion of their forefathers.  But he did not succeed. The
faith which was embedded in the heart of Ramlah was too strong
to b e uprooted by the hurricanes of Abu Sufyans fury.

Abu Sufyan remained deeply worried and concerned by his
daughter’s acceptance of Islam. He did not know how to face the
Quraysh after she had gone against his will and he was clearly
powerless to prevent her from following Muhammad.  When the
Quraysh reali zed though that Abu Sufyan himself was enraged by
Ramlah and her husband, they were emboldened to treat them
harshly. They unleashed the full fury of their persecution
against them to such a degree that life in Makkah became
unbearable.

In the fifth year of his mission, the Prophet, peace be on him,
gave permission to the Muslims to migrate to Abyssinia. Ramlah,
her little daughter Habibah, and her husband were among those
who left.

Abu Sufyan and the Quraysh leaders found it difficult to accept
that a group of Muslims had slipped out of their net of
persecution and was enjoying the freedom to hold their beliefs
and practice their religion in the land of the Negus. They
therefore sen d messengers to the Negus to seek their
extradition.  The messengers tried to poison the mind of the
Negus against the Muslims but after examining the Muslims
beliefs and listening to the Quran being recited, the Negus
concluded: “What has been revealed to your Prophet Muhammad and
what Jesus the son of Mary preached came from the same source.”

The Negus himself announced his faith in the one true God and
his acceptance of the prophethood of Muhammad, peace be on him.
He also announced his determination to protect the Muslim
muhajirin.

The long journey on the road of hardship and tribulation had
finally led to the oasis of serenity. So Umm Habibah felt. But
she did not know that the new-found freedom and sense of peace
were later to be shattered. She was to be put through a test of
the most severe and harrowing kind.

One night, it is related, as Umm Habibah was asleep she had a
vision in which she saw her husband in the midst of a fathomless
ocean covered by wave upon wave of darkness. He was in a most
perilous situation. She woke up, frightened.  But she did not
wish to tell her husband or anyone else what she had seen.

The day after that ominous night was not yet through when
Ubaydallah ibn Jahsh announced his rejection of Islam and his
acceptance of Christianity. What a terrible blow! Ramlah’s sense
of peace was shattered. She did not expect this of her husband
who pre sented her forthwith with the choice of a divorce or of
accepting Christianity. Umm Habibah had three options before
her. She could either remain with her husband and accept his
call to become a Christian in which case she also would commit
apostasy and – God forbid – deserve ignominy in this world and
punishment in the hereafter. This was something she resolved she
would never do even if she were subjected to the most horrible
torture. Or, she could return to her father’s house in Makkah -
but she knew h e remained a citadel of shirk and she would be
forced to live under him, subdued and suppressing her faith. Or,
she could stay alone in the land of the Negus as a displaced
fugitive – without country, without family and without a
supporter.

She made the choice that she considered was the most pleasing to
God. She made up her mind to stay in Abyssinia until such time
as God granted her relief. She divorced her husband who lived
only a short while after becoming a Christian.  He had given
himse lf over to frequenting wine merchants and consuming
alcohol, the “mother of evils”. This undoubtedly helped to
destroy him.

Umm Habibah stayed in Abyssinia for about ten years. Towards the
end of this time, relief and happiness came. It came from an
unexpected quarter.

One morning bright and early, there was a loud knocking on her
door. It was Abrahah, the special maid-servant of the Negus.
Abrahah was beaming with joy as she greeted Umm Habibah and
said: “The Negus sends his greetings and says to you that
Muhammad, the Messenger of God, wants you to marry him and that
he has sent a letter in which he has appointed him as his wakil
to contract the marriage between you and him. If you agree, you
are to appoint a wakil to act on your behalf.”

Umm Habibah was in the clouds with happiness. She shouted to
herself: “God has given you glad tidings. God has given you glad
tidings.” She took off her jewelry- her necklace and bracelets -
and gave them to Abrahah. She took off her rings too and gave th
em to her. And indeed if she had possessed all the treasures of
the world, she would have given them to Abrahah at that moment
of sheer joy. Finally she said to Abrahah: “I appoint Khalid ibn
Said ibn al-Aas to act as wakil on my behalf for he is the clos
est person to me.”

In the palace of the Negus, set in the midst of beautiful
gardens and luxuriant vegetation and in one of the lavishly
decorated, sumptuously furnished and brightly lit halls, the
group of Muslims living in Abyssinia gathered. They included
Jafar ibn Abi T alib, Khalid ibn Said, Abdullah ibn Hudhafah
as-Sahmi and others. They had gathered to witness the conclusion
of the marriage contract between Umm Habibah, the daughter of
Abu Sufyan, and Muhammad, the Messenger of God. When the
marriage was finalized, th e Negus addressed the gathering: “I
praise God, the Holy, and I declare that there is no god but
Allah and that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger and
that He gave the good tidings to Jesus the son of Mary.

“The Messenger of God, peace be on him, has requested me to
conclude the marriage contract between him and Umm Habibah the
daughter of Abu Sufyan. I agreed to do what he requested and on
his behalf I give her a mahr or dowry of four hundred gold
dinars.” He handed over the amount to Khalid ibn Said who stood
up and said: “All praise is due to God. I praise Him and seek
His help and forgiveness and I turn to Him in repentance. I
declare that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger whom He
has sent with t he religion of guidance and truth so that it
might prevail over all other forms of religion even if the
disbelievers were to dislike this.

“I have agreed to do what the Prophet, peace be upon him, has
requested and acted as the wakil on behalf of Umm Habibah, the
daughter of Abu Sufyan. May God bless His Messenger and his
wife.

“Congratulations to Umm Habibah on account of the goodness which
God has ordained for her.”

Khalid took the mahr and handed it over to Umm Habibah. The
Sahabah thereupon got up and prepared to leave but the Negus
said to them: “Sit down for it is the practice of the Prophets
to serve food at marriages.”

There was general rejoicing at the court of the Negus as the
guests sat down again to eat and celebrate the joyous occasion.
Umm Habibah especially could hardly believe her good fortune and
she later described how she was eager to share her happiness.
She said: “When I received the money as mahr, I sent fifty
mithqals of gold to Abrahah who had brought me the good news and
I said to her:  ‘I gave you what I did when you gave me the good
news because at that time I did not have any money.’

“Shortly afterwards, Abrahah came to me and returned the gold.
She also produced a case which contained the necklace I had
given to her. She returned that to me and said: ‘The King has
instructed me not to take anything from you and he his commanded
the women in his household to present you with gifts of
perfume.’

“On the following day, she brought me ambergris, safron and
aloes and said: ‘I have a favor to ask of you.’ ‘What is it?’ I
asked. ‘I have accepted Islam ,’ she said, ‘and now follow the
religion of Muhammad. Convey to him my salutation of peace and
let h im know that I believe in Allah and His Prophet. Please
don’t forget.’ She then helped me to get ready for my journey to
the Prophet.

“When I met the Prophet, peace be on him, I told him all about
the arrangements that were made for the marriage and about my
relationship with Abrahah. I told him she had become a Muslim
and conveyed to him her greetings of peace. He was filled with
joy a t the news and said: ‘Wa alayha as-salam wa rahmatullahi
was barakatuhu and on her be peace and the mercy and blessings
of God. “

_________________________________________________

Source: jannah.org





Turn Off That Stove Sisters!!!

11 09 2007

  

Turn off that stove! An 8 Step Ramadan Plan for Sisters

Sister SoundVision Staff Writer

If you’re in charge of cooking in your household, and it’s usually women around the world who are, then you can feel like most of your Ramadan is spent over a hot stove instead of on a prayer mat.

I was once complaining to a friend of mine about how so many Muslim women seem to miss the blessings of Ramadan because of the overemphasis on great food at Iftar time. While I attributed this to a lack of consideration for the needs of women, my friend shared an interesting story.

She was originally from Egypt, and she recounted how her mother and the women in her neighborhood actually competed with each other in Ramadan over food. In other words, they vied for the title of “maker of the best Ka’k (cookies) this side of Alexandria.” And this was despite the fact that male family members and even the Imam were encouraging women to share in the blessings of the month through prayer and mosque participation.

This Ramadan, let’s remove our inner and outer obstacles to spiritual success.

At the inner level, let’s start by ditching any feelings of guilt, competition or jealousy we may have for other sisters. You know who I’m talking about: the ones who can whip up a five-course Iftar plus dinner faster than you can say “what should I make for supper tonight?”The ones who can hold a full-time job, ferry their kids to extra-curricular activities and still hold grand Iftar parties at their homes.

Now we’re ready to do something about the biggest outer obstacle to spiritual success every Ramadan: our families. We love them and yes, their demands for food high in fat, salt and sugar can be indulged once in a while in Ramadan. But doing this every Iftar seems to defeat the purpose of fasting in the first place. Remember, it’s about self-control, even after we’re allowed to eat.

Here is an eight-step plan to help you gain more time in Ramadan for spiritual success:

  1. Call a family meeting-today. We’ve got barely a week until Ramadan begins. Choose a day and time when everyone can be present.
  2. Serve a sample Iftar menu at the meeting (I’ll explain why in point 3)
  3. Start off the meeting with the food. Then once everyone is comfortable, explain very kindly that you will only be making this food five times this Ramadan: once a week and once when guests are invited over.
  4. When the news has sunk in, explain further to your family that you would like Ramadan to be a time for becoming closer to Allah. You cannot do this if you have to spend most of your time cooking and cleaning up after everyone. Be firm but polite.
  5. Discuss the Ramadan meal plan. Ask everyone to share what kind of dishes they would like to eat that are healthy.
  6. Once all the ideas are in, establish a cooking and cleaning schedule so that everyone pitches in. Explain that while you will still be doing the main cooking, other family members will have to help either with pre-Iftar arrangements (setting table, calling everyone, etc.) or post-Iftar ones (washing dishes/loading dishwasher, wiping counters, sweeping, etc.). A sample form you can use is here.
  7. Enforce the schedule by rewarding children. For younger kids, a chore chart with a sticker for each day of help offered could work, as well as a small toy or gift at the end of every successful two-week period. For older kids, you could promise to spend a whole day with them doing something they enjoy after Ramadan or extend a privilege they have (e.g. access to the car if they drive).
  8. For husbands, express your appreciation verbally by saying thank you and explaining how the extra help is a real spiritual boost.

If this plan is successfully implemented, you can extend it to the rest of the year, thereby gaining more time to focus on your spiritual needs. But even if you get more time on your prayer mat than over your stove just one month out of the year, the one where our good deeds count for more, it’ll be worth the effort.

So go ahead. Turn off that stove and call that meeting!

© Sound Vision Foundation  website http://www.SoundVision.com





Great Women in Islam-Aisha bint Abu Bakr

6 09 2007

AISHA bint Abi Bakr

Gradually the Muslims who remained in Mecca left the city and traveled to Medina to join their beloved Prophet, and amongst them was a little girl called ‘A’isha, the daughter of Abu Bakr. Soon after arriving in Medina, ‘A’isha, who was now nine years old, as married to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who was now fifty-four years old. It was at this point that she left her family’s household and joined that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). ‘A’isha later reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had told her that Jibril came to him and showed him a picture of her on a piece of green silk and said, “She is your wife in this world and in the next world.” About her wedding, she related that shortly before she was to leave her parents’ house, she slipped out into the courtyard to play with a friend. “I was playing on a seesaw and my long streaming hair became disheveled,” she said. “They came and took me from my play and made me ready.” They dressed her in a wedding dress made from fine red striped cloth from Bahrain and then her mother took her to the newly built house where some women of the Ansar were waiting outside the door. They greeted her with the words, “For good and for happiness, may all be well.” Then, in the presence of the smiling Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) a bowl of milk was brought. The Prophet drank from it himself and then offered it to ‘A’isha. She shyly declined it, but when he insisted she drink as well and then offered the bowl to her sister Asma’ who was sitting beside her. The others who were present also drank from it, and that was all there was to the simple and solemn occasion of their wedding.

Her marriage to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not change ‘A’isha’s playful ways, and her young friends continued to regularly come to visit her in her own room. “I would be playing with my dolls,” she once said, ‘with the girls who were my friends, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would come in and they would slip out of the house and he would go out after them and bring them back, for he was pleased for my sake to have them there.” Sometimes he would say, “Stay, where you are,” before they had time to leave, and would also join in their games. “One day,” ‘A’isha said, “the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came in when I was playing with my dolls and said, “‘A’isha, whatever game is this?’ ‘It is Solomon’s horses,’ I replied, and he laughed.” On another occasion, during the days of the Id al Adha, two young girls were with ‘A’isha in her room, singing a song about the famous battle of Bu’ath and beating a tambourine in time. “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came in,” said ‘A’isha, ‘and lay down with his face turned away. Then Abu Bakr came, and scolded me, saying, ‘What is this musical instrument of Shaytan doing in the house of the Messenger of Allah?’ The Messenger of Allah turned towards him and said, ‘Leave them alone, for these are the days of the ‘Id.'”

After a while, ‘A’isha asked the girls to leave, and the Prophet asked ‘A’isha whether she would like to watch the Abyssinians who were giving a fighting display with their weapons in the mosque and she said yes. “By Allah,” said ‘A’isha, “I remember the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) standing at the door of my room, screening me with his cloak, so that I could see the sport of the Abyssinians as they played with their spears in the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He kept standing for my sake until I had enough and then I went back in, so you can well imagine how a young girl enjoyed watching this display.”

Some might have viewed the marriage of Muhammad and ‘A’isha as an exceptional marriage, but then the two partners were exceptional people. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the last of the Prophets and the best of creation; and ‘A’isha was a very intelligent and observant young girl with a very good memory. ‘A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) spent the next nine years of her life with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and she grew into womanhood, she remembered all that she saw and heard with great clarity, for to be the wife of the Prophet was even more than extraordinary. So much happened around him – the Quran continued to be revealed, ayat by ayat, and people’s hearts were constantly being turned over and transformed, including hers and she was a witness of so much of all that took place. It is not surprising, therefore, that a great deal of the knowledge that we still have today, about how our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) lived and behaved, was first remembered and then taught to others by ‘A’isha. It is thanks to this exceptional marriage, between a man nearing the end of his life and a woman still near the beginning of hers, that we know so much about the both of them, and this is what makes it so much easier for those who wish to follow in their footsteps to try and follow their example.

Whereas Khadijah was already a wise and mature woman when she married the Prophet Muhammad, ‘A’isha was a spirited young girl who still had a great deal to learn when she married the Prophet, (may Allah be pleased with her, and peace be upon him) she was very quick to learn, however, for she had a clear heart, and a quick mind and an accurate memory. She was not afraid to talk back in order to find out the truth or make it known, and whenever she beat someone else in argument, the Prophet would smile and say, “She is the daughter of Abu Bakr!” Musa ibn Talha once said, “I have not seen anyone more eloquent than ‘A’isha.” ‘A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) became so wise that one of her contemporaries used to say that if the knowledge of ‘A’isha were placed on one side of the scales that of all other women on the other, ‘A’isha ‘s side would outweigh the other. She used to sit with the other women and pass on the knowledge that she had received from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and long after he had died, and as long as she lived, she was a source of knowledge and wisdom for both women and men. Abu Musa once said, “Whenever a report appeared doubtful to us, the Companions of the Prophet, and we asked ‘A’isha about it, we always learned something from her about it.”

On one occasion, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to her, “O ‘A’isha, here is Jibril giving you greetings of peace.” “And on him be peace.” She said, ‘and the mercy of Allah.” When she was telling Abu Salama about this, she added, “He (meaning the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ) sees what I do not see.” As well as being extremely intelligent, ‘A’isha became a very graceful young woman. When she first came to live in the Prophet’s household as a young girl, a strong and lasting friendship grew up between her and Sawda, and Sawda took care of her along with the rest of the household. When ‘A’isha grew up, Sawda, who was by then an old woman, gave up her share of the Prophet’s time in favor of ‘A’isha and was content to manage his household and be Umm al Mumineen – ‘The Mother of the Believers’ – a title of respect that was given to all of the wives of the Prophet, (may Allah be pleased with them), which confirmed what the Quran clearly states that no man could marry any of them after they had been married to the Prophet for:

The Prophet is closer to the believers than their ownselves, and his wives are as their mothers. (Qur’an: 33:6)

O you wives of the Prophet, if any of you is openly indecent, the punishment for her will be doubled – and that is easy for Allah. And whoever of you submits to Allah and His Messenger has right action, We shall give her a reward twice over and We have prepared a generous provision for her. O you wives of the Prophet, you are not like any other women. If you are fearful of Allah then do not be soft in yspeech, lest someone whose heart is sick is attracted to you, but speak words that are wise. And stay quietly in your houses, do not make a dazzling display like that of the time of ignorance before and establish prayer and pay the Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Surely Allah wishes to remove impurity far from you, O People of the House, and to purify you completely. And remember that ayahs of Allah that are recited in your houses and the wisdom. Surely Allah is Alpervading, All Aware. (Quran 33:30-34)

It is sometimes difficult to picture what life must have been like for the wives and the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) because the light that emanated from him and through them was so unique. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had no shadow because he was light and this light illuminated the hearts and minds and understanding of his followers, giving them insight without blinding them. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was truly a mercy to all the worlds, and no one with a clean heart could possibly forget this, least of all the Prophet himself.

O Prophet, surely We have sent you as a witness and as a bringer of good news and a warner; and one who calls the people to Allah by His permission, and as a shining light. (Quran 33:45-46)

It is said that people were awed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when they were in his presence, and that they sat and listened to his words with their eyes lowered, as if they had birds perched on their heads, and that they would do anything for him, so great was their love for him. It was because of the perfection of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that everyone was commanded to ask blessings on him:

Allah and His angels pray blessings on the Prophet; O you who believe! Pray blessings of him and ask for peace for him. (Quran 33:56)

It was because of the Prophet Muhammad’s unique station with Allah that his wives and his Companions were expected by Allah to behave with such respect and courtesy towards the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); and that his wives could not possibly marry anyone else after having been married to him:

When you ask his wives for something, ask them from behind a screen. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. It is not for you to cause injury to the Messenger of Allah, or ever marry his wives after him. To do that would be something dreadful in the sight of Allah. (Quran 33:53)

During the nine years that ‘A’isha was married to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) she witnessed many of the great events that shaped the destiny of the first Muslim community of Madina al Munawarra: It was during the course of their marriage that she direction of the qibla was changed from Jerusalem to Mecca, thereby more clearly distinguishing the Muslims from the Jews and the Christians, and it was during the course of their marriage that she must have listened to many of the Jews and the Christians an the idol worshippers who came not to listen to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) but to argue with him, in the hope that they could find a plausible excuse to justify their rejection of him. It was through exchange such as these that ‘A’isha learned to distinguish what was true from what was false. As the prophetic guidance continued to be revealed through the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), ‘A’isha’s way of life – along with that of all the Muslims – was gradually reshaped and refined: It was during the course of their marriage that drinking alcohol was finally forbidden, that it was made clear what food was halal and what food was haram, that it became necessary for women to wear the hijab in public and when praying, that the guidance as to how to fast was revealed, that paying the Zakat became obligatory on all Muslims, and that all rites of the hajj were purified and clarified.

In fact every aspect of life, from birth to death and everything that happens in between, was illuminated by the way in which the Prophet behaved – and it was this way of behavior, the Sunna, that ‘A’isha helped to preserve and protect, not only by embodying it herself, but also by teaching it to others. ‘A’isha was once asked to describe the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and she replied that he was ‘the Quran walking’, meaning that his behavior was the Quran translated into action. She did all that she could to do likewise. Thus she not only knew and embodied the Sunna, but also she memorized the Quran by heart and understood it. It was during the course of their marriage that, amongst others, the battles of Badr, and Uhud, and Al-Khandaq (the Ditch) were fought. These were the three major battles against the Quraish, that shifted the balance of power out of the hands of the kafirun and into the hands of the Muslims. Although she was still very young, ‘A’isha participated in them all, bringing water for the Muslims warriors, and helping to look after the wounded. She witnessed life, and she witnessed death – both in the way of Allah and in the way of the kafirun – and she understood both. Indeed one of the meanings of her name, ‘A’isha’, is ‘life’.

It was during the course of their marriage that the Jews plotted and tried to kill the Prophet on more than one occasion, without success, and were punished for this. First the Banu Qayunqa and then the Banu Nadir were expelled from Medina; and then Banu Qurayza – who had broken their agreement with the Muslims during the battle of al-Khandaq and conspired to exterminate all of them – were subjected to the punishment that was decided by the man whom they themselves had chosen to judge their actions, Sa’id ibn Mu’adh. In accordance with the commands contained in their own book, the Torah, all the men were killed – with the exception of four who accepted Islam and all the women and children were taken as slaves. It was after this event that another tribe, the Banu al Mustaliq began to prepare to fight the Muslims, and accordingly the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) led an army against them. Often when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went to war, he took one of his wives with him. He did not choose anyone in particular, but simply drew lots and took the wife whose name came out. When he went to fight the Banu al-Mustaliq, the lot fell to ‘A’isha, and she it was who traveled with him.

‘A’isha who was now thirteen years old, was small, slim, and graceful, so that it was difficult for the men who carried her litter to know for certain whether or not she was actually inside it when they lifted it up. On the way back to Medina, after the Banu al Mustaliq had been subdued, the Muslim army stopped for a rest, but then the Prophet unexpectedly ordered the army to continue the march back. Unknown to everyone else, ‘A’isha had stepped out of her litter for a few minutes and had left the camp, seeking some privacy. On her way back she had noticed that her onyx necklace was missing and so she retraced her steps to try and find it. When she had at last found it finally returned to the camp, it was to find that everyone had gone. The men who had been carrying her litter had thought she was still in it, and had picked it up, strapped it to the camel and marched on. ‘A’isha, who trusted completely in Allah, sat down, and waited, hoping that someone would notice her absence and come back for her. Fortunately she did not have long to wait, for a young Muslim man named Safwan ibn al-Mu’attal, who had fallen behind the army after taking a rest, reached the camp during the night and found her lying fast asleep. Safwan immediately recognizing her, because he had seen her in the early days before Allah had commanded Muslim women to wear the hijab.

“Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un!” – “Surely we come from Allah and surely to Him we return!” he exclaimed in surprise, waking ‘A’isha up with the loudness of his voice. He did not say anything else, and a’A’isha put the scarf that had fallen off her head while she was asleep back on, Safwan made his camel kneel down close to her so that she could climb up on to it; and then, leading the camel with his hand, he set off on foot after the army, hoping that they would soon catch up with it which they eventually did later the next morning, since the army had halted for a rest during the hottest part of the day. Unfortunately, some hypocrites who had seen Safwan and ‘A’isha arrive alone together began to gossip and spread slanderous lies about them. Eventually the story reached the Prophet himself (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by then the whole community was talking about what might or might now have happened before the two young Muslims. Naturally the muminun were certain that noting bad had happened, but the munafiqun thought otherwise and were not afraid to insinuate that was the case.

As a result of all this gossip, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his household came under a great strain, and in fact ‘A’isha herself fell ill, not because she was aware of what the hypocrites were saying about her, but because the Prophet did not seem to care for her as much as he had done before the campaign against the Banu al Mustaliq. Finally, someone told her what some people were saying. This made ‘A’isha even more ill, so with the Prophet’s permission, she went to stay at the house of her parents. When she arrived, she said to her mother, Umm Ruman, “Mother! What are the people saying?” She replied “O my daughter! Do not make too much of the business. By Allah, seldom has there been a woman of beauty with a husband who loves her and who has co wives but that people say a lot against her.” A’isha said, “Glory be to Allah! The people have really been saying this?” ‘A’isha said, “I have spent the entire night until morning unable to stop weeping and could not sleep at all. Morning found me still weeping.” In the meantime, when Safwan was confronted with the allegations that had been made, he replied, “Glory be to Allah! By Allah, I have never removed the veil of any woman!” Since there had been no revelation to clarify the matter, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked Barira, who was ‘A’isha ‘s maid servant, if she had seen anything in ‘A’isha’ s behavior that was at all doubtful. “By Him who sent you with the truth,” she replied, “I have not seen nothing wrong with her, other than that she is a young girl and sometimes she falls asleep while she is kneading the dough and a lamb comes along and eats it!” Some of the companions who were present scolded Barira and told her to come to the point. “Glory be to Allah!” she replied. “I know as much about her as a jeweler knows about a piece of pure gold!”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also asked Zaynab bint Jahsh for her opinion, since he valued it highly. Although she and A’isha were frequently at odds with one another and Zaynab’s sister Hamna, was the one of those who were actively gossiping and spreading the rumor, she replied without hesitation, “O Messenger of Allah,” she said, “I will not repeat anything that I have not heard with my own ears and seen with my own eyes. By Allah, I find nothing in her but goodness.”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then tried to vindicate A’isha’s honor by calling everyone to the mosque and publicly defending her reputation, but the hypocrites who had started the trouble in the first place only made matter worse, so that arguments broke out all over the mosque, and people had almost come to blows over the matter before the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) calmed them down and silenced them.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then came to Abu Bakr’s house, where A’isha had been crying her heart out, and in the presence of her parents said the shahada, and then continued, “If you are innocent, then Allah Himself will protect your honor, and if by accident there has been a lapse on your part, then seek the forgiveness of Allah and He will pardon you, for when a slave admits a fault and turns to Him in repentance, then Allah also turns and accepts that repentance.”

A’isha said, “When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) finished what he was saying, my tears stopped so that I was not aware of a single tear. I said to my father, ‘Answer the Messenger of Allah for me regarding what he has said.’ He said, ‘By Allah, I do not know what to say to the Messenger of Allah,’ I said to my mother, ‘Answer the Messenger of Allah for me regarding what he has said.’ She said, ‘By Allah, I do not know what to say to the Messenger of Allah.'”

A’isha said, “I am a young girl who does not yet recite much of the Qur’an. By Allah, I know that you have heard this story that people are saying and it has become fixed in yourself and you have believed it. If I were to say to you that I am innocent, you would not believe me. If I were to confess to something to you and Allah knows that I am innocent you would believe me. By Allah, I can only say what the father of Yusuf said, Patience is beautiful, and Allah is my protection against what you describe. (Quran 12:18)” Then I turned over on my bed, Allah knowing that I was innocent and hoping that Allah would proclaim me innocent. However, by Allah, I did not think that any relation would be sent down regarding me. I thought too little of myself that something would be said in the Qur’an regarding me, however I hoped that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would have a dream in which Allah would exonerate me. She had hardly finished speaking when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) received a direct revelation of some more ayahs of the Qur’an, and when it was over, he smiled and said, “Do not worry, ‘A’isha, for Allah has revealed proof of your innocence.”

A’isha’s mother, who had been standing next to her, said, “Get up and thank him.”

“By Allah,” exclaimed A’isha, whose title, ‘Siddiqa’, means ‘the truthful one’, “I will not thank him and praise him but rather Allah Who has given the revelation that has protected my honor!” Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went to the mosque and recited what had just been sent down:

Surely those who fabricate the lie are a group from among you. Do not think it is bad thing for you; no it is good for you. Every man will receive what he has earned for this sin, and whoever had the greater part in it will have a great punishment. Why did the men and women believers, when they heard it, not think good in their selves and say: ‘This is clearly a lie?’ Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they did not produce witnesses, they are certainly liars in the sight of Allah. If it were not for the grace of Allah, and His mercy on you in this world and in the next world, an awful doom would have overtaken you for what you repeated. Since you received it with your tongues, and repeated what you did not know anything about with your mouths, you thought it was a trifle, but in the sight of Allah it is serious. Why, when you heard it, did you not say: ‘It is not for us to repeat this, Glory be to You (O Allah), this is a serious rumor.’ Allah warns you to never repeat anything like this again, if you are indeed believers and Allah makes the signs clear to you; and Allah is Knowing, Wise. Surely those who love to spread around slander about those who believe will have a painful punishment in this world and in the next world; and Allah knows and you do not know. (Quran 24:11-19).

A’isha forgave those who had let themselves be caught in the slander and in later years would not hear anything bad said about them. The fact that A’isha’ s honor and reputation had been protected by a revelation from Allah could not be ignored by anyone, and from then on everyone was more aware of her high station with Allah. It was also during the course of A’isha’s marriage with the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that the Muslim commexpanded so rapidly that Mecca was eventually conquered by the Muslim army, and preparations were made for the first of the many battles that were successfully fought against the Greeks and the Persians after the letters from Muhammad inviting Heraclius and Choroes to embrace Islam and worship Allah alone had been contemptuously ignored.

This extraordinary expansion – even the idea of which would, at the time of Khadijah’ s death (may Allah be pleased with her) have seemed like a wild dream was heralded, in 6 AH, by the treaty of Hudaybiyya, by virtue of which peace was declared between the Quraish and the Muslims for ten years, and the right of the Muslims to enter Mecca and do ‘umra unharmed was recognized by the Quraish.

Although the Muslims had to wait for a year before they could do umra, that year was not long in passing, and in the interval the Jews of Khaybar, who like the other Jews around Madina had attempted to destroy the Muslim community by breaking their peace agreement with the Muslims and supporting the idol worshippers were fought and defeated. After the Jews of Khaybar had been defeated, a Jewess managed to serve the Prophet some poisoned meat, which itself informed him that it had been poisoned, so that he only had a small taste of it. Even though one of his companions who had already eaten some of the meat subsequently died, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forgave the Jewess and let her go free.

The Jews of Khaybar were permitted to stay on their land provided that they paid a yearly tribute to the Muslims. As a result, some of the Muslims began to grow more wealthy than they had been in the past. Indeed on one occasion, the Prophet’s wives, led by ‘A’isha and Hafsa, asked him for some money that he did not have for there was never one night that he lay down to sleep with any money in his possession. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was distressed by this not because he did not have the money to give to them, but rather because it was this that apparently they desired.

At this time, both Abu Bakr and Umar visited him and they found the Messenger of Allah seated, surrounded by his wives who were all silent. Abu Bakr said to himself, “By Allah, I will say something to cheer up the Messenger of Allah!’ So he said, “Messenger of Allah, if I were to see the daughter of Kharija asking me for money, I would strike her on the neck!” The Messenger of Allah smiled and said, ‘These ones you see around me have asked me for money.” SO Abu Bakr went to grab A’isha and Umar went to grab Hafsa, both exclaiming, “DO you ask the Messenger of Allah for something he does not have!” The women said, “By Allah, we would never ask the Messenger of Allah for something he does not have!”

This was not the only marital problem which he experienced at this time. There was a great deal of rivalry between some of the wives and also Hafsa had told A’isha something which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had told her not to disclose because it was something which would increase the friction between the wives. Some sources say that he had told her that Abu Bakr and Umar would rule after him. In any case, he stayed away from them for a whole month, during which many of his Companions began to think either that he was going to divorce them or that he had already done so.

IT is related by Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that he went to visit the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who was staying alone in a small upper room, in order to find out what was happening. First of all he visited his daughter Hafsa, who was weeping, and asked her if the Prophet had divorced his wives. “I don’t know,” she sobbed. Then he went and asked to see the Prophet. After he had been given permission to enter, Umar climbed up the ladder and into the small room: “I visited Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he was lying on a mat. I saw down and he drew up his lower garment over him. He had nothing else on, and the mat had left its marks on his sides. I looked around at what stores Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had, and saw only a handful of barley equal to one sa’ and an equal amount of mimosa leaves in the corner of the room and tanned leather bag handing nearby, and I as moved to tears. HE said, ‘Ibn al Khattab, what is making you cry?’ I replied, ‘O Messenger of Allah, how can I not cry? This mat has left marks on your sides and I can only see what I have seen of your stores. Caesar and Chosroes are leading their lives of plenty, while you are the Messenger of Allah, His Chosen One, and look what you have!’ ‘Ibn al Khattab,’ he answered, ‘isn’t it enough for you that for us there is the next world, and for them there is this world?’ ‘Yes,’ I said. Then I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what has happened with your wives? If you have divorced them, then truly Allah is with you, and His angels, Jibril and Mika’il, and Abu Bakr and I and the believers are with you.’ And seldom have I talked like that and hoped that Allah would testify to the words that I uttered. And so it happened that the ayahs of choice were revealed:

If you both turn to Allah in repentance, then that is what your hearts desire; and if you help each other against him then surely Allah Himself is his protector, and Jibril, and the righteous from among the believers, and as well as that, the angels will help him. It maybe, if he divorces you, that his Lord will give him wives who are better than you, who submit, who believe, who are devout, who are repentant, who worship, who fast, whether they have been previously married or are virgins. (Quran 66:4-5)

In fact the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never divorced any of his wives, and as we grow more aware about how they lived, may Allah be pleased with all of them, it is clear that they possessed all of the qualities of the women described in the last ayat. Perhaps this ayat served as a reminder to them, a reminder that they would remember for the rest of their days which for most of them lasted long after the Prophet’s (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) death.

Returning to Sayyiduna Umar’s account of his visit to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) during the month of separation from his wives, Umar then asked, “O Messenger of Allah, have you divorced them?” and he replied, “No.” So after talking for a while longer and how in Mecca the men tended to dominate the women, whereas in Medina the women tended to dominate the men, which is what the womenfolk from Mecca had learned to do after they had made hijrah to Medina – Umar climbed down and stood at the door of the mosque and called out at the top of his voice: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has not divorced his wives!” After the month was up, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) first went to A’isha’s room. She was delighted to see him, but grew more serious when he said that some ayahs had been revealed to him which required him to put two options before her. “Do not make a hasty decision,” he said, “and consult your parents first.” He then recited these verses:

O Prophet, say to your wives: ‘If you desire the life of this world and its adornments, then come, and I will make you content, and I will release you with a fair release. But if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the next world, then truly Allah has prepared an immense reward for those of you who do good.’ (Quran 33:28-29)

“Is there any need to consult my parents?” replied A’isha. “Indeed I desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the next world.” And her response was followed by all of his other wives. A’isha remained true to her word both during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and afterwards. Once, when the Muslims were favored with great wealth, she as given a gift of one hundred thousand Dhirhams. She was fasting when she received the money, and distall of it to the poor and needy, even though she had no provisions in her house. Shortly after that, her maid servant said to her, “Couldn’t you have brought a dirham’s worth of meat with which to break your fast?” “If I had thought of it,” she replied, “I would have done so!”

After a year had passed following the treaty of Hudaybiyya, the Muslims traveled to Mecca and they were able to complete all the rites of the umra, doing everything as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did it. In accordance with the terms of the treaty, the Muslims left after three days, when their umra had been completed. Not long after this, the Prophet sent an army of three thousand Muslims northwards to the borders of the Byzantine territories in what is now Palestine to chastise the tribes there for killing the messengers whom he had sent to call them to Islam. The tribes called on the Emperor Herclius for support, and when the Muslim army arrived at Muta, they found themselves facing an army of two thousand men. Many of the Muslims died as shahids on the day of the battle, but thanks to the tactics of Khalid bin Walid, the Greeks withdrew the next day, and so the Muslims were able to return to Medina relatively unscathed. When the news of the battle of Muta finally reached Mecca, the Quraish mistakenly believed that the Muslims had been thoroughly defeated by the Greeks and decided to renew their opposition to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). In doing so, they deliberately broke their treaty that they had made at Hudaybiiya, by allowing their allies to attack and kill some of the allies of the Muslims who lived near Mecca.

Accordingly the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) marched on Mecca at the head of an army of ten thousand Muslims. Despite everyone’s fears, he conquered it with hardly a drop of blood being spilled. As always, the mercy and forgiveness that he displayed towards those who had relentlessly opposed him for so many years changed people’s hearts, and many of the people of Mecca now embraced Islam as a result. Having pardoned all of the Quraish, with the exception of four men who had all committed murder for personal reasons, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) smashed all the idols and destroyed all the paintings that had been placed inside the Ka’ba by the idol-worshippers. The sanctity of the sanctuary of Mecca had been restored, and at long last the Muslims were free to come and go in Mecca as they pleased.

In the midst of the peace and rejoicing, however, news came that the tribes of Hawazin and Thaqif were preparing to attack the Muslims. The Muslim army that had conquered Mecca, swelled to twelve thousand by some of the men from the Quraish who had just embraced Islam, marched to a place called Hunayn. For the first time in their experience, the Muslims actually outnumbered the enemy, of whom there were only about four thousand. This nearly proved to be the Muslims’ undoing, for many of them felt secure because of their large numbers rather than because of the reliance on Allah. When the enemy suddenly attacked at dawn, showering down arrows from the hills, the Muslims were taken by surprise and many began to flee. A small group stood firm with the Prophet, one of whom was Umm Sulaym bint Milhan, the wife of Abu Talha. Although she was pregnant at the time, she had armed herself with a dagger to use against the kafirun.

Fortunately the strong Muslims rallied round the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and although there were only six hundred of them, their concerted effort, fighting valiantly in the way of Allah, turned the tide of the battle until those who had turned away in the initial panic and confusion had returned and the battle was won. After the battle of Hunayn, the only continued resistance to the Muslims was from the north and north-east, from the Byzantine and Persian Empires. Having heard that the Greeks were preparing a huge army of thirty thousand men and marched out in the heat of the late summer to do battle with them. After a long, hard, hot march, the Muslim army reached Tabuk, and here they learned that the Greeks had retreated back to their own territory. Accordingly, having made peace treaties with all the border tribes, the Muslims returned to Medina, in time for many of them to go on the pilgrimage to Mecca. Those who had made weak excuses in order to avoid going on the expedition to Tabuk now felt great shame and regret.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself did not go on the pilgrimage this year, for people were coming to Medina from all over the Arab lands to embrace Islam and to pledge allegiance to him. It was this year that came to be known as ‘the Year of the Delegations’, during which, at one point, the Prophet became so exhausted from seeing people that he had to pray sitting down. So instead, Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) led the pilgrims. It was during this hajj that the ayat in the Quran that forbade the idol worshippers from ever entering the sanctuary of Mecca again were revealed; they were made public during the hajj by Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) who was sent straight from Medina to Mecca as soon as they had been revealed, so that as many people as possible would hear them. The following year, when the time for the pilgrimage drew near, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) announced that he was going on the hajj, and as a result everyone wanted to do it with him. The Muslims who did not live in or near Medina either first traveled to Medina in order to accompany him on the journey to Mecca, or else traveled to Mecca from every part of Arabia and joined him there.

Amongst the people on what has become known as ‘the Farewell Pilgrimage’ of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was A’isha, for the Prophet asked all of his wives, may Allah be pleased with them, to accompany him, to ensure that they all fulfilled this particular obligation that every Muslim owes to his or her Lord. It was an extraordinary pilgrimage. There never had been, and there never has been, and there never will be, another hajj quite like it, for at its heart was the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and around him were his family and Companions, may the blessings and peace of Allah be on them, and during it the ayat of the Qur’an was revealed:

This day I have perfected your deen for you and have completed My blessing on you, and have chosen Islam for you as your deen. (Quran 5:3)

It was also during this hajj that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave his famous Farewell Khutba, whose words still ring in our ears and echo in our hearts all these centuries later. When he had finished speaking to the thousands upon thousands of Muslims who were gathered around him on the plain of Arafa, he raised his voice slightly and asked, “My Lord, have I delivered the message?” And thousands upon thousands of voices from all around him answered his question: “Yes, you have.” And many of those who were present passed on that message to those who ere not present, and so it has continued, right up until today. And one of those who was present was A’isha, of whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) once said, “Learn some of your deen from this red haired lady.” Meaning A’isha.

This is not surprising, for she is one of the four people who have transmitted more than two thousand hadiths, the others being Abu Hurairah, Abdullah ibn Umar, and Anas ibn Malik. Many of these are about some of the most intimate aspects of personal behavior and hygiene which only someone in A’isha’s position could have learned. It was during the course of his marriage with A’isha that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) married several other wives, usually to strengthen ties between important families and tribes, or to relieve the hardship of a woman who had been unexpectedly divorced or widowed, or in order to clearly demonstrate whom it wapermissible for a Muslim to marry, but above all because all of his marriage had been decreed by Allah, and because all of his wives were exceptional women.

SOURCE: WIVES OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD (SAW) BY: IBN KATHIR





Great Women In Islam-Asiyah, Wife of Pharaoh

31 08 2007

Assiyya, Pharaoh’s Wife

Narrated Abû Mûsa (radhi Allahu anhu) : Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Many amongst men reached (the level of) perfection but none amongst the women reached this level except Assiyya – Pharaoh’s wife, and Mary – the daughter of ‘Imrân. And no doubt, the superiority of ‘Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. a meat and bread dish) to other meals.” (Sahih Al-Bukharî, Vol. 4, Hadîth No. 623).

Not much is known about Assiyya, the wife of Pharaoh. She brought Moses into her home when he was a baby, as is recorded in the Quran:

And We inspired the mother of Mûsa (Moses), (saying): “Suckle him [Mûsa (Moses)], but when you fear for him, then cast him into the river and fear not, nor grieve. Verily! We shall bring him back to you, and shall make him one of (Our) Messengers.”

Then the household of Fir’aun (Pharaoh) picked him up, that he might become for them an enemy and a (cause of) grief. Verily! Fir’aun (Pharaoh), Hâmân and their hosts were sinners.

And the wife of Fir’aun (Pharaoh) said: “A comfort of the eye for me and for you. Kill him not, perhaps he may be of benefit to us, or we may adopt him as a son.” And they perceive not (the result of that). (Surah 28:7-9)

Later, few believed in the Prophethood of Moses except some children of his People, because of the fear of Pharaoh and his chiefs. They feared the persecution of Pharaoh as certainly Pharaoh was mighty on the earth and one who transgressed all bounds. Yet, Assiyya, Pharaoh’s own wife recognized the truth of Moses’ message. She answered Moses’ call and became a Muslim, despite the fact that she was the wife of Pharaoh – the man who claimed to be God Himself – and despite all that she possessed through being the wife of a king. She refused that and chose to be in God’s company. This is a great example of how a woman chose the Hereafter over and above all of the wealth of this world. She remained firm on her faith in God despite persecution of all sorts:

(Pharaoh) said: “Believe ye in Him before I give you permission? Surely this must be your leader, who has taught you magic! be sure I will cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will have you crucified on trunks of palm-trees: so shall ye know for certain, which of us can give the more severe and the more lasting punishment!” (Surah 20:71)

The Quran sets her as an example for the believers to stay away from evil and sin despite the full assault of the devil:

“God sets forth an example for those who believe — the wife of Pharaoh who said: My Lord, build for me with Thee a house in heaven, and save me from the Pharaoh and his doings, and save me from an unjust people.”(Surah 66:11)

Source: http://oum_abdulaziz.tripod.com/famous15.htm





Great Women In Islam-Fatimah, Daughter of the Prophet Muhammad

27 08 2007

 

Fatimah bint Muhammad


Fatimah was the fifth child of Muhammad and Khadijah. She was born at a time when her noble father had begun to spend long periods in the solitude of mountains around Makkah, meditating and reflecting on the great mysteries of creation.

This was the time, before the Bithah, when her eldest sister Zaynab was married to her cousin, al-Aas ibn ar Rabiah. Then followed the marriage of her two other sisters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum, to the sons of Abu Lahab, a paternal uncle of the Prophet. Both Abu Lahab and his wife Umm Jamil turned out to be flaming enemies of the Prophet from the very beginning of his public mission.

The little Fatimah thus saw her sisters leave home one after the other to live with their husbands. She was too young to understand the meaning of marriage and the reasons why her sisters had to leave home. She loved them dearly and was sad and lonely when they left. It is said that a certain silence and painful sadness came over her then.

Of course, even after the marriage of her sisters, she was not alone in the house of her parents. Barakah, the maid-servant of Aminah, the Prophet’s mother, who had been with the Prophet since his birth, Zayd ibn Harithah, and Ali, the young son of Abu Talib were all part of Muhammad’s household at this time. And of course there was her loving mother, the lady Khadijah.

In her mother and in Barakah, Fatimah found a great deal of solace and comfort in Ali, who was about two years older than she, she found a “brother” and a friend who somehow took the place of her own brother al-Qasim who had died in his infancy. Her other brother Abdullah, known as the Good and the Pure, who was born after her, also died in his infancy. However in none of the people in her father’s household did Fatimah find the carefree joy and happiness which she enjoyed with her sisters. She was an unusually sensitive child for her age.

When she was five, she heard that her father had become Rasul Allah, the Messenger of God. His first task was to convey the good news of Islam to his family and close relations. They were to worship God Almighty alone. Her mother, who was a tower of strength and support, explained to Fatimah what her father had to do. From this time on, she became more closely attached to him and felt a deep and abiding love for him. Often she would be at Iris side walking through the narrow streets and alleys of Makkah, visiting the Kabah or attending secret gatherings off, the early Muslims who had accepted Islam and pledged allegiance to the Prophet.

One day, when she was not yet ten, she accompanied her father to the Masjid al-Haram. He stood in the place known as al-Hijr facing the Kabah and began to pray. Fatimah stood at his side. A group of Quraysh, by no means well-disposed to the Prophet, gathered about him. They included Abu Jahl ibn Hisham, the Prophet’s uncle, Uqbah ibn Abi Muayt, Umayyah ibn Khalaf, and Shaybah and Utbah, sons of Rabi’ah. Menacingly, the group went up to the Prophet and Abu Jahl, the ringleader, asked:

“Which of you can bring the entrails of a slaughtered animal and throw it on Muhammad?”

Uqbah ibn Abi Muayt, one of the vilest of the lot, volunteered and hurried off. He returned with the obnoxious filth and threw it on the shoulders of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, while he was still prostrating. Abdullah ibn Masud, a companion of the Prophet, was present but he was powerless to do or say anything.

Imagine the feelings of Fatimah as she saw her father being treated in this fashion. What could she, a girl not ten years old, do? She went up to her father and removed the offensive matter and then stood firmly and angrily before the group of Quraysh thugs and lashed out against them. Not a single word did they say to her. The noble Prophet raised his head on completion of the prostration and went on to complete the Salat. He then said: “O Lord, may you punish the Quraysh!” and repeated this imprecation three times. Then he continued:

“May You punish Utbah, Uqbah, Abu Jahl and Shaybah.” (These whom he named were all killed many years later at the Battle of Badr)

On another occasion, Fatimah was with the Prophet as he made; tawaf around the Kabah. A Quraysh mob gathered around him. They seized him and tried to strangle him with his own clothes. Fatimah screamed and shouted for help. Abu Bakr rushed to the scene and managed to free the Prophet. While he was doing so, he pleaded: “Would you kill a man who says, ‘My Lord is God?'” Far from giving up, the mob turned on Abu Bakr and began beating him until blood flowed from his head and face.

Such scenes of vicious opposition and harassment against her father and the early Muslims were witnessed by the young Fatimah. She did not meekly stand aside but joined in the struggle in defence of her father and his noble mission. She was still a young girl and instead of the cheerful romping, the gaiety and liveliness which children of her age are and should normally be accustomed to, Fatimah had to witness and participate in such ordeals.

Of course, she was not alone in this. The whole of the Prophet’s family suffered from the violent and mindless Quraysh. Her sisters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum also suffered. They were living at this time in the very nest of hatred and intrigue against the Prophet. Their husbands were Utbah and Utaybah, sons of Abu Lahab and Umm Jamil. Umm Jamil was known to be a hard and harsh woman who had a sharp and evil tongue. It was mainly because of her that Khadijah was not pleased with the marriages of her daughters to Umm Jamil’s sons in the first place. It must have been painful for Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum to be living in the household of such inveterate enemies who not only joined but led the campaign against their father.

As a mark of disgrace to Muhammad and his family, Utbah and Utaybah were prevailed upon by their parents to divorce their wives. This was part of the process of ostracizing the Prophet totally. The Prophet in fact welcomed his daughters back to his home with joy, happiness and relief.

Fatimah, no doubt, must have been happy to be with her sisters once again. They all wished that their eldest sister, Zaynab, would also be divorced by her husband. In fact, the Quraysh brought pressure on Abu-l Aas to do so but he refused. When the Quraysh leaders came up to him and promised him the richest and most beautiful woman as a wife should he divorce Zaynab, he replied:

“I love my wife deeply and passionately and I have a great and high esteem for her father even though I have not entered the religion of Islam.”

Both Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum were happy to be back with their loving parents and to be rid of the unbearable mental torture to which they had been subjected in the house of Umm Jamil. Shortly afterwards, Ruqayyah married again, to the young and shy Uthman ibn Allan who was among the first to have accepted Islam. They both left for Abyssinia among the first muhajirin who sought refuge in that land and stayed there for several years. Fatimah was not to see Ruqayyah again until after their mother had died.

The persecution of the Prophet, his family and his followers continued and even became worse after the migration of the first Muslims to Abyssinia. In about the seventh year of his mission, the Prophet and his family were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in a rugged little valley enclosed by hills on all sides and defile, which could only be entered from Makkah by a narrow path.

To this arid valley, Muhammad and the clans of Banu Hashim and al-Muttalib were forced to retire with limited supplies of food. Fatimah was one of the youngest members of the clans -just about twelve years old – and had to undergo months of hardship and suffering. The wailing of hungry children and women in the valley could be heard from Makkah. The Quraysh allowed no food and contact with the Muslims whose hardship was only relieved somewhat during the season of pilgrimage. The boycott lasted for three years. When it was lifted, the Prophet had to face even more trials and difficulties. Khadijah, the faithful and loving, died shortly afterwards. With her death, the Prophet and his family lost one of the greatest sources of comfort and strength which had sustained them through the difficult period. The year in which the noble Khadijah, and later Abu Talib, died is known as the Year of Sadness. Fatimah, now a young lady, was greatly distressed by her mother’s death. She wept bitterly and for some time was so grief-striken that her health deteriorated. It was even feared she might die of grief.

Although her older sister, Umm Kulthum, stayed in the same household, Fatimah realized that she now had a greater responsibility with the passing away of her mother. She felt that she had to give even greater support to her father. With loving tenderness, she devoted herself to looking after his needs. So concerned was she for his welfare that she came to be called “Umm Abi-ha the mother of her father”. She also provided him with solace and comfort during times of trial, difficulty and crisis.

Often the trials were too much for her. Once, about this time, an insolent mob heaped dust and earth upon his gracious head. As he entered his home, Fatimah wept profusely as she wiped the dust from her father’s head.

“Do not cry, my daughter,” he said, “for God shall protect your father.” The Prophet had a special love for Fatimah. He once said: “Whoever pleased Fatimah has indeed pleased God and whoever has caused her to be angry has indeed angered God. Fatimah is a part of me. Whatever pleases her pleases me and whatever angers her angers me.”

He also said: “The best women in all the world are four: the Virgin Mary, Aasiyaa the wife of Pharoah, Khadijah Mother of the Believers, and Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad.” Fatimah thus acquired a place of love and esteem in the Prophet’s heart that was only occupied by his wife Khadijah.

Fatimah, may God be pleased with her, was given the title of “az-Zahraa” which means “the Resplendent One”. That was because of her beaming face which seemed to radiate light. It is said that when she stood for Prayer, the mihrab would reflect the light of her countenance. She was also called “al-Batul” because of her asceticism. Instead of spending her time in the company of women, much of her time would be spent in Salat, in reading the Quran and in other acts of ibadah.

Fatimah had a strong resemblance to her father, the Messenger of God. Aishah, the wife of the Prophet, said of her: “I have not seen any one of God’s creation resemble the Messenger of God more in speech, conversation and manner of sitting than Fatimah, may God be pleased with her. When the Prophet saw her approaching, he would welcome her, stand up and kiss her, take her by the hand and sit her down in the place where he was sitting.” She would do the same when the Prophet came to her. She would stand up and welcome him with joy and kiss him.

Fatimah’s fine manners and gentle speech were part of her lovely and endearing personality. She was especially kind to poor and indigent folk and would often give all the food she had to those in need even if she herself remained hungry. She had no craving for the ornaments of this world nor the luxury and comforts of life. She lived simply, although on occasion as we shall see circumstances seemed to be too much and too difficult for her.

She inherited from her father a persuasive eloquence that was rooted in wisdom. When she spoke, people would often be moved to tears. She had the ability and the sincerity to stir the emotions, move people to tears and fill their hearts with praise and gratitude to God for His grace and His inestimable bounties.

Fatimah migrated to Madinah a few weeks after the Prophet did. She went with Zayd ibn Harithah who was sent by the Prophet back to Makkah to bring the rest of his family. The party included Fatimah and Umm Kulthum, Sawdah, the Prophet’s wife, Zayd’s wife Barakah and her son Usamah. Travelling with the group also were Abdullah the son of Abu Bakr who accompanied his mother and his sisters, Aishah and Asma.

In Madinah, Fatimah lived with her father in the simple dwelling he had built adjoining the mosque. In the second year after the Hijrah, she received proposals of marriage through her father, two of which were turned down. Then Ali, the son of Abu Talib, plucked up courage and went to the Prophet to ask for her hand in marriage. In the presence of the Prophet, however, Ali became over-awed and tongue-tied. He stared at the ground and could not say anything. The Prophet then asked: “Why have you come? Do you need something?” Ali still could not speak and then the Prophet suggested: “Perhaps you have come to propose marriage to Fatimah.”

“Yes,” replied Ali. At this, according to one report, the Prophet said simply: “Marhaban wa ahlan – Welcome into the family,” and this was taken by Ali and a group of Ansar who were waiting outside for him as indicating the Prophet’s approval. Another report indicated that the Prophet approved and went on to ask Ali if he had anything to give as mahr. Ali replied that he didn’t. The Prophet reminded him that he had a shield which could be sold.

Ali sold the shield to Uthman for four hundred dirhams and as he was hurrying back to the Prophet to hand over the sum as mahr, Uthman stopped him and said:

“I am returning your shield to you as a present from me on your marriage to Fatimah.” Fatimah and Ali were thus married most probably at the beginning of the second year after the Hijrah. She was about nineteen years old at the time and Ali was about twenty one. The Prophet himself performed the marriage ceremony. At the walimah, the guests were served with dates, figs and hais ( a mixture of dates and butter fat). A leading member of the Ansar donated a ram and others made offerings of grain. All Madinah rejoiced.

On her marriage, the Prophet is said to have presented Fatimah and Ali with a wooden bed intertwined with palm leaves, a velvet coverlet, a leather cushion filled with palm fibre, a sheepskin, a pot, a waterskin and a quern for grinding grain.

Fatimah left the home of her beloved father for the first time to begin life with her husband. The Prophet was clearly anxious on her account and sent Barakah with her should she be in need of any help. And no doubt Barakah was a source of comfort and solace to her. The Prophet prayed for them:

“O Lord, bless them both, bless their house and bless their offspring.” In Ali’s humble dwelling, there was only a sheepskin for a bed. In the morning after the wedding night, the Prophet went to Ali’s house and knocked on the door.

Barakah came out and the Prophet said to her: “O Umm Ayman, call my brother for me.”

“Your brother? That’s the one who married your daughter?” asked Barakah somewhat incredulously as if to say: Why should the Prophet call Ali his “brother”? (He referred to Ali as his brother because just as pairs of Muslims were joined in brotherhood after the Hijrah, so the Prophet and Ali were linked as “brothers”.)

The Prophet repeated what he had said in a louder voice. Ali came and the Prophet made a du’a, invoking the blessings of God on him. Then he asked for Fatimah. She came almost cringing with a mixture of awe and shyness and the Prophet said to her:

“I have married you to the dearest of my family to me.” In this way, he sought to reassure her. She was not starting life with a complete stranger but with one who had grown up in the same household, who was among the first to become a Muslim at a tender age, who was known for his courage, bravery and virtue, and whom the Prophet described as his “brother in this world and the hereafter”.

Fatimah’s life with Ali was as simple and frugal as it was in her father’s household. In fact, so far as material comforts were concerned, it was a life of hardship and deprivation. Throughout their life together, Ali remained poor because he did not set great store by material wealth. Fatimah was the only one of her sisters who was not married to a wealthy man.

In fact, it could be said that Fatimah’s life with Ali was even more rigorous than life in her father’s home. At least before marriage, there were always a number of ready helping hands in the Prophet’s household. But now she had to cope virtually on her own. To relieve their extreme poverty, Ali worked as a drawer and carrier of water and she as a grinder of corn. One day she said to Ali: “I have ground until my hands are blistered.”

“I have drawn water until I have pains in my chest,” said Ali and went on to suggest to Fatimah: “God has given your father some captives of war, so go and ask him to give you a servant.”

Reluctantly, she went to the Prophet who said: “What has brought you here, my little daughter?” “I came to give you greetings of peace,” she said, for in awe of him she could not bring herself to ask what she had intended.

“What did you do?” asked Ali when she returned alone.

“I was ashamed to ask him,” she said. So the two of them went together but the Prophet felt they were less in need than others.

“I will not give to you,” he said, “and let the Ahl as-Suffah (poor Muslims who stayed in the mosque) be tormented with hunger. I have not enough for their keep…”

Ali and Fatimah returned home feeling somewhat dejected but that night, after they had gone to bed, they heard the voice of the Prophet asking permission to enter. Welcoming him, they both rose to their feet, but he told them:

“Stay where you are,” and sat down beside them. “Shall I not tell you of something better than that which you asked of me?” he asked and when they said yes he said: “Words which Jibril taught me, that you should say “Subhaan Allah- Glory be to God” ten times after every Prayer, and ten times “AI hamdu lillah – Praise be to God,” and ten times “Allahu Akbar – God is Great.” And that when you go to bed you should say them thirty-three times each.”

Ali used to say in later years: “I have never once failed to say them since the Messenger of God taught them to us.”

There are many reports of the hard and difficult times which Fatimah had to face. Often there was no food in her house. Once the Prophet was hungry. He went to one after another of his wives’ apartments but there was no food. He then went to Fatimah’s house and she had no food either. When he eventually got some food, he sent two loaves and a piece of meat to Fatimah. At another time, he went to the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari and from the food he was given, he saved some for her. Fatimah also knew that the Prophet was without food for long periods and she in turn would take food to him when she could. Once she took a piece of barley bread and he, said to her: “This is the first food your father has eaten for three days.”

Through these acts of kindness she showed how much she loved her father; and he loved her, really loved her in return.

Once he returned from a journey outside Madinah. He went to the mosque first of all and prayed two rakats as was his custom. Then, as he often did, he went to Fatimah’s house before going to his wives. Fatimah welcomed him and kissed his face, his mouth and his eyes and cried. “Why do you cry?” the Prophet asked. “I see you, O Rasul Allah,” she said, “Your color is pale and sallow and your clothes have become worn and shabby.” “O Fatimah,” the Prophet replied tenderly, “don’t cry for Allah has sent your father with a mission which He would cause to affect every house on the face of the earth whether it be in towns, villages or tents (in the desert) bringing either glory or humiliation until this mission is fulfilled just as night (inevitably) comes.” With such comments Fatimah was often taken from the harsh realities of daily life to get a glimpse of the vast and far-reaching vistas opened up by the mission entrusted to her noble father.

Fatimah eventually returned to live in a house close to that of the Prophet. The place was donated by an Ansari who knew that the Prophet would rejoice in having his daughter as his neighbor. Together they shared in the joys and the triumphs, the sorrows and the hardships of the crowded and momentous Madinah days and years.

In the middle of the second year after the Hijrah, her sister Ruqayyah fell ill with fever and measles. This was shortly before the great campaign of Badr. Uthman, her husband, stayed by her bedside and missed the campaign. Ruqayyah died just before her father returned. On his return to Madinah, one of the first acts of the Prophet was to visit her grave.

Fatimah went with him. This was the first bereavement they had suffered within their closest family since the death of Khadijah. Fatimah was greatly distressed by the loss of her sister. The tears poured from her eyes as she sat beside her father at the edge of the grave, and he comforted her and sought to dry her tears with the corner of his cloak.

The Prophet had previously spoken against lamentations for the dead, but this had lead to a misunderstanding, and when they returned from the cemetery the voice of Umar was heard raised in anger against the women who were weeping for the martyrs of Badr and for Ruqayyah.

“Umar, let them weep,” he said and then added: “What comes from the heart and from the eye, that is from God and His mercy, but what comes from the hand and from the tongue, that is from Satan.” By the hand he meant the beating of breasts and the smiting of cheeks, and by the tongue he meant the loud clamor in which women often joined as a mark of public sympathy.

Uthman later married the other daughter of the Prophet, Umm Kulthum, and on this account came to be known as Dhu-n Nurayn – Possessor of the Two Lights.

The bereavement which the family suffered by the death of Ruqayyah was followed by happiness when to the great joy of all the believers Fatimah gave birth to a boy in Ramadan of the third year after the Hijrah. The Prophet spoke the words of the Adhan into the ear of the new-born babe and called him al-Hasan which means the Beautiful One.

One year later, she gave birth to another son who was called al-Husayn, which means “little Hasan” or the little beautiful one. Fatimah would often bring her two sons to see their grandfather who was exceedingly fond of them. Later he would take them to the Mosque and they would climb onto his back when he prostrated. He did the same with his little granddaughter Umamah, the daughter of Zaynab.

In the eighth year after the Hijrah, Fatimah gave birth to a third child, a girl whom she named after her eldest sister Zaynab who had died shortly before her birth. This Zaynab was to grow up and become famous as the “Heroine of Karbala”. Fatimah’s fourth child was born in the year after the Hijrah. The child was also a girl and Fatimah named her Umm Kulthum after her sister who had died the year before after an illness.

It was only through Fatimah that the progeny of the Prophet was perpetuated. All the Prophet’s male children had died in their infancy and the two children of Zaynab named Ali and Umamah died young. Ruqayyah’s child Abdullah also died when he was not yet two years old. This is an added reason for the reverence which is accorded to Fatimah.

Although Fatimah was so often busy with pregnancies and giving birth and rearing children, she took as much part as she could in the affairs of the growing Muslim community of Madinah. Before her marriage, she acted as a sort of hostess to the poor and destitute Ahl as-Suffah. As soon as the Battle of Uhud was over, she went with other women to the battlefield and wept over the dead martyrs and took time to dress her father’s wounds. At the Battle of the Ditch, she played a major supportive role together with other women in preparing food during the long and difficult siege. In her camp, she led the Muslim women in prayer and on that place there stands a mosque named Masjid Fatimah, one of seven mosques where the Muslims stood guard and performed their devotions.

Fatimah also accompanied the Prophet when he made Umrah in the sixth year after the Hijrah after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. In the following year, she and her sister Umm Kulthum, were among the mighty throng of Muslims who took part with the Prophet in the liberation of Makkah. It is said that on this occasion, both Fatimah and Umm Kulthum visited the home of their mother Khadijah and recalled memories of their childhood and memories of jihad, of long struggles in the early years of the Prophet’s mission.

In Ramadan of the tenth year just before he went on his Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet confided to Fatimah, as a secret not yet to be told to others:

“Jibril recited the Quran to me and I to him once every year, but this year he has recited it with me twice. I cannot but think that my time has come.”

On his return from the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet did become seriously ill. His final days were spent in the apartment of his wife Aishah. When Fatimah came to visit him, Aishah would leave father and daughter together.

One day he summoned Fatimah. When she came, he kissed her and whispered some words in her ear. She wept. Then again he whispered in her ear and she smiled. Aishah saw and asked:

“You cry and you laugh at the same time, Fatimah? What did the Messenger of God say to you?” Fatimah replied:

“He first told me that he would meet his Lord after a short while and so I cried. Then he said to me: ‘Don’t cry for you will be the first of my household to join me.’ So I laughed.”

Not long afterwards the noble Prophet passed away. Fatimah was grief-striken and she would often be seen weeping profusely. One of the companions noted that he did not see Fatimah, may God be pleased with her, laugh after the death of her father.

One morning, early in the month of Ramadan, just less than five month after her noble father had passed away, Fatimah woke up looking unusually happy and full of mirth. In the afternoon of that day, it is said that she called Salma bint Umays who was looking after her. She asked for some water and had a bath. She then put on new clothes and perfumed herself. She then asked Salma to put her bed in the courtyard of the house. With her face looking to the heavens above, she asked for her husband Ali.

He was taken aback when he saw her lying in the middle of the courtyard and asked her what was wrong. She smiled and said: “I have an appointment today with the Messenger of God.”

Ali cried and she tried to console him. She told him to look after their sons al-Hasan and al-Husayn and advised that she should be buried without ceremony. She gazed upwards again, then closed her eyes and surrendered her soul to the Mighty Creator.

She, Fatimah the Resplendent One, was just twenty nine years old.





19 Things Muslim Women Can Do For Islam in America

24 08 2007

19 Things Sisters can do for Islam in America(or anywhere in the world really)

By: A SoundVision Staff Writer

 Sisters, as much as brothers, are responsible for contributing to Islamic work in America. There are a number of things that can be done on a personal, family and community level.

Sound Vision talked to four Muslim sisters who are active in their communities for their ideas. They suggested the following:

1. Remember you are a khalifa on earth

Both men and women are appointed by Allah as His khalifa (trustees) on earth (Quran 33:72-73). We have been given this amana (trust) from Allah, and it is our responsibility to care for it. We must not forget that we will all be asked on the Day of Judgement what we did with our time. What did we do for the sake of Allah while we were alive? How did we spend our time, wealth, health, knowledge and other resources Allah has entrusted to us as a gift. How have we tried to make our ummah stronger? Will we make the grade?

2. Make your intention for the sake of Allah

Where does success really come from? It’s from Allah. But without the correct intentions and methods, success at home and work won’t happen.

“Actions are but by intentions,” said Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said in a Hadith in Bukhari and Muslim. Make your intention to please Allah first and foremost. This is the first and most important thing no matter what type of activism you get involved in.

3. Make Dua (supplication)

Who can really answer your prayers and help you? Allah, of course. Ask only from Allah. Ask Him for Guidance, understanding, and a straight intention. Ask Him to accept your efforts for His cause.

Then watch as Insha Allah, He helps you throughout your work for His Cause.

4. Seek knowledge, a path to Paradise and power

Once your intention is clear, how do you know what the right method is to contribute to Islam in America? The key is knowledge. Specifically, knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah. This is not necessarily the knowledge you may have picked up in the Muslim country or community you grew up in. We’re talking about knowledge based on original sources — the Quran and Sunnah.

“For him who follows a path for seeking knowledge, Allah will ease for him the path to Paradise” said the Prophet in a Hadith in Muslim.

For starters, one simple thing you can do is to read a translation of the Quran in a language you feel most comfortable with. This is not to say that translations will give you a complete understanding of the Quran. What it will provide though, is a basic overview.

Sincerely seek the truth. Remember that your goal as an ordinary Muslim at this point, is not to “reinterpret” the Quran. It is simply to expose yourself to Allah’s Message in a way that you can understand.

5. Learn about your rights and duties and change who you are accordingly

Is knowledge meant to just fill our heads? Of course not. If we want to work for Islam in America or anywhere else, we’ve got to start with ourselves first.

This not only means to know but to practice what we know. We must work from the inside out. We must fix our character first, then work with our families, neighborhood and further out within the community.

6. Raise good Muslim sons and daughters

Who raised those brothers who won’t let sisters come to the mosque? Mostly women. For all the talk of Muslim women going out to change the world, we tend to forget about the one place where women have the most control: as mothers. Use this power.

It’s mothers who can perpetuate notions of what a woman’s place is, and they also can perpetuate a lot of the misguided notions about the position of women in Islam. Think through what messages you are giving your children. For example, how many mothers spoil their sons by not insisting they clean up their own room, put away their own dishes after dinner, help clean up the house or fold the laundry? Mothers can and should challenge gender stereotypes in their own homes.

This may be considered a small step for moms, but it leads to big steps for Muslim brothers.

With regards to daughters, mothers must orient them in the right direction on a personal level as Muslims, then at the academic and career levels. Not to forget but mothers are their daughters first role model. Be an example for her of a solid, strong Muslim.

7. Speak out against injustice

Feeling powerless against the Muslim men who won’t let you come to the mosque? At least speak out against it. Did a speaker say something insensitive about sisters? Speak out against it. Use your knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah to challenge gender-unfriendly spaces and positions in the Muslim community.

Too often, the status quo is maintained because Muslim women do not speak up.

And don’t just speak out against the bad. Ask questions and comment with wisdom as well.

8. Don’t underestimate the power of social activities

Do you think organizing social activities such as dinners for sisters is just a waste of time? Not if you know the reality of the Muslim community here in America.

While many sisters have families they can easily turn to for company and support, there are many who don’t. Our communities have plenty of sisters who are new to Islam, or sisters who are students from abroad, or who recently immigrated here with their families but who are hungry for companionship.

What better companionship than that of Muslim sisters for the sake of Allah?

Organizing weekly dinners, teas, Halaqas are all small practical steps that Muslim sisters can take to help each other not only cope with loneliness, but more importantly become closer to Allah, if He wills. This creates a much-needed social network.

9. Go into professions that are needed in the community

Often, we encourage our children to go into professions that are seen as prestigious or that will ensure them financial security. These may not, however, be professions that are most needed by the Muslim community. Identify what the needs are and encourage young women to pursue careers in these fields.

For example, there is dire need for Muslim community advocates, social workers, therapists, family counselors, and other support resources. The shortage of such professional skills within the community forces Muslims to go to non-Muslims who are often insensitive to our religious values.

Another field where Muslim women are needed is law. Marriage, divorce, custody of children, and inheritance are all issues which directly affect Muslim women, and for which they will rarely find a Muslim advocate. There is a need for sisters who know Islamic law and the local law to help Muslim women deal with issues like these with sincere, sound advice, as well as sympathetic support.

Is there a Muslim woman doctor in the house? For the most part, the answer is no. It is no cliche to say that there is a crying need for women in the medical field. Sisters are especially needed in sensitive fields like obstetrics and gynecology, fertiltiy specialists, etc.

These are among many areas where women, especially Muslim ones, feel most comfortable discussing exclusively with other women who will understand where they are coming from.

10. Teach in Islamic weekend schools

Does getting an education degree sound too far-fetched? If so, consider helping Islam in America by teaching at the local Islamic weekend school. This is where a number of Muslim kids (most of whom attend public school) find their only Islamic environment throughout the whole week.

The presence Muslim sisters as mentioned above, is not just in imparting knowledge but it’s also in being a positive role model.

As well, teaching in Islamic weekend schools provides you with the opportunity to clarify the position of women in Islam, to clear it of the cultural baggage so many Muslim parents tend to pass down to their kids.

11. Enjoin the good and forbid the evil

The Prophet said: If one of you sees something evil he should change it with his hand. If he cannot, he should speak out against it, and if he cannot do even that he should at least detest it in his heart, this being the weakest form of faith (Muslim).

Enjoining the good and forbidding the evil is not the domain of Muslim brothers alone. Sisters are also required to do this, whether it is on an individual or community level. Look for opportunities and build your strength to do this.

Not only will you be fulfilling a religious duty, but you will become stronger and Allah willing, gain the strength to speak out against wrong regardless who is doing the wrong.

12. Promote and appreciate sisters doing good work

How many of us spend time to appreciate the work Muslims sisters do to promote the cause of Islam?

Whether a sister has given an inspiring speech, written a useful article, established a fantastic program for the mosque, a number of sisters tend to beat each other down instead of trying to build each other up.

Promoting and appreciating sisters who are doing good work will not only serve as encouragement for them, it will also pinpoint acceptable role models for young Muslim women. This is important when many or our young girls look up to women who are models, actresses and singers, as opposed to those making a positive contribution to society.

13. Support other sisters in need or difficulty

Do you know a sister who takes care of her own kids, plus an ailing mother-in-law? Or a sister who needs a night out with her husband after a frustrating week juggling work and home responsibilities? Give her a break. Offer to babysit for a night, or take her kids to the park so she can have some free time to herself. These small gestures give a big boost to sisterhood and Muslim community support, not to mention support for a Muslim family.

14. Get sympathetic speakers and scholars invited to the community

Who are the top five speakers in your community? What is their understanding of Islam and especially the role of women? Do they speak out against injustice? Or do they promote the status quo?

Sisters can encourage community leaders to invite speakers to shed light on Muslim women’s issues, and who can address problems from an Islamic perspective in a wise and sensitive way.

15. Teach sisters how to deal with discrimination

How many sisters know how to respond effectively to discrimination and harassment? It seems that most will tend to ignore it. Others may respond with a rude remark of their own. But neither of these approaches is usually appropriate.

Muslim women can help here by developing an effective strategy in consultation with Imams and community leaders. Informing and enabling Muslim women on how to seek legal recourse if they so choose is another needed service.

16. Become journalists and media professionals

Do you think the ability to write well and communicate effectively has no effect on others?

You’re wrong. A knowledgeable, practicing Muslim woman who can write and speak well is a powerful weapon against those who say Islam oppresses women, or that women can’t come to the mosque for instance.

The media is an unavoidable tool in the spread of Islam amongst Muslims and non-Muslims and sisters should not avoid this field of study.

17. Use what you have

If you’re already a working Muslim woman, how can you contribute without necessarily changing careers? Use your professional skills for the community.

If you can write well, establish a well-written, organized and attractive community newsletter. If you’re in business, establish a community fundraising project for the local mosque’s expansion. Use what you’ve got. It’ll take some thinking and planning, but you’re almost bound to find a way you can contribute, if Allah wills.

18. Know and teach women’s history

Do you think women’s history means learning exclusively about American feminists? Think again. Muslim women have their own heroes. Aisha, Khadijah, Maryam, Asiya (may Allah be pleased with all of them) are our role models. Remember that Muslim women’s history does not start and end with these four righteous women. Muslim history is full of women who have made positive contributions. We also need to recognize and know the efforts of the pioneering Muslim women who came to North America and worked in partnership with men to establish the various Muslim institutions now flourishing in North America.

Know the history of the first generation of Muslim women as well as those who established the Muslim community in North America.

Read to your daughters the stories of the great female companions of the Prophet in books like Abdul Wahid Hamid’s Companions of the Prophet.

19. Understand the issues of the day

Do you know what your kids are learning in school? Is there a sex education class promoting unIslamic ideas? What are you going to do about it? Do you participate in your child’s Earth Day activities at school?

Muslims sisters have to know the issues of the day in order to make an impact. Whether it’s sex education, drunk driving or rape these and other issues should be of concern to us as well, and not just non-Muslims. Being vocal, and most importantly, knowing and advocating the Islamic position on issues of the day affords you the opportunity to stand up for justice and to make Dawa. Don’t pass it up.

© Sound Vision Foundation  website http://www.SoundVision.com








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