Friday, 30 September 2016
Thursday, 29 September 2016
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.
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)
“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.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Monday, 26 September 2016
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.
Friday, 23 September 2016
Thursday, 22 September 2016
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?
Wednesday, 21 September 2016
Tuesday, 20 September 2016
Monday, 19 September 2016
Friday, 16 September 2016
Thursday, 15 September 2016
Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Monday, 12 September 2016
Friday, 9 September 2016
Thursday, 8 September 2016
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".
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.
Wednesday, 7 September 2016
Tuesday, 6 September 2016
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 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."