Tag Archives: Women in Islam

Boycotting is the Final Treatment

Shaykh Albaani was asked:

_‘How should I deal with my neighbor who has removed her Jilbaab that she used to wear, should I boycott her?’_

Shaykh Albaani answers:

‘Boycotting a Muslim as an individual in an Islamic society is like treating a sick person with cauterization, like it has been mentioned in a proverb and in an unauthentic hadeeth: that the last treatment/cure is cauterization so boycotting is the final treatment.

It is not allowed for a Muslim man or woman to be hasty in boycotting the one who has deviated from his Islaam, rather it is upon us to follow them up, by visiting them, by reminding them about their Deen or by refuting them, perhaps they will return and repent.

If we stay with them and become despondent or we waste our time with them and become neglected and we fear this sickness will transfer to other than its source then we say salaam (farewell) to them, we do not seek the ignorant ones.

All praise belongs to Allaah Lord of the Worlds.’

[Taken from ‘Explanation of al-Adab al-Mufrad’ tape 8 side A]

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Patriarchy Yes, Misogyny No

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

Jumping straight in: ISLAM IS A PATRIARCHY

Now some of you will be having a hard time accepting that statement, that’s OK so I am just leave it out there for now and going to ask you to read on and I’ll explain why I said it but for many of you, Islam = Good, Patriarchy = Evil.

If after reading this post you still disagree with me feel free to say so in the comments, write your own thoughts on it elsewhere, unfollow, or just generally be mean to me. Don’t worry I won’t cry and I grew up in a time when we were able to disagree without the need for anyone needing a safe place.

It’s pretty clear that in it’s use in academia, the media and the workplace that patriarchy has become this big, evil, dirty word in modern Britain, as well as the rest of the world. It shuts down discussion, prevents dialogue and I would argue stops us getting to the root of problems and having a go at solving them in matters of gender relations.

Sadly many Muslims including I assume some you who are reading this post have adopted this use of the word, and the ideas that follow from feminists along with other aspects of ‘progressive’ ideology from the media, fellow race / equality activists, education, especially higher education or just general society around us.

To see if you’re one of these people, read the following three statements and decide whether you agree with the traditionalist Muslim in the dialogue or the progressive one.

Traditionalist Muslim: “Sister’s shouldn’t travel without a mahram.”
Progressive Muslim: “That’s patriarchy!”

Traditionalist Muslim: “Hijab is about behavior not just what you wear.”
Progressive Muslim: “Don’t tell women how to behave or dress, that is patriarchy!”

Traditionalist Muslim: “Any woman who gets married without the permission of her guardian, her nikkah is invalid, her nikkah is invalid, her nikkah is invalid…”
Progressive Muslim: “How dare you tell women who they can or cannot marry, THAT’S PATRIARCHY!”

If you find yourself agreeing with our progressive Muslim brother in the above three dialogues then you have a problem, actually you have two problems. The first is you probably assumed it was a female making the argument, which is really sexist of you, shame on you and your sexist views as there are men and women on both sides of the discussion.

The second problem you have if you agree is that all of them in isolation are statements of truth, Islamic teachings which as a believer you should not be digressing from and the last is even a sahih hadith from the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa salam).

FROM THE DICTIONARY

Patriarchy has become the catch all, go-to term, used by feminists and their allies who have accepted feminist arguments to malign any male influence over any power structure, organization or idea in culture, politics, education or any other aspect of life.

According to prevailing feminist writers, “Patriarchy is the term used to describe societies like those we live today, characterised by current and historic unequal power relations between women and men whereby women are systematically disadvantaged and oppressed.”

 

OK, we can all be against oppression so doesn’t that make us all feminists and all against patriarchy?

Well no it doesn’t, because the actual dictionary definition of patriarchy is different to the one given above and allowing others to define words is a powerful tool, and changing the meaning of the terms prevents us coming to a common understanding between opposing views and prevents any chance of any form of reconciliation through dialogue or even arguments.

Patriarchy dictionary definition

noun

  1. a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is reckoned through the male line.
  2. a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.
  3. a society or community organized on patriarchal lines.

plural noun: patriarchies

On the first definition, yes Islam is guilty as charged, the man is amir of the household, lineage is tracked through the male line so if you have a problem with that you have a problem with Islam.

Abdullah ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects. A man is the guardian of his family and he is responsible for them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s home and his children and she is responsible for them. The servant of a man is a guardian of the property of his master and he is responsible for it. No doubt, every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.”
Source: Sahih al-Bukhari 6719, Sahih Muslim 1829

On the second and  third definitions, though we can argue there was a tradition of female Islamic scholarship and leadership in lower positions that we’ve lost to some degree and need to reestablish , still the role of leader of the nation, leader of each community based around the masaajid and the imam, leader of tribes and societies are men and rightly so.

Ibn Hazam reported in his book Maraatib al-Ijmaa’ that there was scholarly consensus on this point. In the section he says: “Out of all groups of the people of the Qiblah [i.e., all Muslim sects], there is not one that allows the leadership of women.” Al-Qurtubi reported something similar, and al-‘Allaamah al-Shanqeeti said, “There is no difference of opinion among the scholars on this point.”

 

Once again, if you have a problem with this you have a problem with Islam and you need to go check your emaan, reflect and see if you truly see Allah and His Rasool (Sallallahu alayhi wa salam) as your source of guidance in these matters because I don’t think you do if you wish to change them every time it clashes with one of your modernist view points.

CORRECTING THE MISOGYNY OF SOCIETY

So as for the rest of us Muslims, we’ll not be changing Islam to suit whatever the prevailing tendencies in society are from decade to decade.

Now if we’re going to have committees to run our institutions I’m all in favour of appointing women to these governing bodies as long as gender relation etiquette is observed as we need to listen to those voices, value their opinion and point of view but don’t come saying we need to appoint female imams, or try to say a woman can run the state or some such other modernist idea.

Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wa salam) and the rightly guided khulafa used to make shura (consultation) with the women, listening to their views, valuing those views as valid and worthy of consideration.

We adapt ourselves and our society to and around Islamic teachings, we do not change or bend Islamic norms to suit ourselves and our society and Imam Malik (Rahimahullah) was correct when he said:

“Nothing will rectify the last part of this Ummah except that which rectified its first part.” (i.e. the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu alayhi wa salam)).
— Imam Malik (rahimahullah)
Reported by Ibn ‘AbdulHādi, in Tanqih at-Tahqiq 2/423

We should as believers stand firm in justice and truthfulness, standing up to the tyrants in people’s homes even, who are usually (but not always) men abusing their spouses, producing further dysfunctional people to raise more dysfunctional families of the future ummah.

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
Quran translation, Surah an-Nisa (the chapter of Women, 4:135

Umar ibn al Khattab (Radiallahu anhu), the second khalifa, the one about whom Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alahi wa salam) said: “If there were to be a Prophet after me, it would be ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab” was a man who used to walk the streets day and night, and when he heard problems in people’s households he would deal with them justly, just as our Nabi (Sallallahu alahi wa salam) did in his time.

When we look at the examples of their lives, we see strong men able to deal justly with strong women taking a full role in accordance with their nature in society around them, not men feeling they can only be strong by forcing down women into a lesser role and the sooner we return to something like that as our target the better for us and the rest of society around us.

We see in the early days of Islam the natural role of women being valued, treasured and there are many evidences to attest to this such as the Sahabi being told to give good company to his mother three times more than his father.

Men are men, women are women. We are mentally, emotionally, physically different and we cannot change biology or ignore it, nor should we if we are true to ourselves.

The problem with feminism, especially second and third wave feminism is that it tries to force women to match men or even beat men at their game, rather than getting society to change to value and respect the role and nature of women. That would be true liberation.

MOVING FORWARD

Promoting the Islamic view point of the true role of women is the way  to move forward, a constructive message of productive gender relations to those around us, as well as forbidding the evils of many men both within and without the Islamic community is the way we as Muslims need to go in combating misogyny.

You (true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma‘roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah.
Quran translation, Surah Al e ‘Imraan, 3:110

I say within as well as without the Muslim community, as we have to admit to have a problem and that as we’ve so many things we’ve strayed far from the Sunnah when it comes to gender relations and there is a middle path between the free mixing and other sins of the modernists and liberals and the almost absolute and total gender segregation practiced by most traditionalist and salafi communities here in the UK.

Likewise I cannot believe that our Nabi (Sallallahu alayhi wa salam) would allow  the practices of marriage bandits, the wife beaters and oppressors, those who refuse to care, maintain and financially support their spouses to go unchallenged if he was with us today as many Imams and activists do by staying silent on these matters.

In this I would urge all the brothers and sisters out there to correct themselves, their families and the community around them. Many revert sisters speak of how they liked the Islamic viewpoint of women’s rights, sadly most of them are disappointed about how we practice that in reality in our daily lives and marriages.

If we can do this, then I believe there will be no reason for even non-Muslims to believe in feminism, never-mind Muslims and we can do it all through the Islamic system, a Patriarchy.

Salafi Feminist – “How Would You Feel If It Was Your Daughter?”

Taken from Salafi Feminist Blog – http://thesalafifeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/how-would-you-feel-if-it-was-your.html

“Brothers, how would you feel if someone abused your mother/ sister/ wife/ daughter?”

Guys.
Guys.

You don’t get it. Dearest shuyookh, your intentions are sweet, but you don’t get it.

Men DO abuse their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. They watch their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters be abused.

And they let it happen.

Maybe they don’t always approve of it. Maybe they feel bad. Maybe they genuinely think it’s terrible.

But they let it happen.

“She’s married now, we can’t interfere.”
“She needs to be more patient, all men get angry sometimes.”
“She just needs to stop being stubborn and get used to it.”
“Divorce is the most hated thing in the sight of Allah.”
“Men will handle their own business, we can’t get involved.”

And so another generation of sons, brothers, husbands and fathers grow up watching their womenfolk being lashed at with both words and fists. It’s normal, after all.

Some will break the cycle, recalling the horror they witnessed; these men, the true qawwam, will block the blows rained down upon their mothers and protect their daughters and show their wives only the greatest respect.

But many will not, because gheerah is no longer about protecting one’s womenfolk from harm, but about protecting male ego and so-called honour built upon insecurity.

“Brothers, how would you feel if someone abused your mother/ sister/ wife/ daughter?”

Not enough to make it stop.

Understanding the Rise of Feminism by Sh. Ali Al Tamimi

Article originally posted by silky2016blog – https://silky2016blog.wordpress.com/2017/01/03/understanding-the-rise-of-feminism-by-sh-ali-al-tamimi/

Feminism is a topic that is tweeted about a lot on Twitter, I didn’t hear about it that much until I joined and people are majorly divided over it. Whether pro feminism or completely anti feminism it seems to be a subject that is raging between the sexes and also the religious and non-religious. I’m not too interested in the subject but I wanted to find out a little more on it because it’s brought up so often, from people believing it’s harming society, harming the relationship between men and women, affecting the family and people saying how bad it is for women.

It was a movement for equality, justice and fairness and I’m told now its anti men pro matriarch anti patriarchy, Obscuring gender roles, diminishing women’s femininity because women are trying to be more like men (this is what they say) work roles and getting more radical.

As I said I’m not too interested in this topic but I did come across a lecture and found it to be very concise on its history as to why and how feminism came about. I’ve written some key points from the lecture.

The speaker is an Islamic scholar and teacher named Ali Al Tamimi of Iraqi American heritage. He is a knowledgeable and intelligent man who is very much ahead of his time and I believe this lecture, even though it was contextual to its time conducted in the 90s (I believe I’m not 100% sure) still applies today. He’s an Islamic scholar and teacher as well as a geneticist, at one point he was one of the top 25 in the world. He was studying cancer research using mathematical chaos theory to explain the random multiplication of cells in the body. The sheikh (scholar) is currently incarcerated for life in an American prison, I pray Allah hastens his release Ameen. His take on the current wave of feminism would be fascinating.

He begins the lecture by stating that he feels it’s quite important discussing the topic of feminism pertaining to Islam because there is a concerted movement throughout the world to try to reinterpret basic Islamic beliefs and practises in a feminist interpretation of the Quran (Muslims holy book) and Sunnah (practises of the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him). From what I see this is still in full fledge today. A popular book regarding this has been written by a Moroccan woman named Fatima Mernissi – The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminists Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam. A collation of poor scholarship according to the sheikh.

The notion of feminism is relatively new in terms of ideas, 3 to 4 centuries ago there was no such thing as feminism, you cannot find it in dictionaries, encyclopedias or in the historical books. It is a new school of thought that has appeared in the last 150 years, in particular since world war two in the west due to men being conscripted and the need for women in the workplace, when the men returned the women were effectively forced out.

How has this school of thought appeared in the west initially? How does the west look to women historically? This gives an idea to why feminism arises in the west.

The Wests culture is rooted in ideas of the ancient Greeks and Romans traced to the Greek philosophers Socrates, Aristotle, Plato etc. The ancient Greeks did not conceive of women being full human beings rather the notion was they did not possess full humanity like men do. Women were mere objects to be bought and sold in markets. Then the west adopted the teachings of Christianity, not what Allah sent down to the prophet Eesa (Jesus) but a mix of Rabbinical Jews, a mix of pagan practises and ethical early Christians with some preserved truth that was not lost that was sent down with some falsehood available.

Rabbinical Jews regarding women – essays were written by apostle Paul originally Jew according to the New Testament, you find general degradation of women and a notion was that they were the cause for the fall of humanity. When Adam the first man to be created ate the forbidden fruit in heaven according to the Old Testament, it was Eve that succumb to the wishes of satan and she convinced Adam to transgress. The Jewish and Christian theology both say the sin and the fall of humanity from paradise is put squarely on the shoulders of the woman alone.

Major Christian authors throughout the middle ages refer to women as satan’s tool and the cause of all the suffering faced by humanity. This led to degraded views of women in the middle ages, western civilisation and Europe. There are no examples of women having share of political, intellectual or social life in societies. Only from the 14th century in England was it permissible for a woman to read the Bible, prior to this is was forbidden according to church law let alone having a copy. Islamic history states that the original copy of the Quran made during the time of Abu Bakr was placed with Umar then after his death with his daughter Hafsa the prophet’s wife.

Women not being considered full human beings and being degraded continued in the west and was part of society for a number of centuries. In the 18th and 19th century the industrial revolution took place mainly in England and as a result a lot of labour in the mines and factories was needed. There was a shortage of sufficient men so women and children were forced to work 12-16 hour shifts for relatively no pay if any at all. As a result a number of aristocratic women saw the plight of their sisters and called for equality and justice and for their rights to be given. The first book written on this was in the 18th century – A vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft. The book argues if the women are working 14 plus hours they should get paid like men and have a right to education and be able to participate in the culture and so forth, to raise their status in the western society. Feminism was not just a call to be treated fairly but for their essential humanity.

The sheikh states that amongst the non muslims and those muslims that do not adhere to the Quran and Sunnah, you find they go from one extreme to the other. The west had essentially stripped women of the quality of humanity with no rights, they could not own property, they weren’t allowed an education to then arguing women and men are the same and even neutral terms such as gender instead of sex were introduced. They stated that rolls can be assumed by both sexes and there wasn’t any difference between men and women and that any difference that did appear were the teachings of that culture and society.

The sheikh states that feminism is a school of thought and within that there are different types such as liberal feminism, Marxist feminism, radical feminism, socialist feminism, post modern feminism etc.

The feminist approach to religion in the west is two types, firstly apologetic Christians and Jews that try to reconcile to achieve reinterpretation of the Hebrew texts and New Testament and that is a minority view.

Secondly the radical feminist thought – they consider in essence its nature is against religion, so no religion irrespective of which they reject and that religion is not positive at all for women and they have to be free from religion as a whole. He cites this is the majority view.

The book by Leila Ahmed – Women and Gender in Islam states that men have misinterpreted Islam to enforce the male cause.

Basic Notions in Islam Regarding Men and Women

The Quranic texts and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) say that men and women are fully sharing in humanity, it doesn’t teach that women are less of a human being then men. The major thrust of teachings to submit to Allah and worship are addressed to men and women alike. The basic pillars such as Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), Zakat (giving a percentage of money from wealth to the poor), prayer, belief in the oneness of God, men and women are addressed equally and they will receive the benefits and rewards of their actions and good deeds equally.

The Quran does not suggest the sin was of Eve alone and that Adam was duped. In Surah (chapter) Al Ar’af the Dua (prayer/invocation) of Adam is plural ‘we’. In Surah Taha it states that ‘Adam disobeyed so he went astray’, the sin fell on him, Muslims didn’t believe the woman to be the cause of evil.

Islam recognises that men and women are different. It doesn’t necessarily mean that one is better but a sign of Allah is that he created duality, night and day, sky and earth, moon and sun male and female. Neither of the two can be considered better or the same. The major difference between contemporary thought and Islamic belief is that the west went from the extreme of denying women’s humanity and that they’re full humans to now arguing men and women are the same and the only reason they act a certain way as men and women is due to the society and culture that teaches them that.

They try to deny that physiology has any effect on the psychological mental disposition of the sexes. Scientific literature cites male physiology and male hormones leads to different ways of acting and reacting in part of the personality compared to females. In Allah’s wisdom he created this order. The distinction in the sexes means there has been given different obligations to the sexes, obligations which will fit each sex best according to the way we are created for the purpose that Allah wanted of it. When a sex has obligations put upon it then entails it has greater rights.

It’s important to understand at the same time that throughout the Muslim world one does not find the teachings of Islam in regards to women applied and it’s undeniable that you find women in a bad state. Why? In the Islamic world all the rights are not observed, whether it’s the rights of Allah, fellow Muslims one to another, plants and animals etc. If society does not check tyranny and injustice and uphold decency the strong end up devouring the weak whether it be, women, children, the elderly, the poor which are the weakest members. This is not unique to women but Muslims as a society.

Proof that Islam is Better to Women

The sheikh cites that the greatest evidence is history itself, what has Islam brought to women compared to what other civilizations brought. Historians will tell you that humanity has seen 15 to 20 civilizations, in all of them you do not see women having any role in the development of that civilization per se. Examples cited – the American revolution and the founding fathers. The French revolutions – Jean-Jacques Rousseau and others. The ancient Greeks had male philosophers, the ancient Chinese/ Japanese/ Hindus you don’t find women having any role in it. Books recorded in the last 5000 years of history you don’t see women being written about until the last 150 years playing a role in the society becoming doctors, office election roles etc.. It means nothing really was affected by women and they were passive in these civilizations.

In Islam it’s completely different, firstly it is not man-made but revelation sent down by Allah to his prophet Muhammad pbuh. In the beginning of his mission the most important person was his wife Khadijah pbuh. Had it not been for her support morally and materially his message could not have continued in Makkah. After Islam spread and after his death the knowledge transmitted by one of his wives Aisha pbuh. Out of the 7 major narrators of Hadith (books describing the prophet’s words, actions, habits)whereby 70% of Hadith is transmitted Aisha pbuh is amongst the major 2 or 3. The Fatwas (legal pronouncement interpreted from the Quran and Sunnah) Zarkashi wrote books on how she corrected Fatwa of the other male Sahabah (companions of the prophet pbuh) she participated in the society and was a major scholar.

Islamic history until the last 2 to 3 centuries, most major scholars had among their teachers a woman. 8th century Islamic history shows that 3 to 4 of Ibn Taymiyyah’s pbuh teachers were women from the number of people he learned from. The number of books show roles of women that transmitted Islamic knowledge.

In the West/Hindu/ Chinese civilizations they lack biographies of women personalities, you don’t know much about them, contemporary women we do have biographies. At the time of the prophet pbuh out of 9000 companions of the prophet there is a whole section on women, Ibn Hajar pbuh gathered biographies of the prophets pbuh companions.

In Conclusion

The sheikh concludes the lecture by stating that we should not approach this topic in an apologetic manner to the reason to why feminism occurred and that they want to wipe out any difference between men and women in the west as a reaction to the extreme treatment they had before when they weren’t considered full humans.

What’s interesting is the number of books the sheikhs cites, as i stated the lecture was conducted a number of years ago so keep in mind the context to that point. I’ve included the link to the lecture, It’s in 6 parts with a short q&a at the end, the audio is poor due to it being old but as i stated earlier he was a ahead of his time on topics that are relevant today. Allah protect and preserve him.

Click here for the full lecture – Understand Feminism

Zainab bint Younis – 10 Things I Learned from my Ex

10-things-i-learned-from-my-ex

Taken from aboutislam.net website – http://aboutislam.net/family-society/husbands-wives/10-things-learned-ex/

Whether it’s sprung on you suddenly, or it’s been creeping up on you for a while; whether it’s something you needed for yourself or something you never wanted… divorce is a difficult experience to go through. It is a painful process with a deep emotional toll, and for many, it can (understandably) be the source of a great deal of anger and bitterness towards one’s ex-spouse.

However, prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us that there’s always a silver lining to even the darkest of clouds in our lives.

“How amazing is the affair of the believer! Verily, all his affairs are good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good befalls him, he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him, he is patient and that is good for him.” (Saheeh Muslim #2999)

In the months after my divorce, both celebrating and mourning the end of a chapter of my life, I realized that my marriage and divorce alike were a learning experience. To that end, I offer the following ten things I learned from my ex-husband.

1) I am beautiful. When I first got married, I was both incredibly young and crippling insecure about myself. For the longest time, I had been a tomboy and a late bloomer; by the time I hit my mid-teens, I was already insecure about how I looked.

It took quite a bit of convincing from my then-husband for me to eventually believe that I was, in fact, pretty – and more than that, beautiful. Marriage gave me the freedom to explore aspects of beautification that I had avoided out of awkwardness, and to develop positive self-image. I will always appreciate and be grateful for the fact that my ex was the one who coaxed me out of my shell and made me comfortable with myself.

2) Being flawed doesn’t make you evil. By the time I recognized that my marriage was toxic, I had come to resent my then-husband. Often, I conflated his flaws and faults with him as a person, and had some very unpleasant things to say about him. It was a struggle to realize and remember that he wasn’t evil; he had his own inner demons and baggage that he was wrestling with, and while it didn’t excuse his behavior, it didn’t mean that he was all bad. It just made him painfully human… like me.

3) Just because it isn’t true love, doesn’t mean it isn’t love. I spent a great deal of time conflicted over the nature of my feelings for him. As his wife, wasn’t I supposed to be truly in love with him? How could I think that I loved him, when I knew that I wasn’t going to be spending the rest of my life with him?

While we grow up hearing about how we’ll meet our one true love, nobody really tells you that sometimes, you’ll find yourself loving someone who isn’t your one true love… and that’s okay. Allah has put you in that situation for a reason, and it is very often a blessing. There are many more types and shades of love than we are taught, and it is a blessing to experience them.

4) Unrequited love is painful even for the one who doesn’t love you back. Perhaps one of the worst feelings I ever experienced was knowing that he loved me more than I loved him in return. It was brutal, it was harsh, and it made me feel like the worst person on earth. It’s the unrequited lover who usually gains everyone’s sympathy – the story of Barirah and Mughith is quite apt – but to know that you aren’t the right person for the one who loves you with all his (or her) heart, is an incredibly painful feeling, especially when you do care about them deeply.

5) Remember the good, not just the bad. There’s an infamous hadith that mentions women who become so upset that they forget the good that has happened to them. Having been in a situation where it was tempting – and easy – to overlook the bright spots in favor of brooding on the dark times, I can say that gratefulness to Allah goes a long way in healing painful hurts.

Even in deeply unhappy situations, there can still be moments of small happiness, little joys and pleasant memories; things to think back to and smile about (even if that smile is a little sad). Don’t let the bitterness completely overcome the traces of sweetness left.

6) You don’t stop caring just because you’re divorced. My marriage ended slowly and agonizingly, and my divorce was painful… to be horribly honest, it was probably worse for him than it was for me. Yet although I was elated and relieved to be divorced, I wasn’t able to stop caring for him entirely.

After years of being together, of a relationship that was unique despite its turbulence, it’s impossible to just throw out the feelings of tenderness and compassion and to feel apathetic. Even though we are Islamically non-mahram to each other and will have minimal contact for the rest of our lives, there will always be a part of me that worries about him and hopes that he will be really, truly happy. The heart doesn’t have an on/off switch, so don’t expect it to.

7) Don’t be tempted. Some nights, when you wake up suddenly in the middle of the night and roll over in search of a warm, comforting body, you’ll realize with a lurch that they aren’t there anymore.

Some days, you’ll find yourself daydreaming about what if… what if you went back and things would change? What if you want to stay in touch with him/her and you’ll find that s/he’s not so bad, after all? Don’t go there. In many cases (I would venture to say most), the person you divorced is going to be the same person they were when you were married. Unless you both actively choose and commit to try again, with marriage counseling and a firm decision to resolve the issues that caused your marriage to end in the first place, don’t be tempted to fantasize about Happily Ever After, with the same person. Instead, trust in Allah that He will give you both what you actually need.

8) Toxic relationships are real. Unfortunately, few of us learn about – or how to identify – toxic relationships in the many lectures and books we’ll devour prior to marriage. However, it is something necessary to learn about, in order to be aware of unhealthy behavioral patterns that may emerge in your marriage, whether it’s coming from you or from your spouse. It doesn’t matter what cultural background you’re from, toxic relationships are real and can become worse – even abusive – if not recognized and dealt with as soon as possible.

Some people conflate sabr (patience) with enduring an unhealthy marriage without striving for resolution or positive change, but the Qur’an describes the marital bond as being one of love, mercy, and compassion. A marriage that lacks these qualities can be detrimental to one’s Imaan (faith), and should not be left to fester.

divorce-heart9) It won’t always end well. Sometimes, even if we really want to have the kind of amicable divorce where everyone conducts themselves with politeness and respect and maybe even friendly cooperation… it’s not so easy for the other party to share that vision – and sometimes, it’s just impossible.

Whether you’re the one who initiated the divorce or the one who received the news of it, the pain and inner torment of it all can be too much to shelve away neatly and go on as though none of it matters. Some of us are able to acknowledge our emotions and move on, and some of us aren’t. It can get nasty, it can get even more painful, but at the end of the day, we have to realize that as much as it would be much more convenient for things to go smoothly between you and your former spouse… it just might never reach the point of being an amicable divorce.

Once again, this is a time to turn to Allah and make du’a for the other person (even if we really, really don’t like them right now) that He ease their pain and yours.

10) Divorce can make you a better person. The struggles – and the good times – that you shared with your ex-spouse all took place for a reason. Allah tests those whom He loves, and divorce is just one of those trials and tribulations in life that we can emerge from as stronger Muslims and better people.

Not only are we given the opportunity to turn to Allah with a broken heart and find healing in the Words of al-Shaafi, the Healer, but we are now equipped with life skills that will help us recognize our own faults and shortcomings. We are also, inshaAllah, better able to understand and empathize with the ex-spouse, which is an excellent reminder of the importance of humbleness and forgiveness (and how hard they both are to truly embody).

Divorce is undoubtedly a difficult, unpleasant life experience and there’s no way to really put a positive spin on it… but there are ways to recognize the blessings that accompany every fitnah in life and to benefit from them, knowing them to be a part of the journey to Jannah, inshaAllah.

{Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you?} (Qur’an 2:214)

A Muslim Guy’s Take On The Muslim Marriage Crisis

An interesting and thoughtful take on the Muslim marriage crisis affecting the Muslims of the west, especially those who pursue their career over other aspects of their life.

Gingerbeardman

From middle-path.come blog –  https://middle-path.com/2016/09/13/a-muslim-guys-take-on-the-muslim-marriage-crisis/

So recently I was surfing through the net and came across various articles on what many have termed as the “Muslim Marriage crisis”, which, for those of you who don’t know, is a growing phenomenon of marriageable age Muslims in the West who are increasingly finding it difficult to search for compatible marriage partners in what many perceive to be a lack thereof.

This phenomenon has specifically affected our Muslim sisters the most as there is an ever increasing number of highly educated and successful Muslim women in their late 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s who are intelligent, beautiful, and financially independent, holding down professional careers on their own; all qualities which should make them attractive prospects for Muslim men, yet they make up the great majority of the demographic affected by the Muslim Marriage crisis.

Why is that the case? Many have suggested that it’s due to a lack of equally qualified Muslim men, or that Muslim men are intimidated by outspoken and, what they view as “overly qualified” Muslim women who were raised to think independently in a society that espouses individualism, and thus avoid proposing to them all together and instead go abroad to their home countries where they marry “submissive” women who are still in their youthful prime. Many also believe that Muslim men marrying outside their faith (which Islamically is allowed as long as it’s with a chaste Christian or Jewish woman) is only exacerbating the crisis by depriving single Muslim women of potential spouses and decreasing the already small pool of available Muslim men.

As a Muslim guy, I do believe it’s unfair to pin the entire blame for this marriage crisis on to us men as we Muslims must avoid generalizing one another if we are going to get anywhere in terms of finding a solution.

However that does not mean I am absolving Muslim men of the consequences of their actions which have contributed to the marriage crisis and thus I will address that which applies and I will rebuke that which is generalisation at best.

It is true that in the West significant numbers of Muslim men are marrying outside their faith. And I say “significant” because even though it might not seem like it to some, however in comparison to the crisis at hand it is a game changer as the disparity between the number of available single Muslim women and single Muslim men is very large and increasing. For every one Muslim man marrying a non-Muslim woman, there is one more Muslimah who loses a chance of finding a Muslim husband.

Of course, many brothers will view this as an attack on their right to marry women of the Book and in response will say “oh, but Islam permits Muslim men to marry women of the book”. And I’m not suggesting that marrying chaste women of the book is haram because obviously what Allah (SWT) made permissable none can declare haram. However Muslim men must understand the repercussions of their individual choice to marry outside their religion and how this puts Muslim women at a disadvantage since Islam does not permit a Muslimah to marry outside her faith, thus leaving these sisters struggling to find a spouse.

Another point that ties into the above is that today’s “women of the book” are not the same as the women of the book from the time of RasulAllah (SAW) who dressed and conducted themselves no differently from Muslim women, like guarding their chastity and wearing hijab like loose garments. But since the sexual “revolution” and the three waves of Feminism in the West, where Christians are the majority, a chaste woman is now looked upon as being “sexually repressed” and pre-marital sex and sexual promiscuity is widely encouraged for both genders in every Western country. A single Muslim woman of any age group is still far more likely to be chaste and God fearing compared to today’s “women of the book” whom so many Muslim men marry (or get into illicit relationships with). And since we Muslim men make a big fuss about virginity to our Muslim sisters I think it’s very hypocritical that we then run to tie the knot with non-Muslim women who are more likely to have a promiscuous past.

Also, since the advent of Feminism in the West, men are no longer the sole heads of household with women now holding an equal or greater sway over family affairs such as the religion (or lack thereof) of their children. So in the present context where these factors now come into play, interfaith marriages between Muslim men and today’s “women of the book” are strongly discouraged even by some Muslim scholars due to the greater likelihood of the offspring not having a strong Islamic identity. Thus it is safe to conclude that from the perspective of the Muslim community’s long term interest it is better for Muslim men to marry women from within their own community.

Brothers need to understand that there is nothing wrong with marrying an older Muslimah as long as she is pious, practicing, and God fearing. It’s not fair to our 25 and older sisters that they should be condemned to a life of lonliness due to their age  but these sisters must also be more open to marrying someone younger than them because there are brothers out there who are willing to marry older and much more mature Muslimahs but often get turned down because of their age as well. So it is a two way street which will require compromise from both sides.

Coming to the other point regarding Muslim men being “intimidated” by professional Muslim women and thus avoid proposing to them, I believe this is a nonsensical claim. This might be true for some men, but overall this notion is completely false and I’ll explain why in the following:

Saying that Muslim men are somehow “intimidated” is to imply that they are inherently weak or too cowardly to take up the challenge of marrying a “strong”, “independent”, and “outspoken” (in the Western sense) Muslim woman which again is completely untrue.

Men, on the contrary, don’t view any such woman who gives priority to her professional life as a potential wife/mother because there is no way such a woman will be able to juggle between full time work as a professional and fulfilling her obligations as a wife and mother (if/when she has children). Either she will have to give up her professional life as a career woman to make time for having and raising children (which will require all of her time and effort) or she will have to forgoe marriage. No practicing Muslim man wants his children raised by nannies and daycares. In Islam, the purpose of getting married and building a family is to bond with one another and to help each other become better Muslims and raise a whole new generation of Muslim children instilled with Taqwa, NOT replace one another with complete strangers nor to be part time parents. Today many of our sisters have been duped into believing that they can live the single life of a career woman while also being a wife and mother. This is in fact out of touch with reality. The traditional role of a father and husband has always been that of the protector and maintainer of the family, which is even clearly stated in the Quran (4:34). And Muslim men are still expected to fulfill this role, but Muslim women no longer feel obligated to fulfill their role as devoted mothers and wives but would rather chase the life of a career woman in order to compete with men in the job market under the false notion of “gender equality”, even to the detriment of their own offspring should they have any. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a Muslimah holding down a professional career, but if it’s getting in the way of raising her children to be practicing Muslims of good character, then from the point of view of Islam’s long term interests as well as her individual well being both in this Dunya as well as the Akhira it is better for her to reduce her work days (if possible) or quit her job all together if necessary, because the children are the priority and as their mother only she is biologically well tuned to raising them and indoctrinating them with the Islamic way of life. No one else, not even the father can fulfill the role of the mother, which is why the father must do his part as the breadwinner of the family (Quran, 4:34).

Coming to the notion that there is a “lack” of “qualified” Muslim men, here too I strongly disagree. But before I explain my reason for disagreeing I believe it is very important to define what “qualified” means from the perspective of the sisters pushing this notion: their definition of “qualified” resembles something out of a Hollywood romantic comedy (or Bollywood if you’re Desi), except its the Muslim version; wherein their Prince charming is young and handsome yet he’s somehow managed to achieve so much success and wealth in his young life but also has all the free time on his hands to give her his undivided attention and make her laugh every second of her life, not to mention he’s religious, faithful, God fearing and extremely pious and has a beard yet he’s liberal enough to allow his wife the freedom to do as she pleases; the so called perfect balance between “Deen and Dunya” as they call it. And if any brother proposing falls short of any of these requirements then he’s considered “under-qualified” or “lacking”. If the brother is religious and God fearing then he’s “too strict” and not “liberal enough”. If he’s liberal then the complaint is that he doesn’t lower his gaze and is “too loose” around other women. If he’s young and still working on building his career then “he’s not making enough” and thus “not financially ready”(after all, someone’s gotta pay for the extravagant wedding so she can impress her friends and relatives, and that’s besides the exorbitant dowry). And if he’s old and accomplished then the complaint is that he’s “too old” and “too consumed” with work to give his wife the quality time she desires. All of this is excluding the separate demands of the parents of these sisters.

So, is there really a lack of “qualified Muslim men”?? Or rather, it’s more likely that these “strong”, “independent”, and “outspoken” single Muslimah’s turned down every decent proposal that came their way either because the brother wasn’t “good enough” or because these sisters wanted to continue to pursue their degrees in order to obtain a professional career, and thus postponed marriage. And after having achieved their professional goals these sisters then will not settle for what they consider “less”. Often times their professional qualifications bring about a superiority complex within them wherein they believe they now deserve Mr Perfect, but become dumbfounded when they realize no Muslim man is proposing to them.

This mountain of demands makes it difficult for the vast majority of young Muslim men who are of working class background to propose to these single sisters because more often than not their proposals are turned down due to failure to meet one or more of the impossible demands made by either the sisters themselves or their family. This leads to a pattern of Muslim men avoiding proposing to these sisters which then contributes to the notion that there is a “lack” of “qualified” Muslim men.

Having surfed through enough articles on this marriage crisis I have noticed a common trend in all of them where the brothers are shamed for marrying younger wives from back home and those doing the shaming will use the example of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s marriage with Khadija (RA) as a weapon against these brothers, yet how many people will shame these “strong”, “independent”, and “outspoken” Muslim women for refusing to marry younger brothers from a lower social class  due to their weak financial status or lack of certain educational qualifications? After all, Khadija (RA) married the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who was illiterate and only earned enough to support himself. Or do the proponents of shaming the brothers conveniently neglect to mention this? if so then why the double standards?

Finally, I would like to address the role of the parents in contributing to this marriage crisis. Many parents raise their children to pursue superficial goals in life and often times postpone their marriages more than necessary until they obtain a certain degree or get a specific job and make a specific salary, wasting their child’s valuable years of vitality and fertility. And when it comes time for marriage, here too the parents will encourage their children to have a long list of superficial demands of what they should seek in potential suitors, leading to the turning down of many decent proposals that come their way.

Unfortunately many Muslims have swallowed the Western Liberal concept of “individualism” hook, line, and sinker wherein they give their individual desires priority over the well being of the Muslim community and its future and no longer feel obligated towards the strengthening and preservation of the Muslim community. And thus today the Muslim Ummah is faced with a barrage of growing problems including the marriage crisis, something that was completely unheard of in the history of Islam.

SISTERS MAGAZINE – HOW TO MOVE HOUSE WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SANITY

Veteran mover Safa Ouhib hands out the hints she has picked up over years of packing and picking up boxes.

moving-boxes

From Sisters-Magazine – How to move house without losing your sanity

It started when I was ten years old.

“It’s been well lived in,” was my mother’s euphemistic description of our new house. This was my first move, and at the age of ten I did not fully understand what she meant. I soon found out – together with the meaning of the term ‘elbow grease’!

However, some of our family’s preparations made the move easier. Wrapping all breakables well, for example, ensured that we arrived at our new home with ornaments and china, if not sanity, intact!

My house moving experience broadened after getting married; my husband and I lived in six different flats in the first four years. Moves sometimes coincided with big projects at university and these were stressful times. Through all that moving, I hope I picked up some useful tips along the way to help you make your move as pleasant as possible.

In advance  

1. Take your move as an opportunity to do a big clear out, donating to charity or recycling where appropriate. It’s annoying and a waste of time and energy to pack and move things that you will end up getting rid of when unpacking in your new house – be ruthless! Start this process well in advance as it always seems to take longer than you’d imagined to pack everything up.

2. Know whether things like curtains, carpets, and light fittings are staying or whether you need to bring or buy your own.

3. Cancel phone and internet contracts well in advance if you have them and arrange for new ones to be set up at your new address. Although it’s worth mentioning that it is usually not possible to set up new contracts until you have actually moved. You may be without internet access for some weeks. If you rely on this, especially if you work from home, think about how you will cope and make alternative arrangements.

4. Collect boxes from supermarkets and DIY or electrical shops as they are often willing to let you take ones in various sizes and strengths. Keep stronger ones for heavier items. Usually the boxes have been flattened and you need to reassemble them yourself using strong tape – layer the tape well. I usually do a few layers on the inside and outside of the box – the last thing you want is your possessions falling out the bottom! Wrap all breakables well and mark boxes clearly as FRAGILE.

5. As you pack, number the boxes and keep an inventory of what went into each box. This way, you pack the items that are used the least and work your way up to those you use frequently – and when you unpack, you will know to start with the highest number and work your way down. Keeping an inventory is especially important if you are moving to a different town or country, so that if a box goes missing or gets damaged, you will be able to remember what the contents were.

6. Decide what each room in your new house is going to be used for and which bedrooms people are going to take. This way you can label boxes accordingly. Consider colour-coding the boxes with stickers or markers – using the colour red for all the boxes that contain kitchen goods, for example. In the new house, place a sticker or page with that colour on the door of the room so that the movers will know which boxes should be placed in which room.

7. Have more boxes, markers and tape than you think you will need. Remember to label the sides of the boxes, not just the tops, as it will be difficult to read the label if other boxes are stacked on top of it.

8. If you have older children involve them in the moving process. They can help to pack their clothes and toys for example. It helps to decide beforehand which bedrooms kids are going to take. I remember my mum drawing a little plan of our new house and we decided who would take each bedroom. This definitely avoided squabbles on moving day.

9. Think about the layout of your new house and plan where bulky items like beds and couches will go, bear in mind that things like the washing machine, computer and phone will probably have to go into pre-existing fixtures.

10. Remember to have phone numbers for your gas and electricity supplier so you can inform them of the move and take meter readings on the day you move out so you will not be billed for any fuel you have not used. Also take meter readings when you move to your new home and phone the relevant suppliers with these.

11. It is useful to have a few frozen meals prepared, transfer them to the new house in a cool box and then put them in the freezer.

12. If your new house is unoccupied, try to arrange for yourself and maybe a few family and friends to go there before the moving day and give it a good clean as this can save valuable time on the day.

On the day  
13. Arrange for younger children to be looked after if possible.

14. Older children may like to stay with friends while the contents of your old house is being packed up. They will almost certainly want to be involved in unpacking at the new house so they are less likely to get bored as the day wears on if they have been doing something else in the morning. Assign older children some age appropriate tasks – they could make a start at unpacking their bedroom or do some cleaning if necessary.

15. Accept all the help you can get! If family and friends are helping out with the move, treat everyone to pizza or whatever else you can buy through take-out, rather than attempting to cook a meal that first day.

16. If you are moving in town, instead of packing clothes into suitcases, simply remove them from the cupboards while still on the hangers, wrap them up in sheets and rehang straight into the wardrobes of your new house. Not only does this save time in packing, it causes few creases and saves you on the subsequent ironing.

Aftermath  
17. Be prepared to live out of boxes for a while. Bear in mind that it will take time to get everything the way you want it (if this ever really happens) and it is normal to feel unsettled. Talk to your kids about this too if they are feeling unnerved by the changes.

We made our last move about six weeks before our son was born. When my husband broke the news that we had to leave our flat, to my shame, I cried. However, we’re still here over two years later, alhamdulillah! And, at the end of the day, experiences like moving house, having to let go of possessions, saying goodbye, are all tests which we can choose to embrace insha Allah. They are, after all, only small challenges on our journey to our real home.

Safa Ouhib is an Irish revert who left her native Dublin after getting married, and spent the next few years moving from flat to flat in Edinburgh. She is now settled in Falkirk, Scotland. She hopes her moving days are not behind her though, as hijrah to Algeria is her next dream move. 

I STOPPED SHAPING MY EYEBROWS WHEN MY HUSBAND DIED

Originally posted by Ruyaya’s Bookshelf blog, http://www.ruqayasbookshelf.com/i-stopped-shaping-my-eyebrows-when-my-husband-died/#.V-eqNWJC-7Y.facebook

colourful-cloth

This piece isn’t really about eyebrows.

When my husband was killed, so many things in my life immediately changed. I had no time to get used to the idea of him being gone. I had no time to really adjust to a new reality. I was thrown, headfirst, into this chaotic and painful hurricane of emotions and events.

At some point a few weeks later, I looked in the mirror and saw that my eyebrows were growing in. Almost instinctively I searched for my tweezers. As I was fumbling around searching for them, I stopped. I don’t know what made me stop, but I did. I looked at myself in the mirror for a second and thought, why am I doing this?

In a hadith that most of us have heard, the Prophet (saw) says, “Allah has cursed the woman who does tattoos and the one who has them done, the woman who plucks eyebrows and the one who has it done, and the one who files her teeth for the purpose of beauty, altering the creation of Allah.”

I had heard this hadith so many times before, but I could never bring myself to stop shaping my eyebrows. I had thought I’d look too disheveled, too unruly and messy.What’s the big deal, I had always thought, it’s just a little hair.

But in the spur of that moment I decided to stop. That was three years ago. (For those wondering, I still have a moderately presentable face.)

This article isn’t really about eyebrows, though. It’s about submission. Submission to Allah and what He asks of us, and what He commands us to do.

For years I didn’t think it was a big deal to shape my eyebrows. Well, more accurately, I just didn’t think about it at all. Period.

Then this big thing happened to me. I lost someone I love very suddenly and very violently. I saw his face in the morgue, still cut and bloodied from when he fell to the ground. I saw how in the span of just mere moments, I went from being a wife to being a widow, from being happy to wanting to jump out of my own skin because of the pain, from being satisfied with my life to questioning everything, and from having my plans all laid out before me to feeling like I had nothing to look forward to.

And when he vanished from my life instantaneously, I came to understand just how fleeting this existence was. I came to understand how much of reality had gone over my head over the past few years when I cared about things. I came to understand that I could also die in one brief flick of time, before I was ever “ready,” before I had made the sacrifices necessary to be greeted with words of peace by good angels and ascend to a place where I would meet the Most High.

I came to understand that nothing, and I mean literally nothing in this world is worth risking my status in the sight of God.

All I wanted, all I prayed for, all I ever cared about in those months after my husband was taken from me was to attain paradise where no more tears would be shed, and no more heartache to cripple me. That’s all I wanted. Nothing else.

So when I looked at myself in the mirror and raised the tweezers to my face, I couldn’t do it. What possible reason could I have to risk gaining sins for something so trivial ashair? Was a little hair on my face really worth the prospect of Allah’s anger? Absolutely not.

You see, when you experience death, when you hold it in your hands and breathe its coppery blood scent, when you bury your loved ones in the ground, so many things worldly desires fall away.

I started to wonder how many other things I was doing while knowing full well that they were wrong. I started wondering how many other principles I was compromising because submission to God wasn’t my priority in life.

I said this article wasn’t about eyebrows, and it’s not. It’s about submission. It’s about obeying God when He commands us to do something or stay away from something – not because it’s easy, but because He is our Lord and Sustainer.

God knows I have many faults and bad habits and lapses in patience. He knows that I struggle to submit, as we all do, to certain obligations and commands. We’re human.

But are we even trying to submit? Do we even notice that He told us to do something, but we’re openly carrying on, doing the exact opposite? Or have we become so entrenched in our habits that we can’t even differentiate right from wrong anymore?

If we would only submit a true submission, we would fulfill the name that He named us: Muslimeen; those who submit. If we refuse to submit, on the big things and on the little things and on the medium things, are we really from those who submit? It’s an important question.

We could die this very instant. And if we did, would we care about whether our (probably too revealing) outfit was on point? Or would we worry whether or not our submission was on point?

I’m afraid for my daughter growing up in this era of social media where women are competing for likes and followers. They compromise their submission to God in order to maintain their numbers and grow their platform. They compromise everything that’s worth anything just to have a competitive edge.

It doesn’t have to be a popular thing to say, but I will say it anyway: we’ve lost sight of the fact that this world is a test, not a runway. We’ve lost sight of the fact that Allah does not look at our bodies, but He looks at our hearts. If we’d only sacrifice as much for Him as we do for our social media accounts, we’d be completely different.

It’s not just social media personalities, though. It’s all of us, every single one of us. We’ve all had moments where we’ve thought crossing a boundary would make us more successful in this world. Some of us have crossed that boundary over and over, some are standing on the precipice, admiring the grass that’s “greener” over there.

Just ask yourself: is this, whatever “this” is in your life, worth risking my spiritual well-being and status in the sight of God?

“Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you,

Until you visit the graveyards…”

(102: 1-2).

May Allah guide us to truly embody the word Muslim by entering a state of mind where we make the conscious choice to submit to Him in every way, no matter how difficult.

– Ruqaya’s Bookshelf