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Love Is The Cure: An Ode To Faith And Mental Health

14 May, 2022 - 17:10

Yerusalem Work delivers a speech about faith and mental health and recites an original poem entitled “Love is the Cure” at This Is My Brave in Arlington, VA 2018 at Gunston Theatre One. If you would like to watch the video, click on this link.

Greetings of peace! Assalamu alaikum. Peace be with you. Shalom aleichem. (I think that covers everyone)

Thank you so much! I’m happy to be here. My name is Yerusalem.

 

In the name of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

A Syrian man named Muhammad walked into the photo processing center where I worked in Somerville, MA. He saw me in hijab and wrote his name in cursive on a sheet of paper on the counter. He added a heart at the end of his name.

I explained that I was not officially Muslim, but I wanted to practice. He brought me a copy of the Qur’an in which the translator wrote in the foreword that one day even hell will cool. This idea appeals to me, because God is merciful. I can’t imagine eternal punishment. Still, I did not want to take my shahadah in light of the five daily prayer commitment. I expected immense guilt if I missed just one Fajr, the early morning prayer. The self-absorbed neurosis of Jewish guilt does not compare to how I feel about the many ways I do not meet up to the noble ideals of Islam. But, I try. I dust off my prayer rug and begin again.

This Syrian man took me to his mosque in Boston where I met with the Imam, who asked me why I wanted to revert to Islam. I confessed that I’m in continual jihad—jihad al-nafs. I want to conquer the self. This jihad is the major one, as the Prophet, peace be upon him, said. My struggle with the self keeps me in constant pursuit of purity, freedom from sin, and it offers me time for personal reflection. I did not take my shahadah in Boston, but I did fast for my first Ramadan.

I wanted to be perfect before I officially entered Islam. I feared not living up to Islamic standards of piety, dress, and I don’t know much Arabic. It was intimidating, yet alluring.

For three weeks, I fasted alone working at the photo lab in Boston. I would break my fast at the Starbucks across the street from work by drinking tea and eating a bagel. I did not hear the recitation of the Qur’an in the evenings, because I take medication at night that makes me drowsy. I can’t stay up late due to health reasons. Although I had no diagnosis at the time, the doctors recommended a mood stabilizer, because I’m extremely emotional. I experience unusually high highs and debilitating low lows in ways that are out of touch with reality. I went to the mosque during Ramadan for a teaching about the purpose of fasting. The teacher said whatever mistakes you make during the beginning of Ramadan don’t matter. All that counts are the last ten days of Ramadan where it will be determined if you go to Jannah (Paradise) or Jahannam (Hell). Those were her words, however accurate or inaccurate.

I stopped fasting the next day, because I thought Islam was too strict. What about three weeks of nothing but bread and water? I feared Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) had not accepted my fast and that it was impossible to please Him. That’s when I became manic and paranoid, so I got diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. My world fell apart, and I sincerely sought a method of redemption, however elusive.

Like Humpty Dumpty, I had a great fall. My life was easy-breezy until my diagnosis, schizoaffective disorder, which makes me a highly effective person. Initially, the discovery was devastating. Why me? Am I so different? But, even if “Things Fall Apart,” faith, family, friends, and community are pieces to the puzzle of life. Medication and therapy are part of recovery. I can only be whole if I allow the pieces to fit together as complicated and intricate as the puzzle—as life—may be. Mental illness doesn’t have to isolate us or leave us fragmented and alienated. Our mission is to stay connected to the people and places that matter most.

One place I return to is the mosque. It’s a community center with lots of opportunities for volunteer work. That’s why I love the saying “the entire earth is a masjid” (Arabic for mosque); it’s a place for prayer and purification.

Despite my battle with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, I am able to share my poetry, my spoken word at the mosque.

Here is a poem for you.

“Love is the cure. Religion became my medicine. Islam is pure. It is contentment. Alhamdulillah. It is gratitude for what Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has given, including the belief in the Qadr of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). It is the prayer that an angel is busy recording our good deeds. It is a period of fasting. It is the moment we say a blessing and hasten to succeed. It is setting the intention to make Hajj. It is listening to Al-Qur’an. It is loving Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) above all. It is strengthening our souls with acts of piety. It is demonstrating our faith in moments of clarity. Reason is the slave of passion according to Rousseau. It is the understanding that we are all philosophers. Each one of us transgress and reestablish our limits. With a merciful, compassionate God, this should not lead to punishment, but discipline. With love, we enter into agreement. With fear, we distance ourselves and set off on separate journeys as the sun sets. Fear Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Don’t be afraid of yourself. Don’t trust yourself ‘til death. Trust Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Until Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is all you have left…” 

Thank you!

 

Related reading:

Redoing My Duas – Mental Illness and Worship

The post Love Is The Cure: An Ode To Faith And Mental Health appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Speaking Truth To Oppression: Shireen Abu Akleh

14 May, 2022 - 04:08

The Israeli assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh is yet another example of Zionist oppression against Palestinians, and especially those who speak truth to power and resist their illegal occupation. Muslims and supporters of Palestine around the world can draw inspiration from her incredible work.

A Palestinian Icon

Shireen Abu Akleh was born on May 3, 1971, in Jerusalem. Her family were Catholic Arab Palestinian Christians from the holy city of Bethlehem. In an interview shortly before her death, she described herself as a “product of Jerusalem.” 

When Shireen’s mother migrated to New Jersey, Shireen obtained U.S. citizenship during the 70’s and 80’s. She spent time in the US when she was younger and often visited America during the summer months. Shireen herself grew up in Jerusalem where she graduated from the Catholic Rosary Sisters’ High School before moving to Amman, Jordan for university.

She initially studied architecture at the University of Science and Technology before switching to study journalism at Yarmouk University. When she returned to Palestine she worked with a variety of agencies including UNRWA and the Voice of Palestine radio station. She later joined Al Jazeera in 1997 and quickly became a household name as she covered the second Palestinian intifada from 2000-2005. Journalist Muhammad Daraghmeh, a close friend of hers who teaches at Birzeit University in the West Bank, said Abu Akleh was “one of the strongest journalists in the Arab world.” 

Brutal Assassination

Early Wednesday morning, according to Al Jazeera, Shireen was reporting on the Israeli military raid of the Jenin refugee camp with three other journalists. Her last correspondence sent to her colleagues at Al Jazeera was “There’s a raid in Jenin. We are heading there now. We will let you know.”

Shatha Hanaysha, one of the four total journalists who went to report on the scene, said, “We were going to film the Israeli army operation and suddenly they shot us without asking us to leave or stop filming.”  

Abu Akleh was shot in the face. She was rushed to a hospital in Jenin in critical condition, where she was declared dead shortly after, according to the Palestinian health ministry. She was murdered in cold blood, in her press vest, by the Israeli Occupation Forces.

Standing Firm Against Oppression

In the Quran, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) reveals in Surat al-Nisa:

 “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allāh, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allāh 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 Allāh is ever, of what you do, Aware.” [4:135]

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) commands believers to stand firm in justice — to be grounded in truth, bear witness honestly, and to maintain a position of justness even against ourselves and our loved ones. 

To live in Palestine under occupation, with the most powerful countries and entities funding the destruction and colonization of your homeland, is an extremely difficult feat in itself. Shireen survived that unimaginable difficulty, and even risked her life to report the truth to the world. She bore witness to and reported on the horrific and continuous operation of the colonization of Palestine and the Palestinian resistance. Shireen’s purpose as a bearer of truth, even in the face of oppression and injustice, was beautifully manifested in the global success she had as a journalist, and the stellar reputation she had amongst her similarly-aligned colleagues. 

An Example to All

I heard the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]

Shireen grew up in occupied Palestine and witnessed evil on a daily basis. In her pursuit of a journalism education and exceptional career, she used her tongue to speak out against the injustices she reported on. 

She used her hand to do so as well in the production and execution of those reports with her fellow journalists and Al Jazeera team. And in the words of Israeli Military Spokesperson Ran Kochav, she worked against injustice by being “armed with cameras.” 

Shireen left a deep impression on the world with the ways in which she spoke out and actively worked against injustice. Her life story serves as an inspiration to women, men, and children around the world in pursuit of a meaningful life and a purpose around Palestine. Shireen Abu Akleh will  always will be remembered as an icon to the Palestinian liberation movement, and her words and actions, grounded in justice and truth, will forever be archived in history.

 

Related reading:

Palestine in the Islamic Consciousness 

The post Speaking Truth To Oppression: Shireen Abu Akleh appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Freedom Of Speech And Protest In Islam: The Distorted Saudi View

13 May, 2022 - 05:10
A Protest in the Prophet’s Mosque

A powerful event of peaceful protest happened two weeks ago (April 28) in Saudi Arabia at the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mosque – something not seen in Medina for over fourteen hundred years. A visiting delegation of Pakistani politicians, including Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and two Ministers from the recently installed government, were greeted by repeated chants by worshippers of “chor,” which in English translates as “thief”. Did Prime Minister Sharif, who is out on bail on multiple criminal charges for alleged financial improprieties, visit the holy places to burnish his religious bona fides to a citizenry back home? If that was the case, the optics of what happened has had the opposite effect. The images of the protest have been relayed and amplified with commentary and gone viral on social media. For adherents of the Islamic faith, being called a “thief” near the resting place of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is a profound jolt. It has been interpreted by many as signifying that these politicians were not worthy of traversing such sacred terrain.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif visits Prophet’s Mosque in the holy city of Madinah, Saudi Arabia. – (AP via Khaleej Times}

As was expected, the Saudi authorities who brook no dissent are incensed by the protests. Politically, one can understand the Saudi’s concern. Protests of “chor” against Pakistani officials if left unchecked could blossom to protests against Saudi governance or human rights violations. The Medina police have since arrested five suspects for “abusing and insulting” the Pakistani Ministers. The spokesperson for the police remarked the actions of the protesters is against Islam and “contradict the sanctity of the place.”  The protest took place a distance from the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) grave. Islamic scholars, all the way back to the Caliph Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) wife Ayesha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) instructed Muslims not to raise one’s voice next to the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) grave. Understandably, political discourse and protests in the mosque even far from the grave of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would undermine the worship of other pilgrims. Given the crowds, time, manner, and place restrictions on protest is needed. But the notion that no protests are permitted in Islam or that political discourse never took place in the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mosque is incorrect. The efforts of smart phones and citizen reporting of the incident offers a monumental teaching teachable moment for Muslims and others about the correct Islamic conception of democracy, freedom of speech and accountability of government officials for malfeasance.

Saudi and “Freedom” of Speech

There is a litany of prophetic examples that illustrate the Saudi view of freedom of speech and protest, like so much of their brand of Islam, is the antithesis of Islamic scriptures and prophetic practice. Islamic scriptures is replete with calls on every Muslim to enjoin good and forbid wrong. Muslims unanimously agree that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) proclaimed that speaking against an unjust ruler is the highest form of sacrifice in the path of God. Muslims also unanimously concur that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said when you see a wrong, change it with your hand. If you cannot change it with your hand, then speak against the wrong. And if you cannot change the wrong with your words, then despise that wrong in your heart but that is the lowest level of faith.

There are many examples of freedom of speech and protest in the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mosque, or during the pilgrimage during the life of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and the four immediate successors of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), who Sunni Islam unanimously proclaims as the four noble or rightly guided Caliphs. The latter’s instructions and examples represent sources of Islamic law. Here are a few illustrations.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was once delivering a speech and a man interrupted the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and inquired about the unlawful detention of his neighbor. The man rose two more times and asked the same question. Thereafter, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) asked the police officer to release the man’s neighbor. The incident is instructive at several levels. First, it occurred in the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mosque. Second, it was the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) that was being interrupted. Third, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) did not say that the interruption  disrespected him or his mosque. Fourth, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) recognized the validity of someone concerned about injustice and raising the concern publicly.

On assuming office after he was selected leader of the state after the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) death, Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), the first noble Caliph, addressed the community and remarked, “You have made me your leader, although I am in no way superior to you. Co-operate with me when I do right; correct me when I err.” He also said, “Turn away from me when I deviate.” Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) admonished the community that if he errs and departs from ethical principles, which by definition preclude corruption, immorality, and injustice, the community has an obligation to speak truth to power.

Meanwhile, Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Sultan recently asked the Saudi population to accept austerity measures whilst personally spending about half a billion United States dollars on a supposed Salvador Mundi painting of Christ, which turned out to be a fake. Islamic tenets demand that the public must hold leaders accountable for their actions. Caliph Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) stated, “[T]o tell the truth to a person commissioned to rule is faithful allegiance; to conceal it is treason.”

Dynasty vs Khilaafah

Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) recognized the equality of society, which is replete in the sayings of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). The legitimacy of Abu Bakr’s raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) leadership was not derived from dynastic rule. The subsequent three Caliphs were also selected  through a process of mutual consultation, which arguably represented the first implementation of a rudimentary democracy; rule by consensus as opposed to coercion. It was also a rejection of hereditary leadership. On his deathbed, the second Caliph, Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), asked for a consultative committee of the leading personalities of the time to choose his successor. Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was absolutely emphatic that his successor could not be his son, thus eschewing dynastic rule.

Neither the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) (considered by Muslims as the greatest personality that lived), nor the Caliphs gave the state their family name. The Saudi state is named after the ruling family and constitutes an absolutist, dynastic, and family-centered government, the members of whom have amassed enormous wealth. The Royal family treat the resources and treasury as their private piggy bank. Caliph Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) warned his officials against making state appointments based on nepotism or leaders enriching themselves. On assuming the office of Caliph, Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) asked his daughter to take stock of his assets so that a determination can be made at the end whether he had been enriched in office. This might be the earliest recorded instance of a leader concerned about corruption and providing a self-imposed check against corruption.

Limits to Obedience

Like his predecessor, the second Caliph, Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), instructed the Muslim community that no leader should be obeyed if he acts against the tenets of the faith. Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) remarked that the community has rights over him and must be able to enforce those rights. Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) took meticulous measures to ensure that political power was not an entrée to richness. For example, Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) asked every officer he appointed to take a pledge that they would live simply and eat simply. Those that breached the rule were reported by the citizenry and were sanctioned. A detailed inventory of the assets of the officials was prepared at the time of their appointment and reassessed at the end of their tenure. The officials had to account for any increases in their assets.

The Saudi monarchy and the sycophant clerics on the government payroll distort material aspects of Islam to justify and fortify the survival of the Al Saud dynasty. They demand absolute obedience to a ruler. This is an inversion of Islamic teachings and contradict historical examples concerning issues of justice, morality, and corruption being addressed in the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mosque or during the pilgrimage.

The Caliph Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was confronted in public in the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mosque and in the streets by ordinary people who raised concerns about inappropriate behavior by government officials. Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) protected the right of a person that once interrupted his speech, and is reported to have said “if the people do not give me good advice they are useless and if I do not listen to it, I am useless.” On another occasion, Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) asked the assembly what would they do if he, Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), strayed from the straight path? A man stood up and responded he would confront Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and even suggested he would take up arms against him. Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) replied, “praise be to God that among my people are present men who could put me on the straight part if I deviated from it.”

A Distortion of Islam

The Saudis demand the pilgrimage and visits to the holy mosques be conducted as an exclusive exercise of rituals and individual spirituality – a reflection and strengthening of the individual’s relationship with God in a morally blind manner. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and the Caliphs conducted political and military meetings in the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) mosque. The Caliphs Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and Uthman raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)  required their senior government officials come to Mecca at the time of the annual pilgrimage and people were encouraged  to voice any complaints they might have had against any official. Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) is known to have taken action against aberrant government officials during these occasions.

The Saudi rulers distort the comprehensive Islamic injunction of enjoining good and forbidding evil, and turn it on its head to preclude any questioning of their rule. In doing so, they offer an obtuse and destructive assault on absolute principles of justice, ethics, morality, and good governance, which in Islam cannot be derogated from.

The protest in Medina in the last week of Ramadan did not happen next to the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) grave, which would be problematic. Not since the time of the noble Caliphs have we seen this sort of peaceful rebuke of public officials, albeit not Saudi, in the first Muslim capital. The protest offers Muslims an opportunity for self-reflection beyond the positivist diet fed by absolute dictators that they are owed unquestionable obedience by virtue of their hold on power. The Caliphs Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and Omar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) rebuked an inert or indifferent citizenry, and ordered them to hold their leaders publicly accountable. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and the noble Caliphs would not countenance illegitimate or dynastic rule, profligacy, corruption, authoritarianism, human rights violations, the slaughter of civilians in Yemen, or Saudi support for repression in Egypt and Palestine. The obligation to enjoin good and forbid evil requires every Muslim to talk out against these abuses. The concept of Deen -that Islam is an all-encompassing way of life- requires the rejection of Saudi and other brands of Islam that pigeonhole Islam as sanitized rituals, devoid of moral, ethical and political dimensions.

 

Related reading:

Politics In Islam: Muslims Are Called To Pursue Justice

Podcast: Priorities and Protest | On Muslim Activism with Shaykhs Dawud Walid and Omar Suleiman

 

 

The post Freedom Of Speech And Protest In Islam: The Distorted Saudi View appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Keeping That Emaan Game Strong Post Ramadan

12 May, 2022 - 17:10

After Ramadan, it’s a struggle to maintain that spiritual high! Ustadhah Faria provides 5 tips on keeping your emaan game strong after Ramadan.

Ramadan is one of the most beautiful times we experience in the year. There is a spiritual high in its true communal sense. However, soon after this month is over and we return to our daily life routines, many times we quickly lose the good practices we gained in this month. However, Allah ‘azza wa jall sent Ramadan as a beneficial gift to us through which we can attain a higher level of God-consciousness (taqwa) in our daily lives, to be continued even after Ramadan. Therefore, it is of great importance that we reflect on the ways we can maintain our taqwa in a sustainable manner even after Ramadan. In this article, I share 5 short tips that can help us maintain our taqwa after Ramadan has passed, inshaAllah.

1. Leaving sins 

One of the key ways to gain taqwa is through leaving sins. This is because sinning is an obstacle between the slave and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Sins make our hearts ill and it makes good deeds feel like a burden. The less sins a slave is involved in, the more he can enjoy doing good deeds and get closer to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“A person is certainly deprived of provisions because of a sin that afflicted them.” [Ibn Majah- Hasan]

And from the greatest of provisions is the closeness to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and feeling the sweetness of emaan in our hearts. Apart from losing other provisions, sins will rip us off this great provision of being close to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Therefore, one of the easiest ways of maintaining our taqwa even after Ramadan is to deliberately stay away from sins that we know we easily tend to fall into. It can be sins of the tongue like backbiting, sins of the body like missing prayers, or sins of the heart like constantly assuming bad of other people.

2. Dhikr 

Remembering Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) through the dhikr taught by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) is one of the easiest and most effective ways of maintaining our taqwa. And rightfully so, as soon as Ramadan is over and the evening of Eid arrives, we are encouraged to say the takbeer aloud. It is such a great reminder for us that we bid farewell to Ramadan with the dhikr of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and come out of this month in His obedience, and not His disobedience.

Furthermore, the following hadith is one of the most relevant hadith for lay people like us who have a busy life and many responsibilities. Abdullah ibn Busr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that one of the Prophet’s Companions said, “O Messenger of Allah. I am overwhelmed by the so many injunctions of Islam. So tell me something to which I may hold fast.” The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) replied,

“Keep your tongue wet with the remembrance of Allah.” [At Tirmidhi]

From the many adhkar we can do on a daily basis, sitting, walking, going to work and any other ordinary situation, this hadith shows one of the easiest ways to remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that pleases Him:

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “There are two statements that are light on the tongue, heavy on the scales, and beloved to the Most Merciful: Subahana Allahi wa bihamdih, Subhana Allahi Al-`Azeem.” (Glory and praise be to Allah, Glorified is Allah, the Most Great) [Bukhari]

3. Fasting

It is no surprise that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has reserved tremendous rewards for fasting even after the month of Ramadan. Abu Ayyub raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days of Shawwal , it will be as if he fasted for a lifetime.” [Narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasai and Ibn Majah]

If we reflect on this, we can see that fasting has been chosen as one of the obligatory acts in the month of Ramadan to help us increase in taqwa. Following the month, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has also encouraged us to continue the practice of fasting even after Ramadan. Therefore, if possible, we can continue fasting regularly in the months outside Ramadan to help us maintain the beautiful taqwa we have been gifted in the month of Ramadan.

4. Continuing the small good deeds 

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.” [Sunan Ibn Mājah 4240]

It may have been that extra effort in Ramadan to pray a little more in your sujood, trying not speak ill of others even if they were on the wrong; whatever it was, try holding onto it. Our lives transform through these little habits we develop deliberately, and this is why taqwa is so crucial. It creates that heightened sense of awareness in us that helps us stay away from even the tiniest action that can make Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) displeased with us. So, whatever good habits we developed in the month of Ramadan, let us intentionally identify them, and try to hold onto them post Ramadan.

5. Reciting the Quran 

Have glad tidings! Verily, one end of this Quran is in the hand of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and another end is in your hands. Adhere to it, for then you will not be destroyed, and you will never go astray after it.” [Tabarani]

This hadith shows how beautifully the Quran connects us to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will never leave His end, therefore if the connection with us loosens it, is us who have abandoned our end of the Quran. The month of Ramadan taught us that if we intentionally make some time for the Quran, it is very possible to hold on to it after. We do not have to read a lot, but even that one ayah that we read sincerely with all of our heart can make us from His beloved and help us attain His forgiveness. And what else do we need when we have Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) love and His mercy? Surely, He is enough for His slaves.

 

Ramadan comes and Ramadan goes. But it comes with a purpose. It comes to transform us. And the transformation will not sustain until we make a deliberate effort to maintain it on a more ordinary day outside of Ramadan. So I hope the above 5 tips helps us maintain that transformation, reach newer spiritual heights, and make us get closer and closer to our Rabb, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

 

Related reading:

Will You be a Better Person After Ramadan? | Yasir Qadhi

Maqasid (Wisdoms) of the Six Fasts of Shawwal

The post Keeping That Emaan Game Strong Post Ramadan appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Podcast: A Critical Look At Islamic Pedagogy

12 May, 2022 - 05:10

What’s the best form of Islamic education for kids? Islamic school? Boarding school? Sunday school at the masjid? A traditional madrasah? Shaykh AbdulRahman Chao, a teacher and education consultant, provides a critical look at Islamic pedagogy and discusses what a holistic Islamic education for children should include.

Abdul Rahman Chao is a Houston based community teacher and speaker. He is a graduate of the Islamic University of Madinah, has a Master’s of Theological Studies in Christian Studies, and is finishing his Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. He has over 10 years of formal classroom teaching experience in both full time and weekend Islamic schools. You can find him on Facebook and Instagram, and check out his website.

 

Related reading:

Challenges of Identity & Conviction: The Need to Construct an Islamic Worldview

Islamic Pedagogy and Critical Thinking: Does Islamic Pedagogy Want Critical Thinkers?

The post Podcast: A Critical Look At Islamic Pedagogy appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

The Global Imams & Scholars’ Charter – The Global Imams & Scholars Network

11 May, 2022 - 17:26

The Global Imams and Scholars Network, consisting of seven international scholarly councils, has developed a historic charter for Western Muslim leaders, outlining a general set of principles to be followed.

The British Board of Scholars & Imams (BBSI), Australian National Imams Council (ANIC), European Council of Imams, Canadian Council of Imams (CCI), North American Imams Federation (NAIF), United Ulama Council of South Africa, and Ulama Council of New Zealand have come together to collaborate on mutually beneficial work.

The Global Imams and Scholars Network aims to share knowledge and promote traditional and orthodox principles and the message of Islam and preserve the Islamic identity for Muslims living in the west.

The Global and Imams & Scholars’ Charter are general principles the network seeks to inculcate within their work and encourage other imams and scholars to adopt.

 

Download the PDF: Global Imams & Scholars Charter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Reading: Blurred Lines – Women, “Celebrity” Shaykhs, and Spiritual Abuse

The post The Global Imams & Scholars’ Charter – The Global Imams & Scholars Network appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

The Serenity Of Shawwal: Tips For Mothers

11 May, 2022 - 07:27

How can busy mothers experience the serenity of Shawwal? Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil provides helpful tips on managing the voluntary fasts of Shawwal alongside making up Ramadan fasts.

The blessings of Shawwāl come in so many forms. There is the joy in being able to eat and drink in the daytime again. There is the excitement of being able to enjoy time with loved ones. Most of all, there is the anticipation and hope that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Most High will grant us the tremendous blessing of meeting the next Ramadan.

The past two years of a global pandemic has shown us how much we take for granted, and how much we struggle when these blessings are taken away. Being able to pray in congregation at masaajid, being able to host our loved ones in our home, or even being able to go outside without wearing a mask – these are no longer minor things to me. There is wisdom in the Divine Decree, including the trial of this pandemic.

This Shawwāl, alhamdulillah, is different to last year’s. Where I live in Malaysia, restrictions are slowly easing, and at long last, we have been able to reunite with overseas family whom we haven’t seen in over two years. My children are delighted at going hiking and sharing meals with aunties, grand-aunties, and other relatives they haven’t seen in so long. Their lives in this dunya have been so short, and a gap of two years has been a significant marker in their young lives. May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) continue to lift the tribulations of this pandemic, and make it easier for us to reunite with our loved ones.

Like many other Muslim women who have not yet hit menopause, I have to catch up my fasting days from Ramadan. Despite my longing to fast the six days of Shawwal, my obligation lies in paying back my obligatory fasts first. I have had three children close in age, and alhamdulillah, have been able to fast while pregnant and breastfeeding. My mother inspired me to do this, because for her, growing up in Singapore, it was and still is the norm for pregnant and/or breastfeeding women to fast. I am so grateful that I listened to my mother and gave it my best shot. Now that Shawwāl is here though, I aim to finish paying back my obligatory fasts first.

Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: “Whoever fasts during the month of Ramadan and then follows it with six days of Shawwal will be (rewarded) as if he had fasted the entire year.” [Muslim]

There has been a misunderstanding in recent years that it is permissible to combine the intention of paying back obligatory fasts with the sunnah intention of Shawwal. Dr Tamara Gray writes about this at length here.

To summarize, Dr. Tamara Gray offers four solutions:

1: Fast qada (make-up) fasts in Shawwāl, and the follow them up with sunnah fasts so that both the make-up days and the Shawwāl days are fasted in Shawwāl. This is the optimal method.

2- Fast sunnah before farḍ in order to fast the sunnah of Shawwāl. This is not the best way because farḍ is an obligation and should be done first.

3- Fast the farḍ make-up fasts in Shawwāl, seeking the blessings of the month, while doing obligatory fasts (but without adding a second intention).

4- Fast the farḍ fasts first and then fast the six days of Shawwāl throughout the year as sunnah fasts.

As a mother of three small children, I have cautious optimism for next Ramadan. I hope to be (more or less) completely done with diapers and breastfeeding by then. I look forward to more time spent on my spiritual nourishment, and for it to be easier for me to leave the house and go to the masjid. My husband and I will divide time between caring for our young children and leaving for the masjid, so that we both get to worship in the house of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). We want to model this for my daughters and for my son, so that they can see how making space for my spiritual life matters too.

Narrated A’isha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her): Allah’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely, and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.” [Bukhari]

If you are a breastfeeding and/or pregnant mother with days owed from Ramadan, please don’t despair. InshaAllah there is still time for you to pay back your fasts, one blessed day at a time. Shawwāl is still a month for you, even if you’re not able to fast the six days of Shawwāl.

 

Related reading:

Maqasid (Wisdoms) of the Six Fasts of Shawwal

Ar-Rayyan Membership: Fast the 6 of Shawwal

The post The Serenity Of Shawwal: Tips For Mothers appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Podcast: My Miscarriage And Healing Afterwards

9 May, 2022 - 07:19

Trigger warning: pregnancy loss and miscarriage

Pregnancy losses in the first trimester of a pregnancy are so common, yet for some reason are taboo to talk about on a personal level. I’m sharing my story of losing my first pregnancy with all of our readers in this podcast episode to start the conversation that so many women and couples need to cope and heal from their own losses.

I’d like to share the hadith I hung onto as I struggled the most with my miscarriage, which is also discussed at the 8-minute mark in the video below:

“By the One in Whose Hand is my soul! The miscarried fetus will drag his mother by his umbilical cord to Paradise, if she (was patient and) sought reward (for her loss)” [Sunan Ibn Majah 1609]

Mother’s Day is here in America and there are flowers and cards and adorable pictures of families celebrating their mothers. I’m not here to comment on the debate about whether or not Mother’s Day is haram or ridiculous because “every day should be Mother’s Day!” All I want to say to those invisible mothers out there–mothers who felt what it was like to carry a life inside of them but that was all that they enjoyed of their short-lived pregnancies–is:

I see you.  I was right there with you at one point in my life. You don’t have to suffer in silence if you need community to support you. And lastly, your child loves you and is waiting for you.

Related Readings on Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss:

My Miscarriage And Healing Afterwards

It’s Not Mother’s or Father’s Day but… Imam Omar Suleiman

When Children Die: On Tragedy, and What is Reported about the Death of Believing Children

Don’t Give Up On That “Unanswered” Prayer

Six Stories Down: When It’s More Than Just The Baby Blues

 

 

The post Podcast: My Miscarriage And Healing Afterwards appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

The Abortion Debate: A Muslim Social Media Roundup

6 May, 2022 - 17:14

With the abortion debate once again sweeping headlines across America – and the Internet – the Muslim community, both online and offline, has also found itself mired in confusion. What does Islam actually say about abortion? Can Muslims be “pro-choice” when it comes to the law of the land? The Muslim Internet has many opinions to share, with a wide variety of perspectives.

We will be sharing some of these perspectives below, as well as providing links to some scholarly resources on the topic.

 – A Muslim Doctor Weighs In

 – A Cautionary Take

 – A Call to Nuanced Reflection

 – Islamophobic Tropes in Abortion Discourse

 – Scholarly Perspectives

 Islamic Resources About Abortion:

The post The Abortion Debate: A Muslim Social Media Roundup appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Eid Gift: Excerpt From ‘When The Stars Prostrated’

3 May, 2022 - 17:43

A very happy Eid to all of our readers! We pray that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has blessed us all immensely and forgiven our sins this past Ramadan, ameen! Here is an Eid gift from MuslimMatters to you–an excerpt from Shaykh Mohammad Elshinawy’s book When the Stars Prostrated: Meditations on Surat Yusuf. We hope you enjoy this excerpt that covers verses 90-92. You can purchase the book here.

https://muslimmatters.org/wp-content/uploads/eid-mubarak-instagram-post-grid.mp4 Verse 90

They said, “Is that you, Yūsuf?” He said, “I am Yūsuf, and this is my brother. God has been gracious to us. He who practices piety and patience—God never fails to reward the righteous.” [12:90]

“They said, ‘Is that you, Yūsuf?’ He said, ‘I am Yūsuf, and this is my brother.’”

The old features of Yūsuf start reconstructing in their eyes, memories of the crime scene at the well erupt in their minds, and suddenly the stare down between them is ablaze. Then he parted his lips and said what they would have done anything to never hear: “Yes, I am Yūsuf,” the brother you abused and betrayed in the worst way imaginable. I am that weakling you tried to kill and cast down a well. You wanted something, and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) wanted something different. What a moment. It must have been one of the most nerve-wrecking introductions in human history. Imagine how wide their eyes became, stretching to be able to take in the greatest shock of their lives. “And this is my brother,” he continued, as if to say if anyone is my true brother it’s him and only him, and that, I also know what you’ve been doing to him all these years – your treatment makes it clear that unlike me, you don’t recognize him as your brother.

“He who practices piety and patience—God never fails to reward the righteous.”

-With this being one of the greatest stories of the Qur’an, with its 100+ verses each filled with gems of sacred lessons, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) declared the ultimate wisdom of the story here – lest the many amazing lessons cause us to forget the most important of them all: the reward of taqwā and ṣabr will never disappoint. It is guaranteed in both this world and the hereafter, though how this reward manifests will vary for different people. Ibn Taymīyah said, “Whoever puts up with humiliation and loss to obey Allah, over being honored and empowered through the disobedience of Allah – as done by Yūsuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and others among the prophets and righteous – finds a good outcome in this world and the hereafter. He also finds the harm he experiences transforming into pleasure and delight, just as the worst sinners find their pleasures through sin transforming into sadness and misfortunes.”

-Sins and disobedience cause a person to lose their station of honor and nearness to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), even if they were esteemed and from a noble or pious lineage. Thus, the hadith says, “And whoever is kept back by his actions, his lineage will not bring him up to speed.” [Sahih Muslim]

-We would usually find it repulsive for someone to say, “it’s because I’m so righteous that Allah has honored me,” and hence Yūsuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was doing something quite different here. It was a humble concurrence with their assertion of his righteousness and patience, by saying that whoever is as you said, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) does not squander their reward. This avoids being perceived as an arrogant boaster, and at the same time helps crystallize for them that it was not coincidence at play here. This is similar to the Prophet ﷺ saying, “I am indeed the master of the children of Adam, and I say that without pride.” They knew from his tone, demeanor, and track record, that this was no pompous statement, and at the same time he had to say it because they would never discover this sacred truth on their own. A wise preacher knows when to inject his cure in the right moment, and recognizes that, with the wrong timing, this very cure could lead to people fleeing from you. He does not take shots in the dark with his discourse, nor floods their ears with verbosity, but selects his words and moments for maximum mental and emotional engagement of his audience to cast his words into their open hearts.

Verse 91

They said, “By Allah, Allah has preferred you over us. We were definitely in the wrong.” [12:91]

-The brothers finally realized that Yūsuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was not just dearer than them to their father, but to their Lord as well. This sentiment is usually classified as ghibṭah (jealous admiration) and not ḥasad (envy), with the former being more of a wish to have a praiseworthy distinction that another enjoys, and the latter being more of a hatred that another has something that we do not. Ghibṭah is a positive form of ḥasad, because you are wishing for something virtuous, channeling your competitive instinct for pious ends, and not wishing that your rivals be stripped of that blessing in the process. As a result, ghibṭah does not generate worldly tensions, since it does not involve a chase of this finite world, but rather Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Paradise which is so vast. The dispraised ḥasad, on the other hand, creates animosity between people in this world and jeopardizes the envier’s salvation in the hereafter. Hence, the Prophet ﷺ said, “There should be no ḥasad except in two cases,” and proceeded to mention those who were distinguished by being learned in the Qur’an, or by being charitable with their wealth. [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

-Dr Waleed Basyouni writes, “Sūrat Yūsuf taught me that people who hate me don’t necessarily hate me for my bad qualities. Some people hate you for your good qualities and the good things you have done. They hated Yūsuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) for his beauty, his generosity, and his character. They hated him because of the honor that he had received from his father. When you see people criticizing and attacking you, don’t take it personally. It might not be about you, but about the blessings that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has given you. Haters don’t hate you – they actually hate themselves. So don’t let negative people turn you into one of them. Keep a positive attitude, and every time someone talks behind your back, keep them there.”

-Some people need decades to come to terms with basic truths, and hence we must never lose hope in any living person that they cannot turn over a new leaf. Abū Sufyān ibn Ḥarb was an open enemy to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ for nearly his entire ministry. He launched more battle campaigns against him than anyone, and during the intervals between battles, he would help orchestrate uprisings in the Prophet’s ﷺ city of Madinah and covert assassination attempts against him. It was only eighteen months before the Prophet’s ﷺ death that Abū Sufyān himself decided to give up his tribal bigotry and accept Islam. Abū Sufyān raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) knew full well of the Prophet’s ﷺ integrity, witnessed many great miracles, was forgiven then honored in an unexpected situation, and yet it was only when Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) inspired him to faith did it penetrate his defenses and finally settle in his heart. As Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) says, “So whoever Allah wishes to guide, He expands their heart to welcome Islam.” [Surah Al- An’am:125]

-The Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said, “Regret is repentance.” [Musnad Ahmad]  That is what lies at the heart of tawbah (repentance); sincere remorse for having violated the bounds of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). As for when the crime involves another human being, then seeking their pardon becomes another requirement for a complete repentance. But should we always forgive others in Islam? For this reason, Ibn Taymīyah raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) would advocate for the position that this matter is circumstantial; if forgiveness does not lead to rectification and reform, then it is actually better to not forgive. This seems closest to the spirit of the Qur’an, wherein Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) said, “…but whoever pardons and [thereby] makes reconciliation – then his reward is [due] from Allah.” [Surah Ash-Shuraa:40] After all, we do not want to embolden wrongdoers and tyrants, and if we forgo our rights all the time, one wicked thug may control an entire city of good people. But when the wrongdoers seem genuine in their remorse, as Yūsuf’s 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) brothers seem here, then forgiveness is the superior path taken by those with the spiritual strength to muster it. If they cannot, then justice is always sanctioned, and equitable retribution is still within the bounds of God’s law and should not be classified as a reprehensible pursuit of vengeance.

Verse 92

He said, “There will be no condemnation of you today. Allah will forgive you. He is the Most Merciful of the merciful.” [12:92]

-Dr Hatem al-Haj writes, “After being unjustly thrown into prison for years, he did not hesitate to (unconditionally) give the non-believing people of Egypt a detailed plan to save them from famine. After being thrown into the bottom of the well by his own brothers, when he had full power to avenge himself, he did not hesitate to tell them, ‘There will be no condemnation of you today. Allah will forgive you. He is the Most Merciful of the merciful. [12:92] Every time I read this sūrah, I feel so small.”

-‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said to Abū Sufyān, “Head to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ until you are face-to-face, then say to him what Yūsuf’s brothers said to Yūsuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), ‘By Allah, Allah has preferred you over us. We were definitely in the wrong.’ [12:91] – for he will not accept anyone being better in statement than him.” Abū Sufyān did that and found the Messenger of Allah ﷺ saying in response, ‘There will be no condemnation of you today. God will forgive you. He is the Most Merciful of the merciful.” [12:92] and [Ibn al-Qayyim, Zād al-Mi‘ād] How wise was it for ‘Alī raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) to suggest that approach? How remarkable was it for the Prophet ﷺ to forgive twenty years of enmity and war crimes at the height of his power in a blink? How necessary is it for us to become better followers of his guidance ﷺ in this regard?

-In this reassurance, Yūsuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) is essentially saying: relax, the matter is over from today and will never haunt you again. While the natural consequence of wrongdoing may linger after the punishment or repentance, the chastisement or condemnation must not. For this reason, even in the context of publicly punishing a fornicator, the Prophet ﷺ said, “He should flog her, but not condemn her.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim] A person may have regretted and repented, between him/herself and God, and therefore been forgiven in the heavens even before the punishment was meted out. Hence, even if the penalty will be upheld as Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) legislated it, for the overarching public interest, the gloating, excessiveness, and appetite for vengeance must be curbed.

-Us standing thousands of years apart from the brothers of Yūsuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) makes it no less terrible to demonize the brothers of Yūsuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) after they had sincerely repented. How could it be permissible after their brother has forgiven, their father has pardoned, and their Lord has absolved them? Take a lesson from their story and nimbly move on, fearful of stumbling to your own demise over the lethal wires of a believer’s sanctity. This same principle is even more operative regarding the disputes between the Prophet’s ﷺ Companions (may Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) be pleased with them all), since those were tragic but nonetheless discretionary matters and not crimes. This principle would even apply to believing individuals and nations who were punished by God; those beneath the soil who committed wrong, and then we are afflicted with repeating it due to our ridicule of them. Several of the Prophet’s ﷺ Companions would say to people in rebuke, “What amazing people you must be; every sweet quality is yours, and every sour quality belongs to the Israelites. Know that you will surely follow in their every footstep.” [Al-Baḥr al-Muḥīṭ]

“Allah will forgive you. He is the Most Merciful of the merciful.”

-Some have found it curious that the brothers are in angst about whether or not Yūsuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) will forgive them, and yet Yūsuf 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) speaks of Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy and forgiveness instead. We know that the rights of the creation have been promised to them by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), and thus even the martyr is forgiven for all but his debts to other people. So what makes this pivot to Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) matchless mercy relevant here? The subtlety behind this thematic shift may be to reflect that Yūsuf recognized his own need to pursue Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy by exhibiting mercy to others. It’s as if he is declaring that, because I seek Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy just as much as you do, I have forgiven you, and so be hopeful that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) too will forgive you. People that find themselves capable of forgiving others should never limit this to some therapeutic mechanism through which we seek peace of mind in this world, or to be celebrated by its people as a kind soul. We forgive others primarily and ultimately for the better and more lasting, namely Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) pleasure (not just ours) and the success of the hereafter (not this world).

This reflection, of course, does not preclude the more straightforward reasoning for the mention of Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy: his brothers needed help to see past their crimes. Towards that end, this fact reminds them that “from the signs of over-relying on your actions is losing hope when you falter,” as Ibn ‘Aṭā’ al-Sakandarī once said. In other words, salvation is never about how superb your good deeds are, or how awful your misconduct is, but rather about Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy in the end and above all else.

 

Related reading:

If Prophet Yusuf’s Brothers Were Forgiven, There is Hope For Us

Love in Surah Yusuf | Sh Ahsan Hanif

The post Eid Gift: Excerpt From ‘When The Stars Prostrated’ appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Small Deeds Massive Rewards : Light On The Tongue, Heavy On The Scales

1 May, 2022 - 05:10

Welcome to the ‘Small Deeds, Massive Rewards’ series with MuslimMatters and Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim!

In this 30-part video series, Shaykh Yahya will guide us through the entire month of Ramadan, on how we can incorporate simple but immensely beneficial deeds into our own lives, with the aim of getting to a higher spiritual station with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) inshaAllah.

In this episode, Shaykh Yahya elaborates on the hadith “There are two statements that are light for the tongue to remember, heavy in the Scales and are dear to the Merciful…”

 

Related posts from the ‘Small Deeds, Massive Rewards’ series:

Small Deeds Massive Rewards : Pray When Everyone Is Asleep

The post Small Deeds Massive Rewards : Light On The Tongue, Heavy On The Scales appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

The Prophet And Good Character In The Quran: IOK Ramadan Reflections Series #29

1 May, 2022 - 01:15

Allah ﷻ praises the Prophet ﷺ in the Quran saying, “And you are surely on an excellent standard of character.” Allah ﷻ Himself is describing the Prophet ﷺ has having the absolute best, beautiful, and amazing character. This is seen in every single aspect of the Prophet’s life ﷺ. 

The importance of akhlāq, or good character, in Islam can’t be overstated. In today’s society, when a person thinks of religion they think of rules and regulations, restrictions, and devotional acts of worship. Even Muslims are guilty of limiting Islam to devotional acts of worship. Generally, when a person hears the word Islam, automatically they think of praying, fasting, giving charity, and reading Quran. These devotional acts of worship are a fundamental part of Islam as way of life, but they aren’t the only part. As a matter of fact our success simply isn’t in prayers, fasting, charity, or hajj. Rather, it is in good manners coupled with these acts of worship.

The Prophet ﷺ himself described perfecting good manners as the reason why he was sent as a Prophet. “I have only been sent to perfect good character” (Haythamī, Majmaʿ al-Zawā’id, 9:18). Through this statement the Prophet ﷺ explained that one of the primary objectives of his mission was to perfect good character. Interestingly, the acts of worship that have been prescribed in Islam help a person build good character. 

Akhlāq isn’t simply a few manners or qualities; rather, it is a group of praiseworthy characteristics and qualities that a person has. For example, generosity, forbearance, forgiveness, leniency, chastity, fairness, gentleness, humility, justice, mercy, kindness, honesty, and bravery. That is why when a person is polite and respectful to others, humble and kind to the poor and needy, they are showing good character.

The Prophet ﷺ throughout his life stressed the importance of having good character both in speech and deed. The Prophet ﷺ said, “The believers most complete in faith are those who have the best character” (Abū Dāwūd, k. al-Sunnah, b. al-dalīl ʿalā ziyādah al-īmān wa nuqṣānihī, 4682).  When asked about what deeds will lead people to Paradise, the Prophet ﷺ responded, “God-consciousness and good character” ( Tirmidhī, k. Al-birr wa al-ṣilah ʿan rasūlillah ﷺ, b. Mā jā’a fī ḥusn al-khuluq, 2004).  When he was sending Muʿādh (ra) as a governor to Yemen he ﷺ reminded him, “and show good manners in your dealing with others” ( Tirmidhī, k. Al-birr wa al-ṣilah ʿan rasūlillah ﷺ, b. Mā jā’a fī muʿāsharah al-nās, 1987).

Not only did the Prophet ﷺ encourage others to have good character but he showed them how to as well practically. The Prophet ﷺ had the best character himself. Anything he said about character he practiced himself. Allah ﷻ addressed the Prophet ﷺ saying, “And verily, you (Muḥammad) are on an exalted standard of character” ( 68:4 – وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ). Anything the Quran mentioned regarding character, the Prophet ﷺ embodied it. That is why when ʿĀishah (ra) was asked about the character of the Prophet ﷺ, she said, “His character was the Quran” (Bukhārī, al-Adab al-Mufrad, 308). Literally, he was a walking and talking Quran.

Tonight’s Ramadan Reflections Series talk was brought to you by the IOK Seminary Faculty. Catch up on previous videos or catch the next videos on the IOK Ramadan Reflections Series page.

The post The Prophet And Good Character In The Quran: IOK Ramadan Reflections Series #29 appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Best Ramadan Ever: Sunnah of Eid

30 April, 2022 - 17:10

Prepare for your ‘Best Ramadan Ever!’ with this video series from Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim!

Just because Ramadan is over, don’t start slacking off on worshipping Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)! Instead, the day of Eid is another opportunity to demonstrate our love for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to worship Him by following the Sunnah of Eid day.

 

Related posts from the ‘Best Ramadan Ever’ series:

Best Ramadan Ever: Bringing Joy To Others

The post Best Ramadan Ever: Sunnah of Eid appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Overcoming Guilt On Eid During Turbulent Times 

30 April, 2022 - 15:21

Another Eid is around the corner for Muslims to celebrate, but the Ummah is hurting. What do those of us blessed with peace and prosperity do with our feelings of guilt on Eid?

The upcoming Eid ul-Fitr is one in which Muslims in Palestine are still being terrorized at the hands of a merciless occupation, Uyghur Muslims haven’t been able to fast or observe Ramadan in China, Indian women wearing the hijab are being harassed by right-wing Hindu nationalists, violence is breaking out in Darfur again, and climate change has reared its ugly head with flooding that has killed hundreds of people in South Africa…and the list goes on. There’s plenty of loss and suffering in the world, and more particularly, our Ummah is in pain. So what do those of us who are in relative peace, comfort, and safety do about that, especially when we think about celebrating Eid when the whole world seems like it’s burning to the ground? Well, acting gloomy or depriving yourself and your family from joy on Eid won’t fix any of it. 

As we browse our social media, or scroll through the Netflix documentary queue, or attend a communal du’a, we will be flooded with reasons to be worried and angry about issues large and small. There is plenty of wrong in the world, lots of injustice, and too much suffering. The pandemic has made that clear to even the most oblivious amongst us. 

But to those who are well off, or at least relatively safe, hearing about these things might provoke a certain degree of guilt. We might even be moved to think that being happy and having a satisfying life means being irresponsible and insensitive to the world around us. Some of us might even feel compelled to act sad or outraged in order to show that we care. 

What is “Happiness Guilt”? 

We feel happy, we feel guilty, and then we feel sadder than ever. 

We call this “happiness guilt.” It may sound strange to our ears, but our hearts know the feeling all too well. Guilt is a normal feeling, it is part of being human. However, to intentionally act unhappy when we are not can actually lead us to feel dissatisfied with life. By saying that we are unhappy, we really aren’t helping to ease others’ suffering. What can help however, is striving to project happiness, and at the same time showing care and concern about the wrongs in the world. 

If we find ourselves projecting more sadness than we truly feel, we may be suffering from a fear of happiness, or a belief that being happy will bring us misfortune, or that happiness will bring about envy from others, or that being happy when others are not makes us a bad person.

 

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Tips for Celebrating Eid Despite Turbulent Times

Being concerned with the world’s problems does not need to conflict with our desire to be happy or to radiate that happiness to others. Here are some tips on how to balance the two.

  • 1: Examine your happiness

Are you overemphasizing the negative aspects in your life and underemphasizing the positive aspects? This can mean we wear a negative filter or bias. When we wear these negative filters, we have a distorted view of life, and we can easily discount the positives around us.

  • 2: ‘Caring’ and not ‘carrying’ other people’s problems

Empathy does not mean caring so much that we burden ourselves with their feelings and take on more responsibility than what we can handle. Empathy is taking a bite-sized portion of the other person’s feeling so that we can have a taste of their struggle enough to understand it, and then do something to help.

  • 3: Take action

Donate to your favorite charity, spread awareness on your social media, talk about it with others. But also remember to balance it with spiritual action. Make sincere du’a for those suffering, and do it while having hope alongside a deep faith in Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) plan, and the knowledge that He is the Master of Planners. 

When celebrating on Eid day, you can include local community members who are less fortunate, who are alone, or are going through a difficult time. 

  • 4: You’re allowed to feel happy

Happiness is not limited to only the happiest of times in our lives; happiness can be found even in the saddest of times. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says,

“Indeed with hardship comes ease” [Surah Ash-Sharh;94:5]

We all possess both sadness and happiness within us, and we can allow them both to dwell within us to achieve a greater balance in life.

  • 5: Spread happiness and hope

We can show concern about others’ struggles while having a smile on our faces. Those who are struggling want to be uplifted and reminded that there is hope.

  • 6: Be grateful

Lastly, as we remember the struggles of others, instead of intentionally becoming sad or guilty, say alhamdulillah for all of Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) blessings upon you and your family. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says,

 

 

“So remember Me; I will remember you. And thank Me, and never be ungrateful” [Surah Al-Baqarah;2:152]

 

May we all have a balanced, and unburdened Eid insha’Allah!

 

Related reading:

This Eid And Beyond Boycott Goods Made With Enslaved Labor Of Uyghurs Even If It Is Your Favorite Brand

The post Overcoming Guilt On Eid During Turbulent Times  appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Small Deeds Massive Rewards : Pray When Everyone Is Asleep

30 April, 2022 - 05:10

Welcome to the ‘Small Deeds, Massive Rewards’ series with MuslimMatters and Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim!

In this 30-part video series, Shaykh Yahya will guide us through the entire month of Ramadan, on how we can incorporate simple but immensely beneficial deeds into our own lives, with the aim of getting to a higher spiritual station with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) inshaAllah.

In this episode, Shaykh Yahya speaks of how “The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” [Sahih Muslim]

 

Related posts from the ‘Small Deeds, Massive Rewards’ series:

Small Deeds Massive Rewards : Save Yourself From The Fire Even If By Half A Date

The post Small Deeds Massive Rewards : Pray When Everyone Is Asleep appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Tawakkul-The Quran’s Key To Happines: IOK Ramadan Reflections Series #28

30 April, 2022 - 01:15

Allah ﷻ says in Srūah al-Ṭalāq, “And whoever places their trust in Allah, then He is sufficient for them.”

  ۚ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ ۚ – 65:3

This is a very important principle that highlights one of the most important qualities that we as believers are supposed to nurture within our hearts. Tawakkul is a quality that plays an essential role in our relationship with our Lord and Creator Allah ﷻ. And as Allah ﷻ mentions in this beautiful and powerful verse, “Whoever places their trust in Allah, then He is sufficient for them.” Whoever places their trust in Allah ﷻ regarding matters and affairs related to their religion or to the life of this world, then Allah ﷻ will be enough for them.

This is perhaps one of the most powerful characteristics that we can have; it’s the key to true happiness. Tawakkul is the foundation of a worry-free, stress-free, and anxiety-free life. It leads to a life of peace and contentment. Linguistically the word التوكل is a verbal noun from the verb توكل/يتوكل, which means to rely, depend on, to place one’s confidence in or to trust. It’s derived from the root letters و ك ل that convey the meaning of relying upon someone else for something. One who relies on Allah, who has التوكل on Allah, is the one who knows that Allah takes care of his sustenance and affairs so he trusts Allah alone and doesn’t rely on anyone else.

 صدق اعتماد القلب على الله تعالى في استجلاب المنافع و دفع المضار من أمور الدنيا و الآخرة.

The truthfulness of the hearts reliance on Allah for bringing benefits and repelling harms from the affairs of this world and the next.

الثقة بما عند الله و اليأس عما في أيدي الناس.

To have trust in what is with Allah and to despair from what is in people’s hands. (Don’t rely on anyone but Allah) Having absolute, firm, one hundred percent conviction that no one gives, prevents, harms or benefits except for Allah ﷻ. 

The reality of Tawakkul is that we place our trust and reliance on Allāh (ﷻ) in terms of both our worldly affairs, as well as our Dīn, as well as utilising our visceral, or tangible means of attaining that which we want to attain. Tawakkul, therefore, involves belief, dependence, and action. This is because in order to gain at least some level of Tawakkul, the slave needs to be aware of the fact that all the matters of this world and the Hereafter lie in the Hands of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā). Nothing occurs except by His Permission and His Leave.

Basically, tawakkul is to do everything that we are capable of doing; prepare, take precautions, work, struggle and put forth our best effort and then to leave the result up to Allah. Tawakkul doesn’t mean we sit back and just wait for things to happen… That’s not tawwakul, that’s tawwākul. Tawakkul means we use all the material means we have available to us, take all the precautions and then leave the outcome up to Allah. And whatever the outcome is we’re okay with it. In order to gain some level of tawakkul we need to be aware of the absolute fact that all the matters of this world and the Hereafter lie in the hands of Allah ﷻ. Nothing happens except by His permission, will, and decree.

An essential part of tawakkul is to do everything that we are capable of doing; plan, prepare, take precautions, work, struggle, and put forth our best effort and then to leave the result up to Allah. Whatever the outcome is we accept it and are content because we recognize it is from God. We use all the material means we have available to us, take all the precautions, and then leave the outcome up to Allah.

Syed Qutb writes, “Our system of belief is extremely clear, straightforward, and logical. While it makes clear that all power of decision rests with Allah, it does not exempt us from taking the measures that are normally necessary to bring about practical results. Whether these results take effect is not part of our responsibility, because it ultimately belongs to Allah’s overall plan design. A Bedouin left his she-camel untied and went into the mosque to pray. As he entered, he said: ‘I fully rely on God.’ The Prophet ﷺ said to him: ‘Tie your she-camel and then rely on God.’ [Related by al-Tirmidhī.] Islam makes true reliance on God conditional on taking all the necessary measures in any particular situation, knowing that ultimately all decisions are left to Him.”

And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].” (3:159)

Tonight’s Ramadan Reflections Series talk was brought to you by the IOK Seminary Faculty. Catch up on previous videos or catch the next videos on the IOK Ramadan Reflections Series page.

The post Tawakkul-The Quran’s Key To Happines: IOK Ramadan Reflections Series #28 appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Best Ramadan Ever: Bringing Joy To Others

29 April, 2022 - 17:10

Prepare for your ‘Best Ramadan Ever!’ with this video series from Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim!

A forgotten Sunnah is to bring joy to others – and this is even more important during Ramadan and as we get closer to Eid! As always, this sunnah should always be put into practice first at home with one’s family and loved ones.

 

Related posts from the ‘Best Ramadan Ever’ series:

Best Ramadan Ever: Refrain From Obscene Language

The post Best Ramadan Ever: Bringing Joy To Others appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Two Kashmirs : Suffering And Spirituality

29 April, 2022 - 07:29
Islam in Kashmir

Kashmir, a Muslim majority region, marred with seven decades of conflict and suffering, has twin identities; one described by a famous poet Mahjoor as ‘heaven on the earth,’ while the other Agha poet Shahid Ali addresses it as a “country without a post-office.” Kashmir is equally known through two parallel historical genealogies—one of occupation (Sikhs, Britishers, Dogras/Indians), and the other of Islam and spiritual transformation. The mass conversion of the Kashmir Valley to Islam occurred in the fourteenth century. This was catalyzed by Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani, a Persian Sufi mystic from Hamadan in western Iran, who visited Kashmir thrice in the 1370s and 1380s accompanied by hundreds of disciples, many of whom settled in Kashmir. After his death, a mosque–the Khanqah-e-Maulawas erected in his honor in the 1390s on the Jhelum River in Srinagar, where it currently stands in a rebuilt eighteenth-century version.

Inside the Jamia Masjid [PC: wikipedia]

Kashmir’s transition to Islam is, however, also identified above all others with a locally born Sufi saint, Sheikh Nooruddin Noorani. He was born around 1377 in a village south of Srinagar and lived until about 1440. Noorani is referred to in the Valley as Alamdar-e-Kashmir (patron saint) and is also known among Muslims and non-Muslims alike by the Sanskrit name Nund Rishi (Nund the Sage). Noorani was greatly influenced by Lalleshwari; a woman mystic of Shaivite Hinduism (which worships the deity Shiva), who lived from about 1320 to 1392. Lalleshwari is known as Lal Ded (Mother) in Kashmir. Lalleshwari is also the founder of the Kashmiri literary tradition. She expressed her spirituality in couplets in Kashmiri, which belongs to the Dardic group of Indo-Aryan languages. Sheikh Noorani, Lal Ded’s follower, was a ‘Muslim Shaivite’ who ‘translated Islam into Kashmir’s [pre-existing] spiritual and cultural idiom’. Noorani’s mausoleum-shrine is located in Charar-e-Sharief, a town about 20 miles south-west of Srinagar.

The specifically Kashmiri version of Islam pioneered by Sheikh Nooruddin Noorani was taken forward in the fifteenth century by Kashmir’s greatest indigenous ruler (sultan) Zain-ul-Abidin, who reigned from about 1423 to 1474. Zain-ul-Abidin foreshadowed the syncretistic policies of India’s greatest Mughal monarch, Akbar, who ruled from 1556 to 1605 and tried to implement an innovative official religion, Din-i-Ilahi – a hybrid of Hinduism and Islam. The version of Islamic faith implanted in Kashmir by Shah Hamdan, Sheikh Noorani/Nund Rishi, and Zain-ul-Abidin, proved enduring and resilient, and defines the everyday practice of Islam in the Valley 600 years later.

Ramadan as Metaphysical Disobedience

Modern man is encountered with an indefectible challenge like never before in human history from the magical spell of secular modernity. The disruption of any link that goes back to metaphysics is the project of secular liberalism. Softly and unconsciously modern condition inspired from secular ontology has cut the cords of the sacred from the life-world of human beings. Collectively, we, the post-enlightenment humans, are now living in a secular-subjective realm which insists on structuring our lives as if God-death-afterlife has no bearing on it. The disruption in the ontological structuration of human Self ceased to be a metaphysical problem for us anymore.

Fasting, as an act, and Ramadan as a moment in time, comes as a disruption to this hegemonic attempt of liberalism to replace the sacred with secular, and metaphysical with the material. In a secular age characterized by the subversion of the ‘sacred’ to the ‘secular’ and a preoccupation with worldliness, fasting represents the subversion of the most manifest and basic features of the ‘secular’: the flesh.

Ramadan in Kashmir

Religion plays an inevitably significant role in the everyday life of Kashmir. With a Muslim majority population, religion has a major influence in the social, psychological and political fabric of the valley, and religious events are seen as a means of connecting to the divine. Ramadan is received with mixed feelings amid the worsening political situation, especially after the 5 August, 2019, with two years of lockdown, over 16,000 people in jails, intermittent encounters, and an impending economic crisis.

Ali Mohammad, 55, a Kashmiri Ramadan drummer or human alarm, bangs his drum as he walks through the dark alleys in the outskirts of Srinagar, Kashmir on Apr. 10, 2022, alerting Muslim residents to wake up for pre-dawn meals before the start of the following day’s fast during the holy month of Ramadan. (REUTERS)

Kashmiris are circumstantially conditioned to wake up to the alarm of sudden killings and deaths, and the only alarm that comes as normal is the drummer who wakes us up for Suhoor in the month of Ramadan. These are the Sehar Khans–the human alarm clocks for residents of Kashmir–who roam the streets before daylight, beating their drums and diligently reminding Muslims in the Valley to wake up for their pre-dawn mean, or sahar, so that they can brace themselves for hours of fasting ahead during the holy month of Ramadan. But even this practice seems to meet the fate of closure due to the ongoing political turmoil as many are considering stopping this job because of unpredictable political situation in Kashmir.

Prayers, charity, and food, characterize the Muslim-dominated Valley for the month of Ramadan. Streets are lit up in festive colors and mosques reverberate with prayers. After the pre-drawn meal, the air is filled with calls for prayers and scores of people fill up the mosques and shrines dotting the Valley’s landscape. Then, it is business as usual for the working population – except that lunch hour becomes a time for noon prayers.

For Kashmiris who are fasting, iftar–the evening meal with which the Ramzan fast is broken – is a chance to feast on local delicacies such as Babribyol tresh (a drink made of basil seeds), firi’en (made of semolina and milk), qateer (a drink of tragacanth), custards, fruit juices, dates, and dishes made with mutton and chicken. To keep the table ready for iftar, residents start queuing up around noon outside the shops of the kandur, the local bread makers of Kashmir. The kandur take special orders – so visitors can get customized bread made with extra ghee, poppy, and sesame seeds.

The Secular/Colonial Disruption

Ramadan is cherished in Kashmir like it is in other parts of the world, but it also in no way shares the fate of relative peace like other parts of the Muslim world. Crackdowns, encounters, and funerals are part and parcel of the everyday life of Kashmir. Ramadan is no exception to it. Like, the region’s biggest mosque, Jamia Masjid, remained shut for 30 weeks since the controversial move by New Delhi to strip the disputed Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status in August 2019. The closure of mosques and interfering in the religious practices are received with contempt. This story of anti-Muslim hatred and disruption in religious practices goes way beyond Kashmir. The court ban on Hijab in Karnataka, closure of Tablighi Jamaat Markaz during pandemic, and other similar events only exposes the myth of Indian democracy.

Even under such circumstances, religious practices, including fasting in the month of Ramadan, not only serve the purpose of spiritual elevation, but metaphysical disobedience against the liberal self-centred consumerism and colonialism. Like Palestinians, Ramadan for Kashmiris is not merely a month of seeking nearness to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). It comes as a reminder of being patient and renewing commitment to the cause of seeking justice in the face of oppression. I am reminded of an answer given by a security officer to a Kashmiri journalist, “it may be usual Muslim perception that all good deeds are rewarded in Ramadan so you see more armed rebels getting killed in this month.” Ramadan is indeed the month of supplication and people tend to pray peacefully, but when you witness killing and bloodshed in this month too, you can imagine the plight of the people.

Amid this seemingly never-ending conflict, Kashmiris never forgot the plight of Palestinians nor the suffering of Uyghurs, or the displaced Syrians. Anything I cherish, being a Kashmiri, is the political awareness and concern Kashmiris have for other parts of the Muslim world. While they suffer, they act like the other part of the body, which aches whenever there is an injury in other part of the body. While Kashmiris pray for the peace at home, they equally resonate with the prayers of those who pray for the well-being of the Muslim Ummah.

 

Related reading:

Surveillance, Detentions And Politics of Fear: Managing Kashmir The Palestinian Way 

The post Two Kashmirs : Suffering And Spirituality appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Small Deeds Massive Rewards : Save Yourself From The Fire Even If By Half A Date

29 April, 2022 - 05:10

Welcome to the ‘Small Deeds, Massive Rewards’ series with MuslimMatters and Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim!

In this 30-part video series, Shaykh Yahya will guide us through the entire month of Ramadan, on how we can incorporate simple but immensely beneficial deeds into our own lives, with the aim of getting to a higher spiritual station with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) inshaAllah.

In this episode, Shaykh Yahya explains how even half a date given in charity can save us from the torment of the Fire.

 

Related posts from the ‘Small Deeds, Massive Rewards’ series:

Small Deeds, Massive Rewards : Love For The Sake Of Allah

The post Small Deeds Massive Rewards : Save Yourself From The Fire Even If By Half A Date appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

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