A TICKET TO HEAVEN

white roses hadith islam
A ticket to heaven
All about voluntary fasts

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

It’s fun being invited. My expectations run high as I almost starve myself for the feast that I would relish at my friend’s home. I wonder who else will I be meeting there?  Do you like being invited? What are your expectations from your host? More than anything else it’s the warm welcome which makes the difference.  With that everything else seems perfect.

And then there are gatherings where only those with invitation card are allowed to enter. Oh dear! I wonder where I kept the invitation from my son’s school event.  Even in such a gathering, there is a very special reception for the guest of honor. As we stand in a queue waiting for our turn to enter, we see few well deserved honored members of the society walk right past us. It’s their work and position that has earned them this honorable reception. Nothing special comes cheap!

There is an open invitation for Jannah (Paradise) from our the Almighty for all of us. So, what do we need to enter it? Monotheism (There is no god but Allah and Muhammed () is his messenger).  An easy way to enter (and obtain high levels in) Jannah is not going to be for free. Are you willing to earn a special place in Jannah? Which special deed are you willing to take to get close to Him?

hadith islam bluebell leaves
A means of getting close to Allah

We have just experienced the sweetness of fasting in the month of Ramadan. Alhamdulillah. How we wish that we could experience this serenity throughout the year. Don’t let this feeling fade away. Make fasting as a means to get close to Allah. Insha Allah, we will enter Jannah from the gate ‘Al Rayyan’.

white roses hadith islam
Al Rayyan is a gate in heaven for those who fast

Ah! There is more to fasting than just a red-carpet welcome. The Most Gracious Allah rewards those who fast without limits. Indeed, there could hardly be a better way to please Him.

Every deed counts
Unlimited reward

Ramadan has shown us, that fasting is easy. Alhamdulillah. Are you missing Ramadan? If only we could do more. Allah SWT has given us a chance to earn the reward of fasting!!

Hadith fasting Shawal shaval islam blue flowers bluebell wild flowers
Fasting six days of Shawwal

Having fasted complete month of Ramadan, would you let such an opportunity slip away? Hurry up, just a few days of this blessed month are left. Remember, to reap this reward you should have completed the missed fasts of Ramadan too.

Do not lose heart, if you are incapable of doing this. Most Merciful has provided us more ways to achieve a huge reward. Soon blessed days of Dhul Hijjah would be here. Not all of us will be able to perform Haj this year. Those of us who stay back could still get our (minor) sins forgiven by fasting on the day of Arafah (9th of Dhul hijjah). Besides, nothing is holding us back from making most of first nine days of Dhul hijjah by fasting.

Alhamdulillah. We can’t thank Allah enough for providing us with such an opportunity to cleanse ourselves. Yet again, A month later The Most Beneficent again gives us an opportunity to expiate the sins of a year by fasting on the Day of Ashura (10th of Muharram). You can read about this in the post, A Scheme for Success. Indeed, Allah SWT is most forgiving and He loves to forgive. Subahan Allah.

Hadith Islam tulip flower
Voluntary fasts

We all claim that we love our prophet (). So, how do we express our love? We are to follow his sunnah (way of life). Unfortunately, we celebrate our prophet’s birth in a way which is far from Sunnah. Let us see, what our prophet () in recognition of being blessed with life. Far from the current view of celebration, he () fasted on the day (of the week) he was born. Could we do the same to claim our love for him? He also preferred fasting on Thursdays. Why? When presenting a gift to our loved ones we care to perfume it and wrap it well. Our beloved prophet () cared more about presenting his deeds well to The One, who had blessed us with everything. He () preferred to fast on the day the deeds are presented before Allah. SubhanAllah. This makes me wonder, on what basis do I and you claim that we love Allah and His Messenger? I hope to practice these fasts. Are you interested too?

flowers brick wall hadith islam
Fasting on Mondays and Thursdays

Some of us find it very difficult to fast every week. There is another lovely option for those who love to fast! We are encouraged to fast on any three days of every month. Remember every good act has a minimum reward of ten hasanat (good deeds). Fasting like this will be equivalent to fasting for the entire month (and for an entire year if it is done every month).

Red roses hadith islam
Fasting three days a month

Fasting has spiritual and worldly benefits too. In the current era, where we are being bombarded with lewd adds and shows/programs, fasting acts as a shield improving our self-control. Insha Allah, this would help teens and youth lead a modest life. Would you encourage those around you to fast?

wild flowers field Hadith islam self control lust sex drive
Fasting acts as a shield

It is worth noting that other than Ramadan it is not obligatory for us to fast on any other day. We people are wise enough to make smart choices when it comes to purchasing and selling things. We wait for a sale and make most of it. Likewise, are we wise enough to make most of these days? Invitation to heaven is open. Couldn’t we learn to refrain a little for eternal pleasure in Jannah?  Would you like this ticket for Jannah? It’s your choice.

May Allah make us among those who can choose to enter from any of the eight doors of Jannah. Ameen.

Published in Muslimahbloggers.

BIDDING FAREWELL TO RAMADAN

We are facing the last 10 days of Ramadan. Insha  this post will help us concentrate better in Ibadah. 

Last Ramadan, I had a special challenge. It was helping my son who is nearly 7 years old fast! He attempted to fast on 21st of Ramadan. Keeping him distracted during hunger was my biggest task. Phew. I had decided if he wouldn’t get distracted, he could break his fast. He enjoyed listening to stories, painting and playing with his younger brother. Then he had a good nap. But last few minutes were the toughest part of the fast for him. Seeing the food arranged on the table, he didn’t want to wait for his meal. Thankfully, he understood he didn’t have to wait for long. He kept looking at his pancakes. You should have seen his smile on hearing the Azan. Alhamdhulillah.  Do you think I should have just let him eat five minutes before Magrib athan? No way.

We grownups, unconsciously, behave just like children. Well, even before Ramadan ends we start planning for Eid. Eid is the times for the family get together. So, we start worrying about home decorations and accessories for the clothes.  Don’t we have to look perfect on the day of celebration? Hence, we fix appointment at the parlor and pamper ourselves from head to toe. (Even if it includes acts of disobeying Allah!) Are these our main concerns these days? Are the last days of this month meant to be spent away from Quran in markets and spas? Having disciplined ourselves this month, is this how we would like to end this month?!

To read more please visit: BIDDING FAREWELL TO RAMADAN

Just Another Ramadan

dates

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Ramadan is back here. Has a year flown away so soon? We haven’t really retrieved from the excitement of last Eid and Ramadan has knocked our doors again. We have ensured we have done our best to welcome this month. Our Homes are shining; Our freezers are full of frozen snacks to fry; We have even purchased our Eid clothes. Insha Allah, our time will be well spent in Ibada. Our Dua(invocation) books are out and we are determined to spend most of our time with Quran; we will try our best to read Quran at least once. After all, this has been our standard procedure all our life. Great! We are at bliss. Are we? Now let us see our Ramadan routine in a new light.

ARE OUR HOMES WELCOMING?

Are our homes welcoming enough for the angels? Of course, the house has been dusted and arranged. Check again, is there anything in the house which would keep angels away? Why wouldn’t angels of mercy enter our home, when we have ensured that our home even smells great?!! WELL, ARE OUR WALLS FREE OF FAMILY PHOTOS?

angels do not enter a home with pictures

Is a photo in your living room meant to honor a predecessor? Or, do you proudly display the photo of your child receiving a trophy? Indeed, the elders need to be honored and the youngster’s achievement is worth being applauded. But, we don’t need a framed photo to prove our love for them. Our love for Allah is much stronger and with all the devils locked it should be much easier to obey Him. Let us remove the photos and ensure that our home is welcoming enough for the angels.

SERVE IT RIGHT

It’s the first day of Ramadan, and kids are already speaking of goodies they would get to eat in iftar. Most of us have loaded our freezer with partly cooked snacks. Moms are wondering whether to defrost kabab, samosas or spring rolls. We have taken all this pain to ensure that our family gets to eat tasty food while we don’t waste our valuable time in a kitchen. Well, have we also ensured that our deeds are being presented before Allah?! Are we in good terms with our extended family and friends? If you are in doubt, without delay connect to your loved ones. Please click here to read more about this.

Gates of paradise opened on Monday and Thursday
Hadith Wait until they reconcile

LET US MAKE THIS RAMADAN THE BEST RAMADAN!

We all love the month of Ramadan. We love the fasting, reciting Quran and standing in tarawih salah. How we wish that we can feel this closeness to Allah all our life. Yet, after Ramadan, we slowly slip back being our usual self. Months of Ramadan come and go, with hardly any impact on our life. Why aren’t we able to hold on to something from our experience in Ramadan? How did you feel, when you first fasted for an entire month? Alhamdulillah. How did you feel on completing the recitation of the Quran for the first time? Are there any more memories which would make a Ramadan stand out? 

fasting for a year

LIVING THROUGH THE MONTH OF RAMADAN IS A HUGE BLESSING. Every Ramadan in our life counts. Perhaps, it’s time we push ourselves to do a little more. Look at Ramadan as an opportunity to change our life for better. It’s time to elevate our Rank in heaven.

To read the entire article please visit MUSLIMAHBLOGGERS

My Little Quran Buddy

 

my little quran buddy
My little Quran buddy

 

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Dear friends, I would like to share with you something which made me very happy!! For me, it is an achievement too good to be true! This happened a year ago. Yet, I can’t cease being pleased about it. My son, who was then just a six-year-old had memorized 30th para (last part) of Quran! Allahu Akbar. But there is more to be happy about. With him, his thirty plus years old mommy (me) memorized Juzz Amma too!!!! Alhamdhulillah. And we did it ourselves by the grace of Allah. If you see my journey, you would understand the reason behind my uncontainable happiness.

I had been childless for the first few years after marriage. This is when I took up a course to study tafsir (explanation) of Quran. Like any other infertile Muslimah, I recited invocations of Zakkariya (PBUH).

Zakkariya As invocations

Quran clearly showed the state at which Zakkariya (PBUH) asked Allah for a child. It was more than a mere desire. Zakkariya (PBUH) was an old man with a barren wife. This is when he prayed for a child! His humble plea showed the prophet’s Tawakul (Trust) in Allah. He wasn’t unhappy with Allah’s decree. There a strong reason for his request. HE WANTED SOMEONE WORTHY TO INHERIT HIS PROPHETHOOD! Subahan Allah.

Zakkariya As reason for invocation

I had no idea what had Allah decreed for me. As I read the above verses, I wondered why did I want to be a mom? I realized being a parent is a huge responsibility. We parents work hard to provide the best nourishment for our child. We spend a fortune on our little one’s education. Are we ensuring that they are brought up on the way of Islam? Do we instill the love of Quran in our child’s heart? How can we show our gratitude to Allah for being blessed with a child? We could learn from the attitude of Zakkariya (PBUH) on being blessed with a child.

zakkarriya as being grateful for the blessings

We are to raise our children as believers adhering to Allah’s command. Inspired by the narration in Quran, I prayed for a child with whom I could worship Allah with ease; a child who would be a means of sadaqa jariya (who becomes a reason for increase in my good deeds after the parent’s death). I resolved that If Allah blesses me with a child I would encourage him/her to memorize Quran. For the majority of my life, I had only uttered surat ul Fatiha and surat ul Ikhlas in my Salah! And, with no hafiz-a-Quran as far as I know in my lineage, this indeed is a very heavy resolution.

Alhamdulillah. The Most Merciful Allah soon blessed me with a son. When Zakir was less than three years old I attempted memorizing surat un Naba from a popular website. A group of ladies repeated the teacher as she recited the verses. I tried reciting the memorized verses at the end of the session. Whenever I stumbled my little innocent baby would help me!! I was stunned. The truth is every toddler would readily learn things which are repeated to them. Don’t we teach our children poems?

When my son was ready for a nursery, I wanted the best of the teachers to teach Quran to my son. Either he was dismissed as too young or the institute was too far away. The teachers who were willing to teach him at home would only spend a little time with him and I wasn’t satisfied with the outcome. With a birth of another son, life turned busier. I wasn’t sure when to start or whom to approach to help Zakir memorize the Quran.

As a kindergartener, Zakir used to return home early. To prevent him from troubling the baby, I used to play nasheed (Islamic poems/songs) on the computer. He would hum the nasheed while playing. This is

when it struck me – MY SON COULD LEARN TO RECITE FROM THE BEST QARI IN THE WORLD! Qari (Quran reciters) like Misry AlAfasy, Khalifa Al Tunaiji, Husairi and more could indeed help my son memorize the Quran! Several websites with memorizing option are freely available for us to explore! I tried such a website. Alhamdulillah. 4-year-old Zakir was happily reciting the verses I had just played on repeat mode! And here began our Quran memorization journey.

Prior to the birth of my son, I had attempted several times to memorize few small chapters from the Quran. We all know the story of the Hare and the tortoise. Let’s just say, my approach was more like that of the Hare! I could have never completed the mammoth task like this. I did pray and plead to Allah to make Quran my companion in the grave. But, I was not doing enough to give life to my supplications. The All-wise Allah, who had installed this desire in my heart also showed me a way to give life to my desire. I wanted my son to see Quran as a part of his life. This required me to take time out and dedicate myself completely for memorization. During this fixed time, nothing else was to be given preference! Could there be a better way to have quality time with one’s child?

Does one’s smartness or memorizing speed make a difference? It wouldn’t help if we are not consistent. I tried my best to make memorization an everyday task. It didn’t bother me if we just memorized a line or a word as long as we continued spending time with the Quran. We read and listened to the verse over and over again. Having a little buddy made this task much easier. My son’s company served as the much-needed push to keep me on the track.

All my life, I avoided studying anything I didn’t understand. Even as a teen I preferred reading the translation of the Quran to the original Arabic text! Back then, I just couldn’t read Arabic. Even after, I had taken up tafsir (explanation) course, I hesitated reading Arabic text while explaining translation to others. When I finally had to, I was down to tears due to my inability to read Arabic fluently. And in my tajweed (art of reciting Quran) class, I was probably the weakest student. Till date, my pronunciation in any language is far from perfect. Honestly, even in my early twenties, I would have never foreseen myself trying to memorize the Quran. But most merciful Allah has helped me start this journey of memorizing Quran. Alhamdulillah. When I could do it, anybody could do it with Allah’s help. The first step is the most difficult step.

 

Allah remembers/ mentions you as you remember Him
Allah draws close to one who moves towards Him

Additional benefits of Memorizing Quran

Like any other normal seven-year-old, my son loves to play and read books. He too demands the toys that are in trend. He dislikes cleaning up. He too plays pranks around his little brother and tests my patience with his mischief. I can’t keep him from being influenced by factors outside the home. But, I hope in future he’ll influence those around him in a positive way. When he first joined the school, he returned home singing a song in a language I didn’t understand. After he started memorizing, he returned home stating that he taught few of his friends the chapters he had learned. His love to memorize things surprise me. Even if it is not necessary, he readily memorizes any poem he loves during the school hours.

This journey was originally taken to help my son memorize Quran. The truth is – it is my little buddy who has helped me more. Like any other little chap, he is much faster than me in memorizing and refuses to continue unless I too memorize the verses. This has resulted in me spending more time with Quran when he is at school. I know I am not good enough to teach him or anyone else. His pronunciation is far better than mine (We still have a teacher helping him recite Quran). The necessity to improve my tajweed has dragged me to the masjid. I opted to visit a masjid which is a bit far from home. Well for every step towards masjid don’t our sins shed. Plus, a brisk walk is good for our health. Sometimes, I feel lazy. Then I think of a walk in the paradise which I could be rewarded for this. (Insha Allah <3) This gives me the much-needed boost.

Ascend with Quran

Insha Allah, I would like my son to join the halaqa (memorizing circle in masjid). There he could study much better. I don’t know how long will I be able to keep pace with him. Maybe soon he would not need me to help him out. Ah, it would be nice to see him take a role of the teacher and teach his brother (and me too). Yes, I would love to become a hafiza. I would love more to see my sons turn into Hafiz and live trying their best to please Allah. After all, parents are rewarded in heaven for this!

crown

Quran time is a blessing in other ways too. My naughty explorers are silent during and after Quran session. It keeps us away from TV and the computer. We have things to speak and laugh about, which only we understand. Zakir has even invented some Quran recitation games and pop quizzes!

I can’t thank Allah enough for blessing me with a son, who in turn helped me take this major step. Now I work like the tortoise (recollect the good old story about hare and the tortoise 😊). We take a step at a time. The finish line is far away. I am not sure whether I’ll be able to reach it. Insha Allah, I’ll never give up. May Allah make it easy on us. Aameen.

Would you like to take up such a journey? Who would be your memorizing buddy? Maybe my upcoming post on tips to memorize from home will motivate you further.

Per published in muslimahbloggers

For list of other articles please click here

Are we slaves to the gadgets?

Assalamu alikum.

Alhamdhulillah, one of my articles has been republished in Aboutislam

image

.

http://aboutislam.net/reading-islam/living-islam/are-we-slaves-to-our-gadgets-instead-of-allah/

Do check to see, the changes. 🙂

Why We Need A Hobby

Crochet needle hobby

Assalammu Alikum,

Do you miss your childhood? Apart from pure state of innocence and overwhelming love from elders, what makes childhood special? It’s the desire to explore. I love seeing a child’s face gleaming with joy on learning simple things. When was the last time you felt like that? Can we still experience such uncontainable excitement on accomplishing simple stuff? Yes! We could.

Within each of us is a child, eager to learn and explore. I never knew a needle could bring out a child in me. I am not speaking about my visit to a Doctor. This needle works on a thread, but it is not sharp! Instead it has a hook at its end. Have you guessed, what is it? CROCHET. This had a huge positive impact on me. Let me share with you how it helped me.

Why Crochet?

When I am free, I feel an urge to hold a gadget and explore. I had written all about it in my last post. I didn’t want to turn into a game/media addict. I had to do something.

As I was wondering how to refine my life, I learnt that my grandma wanted to gift me her crochet needles. Ah! Long back I had enjoyed making a crochet cap. (Well I had attempted to make a flat circle with chain and split knots. It accidentally turned into cap. shhh! Let it be our secret. 😉 ) I decided to give it a try. I took out my crochet needle and explored a couple of basic tutorials on the net.  The yarn and the needle kept me away from fiddling with the keyboard. Initially, I couldn’t hold the yarn right. Instead of online puzzles, a bundle of yarn was now challenging me! Do you think I would give up easily? No way, I had to tame my fingers to bend the yarn. This indeed was an answer for my addiction.

Learning to empathize

I found it difficult to use a needle. But to the tutor (in the video), this needle was like an extension of her fingers. This reminded me of teaching my son how to hold a pencil. I used to wonder why was it so difficult for the little ones. Now it was clear. ☺ Often, we forget the struggles we underwent as a beginner. Learning a new art reminds us our limits and the need for experience. Now, I could empathize better with my sons.

Hadith crochet disgrace adorn
Be compassionate

Finally, I was able to make a chain (knots). As I progressed I learnt ABC of crochet – single, half double, double, triple and double triple crochet. Unlike puzzles or games, the result of my practice was in my hands. Honestly, it looked no better than a scribbling. It looked more polished on the tutor’s hands. Well, I wasn’t working on the right bead (the knots). With attention to margins my work turned neater. Now I had a renewed appreciation for handiwork. I recollected how often I had argued with poor vendors while buying an art work. I could appreciate handiwork better.

Hadith crochet coasters beginner yarn empathy
Be lenient

Valuing Time

I tried making some coasters. It is pure magic to see plain long yarn turn into beautiful clusters and floral patterns. A crochet comes to life with repeated action of yarning over and pulling. To crochet, it’s equivalent to inhaling and exhaling in order to breathe. Yep, this is all that we need to learn. Yet, there was so much we can do with different combinations and colors!

Let’s consider our life as a yarn. All of us are gifted with the same 24 hours. Our life is filled with several simple repetitive actions like – climbing stairs, eating food, sleeping, waking up, etc. Generally, we don’t give much thought about them. With these actions, we could be yarning for here after. How?

Our prophet has taught us dua (invocation) for every occasion in our life. Do you remember to say bismillah (In the name of Allah) in the beginning and Alhamdhulillah (All praise belong to Allah) in the end of an action?  If so, we have ensured to knot it in for here after. Do you say Allahuakbar (Allah is great) while climbing and SubahanAllah (Glory be to Allah) while descending. If so we have added one more bead to the knot. Would you like to add more? Add in other duas. Recite dua while entering or leaving masjid, before sleeping and after waking up and so on. With these simple invocations intricated into our life, we can turn our 24 hours into moments worth living.

Hadith sweater simple design crochet "Keep your tongue wet with the remembrance of Allah."
Remember Allah

Strengthening Bonds

Do you remember how it felt to do a craft work at school? I was reliving the excitement. Before I could think of what to do next, I got a request for a sweater from my hubby. I decided to make sweaters for my sons first. I saw a few tutorial on you tube and settled for one I was comfortable with. The little one (3 years) was very pleased with the attention he was getting. The sweater involved an easy stitch- Half double crochet. As I practiced the stitch I would think about my granny. As  a child, I had seen her work on the border of a shawl.   Later, she had gifted this priceless shawl to me along with numerous lace works she had done. Honestly, could there be better way to express love than with a useful handmade gift? The shawl would keep me warm and always remind me of my generous loving grandma.  May Allah reward her in abundance for every bead she has worked on. May I be blessed with a heart like hers, which finds joy in giving things. And, may I be blessed with love of my grandparents for many more years to come. Aameen.

Hadith crochet shawl priceless grandma
Gifts increase love

Within three days, I completed the sweater! Alhamdhulillah, I had managed to design a multicolor sleeve less sweater for my little one. I didn’t know how to add buttons to it. So, I used lace to close the front opening (zig zag pattern). The rugged look really matched his personality. No sweater in the market could replace this. I hoped this sweater would last for several generations and keep several kids warm. Maybe someone in the future will appreciate my simple work too. ☺

Rewind

Now my elder son was upset. He wanted a sweater too. I was not going to follow the same design or pattern. Something more challenging would be fun. I decided to try basket weave. For this I had to learn front and back post crochet – to make the work stand out or hide. This was tougher than I had expected. It required more yarn and time. I made several mistakes. So, did I waste good amount of yarn on this? No. Well, with crochet we can rewind with ease! We just need to pull the yarn to unwind. Alhamdhulillah, I was able to rectify my mistakes. How I wish I could do the same with my life – go back to some point and start afresh.

Are there any regrets in your life? I have a long list. We cannot go back into the past but still we can have a clean record! Does it sound too good to be true? Well, Allah is The Most Merciful and He loves to pardon. With sincere repentance, we could shed our sins away. After all, pleasing Him should be our prime concern. Still, how often do we repent?

Crochet basket stitch Hadith: Allah forgives repeatedly as long as we seek forgiveness
Seek forgiveness repetedly

It took me more than two weeks to complete the sweater. I was surprised at the outcome. May our book of deeds look better with our sins forgiven. All praise be to Allah who is always eager to forgive. ☺

Appreciation

Finally, it was my hubby’s turn to get a sweater. It was really nice to see my relatively silent hubby involved in something I was doing. I picked a real hard design with cable patterns which cross over (should be piece of cake for professional). I planned to combine designs from two different tutorials. Every day, having returned from work, my hubby would rush to see how much I had completed. I would place the incomplete work on him and see how much more work needs to be done. 😉 I loved seeing his face gleam as I did this. In spite, of knowing absolutely nothing about crochet he would be generous with his suggestion and I would oblige. I had always had an overwhelming desire to wrap my entire family in my love. Well, with crochet, I have indeed managed to do it. ☺ One can’t make out, how pleased am I to see my entire family wear what I made. Alhamdhulillah.

Crochet crochet cable stitch complicated sweater Quran dua for loving family crochet
Comfort of our eyes

A useful hobby, could strengthen bonds of love.

Bonus

Handmade crochet work is of great value. Alhamdhulillah, this could help anyone make a decent living from the comfort of one’s home.  With time, simple projects could be worked even with our eyes closed. This made me easier to catch up few missed lectures. In fact, it helped me concentrate better.

On the down side, when unfinished work is left unprotected, children could easily unwind the work. My little one used every opportunity to unwind as much yarn as possible. I could do nothing. Initially, I was angry. Then I realized, there is no point blaming a kid while as a grownup, I had failed to preserve it. I was turning more patient and vigilant.

My grandma was very impressed with my work. How can one become an expert? Here is her advice –

“YOU CAN DO ANYTHING AS LONG AS YOU ARE PERSEVERANT AND WILLINGLY TO UNWIND AND RECTIFY YOUR ERROR.”

This should be mantra for successful life! This hobby, was not just keeping me away from gaming but was also teaching me perseverance, patience and importance of Tawba (Repentence).  Indeed crochet helped me improve.

Dua crochet flower cap
Bless our deeds/action

If you think you are wasting your time, or, if you are bored with the usual routine, would you consider learning something new? What would you like to do? Do let us know, how your hobby helps you.

Preprinted in Muslimahbloggers.

My Hijab

Islamic dress

My Hijab

– is the way I dress, in obedience to my Lord,

with a quest to please only HIM.

It doesn’t make me suppressed or depressed;

It doesn’t show my progress or regress;

I am not here to contest or impress!

I plead thee, to leave me free –

In my pursuit for eternal success.

==========

Written for MuslimahBloggers to raise awareness about Hijab on World hijab Day!

A pearl in the Oyster

Lulu was applying her dark brown mascara which matched her golden brown dyed hair.  She then checks if her beige shirt is neatly tucked into her brown skirt. As she wraps her Italian printed brown scarf around her neck she wonders if she could get cash award.

Lulu was working as a science teacher in a primary school for girls. The teacher, whose students got maximum A grades was to be awarded 1000 Dhs/- at the end of the year. Lulu had always wanted to be a teacher. She had won several awards for her speeches and presentation during her high school and college days. Though inexperienced, getting this job was a piece of cake.

As she walks to school with a branded handbag she thinks, “May be I could be the winner.  Students just love me. I get showered by roses from students every day. I am sure they should have done well in exams. Thanks to computerization of exams, we can have unbiased report. “

She meets Mubeena, the other science teacher on her way.  Covered from head to toe in dark colored Abhaya , Mubeena greets, “Assalam alikum”.  Lulu returns greeting, “walikum salam dear.”  Mubeena was also selected along with Lulu to work as science teacher. Lulu had never seen Mubeena with any makeup except some moisturizer during winter; neither was she interested in shoe or handbag sale. She had had same handbag for last one year!

Lulu, “ Excited about award?”

Mubeena, “ Not really.  I just wish they didn’t have to hand awards on a holiday .I had to postpone my trip to visit my grandparents due to this. “

After few minutes of socializing with other teachers at school, principle ascended the stage and announced. “ Bismillah hirrahman Nirraheem. Allahu akbar, It had been great year.  Thanks to Allah, and then to your efforts our school is one of the most sought of school in this area.  As an encouragement and to inspire teachers we will be awarding 1000 Dhs/- to teacher who helped maximum number of grade 5 students excel with A grade.  This year we were surprised to see a new inexperienced teacher help 90% of her students get A grade. Mubeena please come up to collect your award.”

Everybody seemed shocked.  Mubeena appeared most shocked.  Having handed award to Mubeena on stage; Principal takes out paper and announces, “We had asked grade 5 students to comment on every teacher who had taught them. These are remarks about Mubeena.

‘Madam made scary water cycle friendly with a drawing. ‘

‘New text book appears like old story book…. Thanks to madam. ‘

‘I never knew growing plants could be so much fun. Now I have my own herb garden at home!’

‘Stable, neutral and unstable state is an absolute must for an artist. Now I know why my clay models toppled. Center of gravity is to be blamed..’…..

These are just some of the comments.”

Principal addresses Mubeena, “Several parents were surprised to see their kids excel in science and wanted me to thank you on their behalf. What prompted you to become a teacher?”

Mubeena, “Well… I loved science and I loved to teach.  I didn’t want kids to just memorize few definitions to score well in exam. I wanted them to remember what I taught and apply it in their life. In this way, I could reap reward in hear after as well. Alhamdulillah, Allah has rewarded me here as well.  May Allah safe guard my intentions and keep them pure.”

Principal proclaimed, “You are an asset to our school. We request you to train our other new faculty members.  Dear teachers, please collect your remark sheet before leaving.”

Lulu was very upset.  Only 40% of her class got A grade.  At the earliest opportunity, she slips away from teachers; collects her remark sheet and rushes home. The question paper was very easy. Now she was most likely to be trained by Mubeena as well. She wondered what could have gone wrong. Her students were so enthusiastic to meet her! She decides to read the remark sheet.

  • Miss lulu is the prettiest teacher around. I like seeing her glossy lips smile. – sarah
  • I like to see her wear rose in her broach. We gifted her roses to see whose rose she selected for the broach. Roses from my garden often adored her.  J – jasmeen
  • She is the only teacher with good fashion sense. Her handbag, belt and scarf always match. I want to dress just like her. – Jameela

“ Ya Allah ! What is this none of the comments refer to what I had taught!!! I had wanted them to be inspired by science not my beauty. After all being beautiful is not a sin.”, Lulu thought.  Half heartedly she continued reading.

  • Artist! Perfect makeup artist. Looks always fresh. – Shaistha
  • Oh she is adorable. She could put models to shame. My father says, she should try her luck in modelling.  – Suzane

Lulu throws the remark sheet away in anger. “What?!! How can my student’s father comment about me? I am here to teach and not to model. “.. Lulu recollected how often she had walked past parents; and how some of the men used to grin at her.  “What a fool I had been? Mubeena is almost as old as me and could be as pretty as me.  Still, all the people appreciate her for her teaching skill overlooking her beauty. We had taught the same subject. We had even given speech to one another and helped one another with the lessons. Then, what happened?”

Lulu recollected Mubeena’s speech on stage, “She had intended to get reward from Allah by teaching. What was the hadith about intention which our Islamic teacher used to say “ She opens the book islamic teacher had gifted her and reads…

Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) 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.” Sahih al-Bukhari

sprout-leaves-intention

“My intention had been to teach well too. But what am I being appreciated for? Make up, bags and skin. I want to be portrayed by my work not outer cover. How could that be done? Like Mubeena… should I practice hijab?”, she thought. She realized she despised wearing hijab. She loved being fashionable… Alas this required showing off her collection of designer clothes, shoes, jewelry and handbags.  Her well groomed hair and flawless complexion can’t be seen through thick hijab. “Yah Allah! What had been my true intention while taking this job? It wasn’t to glorify my blessed youth.  This had distracted even girls as young as 10 from listening to what I had to teach. ”

Still bit skeptic about hijab..  she turns pages to read about hijab. She read…

And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women’s nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed. [Quran an-Noor 24:31]

Lulu shivered a bit as she read again, ‘And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.’ It had become clear to her that she had opted vain desires over commandment of Allah. Allah the all Wise knows what’s best for us. The verse was calling her to turn back towards obedience of Allah so that she may succeed. Real Success is attaining safety from Hell in comfort of heaven. With right intention every day activities can turn into pathway to heaven.

She sobs as she prays, “Forgive me for my ignorance.  Yah Muhaymin (Guardian of faith) save me from getting eluded from purpose of life – to please you. My remark sheet at school has opened my eyes. It has made me fear the day when we’ll be handed book of deeds.  I beg of You  to save me from being amidst those who are handed their book of deeds on their left hand.  Guide me Yah Hadi  (Guider) to be amidst those who show their book deeds proudly to others on the day of reckoning.  Help me adhere to Your commands. Ameen.”

She hears her phone beep. Mubeena had sent her message. “ Join me for Lunch at home. Your presence would increase my happiness double fold.”  Lulu searches for her mother’s jilbab (long covering coat) to wear on her way to Mubeena’s home.

Of all the precious stones pearls are most likely to get tarnished when left exposed. We women are like pearls. our veils would serve us as oysters serve the pearl. Remain precious.

Prepublished in 1newleaf.

The thieves in my life

Time loss

Dear friends, do you wake up with a zeal to achieve? Does a new day come as a promise for a fresh start to gear up your ambitious plans? Do you have a list of things you wish to accomplish in a day? I guess, you do. Do you always stick to your plan? By the end of the day, are you happy with what you have achieved? Sadly, I have to admit, by the end of the day I’m disappointed.

Well, our days start with fajr Salah (morning prayers) followed by usual routine of sending children to school, house hold chores and so on. In between, we get precious free time to pursue things which add a spark to life. These moments are valuable. That’s when I generally plan to do things I most love. I would love to write about what had been occupying my thoughts. Or, I try to listen to a lecture or explore about something which would interest me or my family. Most of the activities I wish to do involves my faithful laptop – a slave who obeys my command and takes me to sites with a press of a button key.

And then there is something else which interests me too. Before you start thinking of something awful, let me make it clear, I am speaking about NUMERICAL PUZZLES. Yep, complicated numerical puzzles which would result in wonderful loops and patterns once they are solved. As soon as I switch on the laptop, I feel the familiar urge to check the list of free Japanese puzzles. I spot an expert level puzzle and tell myself, “I could do it”. It almost smiles back as though challenging me! I have to solve it. I try it out. After several minutes/ hours of failed attempts, I succeed. Shouldn’t I be pleased that I won? Nah! I try to solve it faster! These puzzles might be improving my mathematical/logical skills. So, where am I using them? Can’t think of anything. Is such a knowledge necessary?

Working on a smart phone should be a better option. Alas, I have loaded several socializing apps like WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram in it. I just can’t keep away from them. I decide to stay alone for a while. Then, I hear a familiar ring. I have to attend it. It could be important message (from a princess in distress ; -P)! I pick it up and plunge again into the world of internet. I see what are others concerned with. I wonder, why am I doing this? Yet, I am there scrolling through the pages. To escape this, I jump back to laptop and face the old temptation. This cycle is no better than a whirlpool sucking productive hours of my life.

Dear reader, how long can you stay away from gadgets? Do you see smart phones as an extension of yourself? Like me are you tempted to hold and fiddle with it? Is your hobby browsing? Do you too start somewhere and end in some other world of internet?  What kind of knowledge are we acquiring from countless hours of mindless browsing? Likewise, is there any benefit in merely hearing two different opinions on the same news subject, over and over again. I wonder, how people can allot several minutes/ hours every day for their favorite soap operas. Even if one watches a single episode weeks later, the plot can be guessed. These things which seem basically harmless, are robbing moments from our life. HAVE YOU TOO WILLINGLY BEFRIENDED SUCH A THIEF?

Pink flowers, Dua- seeking refuge from, useless knowledge, Heart fearless of Allah, unjustifiable soul and unanswered prayer.
Dua (invocation) for beneficial knowledge

There are better days, when I dedicate myself completely to work. I am interrupted by a familiar cry. It’s from my child demanding attention. To complete my task, the child should be distracted. Guess, what do I hand him? Yes, my laptop. I play some age appropriate video in it. Few minutes later, I see him watching something else. He is not supposed to watch that! What should I do? Ah! Educational Interactive games, that should keep him absorbed.

My job is done. But, now the little one prefers computer over me! I patiently wait for him to complete his game. But when I ask back for the laptop, He refuses. He wants to play more! Next day should be better? No, he demands for the computer every now and then. On refusing, my sweet child throws a tantrum. Does this happen in every home? Are our children’s holidays spent on play station? Are we able to restrict their screen time? With such astounding games, will the children pay attention to books? Will they find pleasure from a normal stroll? Are we in a way turning our children into game addicts? How do you think will such a child spend his/her free time in the future? Are we training them to have a purposeful life?

Dear readers, what is the ultimate purpose of life? Why have we been created?

QURAN 51:56 Surat Adh-Dhariyat [verse 56]
The purpose of Life
The world has always played a role from deluding us from the real purpose. The current era has a lot in store to keep us distracted. Now, we are literally wasting our life on games and entertainment.

Dice, Quran (6:32) Suah Al Anam verse 32 ;QURAN 29:64 Surat Al-'Ankabut [verse 64]
Life as a amusement
I am not against technology. We should be against technology enslaving us. Do we stick to our schedule and use technology for our necessity? Or, are we spending our nights past bedtime entertaining ourselves? Do we end up waking up halfhearted to offer fajr salah? Do we rush our prayers without concentration so that we can go back to gaming? Aren’t we intoxicated by games? Just like an addict we can’t recollect what we uttered in salah. Auzbillah. Will such a prayer be accepted? What will happen of us in the hereafter?

Dry flowers; QURAN (4:43), Suart An Nisa, verse 43
Pray with concentration

It’s time to acknowledge our weakness and get over it. WE NEED TO STOP TECHNOLOGY FROM STEALING TIME. We can do so much more when we are in control of our life. How can we take control?

1. RECOGNIZE YOUR WEAKNESS:

What kind of games/ programmes are you interested in? Why do you like it? I love puzzles. They gives me a sense of achievement.

2. FAITH:

Put your trust in Allah. Request sincerely to Allah to help you overcome the addiction.

3. REPLACE:

Other than computer/TV programmes, what else interests you? If you love news, read it from a newspaper. I love working on something challenging. Some intricate crafts work should help.

4. LEARN SOMETHING NEW:

We humans are born with an appetite to explore and learn. We feel more fulfilled on learning new things. We could learn a new language or craft. I decided to learn Crochet. (Do read my next post -It’s all about crochet.)

Apple, books, knowledge
Dua (invocation) for knowledge.

5. BELIEVE YOURSELF:

Maybe we were tempted back into browsing/gaming. Still, weren’t we able to keep ourselves away for a considerable amount of time? We can try again. Make a stronger resolution.

6. MOTIVATE:

Involve your family and friends. Ask them to participate with you in this TECHNO CLEANSING program. 

7. PLAN:

What do you plan to do between two salah (Prayers)? Stick to it.

Do something rewarding. I told my children, that I would crochet a jumper for them. Every time I was on computer, they would ask me to continue with their sweater! Seeing them wear what I made is rewarding.

You may also add a punishment. Well, if you go back to gaming, once the charge runs out, don’t charge the gadgets for next 10 hours!

8. REMEMBER: WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE TIME WE SPEND HERE.

There would be more attractive games and sites. The era we live in is as ordained by Allah. We cannot afford to blame time and lead a heedless life.

Clock, Time
Do not abuse TIME

Insha Allah, with this we can prevent gadgets from stealing our time.

Dear readers, share with us your tips to prevent internet overtaking your life. Are there any other such thieves you have befriended? Let us know. Perhaps, we can discuss about them too.

Pre-published in Muslimahbloggers.

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