Thursday 29 September 2016

The best of you are those who are the best to their wives....

Image result for musim married cope

From the insightful Salafi Feminist:

"The best of you are those who are the best to their wives, and I am the best of you to my wives.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3895; Ibn Maajah, 1977; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi
This hadith is often quoted in marriage talks, conferences, and articles, light-heartedly reminding husbands to pick up their socks or buy some flowers for their wives on their way home from work.
While this may earn some laughs and a guilty resolution to be more thoughtful towards their wives, this hadith tends to be brushed off as being very general and more of a vague reminder than anything else. Even when the hadith is discussed in a little more detail, we find that most teachers tend to apply it in a rather limited way – by mentioning that the Prophet (pbuh) used to do chores around the house, or be affectionate with them.
However, this hadith has far more depth to it than we realize – when we look at the Prophet’s (pbuh) relationship with his wives, we see that when he meant he was the ‘the best… to wives’ – he really meant ‘the best.’
The Prophet’s (pbuh) marriages with his wives were unique because not only did he have nine wives, but he had a wonderful relationship with them all. If one wants to know what a marriage expert looks like, we need look no further than the seerah (biography of the Prophet) itself. So what is the secret behind being the best husband?
We know that the Prophet (pbuh) married women of different ethnicities, from the Qurayshi noblewomen Khadijah bint Khuwaylid and Zaynab bint Jahsh, to the Jewish princess Safiyyah bint Hu’ayy; women of different personalities and temperaments, such as the high-spirited A’ishah bint Abi Bakr and Hafsah bint ‘Umar, and the calm, unruffled dispositions of Maymunah bint al-Harith and Umm Salamah. He was married to women as young as A’ishah and as elderly as Sawdah bint Zam’a; widows and divorcees, businesswomen, scholars, and mothers.
His relationship with every woman was unique, and each relationship was beautiful – and when we read about how he interacted with each and every one of them, we see that one of the defining characteristics he had, which ensured the success of his marriages, was emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is defined as the “capacity of individuals to recognize their own, and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.”
To have emotional intelligence is not so much a rare skill or complex ability, but simply the capacity to have compassion and empathy with those whom with one interacts, and to respond to them accordingly.
In a marriage, emotional intelligence can be summed up in the following ayah:
And of His signs is this: He created for you helpmeets from yourselves that ye might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Lo! herein indeed are portents for folk who reflect. [Qur’an 30:21]
The Prophet (pbuh) expressed his emotional intelligence, his capacity for love and mercy towards his wives, in numerous ways. When he was married to Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), he already knew of her impressive career as a businesswoman managing her own caravan of traders. Rather than feeling slighted or insecure by the fact that he worked for her, and that it was her wealth supporting him financially, he never once expressed resentment – rather, he never stopped praising her and expressing his appreciation of her support for him.
A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that when she once made a snide comment about Khadijah, the Prophet (pbuh) responded vehemently in her defence:
“No, by Allah! Allah did not replace her with any better woman. She believed in me when people disbelieved, she supported me with her wealth when people denied me their material aid, and Allah blessed me with children from her while I was denied children by other women.”
In a time when more and more Muslim women have impressive careers of their own, and are sometimes earning higher incomes than their husbands, the Prophet’s (pbuh) appreciation and love towards Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) is an example to Muslim husbands who may find themselves struggling with insecurities regarding their financial situations in comparison to their wives. Instead of making it a problem in the marriage, husbands can learn to use emotional intelligence to acknowledge that the size of one’s pay cheque is not a reflection of their masculinity (or lack thereof) and that it is not a reason to have a less than stellar attitude towards their wives.
The Prophet (pbuh) was also a man who was always ready to comfort his wives. On one occasion, he was traveling with his Companions and his wife Safiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her), when her camel became weak and began to fall behind. Frustrated at the distance between herself and her husband, Safiyyah began to weep. When the Prophet (pbuh) noticed that she was no longer next to him, he turned back to find her, and when he found her crying, he wiped her tears away himself and immediately looked for another camel. Rather than being annoyed or frustrated with her, the Prophet (pbuh) demonstrated his emotional intelligence by providing her with comfort, affection, and reassurance – thereby solidifying their relationship and increasing the love between them even more.
As for helping around the house, the Prophet (pbuh) did far more than just wash a couple of dishes or pick up dirty socks.
Narrated Al-Aswad:
I asked 'Aisha what did the Prophet use to do at home. She replied. "He used to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was time for the prayer, he would get up for prayer." (Bukhari)
Aisha reported:
“I was asked, “What did the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, do in his house?” I said, “The Prophet was a man among men. He would remove fleas from his clothes, milk his sheep, and serve himself.” (Musnad Ahmad 25662, authenticated by alAlbani)
These ahadith are self-evident: rather than waiting to be served by his wives, the Prophet (pbuh) would take the initiative to serve them and to take care of whatever domestic tasks he was able to do. An emotionally intelligent husband doesn’t take the casual approach of ‘well, I folded my own clothes last week, so I’m good’; he looks at his home, acknowledges what tasks need to be completed, and tries to lighten his wife’s workload without being even more of a burden. The point of this is not to ‘prove’ what a good husband one is and then bring it up repeatedly later on in defense of other bad habits – it is to sincerely develop a positive relationship with one’s wife. Most women, if not all, deeply appreciate it when husbands contribute by doing chores – it is a sign of respect and self-responsibility, a sign that the husband doesn’t view his wife as a maid, but as an individual whose passion does not lie solely in doing laundry or mopping floors.
Finally, the Prophet (pbuh) was a man who recognized the potential in his wives and encouraged them to fulfill that potential. Hafsah bint ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with her) was a woman of intelligence, and the Prophet (pbuh) wanted to foster that intelligence rather than stunt it. Once, a woman named ashShifa bint Abdullah, one of the few literate individuals of Medinah at the time, was visiting Hafsah and discussing medicine with her. The Prophet (pbuh) entered the home during their conversation, and noting Hafsah’s interest, he immediately told ashShifa to teach Hafsah both literacy and the healing arts.
Each and every one of these stories highlights just what it meant when the Prophet (pbuh) commanded the men of his Ummah to be the best they possibly could be towards their wives. The standard for best husband has already been set – to be humble and appreciative, to be loving and comforting, to being helpful and supportive – and when one considers the beautiful ways in which the Prophet (pbuh) exemplified these qualities on a daily basis, it really isn’t so difficult.
May our husbands fulfill the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and prove themselves to be amongst the best of men, ameen.

Monday 26 September 2016

Florida mosque arsonist shared extreme pro-Israel propaganda

The man accused of setting fire to the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce in Florida a week ago is an ardent supporter of Israel who labeled all forms of Islam as “radical.”
Joseph Michael Schreiber, a 32-year-old messianic Jew, was arrested at his home in St. Lucie, Florida, on Wednesday and charged with arson and a hate crime. Police say he confessed after his arrest.
His attack is part of a spate of anti-Muslim hate crimes since the start of the current US election season.
The mosque he set ablaze has been regularly attended by the father of Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen and the crime was committed on 11 September, which marked the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The attack was also the night before the Islamic center was due to hold a community celebration for Eid al-Adha.

Thursday 22 September 2016

The Birthright Agenda


I went on a Birthright trip when I was 20. I didn’t know anything about Israel or Palestine, and I kind of wanted to keep it that way rather than delve into what appeared to be an endlessly complicated, exasperating web of politics. I did not want to have an opinion on this; it seemed to be a subject too hopeless to be worth wading through all the controversy. But Birthright didn’t seem particularly political, and it blatantly claims not to be; it’s ten free days of traveling, fun and cultural learning in Israel for Jewish young adults. So many people I knew were coming back from these trips saying that it was the best experience of their lives. How could I say no?

What became abundantly clear – even after experiencing and seeking out so much from the pro-Israel side of things – is that Israel enacts many layers of systemic oppression and human rights violations upon the Palestinian people on a daily basis. There are sometimes violent acts of retaliation from Palestinians – in the form of Hamas rockets, stabbing attacks, all of those things the news publicizes- and these acts of violence are obviously worthy of full condemnation. But unlike what I’d assumed before, this was not a case of two sides with roughly equal power and resources that just hate each other and just hopelessly can’t coexist. In reality, this is one colonial power – a group with large sums of money and resources (largely in the form of $3.5 billion of annual aid from the U.S.) – claiming ownership over a piece of land and ethnically cleansing the population that had been there for, at the very least, many generations prior. Not only are the death tolls(especially civilian death tolls) exponentially higher when it comes to Palestinians killed by Israel than the other way around, but the actual power structure is similarly skewed. This is what the term “Israeli Occupation” refers to. It encompasses genocide, rampant violations of international law, large-scale racism, colonialism and de facto grand apartheid. All of that is the undeniably relevant context in which Birthright trips take place.

Monday 19 September 2016

Islam chose me: Susan Carland on religion, love and the hijab

Susan Carland. Make-up: Peter Beard. Styling: Penny McCarthy and Nichhia Wippell. Dress by Sportsmax.
"But if your intention is sincerely, 'I don't particularly enjoy being in magazines but I have the intention of trying to create a more cohesive society or a society that has some nuance in this conversation about Islam...' I don't think I'm particularly good at public speaking, but if people say, 'Please come and talk to us,' I feel uneasy about saying no and then complaining about the level of public conversation."
Carland and I meet at a Sydney photographic studio in the week that controversy is boiling over the short-lived burkini ban in France, where police were photographed forcing a woman to remove her long-sleeved top on a beach.
For Carland this is "that old thing of women's bodies being used as a battleground for - generally men's - political conquests. I see the other side of women being forced to cover up in some countries as just as problematic." She was pleased by the reactions of disbelief and outrage from many Australians, "a reassuring sign of how generally Australia accommodates or champions multiculturalism".
Carland pays a price for her public profile, attracting abuse on Twitter that she deals with by pledging a dollar to UNICEF for every hateful comment - about $4800 so far, with half donated by supporters. But with a daughter, Aisha, 13, and son, Zayd, 9, she is as likely to tweet about children's games or snot-eating as about refugees or racism.

Friday 16 September 2016

Olympic Athletes Show the Positive Power of Islam

Britain's Mo Farah celebrates winning the Men's 10,000m during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 13, 2016.
The Power of Prayer

On Aug. 13, Somali British long distance runner Mo Farah sought to claim back-to-back gold medals in the 10,000-meter run. In the middle of the race, the favorite locked his legs with another runner and fell on the track. He bounced right back up, strategically wove his way past the pack and claimed gold.
After he crossed the finish line, Farah fell on the track again—this time to pray. He bowed his head before a stadium of adoring spectators. That performance was just as dramatic as racing past Kenya’s Paul Kipngetich Tanui to win this third gold medal.
Farah’s prayer can help counter the damaging stereotypes of Muslims held by many around the world. For Farah, and scores of Muslim athletes, faith is not incidental, but central to their excellence in sport. “I normally pray before a race,” Farah said. “I read du’aa [Islamic prayers or invocations] think about how hard I’ve worked and just go for it.”
The Weight of Gendered Stereotypes
A young woman in a head scarf can often conjure up images of frailty and disempowerment. But Egyptian weightlifter Sara Ahmed is anything but. She can out-lift most women in the world and has the kind of physical power few possess.
Donning all black with a red headscarf, the colors of her nation, the diminutive Ahmed lifted a combined weight of 255kg (562lbs) to claim the bronze medal in the 69kg weight class. The feat, given her nationality and ethnicity, was unprecedented. Ahmed became an instant icon in her native Egypt, becoming the first female medalist in the nation’s 104-year history in Olympics’ competition and the first Arab woman to win an Olympicmedal in weightlifting.
As she bowed her head to receive her medal, Ahmed represented world-class power, strength and Muslim womanhood, disrupting tropes that have enabled headscarf bans in France and trite oppression narratives in America and elsewhere.

Thursday 15 September 2016

I Love Muhammad (pbuh) But I Hate The Musalli Horse Stance

A correct kung fu horse stance with feet wide apart and a pole balanced across the thighs

The Prophet (pbuh) said that when Muslims stand for prayer, we must not leave any gaps between us otherwise Satan runs in those gaps during the prayer. But this must be put in context as the following anecdote illustrates.
A Saudi friend told me that one young man in his country adopted the Musalli Horse Stance in prayer. When an elderly man asked him why he was standing in prayer like that, the young man replied, “Because Shaytan (Satan) runs through the gaps.”
The elderly man replied to him, “My son, your feet are so wide apart that Shaytan will run under your legs if you are not careful.”
Good point. I have prayed next to people whose foot is pushing so hard on my foot that instead of thinking about my Lord the only thing I am thinking about during my prayer is which Accident and Emergency Department will have the shortest waiting times if this geezer fractures my foot.
Read entire blog My love and dua to my brother Babar Ahmad.

Monday 12 September 2016

Samia Shahid: British woman who died in alleged honour killing texted friend about fears she would not return alive

Beyond horrifying this pathetic 'father' aided his own daughter's rape and murder. So much for being protectors...
A 43-page police report, seen by the Mail Online, by an official connected with the case, concluded her father had held her down while Shakeel raped her. 
In the report, it said the day before she was due to fly to Islamabadfor the week-long stay, she texted her friend with the message: “Pray I come bk alive on 21jul my psyco cuzzan u see” – referring to her former husband.
But forensic and DNA tests confirmed Shakeel, who reportedly had never accepted the divorce, had raped Samia: “The result indicated a perfect match, thereby establishing that the victim was raped by accused Shakeel before she was murdered,” said the report. 
The forensic report also showed a 19mm cut across her neck from where she had been strangled.
The report claimed Shakeel was angry at the divorce and felt she had “dishonoured him and his family”. They had originally married in Pakistan in 2012 where she stayed for a short time before going back to the UK. She then divorced him ex-parte two years later and moved to Dubai to be with Mr Kazam. 

Friday 9 September 2016

My faith is constantly questioned because I don’t wear hijab
There are some words that are hard to forget, words like, “Every strand of hair that I see on your head is a sin.”
There seems to be an implicit hierarchy in the American Muslim society and its time that it is acknowledged and addressed. For some women it appears as though wearing the hijab serves as a prerequisite within the Muslim community to be treated as a dignified woman in Islam. As an unveiled woman, not wearing the hijab should not be interpreted as an act of defiance against the tenets of Islam. Rather, it is a product of my environmental and ideological circumstances.
This piece is not targeted toward the strong and beautiful women who have made the choice to wear the hijab. This is simply to bring a humble perspective from a sister who does not. In my experiences, I feel that as an unveiled woman, my faith is constantly under suspicion. Growing up in a town where I was one of three Muslim families in a 35 mile radius, I had little exposure to the “culture” of Islam before college. Upon my observations and experiences, it appears that it has become easier for some to raise their finger and voice towards an non-hijabi woman than it is to raise that same voice or finger toward themselves and question, “Where do I think I fall short?”
There are some words that are hard to forget, words like, “Do you…pray. It’s just that you aren’t a hijabi so I wasn’t sure.”
The essence of the hijab is to symbolize haya (modesty) and one way to do that is through being mindful of the clothes that drape you. However, haya also blankets various concepts such as humility, self-respect, honor, and shyness that seem to be overlooked. These are not peripheral aspects of haya, but rather integral elements that need to be given as much attentive concern as clothing. Disciplining of the tongue, actions, and intentions are also components, that may not be aesthetic, but are just as discernable.
Full article

Thursday 8 September 2016

Burkini ban: New wave of French 'mission civilisatrice'

Some French politicians and feminists see veiled Muslim women, by definition, oppressed and in need of saving, writes Shabi [Reuters]
Listening to Nice's deputy mayor Rudy Salles talk about the issue on BBC radio last week - and his words echo those of other French politicians - it's hard to believe this is the case. Describing the burkini as a "provocation from Islamists", he claimed to be fighting for the freedom of women, while wanting to help people "to be integrated [into] this society".

But the problem with this approach, of forcing citizens to choose between identities - are you French or Muslim? - isn't just that it suggests an intolerance of difference, or represents a false binary.
It's that such demands carry a built-in assumption of superiority: You would only dictate such terms if you thought that the obvious, sensible preference would be for French values over a communitarian Muslim identity.

Colonial stigma

Rather than being about an equality-driven, French Republic commitment to secularism, the burkini ban seems to derive more from ideas percolated around French colonialism in North Africa - where so many of its Muslim citizens have roots.
The hijab, at that time, was derided, seen as a symbol of Islamic oppression and a part of what made North African countries so inferior.
That was the logic that underpinned and justified French colonisation of the region - but more than that: The hijab was as much a fixation then as it has become now. In Algeria, for example, the unveiling of women was a way of showing how France was liberating its female subjects from the repressive tyrannies of Islam - and so, keeping the veil on, in mirror image, in some cases became a symbol of resisting colonial rule.

This "mission civilisatrice" saw a moral duty in colonisation: A self-elevating sense of responsibility to educate and liberate populations across North Africa.
And there are unmistakable echoes of this sentiment in the words of some French politicians and feminists, who see veiled Muslim women as, by definition, oppressed and in need of saving.
It's also there in the irony of wanting these apparently "oppressed" Muslim women to be visible, to have a voice - but not actually giving the same women a voice or any agency in this debate.
Full article

Tuesday 6 September 2016

You don't need to look much further than the Quran for proof that Islam is a peaceful religion

The so-called Jihadi groups, which consist of extremist Muslims of every faction: ranging from Salafis, Wahhabis, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Isis and many more, consider themselves as advocates of True Islam. These terrorists claim that the Paris, London and New York attacks are supported and justified by the Quran.
Meanwhile, the majority of Muslims condemn those atrocities.
For those on the outside of the debate, this may seem like a confusing situation. Which side speaks the truth? Is Islam a dangerous religion?
Here are the reasons why the Quran doesn’t support the actions of terrorist groups both in the reasons for waging war and what it is appropriate to do when there is defensive justification for war.
To be frank, God does give conditional permission for Muslims to wage war; however there are strict guidelines for this which jihadists do not adhere to.
Here are some of the terms and conditions: first, Muslims cannot pre-emptively initiate a war. They are only allowed to act in defense. Muslims have permission from God to fight back only when they are expelled from their houses or lands. War can be waged if there is a situation where defenseless people are under attack and ask their Muslim allies for help. The last reason for a just war is when war breaks out between two groups of believers and one party does not intend to stop it in spite of a proposed truce.
Even for battles and fights, the Quran has set limitations and frameworks. If the enemy proposes peace, Muslims should immediately stop the war. Second, Muslims are not allowed to transgress the divine justice: “fight for the cause of God, those who fight you, but do not transgress, for God does not love the transgressors.” The idea of unrestricted, apocalyptic warfare as proposed by Isis is totally un-Islamic.  Third, Muslims have to treat prisoners of war with honour, not behead them, as seen recently in the bloody propaganda videos spread by the so called Islamic state. Prisoners should be released after the war, either in exchange for Muslims captives or only as a favour. Also Muslims do not have permission to keep prisoners of war, enslave them, or use them as future soldiers. Finally, followers of Islam are not allowed to force their religious beliefs upon their enemies. 

Monday 5 September 2016

Saudi Arabia Is the Most Gender-Segregated Nation in the World

Saudi women stand on the opposite side of the hallway from men at the American Express World Luxury Expo in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 30, 2016. An argument that much of what Saudis practiced as religion was in fact Arabian cultural practices that had been mixed up with Islam has drawn a sharp backlash. (Sergey Ponomarev / The New York Times)
Saudi blogger Eman al-Nafjan, complaining about the devastating effects of the male guardianship system, poses the dilemma of a friend being abused by her father. "If I report the situation to the police and they take it seriously enough to go to my friend's house, her father—as her legal guardian—could simply dismiss them at the door. Even if my friend gathers the courage to go to the police station herself, she is more likely to be sent to prison than her father is. Her charge would be disobeying her father."
The real problem, explained Saudi journalist Ebtihal Mubarak, is the tremendous authority this system gives to the male figure. "It's not that Saudi men hate women, but having so much power can bring out the monster in men."
"Some women are lucky and their guardians allow them the freedom to travel, to get an education, to work, or to marry the person they choose, but many Saudi women are not that lucky," wrote blogger Suzie Khalil. "This guardianship system basically means that Saudi women are totally powerless over their own lives and destinies unless their male guardian allows them that power."
Why Can't Women Drive?
Saudi Arabia remains the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. There is no specific law prohibiting women from driving, but the Interior Ministry and the police enforce a ban. The only places where women can get away with driving are in rural areas, in gated communities, and inside the compounds of the oil company Aramco.
One reason used to justify the ban is personal safety, implying that women are safer with men behind the wheel. Others insist that the ban protects women from being attacked if they are out alone, and women do indeed worry that when they finally start driving, they might be attacked by fanatics who think women shouldn't drive. A rather humorous excuse to keep women from driving came from a sheikh who issued a fatwa in 2013 saying that women can't drive because driving would harm their ovaries and reproductive systems.
"I find these excuses insulting and condescending," says Suzie Khalil, an American married to a Saudi. "Saudi Arabia ranks among the world's worst countries for traffic fatalities. That's what happens when only men are allowed to drive. Despite the fact that I have driven safely in the United States since I was fifteen (that's almost forty years!), I am not allowed behind the wheel in Saudi Arabia simply because I don't have a penis."
Full Article