Sunday, November 27, 2016

TALK TO ALLAH. BREAK FREE


 
Let me tell you of someone who is better than your best friend





Those moment when we feel depressed, often for reasons we can't properly explain even, we yearn to talk to someone about how we feel. In those times we feel so low that we desperately want to talk to anyone, anyone who will listen, we forget that we have someone with us all the time, the All Hearing, the One who hears us all the time.

We pour our hearts out to people who hardly pay any attention to us, or even if they do, they will never understand us completely. They may judge us, consider us to be stupid even, but yet, in our desperation to just talk, we are willing to speak our thoughts out to people, forgetting that there is someone out there who understands you so totally because He is the One who created you.

We have a deep secret in our hearts that we don't want to tell anyone but to just get it out of our chest, we confide in people who will sometimes even betray our secrets, forgetting that there is someone out there with whom your secrets are totally safe.

We seek ways out of our problems that we are willing to ask help from people, forgetting that the one who put us in that situation is the only One who can get us out of it. Forgetting that the entire heavens and the earth function by His will and for Him to bring us out of our problem, all it takes is a simple word - "Be" and it is.

We get depressed because we have no sister, no mother, no friend, no family with whom we can talk to freely about - our fears, our wishes, our thoughts, even the most random ones... But you know what? Even if you forget it, there is always someone out there who is watching out for you. The only One who takes care of you and looks after you, even while you are asleep. Your Lord, the Most Compassionate, the most Understanding.

Pour your heart out to Him. Tell Him your secrets. Tell Him what your afraid of. Tell Him about what you want. Tell Him anything and everything. Because He just as we love to be heard, He loves to listen to us. He is the best friend you can ever have. The One who totally understands. The One who knows you inside out. The One who looks after you in those times when you don't look after your own self. Your Lord, the Most Gentle, the Most Kind. The One who is so, so close to you. The One who hears every ache in your heart. Every unsaid feeling. Everything.
 
So what's there to hide from Him? Feel free to talk to Him. And when you do so, feel yourself tearing free of the shackles of this world, your soul rejoicing in confiding with Allah - the One who created you.

 
Allah hears. Allah knows. Allah understands.


"And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein"
Quran 50:16
 
 

 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

GUEST POST: A NIQABI FROM SRI LANKA

 
A sister from Sri Lanka, who preferred to remain anonymous, shares her beautiful story on how she started wearing her Niqab. "I tell you until now, I have never regretted my choice but I'm always satisfied with what I choose for my self." Continue reading this lovely story together with some truly inspirational tips for future Niqabis.
 
 
 
GUEST POST
 
I come from a middle class Srilankan muslim family, so obviously I have been brought up in an Islamic background with proper guidance as how to live according to teachings of Prophet Muhammad (sal) and obey Almighty Allah (swt). In matters of clothing, food, manners, it was all Islamic. But Niqab was not a part of our life. In fact it used to be seen as a thing destined only for high class people.
 
From my experience and observation I could tell that niqab is very common in Colombo and Kandy (two leading towns in Srilanka). But as for me, I come from a place not so fond of niqab. And it isn't something you can do just because you want to; you're going to have so many problems and inquiries. Niqab isn't part of the people's life in my area and if I still choose to cover, I would be singled out.
 
These were the dilemmas I had at the time. I thought over and over. I just loved it from the bottom of the heart. In fact, I schooled in one of the towns I mentioned, where niqab was very common and most of my friends wore. I was inspired, but couldn't figure out if I should proceed with my desire or shouldn't.
 
I consulted my parents and brothers at the beginning of every year but the reply was a definite "NO". Everyone had a reason to deny me the opportunity. They thought it might cause problems, I might find it difficult physically and many more. Even if I somehow manage to get past them, I had my immediate family questioning me. So it was one of the very troubled times I had in life.
 
But two years back, on a Ramadan, I made my decision that I was going to cover, prayed Isthihara and asked Almighty to grant me that which is better for me and I started wearing. الحمدلله it all worked perfectly fine.
 
Though my parents didn't like it fully, they didn't object. They were worried I might get into trouble when I travel, meet people, etc. But wallahi, I tell you until now, I have never regretted my choice but I'm always satisfied with what I choose for my self.
 
I tell you, Sri Lanka is a great country, May Allah (swt) keep it blessed forever. So far, I have not come across any oppression. Non Muslims though not very fond of it, didn't have any problem seeing me wear it, all praise is to Almighty.
 
As for those who are in a dilemma whether or not to wear the niqab:
 
  1. Pray Isthihara and ask Almighty who has knowledge over the seen and the unseen, to grant you the sense to make the right decision ahead and plead Him to shower His Rahmath and Barakath on it. Intention counts, so we should proceed ahead only with the intention of pleasing Him and gain merits.
  2. Consult the righteous slaves of Allah (swt). Parents are very concerned about our wellbeing and may not allow in the beginning, thinking that this would be a hindrance. But explain to them humbly that you are capable of managing. 
  3. Be persistent in your decision. People may try to pull you down but stay confident upon your decision. You're doing it for the sake of Allah (swt). What can be any better than a good deed done to gain His pleasure? 
  4. If people start calling you nicknames, just don't mind it. It isn't worth minding; you have got better things to do.
 
Is niqab a barrier to education?
 
Definitely no! People have a stereotyping that niqab is an oppression, but from my personal experience, I am totally against that. I would tell "Niqab liberates". Because when you cover, you aren't known for your beauty but for your intellect. That's more important, isn't it?
 
And there comes the matter of security. Yes, I am concerned about my security as much as everyone else. When the need arises to show our face as a means of identification to officers in charge, I would tell it's ok to abide by the law.
 
الحمد لله I am Proud to be a Niqabi.
 
Believe in Allah (swt)and trust in His decisions- better things will start treading in your life. Doing things for the sake of Him and leaving some things for His sake will definitely bring success in your life.
 
With love,
 
_slaveofAlmighty
 
 
Note: If you would like to share your Hijab or Niqab stories or experiences, send us an email on niqablovers@gmail.com and share your story to inspire Muslimahs all over!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

THE WOES OF A BESPECTACLED NIQABI




I don't know what I would do without my favourite Niqab - the same one I've been wearing for years now. Yes I know, it seems Eww-ish but you know, when you get attached to something, it's rather hard to pull yourself away. But mind you, I wash my Niqab very often so there's nothing too Eww-ish about it after all (I guess?)
Anyway, my favourite Niqab can also turn out to make me look like an utterly goofy Niqabi sometimes, particularly seeing as I am a bespectabled Niqabi. What's the big deal with that, you may ask? Well honestly, there's no big deal. It's actually a small deal that I'm trying to make a big deal of so I have something to write about :D
 
Here's the small deal:

 
The Misting
 
I know, I know, 'The Misting' sounds so mysterious but here's the issue. When wearing the spectacles over the Niqab (or in my case, the Niqab over the spectacles - I'll come to that), when I breathe heavily, it starts misting all over my glasses. So I try to wipe my glasses from the front and then slither my fingers under my spectacles, careful not to pull or push my Niqab, and by the time my fingers actually make it this far, voila! the mist would already have disappeared. 
 
So all in all, the misting isn't that big a deal at all. It lasts for what- 5 seconds? See how small a deal this is?

 
Niqab over the specs or vice versa?
 
I wear my spectacles first and then tie my Niqab over that. It's far easier than what my mother does. She gets all ready, waiting for the vehicle to come and when it finally does and all of us have gone past the door, she frantically starts searching for her Niqab (much to the annoyance of my father) and then haphazardly pushes her spectacles through the tiny slit of her Niqab. The final effect? A lop sided Niqab and an equally lop sided pair of glasses. My mother never learns.
 
So take my advice here. Always, always wear your Niqab over your spectacles. And make sure your Niqab has a wide slit so it wouldn't be too tight. Then, position your Niqab correctly and tie it. That's it. The Niqab tutorial!!!

 
The Niqab-Spectacle Shower
 
What if you happen to be a bespectacled Niqabi out in the rain and the rain starts hitting your glasses, making everything blurry? Well obviously there is no windshield for spectacles (hang on a second, I'll Google that)
 
OH MY GOD, THEY ACTUALLY HAVE THAT! Check this out guys, it's called the Wiper Glasses http://www.hawkin.com/wiper-glasses
So if you wouldn't mind looking silly with these, then buy it. Otherwise, you could, of course, simply take off your spectacles in the rain. You can't see clearly with all the rain anyway so might as well just be un-spectacled for a little... 
 
This small issue is faced by non-Niqabis as well so it all comes down to this - it's really no big issue at all.
 
I've been wearing spectacles since I was twelve and I started wearing my Niqab one year after that. So being a bespectacled Niqabi for a good 10-odd years, I think that's all the woes I can really think of. Any bespectacled Niqabis out there, can you think of any more?
 
So what am I getting at with this post? Wearing spectacles with the Niqab isn't any more difficult that wearing spectacles without the Niqab. It's actually really easy and honestly, I'm kind of glad to be wearing it with my Niqab because, ummmm, it's swag yo.... :D
 

*       *        *

 
I hope you enjoyed this post In sha Allah. Just thought of writing something a bit different on the blog for a change. If you want to have a good laugh, go read this LOL-worthy post by my sister. It has some awesome GIFs as well so do check it out- 5 Things You Need To Know About Niqabis
 
And if there are any bespectacled Niqabis who find it annoying to wear specs with the Niqab, just want to tell you that if it's difficult, Allah knows what you're going through. If He forgives our sins for a small thorn prick, do you think He is not going to reward you for your difficulty, even if it's a small one. So this small deal can actually be a big deal for us on the Day of Judgement In sha Allah when we see the rewards for it :) See, this post might be worth it after all!
 
If you have any ideas or suggestions for what I should post about next, leave a comment below or email me on niqablovers@gmail.com
 
 
 

Friday, October 21, 2016

DEALING WITH ANXIETY, SOLACE IN SUJOOD




I read a post a few months back about a sister who, like me, was having some anxiety attacks and the post, SubhanAllah was so relateable. Two years ago, if someone were to tell me that I was going to be having anxiety issues I would have laughed and said ,"Me? You've got the wrong person". But Allah works in strange ways. I thought I was emotionally very strong but the past year has proved otherwise.
 
A lot of people might not understand someone who has anxiety issues. I've read that only those with anxiety can understand someone else with anxiety. It's not a disorder that happens because you're too weak or fragile. It could happen to anyone and there's really no reason that could trigger it in the first place. The first panic attack I had came a few minutes after I did some intense cardio workouts after stuffing myself with extra servings of Lasagne ;) Maybe I over-exerted myself that night but all the panic attacks I've had since then have been random. One moment I'm perfectly fine and the next second, I'm doubling over with a panic attack. 
 
In January, my father was really unwell and he had to be rushed to the emergency unit and then when I thought I'd really have a panic attack, I didn't. Another day when I was doing the dishes, I just had to give it up because of a sudden panic attack. That's how unpredictable it is.
 
Anyway, I've been improving over the last few months and Alhamdulillah. I've gone for nearly six months without a panic attack. It's a relief but I keep thinking, 'What if I get it again?'
  
I read a sister who was telling how amazing it is that when you get a panic attack, your body just doubles over and all you want to do is bend down in Sujood and that's the only comfortable position and SubhanAllah, that night I really understood what she meant.

So, two weeks ago at night, I started feeling nauseous and I was pretty sure an anxiety attack was going to come and naturally, I freaked out. I didn't want to tell my mother because she'd stop me from going to swimming classes and I didn't want that.
 
I was praying Isha and I was feeling a little light-headed, nauseous and palpitating- sure signs of an impending panic attack. So on my last Rakah, I went down on Sujood and just stayed there. I didn't recite anything or even move my lips in Duaa. All I did was just bow down in Sujood and I felt sooo at ease. It's really difficult to explain how it was.... My breathing slowed down and I was feeling so calm. Just to bow to Allah and know that even if your lips don't move, Allah understand what your heart is saying. It's amazing. 
 
We feel so at ease lying down on our mother's lap and Allah, Who loves us 70 times more, to prostrate to Him and feel the weight of your problems being lifted is beyond amazing. In Sujood, the soul finds what it craves for which is closeness to Allah and really, at that point, I realized exactly what this verse from the Quran means:

"Unquestionably, in the remembrance of the hearts do finds find rest"

The moment I lifted my head from Sujood, the anxiety had gone. There was still a bit of a headache but Alhamdulillah, I was feeling so much better!
 
Oh Allah, to have you as my Lord, to be able to talk to you so freely, that's freedom. To express everything I feel to Al Khabeer, the One who is aware of even the tiniest things and more than that, to talk to Al Mujeeb- the One who never fails to respond- is a relief, a comfort and an assurance. Thank You, my Lord for being there for me, for holding me up each time I slipped, for bringing me back to You again and again and again, for forgiving and overlooking me despite my sins, for watching over me every second of the day, for caring for me and for just being there for me. It's all the strength I ever need.

"And in Sujood, the heart found what it lost"
 
 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

WHY IS ALLAH ALLOWING MUSLIMS TO SUFFER?




We see what's happening in Syria, Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and to rest of the Muslim Ummah and it's distressing. It really is and sometimes, it's hard for us to console ourselves. We wonder when it's going to stop and why it's even happening. Seeing pictures of helpless fathers holding the body of their little baby, children crying over the dead body of their mother, infants, barely months old bleeding to death. We can hardly bear a prick on our hands and here, those kids are suffering so much. It's unfair, we think.
 
I tell you this because I've had these thoughts running around my head like why Allah is allowing the oppresses to kill His servants. 
 
Only today, I was reflecting on this verse from Surah Aal Imran, verse 18:
Allah bears witness that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge - [that He is] maintaining [creation] in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
So you see, there is never an instance, even a split second in which Allah does injustice to His creation. Find this difficult to accept? Would you believe your mother if she told you she loved you? Then believe your Lord, the Most Truthful, when He not only says but also bears witness to the fact that He maintains justice. And who's testimony do we need other than Allah's?
 
The thing is we are quick to judge everything on the apparent and we fail to delve deeper into it. The oppressors, whether they are the president of a country, an army or even an individual person, if they do injustice, if they kill someone without any right and oppress them, do you think that Allah is going to let them be? Never.
 
And do you think that those who are oppressed, the innocent men, women and children are going to suffer without an end? Of course not.
 
For the oppressors, they are deluded by their wealth, influence and power and they forget that a day is soon going to come when they will meet their Lord and when that time comes, do you think Allah who loves us more than even or own mother is going to let them be? Impossible.
 
When they meet their death and they definitely will, they are going to be questioned by Allah for every single soul they killed, for every square inch of land they stole, for everything they robbed from the people. They laughed after inflicting harm on the Muslims and on the Day of Judgement, they will burn in the fire again and again. Never can they get away from that. They had all the influence in the world and helpers left right and center but who will come to their rescue on the Day of Judgement? No one. And on top of that, when Allah will ask them if they enjoyed any pleasure in the world, what will they say? Nothing. They enjoyed no pleasure because the horrors of the Day of Judgement is such that mankind will forget every pleasure of this world.
Isn't this justice my brothers and sisters? This is Allah's justice.
And as for those who were oppressed, whether they are dead or living today in Syria, Palestine, Kashmir, Yemen, Afghanistan or anywhere else in this world, they have been killed for the simple reason that they are Muslims right? They sacrificed their life for Allah and do you think Allah is going to deprive them of life?
Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision. (Quran 3: 169)
When they return to Allah, they will be under the care of Allah enjoying, receiving provision and rejoicing. As for those who are suffering at the hands of the tyrants, know that soon Allah will give you relief. With Allah, you have a guaranteed and perfect future, In sha Allah. For every pain you endured, Allah will increase your rank in Jannah and give you pleasures that will make you forget everything you suffered in this world. If Allah were to ask you in Jannah if you suffered any difficulty, you would certainly say that you never ever suffered. The pleasures of Jannah is such that it will make you forget any difficulty you endured here.
Isn't this justice my brothers and sisters? This is Allah's justice.
 
It might not be in the way we expect it to be but it will be the best justice and the most deserving justice.
 
So be among those people of knowledge who bears witness to the fact that Allah maintains justice with His creation.
 
Allah bears witness that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge - [that He is] maintaining [creation] in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.

Laa ilaha illahuwa al Azeez al Hakeem.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

MY THOUGHTS ON "HIJABI PLAYBOY"

With each passing day, the state of the Ummah is becoming very worrying. The concept of modesty is diminishing  so fast and just a few days back, I came across this video about a woman who was naked and her body paint was actually a t-shirt and a trouser so it looked like she was properly dressed. The first thing that came to my mind was this: 
 
As one of the minor signs before the Day of Judgment, Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) mentioned: “There will be women who will be dressed but they will be naked".
 
Most of you must have read about the Hijabi who posed for Playboy. Yes, in a way, the world needs to know that the Hijab doesn't subjugate women or that Hijabis are not oppressed. I mean, I really don't have to go into that topic because most of you must be sick with it already. My point is that we need to let the world know that Hijab is our right but if they aren't willing to accept it, what do we do?
 
a) Go to extremes and stop at nothing to let people know that the Hijab is our right
 
or
 
b) Simply stop is there and ignore the backlash because people who are intent on not understanding will never understand anyway.
 
While I would certainly choose the latter and ignore the haters, Noor Tagouri clearly pushed it waaay too much.
 
No- I'm not going to write an entire article criticizing her. You see, that's the fault with this Ummah. If there is a problem, we don't go down to the root of it but rather, we take it out on social media and the end result- everyone sees Muslims as a divided group of people. Nour made a point in her interview- "I know what it's like to have the narrative of our community be skewed and exploited in the media. I was like, 'Hey, I know what it’s like to be misrepresented in the media. I won't do that to you. I want to tell your story because it’s important and deserves justice'."
 
But the thing is, I don't agree with the platform she chose to explain her views. Playboy we all know, is a porn magazine and no Muslim women deserves to be associated with it. And no Muslim man either because porn is disgusting and vile and even if we sneak those magazines and read it when no one's watching, remember Allah watches over you. So fear Him.
 
The word "Hijab" and "Playboy" are worlds apart and seeing it associated together is honestly shameful. Playboy has been objectifying women as sexual objects and the Hijab is the total opposite of it where women who wear the Hijab are being covered and protected from being sexualized. You get the point here?
 
So Nour, if you're reading there is just one thing to be reflected on- On the Day of Judgement when Allah asks you why you agreed to pose for Playboy, what would the reply be? Think about it.
And brothers and sisters- please let's stop insulting her. Whether what she did was right or wrong, the only thing we can do is advise her and not insult her. 
 
Once again, I don't want people thinking that I agree with the whole Playboy Hijabi thing- I don't of course- but my point here is that as a Ummah, we are divided already. Don't get into social media debates and give reason for people to laugh at us even more. 
 
 

Monday, August 29, 2016

DEALING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA





I'll just break right in to it- it's a terrible time to be living in. Islamophobia is just getting out of control and the news has been just so shocking.

For one, 3 young Muslims were asked to get off a plane and were questioned for about one hour just because they had Arabic text on their phones! Then there was this pre schooler who mispronounced cucumber as "cooker bomb" threatened with counter terrorism. A child for god's sake who hardly knows to even pronounce words yet! What's the world coming to? Oh and just so if you don't believe all these, you can check the news here:

 


Then of course, the trending news on social media about French officials who demanded a woman to remove her burkini in the beach. 

And oh dear, the hate comments on Twitter, Facebook, etc. There was this time when I used to get all riled up when someone insulted me on Twitter but it has become such a norm that I've gotten so used to it. If there's one thing I've learnt, it's that people who talk utterly disrespectfully, then no amount of talking, showing proof and resources, nothing at all is going to change them. There's only one way to deal with hate and that's what the Quran teaches us. In these times where Islamophobia is hitting an all-time high, this is a great time for us to show the world the real beauty of Islam and the message of peace. 
 
And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace - Quran 25:63
 
I know that sometimes when the insults get too much to bear, you might want to vent your anger out but know that people judge Islam by Muslims so if you speak harshly, that's how they are going to label the entire religion as a whole. It's not a personal matter of letting your anger out. Look at the bigger picture- if you do so, you're tarnishing the name of Islam itself.

So how do you deal with all the hate and insults? 

"You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allah - indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of determination" - Quran 3:186

 
It's amazing how perfectly Allah has arranged this verse. It's a reality- all of us will be tested at some point and all of us will have to deal with Islamophobia. Sometimes from our own families and friends and that can be unbearably hurtful. So how can we deal with it?
 
Allah says it most beautifully in just 2 words: Sabr and Taqwa. The abuse and hurtful comments are really difficult and sometimes, all we want to do is scream but at this time, we have to be patient, no matter how tough it may be. Swallow up your anger, bite down on your frustration and be patient for the sake of Allah. 
 
The next is Taqwa. We cannot exercise Sabr if we don't have Taqwa because if there's one thing that can force us to be patient, it's the fear of Allah.
 
Remember that even the Prophets weren't spared of this. They were hurt on the basis of Deen so be patient over all this and fear Allah in how to react or respond to hurtful comments; otherwise, we will end up being the oppressor.
Secondly, stop going for debates. If someone asks a question decently, respond decently. Otherwise, just ignore them because in most cases, talking will do no good. And no matter how hard it may seem at that time, make silent Duaa to Allah to guide that person to Islam. If Umar Radhiyallahu anhu who came to kill Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu alaihi wasallam could become such a devout supporter of the Prophet, then surely guiding anyone, no matter how wrong they are is easy for Allah.
 
And while I'm at it, just because of a few shallow minded Islamophobes, don't generalize everyone. There are so many wonderful people out there as well. Treat everyone well because what Islamophobes say and insult, it's a sin they should bear and if you insult them in the same way, what difference is there between us and them?

 
"And not equal are the good deed and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend." [Al Quran 41: 34]



I know, this is really difficult sometimes but you know what? It's a test. A test of your Imaan, your character and your values.

Next time you are entangled in an Islamophobic mess, you'll know how to come out of it, In sha Allah, and inspire many people along the way as well.