Category Archives: Health and Lifestyle

The World Cup of Cheats and Liars

O you who believe! Be afraid of Allaah, and be with those who are true (in word and deeds)
Quran translation, Surah at-Tawbah, 9:119

 

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatulllahi wa Barakatuhu,

I am sitting round at my father-in-law’s house on Eid day, when someone sticks the football world cup on, it’s Spain – vs – Portugal, and even I know enough about the game despite not watching for years now to know is meant to be a good one.

The match has only just started and within only a minute or so of it going on, the Portuguese player Christiano Ronando has got into the box, been clipped in the lightest of ways and gone down like he’s taken a bullet or a baseball bat to the back of the head.

I don’t doubt he was touched, I can even see it as a penalty but he has gone down, pulling his arms up into the body so the fall looks worse than it is, you actually have to be trained to do that, it’s totally unnatural. He’s an actor not a sportsman.

Well consider me triggered on this and I was going off on how this is just cheating and ‘this is why I don’t watch football anymore’ and fortunately we left shortly after but the next day this was the headline in the sports section of the newspapers…

He cheated, everyone saw him cheat, the football fans in the stadium as well as those at home, the commentators, the media, the manager who picked him and almost without exception every last one of them said “well done son, you cheated well.”

This is not just a problem with sports players, this is a problem with the whole of society that can see this happen and rewards this type of behaviour and I fear for the future of any community including the Muslim community here in the UK where such disgusting behaviour is normalised, accepted, actually not just accepted but applauded and seen as good.

Next time you get a chance when you’re in a park, see the kids playing and after a while you’ll see them rolling around on the floor when fouled, attempting to get someone sent off. Nothing less than an attempt to lie, to ruin someone else’s game over very little offense, see how they ape their heroes and then when you see this level of dishonesty in the rest of society you’ll know at least partially where it comes from.

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatulllahi wa Barakatuhu,

Gingerbeardman

Advertisements

I’m Not Running Away But…

Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

I’ve been going through a period of introspection lately, as I often do, every few months or year or two but this time it’s been much deeper and broader in scope than anything I’ve probably done since I said my Shahadah nearly 16 (lunar) years ago and indeed has lasted months not the days or weeks it has before.

Normally I pause, I reflect, maybe do a bit of research and ask people I trust around me and I correct my course slightly but still moving onward and upward again in the same direction more or less but this time it I find myself unable to move on again, I am frozen in place, and think I must choose a different path to what I’ve been on before.

Do they not think deeply about themselves? Allah has created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, except with truth and for an appointed term. And indeed many of mankind deny the Meeting with their Lord.
Quran translation, Surah Ar-Rum, 8:8

I’ve come to realise the image of myself I have in my head, which in some ways is a reflection of what others think of me in the community and that I’ve taken their word for is not actually true. It is not me as I know me truly or a accurate reflection of how I feel in my interactions with others and I am not being honest with them, or my family or myself to continue this lie, and it is a lie in part at least.

Until now I thought myself in some ways a deep thinker, an activist, a Da’ee, a caller to the truth, the community reformer, even if only on a very modest scale but the truth is I am far from these things, I barely have mastery of my own household and it’s development or reform, or indeed of myself which is where the heart of this problem I think comes from.

Like many other reverts, almost since I said my Shahadah I’ve been pushed into this role, and that’s not to blame others, I’ve relished it,  and ran with it from the beginning, and the mistake of faking becoming this thing I am not, of fooling myself is my own and no one else’s.

This has really hit home this ramadhan and especially last night at a community iftar meal, when I was speaking to an elderly brother who I know thinks a great deal of the work I do in the community. We spoke about family, and also homeschooling and he made mention how it must be good for the kids to benefit from a father who is able to teach them so much in terms of the deen and life.

I had to be truthful, tell him straight up this is not me, I do a little, but barely anything in terms of my kids Islamic education, or indeed other educational needs other than offering words of advice as any father would, that such lessons are taken up by my wife, my children’s devoted mother who has in her efforts to become a better home-schooler educated herself in ways I have not over the years.

This conversation, though brief prayed upon me all night, stopped me sleeping even the little hours I had to sleep, though the migraine which came in the middle which jammed the on-switch on my brain probably didn’t help, but this discussion played over and over in my mind summed up neatly my thoughts through many wakeful nights these past few months.

I know my own weaknesses, I cannot allow the assumptions of others that I am someone good or great at what I do to hide the truth, at least to myself that I am not that person they think I am. Allah knows the truth, I know the truth and I am not really helping anyone, least of all myself to continue to pretend otherwise.

In the past I’ve fooled myself I would change, become this person as time went on as I lived it, but looking back to my recent past this has just not happened, and I think for the past few years I’ve known this and hidden it deep within myself.

“It is in the nature of the human being to seek a justification for his actions.”
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation V-VII

I am only child in the fields I dabble in, fundamentally lacking in anything more than basic knowledge and so unable to enact change in anyway like the effectiveness I wish I could achieve.

My self development over the years has been severely lacking, forget learning arabic I am still struggling with reading the Quran fluently after 16 years of Islam and though languages is the one major area of learning I struggle with, I’ve allowed this difficulty to stop me even trying in anything like a meaningful way.

This Ramadhan has been the first time in years I have regularly prayed my sunnah prayers, rather than just the fard ones, my practice and knowledge is severely lacking yet the classes, the access to knowledge and skills was out there, I allowed myself to be distracted by being busy, but in an ineffectual manner.

In other fields I have a cursory understanding and knowledge, and being the one eyed man I’ve allowed myself to be setup as a ruler or at least and adviser among the blind when I know I can be, and should be far more.

In every aspect of my life I am falling short, deeni and other education, health and fitness, character and moral fibre, family and home, community and social life, career and wealth.

I am spread thin, running from area to area, helping this person or that project at an individual or small scale yes, but failing to build systems which could help enact change on the level on which it needs to take place.

It’s just not enough. I need to withdraw, reeducate myself, strengthen my being, redefine who I am internally and then have that reflected externally, so I become the man I know I could be, which others now wrongly think I am.

If I don’t the alternative is to know I ultimately fail in life. Myself, my family, my community and ultimately Allah who has the parameters of my being and how far I could truly go if only I pushed myself as I should and who knows how short I fall in reaching those limits.

So I am not running away, not exactly. I cannot stop everything which I have been doing, the need is too great and others are not yet willing to pick up those burdens but I am over the coming months going to be withdrawing from some activities where I can, taking up less new projects, freeing up the time I need, the space I need to grow and learn and become who I know I need to be.

I need my space each month, my time away in the cave of Hira, relaxation and reflection and not to be so busy with life and activism that I am stuck in being the role rather than becoming the man who can truly fulfill it as it needs to be filled.

For those worried about such things, I am not burned out, far from it, I am more determined than ever but I know continuing the way I have been for so long would ultimately lead me to that end, I’ve seen enough activists fall over the years to see the warning signs in myself and to take steps to avoid them if Allah wills it.

Writing is also something which I have neglected and I’ll probably be blogging more over this time also, I find I need to vent, and find the truth in what psychologists say, that far from thinking before we speak, instead giving word to my innermost thoughts helps me clarify what is true and good for me and others. I need to hear the words, or see them written to see the truth in them or not.

It is my sincere hope, that if Allah wills it, I can come back in a few years as a better man,  someone people can genuinely look up to but I am not willing to keep living right now as someone I am not and if not at least I will have tried.

Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,

Gingerbeardman

Daniel Haqiqatjou – Marrying Early

Another common orientalist trope in Western media: The sad Muslim bride forced into marriage. But this is not Western media. It is Aljazeera.

Link: https://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/2018/child-marriage-niger/index.html

Reflect on the hypocrisy on display with Western culture. It is considered healthy and acceptable for children as young as kindergarten (5 year olds) to “explore their sexual identities” or even their gender. It is perfectly acceptable for school children (6-12 year olds) to be involved with sexting and sexual relationships (as long as it is “safe” sex!). It is natural for high school kids (13-18 year olds) to be sexually active and fornicate to their hearts’ content. Only the “late bloomers” are still virgins by freshmen year of college.

But if a 15 year old gets married, suddenly that is a human rights violation and a crime against humanity?

Western standards of sex and marriage are projected onto the rest of the world, but to understand these practices, we have to understand the larger social context. Within kinship-based societies, marriage has more than just romantic significance. It has economic and social significance as well. Getting married is an important way to connect families and to create larger networks of support and economic opportunity. Marriage is also the primary avenue of socialization and religious development for young adults.

None of this makes sense from a Western paradigm because Western states have systematically destroyed kinship structures and destroyed the family unit, forcing their populations into an atomized existence, where all must be servile to the state and its corporate subsidiaries.

Westerners can understand these marriages with a simple analogy. Marriage in kinship-based societies is an institution analogous to formal education as an institution in Western states. In the West, children are *forced* — against their will — to attend primary school education and then college. This schooling is a means of socialization (i.e., tarbiyya) and often is the only path to economic opportunity and social mobility.

Of course, “education” is glamorized in modern discourse, but the reality for many people is that their education buys them a spot as a lowly cog in the engine of corporate drudgery, and only if they’re lucky. The vast majority have to content themselves as blue collar or service workers slogging long hours to scrape out a modest living. This is what education buys them, yet we are keen to export this panacea to the rest of the world, i.e., to make sure the poor girls of Niger leave their “forced” marriages to “willingly” go work in the sweatshop. I mean, what other amazing career paths exist in the villages of Niger? Or Afghanistan? Or Iraq? Last time I checked, there weren’t many Fortune 500 companies opening offices in this locales. Only us lucky ones in the West get to enjoy deep, fulfilling, meaningful careers as corporate peons, toiling our lives away in order to ensure that investors see sufficient growth from one fiscal quarter to the next.

Islam is a kinship based deen. The family structure is the cornerstone of any healthy society. The majority of the maladies we see around us is due to the disintegration of this structure. We have to be aware of these larger dynamics and be prepared to defend the rationality, morality, and superiority of Islam if we want to address the attacks against the Sharia when it comes to the fiqh of marriage without resorting to superficial reactionism. Unfortunately, the reality is that the average Muslim would be scandalized by the uncensored, unabridged fiqh of nikah. That is why Aljazeera can publish trash like this without pushback.

NB: if you go through the details of this report, you can plainly see how insidious it really is. The father explains that his daughter was secretly hanging out with a specific boy, so, given the circumstances and his consideration of the situation, he said they need to get married. Seems like a good decision by all accounts. Preventing zina is so important and if there is no reason to delay, why do so? We need to be applauding this father and mother and learn from their example.

And the bride herself admits that her husband is treating her well. I bet she isn’t really even that broken up about it but that does not stop Aljazeera from making it look like the biggest tragedy of all time. When Muslim women are actually surveyed about their views on being married off early, the vast majority support it and for good reason, but don’t expect that to make CNN or BBC. They just dismiss these opinions as internalized patriarchy, false consciousness, and due to a lack of “education,” i.e., Western brainwashing.

Furthermore, look at how much they are pushing these UN aid agencies as the saviors who are “educating” the Muslims to avoid early marriage and to limit the number of children they have. This is the kind of social engineering being used to fundamentally disrupt and corrupt the Muslim world under the guise of aid. In reality, it is a continuation of colonization.

Polygamy Unpicked – But I Just Can’t Accept Polygamy

Post taken from Polygamy Unpicked – Original linked here

Why is it so hard to accept polygamy? Why is so excruciating to share my husband? When will I be able to feel OK about my husband having another wife?

One reply to these sorts of questions I came across really struck me: you first have to accept you don’t own your husband.

 

‘But of course I don’t own him!’

Well, we ideally don’t want to admit this, but there is often a sense of ownership there – ‘He’s my husband’, ‘He’s my other half’. ‘He’d never take a second wife, he wouldn’t dare!’

When we feel we own something, we have power over what happens to it. But no one owns anyone – Islam promotes abolishing slavery – and we are only owned by Allah (SWT), we are His slaves.

Our husband is not our possession, our children are not even so; they are a trust to take care of from Allah

What we do possess is a relationship between us and our husband – and no one can take that away, bithnillah, even another wife entering the family. What may spoil this relationship is the resentment a husband might possess from feeling owned.

It’s understandable to feel threatened by another wife, by the imaginings of what your husband thinks of you because of his polygamous desires, but if he makes the effort to show you he still loves you as much as before, that your relationship has not changed. He deserves to be respected and not treated in a controlling way that pushes him away. ‘If you marry another wife, I’m leaving,’ or ‘If you want polygamy, I want a divorce.’ These threats will be seen as controlling and manipulative, and if there is no other valid reason to end the relationship, they are best avoided.

When we recognize that only Allah (SWT) has the power to allow your husband to get into polygam,y and whatever we say or do will not change the outcome, there can be a sense of peace, especially for those whose husband seems to be pursuing a subsequent wife on a regular basis. Of course, we can communicate our feelings and hurt about the situation – maybe there is something a husband can say or do to ease the pain.

When we relinquish ownership of our husband, we also gain the freedom ourselves to accept polygamy. We then realize our husband chooses to come back to us, not because he is chained in a relationship, but because he wants to and he wants you.

I know being in this situation is hard, and can feel painful to your core – you just want it to go away. I hope some of the perspectives I am writing about ease that pain a tiny bit. Do let me know if this is the case, or any other comments you may have down in the comments section, or join the discussions on our Facebook page and follow Polygamy Unpicked on Twitter

 

Changing My Life With Fitbit Charge 2

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

So it’s been a long, LONG time since I discussed my health and fitness regime on my blog…

Probably because it went down the drain and has been needing a reboot for quite a while so in this post I’m going to talk about my new fitbit charge 2, how fantastic it is, how well it’s worked for me Alhamdulillah and why maybe you should probably think about buying one too.

JUST A CRAZE?

So this fitness fitbit thing has been on my radar for the past year or so, even without a TV or taking much interest in popular culture, some things like this do creep in to my view and attracts my interest, like what’s that? Does it work? Is it worth the cost?

Especially as I keep seeing them increasingly at work, who give them out as one of the prizes for taking part in certain healthy living schemes they promote to make us extra super fit uber productive workers!

But at £120 or there about’s it’s quite an expensive bit of kit, for what is effectively a digital watch if it doesn’t work so I was going to wait and see if seems to be the real deal.

I also thought it wouldn’t help me in my current stage of getting healthy, which is trying to slim down enough so I can get out and jog without too much risk of damaging my knees or getting shin splints.

Then the Mrs went and bought me one as a present…

SO DOES IT WORK?

Short answer is yes… if you stick with it. The concept is not something new, the monitoring of in-comings and outgoings has been around for decades and effectively does the same as MyFitnessPal mobile phone app but much more efficiently as you only need to enter in your in-comings, the daily exercise grind is all entered for you when the phone updates from a bluetooth connection to your fitbit device.

By seeing your steps going up and up, as well as the number of floors you’ve done or minutes exercised etc, it gives you a real sense of getting somewhere, a tamagotchi type buzz of achievement as you hit each target and smash them and keep going onward and upward.

Now if you’re going to cheat, forget to enter in that sneaky burger or chocolate bar you had at lunch, then maybe the fitbit is not for you, but if you’re willing to stick with it then by effectively monitoring you food and exercise you will quickly see where you are going wrong, what habits you need to break and what you need to work on and it’s all available to see on the phone ap or on a PC dashboard.

It even measures your sleep pattern and asks you to enter your water intake each day, these being two areas of health and fitness people often fail to monitor.

RESULTS SO FAR

So results so far, in a month and a half of using the fitbit has been losses of 10lbs, as well as some reasonable gains in muscle mass around my shoulders and arms and corresponding fat losses from my substantial waist and the rest of my body.

If you want an idea of what 10lbs of fat looks like, see the image here, or else weigh out 10lbs of butter as animal fat is about the same mass and size as butter.

The beauty of the fitbit is that it enables you to choose your own exercise regime and then monitor the results, so if you want to push the weights, there is an option for that, if you want to run or jog, an option for that and so on and so on.

Unlike with other health and fitness regimes I’ve tried, there is no where to hide with fitbit, it’s harder to cheat and if you fail you not only see it on the scales but you can see why it is on the app or dashboard.

GOING FORWARD

I can really see myself using this for a long time to come and as I’ve lost weight, I’ve gained energy, as opposed  to feeling drained and lethargic which happens when people only diet and don’t exercise.

Extra energy I’ve been able to put into studying the deen, getting into reading al-Adab al-Mufrad as well as getting into listening to lectures and reading more about my own totally unprofessional interest in psychology.

Given how quickly the fitbit has helped me slim down I can see myself being back in the gym in the matter of the next couple of months, as opposed to 6-9 months which was my previous target and getting on those running machines to target that hard to reach subdermal fatty layers and push myself to my higher goals in gaining and maintaining a more healthy body.

A healthier body has brought me more confidence, a better relationship with my family as I’m not constantly tired, except sometimes in a good post exercise good way and finally restored my confidence in being able to Insha’Allah get my body back into shape whilst I still can given my age.

If you were like me, struggling to know where to start with getting healthy, then fitbit could easily be good for you and if you only gain the benefits I have so far, worth the £120 expenditure.

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

Gingerbeardman

Dr Bilal Philips – Practicing Islam in Modern Society

“There is no such thing as modern Islam, liberal Islam, Islam is Islam.”

A brilliant talk by Dr Bilal Philips on how in reality, the problems faced by the Muslims today are the same as those faced by the Muslims in the past, that the answers to our problems are in the Quran and the Sunnah, just as they have always been.

One of the best speeches from one of the best speakers out there, who has not compromised on the message in all his years calling to Allah, unlike so many other du’at in the English language.

Muhammad Tim Humble – To Those Who Defend Taweez

All praise is due to Allah alone, and may peace and blessings be upon his Messenger, and his family and his companions.

Having read the post from Sunni Path, supporting the use of ta’weez, I think that there is a need for a clear and simple response to the issues raised.

Before delving into the points made in the article, I would like the reader to consider the following questions:

We regularly hear people defending ta’weez that contain the Qur’an and Allah’s names and attributes, but what do you think about the following:

■ Ta’weez that contain the names of shaytaan?

■ Ta’weez that contain the aayaat of Allah written backwards?

■ Ta’weez that contain symbols associated with the worship of the shaytaan, such as the so-called star of david, and the pyramids?

■ Ta’weez that contain illegible writing?

■ Ta’weez that contain pictures of the human body with words and symbols written over the top?

■ Ta’weez that contain the aayaat of Allah scribbled and not given proper respect?

Ta’weez that contain nothing except tables of numbers?

These are the vast majority of the ta’weez that we open every single week, with most of them issued by imams, scholars, and so-called ‘pious people’. Now you have to make a choice between one of two things; either you defend these ta’weez, claiming that they are actually ‘Qur’an’ or that it is permissible to disgrace the words of Allah by scribbling them, or the reader has no choice but to admit that these ta’weez are by consensus of the scholars, haraam.

I estimate that I have opened somewhere between 500 and 1,000 ta’weez in my course of being a raaqi, and at the current count, less than ten of them contained clear Qur’an or the names of Allah, with nothing else written on them. In reality, this is just another example of the magicians hiding behind respectable scholars and their opinions.

We say to the people who make these so called ta’weez from the Qur’an: would you let the sick person simply print a page of the Qur’an and tie it around his or her neck? By Allah, you would not allow it. Instead, they have to use your ‘special’ writings, which they are not allowed to see or open, and often have to pay money for. If you really hold the opinion of ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allah be pleased with him), why don’t you allow the people to print a copy of aayat-ul-kursi from quran.com and tie it around their necks? It is the greatest aayah in the Qur’an, so why would it not protect them whilst your secret writings and scribbles can protect them? Has Allah given you something greater than aayat-ul-kursi, or is it that you seek help from the shaytaan? Where did you learn what those numbers and symbols mean? Why don’t you share your books with us that tell you how to ‘cure’ someone with pictures of the pyramids and the star of david?

My brothers and sisters, these people hide behind legitimate opinions, in order to confuse you and take you away from the path of Allah. Let me give you an example:

■ The Sunni Path post quotes those who allow ta’weez:

Sa’id ibn al-Musayyib, ‘Ata’, Mujahid, Abd Allah ibn ‘Amr, Ibn Sirin, ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Abd Allah ibn `Umar, and others (Allah be well pleased with them all). [Musannaf, 5.439]

How many of you looked at that list of people and believed them all to be from the companions? By Allah, there is only one companion mentioned in that whole list; all the rest are from the generations who came after them.

Furthermore, all of the narrations from that companion are weak. They contain Muhammad ibn Is-haaq, who is someone whose narration is not accepted unless he clearly states that he heard the hadith directly from his teacher (the Arabic term is: mudallis), which in this case he did not.

So, let me say explicitly that there is not one single companion from the companions of the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and may Allah be pleased with them) who allowed ta’weez of any kind, whether from the Qur’an or not!

■ Let us quote the author of the Musannaf in full:

“The Chapter of those who allowed the hanging of Ta’weez”
“The permissibility of this was reported from Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib, ‘Ataa’, Mujaahid, Abu Ja’far al-Baaqir, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, Muhammad ibn Seereen, ‘Ubaydullah ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, and ad-Dahhaak and IT IS NOT AUTHENTIC from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, ad-Dahhaak, Mujaahid, and Ibn Seereen, and the rest are authentic.”

The author himself says that there is no companion who this is authentically reported from, and that half of the taabi’een mentioned are also not authentic. This is in the very same passage that the author of the post quoted – so why did he choose to stop just before the part where the author says that it isn’t authentic?

So out of that long list, we are left with ‘Ataa, Abu Ja’far, and ‘Ubaydullah – three people, none of whom were companions of the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and even their view says that the permissibility is limited to that which is from the Qur’aan alone!

On top of that, the very same book (al-Musannaf) mentions other narrations which state that all ta’weez are haraam, even if they come from the Qur’an (authentically narrated from the companions Ibn Mas’ud, Ibn ‘Abbas, Hudhayfah, ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir, and Ibn ‘Ukaym – may Allah be pleased with them all). Why didn’t the author include those narrations? Is it perhaps because he doesn’t want you to know?

Even if we accept some or all of the narrations from people who allowed ta’weez, these people are talking about writing a simple aayah of the Qur’an, or some of the names of Allah, clearly and in a way that can be understood by everyone who reads it.

Don’t be fooled by statements such as ‘the vast majority of the scholars’ and ‘it is mentioned in such-and-such a book’ – anyone can write words like these. Why don’t we talk about something quantifiable, and say ‘the vast majority of the companions, if not all of them, considered ta’weez to be haraam, in all of its forms’.

Finally, we say to the author of the Sunni Path post and his supporters: Do you know why some of the scholars allowed ta’weez from the Qur’an? Because it is the uncreated speech of Allah, and therefore cannot be considered shirk. Would you like to share with the brothers and sisters what you really believe about the Qur’an that we read, and that you claim to write on the ta’weez?

Allah knows best, and all praise is for Allah alone, and may peace and blessings be upon our messenger Muhammad, and his family and his companions.

Evolution of Adam Saleh, Deen Squad, IAmKhaled & Fouseytube

Assalaamu alaykum,

The reality of the disgusting Muslim Youtube celebrity scene, how much is hidden in terms of their behavior and we’ve got young teen sisters looking up to and admiring these guys, chasing them down the street when they visit London.

Parents please be careful.  Adam Saleh, Deen Squad, IAmKhaled, FouseyTube and the rest of the Youtube Muslim celebrity circuit, just because these men (and some women) are apparently Muslim doesn’t mean they are good or allowed for your kids to follow on social media, check the Youtube feed of your family and if you are finding these people on there then you need to sit them down and talk to them.

These people are shaiateen, leading the masses astray, mini-dajjal types with girls and women literally chasing after them thinking they are something special but they are hiding their true selves, they are playing with and leading astray thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of youth.

They are destroying our youth, destroying your children and by not speaking out sooner we have been letting them do it.

Assalaamu alaykum,

Gingerbeardman