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O Bearer of The Qur’an: Do You Act Upon It?

Posted by Admin on May 18, 2009

Bismillah

Author: Sadaf Farooqi

I get amused to read the occasional newspaper article describing the chagrin felt by well-established members of society at how more and more educated Pakistani women are adopting the Islamic dress code, or hijab. Whether by spotting a university bus full of black-abaya-clad students, or attending a hotel conference dominated by a significant proportion of women in hijab, some people are definitely not too happy about witnessing this growing phenomenon of women willingly covering themselves up before men.

The reason behind this heartening or disconcerting – whichever way you see it – trend, is undoubtedly the upsurge of regular Quran classes among the country’s educated women’s circles. Gone are the days when the Quran was opened only on deaths of relatives, or to be recited without comprehension on other occasions for the sole purpose of gaining blessings. Now, commendable efforts are being made to understand its meanings and ponder on its deeper message.

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Allah’s Messenger [صلى الله عليه و سلم] said: “The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it.”

[Sahih Al-Bukhari: 5027]

As a result, any random “aunty” you’d meet at a wedding, grocery store or tailor’s shop will tell you that she attends such-and-such Quran class. Most of these classes, usually comprising tajweed, translation, and tafsir, among other subjects, are held in people’s homes. 

Although studying the Quran is highly praiseworthy, the fact remains that the basic purpose behind gaining knowledge of it is to act upon it; to mould oneself according to its commands; to change ourselves to how Allah wants us to be. The Quran should, in short, have a visibly profound effect on a person’s character, conduct, demeanor, and overall dealings with people. This usually takes some time – perhaps by going through the Quran in-depth a few times – but nevertheless, the Quran should have its intended effect eventually; one that is openly visible.

It should be a cause for concern if a person has been teaching or studying the Quran for several years, for example, by attending duroos or classes, but finds it difficult to act upon it, or to submit to its commands at the level of ihsaan (superlative degree). Teaching the Book of Allah – whether conducting a tajweed class, translation review, or tafsir – is the best ‘professional occupation’ in the world, so to speak. It comes with the added responsibility of embodying epitomic Muslim behavior and upright Islamic character. Of course, no one other than Allah can grant a person this level of action.

The Companions of the Prophet [صلى الله عليه و سلم] would not learn a new ayah, until they had incorporated the ones they already had studied, completely into their actions. As for us, we might claim that we are full-time “workers of Allah”, or “da’ee’s” dedicated to serving the Quran, but how much have our actions and character changed according to it?

Ask yourself some key questions:

  • Why is it that my prayers are different before people, as compared to when I am alone?
  • Why do I need to be woken up by someone else for Fajr?
  • Would I confidently recite the Quran to a Qari/shaikh, or would it cause me shame, as I still make too many mistakes?
  • Why do I wear an abaya to my Quran class but not to a wedding, the market or a family outing?
  • Why do I cover my face from one man at the Quran class venue but leave it unveiled in public places when I am out with my family?
  • Do I still desire and buy clothes, jewelry and interior decorations with the same frequency and zeal as I did before studying the Quran?
  • When buying something, do I focus on the label or the thing itself?
  • Is there any activity in my life that is not in the Sunnah, or is a gross imitation of the cultures of non-believers?
  • Why do I still call up my friend/sister/mother/cousin to gossip when I’m bored?
  • Do I hang out with/befriend people on the basis of their level of taqwa, or their standard of living?
  • Do I at least try to pray tahajjud in any month besides Ramadan?
  • How do I react when someone points out my weaknesses?
  • What thoughts occupy my mind when I am alone?

Muslims involved in Quran education, Sunnah propagation and da’wah, have a greater responsibility to act upon what they are preaching, and to cleanse their hearts from diseases of the self (nafs) and desires of this world. So renew your intention today, and ask Allah to help you submit to every command of the Quran at the degree of ihsaan.

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Celebrating Valentine’s Day And Secular Holidays

Posted by Admin on February 1, 2009

Bismillah

Author: Sadaf Farooqi

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As every year ends and a new one begins, Muslims all over the world face the dilemma of whether or not to celebrate some international holidays and festivals that follow close on each other’s heels. Examples of these are Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s Day. These are soon followed by Easter.

Muslims living in Western countries in particular, get overwhelmed by a rush of partying, decorations, greetings, school holidays, seasonal sales, and merry-making on a communal level, leaving them with little options about what to do. 

Although most progressive societies claim to offer individual freedom-of-choice to their dwellers, boasting multi-ethnic populations which exhibit mutual tolerance and respect, the fact remains that Muslims are seldom genuinely respected for their lack of integration into these societies.

Since Muslims are unflinching about their worship and Islamic obligations in any sphere of life — be it social interaction, dress code, dietary rules, or work ethics — they usually face silent antagonism from their communities; one that brims quietly under the surface, but is very much present.

As a Muslim, when you and your family are faced with the dilemma of how to spend the time during which everyone around you is preparing for, or celebrating, a holiday that is not part of Islam, how should you think, act and react in general, with other Muslims, as well non-Muslim peers and colleagues?

Educate yourself and your family in a mature manner:

You can consult original sources of knowledge about what a Muslim should and should not do during secular festivals and celebrations. What exactly is it about partaking in these festivities that is frowned upon in Islam? Is it the aspect of imitating non-Muslims? Is it the extravagance and spending involved? Or is it the support of the beliefs and concepts on which these celebrations are based, that is disliked?

You can refer to your local mosque, or Islamic QA sources on the Internet for your answers, so that you make an informed choice about your actions. After that, you may choose to educate your fellow Muslims – those who are willing and eager to listen – about what you have learned. However, please do not forcefully lecture or preach to those Muslims who are not interested in listening — those who want to celebrate the holidays, and are unconcerned about the Islamic viewpoint of this issue.

Click here for a video by Sheikh Abdullah Hakim Quick, titled “The Truth About Holidays”, a lecture which he delivered at the University of Miami, regarding celebrations and holidays in Islam.

Enjoy the holidays alternatively:

Since the family might be getting a few days off any way, you should carefully plan some fruitful and fun outings to make the most of them. Visiting relatives in another town or in a different country is a good option. Going to parks, the zoo, on a lakeside picnic, or to a cabin in the mountains for the weekend, are other enjoyable options.

If on a budget, you can camp out in your own backyard, teaching your children how to set up camp and start a bonfire!

Once you get down to it, your creative ideas will start flowing. E.g. during Halloween, when all other children are trick-or-treating, or getting pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, you can buy your children some candy and a pumpkin anyway, explaining how Allah created it. Later on, after the holiday is gone, you can buy them a costume of their liking, if they feel too dismayed at not having one while other children do.

For older children, you can give them a short background about Halloween and why it is not celebrated in Islam. The same goes for Christmas – when your children ask you who Santa is, or why everyone is decorating a tree in their living room, you can give them the background of the whole celebration. But that will be possible only if you yourself know it first!

You should remember that unless you focus on providing fun alternative family entertainment and outings, your children will definitely want to join in with the international holiday celebrations, feeling left out and lonely. It is easy to deny them their joys, but more difficult to actually provide them with enjoyable alternatives. As Muslim parents, it is your duty to do the latter.

One of the questions many Muslims mothers have asked me is, “How do I not celebrate my child’s birthday? I give in to pressure from relatives, who say its just some harmless fun, but afterwards, I end up feeling bad about encouraging a celebration that has no basis in Islam.”

The answer to this question is: provide an alternative celebration to your child a month or so before their birthday comes up.

First of all, explain to them that their birth date keeps moving according to the lunar calendar, just like the annual ‘Eid celebrations move every year. Make them remember their lunar birth date and year (click here for a solar-to-lunar date converter), besides just the Gregorian one.

Because children should not be denied their fun and parties, organize a party every year for each of your children, before their birthday comes up, in which all their friends are invited for games, food and fun. That way, the child will not feel that his/her parents do not love him/her, when their birthday goes by uncelebrated; they will already feel special and thought of.

Instead of a cake, you can keep individual muffins. Leave out the birthday song, candle-blowing and the cake-cutting, but have the games, assorted party food, Islamic musical entertainment (such as duff-accompanied nasheeds) and colorful decorations, as part of the festivities. Instead of making your child expect gifts from guests, buy individual gifts that he or she can give to each friend when they leave. This will encourage your child to have a giving spirit.

Muslim parents should also plan special festivities on both ‘Eids, so that their children never feel that their family is “no-fun” or “boring”. If, in addition to annual children’s parties, picnics on the beach, trips to the park/playground, to the zoo, the museum, and to fun-fairs, in addition to swimming, cycling, archery, other sports and horse-riding, are a regular part of your children’s life, they will never, ever miss not having “birthday celebrations”, because their yearning for enjoyment will be more than satisfied.

You, as a Muslim parent, have to ensure that you provide healthy, Islamic alternatives for your children’s enjoyment, for this to be possible.

Respect others; abstain from preaching intolerance or judgmental behavior:

Just because you and your family are not celebrating a particular holiday, there’s no need to pass judgments on those who are. Allah alone is the Judge of mankind. You can pass the days calmly unaffected by the hearty festivities, and if asked about why they are being carried out, be factual and brief in your reply, for example, “They celebrate it because it is their cultural/religious tradition,” or “It is a special, festive day in their religious calendar.” 

Reflect upon your identity:

People do a lot of things in the heat of the moment just because everyone around them is doing it. This attitude is indicative of youth, immaturity and impulsiveness. Wise, mentally independent and intelligent people don’t just do something because the world tells them to do it. They think about who they are, what they believe in, and where they want to go in life before they do something.

As a Muslim, if you feel there is ‘nothing wrong’ with being part of a community celebration, even if it signifies, or is the result of, the belief-set of another religion; maybe you should ask yourself some key questions about your faith. What do you believe, and why? Why are you a Muslim? Because you were born one? Because your parents raised you as one? Or because you have chosen to be one, after serious study of Islam’s authentic sources? Are you akin to a leaf floating on a river, going where ever the flow takes it? Or are you a strong, confident individual; someone who knows who they are, what they want in life, and is not apologetic about it? 

Whether you choose to celebrate or not – there’s no need to be too vocal about your opinions:

So, maybe you are one of those Muslims who go ahead and celebrate every holiday under the sun with your entire eclectic group of friends. You pull out all the stops and don’t give two hoots about any kind of Islamic restrictions, when the time comes to eat, drink, and be merry. You, therefore, can not stand the sight, sound or company of Muslim men in thobes, wearing kufi’s and sporting beards, with their hijab-donning wives in tow, telling others about the reality of these holidays and how they are impermissible to celebrate in Islam. Whenever you get the chance, you snub, criticize and degrade these practicing Muslims, calling them demeaning names and rejecting their polite efforts at Islamic brotherly relations.
Be a little tolerant yourself; live and let live. If they make you feel guilty for some reason, causing you to go on the offensive to defend yourself, resist the urge to put them down in front of non-Muslims – it doesn’t look pretty. Just live and let live. Quietly.

Try not to get into arguments:

Your Muslim neighbor, sibling or friend might not be too keen about celebrating the New Year. They are not letting their children go to a New Year party. Your ‘weird’ cousin got no gift, chocolates, or flowers for his wife on Valentine’s Day, saying he “doesn’t believe in it”. Your married sister pulled her children out of a secular school when it held a Christmas celebration. Your parents refuse to buy a Christmas tree, presents or stockings for the living room on Christmas Eve; because, they insist, they are Muslims.

No matter how much you don’t understand, nor appreciate this apparent “extremism” or “narrow-mindedness”, try not to argue with them about their beliefs. They have their reasons for their actions, and maybe those reasons are genuine – to them. If you don’t mind your friends of other faiths making an effort to preserve their own cultures and traditions, don’t hate Muslims for intending to do the same thing. Ever wonder why Chinese restaurants are hued with red? Ever think why most Hindus do not eat beef? Ever criticize them for it? If not, treat your fellow Muslims with the same respect. 

If you are comfortable and confident about your faith in Islam, you won’t really be bothered about what the world thinks of you if you don’t participate in secular festivals and celebrations. However, if you are yourself inclined towards these celebrations, you will probably resort to complaining about, and criticizing, the restrictions of Islam, labeling those who adhere to them as extremists, bores, or fundamentalists. Whatever the case, try not to get into fights over each others’ choice of action, and remember that mutual respect and tolerance is preached by all religions of mankind; therefore, adhere to this universal law, especially with your own brothers and sisters in Islam, whenever pumpkins, fir trees, red hearts or Santa’s appear on the horizon.

The author writes for Hiba Magazine.

Posted in Acting upon the Quran, Muslim Matters, Non Muslims, Quran, Religion | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Ramadan & Tajdeed e Emaan

Posted by Admin on August 31, 2008

Ramadan & Renewal of Faith

Welcome Ramadan Lecture by Dr. Farhat Hashmi

Istaqbaal-e-Ramadan.mp3

Istaqbaal e Ramadan lecture by Dr.Farhat Hashmi

Istaqbaal e Ramadan lecture by Dr.Farhat Hashmi

Posted in Acting upon the Quran, Audio Lectures, Canada, Dr.Farhat Hashmi, Islam, Muslim Matters, Quran, Ramadan Fasting, Religion | Leave a Comment »

How To Guard Your Husband’s Honor As Allah Has Commanded

Posted by Admin on July 26, 2008

By Sadaf Farooqi

Traditionally, occupations such as cooking, sewing, fashion designing and interior decorating were considered the exclusive terrain of women. Today, however, they have all witnessed incursions by men, to some extent. One domain, though, still remains predominantly women’s-only, and that is home-making. This is because it is woman’s innate nature to be the master of her home. As manager, guard and coordinator, she happily does the household chores and caters to her family’s needs, while the husband, more often than not the chief breadwinner, remains absent throughout the day at work.

Allah has acknowledged this aspect of the functional family unit, by instructing women to be “guards” of their husband’s property and honour in the latter’s absence:

Therefore, the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to the husband), and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard…

[Qur’an – Surah Al-Nisaa: 34]

Guarding “what Allah would have them guard” implies that a Muslim wife should guard:

  • Her husband’s property (house, money, belongings, and anything which he leaves behind),
  • Her own modesty and chastity, and finally,
  • Her husband’s honour and reputation.

Guarding her husband’s honour would mean not mentioning him, his character, or his deeds to any third person in a derogatory or defaming manner – ever. Although the world generally frowns upon an untidy home in disarray, or a cheating wife flirting with other men, this aspect of a wife’s loyalty – her maintaining her husband’s honour behind his back – is something even many “good” wives fail to accomplish. Women generally speak well of their husbands to people they are not close to. It’s the close relatives and friends, however, who unwittingly cause slips.

  1. Be careful of unintentional slips in conversations with other women:

    “The plumber came, and I had to rush back home to supervise his work, as [my husband] is totally useless; on Saturdays, he lies in bed all day and does absolutely nothing…”
    “My husband snores so loudly, it could scare anyone who hears him in the middle of the night.”
    “He offers to cook, but his dishes turn out horrible, so I’d rather not eat what he makes…”
    “He never takes me shopping; he’s always involved in his work.”
    During the gush of such ‘girly’ conversations, their husbands’ potent faults are unintentionally revealed. The listeners/on-lookers chuckle knowingly, nodding their heads in compassionate comprehension. What they enjoy is the pleasure of knowing that this supposedly “happy” and perfect Muslim couple too, have the usual marital differences; that even seemingly “righteous” couples cannot always live in harmony. And last but not least, it gives them fodder for gossip.
    Even if there is no major argument between the couple, how often we see Muslim women casually commenting to each other about their husband’s shortcomings. Whether on the phone, or during a visit, it is common to hear them complaining about their husbands to their mother, sister, cousin, or best friend. Even if they discuss their husband lovingly, some hidden aspect of the comment, or merely the tone of voice, sometimes carries disdain or derision.

  2. Remember that mentioning your husband’s weaknesses might initiate gossip about you:

    The gossip-mongers in any social circle dwell on the “juicy” tidbits regarding other couples’ marital discord, for which they fish around in conversation and hearsay. We have all heard the stories about the in-law hovering outside the bedroom door while the husband and wife argued, or the “sincere” friend giving a frustrated wife her shoulder to cry on, only to discuss the account with her other friends later.

  3. Remember that protecting the husband’s honor is one of Allah’s commands for a Muslim wife:

    What Muslim women should be wise enough to understand is that, by revealing their husband’s faults to anyone else, they are disobeying Allah and thus putting themselves at risk of His wrath. They alone, are to lose out by this action.
    Even though Islam allows a woman to seek help for major problems in her marriage, it enjoins her to bear all trivial marital problems with patience and discretion.
    A woman does not get as much respect anywhere in the world as she does in her husband’s home: there, she’s the queen of her throne, elegant and ethereal. When she defames her husband in any way to a third person, she lowers herself from this high pedestal.
    She gives people a chance to mock her and discuss her with others, becoming the topic of coffee-table repartee.

  4. Beware of the concern of even your biological mothers and sisters – it can sometimes be the cause of your marital troubles:

    Narrated by Ibn Abbas, Prophet Muhammad [Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] said:
    The best woman (wife) is the one who, when you look at her she pleases you, when you command her she obeys you, and when you are not in her presence, she safeguards herself and your belongings.”
    [Ibn Majah 1861]
    Muslim women should be careful about this matter even with their biological sisters and mothers. At the end of the day, no one wants a woman to come and live with them if she gets divorced or estranged from her husband. They, however, do enjoy listening to her incessantly complain of the problems in her husband’s home: how low the finances are, how untidy her husband is, how much he eats, or how he neglects her rights. They might throw bygone incidents in her face even months after she has moved on and forgotten them, so that she starts brimming with indignation all over again, at their mention.
    Muslim women should try not to fall prey to the instigations of such “well-wishing” people, who laugh when she mocks her husband, who relish her marital dissensions, who thrive on getting to know other women’s domestic troubles. They are devils in disguise, preying on the tranquility of others’ homes, seeking juicy coffee-party gossip. Muslim women should beware of disobeying Allah in this regard.

  5. Make only righteous, Allah-fearing woman your close confidantes and ‘shoulders to cry on’:

    Even if you have a fight with your husband and you feel you must mention it to someone to feel better, do it with someone who has high taqwa [consciousness of Allah], who will never divulge your story to anyone else. Even your own mother might mention it to her sister, who might tell her daughter, and in this way, the whole family might be discussing your household troubles and commenting about them, weeks or months after the whole thing has blown over.

Remember that in every command of Allah lies a potent hikmah, a hidden wisdom that is beneficial for you. He loves you seventy times more than your well-wishing mother. Run to Him – in salah [regular Islamic prayer], dua [praying to Him], dhikr [His remembrance by the tongue and heart], and istighfar [seeking His forgiveness for sins] – whenever you have a bone to pick with your husband. For the solution and the solace after the storm, trust in Allah. If you keep your duty to Him, He will never relinquish you – rather, He will fill your home with unbridled peace, harmony and tranquility.

This article was first published on the website howtodothings.com.

Posted in Acting upon the Quran, Allah, Islam, Muslim Matters, Prophet Muhammad (saw), Quran, Women | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »