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





Crazy Sexy Cancer

30 08 2007

Last night as I was channel surfing something caught my eye. The title was Crazy Sexy Cancer and it was on TLC. I paused to check it out and I was so impressed. It made me laugh, cry, hope, and the best part it’s real. I highly recommend watching. You can check the schedule on TLC.com http://tlc.discovery.com/tv-schedules/special.html?paid=2.14415.55771.0.0 . Also check out the Crazy, Sexy Cancer website: at http://www.crazysexycancer.com/

About the flim:
On Valentine’s Day 2003, 31-year-old actress/photographer Kris Carr was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer. Weeks later, she began filming her story. Turning a seemingly tragic situation into a creative expression, Kris revealed her intimate thoughts, struggles and fears before the camera, sharing her story of survival with courage, strength, and lots of humor. 

Said Carr, “What’s so sexy about cancer?  The women who have it! They’re crazy, sexy, vibrant, loving, normal, sparkly and whole individuals.”

With experimental treatment as her only option, Kris searched for answers where there were none. She traveled throughout the U.S., interviewing experts in alternative medicine as she tenaciously dove head-first into a fascinating and often humorous world of holistic medicine.

Along the way, she met other vivacious young women determined to become survivors.  She also met cameraman/editor Brian Fassett; they soon began a romance that finally culminated in a September 2006 wedding.  As Kris’ amazing journey unfolds, she realizes that healing is about truly living rather than fighting. 

Defiant and thought-provoking, Crazy Sexy Cancer documents one woman’s experience as both filmmaker and patient as she refuses to accept the status quo in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.   

Said Carr, “People often ask me why I named the film Crazy Sexy Cancer.  The answer is simple: to challenge the perceptions, to poke fun and bring humanity to a disease that is still so misperceived and feared.  No matter what happened, I refused to be saddled with the isolating stigma associated with cancer. Just because it had changed my life forever, didn’t mean that I had changed.”

Said Debbie Myers, senior vice president, programming, TLC, “As a filmmaker, Kris Carr is a born storyteller, layering personal anecdotes, interviews and lots of humor effortlessly with the hard truth about cancer. And, as a subject, she is fearless and positively riveting.  You simply can’t take your eyes off her.  We are extremely proud to premiere Crazy Sexy Cancer on TLC.”

Crazy Sexy Cancer is produced by Red House Pictures and Cactus Three for TLC.    For Red House Pictures, Kris Carr is writer, director, producer and cinematographer; Brian Fassett is producer, editor and cinematographer; Beth Nathanson is producer; Jessica Wolfson is co-producer; David Zellerford is co-producer; Lisa Cocciardi is associate producer; and Pagan Harleman is editor.  For Cactus Three, Julie Goldman, Krysanne Katsoolis and Caroline Stevens are executive producers.  For TLC, Brooke Runnette is executive producer.





The Muslim Man’s Dress Code

30 08 2007

A muslim man and his wife are walking down a crowded street in Miami. It’s hot and humid. The woman is covered showing nothing but her hands and face and the man……well, many times is in jeans and a t-shirt or perhaps shorts and a t-shirt. Now, I’m not screaming “haram!” at these men. Of course not, their dress code isn’t the same as a Muslim woman’s dress code. However, this image usually fuels the arguments of many Non Muslims that women are oppressed and have too many rules attached to their dress. Just yesterday a comment was made to me “Well, that’s fine, as long as he covers his head too.” I told her “Yes, rest assured my husband is dressed in long sleeves, pants, and has his head covered too. We’re happily suffering through the heat together. Solidarity!” So, we had a good chuckle and went along our ways. I’m never surprised when I get these comments. Though, In fact, If you take a look at Muslim countries you will see many men with their heads covered. In fact many men in those countries dress in thobes, long sleeves, etc.

Some people may do a double take when they learn that Muslim men have a dress code as well. Some men take their dress code lightly. Some think the women’s code is more important and thus spend their lives lecturing various women about what to wear and what not to wear. These men need to seriously understand that disobedience to Allah is disobedience to Allah whether you are a man or a woman.

The following are some rules related to men’s dress in Islam as well as some pictures of traditional islamic clothing for men. Some of these apply to women as well (which I will mark with an *).

Trim the moustache and save the beard. [Al-Bukhari and
Muslim]
It is haraam (forbidden)for women to imitate men and men to imitate women in the way they dress, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed the men who imitate women and the women who imitate men.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5546.

*It is Sunnah to pay attention to keeping one’s clothes clean, without feeling arrogant or exaggerating about that.

It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No one will enter Paradise in whose heart is a mustard-seed of arrogance.” A man said: “What if a man likes his clothes to look nice and his shoes to look nice?” He said: “Allaah is Beautiful and loves beauty; arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.”

Narrated by Muslim, 91.

It is haraam for the Muslim man to let any garment he wears hang down beneath his ankles (an action known as isbaal); the limit for any garment is the ankles.

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said; “Whatever of the lower garment is beneath the ankles is in the Fire.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5450.

It was narrated from Abu Dharr that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are three to whom Allaah will not speak on the Day of Resurrection and will not look at them or praise them, and theirs will be a painful torment.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) repeated it three times. Abu Dharr said: “May they be doomed and lost; who are they, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said: “The one who lets his garment hang beneath his ankles, the one who reminds others of favours he has done, and the one who sells his product by means of false oaths.”

Narrated by Muslim, 106.

Abu Dawood (3140) and Ibn Maajah (1460) narrated that ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do not show your thigh, and do not look at the thigh of anyone, living or dead.” (The majority of fuqaha’ are of the view that these ahaadeeth should be followed and they stated that a man’s ‘awrah is from the navel to the knee. See al-Mughni, 2/284 )-Some are of the opinion this is not authentic as there is another hadith stating the Prophet was riding a mule and his thigh was showing. However, most scholars say it is authentic and a man should cover navel to knee.

It was narrated by Ahmad and al-Nasaa’i, and by al-Tirmidhi who classed it as saheeh, and by Abu Dawood, and by al-Haakim who classed it as saheeh, and by al-Tabaraani, and classed as saheeh by Ibn Hazm, from Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari (may Allaah be pleased with him), that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

Gold and silk have been permitted for the females of my ummah, and forbidden for the males.”

Items died with saffron dye Narrated Anas: The Prophet forbade men to use saffron. (Book #72, Hadith #737)

Lower the gaze and guard the private parts from illegal sexual acts.*

Dress modestly*

Oh, and one of the most important rules and perhaps one of the most overlooked (after lowering the gaze): Be distinct and do not resemble the unbelievers. *

How many men actually follow these rules? How many dismiss them and think they aren’t that important? Often, the very same ones who dismiss their own dress codes are the most outspoken on the dress of women in Islam.  Brothers need to wake up and take care to make sure they are dressed correctly. It is just as important that brothers follow the rulings as women. Also, men need to know, just because a woman is dressed provocitavely, letting it all hang out so to speak doesn’t give you the right to stare at her. The rules of lowering the gaze  applies whether the woman is wearing a burqa or a bikini. Most brothers need to take care and remember that.  Dressing properly is just as much inner as outer. Like a woman’s hijab it encompasses modesty, inner pride, a desire to please your creator and follow the sunnah, lowering the gaze and protecting yourselves from such sins as illegal intercourse, lying, backbiting, and cursing. It includes being kind, just, fair, humble. It includes being kind to your wives as the Prophet(saw) said: The best of you are the one’s who is best to their wives.   In general having the character that the Prophet (saw) and his righteous companions exhibited. We like to talk about Muslim women following the examples of other pious Muslim women. Well, men should follow the examples of the Prophet and his companions. Brothers today should reflect on their kindness, compassion, fondness with their wives, integrity and implement these characteristics in their own lives. In a family we all play a part. Everyone is a shepherd (leader) over their own station. We all work together. The Muslim man needs to pull his weight as he asks the Muslim woman to do so as well. This way things will run smoothly and the family unit will be a source of peace and comfort to the heart, insh’Allah. The children will grow up with the same values and ultimatley the entire ummah will benefit.

I want to give a shout out to the brothers who do follow the dressing guidelines and are modest. Those who do implement the characteristics of a good muslim man. Because they are rare indeed. Alhamdullilah for the brothers who do dress appropriately and lower their gazes. May Allah reward you all and bless you in this life and the Hereafter. ameen. And as the Prophet (saw) said: Glad tidings to the strangers!

If I have left out any of the dress requirements for men please feel free to add. )

 

Some Examples of traditional clothing for Muslim men:

 

 

 





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





Great Women in Islam-Maryam (Mary) Mother of Jesus

21 08 2007

 

Jesus and The Virgin Mary in Islam
By Juan Galvan

Many people may be surprised that Muslims love Mary, the mother of Jesus. In the Quran, no woman is given more attention than Mary. Mary receives the most attention of any woman mentioned in the Quran even though all the Prophets with the exception of Adam had mothers. Of the Quran’s 114 chapters, she is among the eight people who have a chapter named after them. The nineteenth chapter of the Quran is named after her, Mariam. Mariam means Mary in Arabic. The third chapter in the Quran is named after her father, Imran. Chapters Mariam and Imran are among the most beautiful chapters in the Quran. Mary (peace be upon her) is the only woman specifically named in the Quran. An authentic Haddith states that the Prophet said, “The superiority of ‘Aisha to other ladies is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. meat and bread dish) to other meals. Many men reached the level of perfection, but no woman reached such a level except Mary, the daughter of Imran and Asia, the wife of Pharaoh.” (Bukhari 4.643). Indeed, both Mary and Pharoah’s wife are an example (Quran 66:11-12). The Virgin Mary plays a very significant role in Islam. She is an example and a sign for all people.

In the Quran, Mary’s story begins while she is still in her mother’s womb. The mother of Mary, said: “O my Lord! I do dedicate into Thee what is in my womb for Thy special service: So accept this of me: For Thou hearest and knowest all things.” (Quran 3:35).

She wanted the baby in her womb to serve only the Creator. When Mary was delivered, she said: “O my Lord! Behold! I am delivered of a female child!” (Quran 3:36). She had expected her baby to be a male child who would grow up to be a scholar or religious leader. However, God had a better plan. God is the best of planners. Quran 3:36 continues “…and God knew best what she brought forth- ‘And no wise is the male like the female. I have named her Mariam, and I commend her and her offspring to Thy protection from Satan, the Rejected.'” Mariam literally means “maidservant of God.”

In Quran 3:37, God states that He accepted Mary as her mother had asked. He made Mary grow in purity and beauty. She was assigned to the care of a priest named Zacharias. This is interesting considering few women were given this opportunity.

“Every time that he entered (her) chamber to see her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: ‘O Mary! Whence (comes) this to you?’ She said: ‘From God. for God provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure.'” (Quran 3:37). Upon hearing Mary’s answer, “There did Zakariya pray to his Lord, saying: ‘O my Lord! Grant unto me from Thee a progeny that is pure: for Thou art He that heareth prayer!'” (Quran 3:38).

Although his wife was barren and he was very old, God blesses Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth with John. John is known as “John the Baptist” in the Bible. Zacharias was skeptical after the angels announced John’s birth. The response to his skepticism was “Doth God accomplish what He willeth” (Quran 3:40). John would become a noble and chaste Prophet as the angels had stated (Quran 3:39).

The Quran discusses Mary’s miraculous conception as well. “Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects.” (Quran 19:16-17). After seeing the angel, she said: “I seek refuge from thee to (God) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear God.” (Quran 19:18). The angel Gabriel responded: “Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a pure son.” (Quran 19:19). Her next response is expected. She asked: “How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” (Quran 19:20). The Angel Gabriel said: “So (it will be): thy Lord saith, ‘That is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us.’ It is a matter (so) decreed.” (Quran 19:21). Mary then becomes pregnant.

Jesus is a Prophet and a Messenger. A Messenger is a Prophet who is given revelation from God. Whereas the Torah was revealed to Moses, the Gospel was revealed to Jesus. Messengers are a mercy, guidance, and sign from God. “And God will teach him (Jesus) the Book and Wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel, and (appoint him) as a messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message):

‘I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by God’s leave. And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I bring the dead into life, by God’s leave; and I declare to you what ye eat, and what ye store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if ye did believe. (I have come to you) to attest the Torah which was before me. And to make lawful to you part of what was (before) forbidden to you. I have come to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear God, and obey me. It is God Who is my Lord and your Lord; then worship Him. This is a Way that is straight.'” (Quran 3:48-51).

God appointed messengers to help us answer questions such as: What happens after I die? What’s right and wrong? Does a supernatural world exist? What’s the purpose of my creation? Jesus was calling people to the worship of only God. Only by God’s leave was Jesus able to perform miracles.

“When Jesus found unbelief on their (the disciples) part he said: ‘Who will be my helpers to (the work of) God?” Said the disciples: “We are God’s helpers: We believe in God, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims.'” (Quran 3:52).

After conceiving Jesus, Mary went away with the baby to a distant place (Quran 19:22). “And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree. She cried (in her anguish): ‘Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten!'” (Quran 19:23). “But (a voice) cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree): ‘Grieve not! for thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee; And shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm-tree: It will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee. So eat and drink and cool (thine) eye. And if thou dost see any man, say, ‘I have vowed a fast to (God) Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into no talk with any human being.'” (Quran 19:24-26).

Joseph, the magi, and manger are not mentioned in the Quran. God was Mary’s only Provider. Muslims do not accept the virgin birth of Jesus as evidence of Jesus’ divinity. “The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: ‘Be.’ And he was.” (Quran 3:59). Adam’s creation was even more miraculous because he was born without father and mother. When she brings the baby to her people, they said: “O Mary! truly a strange thing has thou brought! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!” (Quran 19:27-8). Mary then points to the baby. They said: “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?” (Quran 19:29). Then a miracle occurs that is not mentioned in the Bible. In defense of his mother, Jesus said: “I am indeed a servant of God. He hath given me revelation and made me a prophet; And He hath made me blessed wheresoever I be, and hath enjoined on me Prayer and Charity as long as I live; (He hath made me) kind to my mother, and not overbearing or unblest; So peace is on me the day I was born, the day that I die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life (again)!” (Quran 19:30-33).

The virgin birth of Jesus was a sign. “And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples.” (Quran 21:91). All previous Prophets confirmed the oneness of God, Tawheed. Whereas the Holy Trinity is the fundamental concept of God in Christianity, Tawheed is the fundamental concept of God in Islam. God exists independent of religion. Muslims do not believe in the concept of Holy Trinity (Quran 5:73). God is not Jesus (Quran 5:72). On the Day of Judgment, when Jesus is asked if he had called people to worship him and his mother as two gods, Jesus will say: “Glory to Thee! never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, Thou wouldst indeed have known it. Thou knowest what is in my heart, Thou I know not what is in Thine. For Thou knowest in full all that is hidden.” (Quran 5:116).

People should not worship any of God’s creation, including Jesus and Mary. We must not assign any of God’s creation His divine attributes and characteristics. “He is God the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper. To Him belong the Names Most Beautiful. All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him; He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” (Qur’an 59:24).

Although God can do all things, He only does things that are consistent with His fundamental nature. Begetting a son is not consistent with God’s magnificent nature (Quran 19:92, Quran 19:35). Consistent with His fundamental nature is forgiveness. Although Adam and Eve could no longer live in the Paradise, God forgave Adam and Eve for their sin after they sincerely repented (Quran 2:35-37). We are responsible for our own deeds and will not be punished for the deeds of another person (Quran 53:38-42). Therefore, Muslims reject the doctrine of original sin. Although Adam and Eve were punished, God would still be merciful by sending Guidance to mankind. “We said: ‘Get down all of you from this place (the Paradise), then whenever there comes to you Guidance from Me, and whoever follows My Guidance, there shall be no fear on them, nor shall they grieve.'” (Quran 2:38).

When people hear the term Islam, they naturally tend to think of the organized religion of Islam which started in the 7th century CE with prophet Mohammed.  However, in Arabic the word Islam comes from the root “salema” which means peace, purity, submission, and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means peace and purity achieved by submitting to the will of God and obedience to His law. Muslims are those who submit.  Muslims believe that all those who submitted to the will of God in line with divine revelation received before the advent of formal Islam with prophet Mohammed, were themselves also Muslim.  So coming from this understanding, Muslims believe that we are part of one continuing faith community with Jesus and Mary.  Mary, Jesus, and the disciples were all “Muslims” because they submitted to God.

“Behold! the angels said: ‘O Mary! God hath chosen thee and purified thee – chosen thee above the women of all nations. O Mary! worship thy Lord devoutly: Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down.'” (Quran 3:42-43).

Another Prophet with a message similar to Jesus’ would later be born in Arabia in the sixth century. He also called people to the worship of only God. Although unable to read and write, Muhammad (peace be upon him) would recite beautiful verses of the Quran as they were revealed to him. The Quran is a beautiful miracle, a sign, a mercy, a warner, and a guidance for all people. Muhammad is the last Prophet from a line of Prophets that included Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (peace be upon them). All Prophets were models for righteous living. Muhammad’s sunnah, his sayings, example, and traditions, is also considered revelation. His sunnah is expressed in various books of Haddith.

“Indeed in the Messenger of God you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) God and the Last Day, and remembers God much.” (Quran 33:21).

God created all people to worship Him and to live life based on His teachings and guidance. “And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which God (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude God’s favor on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth God make His Signs clear to you that ye may be guided.” (Quran 3:103).

“If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to God), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost.” (Quran 3:85).

We accomplish this by bearing witness to God’s oneness and accepting His final revelation in our daily lives. “O ye who believe! Fear God as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam.” (Quran 3:102).

There is none worthy of worship but God, and Muhammad is His messenger.

 





American Women…Foreign Men…and a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t

20 08 2007

Ever heard the Lenny Kravitz song “American Woman.” It goes something like: “American woman stay away from me…”. Well, I tend to think that the American women are the ones who need to be concerned.

Obviously, I am a Muslim. So,I’m talking mostly about Muslims henceforth. I know non Muslim men misbehave as well. Heck, even American men treat American  women like trash more often than not.  Most tv shows and movies portray us as conquests, ready to give it up to anyone and everyone. Most hip hop lyrics involve the words “b****s and h**s when speaking of women. It all comes to down to pure and simple R-E-S-P-E-C-T!  They do not respect American women and view us as some sort of plaything. They think we are all terribly promiscuous and foul mouthed. Maybe this contributes to the way the rest of the world views us. Still, Muslim men should know better! They should behave better!

 On to my point though,  I can not fathom the rudeness that foreign born muslim men  have shown to me and then dismissed it by saying “Oh, she’s an American.” They say things to me that they would never dream of saying to a woman from their own country. I know this because I have witnessed it firsthand. I see men lowering their gaze in front of women from their country but looking at me as brazenly as they please. I have witnessed men opt to not even speak to a woman from their country but then turn to me and make an attempt at flirtation. Then, if or when they are scolded they respond with: “Oh her, she’s an American.” .

Today for instance, I visited a sister who has been ill. While at her home, her brother came to visit. I excused myself and he said: “oh, don’t be absurd, please stay I would like to get to know you alot better.” Then he winked at me. I told him to fear Allah, I’m married and he just grinned and said” what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” It was an obvious come on to anyone in the room.His sister scolded him and he turned to her and said: “What? She’s an American!” It took an extreme amount of restraint to keep myself from hauling off and slapping the smile off his face. In retrospect, I wish I had just done it!

Another thing, foreign born Muslims are always  looking to marry American women. Often they could care less if she is a muslim or a non Muslim. They just want to marry an American. Why? I guess some of them want citizenship, money, or status. I don’t know. Maybe some of them actually like the sister within and don’t care what her race is.  What I do know is, there are many lovely sisters who are foreign born and have been passed up for marriage simply because the brother wants to marry an American (again muslim or non muslim). Now an American Muslim woman, well, this is where it gets downright ridiculous. These women often get marriage proposals just by walking down the street or in to a halal grocer. In other words, in high demand! Yes, it sounds like being treated as an objects and often that is the reality of what we are viewed as and treated as.

This isn’t to say that all Muslim men behave this way. In contrast, I have met several brothers who are very respectful around me and all other sisters (my husband being one of them, which is why I married him).  As with any other race, religion, or culture you are sure to find both good and bad in the bunch.

The fact is as I said before, Muslims should know better. Those brothers who do act like this should fear Allah and treat all their Muslim sisters with the respect we deserve.  It doesn’t matter what a woman’s race or religion you are to lower your gazes. In the Quran it doesn’t say “lower your gazes for women from saudi or egypt but look brazenly at the other women.” It says lower your gaze. Simple as that. Oh, and those who tempt their luck and cross me again in this way better watch out because I just may not be able to restrain myself next time (ie. you may find a red handprint across your face!). I am Southern after all and we all know about southern women and their tempers! (JOKING!…maybe).

Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.  
(  سورة النور  , An-Noor, Chapter #24, Verse #30)

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