STANCE of a MUSLIMAH

Our Lord! You truly know all that we may hide in our hearts as well as all that we bring into the open, for nothing whatsoever, be it on earth or in heaven, remains hidden from Allah. {Quran, 14:38}

7/29/2006

Mercy

Allah the Most deserving of Glorification, created concepts, such as Mercy, along with its implication, and examples of its existance. Acts of Mercy can be viewed through reflected upon viewing almost any scene of nature, children, and even people who are poverty struck. If we realize and truly believe that everything good comes from Allah we still will never be able to encompass the mass amount of Mercy He has produced for all of humanity. It's beyond intense. Subhan'Allah. He is Ar-Rahman. The Most Merciful. Allah is Al-Kareem. The Most Generous. But us idiotic creatures are those who complain regardless and we get so terribly impatient that we ignore the Mercy He that never stops granting!! Not just to Muslims, but non-Muslims and everything Allah has Designed & Created is blessed with His Mercy. Check out this hadith below, and think..what side of the fence are we on? Where do we consider ourselves to be? Are we too confident, or are we at a loss of hope? Another thing to think about is that Allah has only revealed one small part of Mercy...which to the person who reflects is actually pretty endless!

One of the Companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him, and them) named Abu-Huraira reported that heard our Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Last Messenger (pbuh) saying:


"Verily Allah created Mercy. The day He created it, He made it into one hundred parts. He withheld with Him ninety-nine parts, and sent its one part to all His creatures. Had the non-believer known of all the Mercy which is in the Hands of Allah, he would not lose hope of entering Paradise, and had the believer known of all the punishment which is present with Allah, he would not consider himself safe from the
Hell-Fire."
Prophet Muhammad
(Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)
(~related by Imam Bukhari)

7/25/2006

Seek It

In the Name of Allah,

I get one of these below once a week..you all should subscribe to it God-willing. Whether you are a Muslim, just learning about it, or just interested in Islam. I couldnt resist but post this one because we all take things as if we are entitled to it and we all need to step back and acknowledge Who is the Source of every possession we 'supposedly' own! Isn't it amazing how little time we spend on asking Allah to forgive us yet we enjoy the Bounty He Grants us any opportunity we get, which pretty much is like all the time?! It's actually greedy of us if you think of it that we aren't as grateful as we need to be, and many of us don't even have a goal of becoming more grateful, as if we are grateful enough!! Subhan'Allah (All Glory belongs to Allah). This also reminds me of the hadith that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) says that being rich isn't about having the luxury and materials of this life, but its about having contentment in your soul. To have that contenment we need to feel Allah with us, not just know by the facts He is. SubhanAllah. I'm posting this one because I of all people need to be reminded of this. The story of Prophet Noah (Nuh-peace be upon him) never ceases to amaze me, even with my limited knowledge of who this pious servant of Allah really was. But I have an special interest in learning about him lately, that's not the point here though.
Read on!

"Qur'an, from the story of Nuh with his people:
"Next I appealed to them publicly; then I broadcast it to themand confided with them privately, proclaiming: 'Seek forgiveness from your Lord; He is so Forgiving. He causes the sky to send torrents down upon you and He supplies you with wealth and children, and grants you gardens and even grants you rivers."
- Surah Nuh, (Chapter Noah): 78/9-12

Lesson from these verses:
Whatever you are seeking in life,
knock on the doors of forgiveness
and they will both open.

Suggestions on how to implement:
http://www.Powerworkshops.org

in the "Free Stuff" section.
With best wishes to see you succeed at the highest level! ~Muhammad Alshareef"

7/23/2006

TRUST

"If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in ALLAH Alone let believers put their TRUST." {3:160}

"And We have sent down to you the Book (this Quran) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and Mohayminan (trustworthy in highness and a witness) over it (old Scriptures). So judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you. To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way. If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, but that He may test you in what He has given you; so strive as in a race in good deeds. The return of you all is to Allah; then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ." {5:48}



"Say: "Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Maula (Lord, Helper and Protector)." And in Allah let the believers put their trust. "{9:51}

"I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature but He has grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the Straight Path (the Truth)". {11:56}


"And to Allah belongs the Ghaib (unseen) of the heavens and the earth, and to Him return all affairs for decision. So worship Him and put your trust in Him. And your Lord is not unaware of what you people do."
{11:123}

7/21/2006

Plan Change!

"If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in ALLAH Alone let believers put their trust."
{Quran, 3:160}
From time to time within the past 6 months (and usually when the kids are asleep at night, but sometimes after the early dawn prayer) I've written about different things here on this blog in hopes to enlighten people by giving non-Muslims a reality check (quite politely ofcourse) of the true stance is on Islam. There have been few comments here and there positive and negative, and some moderated. Allah Knows what my intention was and is for these writings, He is All-Aware.

For now though, my direction in that little bit of time I have to complete this hobby, is to a bare minimum. There are other duties I have to be more committed too. Reading Quran, learning to read better in Arabic (much better), and learning how to be more patient with my children are just a few. All of these goes along with a major goal ahead of me, to homeschool!

God-willing I plan to homeschool for the first time. My 2nd grader is excited and I hope that Allah will facilitate ease on me and her. For KG and 1st Grade we enrolled her in an Islamic School. They were great at teaching her how to read, using strong a strong curriculum in Math too. The teachers were wonderful, Masha'Allah (what God wills). This academy, such as any place, has things to work on too, with Allahs's Will they could overcome these challenges. May Allah bless and guide the students there.

So our overall decision, which we made with Istikhaara (Prayer in Seeking Guideance), did not come quickly. It took lots of thought, research in its pros and cons (because there is no such thing as an ideal situation in any matter in this life-that only exists in Jannah/Paradise), and trust in Allah to help us choose what is best. Our choice to homeschool Sign is with the desire that it will nourish her personality with more confidence and strength as a growing Muslimah.

I understand that many people claim that homeschooling children limits them socially, and I am not here to fight that claim although I do not agree if an overall plan is set to seek means for interaction with peers. Homeschooling can be something that lasts up until college, but for us we just want to try it out for the next few months! (Insha'Allah). People wonder, and I wonder how this will be done with my 3 year old son around and their baby sister who's 14 months, I wonder too! In a classroom of 25 kids with 1 teacher there are distractions and perhaps on a larger scale. I know that there are at least 2 million homeschoolers out there and most of them are bigger families as well. I am not promising this will be easy on any of us, and I am not saying Sign will respond positively to it either. But I know that Allah will ask me on Judgement Day for the personality make-up of my children and what I did to protect them, encourage them, guide them in best they have potential for, and really know them too.

I believe lots of benefits can come out of both public and private schools for different reasons. I have only heard of what positive things may be fostered out of homeschooling, and for us its worth the shot. Every family is different, every child has different needs (so no, my other daughter Mercy will remain at her oral-deaf school for now, God-willing.) Who knows, maybe they'll go to a public school together next year, another Islamic school, or be homeschooled together, or even no school (may Allah forbid!). The point is none of us have a clue as to what will happen to us and the people we love from one day to the next, its through Allah's Wisdom that anything happens.

We have just finished the math placement test with Calvert Homeschool Curriculum, and have begun the enrollment process with Ad-Duha Institute which is also a homeschool curriculum for Islamic and Arabic studies. You can check out their websites below. Ad-Duha has a collaboration with Calvert so if you wanted you can order everything from Ad-Duha and deal with only them. They do not make a profit, but the benefit is that this may simplify things on the homeschooler by giving one contact(Muslims) instead of 2.

www.ad-duha.org
www.calvertschool.org

About the blogging break, inshaAllah (God-willing) I will try to copy and paste Verses from Quran and Sayings from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). This will be easier on your eyes and softer to your heart than just my words of my own, God-willing!

May God guide us all to the Straight Path.
Ameen.



7/19/2006

Name Game

"You Alone we worship, and You Alone we ask for help for each and everything."
{Quran 1:5}
What’s in a name? The sound, the ease on the tongue, the uniqueness of it or just the way it flows? My favorite name growing up was “Jessica”, and thinking back it was probably because one of my friends had an older sister with that name. For whatever reason “Lisa” was a favorite too. I wonder if my brother remembers these names I loved especially when we played our little pretend school thingy. Language is a pretty amazing thing, a gift. Without it you wouldn’t be able to read these words, and I wouldn’t be able to express them. There are an endless amount of languages and in many styles of oral communication and sign language along with everything in between (and yes there are many others like cued speech, or audio-verbal) and included in these forms are all the other methods of communication through body language and facial expressions. Then of course is an accent thing. Groups of people speak with various accents from all over earth. What means “Hey” in American English here in New England, might mean “Howdy” down South. What means “Laban” (milk) in Egyptian Arabic, might mean Halib (in normal Arabic! J) Glorified is Allah who has given us this mean to communicate and grant us with means of sharing our hearts and minds through a process that is almost always taken for granted. All Praise is to Allah alone. Alhamdulilah.

Understanding that language itself is such a complex system granted to humanity, it’s no wonder that names sound different, strange, or sometimes even obvious. History and current events demonstrate that names of societies, places, or events are labeled to describe them or the leaders somehow.

What leads me to all of this is that I was listening to an Imam (a Muslim leader who gives sermons) online. He mentioned something that I hadn’t thought of before, nor do I remember it ever being pointed out to me. Masha’Allah (what God wills), may Allah reward him for this useful information. Ok, so we all know there are like a billion different religions right? (Maybe not a billion, but you get the point) Well out of the endless list of religions that people follow, only one religion is NOT named after a person or a place. Check out my research below:

Bahai: named after the religion's founder, a man named Bahaullah
Buddhism: named after the religious founder, man named Budha
Christianity: named after the word Khristos that is a Greek translation from the Hebrew word meaning Massiah
Confucianism: named after a male Chinese Philosopher, Kung Fu Tzu
Druze: named after Darazi who is one of the 1st 3 founders
Hinduism: à named after Hind, which is a region between the Himalayas: and the Indus River
Judaism: named after Judah which was one of the Tribes of Israel
Zoroastrianism: named after an ancient Persian philosopher Zoroaster
Taoism: named after Tao Te-Ching one of the “fathers” of this belief system
Sikhism: named after Gobind Singh, (and even the word itself, “Sikh” that comes from the Sanskrit language means a “deciple”.)
ALLAH SAYS:
"Mankind were one community and Allah sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent the Scripture in truth to judge between people in matters wherein they differed. And only those to whom (the Scripture) was given differed concerning it after clear proofs had come unto them through hatred, one to another. Then Allah by His Leave guided those who believed to the truth of that wherein they differed. And Allah guides whom He wills to a Straight Path."
{Quran 2:213}
I have more examples for proof, but you probably get the point I’m trying to make here. If not let me explain. ISLAM is the ONLY Religion, Faith, Prescribed Way of Life that it’s name "ISLAM” is NOT taken from a human, nor taken after a thing! This would make sense and support the claim that us Muslims are hoping people would just understand. That notion is the following: Islam is the One True Relgion commanded for all of humanity throughout the history of time, from the creation of the first human, Adam (may Allah send him peace) to the last person to ever be born. There’s One God Who indeed created differences amongst people, languages and looks yet every human has blood, every human has organs, and every human has the natural inclination to do the right thing in worshipping God the way He ordained us too, right from the moment of conception. People make the differences in that and follow faiths because their parents did, their society did, their culture did but not because they thought, and not because they were sincere in knowing the Truth for what it purely is: The Truth! Now please, those of you who are not Muslims and are thinking I am really wack, ask yourself this, what proof do you have that you are following the Right Way? Does it really make sense to you that God the Creator of the stars and oceans would seek a son when He is the Originator of everything? Does the concept of Atheism make sense to you even when you see the planets floating effortlessly? Does it make sense to you that you should seek God through speaking to an idol that human hands have made? Our minds are so limited that we choose to believe irrational things sometimes, but with a purified heart, I mean really sincerely wanting to know Truth, then one will find it. This is a promise from Allah. No matter what faith one currently has. The True Relgion is so much simpler than all this. ISLAM is the ONE prescription of life for everyone.

Way back when I was in Miami I had to take an elective course. I chose Theology. My professor was not one of my biggest fans. She would ask questions and I would be left to answer things that did not comply with what was in one of the course textbooks. I remember her asking: “What was the religion of Jesus, Moses, and Ibrahim” (may Allah have mercy on them all). Someone yelled out that they were all Jewish. Well me and my big mouth said that we Muslims believe that they are Muslim and I got into the same shpeal that they were all sent to humanity to teach one message of Islam, and that people make differences and these differences spread like gossip and people believe gossip for facts. Anyways, I ended up with barely a 'C' and I had to do extra credit in that course because at first she gave me an incomplete. She was not happy with me, but I could have cared less!!

I’ve gotten side-tracked again. Back to the naming game. So ISLAM is the one faith that is name for what it is, and not named after the most Muslims, not named after the most sacred of places, and certainly not even named after any object. ISLAM is the only religion with a name the signifies the concept of worshipping God. A simple name for a simple religion: “Salema” In Arabic, is the root word for words such as peace, submission and obedience. Islam itself means to Submit one’s will to the Will of God. Basically this means to accept that we are nothing without Allah, and that the whole purpose of this life is to worship through praying and living within the limits and means Allah has given to us without stepping on boundaries. We should never underestimate the smallest of deeds, good or bad because they will all be on the Scale on Judgment Day. To believe in this concept is crucial in being a real Muslim.


Let me also point out that Allah promises those who are sincere in finding truth..will find it, those who love Allah more than the life of this iddy biddy tiny life, will proclaim it, and those who trust in Allah more than their families, husband’s and wives and everyone they claim to respect are going to hold firm to the truth: ISLAM. They will realize that Islam is a Devine prescription of life detailing what to do, how to do what, and what to avoid. We tiny specs, called humans didn’t create life. And contrary to some people’s belief we life is not random! So I know, there’s cloning, and I know there are technological advancements, therefore I won’t get into the intricate design of the heart or even something as simple as a piece of grass! But wait a minute, what about the SOUL? You know you have one, right? But you can’t see it, touch, and feel, or even smell it. Ironically, you can purify it, improve it, rectify it, and be at peace with it. Our bodies are just costumes.

If my long-winded rambled entry was unclear and unorganized let me just say the my whole point of this entry is to say that ISLAM is the only faith ever known to be named for exactly what it stands for and is. Submission and Obedience through Peace to the Will of Allah; that is the True Islam. Named by ALLAH, not just my God, but everyone's.

"Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam. Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except, out of mutual jealousy, after knowledge had come to them. And whoever disbelieves in the evidences, of Allah, then surely, Allah is Swift in calling to account." {Quran, 3:19}

7/04/2006

Edible?

“Forbidden to you for food are: Al-Maytatah (the found dead animals), blood, the flesh of swine, and the meat of that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols, or on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering, and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns - and that which has been partly eaten by a wild animal - unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on An-Nusub (stone altars). Forbidden also is to use arrows seeking luck or decision, (all) that is Fisqun (disobedience of Allah and sin). This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above-mentioned meats), then surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. They ask you (Oh Muhammad) what is lawful for them as food. Say: "Lawful unto you are At-Tayyibat (all kinds of Halal, lawfully good) foods which Allah has made lawful. And those beasts and birds of prey which you have trained as hounds, training and teaching them in the manner as directed to you by Allah; so eat of what they catch for you, but pronounce the Name of Allah over it, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Swift in reckoning."
{Noble Quran, 5:3-4}

The ideal Muslim is the one who thinks, plans, and acts upon the teachings in the Noble Quran and uses it as a reference to every endeavor in life, or at least tries too. By adopting the lifestyle Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught and exemplified, we can see how the Words of Allah is prescribed for all of humanity, not just Muslims themselves. The one similarity every creation has, is its own purpose of existence. All of us specs, human, rock, clouds, bees, and penguins were all created to worship The Creator of it all. That’s it. Many people live their lives, and probably most do, without a clue as to what life is supposed to be about. While others have their ‘made up’ reasons of living life to the fullest without the belief in accountability. For example, as a mother, I have been given the role of raising children, this however is not my assigned purpose. Confusion breeds on ignorance, and ignorance breeds on the absence of reflection. The concept of eating purified, ‘Halal meats,’ is one of those issues, which needs clarification for several reasons. But the main reason I can see is that does not fit the norm of American culture to eat “halal” or even kosher products. McDonald’s, KFC, and easy foods for kids like nuggets or even marshmallows become inaccessible to the Muslim who desires to respect Allah’s Judgment even while eating.

The soul of every animal is a creation of Allah, and nobody has permission to open the exit door of this life on earth, without taking consent from its Creator, our Creator. By avoiding this principle, the act of killing an animal for self-indulgence is an impermissible murder. Needless to say, hunting as a sport for the fun of it, is not tolerated at all in Islam. Because Islam looks at the sacredness of a soul this way, be it human, or a even a bug, then we can understand why those who believe in God as Muslims follow the prescription established in eating meats which are slaughtered in the least harmful, and painless way as possible. Sacrificing a life given to a cow, or chicken through praising God at the very moment of slaughtering, is aimed at gaining God’s approval and blessings; and acknowledging that it’s life consisted of praying and glorifying the Most Beneficent, it’s Creator in ways that may or may not be apparent to us. Allah understands their languages, which we are significantly limited in that understanding. “Bismillah, Allahu~Akbar”. The utterance of this powerful statement “In the Name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest”, is witnessed and recorded as a sign of gratitude and obedience to the Master of this universe, ALLAH, the Glorified when another soul is relieved of this life.

Animal murder and insensitive cruelty that is imposed on many creatures due to poor butchering technique and mechanical methods amongst other approaches is extremely far from the teachings of Islam. We can then understand why hunting as a sport for the sake of fun or pleasure is disrespectful towards Allah and his creation, making it absolutely forbidden; even if a murdered animal is found, it is not accepted in the Noble Quran for it to be consumed, but this is a rule that may be broken under the circumstance that absolutely nothing else is found to eat for survival. All things come from Allah.

There is something really humbling and purposeful seeing or even taking part in the experience of slaughtering an animal. Having been involved in skinning a few was an event that made my eyes stream tears, my heart pound like a rush, and my body nearly tremble. Needless to say, this was not easy for me, nor did I even choose to do it, but my husband made me do it! Subhan’Allah, All Glory belongs to Allah, because it was also in those few events that I was enabled to appreciate my food a little more, and respect Allah’s creations even further. Alhamdulilah, All Praises belong to Allah.

You know what may seem ‘coincidental’ to some, is that even in the true teachings of Christianity and Judaism, the establishment of eating properly slaughtered meats, animals sacrificed in the Name of God has been rendered. Unfortunately today, and at least here in the US, it’s almost unheard of that those in the Christian faith apply this basic understanding to their daily lives or hold true to this value. Most of the people I have ever known claim to be part of the Christian Faith. In the Noble Quran, Allah tells Muslims that we can eat the meats of the People of the Book (Christians and the Jewish) given that they follow their own rulings of sacrifice, because it is the same rules that are established for Muslims. However, 2 points here. Christianity has evolved so much in the practice of its people and even in scriptures, that to investigate their means of slaughtering is warranted rather than accepting it as a given. There is still a large segment of the Jews that do apply these similar teachings of God, but even here questions arise at times of how it is done. Is it done in the least harmful manner to the animal? Is it done while glorifying God? Has the technique or method been altered over time so much that a new technique is accepted as an authentic manner? Clarity is in Islam; the method of slaughter prescribed has never been modified from the ordered revelation over 1400 years ago. However, we see Muslims not always following the ways established. Could it be due to a lack of knowledge, ignoring knowledge, or maybe not even accepting knowledge? May Allah have Mercy on us and forgive us for our shortcomings. Islam is a perfect system and way of life, and Muslims should always aim to strive in that way to rectify wrongdoings. These are just things to think about.

In Muslim predominant nations like Egypt, Muslims don’t worry about this at all, whether a food is halal or not. But this does not give them a green light to take this simple principle for granted. To be human is to love food, no doubt about that. But to eat what is permissible means we accept that Allah knows what is best for our bodies to keep us strong, but even more so what keeps are souls in alignment with our purpose here on earth: to worship Allah Alone. Passing up those McDonald’s burgers and those steak & cheese subs wasn’t too hard when I came to the understanding of Allah’s prescription a few years ago, Alhamdulilah. Praise Allah. All of us, whether Muslim or not should aim our lives to be in an awaken and conscious state of gratitude that Allah has blessed us with, because the more gratitude we express in our hearts the closer we come to desiring more of Allah’s pleasures versus justifying our personal desires of instant gratification. Be it for taste buds, or for whatever else.

In the Noble Quran there are numerous verses in which Allah describes the necessity of eating purified foods that are of accepted and blessed by Him:

So eat of that on which Allah’s Name has been pronounced (while slaughtering the animal), if you are believers in His Revelations. And why should you not eat of that on which Allah’s Name has been pronounced at the time of slaughtering, while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity? And surely many do lead mankind astray by their own desires through lack of knowledge. Certainly your Lord knows best the transgressors.
{6:118-119}

Do not eat the meat of the animals over which the name of Allah is not invoked at the time of its slaughter. That is an impious and an immoral act. Satan certainly incites his minions to engage you in arguments about what is, and is not a sin. If you follow them you would surely become one of those who associate partners with Allah.
{6:121}

The two kinds of flowing water on the earth are not alike. One is sweet, refreshing and quenches the thirst. The other is bitter and brackish. Yet, from both of them you attain fresh meat to eat, and extract pearls to wear. You see huge ships plough through the waves so you may seek His blessings and earn your livelihood. Perhaps you will feel grateful!
{35:12}

He has forbidden you only the Maytatah (found dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that, which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah. But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
{2:173}

“…Then, when they are down on their sides (after having been slaughtered), eat thereof, and feed the beggar who does not ask, and the beggar who asks. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may be grateful.”
{22:36}

If you are a Muslim buying your ground beef for a cookout from the local grocery market; if you are a Muslimah who feeds her baby the Gerber Stage 3 chicken and rice; if you aren’t even Muslim at all but loves God, be it a Christian or a Jew, shouldn’t these verses above make you think, reflect, and entice you to learn more about the essence of what it is you eat?
Especially if you believe in
Accountability?

(please refer to the article I've linked to this post by clicking on the title above, I wish I would have read it before writing this!)
May God guide us all.






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