Monthly Archives: January 2013
By Andrea Umm Abdullah and Umm Zahrah
I MAY not know you. I may not know your name, where you come from, or where you live. But I know what you’re going through.
I’ve been there. I know you just want to be happy. You just want your marriage, your husband, your home life to be…better. Happier. Easier.
I know you are tired of being sad. Tired of being unfulfilled. Tired of settling. Tired of wanting more. Tired of trying to make yourself stop caring.
I know sometimes you look up and wonder, “What happened to the ME I used to be?” You’ve bent, suppressed, and given up so much of yourself. Sometimes you wonder, “What am I doing here? What’s the point? Maybe my life would be better if/when/there…”
I know you feel unnoticed and unappreciated. You can’t get rid of the headaches, your eyes are tired, your hair needs attention, your hands are rough, your body is sore, your feet are cracked but most importantly, your heart feels empty.
But you know what? It’s going to be okay.
You know how you start to compare your then and now? You wonder why you were happier and why you felt your iman back then? You wonder, “What happened? What changed?” Yeah, your situation changed…You had that thing, the issues were different, etc. but you changed too. You let your circumstances determine your happiness.
And if you keep doing that, you’ll always be up and down, because that’s how life is. But I don’t want that for you. I want you to get to a place where you can say, “You know what? It’s ok. It’s not worth the arguing, the pain, the tears, and the inner turmoil.”
We think happiness is always when and if. We think happiness is somewhere outside of us…somewhere outside of our current situation. But that’s not true. Your happiness is up to you.
You can “choose” happiness. You don’t have to wait until someone or something makes you happy. Instead of waiting for that one big change to bring joy and sunshine into your life, pay attention to the small drops of delight that abound throughout your day.
Everything will never be exactly the way you want. And if it is, it won’t last long. That’s just how life is. And that’s ok. We have ups and we have downs. The good thing about the downs is that they tell us to slow down. To pray. To be grateful. To feel empathy for those who have it worse.
I saw a quote the other day…”When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on.” And that’s what you have to do sometimes.
You just hold on.
I know what it’s like to reach that point where you feel like you’re going to break. You’re tired of going through the motions and you know you can’t keep living like this. It’s scary. It’s scary because you don’t know what’s going to happen or what to do next but you know something has to change. And sooner or later, you realize, it’s you. It’s you that has to change. Because at this point, you know that nothing external will make it better. Getting a maid won’t make it better. Having more money or even getting that divorce. You would still be unhappy. And that’s how you know it’s your heart. And so you give in. And you throw in the towel and turn back to where you should’ve been the whole time…with Allah.
You know, your marriage isn’t the center of your life. The reality is you won’t always feel the love, the happiness and fulfillment. I know you didn’t get married to have a roommate and sometimes you feel like your marriage isn’t benefitting you the way it’s supposed to.
But don’t spend too much time being sad. And don’t let anyone stand in between you and your relationship with Allah. Not even your own self. You couldn’t read Quran because you were just too upset. You couldn’t pray because you couldn’t concentrate. Or you couldn’t sit and do your adhkar because your mind was everywhere.
But you know how you feel better after you take that first step back to Allah? That time you decided to pick up the Quran, maybe because you figured it’s been a while. That time you couldn’t stop crying in prayer. And then when you finished, you felt lighter. Well this time, keep going.
Remember the last time YOU did something and it made YOU feel happy? Or the other day when you laughed out loud, for a pretty long time, and you thought, “Wow, I can’t remember the last time I laughed like that.” Go do it again. Go make a nice cake, or put on some makeup and nice clothes, and do your hair. Play with your kids or go help someone. Do it for you. And then smile at yourself. Smile because it’s going to be okay. You may not have everything you want and your relationship with your husband may not be where you want it to be, but Allah sees you. Allah knows your trying.
And one more thing, don’t lose yourself in your marriage, trying to morph yourself into the perfect wife. Keep a little bit of yourself just for you. Because you need YOU.
And remember, you’re not alone
By Umm Zakiyyah on 23 July 2012
BUT I don’t trust God,” the man said.
He was a neighbor of ours in America and had just learned that his wife was terminally ill. Though the man was Christian, my husband had advised him to turn to God in prayer and to place his trust in Him…
“You cannot even begin to understand the depths of confusion caused by believing that God is a man” my father had once said while reflecting on his former life as a Christian.
It was these words that came to mind when I watched a 1997 interview with the famous actor Bill Cosby after his son was killed, and he said, “God can’t control everything.” And even the interviewer couldn’t conceal being taken aback by his words…
“You don’t trust God?” my husband asked our neighbor.
The man averted his gaze. “No,” he said, unveiling frustration right then. “No, I don’t.”
Many Muslims may find such sacrilegious statements incomprehensible. It’s difficult to imagine how a person can live a life ostensibly believing in God yet neither trusting Him nor believing He controls all affairs.
That’s because they don’t believe in God in the right way, we may conclude.
And that’s true. When people do not know their Creator in the proper sense, this ignorance disrupts their relationship with God.
“They [the Jews and Christians] took their rabbis and monks to be their lords besides Allaah and [they also took as their Lord] Christ, the son of Mary. Yet they were commanded to worship one God… ” (Al-Tawbah, 9:31)
Naturally, the religious teachings of humans influence far more than what is deemed lawful and prohibited or the manner one worships God. These flawed teachings further influence the role God plays in followers’ lives…and whether or not they trust Him or believe He controls all affairs.
“Make du’aa for me this Ramadan,” the woman said to me.
“Of course,” I said. “And make du’aa for me too.”
A shy smile toyed at her lips. “No,” she said quietly. “You’re a better Muslim than me. I think Allaah will answer your prayers. I’m not a good Muslim.”
I’m often at a loss for words when Muslims speak like this. If having our prayers answered depended entirely on “being a good Muslim,” then certainly I myself wouldn’t be inclined to raise my hands in supplication.
“Put your trust in Allaah, ukhti. He hears and answers prayers.”
She averted her gaze. “Yeah, okay…”
But her hesitance conveyed sentiments similar to those our neighbor expressed in America…
So where did our lessons about God go wrong? Why do we have the Qur’an and Sunnah yet still hold on to a flawed view of the Creator? Where did we learn that struggling with human faults and sins makes us unworthy of Allaah’s love and forgiveness?
“Say, O My slaves who have wronged their souls! Despair not of the mercy of Allaah. Verily, Allaah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-Zumar, 39:53)
He also tells us,
“O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.”—Qudsi hadith (Al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad, authenticated by Al-Albani)
Yes, it is true that our sins put us at risk of not having our prayers answered. But it is also true that no human is without sin.
The Prophet, sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam, said, “All of the children of Adam sin, and the best of those who sin are those who constantly repent” (Bukhari).
When Muslims fall into despair and depression due to their sins, they aren’t too different from those who don’t trust God or who believe that God can’t control everything.
After all, if we trust Allaah, we know He hears and answers our prayers, and if we believe Allaah is All-Powerful, then we know He has control over all affairs…
And we know it is not beyond Allaah’s capacity to forgive us, no matter how numerous or major our sins.
Often it is the words of people or the whispers of Shaytaan that cripple us in our weakest moments. Thus, we imagine that even a month as blessed as Ramadan and a Mercy as vast as that bestowed from Al-Raheem—the Most Merciful—is beyond our reach.
At these moments, we become dangerously similar to the followers of innovated religions who trust the views of mortal beings over that of the Creator…
And sometimes that mortal view is our own.
We may think of how weak and “bad” we are in comparison to “good Muslims,” or we may believe the harsh words of someone who made us feel like a “bad Muslim,” and we somehow imagine these views reflect our fate more than that of Allaah’s promise of mercy and forgiveness.
And this imagination may even block our inspiration to participate fully in the month of Ramadan….because we think its blessings and promises of Paradise are for “somebody else.”
Yet the Prophet, sallallaahu’alayhi wa sallam, said,“In every day and every night, during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allaah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted” (al-Bazzaar, Ahmad and Ibn Majah; Sahih).
So rest assured, O child of Adam, that inshaaAllaah one of those Muslims is you.
How do I know?
So I trust Allaah.
Why some people accept and some unaccepted the celebration of the prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? What is your opinion?
Praise be to Allaah.
There is nothing in the Qur’aan to say that we should celebrate the Mawlid or birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The Prophet himself (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do this or command anyone to do it, either during his lifetime or after his death. Indeed, he told them not to exaggerate about him as the Christians had exaggerated about Jesus (upon whom be peace). He said: “Do not exaggerate about me as the Christians exaggerated about the son of Maryam. I am only a slave, so say, ‘The slave of Allaah and His Messenger.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari). What has been reported is that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made the day of his birth a day of worship, which is different to celebration. He was asked about fasting on Mondays, and he said: “That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I was entrusted with the Mission or when I was first given Revelation.” (Reported by Muslim, al-Nisaa’i and Abu Dawood).
Moreover, we know that the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) were the people who loved the Prophet most. Was it reported that Abu Bakr, who was the closest of people to him and the one who loved him the most, celebrated the birthday of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? Was it reported that ‘Umar, who ruled for twelve years, or ‘Uthmaan, did this? Was it reported that ‘Ali, his relative and foster son, did this? Was it reported that any of the Sahaabah did this? No, by Allaah! Is it because they were not aware of its importance, or did they not truly love the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? No one would say such a thing except one who has gone astray and is leading others astray.
Did any of the imaams – Abu Haneefah, Maalik, al-Shaafi’i, Ahmad, al-Hasan al-Basri, Ibn Seereen – do this or command others to do it or say that it was good? By Allaah, no! It was not even mentioned during the first and best three centuries. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said in a saheeh hadeeth: “The best of mankind are my generation (or my century), then those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then there will come a people who will not care if their testimony comes before their oath or vice versa (i.e., they will not take such matter seriously).” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Muslim and al-Tirmidhi). The celebration of the Prophet’s birthday appeared many centuries later, when many of the features of true religion had vanished and bid’ah had become widespread.
Thus this celebration became a sign of one’s love for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? But can it be possible that the Sahaabah, the imaams and the people of the best three centuries were unaware of it, and it was only those who came later who were aware of its importance?! What the Qur’aan tells us is that love of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is demonstrated by following the guidance he brought. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘If you (really) love Allaah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Say: ‘Obey Allaah and the Messenger.’ But if they turn away, then Allaah does not like the disbelievers.” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:31-32]
The first aayah explains that love is just a claim, but the proof of sincerity is following what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) brought. The second aayah reaffirms the importance and necessity of obeying Allaah and His Messenger. Hence Allaah ended the aayah with a very stern warning in which those who refuse to obey are described as kaafirs, and Allah does not love the disbelievers. We ask Allaah to keep us safe from that. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us of the danger of not obeying him, and the danger of adding to what he brought. The celebration of Mawlid or his birthday is indeed an addition to what he brought – as all the scholars agree. He said: “The best of speech is the Book of Allaah, and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad. The most evil of things are those which are newly-invented (in religion), and every innovation is a going astray.” (Reported by Muslim and al-Nisaa’i).
We ask Allaah to protect us from bid’ah and to bless us by helping us to follow. Allaah knows best. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid