I Am That Hijab

I am that Hijab

A stunning and powerful poem on hijab by guest writer Aatifa Shareef

Originally posted on http://www.igotitcovered.org

I am that Hijab
That cloth, that fabric
That symbol, that fear
In people’s eyes

Why does she wear it?

I am that cloth
Bound
Grippingly around her head
Secure but comfortable
Strong but delicate
Covering her hair, her ears, her neck

I am that fabric
Pinned
Gracefully around her head
Protective but alleviating
Simple but beautiful
Displaying the beauty within, the pride within, the soul within

I am that concept
Placed
Gloriously around her head
Fierce but merciful
Unyielding but blessed
Compelling the wearer to go on, the onlooker to pause, the bystander to ponder

I am that liberation
Wrapped
Graciously around her head
Desired but attained
Unseen but felt
Refusing the persecution, the unwanted glares, the harsh words

I am that freedom
That concept, that liberation
That symbol, that serenity
In her eyes

That is why she wears it.


Aatifa Shereef originally wrote this poem in 10th Grade for an English assignment requiring a creative piece on freedom. The first thing that popped into her mind regarding freedom (ironically to some) was to write about hijab! “I am that Hijab” was previously published in The Columbus Dispatch, and was submitted to this site by the author. In 2009, she graduated from The Columbus Academy in Gahanna, OH, and is currently a freshman at Northwestern University.

What I Love About My Muslim Wife

Taken from sistersmagazine

Brothers from different walks of life tell us what they love most about their wives – may Allah reward them with good!
 
“What I love about my wife” 
How would life be without my wife? 
The emptiness, 
the strife, 
Would all be rife 
I care not to think of that plight amiss 
So much I love ’bout her, too long is the list. 
Her faith in her Lord and her pure and dear heart 
Tis the reason I married her, but that’s just the start 
Beauty pervades her, in every way and thought 
These are blessings so countless … can never be bought 
Her smile, her gentle face, the sparkle in her eyes 
When our kids are causing havoc, logic defies 
So hard-working, striving to make her family content 
Yearning foremost to make her Lord happy 
Reasons enough for a singler’s lament 
Desire and doing in her life is her worth 
Allaah upon us Your Mercy shower,
And increase our blessed state 
And Your Mercy enshroud her when she’s raised from this earth 
So when you asked us to write “what you love about your wife” 
That blessings so countless, I dare not think of life 
And after so many years our love still gets stronger 
Allaah I cannot thank you enough for all that you have given me 
Just allow me to be with her in Jannah 
And make our bond stronger. 
Ameen
By Abu Abdillah 
34yrs old from London, UK

What do I love about my Muslim wife?
Everything. My wife is the closet partner and friend I’ve ever had. She is the ‘backbone’ of our household. After a very long day at work, it is very comforting to come home and just be with my wife (& the screaming kids). She is my ‘treasure box’ and the ONLY key is with me, alhamdulillah. The most satisfying thing to hear from my wife is to hear how much she loves me, which builds further the bond between us.
Should I be allowed to re-run this life again, surely this would be the one thing I would not change.
Tansar Hussain, UK
 
What I love about my Muslim wife is her ability to adapt to different
situations and surroundings. It’s not easy for women who marry and move away
from home, having to start all over again, leaving behind their family and
friends….its something us men take for granted!
Imran
 
 
“My wife, masha Allah, loves to learn about Islam and takes time out of her busy schedule to read authentic Islamic books on issues of Tawheed, ‘Aqeedah, Islamic manners etc… My wife does her best to implement Islam in our family life and does not just practise Islam when it is easy to but also when it gets difficult alhumdulillah.  She is very patient with me when I am angry in trying to calm me down and does not leave me until she has found a way to please me. She is playful and likes to joke around once in a while and lightens the mood when life gets stressful.  My wife is very particular about the house and works very hard to keep it as clean as possible, masha Allah.  I find her to be a very good mother attentive and loving to her kids’ needs as well as in disciplining them when it is needed.  She is careful to thank me for every good that I do (i.e. provide money for groceries and needs, take her out on a date etc) – she has even expressed guilt at forgetting to say thank you to me after she bought groceries! 
Abu Taimyyah, Age 37, United States
 
Allah is so Merciful and Gracious that if I tried to count the blessing that my Lord has bestowed upon me I would not be able to do, I just might lose my fingers! And one of those blessing is my wife. All praise is for Allah and no one else. In His infinite wisdom he gave me a prize, a jewel, the blessing of a righteous wife, masha Allah. She has this unconditional love that is tremendous and beautiful, Allahu akbar! We have six children and this August, insha Allah, it will be eleven years that we have been married and the only thing I would trade her for is Jannah. I love my wife ‘big much’. I ask Allah to keep us together until He calls us back to him, ameen. I ask Allah to bless those Muslim marriages out there with love and goodness from His Rahma, ameen.
Amir Abu Hudhayfah Ali-Dorsey, East Orange NJ, Masjid Rahmah

 
Her patience – especially with me
Her support – when others would have given up
Her understanding
Her wisdom
Her strength
Her kindness
And I thank Allah that we are together and may He keep us that way.
Anonymous Brother

Men and Women in Islam: Both Equal and Complementary

Equality of Men and Woman in Islam, and their complementary nature to one another

In one sense, equality between men and women is possible and reasonable because they are both human, with similar souls, brains, hearts, lungs, limbs, etc. In another sense, equality between men and women is impossible and an absurdity due to their natural differences in physical, mental, emotional and psychological qualities, inclinations and abilities. Between these two we must tread to illuminate how they are equal, and how they are complimentary.

If total equality between all members of the same gender is impossible due to natural differences in strengths and other qualities, regardless of whether the gender is masculine or feminine, then it is definitely impossible between the two genders. Allah, the Exalted and Almighty, says in the Glorious Qur’an:

(And of everything We have created pairs, that you may remember (the Grace of Allah).)

[51:49]

Even atoms exhibit this dual quality with inter-related and complementary roles played by the positive and negative particles and ions, yet each is an integral part of the whole system of the so called binary basis of all life. Most living beings have male and female sexes for reproduction. As the science of biology teaches us, all mammals have similar traits in their molecular and glandular structures that determine differences in gender. These basic physical, psychological and sexual traits have their definite effects on other spheres of life.

It is natural for a man to need and find fulfillment with a woman and for a woman with a man, since they are created one from the other and for one another. They both are inseparably bound to each other. Neither can they find fulfillment except when in the company of the other as legal and honorable mate and spouse, as Allah (The Almighty) says in His Majestic Book, the Qur’an, mentioned in the two verses cited in the preface:

(O Mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you in the Sight of Allah is the believer who has Taqwa (piety and righteousness). Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.)

[49:13]

In many instances Islam treats women as equals to men. Some of them are given below. In the coming sections we will expand on these themes in various contexts throughout the book.

1) Equality in Basic Humanity

Both the male and the female are equal in terms of their humanity. Islam does not categorize women, for instance, as the source of evil in the world for some & original sin that caused Adam (Peace be Upon Him) to be dismissed from Paradise, or to be the cause of evil in the world by setting loose a Pandora’s box of vices, as some other religious doctrines and fables teach.

Allah, the Exalted and Almighty, states in the Glorious Qur’an:

(O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife (Eve), and from them both He created many men and women…)

[4:1]

Allah also states in the Glorious Qur’an:

(Does man think that he will be left neglected without being punished or rewarded for the obligatory duties enjoined by his Lord (Allah) on him? Was he not a mixed male and female discharge of semen pouring forth? Then he became a clot; then (Allah) shaped and fashioned (him) in due proportion, and made him into two sexes, male and female. Is He not able to raise to life those who are dead?)

[75:36-40]

Allah illustrated in the verses that He created both sexes from one single source. There is no difference between the two sexes in terms of qualifications in humanity, and each complements the other as the two genders of the species. Islam has abolished and abrogated all the previous unjust laws that demoted women as inferior in quality and nature. The Prophet of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said:

Verily, women are the twin halves of men.

[Abu Dawood #234 , Tirmidhi #113 & others]

2) Equality in Religious Obligations

Equal religious duties and rituals are required from both women and men. Testimony of Faith (Shahaadah), Prayer (Salah), Obligatory Charity (Zakah), Fasting (Saum), and Pilgrimage (Hajj) are equally required of both genders. In some cases the requirements are a bit easier on women to alleviate their special cases of hardship. For instance, in consideration of her health and physical condition, menstruating women or a woman in the state of postnatal bleeding and recuperation are absolved from the duty of prayers and fasting. She is required to make up the days of fasting missed due to menses and postnatal bleeding, but not her prayers, as that would be too burdensome.

3) Equality in Rewards and Punishments

Both males and females have similar rewards for obedience and penalties for disobedience in this world and the Hereafter. As stated by Allah in the Glorious Qur’an:

(Whoever does righteous acts, whether male or female, while he is a believer, verily, to him We will give a good life, and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do.)

[16:97]

And the Lord Most Majestic says:

(Surely for men who submit to Allah and for women who submit to Allah, for believing men and for believing women, for devout men and devout women, for truthful men and truthful women, for steadfast men and steadfast women, for humble men and humble women, for charitable men and charitable women, for fasting men and fasting women, for men who guard their chastity and women who guard their chastity, for men who remember Allah much and for women who remember Allah much, for all of them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a mighty reward.)

[33:35]

4) Equality in Preservation of Honor and Nobility

Women have the same moral obligations and are entitled to the same general rights as men in guarding chastity, integrity and personal honor and respect, etc. No double standards are allowed. For instance, those who falsely accuse a chaste woman of adultery or fornication are publicly punished, just as if a man is slandered. Allah, the Exalted, states in the Glorious Qur’an:

(And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty lashes, and reject their testimony forever. Indeed, they are those who are disobedient to Allah.)

[24:4]

5) Equality in Financial Dealings and Property Ownership

Women are equally qualified and allowed to engage in financial dealings and property ownership. According to Islamic law women can own, buy, sell and undertake any financial transaction without the need for guardianship, and without any restrictions or limitations – a situation unheard of in many societies until modern times.

6) Best of you is the Best to his Womenfolk

Islam indicates that a man who honors, respects and deals with women justly and integrally, possesses a healthy and righteous personality, whereas a man who mistreats them is an unrighteous and unrespectable man. The Prophet of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said:

The most complete believer is the best in character, and the best of you is the best to his womenfolk.

[Tirmidhi #1162 and verified]

7) Equality in Education and Cultivation

Islam entitles women to the same rights as men in terms of education and cultivation. The Prophet of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said, as reported and authenticated by the scholars of prophetic traditions:

Seeking knowledge is compulsory for each and every Muslim (i.e. both male and female).

[Ibn Majah #224 al-Baihaqi and verified]

Muslim scholars collectively agreed that the word Muslim when used in revealed scriptures includes both male and female, as we indicated in parenthesis. Thus, Islam entitles women to the same right of education in order to understand the religious and social obligations, and obligated them both to raise their children in the best manner, in accordance with the right Islamic guidance. Of course women have certain obligations in bringing up their children that are commensurate to their abilities and men have complementary obligations to finance, protect and maintain according to their added responsibilities in the family unit.

The Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) said:

Whoever takes care of two girls until they reach puberty, he and I will come on the Day of Resurrection like this.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) then joined his fingers to illustrate this.

[Muslim #2631]

About female slave girls, the Prophet of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said:

Whoever has a female child with him (under his guardianship from slavery), and trains her in the best behavior, and teaches her well, and then frees and marries her, will have a double reward.

[Bukhari #97 & Muslim #154 ]

8) Equality in Social Responsiblities

Men and women have similar obligations and responsibilities to reform and correct the society to the best of their capability. Men and women shoulder the responsibility of enjoining good and forbidding evil equally, as Allah, the Exalted, states in the Qur’an:

(The believers, men and women, are helpers, supporters, friends and protectors of one another, they enjoin all that is good, and forbid all that is evil, they offer their prayers perfectly, and give Zakah (Obligatory Charity) and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will bestow Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.)

[9:71]

9) Right to Receive Fair Share of Wealth

Men and women have set and determined rights to receive their fair share of wealth, just as they are obliged to give Zakah (Obligatory Charity) according to the set calculation. All Muslim scholars unanimously agree upon this. A woman has her set share of inheritance, as will be discussed in more detail later, which was a right unthinkable in many societies.

Allah (The Almighty) says:

(There is a share for men from what is left by parents and those closely related, and there is a share for women from what is left by parents and those closely related, whether the wealth be small or large: a legal mandatory share.)

[4:7]

10) A woman, just like a man, can give someone the right of seeking refuge and security among the Muslims

Allah, the Exalted, says:

(And if one of the polytheists seeks refuge, give him until he hears the words of Allah, then take him to his place of security.)

 

The Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said:

And the protection of Muslims is one, and the least among them can give protection; and whoever usurps the right of a Muslim then the curse of Allah and His angels and all the people is upon him, and no repentance or ransom will be accepted from him

[Bukhari #3008]

This is also proven by the famous story of Um Hani’ (Mother of Hani’) when she gave protection to a polytheist who sought refuge with her on the day of the conquest of Makkah after her relative threatened to kill that person (for some past enmity) so the Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon Him) said,

We protect and give asylum to whomever you give asylum O Um Hani’.

[Bukhari #350]

You are Beautiful, Masha’Allah!

You are Beautiful, Masha Allah!
By Na’ima B. Robert

When was the last time you looked in the mirror and smiled: `Alhamdulillah’? Chances are, your last encounter with a full-length mirror was conducted with a worried frown on your face as you ran down a long, humiliating list of your figure’s faults and flaws.  Why do we do this to ourselves?

As women, the pressure to live up to a collagen-enhanced, air-brushed ideal of beauty is greater than ever. We are constantly bombarded with images of women with impossibly clear skin, symmetrical features, long, glossy hair, perky fronts and backs, toned thighs, dainty feet: no wonder we feel inadequate! Even being a Muslimah doesn’t necessarily shield one from our society’s insistence on codifying `beauty’ and making it a standard that all women should aspire to.  What’s a girl to do?

Some of us rise to the challenge: we work out, watch what we eat, keep our daily `cleanse, tone and moisturize’ routine and invest in flattering make-up and complementary clothes in shades that suit our complexions. BUT… if you are like the many Muslim women that I know – busy wives, even busier mothers – you just don’t have time for such a hectic grooming schedule. So, in a way, some of us opt out. We give up trying to compete. We cover our bodies with our abayas, hide our split ends under our hijabs and bury ourselves in the many demands of home and family life.  But we are not `conscientious objectors’. We have not taken the decision to neglect ourselves as a matter of principle and so, we are still unhappy when we look at ourselves in the mirror. We are still dissatisfied. And we are still ungrateful.

Yes, we are ungrateful. We agonise over our stretch marks and ignore the miracle of the womb that blossomed and left us with those silvery marks. We worry about our dimply thighs and forget that our legs are strong and capable of bending in prostration, of walking around the Ka’aba and carrying us through life. We fret about our flabby upper arms and turn a blind eye to the amazing strength of our arms that have carried schoolbooks, rocked babies and comforted husbands and friends. 

 
My sister, look at your body. Take a long, hard look. Then say the du’a of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam): “O Allah, as you have made my appearance beautiful, make my character beautiful.”  That’s right, my sister, you are beautiful, masha Allah: believe it!  You are a unique, amazing creation of Allah ta’ala and your body is a witness to His Majesty every single moment of every day, with
every breath you take and every beat of your heart. And your beauty is not fleeting or in and out of fashion like the false ideal of beauty being peddled on the high street. Your beauty is more than skin-deep: it radiates from your soul, from the beauty of your iman, from a life lived for the sake of Allah.  For the ideal of beauty that we should be striving for is the beauty of the believer: the light of inner peace, the glow of the night prayer, the smile of contentment and gratitude, the beauty of a righteous and noble character. That is the true beauty and the only one worth striving for.  So, if you work out, keep a daily exercise routine and keep your high standards, you go, girl. And if you don’t, just do your best.  But just remember that beauty is about so much more than clear skin and toned thighs. It is about acknowledging the bounties of Allah and recognising the beauty He looks for and can see. And that is the kind of beauty that everyone should aspire to.

This article was published in the first issue of SISTERS.  If you liked this article, why not subscribe to SISTERS and get the latest issue and all our past online issues free?

http://www.sisters-magazine.com/

18 Things Sisters can do For the Local Islamic Center

The Prophet (PBUH) said: If the wife of any one of you asks permission (to go to the masjid) do not forbid her.” (Bukhari)

Given this, here are some practical things sisters can do for their local Islamic Center.

1. Do it for the sake of Allah

What other reason to do this than for the sake of Allah? None. Make your intention clear, then assess what you can do. Insha Allah (if Allah wills) you’ll be rewarded for your sincerity and dedication.

2. Fight for your right

Do you know that you even have a right to go to the mosque? Request the masjid board to provide the reference from the Quran or hadith for denying women to go to the masjid. Provide the board with textual references from the Quran and Sunnah indicating otherwise. This may be presented by way of a letter or a presentation at a board meeting. Identify brothers on the board and other community leaders who believe women should not be denied access. These brothers will be important allies in your struggle. Don’t make your struggle be seen as a sister vs. brother problem. It is important to stress to the board that the participation of women in the masjid is a God-given right. If space is seen as a problem, provide suggestions as to how the masjid can become more sister-friendly. Remind these brothers that while their wives go shopping, or some cases work, by denying them the right to go to the mosque, they are being denied the change to gain Allah’s blessings through praying and learning in the mosque. Denying women their God-given right to attend the masjid is a form of zulm (oppression).

Continue reading 18 Things Sisters can do For the Local Islamic Center

The Muslim Woman and Herself

She keeps company with righteous people and joins religious gatherings

In order to attain this high status, the Muslim woman chooses righteous, Allah-fearing friends, who will be true friends and offer sincere advice, and will not betray her in word or deed. Good friends have a great influence in keeping a Muslim woman on the Straight Path, and helping her to develop good habits and refined characteristics. A good friend – in most cases – mirrors one’s behaviour and attitudes:

  • “Do not ask about a man: ask about his friends, / for every friend follows his friends.”47
  • Mixing with decent people is an indication of one’s good lineage and noble aims in life:
  • “By mixing with noble people you become one of them,/ so you should never regard anyone else as a friend.”48
  • So it is as essential to choose good friends as it is to avoid doing evil:
  • “If you mix with people, make friends with the best of them,/ do not make friends with the worst of them lest you become like them.”49
The Muslim woman is keen to attend gatherings where there is discussion of Islam and the greatness of its teachings regarding the individual, family and society, and where those present think of the power of Almighty Allah (SWT) and His bountiful blessings to His creation, and encourage one another to obey His commandments, heed His prohibitions and seek refuge with Him. In such gatherings, hearts are softened, souls are purified, and a person’s whole being is filled with the joy of faith.
  • Abdullah ibn Rawahah (RAA), whenever he met one of the Companions of the Prophet (PBUH), used to say, “Come, let us believe in our Lord for a while.” When the Prophet (PBUH) heard about this, he said, “May Allah have mercy on Ibn Rawahah, for he loves the gatherings that the angels feel proud to attend.”50
  • The rightly-guided khalifah `Umar al-Faruq (RAA) used to make the effort to take a regular break from his many duties and the burden of his position as ruler. He would take the hand of one or two men and say, “Come on, let us go and increase our faith,” then they would remember Allah (SWT).51 Even `Umar (RAA), who was so righteous and performed so many acts of worship, felt the need to purify his soul from time to time. He would remove himself for a while from the cares and worries of life, to refresh his soul and cleanse his heart.
  • Mu`adh ibn Jabal (RAA) would often say to his companions, when they were walking, “Let us sit down and believe for a while.”52
The Muslim is responsible for strengthening his soul and purifying his heart. He must always push himself to attain a higher level, and guard against slipping down: ( By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; and by its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right – truly he succeeds that purifies it, and he fails that corrupts it!) (Qur’an 91:7-10)
 
So the Muslim woman is required to choose with care the best friends and attend the best gatherings, so that she will be in an environment which will increase her faith and taqwa:(And keep your soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not your eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds.) (Qur’an 18: 28)
47. See ‘Adiyy ibn Zayd al-‘Ibadi by the author, 172.
48. Anonymous.
49. See ‘Adiyy ibn Zayd al-‘Ibadi by the author, 172.
50. Reported by Ahmad (3/265) with a hasan isnad.
51. Hayat al-Sahabah, 3/329.
52. Ibid.
[Taken from “The Ideal Muslimah – The True Islamic Personality of the Muslim Woman as Defined in the Quran and the Sunnah” by Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi]