Saturday, November 26, 2011

It’s a new year

No, it’s not January 01, but Alhamdullillah we are at the brink of the new Islamic year, moments away (depending on your time zone) from the Month of Muharram, 1433. That is 1433 year’s after hijrah (the migration of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to Madinah from Makkah).

The month of Muharram is a blessed month; one of the special month’s in Islam. There are many virtues and blessings in this month, but the thing I like the most is the spirit of sharing. The 10th of Muharram is known as the Day of Ashura, and this is an extra special day. Amongst the many traditions on this day, is the tradition that if someone spends on their family members then they will be given far more back in return. So this is a beautiful time, a time when family ties should be strengthened, a time which reminds us of Allah Almighty’s mercy and we should be grateful.

Muslims don’t celebrate the new year by partying, instead we are encouraged to bring in the new year with fasting so that we can be in a pure spiritual state when the year begins. SubhanAllah.

So with the end of 1432 I have to say Alhamdullillah, I cannot deny all the blessings which Allah has bestowed on me this year and although I can never show full thanks, I am very grateful. As for the various trials, tests and difficulties, I can only pray that I somehow managed to pass these, and Allah is Indeed the Most Merciful of those who show Mercy.

 And with the approach of 1433 I pray that Allah gives us all the good of this coming year, and may it be a year which brings us closer to truth and closer to Allah Almighty. May Allah help us all to experience the true beauty of Islam, true connection with Allah, true brotherhood (and sisterhood), true peace and contentment.
May you all have a blessed and amazing 1433- Inshaa-Allah!

Image from here

Monday, November 21, 2011

The reversal of roles

I was just wondering, does anyone else find it strange that men today care more about their appearance than women do? Seriously, men can be seen in hair salons, going for facials, waxing and even manicures and pedicures sometimes. The new idea of “the perfect man” is someone who is clean shaven and beautiful; with perfect hair and skin; Then I don’t have to tell you what the new idea of “the perfect woman “is, do I? Well the new idea of what a woman should be like is the ultra-tough woman, who’s either out in the career world asserting her power and status, or driving her kids around in a 4x4, never hesitating to show everyone who’s in charge. Whatever the role is, it doesn’t matter, as long women of today are not soft, petite and feminine.

Now, I know that there are many people who would just want to kill me for even writing this. I remember when I was doing my psychology undergraduate degree. One of the important arguments we used to have was about the socialization of males and females. Our lecturers would argue adamantly that it’s not natural for girls to want to play with dolls and for boys to want to play with cars. Instead, according to them children are socialized into these roles from a very young age based on old traditional values of their parents. I could never agree with this argument 100%, some things were true but as a Muslim I know that Allah has created men and women differently and we are supposed to be living out our natural roles in order for harmony to prevail in society.

Of course this does not mean that one role is better than the other or that our different roles make some of us more superior than the others. No, Allah Almighty has told us that men and women are equal in the sight of Allah and the only thing that differentiates people is their piety. On a social, functional level however, we cannot all play the same role because then we’d just have chaos, which is pretty much what is happening in today’s time, although very few people are actually willing to admit to this.

So what happens when the men in society are over concerned about looking good; when they compete for who is the “sexier man”, and who has the better hairstyle, and whose skin is softer and glows more? It’s a complete reversal of everything and as a woman I am left wondering where that leaves us. I mean honestly, who wants to be around a man who spends more time making himself look good than you do?

And I could even take this discussion further by talking about men’s clothing. I remember a while ago I was walking in a department store and looking at the “men’s” clothing I couldn’t help but think that their clothing looked much prettier than the clothing they had in the women’s section. I’m not even joking here, it’s really true. They had these cotton tops with embroidery on it, for men, and really nice fitting pants, not to mention some of the shirts they sell. It really was weird.

So yeah, I guess that’s just the way things are today, but I like being feminine and soft, I like wearing pretty clothes and I’d really prefer to be the one taking longer to make myself look good. As for men, well in my opinion they should look like men. The “metrosexual male” doesn’t really appeal to me. I’m not saying men shouldn’t be well groomed, clean and neat, after all our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was always well groomed, clean and neat, but from the descriptions we are given, he (PBUH) actually looked like a man. So I guess it shouldn’t hurt to have facial hair, and the perfect hairstyle is unnecessary, and seriously manicures and pedicures shouldn’t need to feature at all. In any case, this is just all my opinion, I know that there are many people who would differ with me, but you know what, I’m not asking anyone to agree with me, I’m just telling you what I find strange about today’s world and each person is allowed to have their own opinion.

Image from here

Sunday, November 13, 2011

In the name of freedom

While reading news headlines recently I was so shocked to see an advertisement for “actors” to “star in a porn movie”. The advert was a news article inviting people to audition as if it was a perfectly normal thing. I really was surprised and I actually had to check to make sure that I had read correctly. Unfortunately I had read correctly, this was so disappointing I can’t tell you how it sickened me.
What can you can expect though, from a society which insists on absolute freedom in all regards. It’s no wonder that things which used to be sacred are no longer regarded in this manner. So much so that even very young, innocent children are exposed to all sorts of lewdness and nudity.

 Pornography is a real problem in our societies. The negative effects are undoubtedly obvious (that is for those who actually open their eyes and ponder). This includes an increase in sexual related crimes, increase in childhood sexuality and teen pregnancies. Sometimes it has even lead to the breakdown of marriages and families. In short, this is a threat to a moral and righteous way of life. And the problem is that pornography is so easily available to anyone and everyone. Previously people had more shame and perhaps they were stopped from watching these things because of the embarrassment of having other people (albeit strangers) know that you are watching it. People had to go out and get access to these films or magazines, but now there are no boundaries because these things can very easily be accessed in private on cell-phones and computers.

But that’s not all. While many of us would never even think of watching pornographic films or looking at pornographic images, most of us are exposed to various forms of pornography without even realizing it. Television adverts, movies (including family movies and even animations), billboards, magazines and the internet (of course) all contain high degrees of pornographic material. The only difference is that it’s given a different label, thus making it easier for people to accept it. And so we have a situation where it’s extremely difficult not to be affected by this, because even if you decide to only watch the news, you are still affected in some way or the other.

 And through it all, these so-called ideas of freedom gets thrown in our faces like nothing else matters. ‘People should be free to do whatever they want to’, we are told. ‘It’s their lives and their bodies so why should they be bound by limits’, right? But I have to ask the question; Can “freedom” at the expense of morality, respect, righteousness and modesty actually be regarded as freedom at all. When hearts and minds are being corrupted with filth; is this really freedom? When children’s innocence is taken away because of all this, is this still “freedom”.

 If human beings have no limits at all then they become just like animals, because it is balance and the ability to limit oneself appropriately, not unbridled freedom which differentiates humans from animals. And while I write this, I can’t help but remember the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) something to this effect:
There will come a time towards the end of times where people will have sexual intercourse in public like donkeys.”

Alhamdullillah (All Praise is to Allah), the words spoken by our Beloved Prophet (PBUH) always proves to be truthful.

 So while they candy-coat all forms of vices and make it look like freedom, Muslims need to remember that we have been given the perfect way to live our lives. We have no need to adopt other lifestyles, and we should not be fooled by false ideas of freedom. You see, we have real freedom, because the freedom we have allows us to live modest and respectful lives which in turn should lead to natural peace and harmony. We have a freedom which elevates us as human beings, and does not degrade or demoralise us, thereby making us behave just like animals.

 May Almighty Allah guide and protect us all Inshaa-Allah!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Eid Greetings


Image from here