The Character of A Muslim Woman

29 06 2007

muslimwomensitting.jpgLet’s face it. As women we can be cruel to each other. As for men, I don’t know the politics of their relationships being that I am not a man. Therefore, I will not speak about men. Though, I do know the relationships and cruelty we women show one another. It seems that everything is  a competition. Who is the most pious, intelligent, who has the best children, who is the most beautiful and on and on.In my opinion this competitveness is our human nature. However, as Muslim women we should be above this nonsense. Sadly, many of us are not. Many of us can not control our tongues. We love to backbite and gossip about other sisters. Maybe, it makes us feel better about our own less than perfect lives.  Women are quick to point out which woman needs to lose weight, which woman has a big nose or out of date clothing. We are quick to look down on the sister who gives  us something that we view as small. Allah (swt) and the Prophet(Saw) advises us:
“And backbite not one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful.” (49:12)

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Do you know what is backbiting?” The Companions said: “Allah and His Messenger know better.” Thereupon he said, “Backbiting is talking about your (Muslim) brother in a manner which he dislikes.” It was said to him: “What if my (Muslim) brother is as I say.” He said, “If he is actually as you say, then that is backbiting; but if that is not in him, that is slandering.”
[Muslim].


Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Prophet (PBUH) saying, “A person utters a word thoughtlessly (i.e., without thinking about its being good or not) and, as a result of this, he will fall down into the fire of Hell deeper than the distance between the east and the west.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].


The Prophet (saw) said: The two sins that will be punished for most in the grave are slander (in some narrations it says backbiting) and failure to clean yourself after usuing the toilet. (Bukhari)

O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: It may be that the (latter are better than the (former): Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong. (English translation of Qur’an 49:11)


Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “O Muslim women! None of you should look down upon the gift sent by her she-neighbour even if it were the trotters of the sheep (fleshless part of legs).” (Bukhari, Book #47, Hadith #740)

Ramadan, the month that is supposed to bring us many rewards, turns into the month which we ruin our good deeds.  Let me explain. We spend the days in fasting, devotion, and rememberance of Allah. Then, in the evening we throw a lavish iftar meal to break our fast. Usually every night of the week is spent at a different house. What happens at these iftars? Well, on the women’s side it is usually gossiping, backbiting, and sometimes down right slander. Often you will find little to no rememberance of Allah at these gatherings.  We all compete to see who can make the most intricate dishes and look down on the households who have less to offer. How many of us actually invite the needy Muslims to our iftars? How many of us even send food to the masjid for the needy muslims in our area? Not many. Instead we invite only those we deem as our friends or those up the ladder in the community in an effort to wow them.  Next time, you are in these situations,Reflect on these words from Allah (swt) and the Prophet (Saw):


“Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).” (50:18)


Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Those people who leave a gathering in which they have not remembered Allah, will conclude it as if it has foul odour similar to that of a rotten carcass of a donkey. And it will be a cause of grief to them.”
[Abu Dawud].


“Allaah does not look at the outward appearance or wealth of any one of you, but He looks at your hearts and deeds.” (Narrated by Muslim from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah).


Sahl bin Sa`d As-Sa`idi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A man passed by the Prophet (PBUH), so he asked a man who was sitting near him, “What is your opinion about this man?” That man replied: “He is one of the noblest men. By Allah he is certainly a proper person for (a girl) being given in marriage if he seeks to marry, and his recommendation is fit to be accepted if he recommends”. Messenger of Allah (PBUH) remained silent. Then another man passed. Messenger of Allah (PBUH) enquired, “What is your opinion about this man?” He replied: “O Messenger of Allah, he is one of the poor Muslims. He is not a proper person (for a girl) to be given in marriage to, and his recommendation would not be accepted if he makes one; if he speaks, he is not to be listened to.” Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “He is better than the former by earthfuls”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].


“And they give food, in spite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to the Miskeen (the poor), the orphan, and the captive(English translation Qur’an,76:8)


As mothers, we are in a constant bragging competition about our children. My child can do this. Oh my goodness, your child can not do that yet! wow! My son did that months ago! What you don’t breastfeed? Oh how horrible! You are satisfied with the number of kids you have? Well, as for me i want a houseful.  This is completely ridiculous. Not only are you bragging but you are also making another sister feel bad. In my opinion, the only people who indulge in this type of talk are insecure about their own children and choices. As parents, we all want the best for our children. Though, we don’t always know what that is. So, we are constantly trying to compare and think we have a victory when our child reaches a milestone before another child his/her age.  This bragging and comparing  seems to give women the validation they crave in order to feel they are doing a good job raising their children.

It is narrated on the authority of Abu Shuraih al-Khuzai’ that the Prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) observed: He who believes in Allah and the Last Day should do good to his neighbour and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should show hospitality to the guest and he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should either speak good or better remain silent. (Muslim, Book #001, Hadith #0078)

In our race to prove who is the most pious, we often get no rewards at all.  You see, it all comes back to the intention:
Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.” (Bukhari, Book #1, Hadith #1)

A woman may pray quickly at home remembering Allah little, though when she’s in the masjid she will take her time and sit and do the dhikr and read Qur’an so that everyone will see how pious she is. Similarly, one may not dress islamically, though, when they go to the masjid they will put on the full garb.  Some Muslims strive to be teachers of Islam simply to get the recognition. Our Beloved Prophet (saw) said about these people: Jundub (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “He who so acts to show off, Allah will disgrace him on the Day of Resurrection, and he who does good deeds so that people (may hold him in high esteem), Allah will expose his hidden evil intentions before the people on the Day of Resurrection.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].


If you are seeking knowledge to show up other muslims and say you have knowledge then this is of no benefit.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah(PBUH) said, “He who does not acquire knowledge with the sole intention of seeking the Pleasure of Allah but for worldly gain, will not smell the fragrance of Jannah on the Day of Resurrection.”
[Abu Dawud].


As for beauty the Prophet (saw) said:
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a losers. (Bukhari, Book #62, Hadith #27)


‘A’isha, the wife of Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him), reported Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) as saying: Kindness is not to be found in anything but that it adds to its beauty and it is not withdrawn from anything but it makes it defective. (Muslim#6274)

Let’s Remember these hadiths and pass them on to our families and friends:
It is attested on the authority of Anas b. Malik that the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) observed: one amongst you believes (truly) till one likes for his brother or for his neighbour that which he loves for himself. (Muslim,Book #001, Hadith #0072)


Narrated Abu Musa: The Prophet said, “A faithful believer to a faithful believer is like the bricks of a wall, enforcing each other.” While (saying that) the Prophet clasped his hands, by interlacing his fingers. (Bukhari, Book #8, Hadith #468)

So, Instead of tearing each other down, let’s reinforce one another. The whole world seems to be coming at Muslim women from all sides trying convince us we are opressed and turn us back from Islam. We need to put aside our petty ways and come together and be strong Muslimahs. Because the greatest weapon we have against the Shaytan (devil, Iblees) is each other.I advise myself first. Any truth here is from Allah and any mistakes are from myself and Shaytan.





A Mom’s Trip to The Grocer

29 06 2007

babyshoppingcart.jpgWell, it starts out as: “Honey, there’s no milk.” Me: Well, have a glass of juice. Him: “There’s no juice either.” Me: “What? let me see.” So, I go in the kitchen and sure enough our cupboards are bare. It’s time for a trip to the grocers.

Knowing that if I don’t get started before noon, it will be terribly hot and sticky, I hurridly try to get everyone out the door. So, I get the baby dressed in about five minutes, myself…..about three, My toddler(T)……with all the wardrobe changes……about fifteen. We make it to the door where my toddler sits down to put his shoes on. I reach down to try to help him. As soon as I touch a shoe, I hear: “AAAAAAAAAAAH I DO MYSELF, I DO IT BY MYSELF!!!!” So, I wait patiently glancing at the clock a few times. Finally, his shoes are on and we make it out the door.

After getting everyone buckled in, we’re on the road. The baby begins crying. I tell my toddler to give him a toy. He takes that to mean, shove a toy at him, which makes the baby cry even more. My toddler covers his ears and hums. Who needs music? This continues until we make it to the supermarket.

Once we make it to the supermarket, I realize that everyone else in town must have ran out of groceries the same time as me! So, I circle until I find a reasonable parking place. You know, the ones close to cart returns are prime parking spots for moms. ;)

I get out and take a cart. I check the seat to make sure it’s not too hot before buckling the baby in. Then, I give my toddler the choice…ride or walk. After much consideration, he chooses to ride. I am relieved!

After we make it inside the store, T starts trying to climb out of the cart while chanting, “I walk now, I walk now.” I stop the cart and explain to him that he chose to ride and so he shall. He sits back down with his bottom lip protruding and his arms crossed. I give him his picture list of groceries he is to spot.

We are cruising along nicely, when all of a sudden the cart starts clicking and clacking at about the same time, T spots the cookies. “I want cookies, I want cookies” he begins to say in a singsong voice. “Sweetie, we don’t need cookies today, find what’s on your list” I respond. “Nooooo……..cookies……yahhhhh.” Anyone who was not already staring at me, is now. So, I nearly sprint until the cookies are out of sight out of mind.

That’s when I realize that the baby is now asleep. His head leaning forward in what appeared to be a very uncomfortable position. I try to wake him up to no avail. Eventually, I have to pick him up and carry him while pushing the cart with one hand. I offer my toddler a front seat. Still pouting over the cookies he shakes his head, “uh uh”.

Well, we finish shopping and proceed to check out. T helps put the groceries on the counter and watches as they are rung up. I notice he is still clutching a pint of blueberries. I tell him to put the blueberries on the counter. Well, this leads to a full on tantrum. He starts stomping in the cart and screaming “No, My berries, my berries, no no no no.” So, I pry the berries from him and quickly have the cashier ring them up, I give them back to him and all is settled.  Oh but wait, I realize that I have forgotten the milk. So, I have to go all the way back through the store after my groceries are paid for and get the milk. Then, I have to go back through the checkout, and have my bags checked on the way out!

As we walk outside, I mutter to myself “he’s staying with his father  next time” “My husband will do this next time, not me.” Meanwhile, T sits happily eating some crackers from a box he’s opened.

About half way home, I look into the rearview mirror and there they are both sound asleep. Ahhh………kids.





Religion & TV

28 06 2007

helpwantedsign3.jpgDear friends,

I am asking for your help as a part of a survey I am conducting regarding Religion and TV habits. The questions found on this survey describe what I am studying and why. Your response to this survey is totally voluntary and anonymous, but it would be so very helpful if you do respond.

You may respond to the survey by clicking the following link:

http://www.Advanced Survey.com/ default.asp? SurveyID= 53307

(If you cannot click the link above, please copy and paste the URL in its entirety into your browser’s address bar.)

Also, if you could forward this to your friends or lists I would be so appreciative. I truly hope that this survey will point to a way where people can live in peace.

If you have any questions, please write to me and I will be happy to address any questions, concerns or comments. Thank you very much in advance. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sincerely,

Dr. Ali Shehata

****Please forward this to all your contacts****





You Know You’re A Hijabi/Niqabi if…

28 06 2007

Inspired by carimuslima’s post:

muslim-women-hijabniqab.jpg

You know you’re a hijabi/niqabbi if…You get more stares walking through a crowded parking lot than Paris Hilton got when she walked out of jail.

You know you’re a hijabi/niqabbi if…You are constantly asked about your body temperature (are you hot? lol)

You know you’re a hijabi/niqabbi if…People randomly come up to you and ask if your husband makes you wear “that”or you are asked if he abuses you.


You know you’re a hijab/niqabbi if…people ask you if you shower and sleep with that “thing” on.


You know you’re a hijab/niqabbi if…People talk to you and not your body.

You know you’re a hijabi/niqabbi if…You are asked where you are from by just about every person you meet.

You know you’re a hijabi if…You are often mistaken for a nun.

You know you’re a hijabi/niqqabi if…People automatically have a difficulty understanding you even though you speak perfectly clear and correct.

You know you’re a niqabi if…You often hear ninja jokes


You know you’re a niqqabi if…People are facinated by watching you eat. Some are even so facinated that they may video you and post it on the internet.


You know you’re a hijabbi/niqabbi if…you feel the peace and contentment only obtained by obeying your creator..you feel respected and liberated…and you know that even with all the comments and stares your Creator is pleased with you and that’s all that matters!

 

 

niqabiswalking.jpg

 

Feel free to add your own!!!





Celebrities and Charities

28 06 2007

moneybags.jpgIt seems that most celebrities could care less about anyone other than themselves. Many of them spend their time in and out of rehab or jail, partying, and going on lavish shopping sprees day after day while looking down on the rest of us “peasants.” However, there are those few who will actually give back to the world. Though, when I look at the list of charities that they donate to, I can’t help but wonder if the money is really reaching the people in need.  I wonder if it is being used to make a change.  So many of these so called aid organizations have been caught time and time again with their hands in the cookie jar (so to speak).

We all know of the many U.N. and Christian charity fund scandals. Some other Examples of charity organization scandals include (I’m sure there are many more):
Red Cross:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/07/29/eveningnews/main516700.shtml

United Way:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A31702-2004Mar4&notFound=true

You can also check charitynavigator.org to read more about charities and their validity.

Also, I question these celebrities. Are they doing this for publicity and/or tax benefits or are they honestly sincere?  Insh’Allah some of them are sincere. I have my own assumptions about which are sincere and which are not. Though, If nothing else, these celebrities seem to be able to raise awareness as all eyes appear to be on them. I have to give them that much.





Does Skin Color Still Matter Today???

26 06 2007

I came across this news story today. I saw it on CNN. However, the only article that I can find now is below:

http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/222422/

It basically tells of an instance in a small white majority Louisiana town. In a nut shell, some white students hung three nooses on a tree(which is a felony that carries prision time) in which it was known that the African American students congregated around . They were sentenced by the principal to three days of in school suspension. Fast forward, a fight broke out in the school. It is alleged that six African American students attacked a white student while he was coming out of a locker room. He had allegedly been a friend of the boys who hung the nooses on the tree. The boy ended up in the hospital with non life threatening injuries. Now those five African American students are charged with attempted murder and could face up to 100 years in prision, one of the six got his charges reduced. This appears to come in a long line of similar incidences in this county and throughout the southern United States. Which you can read in the article.

As Muslims, we are taught that Islam abolished racism. People were no longer defined by what they had or where they came from but by the taqwa (fear of Allah, piety) in their hearts.

The Prophet(saw) said: “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.(Saheeh Bukhari, Vol.7, Ch.3)

O mankind! We (God Almighty) created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (English interpretaion of the Qur’an 49:13)

Hajj is an excellent example of this. People from every corner of the earth and every station in life travel to Mecca, wearing the same clothes, going through all the same actions. The prayer is another example. We all pray shoulder to shoulder no matter our wealth, color, or background.

So, anyway, this brings me to the Questions of the Day…….

Do you think this instance is race related?

Do you think that the color of a person’s skin still makes a difference in his or her treatment today?

Do you think racism is still prominent in the Muslim community even though Islam speaks against it so clearly?

Do you think it is possible to eliminate racism and if so, do you have any ideas on how it can be done?





Name Change

25 06 2007

Assalaamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu all my sisters and brothers,

While, I am still definatley a southernmuslimah, I have decided to change my blogging name to “Umm Yusuf.” I have noticed there is also another southernmuslimah@blogspot. I have been told by a few people that this name thing is confusing them. Out of respect for the other southernmuslimah and since she has had her blog up longer, I decided to make the change.

So, insh’Allah now you will see my comments and posts as Umm Yusuf. :) Insh’Allah this will clear up any confusion.

Thank you all reading my blog. :) May Allah continue to guide us all and keep us on the Qur’an and Sunnah. ameen.

Jazak Allahu Khairan

Wa Salaam,

Umm Yusuf





Breastfeeding and Being Judgemental

24 06 2007

baby-feed.jpgThree years ago, on a very rainy summer day, I gave birth to my first son. I was sure that I would breast feed him. In Islam, breastfeeding is spoken of very highly.

“The mothers shall give suck to their children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling”

[al-Baqarah 2:233]

I had this very fictional image that the baby would automatically begin sucking and my milk would flow freely. This didn’t happen. Reality hit me like a load of bricks. My son had complications and I couldn’t  see him for hours after he was born. I knew something was wrong since he was born blue and not breathing. My husband ran off with the doctors and the baby with a worried look on his face. I did see that much. Plus, I kept overhearing my mother on her phone asking people to pray for me and the baby.   Yet, no one would actually come in and explain to me what was going on. So, finally, my husband along with the pediatricians came in and explained that the baby was going to be fine. He had just been born with the cord wrapped around his neck, they had given him fluids, he was recovering nicely and they would bring him to me in a few minutes.   When he came in, I immediatley tried to breast feed him. The nurse on duty came in to help me and to no avail. The nurse suggested that was because he was given fluids in the NICU.All he wanted to do was sleep.  Understandably, the poor baby was so tired after his ordeal.  So, we decided to let him sleep.  In a few hours he woke, crying. I changed his diaper and tried to breastfeed again. I needed major help, so I paged the nurse. She came in and we tried everything, yet, he was still crying. I went through this for two days. His diapers were not being soiled or wet up to par. I tried pumping but never got more than half an ounce. I never felt the milk come in.  So, they advised a bottle. I complied. I continued trying to get him to breastfeed but was never sucessful. So, I gave up and went completly to bottle feeding.

I was severely criticized for this both by my non Muslim mother and also more so by the Muslim sisters that I came into contact with. Everyone seemed to have the opinion that I just didn’t try hard enough or was a lazy american who couldn’t stick with anything. This made me feel absolutely terrible. The passive agressive comments they made implying my lack of concern and love for my child brought me to tears on more than one occasion.

A year later, I learned that I was pregnant again. Mash’Allah, I told the doctor straightaway of my breastfeeding problems with my first child. I asked her for anything to increase my breastfeeding ablility. So, she gave me a diet while I was pregnant. It consisted of plenty of protein and veggies. During the last trimester I was told to use alfalfa sprouts to make a tea and drink it  also fenugreek tea. So, I did.

The big day came.  I gave birth and the doctor cleaned him off and put him on my chest immediatey. I was told to try to feed him. The nurses all helped me and with little effort he latched on. I was thrilled. I thought, it is going to work this time.

The first few hours were fine. Then, he began to cry. I kept trying to breastfeed.  He would latch on and vigorously suck, yet he would let go in a few minutes and scream. The nurses brought in a pump and had me pump when I wasn’t trying to feed him. Yet, again, nothing would come out and I didn’t feel the milk come in. I refused to give up this time. My husband’s mother was with us along with my own mother. They spent a week with me.  My obgyn prescribed an herbal supplement to try to increase my milk supply. Still nothing. I was not giving up! For the entire week, I kept insisting on NO BOTTLE. I was determined my milk would come in. It didn’t. He was not having suffient wet diapers and virtually no bowel movements by the end of the week. That’s when i realized something was wrong. He became jaundiced. So, I took him to the doctor. She weighed him and said while a weight drop was normal, his weight had dropped too much and he had jaundice. I had to have him hospitalized to stay under the billylights in order to get the bilirubion down.  Alhamdullilah, by morning he was allowed to go home. By this time, the mother who had so harshly criticized me the first go around was begging me to stop and give him the bottle. I tried to breastfeed a couple days after that, even though he was using the billyblanket at home.  He was still screaming all hours of the day and it was not getting any better. So, I sent out my husband for bottles and formula. He drank, he smiled. Alhamdullilah.

Believe it or not, I was still criticized by the muslim women in my life at the time with the exception of my husband’s family who had witnessed my struggle. It seems that it is so easy to point the finger and judge someone and how they are bringing up their children even without knowing the full extent of their situation.

I’m well aware of all the benefits of breastfeeding: closeness,less sickness,some studies show breast fed children are smarter, better quality, less chance of bacteria. Though, Some women, no matter how much they want to breastfeed or even pump can not.  Every woman doesn’t have an ample milk supply or even a decent enough supply to feed her child (ren). Not only that, but every woman is not comfortable with breast feeding. Some women work and can’t find the time to pump. I am well aware of all the bacteria linked to formula these days. This was one of the factors that pushed me so hard to try to breastfeed. I think we do take that risk with most anything though. Our children could come into contact with bacteria virtually anywhere. They are like magnets it is drawn to them.Do I love my children less because they are not breastfed? NOOOOOOOOOO WAY! Are they lacking because of it? From what I can see compared to their peers, NO WAY.  In my opinion the intelligence and happiness of the child is more of a result of the parenting he/she recieves that the milk they drink as a baby.

Maybe many of these muslim women would be surprised to learn that in the Prophet(saw)’s time, many mothers (including the Prophet’s mother) sent their children to wet nurses. They had no formula in that time period.  So, It’s not for us women to judge one another and make assumptions about how we are raising our children .  Most of us, whether we want to admit it or not, are all the same in regards to our children. We are all struggling to give our children the best possible life  and to raise them to be the  best individuals they can be.





Immigration:Families Left Behind

22 06 2007

familymosque.jpgMany Immigrants in America have left their wives and children in their home countries. .This is not only prevalent with Muslims but with Non Muslim immigrants as well. I have watched several documentaries depicting Latino and Asian immigrants and their families. In eight out of ten cases the men had left their wives and/or children back in their native country. This is so common in countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and latin America that they have songs about it.

This has far reaching consequences. Not only are the family dynamics torn apart and women are often left as basically single mothers, but it also opens the door to infidelity.  I have come into contact with several women living in this situation and witnessed their husbands here in America. Some of these women haven’t seen their husbands in up to five years!

The wives who are left behind are often equal to single mothers recieving child support. The man will, insh’Allah, send the family money and gifts from time to time. Other than that though, the woman is left to raise the children herself. She will be the one who attends the school functions, who helps with the homework, who teaches the children moral (Islamic) values. The children grow up asking “when is daddy coming home?”. The mother is only able to respond “Insh’Allah(If Allah wills), soon.” I know of one particular woman whose daughter was playing with one of her friends. She asked her friend if she had a father and her friend replied in the affirmative. Then, the little girl said, I don’t have a daddy. Every year this little girl asks her mom if her father will be back in time for Eid (Islamic holiday).  The mom is only able to respond, “insh’Allah(If Allah Wills) .”

No doubt these men miss their families back home. Though, to fill the void many of them take on second wives and start new families. Now, don’t think this is only the case with Muslims. No way! The non Muslim immigrants do this as well. In fact, the non Muslim immigrants may take several girlfriends or turn to prostitutes. Thus opening the door to veneral diseases that they will pass around.  No doubt in Islam taking a second wife is acceptable but how is the man going to be fair to both families when he is not even in the same country as one wife?  The Prophet (Saw) warned men of not being fair to co-wives in regard to spending time etc.:


“You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire, so do not incline too much to one of them (by giving her more of your time and provision) so as to leave the other hanging (i.e., neither divorced nor married). And if you do justice, and do all that is right and fear Allaah by keeping away from all that is wrong, then Allaah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [al-Nisaa’ 4:129]


the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in the hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah: “Whoever has two wives and gives one of them preferential treatment, he will come on the Day of Resurrection with half of his body leaning.” (Narrated by Abu Dawud, 2/601; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6491).

Then, what about the wife back home? No doubt she is feeling lonely and over-burdened. No doubt she wants a partner to share with her. No doubt there are men in her country who try to lure her into relationships with them. No doubt she’s tempted.  This is why in Islam everyone has rights. One of the most well known rights of the wife is the right of the husband’s time and intimacy and vice versa.

The Prophet  (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The conditions which are most deserving of being fulfilled are those by which it becomes permissible for you to engage in intimacy” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2721; Muslim, 1418)

“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 any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.” Taken from: The last sermon of our beloved Prophet Muhammed (SAW)

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “The most perfect man in his faith among the believers is the one whose behaviour is most excellent; and the best of you are those who are the best to their wives.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

Before, you get ill tempered with me and say I’m narrow-minded hear this: I’m not saying this is the case with ALL men.  I realize that in some countries the economy is so horrific that the only way to make money is to go abroad. I also realize that often it is impossible to get visas for the entire family. I know that these men probably have good intentions and their only objective is to make a better life for themselves and their family.  However, I have found that the men stay in the expat country far longer than necessary.  I have known brothers who own their own(established) business here in America as well as in their own country (which the wife runs). Still, this isn’t enough to return to their home country or try to bring their wives and children to join them? Why? Providing there are no immigration issues….their reluctance is due to either: A.) Greed.  Once they get here and see the dollar signs they become consumed with how much can I make? OR B.)They worry that if they bring their family here they won’t be able to support the whole family. Then, maybe they wonder, if I return home have I prepared enough? They worry that no matter how much assets they have it may not be enough to secure the family’s future. I’m sure this is the case with illegal  immigrants even more so than legal ones

I have also witnessed homecomings. They are often so joyous that one can not help but to shed tears upon seeing it.  I have noticed those men who left their children as babies and return when they are at least of pre-school age have a hard time bonding with their kids. Since the child doesn’t remember his/her father they are usually shy and awkward at first. However, usually within a matter of weeks the child is over joyed and showing off their daddy around town. Mash’Allah it is truly beautiful to see families reunite!

Family is so important in Islam that the punishment for breaking ties of kinship is severe: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No one who severs the ties of kinship will enter Paradise.” Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh and the most loved thing by Shaytan is to split up a husband and wife. One of Iblees workers comes and tells him, “I did not leave [myvictim] until I brought about separation between him andhis wife.” Iblees draws him near, and says to him, “Yes! You (are the best!)” (Related by Muslim.)
This is a touchy topic for me.  I realize it is necessary and incumbant on the man to provide for his family and sometimes he must travel overseas to do so. Though, I can’t help but feel heartbreak for the women and children left behind. 





Identity Crisis

20 06 2007

be-yourself.jpgOver the years I have met many converts to Islam (both online and in person). One thing that I have found many of us have in common, no matter our age or background ,is an identity crisis when we first entered Islam. It shouldn’t really be all that shocking. We have made a MAJOR change in our lives and our lifestyle. Some of us were completely disowned by our families and everything we knew was suddenly turned upside down. So, there we were like awkward teenagers trying to “find ourselves” and where we fit in.

For me, when I embraced Islam, I knew that my entire identity had changed. Though, i knew my new identity was a Muslim, I didn’t fully know what that meant. I had learned quite a bit about Islam before converting and kept company with a very sweet Muslim sister. However, she graduated the same year that I took shahada, the same year that I was forced from my home, the same year that I lost contact with most of my family and felt like a social outcast in the neighborhood. So, there I was to try to figure it out for myself.

At the time, I didn’t know how to hang onto my unique self and take on the identity of a Muslim. Mistakenly, I thought that Muslim=Arab. I thought that in order to be the best Muslim that I could be that I should be the best Arab imitator that I could be. I began eating etnic food from Arab countries, listening to Arabic music, watching arabic films (no, i didn’t understand it, LOL), wearing the clothing (some of it very UN-Islamic). I even thought that I needed to change my name, although, my original name had no bad meaning.

Alhamdullilah(All praise and thanks is due to Allah), eventually, I learned enough about Islam to know that there was no need for all those changes. I learned from the Qur’an that Allah tells us: He made us all of different nations and nationalities so that we may know one another and that if He had wanted we would all have been one nation. I learned from the Sunnah that the Prophet(saw) kept company with people of other ethnicities other than His own. I learned that the handshake that the Prophet(saw) told us all to greet with was originally from the Yemeni people. All these examples, made me realize that we are all one ummah(community) and have several things that sets us apart specifically and binds us together. However, we can still continue to be our unique selves as long as we don’t do anything that goes against the Qur’an and Sunnah. Most importantly, I learned that my new Identity was not meant to be arab, It was meant to be islamic. It couldn’t be found in a certain country or on a specific continent, it could only be found in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

So, I embraced my southern self. Well, minus the ham and sausage (who wants clogged arteries anyway?!)








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