Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dear Fellow Bloggers

For some reason I can no longer post comments using my name and when I try to post a comment on Blogger Blogs, it just ends up showing as anonymous even though I'm signed in as usual.

I've tried to find out what the problem is but unfortunately I have not found a solution. If anyone has experienced something similar happening to them and can advise me on this then please help. I really don't like anonymous commenting.

Anyway, in the meantime I will keep trying to post comments and I will try to remember to add my name to the comment so you know its from me even though it will say anonymous.

Just thought I'd let you all know in case you're wondering what's going on with my comments.

Peace to you all, and happy blogging and commenting.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Is This Really LIFE?

The other day my nephews and nieces asked me if they could play a board game called LIFE. I don’t know if all of you are familiar with this game, but for those who are not, it’s basically a board game reflecting “LIFE”. It starts where you have to make the choice between going to College or Finding a Career. Then you move through the various spaces of the game, borrowing money from the bank, getting money for things, receiving a salary, having to pay taxes and other expenses, getting money, losing money, getting married, having children, buying a starter home, then when you have enough money, moving on to a bigger house, then a mansion, getting divorced, getting married again, winning things or money, getting a pay raise, changing careers, going back to college, owing more money, having more expenses, getting more money, then paying for something new..... Eventually you end the game by retiring, with your fancy cars and big mansion (that is of course if you’re lucky enough or wise enough to have played the game well).

As I sat there watching these young innocent children, so eager and excited to play and so fascinated with the game, I honestly couldn’t help feeling completely freaked out! This isn’t what I want my innocent nieces and nephews to think life is all about. In fact, a more appropriate name for this type of game would have been “RAT RACE”. Really, where’s the meaning, the human interaction, the spirituality and religion. Where are the wonderful feelings you get when spending time with family, or the good you accomplish by giving charity, or the positive impact you make by doing volunteer work to help others. Apparently all these things have no value (that is no monetary or material value), and they don’t even deserve to be a part of life. So just like in the game, activities that don’t bring in the money are simply just not worthwhile and you basically end up being the loser. I have to ask; Is this really LIFE? Is this how we want our children to see life? Do we want them to think that life is all about material things and experiences, that our value at the end of the day depends on how big our houses are, or how smart our cars are and how much money we have in the bank? Are these even positive messages at all?

And of course, just like these things have been glamorized in the game, so too have they been made to look wonderful in real life. I know that we need money and a career and so on, but what happened to the essence of life? A life like this has no meaning; it’s a mechanical movement through time where people don’t even have to love what they do, just as long as it gives them the material things they need. What about having a passion for what you do, or doing something because you honestly want to make a real difference? The people who manage to step out of the “rat race” are very few, and they are the ones who are regarded as “odd”, “different”, and “eccentric”. In the meantime, there’s this system in place that has strategically managed to enslave us all in a world that has no meaning and value; a world of materialism, where money is the central part that makes the entire machine work. So people continue to work to get money, and before we even get our pay cheques at the end of the month the money’s already gone. And the house we live in will only belong to us after twenty years of hard work and regular payments. And similarly the car we drive can easily be taken away from us if we are unable to uphold payments. And prices of things continue to go up, and we get extremely tired every day, as we work just to pay for things. Is this really LIFE?

I was happy when my niece decided she wanted to be a teacher in the game instead of a computer designer, despite the fact that the teacher got paid much less. She loves school and teaching and always talks about how she wants to be a teacher. It was refreshing to see how innocent children still make choices based on meaning and value instead of money and materialism. Still though, the sceptic in me can’t help but wonder how long will that last? At what point will this enthusiasm and passion for wanting to do something you really love be drowned out by the glitz and glamour associated with a fancy career. I wish that I could say this will never happen. I wish that I could our future will be built on things that have values and meaning. I wish that I could say money will come to mean very little, it will be a means and not an end. I wish that I could say the definition of life will include meaningful experiences instead of a race through materialism. Perhaps one day my wishes will come true and people will discard the world of materialism for a world full of things that actually mean something.

In the meantime though, we can start with ourselves, we can try to make the difference, we can be different and re-define the definition of LIFE. For me, LIFE is not about a constant rat race, gaining wealth and possessions as we go along. I don’t care about the big house or fancy car. I don’t want the glamorous job in the Top Company. Inshaa Allah, through the mercy of Our Most Magnificent Lord, Allah Almighty, I wish to continue searching for meaning wherever I can find it. And Inshaa Allah, I wish to be able to only do actions that will please Allah, because one day when this material world will no longer exist, then what will I have to show? When money means nothing and all the fancy homes and cars are destroyed and useless, then what will I have to show? When a fancy career in the best company holds no value, then where will I turn? And when I stand before my Lord and have to answer about my life, what will I be able to say then? Who will really win the true game of life?

PS: Before people tell me that I'm spoiling all the fun and taking things way too seriously, I'm really not saying that we shouldn't play games or have fun. Its fine to even play this game for fun, as long as we don't start believing that this is all that life is about. That's all I'm trying to say here!  

May Allah make it easy for us all, Inshaa Allah

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Butterfly Award

I am so delayed in posting this, sometimes it just doesn't seem like there's enough time, but Alhamdullillah there's some time now.

A very big Jazakallah Khayr to Sara @ sweet serenity for giving me the Butterfly Award.

I think it's great when people can share their thoughts openly and constructively in a positive way. 

I'd like to dedicate this award to all the wonderful women bloggers. This goes out to all those who are making an effort, sharing your thoughts and experiences and making the time, even when you get busy. 

Words have the power to make a difference, and positive words spoken or written lives on eternally. We will never know the full impact of our words, but despite this, inshaa Allah we will continue to share our thoughts, and voice our opinions, and we will hope and pray that Allah Almighty is pleased with what we do. 

Thanks to all of you who continue to inspire me! 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Great Women in Islam

The answer for this week's quiz question (Which of the Prophet's (PBUH) wives was entrusted with the great task of preserving the written verses of the Holy Qur'aan? ) is:

  • She was the daughter of Umar ibn al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him).
  • She was 1st married to a man known as Hisn ibn Hudhafah, who participated in the Battle of Badr and then fell ill at Madinah and died.
  • She then became a widow and her father Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) became worried and decided to find her a suitable husband.
  • Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) thus approached Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with Him) and asked him if he would marry Hafsah (May Allah be pleased with her). On this request Abu Bakr remained silent and Umar was distressed.
  • Umar then approached Uthmaan (May Allah be pleased with him) for the marriage of his daughter Hafsah, but Uthmaan was still mourning the loss of his wife Ruqayyah (May Allah be pleased with her), the daughter of the Noble Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
  • The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) then saw Umar in this distressed condition and inquired about this.
  • The Messenger (PBUH) calmed Umar down and said to him; “Hafsah shall marry someone who is better than Uthmaan and Uthmaan shall marry someone who is better than Hafsah.”
  • Although Umar didn’t fully understand, he was calmed.
  • When Umar told Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with them) what the Prophet (PBUH) had said, then Abu Bakr told Umar that the Prophet (PBUH) mentioned Hafsah to him and showed an interest in marrying her. This was the reason for Abu Bakr’s silence, and he said that he would otherwise have married Hafsah.
  • Uthmaan was promised in marriage Umm Kulthoom, who was also the daughter of the Prophet (PBUH) thus the Prophet’s (PBUH) words were understood.
  • That is the story of how Hafsah entered the household of the Prophet (PBUH) as one of the Mothers of the Believers.

  • She was the closest to A’isha of all the Prophet’s (PBUH) wives. It was like the two of them were sisters, and they always agreed and never argued.
  • Hafsah was somewhat stern and tough in nature.
  • Due to her nature, the Prophet (PBUH) divorced her once.
  • According to Ahadeeth, On this, the angel Jibra’eel (Gabriel) came to the Prophet (PBUH) and told him; “Take Hafsah back, for she frequently fasts and prays in the night. And she is your wife in Paradise.”
  • The Prophet (PBUH) thus took Hafsah back .
  • Hafsah could read and write. This was an accomplishment that was very rare amongst women and men at that time.
  • An indication of the importance of this ability was that Hafsah’s house was the place where the revealed verses of the Holy Qur’aan (written on palm branches, slates and other material) was kept.

To read more you can download books at:


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I guess change is inevitable

Depending on how we choose to see things, change can be either a positive or negative thing. Recently I have had to go through some changes in my life which I was not very willing to embrace at first. I have become comfortable with my life the way it is and the idea of things changing didn’t go down well at first. I made all types of excuses initially, but then at some point I realized that there was not much point in making excuses anymore, because we have to deal with change at some point, whether we like to or not.

The more I think of it, the more it seems that life is only about change. In fact, we may even describe life as a series of changes. We are born, and we spend the first few precious years of our lives being protected and nurtured by our parents and then that has to change when we go off to school. Going to school can be a scary and sad experience (my youngest sister will attest to this as she just hated school initially). But this is a change that we have to deal with. Then when we become comfortable in Primary School, when we finally feel happy and secure in our friendships, it’s time for another change and we have to go off to high school, or perhaps another primary school or maybe even another Town, or country.

After school more changes await us. We go off to University or to work, some of us get married. Whatever path we take, we have to go through changes in life. As we get older and progress through life, we will find that change is inevitable. There’s no getting away from it. Things cannot stay the same because without change there is no progression in life, and without progression in life we remain stagnant, and what is the point then, really, if we’re not learning and growing as we go through the wonderful journey of life?

I have found that the times we really don’t look forward to change are the times when we learn the most from the changes that we encounter. I read a quote somewhere; it said that “CHANGE BRINGS LIFE”. I always remember this, especially when I am not looking forward to change.

So truly I guess change is inevitable, but no matter what the change is, it has to be good for us in terms of growing to become stronger and better people. So perhaps the better thing to do would be to embrace change instead of run away from it, accept and appreciate change instead of moan about it and regard change as an opportunity to grow and a means to become a better person.

At this point I am recalling a verse from the Holy Qur’aan in which Allah (swt) states that no soul will be given a burden which he is unable to bear. SubhanAllah, Allah is indeed the Most Merciful and this assures us that no matter what the changes are that we have to go through in life, if we rely on Allah Almighty then certainly we will be able to bear all the changes that come our way. Inshaa Allah Ameen!

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Great Women in Islam

The answer for this weeks quiz question (What was the name of the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who advised him on what to do when the Muslims wanted to perform umrah and they were not allowed to do this?) is:

  • She accepted Islam from the beginning
  • She married Abdullah-bin-Asad (May Allah be pleased with him) who was a Companion of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and immigrated to Abyssinia due to the persecution of the Qureysh Tribe.
  • They had a son named Salama. (Thus the origin of her name Umme Salama (mother of Salama).
  • While in Abyssinia they heard false news that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) had made peace with the Qureysh, so they returned to Mecca and were captured and thus separated. Her husband tried to run away with them, but Salma’s family refused and detained her. They had mounted their camels but she was forced off, thus resulting in Abdullah having to leave behind his family.
  • Once Abdullah’s family had heard this news they laid claim to Salma’s son and he too was taken away and separated leaving her completely alone.
  • Due to her grief and devastation she used to weep bitterly, run into the forest to cry. At seeing this, her family had pity on her and released her and allowed her to leave Mecca and rejoin her husband and son.
  • When she was re-united with her family, the bond was very strong.
  • She asked Abdullah one day if he would re-marry if she died. His duaa (prayer) was that she gets better than him if he dies.
  • 2 daughters were born to her later on- Dara and Zainub.
  • Her husband, Abdullah fought in the Battle’s of Badr and Uhud and he passed away of an open war wound.
  • Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) proposed to her and she refused.
  • When the Prophet (PBUH) proposed she accepted and thus her husband Abdullah’s duaa was accepted as she got to marry someone much better than him.
  • While the Muslims were staying in Medina, the Prophet (PBUH) decided to make umrah (short pilgrimage) to Mecca.
  • The Muslims were refused entry into Mecca on arrival and they were very disappointed about this.
  • When the Prophet (PBUH) asked the Muslims to slaughter the animals and remove their ihram (clothing worn especially for pilgrimage) they didn’t want to do this because this usually marks the end of pilgrimage and they hadn’t performed it. They were still adamant that they wanted to go ahead with the umrah.
  • Salma (May Allah be pleased with her) advised the Prophet (PBUH) to remove his ihram and slaughter his animals because she knew that when the Companions saw the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) do this then they would follow.
  • Her advice was taken and the outcome was as she said.
  • Salma(May Allah be pleased with her) always paid attention to every word and advice of the Prophet (PBUH) and she passed it on.
  • She is Noted as having told 378 Ahadith (teachings/ sayings of the Prophet (PBUH).
  • She died at the age of 84-last to die amongst all the wives of the Beloved Prophet (PBUH).
To read more you can download books from:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Butterfly Award

I've received the Butterfly Award from one of the sweetest bloggers I know. Its taken me a while to post this because I've been a bit busy. Alhamdullillah I now have some time to do this. Dear rose water, my prayer for you is that you stay as sweet and loving as you are!

Now I've got to share something about myself....

Today all I can say is that I am someone who's always trying to make sense of the world. I tend to think way too much, and I'm not happy just accepting things because other people say it's a certain way. I need to do my research, make my prayers and have my discussions with those I trust before things begin to make sense. Today is one of those days where I'm feeling quite confused about people's way of thinking. Inshaa Allah clarity will come soon, it always does with the Mercy of Allah Almighty.

Now to share this lovely award...There are so many deserving blogs out there and I am honestly so inspired by my fellow bloggers, but I'm going to choose the following blogs for this;

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Whisperings of Shaytaan will never end

Things here in Johannesburg finally seem to be getting back to normal. There were many holidays that have just passed. April is usually a month of holidays; with the Easter weekend, and 27th April Public Holiday in South Africa known as Freedom Day, to commemorate the 1st ever Democratic Voting Day for all citizens of all races in this country, which took place in 1994, we usually get many days off in April. Then shortly after that it’s a public holiday for the 1st May, and South Africa has a system whereby if a Public Holiday happens to fall on a Sunday, then the Monday becomes the holiday since Sunday is already supposed to be a holiday. I have no idea who thought that up, but the people are not complaining, why would we when we get extra holidays, right?

Anyway, now that things are seemingly reaching normality, it’s time for us to begin again with our weekly workshops for women. Usually we deal with topics like “Parenting Skills”; “Marriage”; “Self-Reformation”, etc. Topics that are general and not purely Islamic in nature. The way it works is that we divide our session into two parts, before tea and after tea. In one part we present the Islamic perspective of the topic, and in the other part we present the Psychological and Social Perspective of the same topic. I think it works really well, Alhamdullillah!

Well, this time we decided to do something completely different, so we ended up choosing topics on Imaan, Sabr (Patience) and Shukr (Gratitude). I think this is when Shaytaan began his whisperings. When we sat in our first meeting deciding what we were going to present I looked at the topics and thought to myself, ‘There’s no way we’re going to have anything to present from a Psychological and Social Perspective’, and since this is usually the area in which I have more knowledge (not a lot of knowledge, but I guess it’s better than nothing), I began feeling a bit lost. I really felt that there was not much that I could contribute to this particular workshop and was even wondering if they needed me for this one at all. I didn’t recognize this as the whisperings of shaytaan until last week when we had another meeting.

One of the other facilitators mentioned that she had a moment where she was about to call us all and suggest that we cancel this workshop because it was almost time to start and she had nothing prepared at all. Alhamdullillah, through her wisdom and strength she was able to recognize this as the whisperings of shaytaan and that made her stronger in her resolve to continue.  While we were discussing this it dawned upon us that this workshop is different to our others because of the content, and inshaa-Allah the topics we’ve chosen (with the guidance of Almighty Allah) will help to bring people closer to Allah (swt) and so this would be a very good reason for shaytaan to make extra attempts to alter our minds and even try and steer us towards not having the workshop at all.

Alhamdullillah, we have now made up our minds to turn to Allah and continue this workshop. From my part I have to say that after feeling so lost I decided to ask Allah for help and soon after that the ideas began flowing in my mind and it became so easy for me to prepare our presentations. Seriously, it was like things to talk about suddenly appeared in my mind from nowhere and I was actually excited to prepare. My fellow facilitators had similar experiences. Although they had nothing prepared, somehow the information just came to them. For instance, one of the lady's sister sent some books with her to pass on to her daugter-in-law. When she looked at the books her sister had sent she found that it had a lot of information pertaining to this workshop. Then when she went through all her previously researched material, she found further information. This is the same lady who wanted to cancel the workshop because she thought she had nothing prepared, and now she has so much information she doesn't know if there'll be time to present it all. 

 SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah). It's absolutely amazing how things work out when you turn to Allah!

Inshaa- Allah we will be starting our first session this coming Wednesday and I pray to Allah that it all goes well and that Allah accepts our efforts (which are only minor) and that Allah helps us to gain knowledge and understanding that will bring us closer to Him through this and of course I cannot forget to pray that Allah Almighty protects us all from the sneaky whisperings of shaytaan, which are so subtle that many times we are not even able to recognize it.

Allah says; whose meaning is:

"Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind,
he King of mankind,
the God of mankind,
from the evil of the insidious whisperer
who whispers in people’s breasts
and comes from the jinn and mankind."

(Holy Qur'aan- Sur'ah Naas (Mankind)-Chapter 114: Verse 1-6)

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Great Women in Islam

The answer for this week's quiz question (Which one of the Prophet's (PBUH) wives was regarded as the one with the longest arms due to spending the most in charity?) is:

  • Zainub bint Jahsh (May Allah be plesaed with her) was born in the tribe of Quraish. She was of noble lineage.
  • She was first married to the adopted son of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Zayd ibn Haritha (May Allah be pelased with him).
  • Due to differences this marriage did not work out and after Zayd divorced Zainub she was married to the Prophet (PBUH).
  • This served as a very important lesson in legislature for the Muslims. At the time, marrying the divorced wife of one's adopted son was regarded as taboo because it was regarded as marrying the wife of one's son. This incident showed that the same rules do not apply to adopted sons and biological sons and Allah intended to remove a burden that people were placing on themselves.
  • It was reported by Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) that when Zainub heard the news of her divorce from Zayd and engagement to the Prophet (PBUH) she prostrated to Allah in gratitude.
  • Zainub was headstrong and indepedent.
  • She became a good friend to A'isha (May Allah be pleased with her).
  • A'isha said that in terms of values- Zainub was her equal. She had never seen any other person so eager to get closer to Allah (SWT).
  • Zainub gained nearness to Allah through her charity and generosity.
  • She worked with her own hands (she did handicraft) and whatever she earned she spent in charity).
  • Her behaviour with relatives was impeccable.
  • She possessed Inner and Outer beauty!
  • She was a God-fearing, straight forward woman who practiced abstinence.
  • All her actions were aimed at pleasing Allah(SWT)
  • When she lost her temper she was quick to repent and ask for forgiveness.
  • She was Pure at heart- never resentful or carried grudges.
  • She fasted often, an performed abundant optional prayers (salaat).
  • At the time of the Prophet's (PBUH) death, his wives asked “which of us will join you first?” The Prophet (PBUH) replied by saying “ the one with long arms”, so they all began to measure only to realize that it was the one who spent most in charity.
  • Zainub was the first to die after the Prophet (PBUH).
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Special Women with a Very Special Task

I have a cousin who was born with a mental disability. For as long as I can remember, her mother has been looking after her and caring for her in her own way. She is now probably in her late thirties and things are just getting more difficult. Although she is constantly on medication, she obviously still interacts on a level that no one can understand. She speaks openly about everything, even things that are supposed to be private, and this always makes her mother uncomfortable. After spending a brief time with my cousin recently, it occurred to me that it really can’t be easy at all to have a child with a disability, and I have to say that only special people are chosen for this important task.

I know a few other amazing mothers whose children have physical or mental disabilities. All these women have something in common. They have dedicated their lives to taking care of their children.

One of the ladies I know is in her 80s and she has a son who is mentally disabled. Like my cousin his condition has worsened over the years, despite the constant medication that he is on. This old lady lives alone with her son and still cares for him, despite her age. She makes him coffee and cooks for him and at an age in her life when someone is supposed to be caring for her, she still walks to do shopping and make sure that she and her son have all their needs. When she speaks about her son it’s casual and matter of factly, like taking care of him for like 50 years or so hasn’t been a big deal at all. SubhanAllah, I am awestruck by this dedication.

Another amazing mother I know has a son who is bedridden. He was born without any problems and everything was normal until he suddenly took ill in his early twenties or so (I’m not sure of the exact age, but I know that it was after he finished high school). Since as long as I can remember this man has been bedridden and his mother has been taking care of her son’s every need. She feeds him on time, makes sure his bed is always clean, turns him around so that he doesn’t develop bed sores, gives him medication, etc. This woman is probably in her 60s, perhaps nearing her 70s and she still does this patiently. SubhanAllah.

Then I know a few young mothers; in their twenties and thirties, who have children with Down syndrome. Despite the various challenges that this presents, these mothers are intent on making sure that their children are receiving the best treatment, at school and at home. These mothers are constantly trying to find new ways to help their children, and they too will probably be doing this for the rest of their lives. I had the privilege of witnessing exactly how much love one of these mothers has for her son. While others may not have patience to deal with him, or while they may lack understanding, she is there, patiently embracing him and making him feel that there is nothing at all wrong with him. SubhanAllah, the love and dedication that I have witnessed is remarkable.

These are truly special mothers; the ones who have to struggle each day with their children who they love with all their hearts. The ones who see their children and wonder what life would have been like if things were different. The ones whose love is evident every single moment as they cross the hurdles and overcome the difficulties. The ones who constantly have to go through the pain and difficulty of watching their children been cast out by others. The ones who try their utmost to make things better for their children, when everyone else believes that it’s no use trying that hard. These are special mothers, the ones who never give up, and who stand by their children, hand-in-hand, reminding them that someone will always be with them.!

Allah Almighty has blessed these wonderful women. They have a task that is far from easy, a task that only a few special people can handle. I am in awe of them, I am amazed by them and I know that Allah Almighty will reward them for all that they do.

We should never judge these mothers or how they interact with their children. Sometimes their actions might make us wonder and we can easily misinterpret their intentions. We should remember that every mother knows their child better than any other human, and this cannot be more true for these women who have spent their lives with their children.

May Allah (SWT) reward them in abundance and give them the highest stages of Paradise inshaa Allah.

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