Friday, September 18, 2009
Monday, September 07, 2009
Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, Not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life.
Proven Techniques for a Successful Positive Change this Ramadan
You CAN do it!!!
The Messenger of Allah Muhammad[peace be upon him] has said,"Almighty Allah says, 'I treat my slave (man) according to his expectations from Me, and I am with him when he remembers me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him in My heart…. if he walks towards Me, I run unto him."[Hadith-Qudsi]
Make this Ramadan the month of “Change”..Are You Ready for it???
"Change" is the vogue today. "Change" is being chanted by the Presidents to rally up public support; "Change" is being demanded by the masses suffering due to skyrocketing fuel and commodity prices; "Change", a drastic one indeed, is what we are witnessing with awe in the global weather patterns.
For Muslims, Ramadan is the prime time for change. This month dramatically alters our routines and schedules. From tight sleep schedules, to hunger for extended hours, to reduction in consumption of junk foods, to a technology diet; to withdrawal from caffeine addiction, to lengthy standing in Taraweeh prayers at night, to extensive listening to the Quran. What a change indeed!
Beyond Routines and Rituals
The real change, however, Ramadan demands of us is the internal change – a change that positively transforms our lifestyle, character, attitudes, conversations, and habits. Allah has described this change in the month of Ramadan as follows: "O you who believe, fasting has been ordained on you as it was decreed upon those before you so that you may adopt Taqwa[Taqwa is Allah consciousness ]" (2:183 [Quran 2:183].
Slavery to Ramadan?
If our change is limited to outer physical practices only, we become slaves to Ramadan, instead of being servants to Ar-Rahman (Allah, the Merciful).
Prophet Muhammad[peace be upon him] has warned us about those who don't fast from bad behaviour:
"Allah has no interest in any person's abstention from eating and drinking, if that person does not give up lying and dishonest actions" [Sahih al-Bukhari].
Every Ramadan we make resolutions and tell ourselves: "This Ramadan will be different. I'm going to change my ______ habit." "I will give up ………", "I will take my practice of Islam to the next level". But how many of us are really able to follow through? Plenty of good intentions, many amazing wishes, but sadly enough, life goes on as usual the morning of Eid.
Ask yourself, how is my fasting benefitting my spiritual connection with Allah? How is my extensive worship in Ramadan helping me discipline my tongue (taste and speech), eyes, ears, and habits?
Are you ready to take that first step to transform your bad habits into good ones?
Ways to Kick Bad Habits
Few things are more demanding than eliminating bad habits, since they are part of our daily routines and personality. It takes days of patience and practice to break old habits.
However, the good news is, Ramadan offers a perfect and natural environment for moral training. Interestingly, researches from "positive psychology" (scientific study of successful people) have repeatedly shown it takes between 30 to 40 days to kick a bad habit and develop a new one.
In addition to the physical discipline during the month of Ramadan, the increased spiritual exercise and connection with Allah, can transform your habits for life.
Try these proven techniques for a successful positive change in your habits during Ramadan and beyond!
1. Acknowledge and Identify your bad habits: First step is to admit you need to change. If you are in a state of denial, you won't recognize that you have a bad habit to change.
2. Pick a habit for this month: Prioritize your bad habits and focus on one for this month. If you are committed to changing at least one habit, you will see remarkable results, Allah-willing.
3. Realize that it's in us to change: Don't believe the old saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." You can break a bad habit if you really want to. No one else can change your habits, if you don't want to.
4. Remember, Allah loves those who commit mistakes and repent: Prophet Muhammad[peace be upon him] said:
"By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would sweep you out of existence and He would replace (you by) those people who would commit sin and seek forgiveness from Allah, and He would have pardoned them." [Sahih Muslim]
5. Intention & Plan to change: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." A healthy process of change in character requires a gradual pace, which entails planning. Develop concrete milestones to measure your progress.
6. Replace a bad habit with a good one: Completely eliminating a habit is more challenging than replacing it with a more productive habit. Moreover, it's crucial to replace the lost natural needs, such as the need to socialize and to be entertained with something healthy.
For instance, it's easier to replace or balance your addiction to TV with a physical workout or reading, than to suddenly remove the TV from your life. Interestingly, Prophet Muhammad[peace be upon him], the greatest 'psychologist' of humanity, illustrated this principle in these words:
"Fear Allah wherever you may be; follow up an evil deed with a good one which will wipe (the former) out, and behave good-naturedly towards people." [At-Tirmidhi]
7. Change your Environment: Resist the negative peer pressure by finding a better company of friends. Collective action to change is very powerful. Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] explained this peer pressure effect with this analogy:
"A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace." [Sahih al-Bukhari & Muslim]
8. Exercise: Spiritual exercise is important for lasting change. You may not realize that by exerting your yourself in spiritual exercises like the reading of Quran and Hadith, fasting, giving charity, Zikr[remembering Allah] etc helps in eliminating a number of bad habits. Through the spiritual light of doing noble deeds evil ones will gradually be eradicated from your life. Allah says : “Indeed, Salah restrains from Shameful and unjust deeds” [Quran:29:45]. A person complained to the Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] about someone who read salaah and also committed theft .The Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] said “His salaat will very soon wean him off that sin.' This shows that the evil habits can be got rid of by adhering to good practises. The doing of good deeds such as remembering Allah cleanses the heart. A clean heart encourages a person to do good deeds and refrains one from evil habits!
Moreover, exercising your will power (struggle to fight temptations) for this month helps you kick all kinds of bad habits and form new good ones. Willpower is like a muscle; the more you exercise it, the more you strengthen it.
9. Think of yourself as a changed, different, new person. This simple psychological shift in your thinking about your own image can do wonders. Tell yourself, "I can't continue this ill-behaviour. I am better than that. I am stronger. I am wiser."
10. Reward success: The most fundamental law in all of psychology is the "law of effect." It simply states that actions followed by rewards are strengthened and likely to recur. Unfortunately, studies show that people rarely use this technique when trying to change personal habits.
Setting up formal or informal rewards for success greatly increases your chances of transforming bad habits into good ones, and is far more effective than punishing yourself for bad habits or setbacks. As Muslims we should also remember that the ultimate reward is Allah's Pleasure and Paradise in the Hereafter.
11. Get help: Tell someone about your effort to change if it helps. He or she may keep you on track and may offer some good advice. Read books that will encourage you to do virtues actions. Join programs in your local Mosque. Ladies should endeavour to join their local Taalimi Halqas. There are good and sincere people who are ready to assist. We are not an island- We are an Ummah!
12. Boost your spiritual immune system: By fasting,doiung good actions, spending time in the Mosque or going in the path of Allah will boost your Imaan[faith] which will provide you with internal strength to overcome temptations to reverting to old bad habits.
13. Remind yourself of Death and Hereafter often: "Remember often the terminator (or destroyer) of all the pleasures [i.e. death]," the Prophet [peace be upon him]once stated. [At-Tirmidhi.]
14. Resolve to continue on and follow up: Giving up bad habits or learning good habits requires regular maintenance and determination. It is a long, ongoing process, also known as "Tazkiyyah" in Islamic terminology. It's more difficult than the first few steps of change. ("How many times have I dieted, for example, only to gain the weight back?"). So ensure that you follow up. Link yourself to a good Allah-fearing Islamic Scholar and make a habit of spending time in Allah path.
15. Develop a relapse strategy: How do you ensure not to return to your bad habit you are trying to change? Some people donate money to a good cause every time they return to sinning or a bad habit. This reminds them of the 'cost' of going back to old bad habits. Others try physically demanding acts to deter them from reverting to old ways. For example that if you do___ act than you will keep three fast or pay so much sadaqah[charity] etc
16. Ask Allah for Help: MOST IMPORTANT!-Make Asking for Allah's Help an integral part of the overall change process. Ask for Allah's Help before, during and after every attempt at kicking a bad habit. Do so sincerely, even begging and crying, like a child does when he or she really wants something. Allah is Ever-Willing to Help and to Respond to our needs, but it is us who must take the first step towards Him. Allah will NEVER disappoint us!
"And whosoever is conscious of Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He (Allah) will make a way for him to get out (from) every (difficulty), and He will provide him from (sources) he could never imagine." [Quran 65:2-3]
Friday, September 04, 2009
In Celebration of International Hijab Day
And want to be a real hero or a star
Than remember to wear the [Hijab]Crown
And in Jannah[paradise] you will be found
For a Muslimah who follows Allahs way
Commemorate International Hijab Day is every day!!!
The honour of a Queen ends with death while the honour of a True Muslimah is eternal… Allah has elevated every Muslimah to a level higher than a “worldly queen” and ordered her to adorn herself with the Noble Crown [Hijab] right in this world!
Why would one hesitate to wear the Noble Crown???…here follows some of the major excuses Muslimahs have for not adorning hijab and some practical answers to these excuses.
We then ask this sister two questions.
1. Is she truly convinced of the correctness of the religion of Islam?
The natural answer is: Yes, she is convinced for she responds "La ilaha illallah!" (There is no god but Allah), meaning she is convinced of the aqidah, and then she says: "Muhammadur rasulullah!" (Muhammad [SAW] is the Messenger of Allah), meaning by that that she is convinced of its legislation or law (shari'ah). Therefore, she is convinced of Islam as a belief system and a law by which one governs and rules their life.
2. Is the hijab then a part of Islamic Law (shari'ah) and an obligation?
If this sister is honest and sincere in her intention and has looked into the issue as one who truly wants to know the truth her answer could only be: Yes. For Allah ta'ala, Whose deity (Uluhiyyah) she believes in has commanded wearing hijab in His Book (Al-Qur'an) and the Noble Prophet ('alaihi salat wa salam) whose message she believes in has commanded wearing the hijab in his sunnah.
What do we call a person who says they believe in and are content with the correctness of Islam but who nonetheless does not do what Allah or His Messenger have ordered? Certainly they can in no way be described as those whom Allah speaks of in this ayah:
The only saying of the faithful believers when they are called to Allah and His Messenger to judge between them is that they say 'we hear and obey' and such are the successful. [Soorah An-Noor 24:51]
In summary: If this sister is convinced of Islam, how then can she not be convinced of its orders?
2. I am convinced of the Islamic dress but my mother prevents me from wearing it and if I disobey her I will go to Hell...
The one who has answered this excuse is the most noble of Allah's creation, the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) in concise and comprehensive words of wisdom: There is no obedience to the created in the disobedience of Allah.[Ahmed]
The status of parents in Islam, especially the mother, is a high and elevated one. Indeed Allah ta'ala has combined it with the greatest of matters, worshipping Him and His tawheed, in many ayat. He stated: Worship Allah and join none with Him and do good to parents.[Soorah An-Nisa 4:36] Obedience to parents is not limited except in one aspect, and that is if they order to disobedience of Allah. Allah said: But if they strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not.[Soorah Luqman 31:15] The lack of obedience to them in sinfulness does not prevent being good to them and kind treatment of them. Allah said afterward in the same ayah: But behave with them in the world kindly.
In summary: How can you obey your mother and disobey Allah Who created you and your mother?
3. My position does not allow me to substitute my dress for the Islamic dress...
This sister is either one or the other of two types: She is sincere and honest, or she is a slippery liar who desires to make a showy display of her "hijab" clamouring with colours to be "in line with the times" and expensive.
We will begin with an answer to the honest and sincere sister. Are you unaware my dear sister, that it is not permissible for the Muslim woman to leave her home in any instance unless her clothing meets the conditions of Islamic hijab (Hijab shar'ee) and it is a duty of every Muslim woman to know what they are? If you have taken the time and effort to learn so many matters of this world how then can you be neglectful of learning those matters which will save you from the punishment of Allah and His anger after death!!? Does Allah not say:
Ask the people of remembrance (i.e. knowledgeable scholars) if you do not know. [Soorah An-Nahl 16:43].
Learn, therefore, the requirements of proper hijab.
If you must go out, then do not do so without the correct hijab, seeking the pleasure of Allah and the degradation of Shaitan. That is because the corruption brought about by your going out adorned and "beautified" is far greater than the matter which you deem necessary to go out for.
My dear sister if you are really truthful in your intention and correctly determined you will find a thousands hands of good assisting you and Allah will make the matter easy for you! Is He not the One Who says:And whoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty) and He will provide him from sources he never could imagine[Soorah At-Talaq 65:2-3]?
With regards to the 'slippery' one we say: Honour and position is something determined by Allah ta'ala and it is not due to embellishment of clothing and show of colors and keeping up with the trendsetters. It is rather due to obedience to Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) and holding to the pure law of Allah and correct Islamic hijab. Listen to the words of Allah: Indeed, the most honourable amongst you are those who are the most pious. [Soorah Al-Hujurat 49:35]
In summary: Do things in the way of seeking Allah's pleasure and entering His Jannah and give less value to the high priced and costly objects and wealth of this world.
4. It is so hot in my country and I can't stand it. How will it be if I wore Hijab...
Allah gives an example by saying:
Say: The Fire of Hell is more intense in heat if they only understand. [Soorah At-Taubah 9:81]
How can you compare the heat of your land to the heat of the Hellfire?
Know, my sister, that Shaitan has trapped you in one of his feeble ropes to drag you from the heat of this world to the heat of the Hellfire. Free yourself from his net and view the heat of the sun as a favor and not an affliction especially in that it reminds you of the intensity of the punishment of Allah which is many times greater than the heat you now feel. Return to the order of Allah and sacrifice this worldly comfort in the way of following the path of salvation from the Hellfire about which Allah says:
They will neither feel coolness nor have any drink except that of boiling water and the discharge of dirty wounds.[Soorah An-Naba' 78:24-25]
In summary: The Jannah is surrounded by hardships and toil, while Hellfire is surrounded by temptations, lusts and desires.
5. I'm afraid that if I wear the Hijab,I will put it off at a later time because I have seen so many others do so....
To her I say: If everyone was to apply your logic then they would have left the Deen in its entirety! They would have left off salat because some would be afraid of leaving it later. They would have left fasting in Ramadhan because so many are afraid of not doing it later. etc. Haven't you seen how Shaitan has trapped you in his snare again and blocked you from guidance?
Allah ta'ala loves continuous obedience even if it be small or recommended. How about something that is an absolute obligation like wearing hijab?! The prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: The most beloved deed with Allah is the consistent one though it be little. Why haven't you sought out the causes leading those people to leave off the hijab so that you can avoid them and work to keep away from them? Why haven't you sought out reasons and causes to affirm truth and guidance until you can hold firm to them?
Among these causes is much supplication to Allah (du'a) to make the heart firm upon the Deen as did the prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam). Also is making salat and having mindfulness of it as Allah stated:And seek helpin patience and the prayer and truly it is extremely heavy except for the true believers in Allah who obey Allah with full submission and believe in His promise of Jannah and in His warnings (Al-Khashi'oon).[Soorah Al-Baqarah 2:45] Other causes to put one upon guidance and truth is adherence to the laws of Islam and one of them is indeed wearing the hijab. Allah said:
If they had done what they were told, it would have been better for them and would have strengthened their faith. [Soorah Al-Baqarah 2:66]
In summary: If you hold tight to the causes of guidance and taste the sweetness of faith you will not neglect the orders of Allah after having held to them.
6. If I wear the Hijab, then no one will marry me. So, I'm going to put it off till then...
Any husband, who desires that you be uncovered and adorned in public in defiance of and in disobedience to Allah, is not a worthy husband in the first place. He is a husband who has no feeling to protect what Allah has made inviolable, most notably yourself, and he will not help you in any way to enter Al-Jannah or escape from the Hellfire. A home which is founded upon disobedience to Allah and provocation of His anger is fitting that He decree misery and hardship for it in this life and in the Hereafter. As Allah stated:
But whosoever turns away from My reminder (i.e. neither believes in the Qur'an nor acts upon its teachings) verily for him is a life of hardship and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection. [Soorah Ta Ha 20:124]
Marriage is a favour and blessing from Allah to whom He give whom He wills. How many women who wear hijab (mutahajibah) are in fact married while many who don't aren't? If you were to say that '..my being made-up and uncovered is a means to reach a pure end, namely marriage', a pure goal or end is not attained through impure and corrupt means in Islam. If the goal is honourable then it must necessarily be achieved by pure and clean method. We say the rule in Islam is: The means are according to the rules of the intended goals.
In summary: There is no blessing in a marriage established upon sinfulness and corruption.
7. I don't wear hijab based on what Allah says: And proclaim the grace of your Rabb [Soorah Ad-Dhuha 93:11] How can I cover what Allah has blessed me with of silky soft hair and captivating beauty?
So, this sister of ours adheres to the Book of Allah and its commands as long as they coincide with her personal desires and understanding! She leaves behind those matters when they don't please her. If this was not the case, then why doesn't she follow the ayah:
And do not show off their adornment except only that which is apparent
[Soorah An-Noor 24:31]
and the statement of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala:
Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies [Soorah Al-Ahzab 33:59]?
With this statement my sister you have now made a shari'ah (law) for yourself of what Allah ta'ala has strictly forbidden, namely beautification (at-tabarruj) and uncovering (as-sufur), and the reason: Your lack of wanting to adhere to the order. The greatest blessing or favor that Allah has bestowed upon us is that of Iman (faith) and hidayah (guidance) and among them is the Islamic hijab. Why then do you not manifest and talk about this greatest of blessings given to you?
In summary: Is there a greater blessing and favor upon the woman than guidance and hijab?
8. I know that hijab is obligatory (wajib), but I will wear it when Allah guides me to do so...
We ask this sister on what plans or steps she will undertake until she accepts this divine guidance? We know that Allah has in His wisdom made a cause or means for everything. That is why the sick take medicine to regain health, and the traveler rides a vehicle or an animal to reach his destination, and other limitless examples.
Has this sister of ours seriously endeavoured to seek true guidance and exerted the proper means to get it such as: Supplicating Allah sincerely as He stated: Guide us to the Straight Path. [Soorah Al-Fatihah 1:6]; Keeping company with the righteous good sisters - for they are among the best to assist her to guidance and to continue to point her to it until Allah guides her and increases her guidance and inspires her to further guidance and taqwa. She would then adhere to the orders of Allah and wear the hijab that the believing women are commanded to wear.
In summary: If this sister was really serious about seeking guidance she would have exerted herself by the proper means to get it.
9. It's not time for that yet. I'm still too young for wearing hijab. I'll do it when I get older and after I make Hajj!
The Angel of Death, my sister, is visiting and waiting at your door for the order of Allah Ta'ala to open it on you at any moment in your life. Allah said: When their term comes, neither can they delay it nor can they advance it and hour (or a moment). [Soorah Al-An'am 7:34]. Death my sister doesn't discriminate between the young or the old and it may come while you are in this state of great sinfulness disobedience, fighting against the Lord of Honor with your uncovering and shameless adornment. My sister, you should race to obedience along with those others who race to answer the call of Allah tabaraka wa ta'ala:
Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord and Paradise the width whereof is as the width of the heavens and the earth. [Soorah Al-Hadeed 57:21]
Sister, don't forget Allah or He will forget you by turning His mercy away from you in this life and the next. You are forgetting your own soul by not fulfilling the right of your soul to obey Allah and proper worship of Him. Allah stated about the hypocrites (Al-Munafiqoon): And be not like those who forgot Allah and He caused them to forget their own selves.[Soorah Al-Hashr 59:19] My sister wear the hijab in your young age in opposition to the sinful deed because Allah is intense in punishment and will ask you on the Day of Resurrection about your youth and every moment of your life.
In summary: Stop presuming some future expectation in your life will indeed occur!! How can you guarantee your own life until tomorrow?
10. I'm afraid that if I wear Islamic clothing that I'll be labelled as belonging to some group or another and I hate partisanship...
My sisters in Islam, there are only two parties in Islam, and they are both mentioned by Allah Almighty in His Noble Book. The first party is the party of Allah (hizbullah) that He gives victory to because of their obedience to His commands and staying away from what He has forbidden. The second party is the party of the accursed Shaitan (hizbush-Shaitan) which disobeys the Most Merciful and increase corruption in the earth. When you hold tight to and adhere to the commands of Allah, and among them is wearing the hijab - you then become a part of the successful party of Allah. When you beautify and display your charms you are riding in the boat of Shaitan and his friends and partners from among the hypocrites and the disbelievers and none worse could there be as friends.
Don't you see how you are running from Allah and to the Shaitan, trading filth for good? Run instead my sister to Allah and follow His way: So flee to Allah (from His Torment to His mercy). Verily I (Muhammad) am a plain Warner to you from Him.[Soorah Adh-Dhariyat 51:50] The hijab is a high form of worship that is not subject to the opinions of people and their orientations and choices because the one who legislated it is the Most Wise Creator.
In summary: In the way of seeking the pleasure of Allah and in hope of His Mercy and success in His Jannah and throw the statements of the devils among people and jinn against the wall! Hold tight to the legislation of Allah by your molars and follow the example of the striving and knowledgeable Mothers of the Believers and the female companions (radiallahu 'anhum ajma'een).
Your body is on display in the market of Shaitan seducing the hearts of men. The hairstyles, the tight clothing showing every detail of your figure, the short dresses showing off your legs and feet, the showy, decorative and fragrant clothing all angers the Merciful and pleases the Shaitan. Every day that passes while you are in this condition, distances you further from Allah and brings you closer to Shaitan. Every day brings you closer to the grave and the Angel of Death is ready to capture your soul.
Every soul shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Hellfire and admitted to Al-Jannah, is indeed successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing) [Soorah Ale 'Imran 3:185]
Sisters! As regards Hijab its the commandment of our Lord Allah! ALLAH will NEVER disappoint you!
Thursday, September 03, 2009
"Ramadan is not about starving yourself," says Huma Siddiqui, "it's about taking a step back." To the author of the Pakistani cookbook "Jasmine in Her Hair," the month's daily fasts "force you to change your routine. You slow down and begin to reflect on your life — what's happened over the past year, where you're heading. Feeling hungry connects you to what's important to you, what you really want. We get so busy sometimes that we forget what it's all about. It feels good to take back the driver's seat, rather than letting life drive you."