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Fasting (As-Siyam)

– from Fiqh us-Sunnah

As-Siyam generally means “to abstain from something.” For example, a verse in the Quran says: “I have vowed to the Merciful to abstain – that is, from speaking.” What is meant here is abstaining from the food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn until sunset with the explicit intention of doing so (for the sake of Allah).

The Virtues of Fasting:
Abu Hurairah reported the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying: “Allah said: ‘Every action of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for this is solely for Me, I give the reward for it.’ The fast is a shield. If one is fasting, he should not use foul language, raise his voice, or behave foolishly. If someone reviles him or fights with him he should say, ‘I am fasting.’ twice. By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the [bad] breath of the one who is fasting is better in the sight of Allah on the Day of Resurrection than the smell of musk. The one who is fasting is happy at two times: when he breaks his fast he is happy with it, and when he meets his Lord he will be happy that he has fasted.” This is related by Ahmad, Muslim, and an-Nasa’i. A similar version was recorded by al-Bukhari and Abu Dawud, but with the following addition: “He leaves his food, drink, and desires for My sake. His fasting is for Me… I will give the reward for it, and for every good deed, he will receive ten similar to it.”

Abdullah ibn ‘Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “The fast and the Quran are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: ‘O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the days. Let me intercede for him.’ The Quran will say: ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.’ And their intercession will be accepted.” Ahmad related this hadith with a sahih (meaning “authentic” or “sound”) chain.

Abu Umamah reported: “I came to the Messenger of Allah and said: ‘Order me to do a deed that will allow me to enter Paradise.’ He said: ‘Stick to fasting, as there is no equivalent to it.’ Then I came to him again and he said: ‘Stick to fasting.’” This hadith is related by Ahmad, an-Nasa’i, and al-Hakim who classified it as sahih.

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the hellfire seventy years further away from his face.” This is related by “the group”. except for Abu Dawud.

Sahl ibn Sa’d reported that the Prophet said: “There is a gate to Paradise that is called ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: ‘Where are those who fasted?’ When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Types of Fasting:
There are two types of fasting: obligatory and voluntary. Obligatory can be further subdivided into the fast of Ramadan, the fast of expiation and the fast of fulfilling a vow.

The Fast of Ramadan
(2:183-185) O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may self-restraint. [Fasting for] a prescribed number of days. … The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.

From the sunnah we have the following statements of the Prophet: “Islam is built upon five pillars: testifying that there is no God except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, the establishment of the prayer, the giving of zakah, the fast of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Maakah.” Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullah reported that a man came to the Prophet and said: “O Messenger of Allah, tell me what Allah requires of me as regards fasting.” He answered, “The month of Ramadan.” The man asked: “Is there any other [fast]?” The Prophet answered: “No, unless you do so voluntarily.”

The Virtues of Ramadan and the Deeds Done during it
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “The blessed month has come to you. Allah has made fasting during it obligatory upon you. During it, the gates to Paradise are opened and the gates to hellfire are locked, and the devils are chained. There is a night [during this month] which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good is really deprived [of something great].” This is related by Ahmad and an-Nasa’i.

Muslim relates that Abu Hurairah reported the Prophet saying: “The time between the five prayers, two consecutive Friday prayers, and two consecutive Ramadans are expiation for all that has happened during that period, provided that one has avoided the grave sins.”

Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan, obeying all of its limitations and guarding himself against what is forbidden, has in fact atoned for any sins he committed before it.” Ahmad related this hadith with a good chain.

The Consequence of breaking the fast of Ramadan
Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said: “Whoever breaks his fast during Ramadan without having one of the excuses that Allah would excuse him for, then even a perpetual fast, if he were to fast it, would not make up for that day.” This is related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmidhi.

The Arrival of Ramadan
This event is confirmed by sighting the new moon, even if it is seen by just only one person, or by the passage of thirty days in the immediately preceding month of Sha’ban.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet instructed: “Fast after you have seen it [the new crescent] and end the fast when you see it. If it is hidden from you, then wait until the thirty days of Sha’ban have passed.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

The Essential Elements of the Fast
The fast has two essential elements (literally, “pillars”) that must be fulfilled for it to be valid and acceptable. They are:

(1) Abstaining from those acts that break the fast:
(2:187) It has been made permissible for you the night preceding fasting to go to your wives [for sexual relations]. They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves, so He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset. And do not approach them as long as you are staying for worship in the mosques [I’htikaf]. These are the limits [set by] Allah, so do not approach them. Thus does Allah make clear His ordinances to the people that they may guard themselves against evil.

This is also based on the following hadith: “When the verse ‘Eat and drink until the white thread becomes distinct to you…’ was revealed, I took a black thread and a white thread and placed them underneath my pillow. During the night I looked at them to see if I could distinguish between them. In the morning, I went to the Messenger of Allah and mentioned that to him and he said: ‘It is the black of the night and the white of the day.’”

It is also the time that Fajr starts.

(2) The Intention
Allah instructs in the Quran: “And they are ordained nothing else than to serve Allah, keeping religion pure for Him.” The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Actions are judged according to the intention behind them, and for everyone is what he intended.”

The intention must be made before Fajr and during every night of Ramadan. The intention is valid during any part of the night. It need not be spoken, as it is in reality an act of the heart which does not involve the tongue. It will be fulfilled by one’s intention to fast out of obedience to Allah and for seeking His pleasure.

Who must Fast
Every sane, adult, healthy male Muslim who is not traveling at that time. As for a woman, she must not be menstruating or having post-childbirth bleeding. People who are insane, minors, and those who are traveling, menstruating, or going through post-childbirth bleeding, the elderly, breast-feeding or pregnant women do not need to observe the fast.

(2:183)…So whoever among you are ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew…

Making up the Missed Days of Ramadan
Any days except few exceptions, after Ramadan and before the next Ramadan, can fast. Women who missed the fasting in Ramadan due to menstruation and childbirth, do not need to make up the missed prayers, only need to make up the missed fast.

The Forbidden Days to Fast
(1) The days of Eid.
(2) The days of Tashreeq (that is the three days following the Eid al-Adha)
(3) It is prohibited to single out Friday as a day of fasting. If one also fasts Thursday or Saturday, then it’s permissible to fast on Friday.
(4) It is forbidden to fast on the “day of doubt”. Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “Do not precede Ramadan by fasting the day or two before it unless it is a day on which the person usually fasts.”
(5) It is forbidden to fast every day of the year.
(6) It is prohibited to fast consecutive days without eating at all [al-wisal].

The Manners of Fasting
(1) Eating a pre-dawn meal. Al-Miqdam ibn Madyakrib reported that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “You should eat this pre-dawn meal for it is a blessed nourishment.” This is related by an-Nasa’i with a good chain.
(2) Hastening in breaking the fast. Sahl ibn Sa’d reported that the Prophet said: “People will always be with the good as long as they hasten in breaking the fast.” This is related by al-Bukhari and Muslim. Anas reported: “The Messenger of Allah would break his fast with ripe dates before he would pray. If those were not available, he would eat dried dates. If those were not available, he would drink some water.” This hadith is related by Abu Dawud.
(3) Supplications while breaking the fast and while fasting.
(4) Refraining from performing any actions that do not befit the fasting. Fasting is a type of worship that draws one closer to Allah. Allah has prescribed it to purify the soul and to train it in good deeds. The fasting person must be on guard against any act that may cause him to lose the benefits of his fast. Thus, his fast will increase his God-consciousness. Fasting is not just refraining from eating and drinking, but it is also refraining from everything else that Allah has forbidden. Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said: “Allah does not need the fast of one who does not abandon false speech or acting according to his false speech.” This is related by the group, except for Muslim.
(5) Using the tooth stick [brush]. It is preferred for the fasting person to use a tooth stick or a brush for teeth.
(6) Being generous and studying the Quran.
(7) Striving to perform as many acts of worship as possible during the last ten days of Ramadan.

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Predestination analogy

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Al-Qadr (القدر) is the belief that Allah has decided everything that will happen in the world and in people’s lives, which is also called Predestination. (87:2-3) “Allah created and proportioned and who destined and [then] guided.”

Life is like an online game. The game developers have designed the ground, no matter whatever direction you choose, you will meet with different fate. The whole game depends how well you play because you have the ultimate control in the game. 

It’s like our life. Allah has finished designing this game and whatever good or bad, it’s already there. Then Allah gave us free mind to decide our move, no matter what our move is, we will meet our fate that we choose. 

(39:62-63) “Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is, over all things, Disposer of affairs. To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth. And they who disbelieve in the verses of Allah – it is those who are the losers.”

Life is a series of decision-making. Allah created good and bad, including everything we need in this world. It’s up to us to decide how we play this game. Allah gave us this game menu – Quran to read and to follow. It’s true, many people seem very successful in this game without reading the menu. However, we see only what our eyes see, we measure success only from people’s appearances, wealth, education, authority and so on.  However, we do not really know what all these people are and will be going through.

(4:78) Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, even if you should be within towers of lofty construction. But if good comes to them, they say, “This is from Allah “; and if evil befalls them, they say, “This is from you.” Say, “All [things] are from Allah.” So what is [the matter] with those people that they can hardly understand any statement?What comes to you of good is from Allah, but what comes to you of evil is from yourself.

(42:30-31) And whatever strikes you of disaster – it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much. And you will not cause failure [to Allah] upon the earth. And you have not besides Allah any protector or helper.

Allah said the ultimate winner will be really known after the world ends (which means all the players will be ended at the same time).  Many people started the game earlier and left earlier. Since many of the people simply do not really believe they will have a final bonus there to wait for them, so people simply fail to realize. (23:62) And We charge no soul except [with that within] its capacity, and with Us is a record which speaks with truth; and they will not be wronged.

Of course, Allah said (44:38-39) “And We did not create the heavens and earth and that between them in play. We did not create them except in truth, but most of them do not know.”

This is just a simple analogy for us to realize the predestination. Allah has created everything in pairs, including good and bad. It’s up to us to decide how you want to meet your fate. This life ends, and will be final until Day of Judgment. We cannot restart like the video game. So, stop, think, vision what kind of life you want, and always remember to set one of the ultimate goals is to Jannah, then plan and EXECUTE, at last but not least, Dua to Allah for guidance, knowledge and wisdom. You will steer through whatever barrier in front of you, Insha-Allah. 

May Allah guide us always to His Right Path that pleases Him the most. Ameen

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Advices to new Muslimah looking to marry

1. Do your due diligence. Brothers from the mosque are not all qualified to give a character reference for a brother, only those who have lived, worked or travelled with him are really capable to say if a person is good or not. Do a background check. Ask to see his credit rating. Stalk his social media. And be happy for him to do the same!

2. Find a wali who truly has your back, not just a technicality for the marriage. Even if you’re previously married, this is still a good idea.

3. Don’t rush. Marriage is half of faith, yes. But you need to establish the first half ideally before you bring another person into the mix. You should know the basics of Islam at least.

4. Don’t settle for a paltry mahr. Don’t be extravagant, but ask for what the women in his family get at least. Converts often are sought after as they’ll settle for a cheap wedding and a nominal mahr. Know your worth!

5. Becoming Muslim does not mean becoming Arab, Pakistani, Malay etc. Make sure prospective men know that life with you won’t be like life with someone from their culture. Make sure they know you’re not an object to be “moulded” by them into their ideal.

6. Don’t cross any of Allah’s SWT boundaries before you have the nikah/aqd. Don’t chat excessively online. Don’t “date” without a chaperone (and no, the Western public is not a chaperone!) Don’t send pics without hijab if you wear it. You want Allah SWT to bless your marriage, so be scrupulous in avoiding haram before it. That said, at some point, have a frank discussion about sex. You have rights in this regard, as does he. Make sure you’re both on the same page!

7. As my mum used to say, you gotta (figuratively speaking!)kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince. Don’t get disheartened. You will find the right one for you iA. You may meet 3 dozen jerks before that, but just imagine when you do find each other how special it will be!

8. Do get your family involved if at all possible. They may not be Muslim, but they know you very well. AInvolving them can be an amazing way to give dawah.

9. Pray. Pray. Pray. All the above is tying your camel… Now you rely on Allah SWT. Istikhara at every step of the process is invaluable! Constant du’a. Constant dhikr.

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Love comes from heart

Some sisters struggle with it while some easily adopt it without any doubts or questions. Some may wear it as a fashion symbol and many wear it for the sole purpose as worship and because it is what Allah wants from them. Some even wear it for cultural purposes! Some don’t wear it and some beautify it.

I know where my thoughts stand on the topic of modesty and the hijab and I want to point out something. I’m not a scholar not even a student of knowledge, but I do know one thing from what I’ve learned from my own personal experience of being at one extreme end of Islam. I used to be one of those who used to look down on those who don’t cover or who beautify the hijab. I used to be harsh and displayed arrogance towards those who didn’t cover properly.
I realized, everything is from Allah and not from my own self. For those who cover correctly and do it as worship to please Allah, this is not from your own hands. This is a blessing from Allah so you shouldn’t display yourself to be better than anyone else because Allah can change your heart literally in a heartbeat and the roles can reverse.

You may become like those you are criticizing and dehumanizing. May Allah protect us from that. But what I’m trying to say here is, instead of pointing out the obvious importance of hijab and covering and telling everyone who doesn’t cover what they probably already know, we should be addressing the core issue.
And what is the core issue? We don’t know Allah as well as we think we do. It is knowing Allah, tapping into your fitrah & purifying your heart. Emaan doesn’t grow in the heart and stay there. When it grows it will show through our actions. When it shines through, hijab will be easy, Salah will be easy and every worship will become easier. Because when you know and love Allah, all worship will become easier, you will just want to do it. Why is it easy to show love to your kids? Why is it easy to sacrifice things for the ones you love? Because it comes from the heart.

Worship stems from love for Allah. So if you see sisters not wearing hijab or not covering properly, instead of stating what is already obvious, try to share more things like what is the true meaning of loving Allah, how do we learn to love Allah? How do we learn to know Allah? We also need to learn to know ourselves and love ourselves in the process. The relationship between you and Allah and you and yourself needs to be fixed and needs to grow in order for everything else to work.

Purifying our hearts, unlearning what society has ingrained in us, introspection, self dialogue are some ways to start tapping into knowing yourself and knowing Allah.

We need to address the heart before we do anything because actions are by intentions. If the heart is not sound, the intention will not clean and it will show through our actions.

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CamelliasBloom podcast

Assalamu Alaykum, please listen, support, follow and share! Your support is actually supporting all of us convert/revert/new muslimah sisters! May Allah put blessings and success with this project so we can come together and build a small online community for all of us convert/revert/new muslimah sisters. Ameen.

2nd Episode is here –

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We need to CHILL for a second

When I first became Muslim I had this sudden zeal that was burning within. Obviously, this is very natural. When we love something, especially when it is new and exciting, we want to share the news with everyone ! I wanted to share my new journey and faith with all those around me. I wanted everyone to experience what I felt and all I would do was talk about Islam the whole time. I was so excited about my new faith that I just HAD to share it. I shared it with Muslims and non-Muslims and when I look back at myself (lol) I can’t believe how silly I was. I mean of course we have to share the beauty of Islam with others! But there is definitely a certain approach you must take!

I became very passionate and emotional every time I talked about Islam and how I converted. I would always try to organize some sort of Islamic reminders on What’sApp chat groups and force everyone to get involved (lol!) and for a while, it was benefiting myself and others. Then I started suffering some serious hardships in the US and it caused me to retract into my shell and all I wanted to do was keep to myself. I realised that my emaan and my zeal seemed to be only on the surface because once I was put into tests of my own, I noticed that my trust and hope in Allah were very weak.

I’m not sure if you all understand this but let me try to explain it to you.

My zeal and passion for Islam was built only on seeking knowledge. All I would do was read and learn about how the pious predecessors (the Salaf) would practise Islam. I would make a lot of effort to practice outwardly the Sunnah without really understanding the true beauty of why the Prophet (peace be upon him) did them and everything just had a surface value. I was doing things more out of fear rather than love. I was worried that if I did not do things, Allah would punish me. This is SO wrong.

OF COURSE, all these things are extremely important and beneficial for us and we should constantly be educating ourselves about the Sunnah and the pious predecessors but we also need to remember that in order for us to be consistent with acts of ibadaah, we need to remember that emaan grows in the heart and when it does, that is when we truly enjoy doing acts of worship because they are genuinely for the sake of pleasing Allah! What is in the hearts will eventually radiate through our actions!

A lot of people say that emaan and Allah are in the heart, but if Allah is in your heart (and let us not take this out of context and think that Allah is everywhere- yes, SIGNS of Allah are everywhere but we know that He is above the throne!) and emaan is in the heart, then your speech, your actions should reflect that. Things like the hijab, prayer, and doing other acts of worship come easily and naturally once the emaan in the heart grows. I thought that I had emaan but then I realised a lot of the time I was doing things because I HAD to and not because I sincerely wanted to.

So once I was tested with hardships, I left a lot of my voluntary acts of worship and I even began to question Allah and Islam (may Allah always protect me and you from this ameen). It was only until I moved back to Toronto that I realised that I have a very limited understanding of Islam and even though I sought knowledge non-stop, it never reached beyond my mind. It never transcended deeply into my heart or my soul, it never touched me the way it touched Ibn al Qayyim( rahimuAllah) or Ibn al Jawzi (Rahimuallah) and the likes of. My understanding of Islam was on a surface level and it is only until now that I started to realise that being a Muslim is not just about the outwardly obligations but it is also understanding yourself and through that, then you can know Allah and then learn to love Allah.

I know a lot of us may lack this understanding. I have seen and continue to see way too many individuals, especially on social media, show their Islamic knowledge outwardly. It does not go anywhere deeper than that. How do I know this? It is very simple and obvious. Their manners and character show it all. Most of these sisters do not have good manners and lack empathy. They dictate the deen and if you do not take the opinions of their shaykh, they will chastise you. You are basically ‘non-practising’ in their eyes. They basically want to force you to follow in their way and if you don’t, you can’t “sit with them.”

This brings me to my last point.

This is the kind of interaction that is not even from the Qur’an and Sunnah. The Prophet (peace be upon him ) was never forceful and Allah even says in the Qur’an there is no compulsion in the religion (2:256) so why are you forcing others to do what you are doing?

What you do to get closer to Allah may not be what another person wants to do at this moment in time. They may be on a completely different journey than you and even though you may be more fast-paced then them, they are going at a rate that is suitable for them- but at least they are still trying. For all we know, they could be crying to Allah behind closed doors every day asking Him to guide them to wear the hijab, or to fulfill their five daily prayers! We will never know what is going on in their lives and what they are struggling with.

A lot of the times, individuals always seem to preach that Allah is strict and harsh and if you don’t do A-B-C you will be punished! Again, up until recently, I believed this as well. I was doing things because I didn’t want to be punished not because I truly wanted to do them. Allah is not a harsh, mean Lord ! Yes, He punishes where He Sees fit but He also rewards. Allah is oft-Forgiving, most Merciful. Forcing people to do acts of worships is never the key to success. You are not responsible for anyone but yourself. If you truly want to help someone, lead by example through your speech and your actions and show them how Islam has touched you. If you are forcing the deen down someone’s throat and if you find yourself being harsh and cruel, you got it all wrong, girl. You are causing more harm than good. Trust me! I have been there before and I was the harsh one with excessive zeal forcing the deen down other’s throats! Rarely does this method work.

So this reminder is to myself first and foremost, focus on myself and my relationship with Allah. Do not force others to listen to x-y-z lectures or force others to do a-b-c ibadaat . Yes, enjoining good and forbidding evil is our DUTY as a Muslim, but do it wisely. The way we enjoin good can actually turn out to be evil because of the method we approach people with becomes counterproductive!
Acts of worship should never be seen as a chore or a drag. We should want to do it with our hearts and soul because we love Allah and we want Him to be pleased with us. If you are the reason that people find acts of worships to be a drag, then please remember to focus on yourself before you focus on anybody else.

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Salt on the wounds

Have you ever met those types of people who just seem to smother your open wounds with a whole tablespoon of salt? I have! I have met many.

Either these people just don’t get it or they lack common sense – which by the way, in 2019, is not so common anymore. Sometimes I marvel at the types of personalities out there. Of course, I am fully flawed myself and I have some serious personality issues; but alhamdulillah, I admit them completely and I know my many shortcomings and I always ask Allah to not make me out to be what I hate! Aameen!

It’s just that, some people are really clueless, you know?
Maybe I am one of them?! Who knows!
Maybe this is a post directed to me!

I mean, I never write with the intention of just addressing the general public without me having to reflect on my own self first, so insha’Allah this will be a good reminder to myself, first and foremost.

I mean, judging only by the apparent, I feel like these people have not had a lot of experience dealing with humans or life in general. I almost feel like these people can be categorized into the narcissist (audhbillah ) category! They lack empathy, they only talk about themselves, they fail to listen, they nearly shove in your face things you really don’t want to hear about (their marriage, their husband, their children, etc..), they think their advice is golden when in reality it probably would have been better if they never spoke in the first place. There are some who are far from falling into the narcissistic category but are just plain negative. Being around these types of people are draining, to say the least. Sometimes we feel obligated to be around these people, or at least I thought I was, but then I realized, why should I sacrifice my own wellbeing to be around people who do nothing but sabotage my state of mind/wellbeing?

I know many of us want to be that supportive sister when one of our friends cry out for help. We try our best to offer beneficial advice and solutions that may help them feel a sense of solace and comfort. I understand that and I know the intentions are from a pure place (insha’Allah) but have we ever thought to ourselves, everyone is different thus the advice we offer may not always hit home for the other person? I remember when I first converted to Islam and I was beyond overzealous with my new faith. The advice I gave others was not always ideal nor was it the solution to their problems. In fact, some of my solutions, at that time, could have been more detrimental than beneficial. May Allah forgive me for my ignorance ameen.

But sometimes our advice can add salt to their wounds.
Sometimes our careless anecdotes can add salt to their wounds.
Sometimes our actions can add salt to their wounds.

I think it is extremely important to be aware of our words when we are with certain types of people. Remember, not everybody is like you. Just because you handle things one way, doesn’t mean the other person wants to handle it your way.

Just because you experienced something and went about it a certain way, does not mean that the other person will react positively to your methods or your words. I remember I met a few sisters who had gone through some hardships and as a result, it had really scarred them. Thus leaving them with a lesser-than-tainted outlook on life and as a result, when I was in their company, I felt negative and sad about myself and about my situation. I have nothing against these types of sisters and I ask Allah to relieve them from their hardships and give them comfort within, Ameen; but if I am already struggling and going through some tests myself, I don’t need to be around anymore Debbie-downers, right? 

I need to be around people who are encouraging and who will remind me that Allah will respond to my duaas. I need someone to remind me about Ayyub (aleyhi salam) or Yusuf (aleyhi salam) and Ya’qub (aleyhi salam)! I need someone to remind me that they went through hardship after hardship after hardship and to the point of utter exhaustion yet they still persevered and prevailed because they believed in Allah and kept making duaa. I need someone to say ” You’re doing great and I know that everything will work out for you soon insha’Allah, because why would it not? Allah’s promise is always true!” instead of them relaying their whole life’s experience and making the whole conversation based around them and their own experience. Sometimes, people don’t want to hear about your experience because, well, everyone’s experience is conducive to themselves and not many people can really relate to you – duh. 

Sometimes, we need to make it about them, and not about us. 

When someone is going through hardships, offering them generic advice like “don’t worry, it will get better insha’Allah,” or ” have patience,” or “it is what it is, at least you have this and that and you are this and that” can only reach less than skin deep. YES, these are great and they are the obvious things that we should say but we need to figure out how to help their wounds, not add salt to them. 

Nu’man b. Bashir reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever. Book 032, Number 6258: (Sahih Muslim)

Being empathetic and sympathetic is the medicine to their open wounds. Feeling their pain as if it were your own and offering sincere advice that comes from within your soul is something that will help others. When you feel what they feel, that is when you will help their wounds heal rather than making them worse. 

I decided to write this post because it was not until recently when I went through my own hardships and realized some of the advice some sisters would give me would often leave me feeling worse off than if I hadn’t spoken to them in the first place. They put more salt on my wounds. That is why I am a very private person. A lot of people can actually make you feel worse rather than better and that is why I am so selective with friends and with who I go to for advice. Thus, I want to write this post and address how important it is to be sensitive and empathetic to the one who comes to us for advice. It was not until I realized how I didn’t want to be treated that I realized how I should treat others. When people come to you for advice, they want comfort and affirmation that everything WILL BE OK. They are not coming to you so you can disregard their feelings and make them feel worse. If you help them, Allah will help you. Isn’t that convincing enough?

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever relieves the hardship of a believer in this world, Allah will relieve his hardship on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever helps ease someone in difficulty, Allah will make it easy for him in this world and in the Hereafter. Whoever covers the faults of a Muslim, Allah will cover his faults in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah helps the servant as long as he helps his brother. Whoever travels a path in search of knowledge, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise, for a people do not gather together in the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying together, except that tranquility will descend upon them, mercy will cover them, angels will surround them, and Allah will mention them to those with Him. Whoever is slow to good deeds will not be hastened by his lineage.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2699 Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Muslim

When we offer advice to others, it should be about them and not us. 

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Leaves of Mercy

A poem written by Brandi ” Sabira” inspired by my true story of how Allah (swt) reaffirmed Islam in me through leaves

I was like a droplet of dew on a green leaf sitting and waiting patiently for a slight movement to uplift the weight of the water of my past.

Like a crisp early fall morning with leaves spread out on the ground forming a mosiac of colors. Each color of my past stained me and the silence encompassed me.

You have been near me all along Al-Wali, protecting me and shielding me like the leaves of a precious and delicate flower. I just never realized how close until you opened up the beautiful petals.

Like a dry dead leaf crushed in one’s hand, a thousand fragments of feelings spread about. You came and reformed those broken brittle pieces into bright and beautiful foliage.

You let that single small leaf fall from your blessed lote tree high above. Like a single feather from an angel’s wing gracefully floating down right in front of me.

Your leaf got my attention and you showed me your mercy through the very nature that you created.

Like a single sprout that flourishes into an enormous leaf. You reaffirmed in me yet again your unsurmountable mercy by tripling the size of the second leaf that came to me.

Like the veins that run through a transparent leaf for nourishment, you flow through me, feeding my soul with the ways of our beloved prophet to grow closer to you.

Like a straight line of beautiful trees along a pathway each with a million leaves blowing in the wind, you guided me to as-Sirat al-mustaqim.

Like the trunk of an oak tree in a vast forest, I will remain strong and attached to you in this world until it’s time to uproot me to the akhirah. For like you say in your beautiful book of guidance and mercy “not a single leaf falls without his knowledge” 6:59

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Personal Pandemic

Written by Brandi “Sabira”
April 10 2020

As we all sit at home in lockdown
we ponder and reflect on this new way of life and remember the hustle and bustle of the old. 
This pandemic has us all panicked on the outside but has forced us to remain calm in the inside. 
Time is now spent on more important things such as family, studies and spiritual connection.
The almighty has finally forced us to stop and look at what is actually important and to be grateful for what we have.
We can take this time as a personal journey to reflect and analyze our own soul and improve the qualities that have been damaged by the negative influences of this world. Such as haste, ungratefulness and greed. Such as hatred, racism and jealously.

It is the fear of the unknown that has hit many and forced them to rethink what is now to be a priority in our lives when it should have been all along.

This covid-19 may not have infected us all but it sure has effected us all. 

God has proven that he is in control now and always was.  It unfortunately took a worldwide pandemic to create a personal pandemic within ourselves. 

The only cure for this is to stop our sinful habits and start anew. Forgive one another and treat one another with respect and kindness.  Most importantly  we should live each day like it’s going to be our last breath as so many have had to unfortunately do. 

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What is Isra and Miraj?

Hadith Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 60, Hadith 17, no. 3342

Narrated Anas (ra): Abu Dhar (ra) used to say that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “While I was at Makkah, the roof of my house was opened and Jibril descended, opened my chest, and washed it with Zamzam water. Then he brought a golden tray full of wisdom and faith, and having poured its contents into my chest, he closed it. Then he took my hand and ascended with me to the heaven. When Jibril reached the nearest heaven, he said to the gatekeeper of the heaven, ‘Open (the gate).’ The gatekeeper asked, ‘who is it?’ Jibril answered, ‘Jibril’. He asked, ‘Is there anyone with you?’ Jibril replied, ‘Muhammad (ﷺ) is with me.’ He asked, ‘Has he been called?’, Jibril said, ‘Yes’. So, the gate was opened and we went over the nearest heaven, and there we saw a man sitting with Aswida (a large number of people) of his right and Aswida on his left. When he looked towards his right, he laughed and when he looked towards his left he wept. He said (to me), ‘Welcome, O pious Prophet and pious son’. I said, ‘Who is this man O Jibril?’ Jibril replied, ‘He is Adam, and the people on his right and left are the souls of his offspring. Those on the right are the people of Paradise, and those on the left are the people of the (Hell) Fire. So, when he looks to the right, he laughs, and when he looks to the left he weeps.’ Then Jibril ascended with me till he reached the second heaven and said to the gatekeeper, ‘Open (the gate).’ The gatekeeper said to him the same as the gatekeeper of the first heaven has said, and he opened the gate.” Anas added: Abu Dhar mentioned that Prophet (ﷺ) met Idris, Musa (Moses), ‘Isa (Jesus) and Ibrahim (Abraham) over the heavens, but he did not specify their places (i.e., on which heavens each of them was), but he mentioned that he (the Prophet (ﷺ)) had met Adam on the nearest heaven, and Ibrahim on the sixth. Anas said, “When Jibril and the Prophet (ﷺ) passed by Idris, the latter said, ‘Welcome, O pious Prophet and pious brother!’ the Prophet (ﷺ) asked, ‘Who is he?’ Jibril said, ‘He is Idris.’ ” The Prophet (ﷺ) added, “Then I passed by Musa who said, ‘Welcome, O pious Prophet and pious brother!’ I said, ‘Who is he?’ Jibril said, ‘He is Musa.’ Then I passed by ‘Isa who said, ‘Welcome, O pious Prophet and pious brother!’ I said, ‘Who is he?’ He replied, ‘He is ‘Isa.’ Then I passed by the Prophet (ﷺ) Ibrahim who said, ‘Welcome, O pious Prophet and pious son!’ I said, ‘Who is he?’ Jibril replied, ‘He is Ibrahim’.” Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas and Abu Haiyya Al-Ansari: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Then Jibril ascended with me to a place where I heard the creaking of pens.” Ibn Hazm and Anas bin Malik state the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah enjoined fifty Salat (prayers) on me. When I returned with this order of Allah, I passed by Musa who asked me, ‘What has Allah enjoined on your followers?’ I replied, ‘He has enjoined fifty Salat (prayers) on them.’ On the Musa said to me, ‘Go back to your Lord (and appeal for reduction), for your followers will not be able to bear it.’ So, I returned to my Lord and asked for some reduction, and He reduced it to half. When I passed by Musa again and informed him about it, he once more said to me, ‘Go back to your Lord, for your followers will not be able to bear it.’ So, I returned to my Lord similarly as before, and half of it was reduced. I again passed by Musa and he said to me, ‘Go back to your Lord, for your followers will not be able to bear it.’ I again returned to my Lord and He said, ‘These are five (Salat-prayers) and they are all (equal to) fifty (in reward), for My Word does not change.’ I returned to Musa, he again told me to return to my Lord (for further reduction) but I said to him ‘I feel shy of asking my Lord now.’ Then Jibril took me till we reached Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (i.e., lote tree of utmost boundary) which was shrouded in colors indescribable. Then I was admitted into Paradise where I found small tents (made) of pearls and its earth was musk (a kind of perfume).”

Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (the Sealed Nectar)
Biography of the Noble Prophet, P.179-180

The Imams of Hadith narrate a number of details about this event, the following of which is a summary:
Ibn Al-Qaiyim said: “Allah’s Messenger[pbuh] was carried physically – according to the correct view – from the Sacred Mosque in Makkah to Bait Al-Maqdis in Jerusalem, riding on Al-Buraq in the company of Gabriel.  There he alighted, tied the horse to a ring in the gate of the Mosque and led the Prophets in prayer.  Then during that night he ascended from Bait Al-Maqdis to the lowest heaven.  Gabriel sought permission to enter.  It was opened and he saw Adam [pbuh], the forefather of mankind.  The Prophet [pbuh] greeted him and Adam [pbuh] welcomed him, returned his greeting, and expressed his faith in Muhammad’s Prophethood.  He saw the souls of martyrs on his right and those of the wretched on his left.

Gabriel then ascended with the Prophet [pbuh] to the second heaven, sought entry and there he saw and greeted John, son of Zacharia (Yahya bin Zakariya [pbuh]) and Jesus [pbuh], son of Mary.  They returned his greeting, welcomed him and expressed their faith in his Prophet.

Then they reached the third heaven where they saw Joseph (Yusuf [pbuh]) and greet him.  The latter welcomed the Prophet [pbuh] returned his greeting, expressed faith in his Prophethood.
The Prophet [pbuh], in the company of Gabriel, then reached the fourth heaven where he met the Propeht Idris [pbuh] and greeted him.  Idris [pbuh] returned the greeting and expressed faith in his Prophethood.  Then he was carried to the fifth heaven where he met the Prophet Aaron (Harun [pbuh]) and greeted him.  The latter returned the greeting and expressed faith in his Prophethood.  In the sixth heaven he met Moses (Musa [pbuh]) and greeted him.  The latter returned the greeting and expressed faith in his Prophethood.  Muhammad [pbuh] on leaving, saw that Moses [pbuh] began to weep.  He asked about the reason.  Moses [pbuh] answered that he was weeping because he witnessed a man sent after him as a Messenger (Muhammad [pbuh]) who was able to lead more of his people to Paradise than he himself did.  Then Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] reached the seventh heaven and met Abraham (Ibrahim [pbuh]) and greeted him.  The latter returned the salutation and expressed faith in his Prophethood.  Then he was carried to Sidratul-Muntaha (the remotest lote tree) and was shown Al-Bait Al-Ma’mur [(the much frequented house) encompassed daily by seventy thousand angels, so that the angels who once encompassed it would not have their turn again till the Resurrection].

He was then presented before Allah. He was brought near such that he was at the distance of two bow’s length or less. Allah revealed to His servant as He willed, ordaining fifty daily prayers for him.  On his return, he spoke to Moses [pbuh], informing him that his followers had been enjoined to pray fifty times a day.  Moses [pbuh] addressing the Prophet [pbuh] said: “Your followers cannot perform so many prayers.  Go back to your Lord and ask for a decrease in number.”  The Prophet [pbuh] turned to Gabriel, he nodded, “Yes, if you desire,” and ascended with him till Allah the Almight, Glorious is He, reduced the prayers by then.  He then descended and reported that to Moses [pbuh], who again urged him to request a further reduction.  Muhammad [pbuh] once more begged his Lord to reduce the number still further.  He went again and again at the suggestion of Moses [pbuh] for reduction in the number of prayers till these were reduced to only five.  Moses [pbuh] again asked him to implore for more reduction, but he said: “I fell ashamed now of repeatedly asking my Lord for reduction.  I accept and resign to His Will.”  When Muhammad [pbuh] went farther, a Caller was heard saying: “I have imposed My Ordinance and lightened the burden of My servants.”

The Story of Muhammad, Peace and blessings be upon him
by Meraj Mohiuddin, P.163-164

Abu Talib’s wife, Fatimah bint Asad, had entered Islam sometime before or after the death of her husband.  Her daughter Umm Hani remained close to the Prophet and, in the year after Abu Talib’s death, invites him over to lead the evening prayer in her house.  The Prophet (pbuh) accepts his cousin’s invitation and, after the prayer, rests at her house.

Like his grandfather ‘Abd al-Mutallib, the Prophet (pbuh) used to enjoy spending nights in the Hijr, near the tomb of Hagar and Ishmael.  After a short nap at Umm Hani’s house, he steps out to visit the Ka’bah and falls asleep in the Hijr. In the midst of his sleep, he is greeted by Gabriel who leads him to a mounted winged beast named Buraq.  Then, as described in Surah Al-Isra, he is carried to Jerusalem (about 760 miles away), where he encounters several biblical prophets and leads them in prayer (the Isra’).

After the congregational prayer, the Prophet ascends through the seven heavens.  At each level he encountered different Prophets, who collectively endorse his prophethood.  Surah An-Najm captures the transcendent moment when, after passing the seventh heaven, the Prophet finally meets his Creator:(The Star, 53:16-18) When there covered the Lote Tree that which covered [it]. The sight [of the Prophet] did not swerve, nor did it transgress [its limit]. He certainly saw of the greatest signs of his Lord.

At the height of the Me’raj (ascension), the Prophet was commanded to instruct his followers to perform 50 prayers daily.  He also received revelation that contained the creed of his faith:
(The Cow 2:285) The Messenger believes in what his Lord revealed, so do the faithful. Each of them believes in Allah and His angels, His books and His messengers. [The believers say], “We don’t consider one of His messengers as being better than another.” [They pray], “We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, for we [know that our] final destination is back with You.”
As the Prophet (pbuh) descended through the heavens, he was approached by Moses who persuaded him to return to God and asked Him to make worship easier for his community by decreasing the number of obligatory daily prayers.  When the Prophet (pbuh) returned a second time, Moses reiterated his recommendation.  They repeat this time until the number of daily prayers was reduced to five.  Even then Moses encouraged him to seek a further reduction, but the Prophet (pbuh) responded: “I feel ashamed now of repeatedly asking my Lord for reduction.  I accept and resign to His Will.”

** From the commentary: “There is a difference of opinion on what year the Night Journey took place.  Some scholars believe it happened much earlier in Mecca, while others suggest that it must have happened after the Year of Sadness because of the general consensus that Khadijah died before the five daily prayers were established.””Although there is some difference of opinion, the Isra’ and Me’raj most likely occurred shortly after the Prophet’s return from Ta’if.  While the miraculous experience was a turning point in the Prophet’s 23-year career, it also tested the conviction of his Companions.”

The response to the night journey
The next morning, the Prophet described his miraculous journey to Umm Hani.  Against her counsel, he insisted on sharing his experience with the Quraysh. As Umm Hani predicted, the Prophet’s enemies are thrilled to hear what sounds like a ludicrous story, which his companions faced an unexpected trial of faith. 

(The Night Journey 17:60) We [only use such symbols] to instill fear in them [so that they’ll perhaps be inclined to listen], but it only adds to their immense suppression [of faith].

Those who are nearby ask Abu Bakr, who hadn’t yet heard about what had happened, to confirm the Prophet’s incredible story. But for Abu Bakr, the news was hardly believed. “If so he saith, then it is true.” he calmly responded. “And where is the wonder of it? He telleth me that tidings come to him from Heaven to earth in one hour of the day or night, and I know him to be speaking the truth.  And that is beyond what ye cavil at.”

Since the first revelation, Abu Bakr never wavers from his conviction in God and his commitment to the Prophet (pbuh).  Shortly after hearing Abu Bakr’s response to the Isra’ account, the Prophet (pbuh) honoured him the title as-Siddiq (the great witness of truth).

While the Night Journey is a unique moment in the Prophet’s life, Surah Al An’am explains that it is not unlike the experiences of Muhammad’s great forefather.

(Al-An’am 6:75) That’s the result [of Our demonstration] to Abraham, when We showed him that We have all dominion over the heavens and the earth, and thus he was convinced [that the idols were false].