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There you are. Staring at the mirror once again before turning right away. You hate it. You hate how your nose bulges and how your lips are too thin. You hate the black spots on the cheeks and how your eyes seem to sink into the sockets. You stare at your skin, too dark or too pale? You hate how your frail body always seems unbalanced like wind could easily sweep you away. You don’t like your kinky hair nor your inability to be the height you really wish you had. In short, you pretty much dislike everything about your body, your physical appearance and even your existence.

We are so filled with insecurities because of the society’s definition of beauty. And I said this before; the beauty industry is so ugly. It makes us apologize all our lives for not being ‘beautiful enough’. So here we are, so obsessed with ‘doing something’ about how we look and our outer image. Spending so much money on three, four make-up kits, buying designer clothes, shoes and perfumes just so we can hide all these things about ourselves we are not proud of. Don’t get me wrong, you are free to spend on whatever you like but when you do it, it should only be because it really does make you happy and not for the sake of fitting into the society’s league of beauties.

I come across several people, who when you tell, ‘You look pretty’ they’ll really be shocked and shrug it off not just for the sake of being polite but because they really think they are not. And it is sad because of how much this really affects our self-esteem. The truth is, we may all vary in our levels of attractiveness yet we all are beautiful in our own unique way and beautiful in the eyes of Allah. If Allah (S.W) considers you beautiful, why would you ever doubt that?


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Let me tell you a story of a sahabi who was considered the ‘ugliest’. His name was Julaybib (may Allah be pleased with him). Julaybib’s family background is unknown. We don’t even know what his second name is. We don’t know who were his parents, his lineage or which tribe he came from apart from that he came from Madinah. His name actually means ‘deformed’. He was known for his deformities and for his appearance. In fact the way he was described was, ‘qaseer, wa faqeer, wa dameem’ i.e. he was extremely short, extremely poor and extremely repulsive. In a world where family lineage, background, wealth and appearance are made to be so important, we can imagine what kind of a tough life Julaybib had. He didn’t have friends or family or companions. No one was interested in him. He went through a lot of verbal abuse and was bullied countless times.

So one day the prophet peace be upon him meets Julaybib and asks him about him. The prophet was actually concerned about him. Julaybib replies to the prophet by asking, ‘Ya Rasul Llah, do you think the only woman I get to marry is in jannah? The hur al ain (women in paradise)?’ and the prophet immediately understood his agony and belief that he would never be able to get married in this world. So the prophet decides to take the matter in his own hands and went to one of the sahabas who had a beautiful daughter. He said to the other sahabi, ‘I want to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.’ The Sahabi was so excited and saw no greater honour than that. In his mind, he is marrying off his daughter to the prophet peace be upon him. Then when the prophet clarified that he wants to ask her for Julaybib, the father paused in hesitation and said ‘let me ask her mother’. The reaction was the same with the mother; extreme excitement when she first thought it was the prophet who wanted their child and immediate rejection upon knowing it is Julaybib. But the girl overheard the conversation and told her parents, ‘How can we reject a proposal and an order from the prophet peace be upon him?’ This pure lady insisted on accepting Julaybib and eventually became his wife.

On the battle of Uhud, Julaybib passed away. The prophet (SAW) frantically tried to find Julaybib on the battle ground and saw him surrounded by 7 enemies. Julaybib killed 7 enemies before they killed him. The Prophet (SAW) gets emotional, picks Julaybib up with his two hands and repeatedly says, “This one is from me, and I am from him, he is from me and I am from him, he is from me and I am from him.” He takes Julaybib and digs a grave for him with his own hands, and buries Julaybib himself. And what better honour than this? What is physical attractiveness compared to the love of Allah and his prophet?


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There are several other stories about other sahabis who were deemed unattractive and the prophet peace be upon him always showed love to them for who they really are; their beauty deep inside and not how they looked. Another example is the story of a sahabi by the name of Zahir ibn Haram. His story is narated in a hadith by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said,

“There was a man from amongst the Bedouins whose name was Zahir bin Haram. Whenever he came to Medinah for a need, he brought something for the Prophet (saw) as a gift, like cottage cheese or butter. Likewise, when the Prophet (saw) would prepare something to give to him whenever e wanted to leave, such as dates and so on.

The Prophet (saw) used to love him and say, “Zahir is our Bedouin and we are his city dwellers.”

Zahir was not very good looking. One say, Zahir (may Allah be pleased with him) left the desert and came to Allah’s Messenger (saw) but did not find him. He has some merchandise to sell so he went on to the market place.

When the Prophet (saw) found out about his arrival, he went to the market place looking for him. When he arrived, he saw him selling his merchandise with sweat pouring down from his face. He wore Bedouin clothers which did not smell good either. The Prophet (saw) hugged him tightly from behing, while Zahir was unaware and could not see who it was.

Zahir became scared and said, “Let me go! Who is this?!” But the Prophet (saw) remained silent. Zahir tried to release himself from his grip and started to look right and left. When he saw the Prophet (saw) he relaxed and calmed down, placing his back against the Prophet’s chest. The Prophet (saw) began to joke with him, saying to the public: “Who will buy this slave?! Who will buy this slave?”

Thereupon, Zahir looked at himself and thought of his extreme poverty, for he had neither wealth or good looks.

He said, “You will find me unmarketable, O’ Messenger of Allah.”

The Prophet (saw) said, “But you are not unmarketable with Allah. You are very precious to Allah.” And in another narration the prophet tells him, “But you are priceless in the sight of Allah, you are beautiful in the eyes of Allah, do not worry about how you look”

In another instance, the prophet again tried to redifine the meaning of beauty to us in the story of Abdullah ibn Masood. Abdullah ibn Masood (RA) was so short he was a dwarf, and one day he climbed into a tree to grab a siwak from the Arak tree for the Prophet (SAW). But Abdullah was so small that the wind blew him into tree. The Sahaba burst into laughter, and the Prophet (SAW) asked them why they were laughing. The Sahaba respodned with, “Ya Rasululllah, his legs are so short like two little twigs.” The Prophet (SAW) said, “But you don’t understand these two legs on the Day of Judgement will be the size and weight of Mount Uhud (on the scale of his good deeds).”

And I get it. It is way tougher right now with all the cover magazines, social media personalities and superstars we idolize from all over the world. But in the end remember God never created anything ugly, again I say it, we may vary in the level of attractiveness but no one is entirely ugly. This is because Allah (S.W) mentioned it Himself in Surat Tin:

By the fig and the olive

And [by] Mount Sinai

And [by] this secure city [Makkah],

We have certainly created man in the best of stature;

See how Allah took an oath FOUR times before stating that He created us in the best form.

Whatever or however you look like, do know that it is but a test from Allah. We never really put much thought to it but beauty is a big test of its own. There is a high risk into falling into arrogance or zina or other detestable behaviours. The same way physical unattractiveness may make us fall into the whispers of shaytan of self-pity and self-loathing and sadness. So love yourself in whatever state you were created and be grateful for it. What really matters is the state of your heart and soul and imaan. And also, remember to not stigmatize, bully, laugh or point out the flaws in others. You never know how much it hurts them.

REMEMBER:
{“Verily, Allah does not look at your appearance or wealth, but rather he looks at your hearts and actions.”} -Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H)

P.S Don’t forget to subscribe please! (the button is at the end of the page)

Sources:
The prophet’s path- Youtube
The merciful servant- Youtube
The “Ugliest” Sahabis
https://www.ummah.com/forum/forum/islam/general-islamic-topics/267496-zahir-bin-haram-our-beloved-muhammed-saw

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Remember the halamee conversation we had? Well okay, it was more of a virtual one between us but you remember it right? (Here: http://lubnah.me.ke/being-a-halamee/ if you haven’t seen this). The talk we had on the stereotypes of being an educated Muslimah, the challenges of being so different it bothers people, the yearning to belong somewhere, to fit in somewhere, the search of someone to look up to and the lack thereof. I have never been so sure that I am not alone than this moment. That there are so many Muslim ladies amongst us crumbling into confusion, young lively ladies lacking a sense of direction, women whose potential and desire to live has been crushed down with nowhere to air their deep concerns and attain guidance without being judged or admonished and sisters,passionate to attain the knowledge of the deen. We are many. We are many; trying to resist the fitnah, in dire need of friends to tell us, ‘You are not alone. We will get through this together’… But perhaps we finally have a chance. An opportunity to meet sisters in the same journey as ourselves, to finally meet individuals who can be our role models, to interact and learn from those more knowledgeable than us, to promote unity and camaraderie among the Muslim sisters, to share our concerns and come up with solutions and most importantly and to learn how to become a productive Muslimah in our world today.

So we are having the 1st sisters’ annual conference next week, 2nd December at Technical University of Mombasa. This is definitely going to be grand especially with the list of strong speakers involved (check the poster). As an alumni (ahem :p) I feel obliged to encourage all the sisters to attend this event. Because today’s world is not going to favour us in any way more than it did yesterday. It is upon us to find ways to cope up with it without losing our identities as Muslimahs. Below is the theme and the objectives of the event, kindly avail yourself and share as much as possible.

THEME
“A productive Muslimah”

There is a profound statement by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah which says: ‘Women are one half of society which gives birth to the other half so it is as if they are the entire society.’
The theme discusses a productive Muslimah in terms of education, self-awareness, rights, becoming a role model, and the questions on employments and leadership as a Muslimah.

Objectives of the convention;

The sisters of today faces numerous challenges when it comes to speaking out and sharing issues and problems affecting them especially in normal conventions where there are participants of both genders present, hence this conventions is aimed to;
 Deliver programmes for sisters.
 Facilitate a closer interaction between speakers and attendees.
 Provide practical information on how sisters can implement and practice Islam according to their needs and
circumstances.
 Encourage sisters to actively seek knowledge of the deen.
 Present positive role models for sisters.
 Expand opportunities for sisters to aspire towards teaching and spreading Islamic dawah.

Further details on the event, contacts to buy tickets from are in the poster below:


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In many motivational speeches or writings, one thing the speaker or author encourages his/her audience to do is answer this question: “What is my purpose in life?”
It is as simple and complex as it is. The question automatically brings about more question to mind. Like; why am I doing what I’m doing? Is it what I was meant to do? Do i benefit from it? Are my loved ones benefiting from it? Does it make the world a better place? Etcetera etcetera.

But when we come back to the book of Allah, He states clearly;
“And I created not the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (alone)”
When you look at it this way doesn’t it seem easier? Well it does when you look at “worship” only in terms of the five daily prayers, fasting, zakat and hajj. But in addition to the latter there are numerous way of worshipping Allah. Isn’t it in the same Qur’an that Allah reminds us that He has given us minds and challenges us to actually think? That we should go out and explore the world? That we shoud seek knowledge? Thus personally, I define worship as that which pleases Allah. In this way , I easily find my purpose in life and be able to broaden it from the five pillars of islam to much more.

Still, the question is not what is your purpose in life? The real question is why aren’t you after it? If the main reason I am in this world is to please Allah then why am I not doing that?

Fear… it holds us back in achieving our purpose of living. I am not going to be the one to initiate peace between my arguing friends because I fear I might get caught up in the middle of it. I am not going to write the book because I fear they might not like it. I won’t be a public speaker because I fear I might lose my words. I am not going to start that business because I fear the risks and loss that I might encounter…and it goes on and on.

Most of us already know what we ought to be doing in order to please our Creator, to leave behind a great legacy, to create a better world but we let fear prevent us from acting. May be if we start thinking about our purpose in life being directly linked to pleasing our Creator, it will help us fight our fears. At the end of it all, Allah does not look at how great you did what you did, He is more interested in the struggle and intention of your actions. So, stop worrying about being good, being enough or being good enough and just be. Be among those who pleases their Creator.

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Sometimes people wrong us in such despicable ways. Sometimes we are the ones who wrong people. Sometimes we are oppressed, we are discriminated and mistreated. Sometimes we are the ones carrying the baggage of harming others. Sometimes we lose everything at once, sometimes it is so hard, it is difficult to move on. Sometimes is sometimes our always; each one of us desperately trying to understand why things go the way they do. How villains are still walking free while some really good souls are the ones to be diagnosed with cancer. How very evil, ungrateful, arrogant people could be the ones enjoying luxurious lives while a very hardworking person suddenly loses his hand which he desperately needs for his manual labour. It doesn’t make sense! It never does! How is it a very poor child loses their mother who was the only family they knew while an already rich boy wins a car he doesn’t even need…How is it that one prays for a child for ten years yet when they finally get one, the wife dies at delivery??…and sometimes we just want to ask God, ‘Why though?’


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Only God knows…
Sometimes we realize how lucky we are for not getting what we cried for and sometimes we never get the answers. And sometimes it is as it is. We can never know. Difficult things happen. We lose and sometimes we gain. Sometimes people hurt us, they betray us, they take our differences to another level it shouldn’t ever reach, they forget all the good and tough situations you went through together. Sometimes they realize they wronged us and apologize and sometimes they die believing what they did was right. That is the human being. He is insan. He forgets and he errs.

But we should always believe that there is a bigger picture. That as much as we don’t understand what is going on in our lives or why it is going the way it is, we should have undoubted faith that God knows what’s best for us. And this is actual test of faith; believing when it is hardest to do so.

We have proof in the qur’an that there’s always something more to our painful and even happy stories. There is always something extra that our eyes will not simply see and our minds won’t easily fathom.

In Surat Kahf, in the story of Nabii Musa aleyhi salaam when he was told to search for a servant of Allah who had more knowledge than him, we get to learn something very valuable. During their journey; Nabii Musa and his teacher, Al Khidhr, three occasions happen which agitated Nabii Musa aleyhi Salam:

71. So they both proceeded, till, when they embarked the ship, he (Khidr) scuttled it. Musa (Moses) said: “Have you scuttled it in order to drown its people? Verily, you have committed a thing “Imra” (a Munkar – evil, bad, dreadful thing).”

72. He (Khidr) said: “Did I not tell you, that you would not be able to have patience with me?”

73. [Musa (Moses)] said: “Call me not to account for what I forgot, and be not hard upon me for my affair (with you).”

74. Then they both proceeded, till they met a boy, he (Khidr) killed him. Musa (Moses) said: “Have you killed an innocent person who had killed none? Verily, you have committed a thing “Nukra” (a great Munkar – prohibited, evil, dreadful thing)!”

75. (Khidr) said: “Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me?”

76. [Musa (Moses)] said: “If I ask you anything after this, keep me not in your company, you have received an excuse from me.”

77. Then they both proceeded, till, when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them. Then they found therein a wall about to collapse and he (Khidr) set it up straight. [Musa (Moses)] said: If you had wished, surely, you could have taken wages for it!”

78. (Khidr) said: “This is the parting between me and you, I will tell you the interpretation of (those) things over which you were unable to hold patience.

79. “As for the ship, it belonged to Masakin (poor people) working in the sea. So I wished to make a defective damage in it, as there was a king after them who seized every ship by force.

80. “And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared lest he should oppress them by rebellion and disbelief.

81. “So we intended that their Lord should change him for them for one better in righteousness and near to mercy.

82. “And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of those (things) over which you could not hold patience.”


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If we were to witness these same occasions ourselves, wouldn’t we just react according to what is visible to the eye, as Nabii Musa did? If your boat was the one destroyed or your boy killed, how long would it take any of us to actually think that perhaps there is something greater, something bigger beyond what the mind comprehends? Were we the ones to be denied food, would we even want to smile at those people let alone build a random wall somewhere? If you just lost all your property in a fire and someone told you, ‘Perhaps it is kheir’ you would perhaps glare at them like they are the ones who set your property on fire. When misfortunes befall us we cry ‘Why God?’ yet we don’t know how much good Allah is doing to us by that same terrible incident. We tend to only look at what is in front of us. But Allah is the Most Merciful and there are a lot of instances where we should thank Allah for despite how ugly the situation is. And indeed, this story is the perfect proof that we don’t know everything. That however powerful, mighty, rich or knowledgeable we are, there are just some things we would never be able to explain or understand. That as much as we make plans, Allah has already written in detail how our lives are going to be. That we should always ask God to direct us to only what is kheir for us.

We may not have the answers but we need to trust Allah’s wisdom and choices for us. May Allah grant us the patience and guide us always. Ameen.

We plan and Allah plans, and He is the Best of planners.

P.S Humble Reminder: Do read surat Kahf if you haven’t. It still is Friday 🙂


“Do the  people  think  that  they  will  be  left  to  say:  We  believe,   and they will not be tried?  But We have  certainly  tried those  before  them, and  Allah  will  surely  make  evident   those  who  are  truthful,   and  He will  surely  make  evident   the  liars.”  (Qur’an, Surah Al-Ankabut, 29: 2-3)

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One thing for sure, I really admire women empowerment, girl power, girl-child education, women working together across boundaries and beyond all limits to make a difference and the kind of powerful vibe successful women send off. It’s a beauty really. I mean, for once we don’t have to hate on each other on who’s got longer hair or a better husband, right? Trust me, all women relate to these scenarios, especially the times they almost had cat fights with their frenemies. You know, those ladies who go to work out at the same gym because its the trending thing, give each other those big ‘aaawww nice to see you’ hugs yet wanting to stab one another anyway. Don’t worry, we women have weird relationships. So, I mean for a change we get to hear women working peacefully for more than 24 hours. That’s close to a miracle yo! Okay, maybe a miracle is such a hard word. We do have several aggressive, intelligent women who do work together in a civilized manner and collaborate perfectly, its amazing. And at first, to me, this is what feminism was all about; creating the best out of women; beating stereotypes, elevating one another, appreciating one another, helping one another and of course, being successful together. But then ladies got too excited about it, things escalated and feminists started being radical. It became a competition.

Suddenly we wanted to prove to the world that women are better than men, that we can do without the men, that men are literally useless in our lives, and that yes, women have a right to be an equal to man. Now feminism is quite a wide concept and many feminists are inclined to different definitions of it. I’ll just talk about this one that amuses me; the one where ladies use up a lot of their energy to prove their worth being above the man. The idea which shifted their entire priority from what they should do to what they want to show the world they can do.


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Someone once said that women were not created to do what a man can do, rather, what he couldn’t do. I mean, wasn’t our mother Hawa (Eve) created to give company to our father Adam and not the vice versa? Doesn’t that show that a man actually does need a woman after all. He needs her a lot. It can be a mother, a sister, a wife…whichever female role she owns, a man needs her and that’s undeniable. Just let these men live alone for a week without any woman at all and see how he loses his calm and become the male version of Harley Quinn.

When the prophet p.b.u.h got his first revelation, whom did he run to if not his wife Khadija (R.A.A) to give her comfort? Why then would a woman go beyond limits to prove her worth and status yet the religion already puts her in a very high place?

The ayah in surat Nisaa goes like this, “Men have authority (are protectors and maintainers) over women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard.”

Also in a hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Umar, the Prophet (saws) said, “Everyone of you is a guardian and everyone of you is responsible (for those under your ward). A ruler is a guardian and is responsible (for his subjects); a man is a guardian of his family and responsible (for them); a wife is a guardian of her husband’s house and she is responsible (for it), a slave is a guardian of his master’s property and is responsible (for that). Beware! All of you are guardians and are responsible (for those your wards).”


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Our religion hasn’t made us equal because we can never be. Each of the sexes was designated with specific power and roles yet it never made a woman any less valuable than a man. In fact, she was raised in status more than she ever was in the pre-Islamic societies.

The Qur’an’s basic stance is that Muslim women are first and foremost Muslims, the religious equals of men (e.g., Q. 33:73).i.e.in regards to punishment and reward for their deeds, no one will be favoured. It refers to women and men as one another’s “protectors.” (Q. 9:71). Muslim marriage is described in terms of love and mercy (Q. 7:189; 30:21), and the Qur’an describes spouses as “garments” for one another (Q. 2:187).

A woman and a man were meant to partners, associates, each other’s better half. And don’t get it wrong, women are allowed to be vocal, to stand up for their rights, and to be as strong as they desire so long as it doesn’t go beyond the limits of religion.

There is the incident when Umar (R.A.A), the second khalifa of Islam, one day delivered a sermon against the practice of settling large sums as Mahr (dower-money), it was a woman who stood up and objected, saying: Oh Ameerul Mu’mineen, how dare you oppose the Qur’anic dictate that even a heap of gold may be settled on the wife as dowry? Umar did not resent this, but on the contrary showed appreciation for this woman’s courage of her conviction and right to freedom of speech. He exclaimed: “The woman is right and Umar is wrong.”

Also in the story of Khawla bint Tha’labah and her husband Aws ibn al-Samit as is narrated by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud and quoted by Ibn Kathir in his tafsir at the beginning of Surat al-Mujadilah.

Khawla said:
“By Allah, concerning me and Aws ibn al-Samit, Allah revealed the beginning of Surat al-Mujadilah. I was married to him, and he was an old man who was bad-tempered. One day, he came in and I raised a particular issue with him again. He became angry and said, ‘You are to me as the back of my mother.’ Then he went out and sat for a while in the meeting-place of his people. Then he came back, and wanted to resume marital relations with me. I said, ‘No way! By the hand of the One in Whose hand is the soul of Khuwayla (i.e., Khawla), you will never get what you want from me after saying what you said, until Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) decide between us.’ He tried to force himself on me, but I was able to resist because I was a young woman and he was a weak old man. I pushed him away. Then I went to one of my (female) neighbors and borrowed a cloak from her and went to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). I sat before him, told him what my husband had done to me, and began to complain to him about my sufferings because of my husband’s bad temper. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ‘O Khuwayla, your cousin is an old man, so fear Allah with regard to him.’ I did not leave him until Qur’an was revealed concerning me. He was overcome as he usually was when Qur’an was revealed to him, and when it was over, he said: ‘O Khuwayla, Allah has revealed Qur’an concerning you and your husband.’ Then he recited to me:

[Allah has indeed heard (and accepted) the statement of the woman who pleads with you concerning her husband and carries her complaint (in prayer) to Allah: and Allah (always) hears the arguments between both sides among you: for Allah hears and sees (all things)….to the end of the ayah (Qur’an 58:1-4)

Again in another instance of Khawlah, She met Umar (R.A.A) one day outside the mosque, when al-Jarud al-‘Abdi was with him. ‘Umar, who was the caliph at that time, greeted her, and she said to him, “O ‘Umar, I remember you when you were called ‘Umayr in the marketplace of ‘Ukaz, taking care of the sheep with your stick. So fear Allah in your role as khalifah taking care of the people, and know that the one who fears the threat of punishment in the Hereafter realizes that it is not far away, and the one who fears death fears missing some opportunity in this life.” Al-Jarud said, “You have spoken too harshly to Amir al-Mu’minin, woman!” ‘Umar said, “Let her be. Do you not know that this is Khawla, to whose words Allah listened from above the seven heavens? By Allah, ‘Umar should by rights listen to her.”


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There is so much beauty in a woman being tender, being feminine, being polite and humble, being motherly and caring. It’s for all this a woman is a woman. It’s for this she is regarded as the queen of this universe. Never underestimate a woman who stays at her home taking care of her kids and home. You may call her uneducated, unsophisticated, unclassy but the role she plays in her home is one that is priceless. We can never repay our mothers for the dedication they put on us. Same way we shouldn’t underestimate that ‘housewife’ just because she doesn’t have a well paying job like you do. And if you do have a decent job then go for it honey. Work hard, earn well, help your family, help fellow ladies, treat yourself, own that car you want, go for your dreams, no one will stop you. The religion doesn’t stop you so long as it doesn’t go against Allah (S.W).

We have so many examples to look up to. As one of the few Sahabiyat (female companions) who physically fought in battle in defense of the Messenger of Allah (SWT) and an advocate for Muslim woman’s rights, Nusaybah bint Ka’ab was not only renowned for her courageous efforts on the battlefield, but was also as a loving wife and mother. Aishah (R.A.A) for example was an educator and a renown teacher and Khadijah was a famous business woman. Khansā’ bint ‘Amr bin ash-Sharīd as-Sulamiyya, Rady Allāhu ‘Anhā (Tamādir bint ‘Amr in other texts) She came with her tribe to the Prophet Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam to accept Islām. She was a famous poet whose Diwān (collected poetry) has already been translated into French. The list goes on and on and on.

Being submissive and obedient to your father/husband/brother doesn’t mean you should be a door mat. It doesn’t mean you should accept oppression or violation of your rights. Fight for your rights when need be, otherwise be obedient. Because yes, a man has authority over you. Not unless you want to fight God for that too?

If we look back into history, we see the good example of how men executed authority on their womenfolk.

Al-Aswad reported: I asked Aisha, “What did the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, do when he was with his family?” Aisha said, “The Prophet would do chores for his family and he would go out when it was time for prayer.”

Narrated by Aisha, Allah’s Messenger (saws) used to patch his sandals, sew his garment and conduct himself at home as anyone of you does in his house. He was a human being, searching his garment for lice, milking his sheep, and doing chores. [Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 5822]

“It is reported that a man came to ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radia Allahu anhu) to complain about his wife’s ill-temper.
While he was waiting for ‘Umar to come out of his house, he heard ‘Umar’s wife scolding him and ‘Umar quietly listening to her, and not answering her back.
The man turned around and started walking away, muttering to himself: “If that is the case with ‘Umar, the leader of the believers, who is famous for his uprightness and toughness, then what about poor me?!”
At that moment, ‘Umar came out of his house and saw the man walking away.
He called him and said, “What is it you want of me, O man?”
The man replied: “O leader of the believers, I came to complain to you about my wife’s bad-temper and how she nags me. Then I heard your wife doing the same to you, so I turned around, muttering to myself, ‘If that is the situation of the leader of the believers,then what about me?’”
‘Umar replied, “O my brother, I bear with her because of her rights over me. She cooks my food, bakes my bread, washes my clothes, breast-feeds my child… and yet none of these are her duty; and then she is a comfort to my heart and keeps me away from forbidden deeds. Consequently, I bear with her.”
The man said,“It is the same with me, O leader of the believers.”‘
Umar said: Then, O my brother, be patient with her, indeed this life is short.

Men is this the kind of authority you have over your women? If indeed men were kind and compassionate enough as our role models were, we wouldn’t even be talking about radical feminism right now. It wouldn’t exist. If indeed men and women collaborated hand in hand as it originally was, if men supported their women achieve their goals and dreams and genuinely appreciate their talents and skills, if they sincerely helped their wives and the vice versa, we wouldn’t be so focused in this tag of war on who can do what better. At the end of the day, we all need one another. Work on being a better you without competing on who is bringing more on the table. Thank God for the table instead.

Hey ladies, keep empowering each other, keep working hard, keep fighting against rape, body-shaming, stereotypes and all the negativity around. Keep working for your rights without having to prove your value. You are enough. You always have been. If the man was a house, you’d be the pillar. If he’s the CEO you’d be the managing director. If he was the body you’d be the spinal cord. You might think you are being left behind the scenes, that you need to stand out for you to be appreciated but really,you always play a major role no one can defy that. So don’t waste up your precious energy trying to out-smart or out-do or be a man-hater. You don’t have to call yourself a ‘S-hero’ for you to actually be one. You are better than doing that.

Respect the men. They’ll respect you back. At least some do.

I am not sure if this relates to all women but at least for Muslim women, take note of this: Islam has always uplifted the status of the woman and given her the elevation she needs.

P.S Women were never caged in the first place for them to need freedom. Don’t get it twisted honey.


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Photo Courtesy: http://stylearena.net

A man will be tested according to his level of religious commitment. If his religious commitment is solid, his test will be more severe, but if there is any weakness in his religious commitment, he will be tested according to his level of religious commitment. And calamity will continue to befall a person until he walks on the earth with no sin on him.

-Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h

I’ve intentionally been avoiding to write about this. No, not about sabr, about Shekuwe’s story. I feel no words can really paint the real picture of the situation. My own imagination fails me but then it keeps haunting me. The thought of someone losing his entire family at once? I think of how I make a fuss out of nothing, how me and you, break down because ‘I lost a job’ or ‘My car was hit today’ or ‘The cake I made turned out too sour’. The thought of this fills my heart with shame. I mean, have you even thought about it yourself? Take a moment and picture it please. Imagine all your family members succumbing to high tides and waves of the ocean; watching them die. One after another. And then nothing. You are left alone. All that darkness like a heavy cloud on your head. The numbness, the trauma, the disbelief that you are even breathing. Coming back home to only find emptiness? With echoes of laughter and cries and memories that are no more? How many of us could actually handle that?

But here’s the flip side to it.


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When you believe in Allah, and when Allah loves you back just as much as you do, then He’ll put you in tests over and over again. You will be pushed to be edge until you cry ‘why?’ But there are a few answers to this dreadful question:

1. “And know that your wealth and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward.” ~ Quran 8:28

2.“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits…” (Qur’an, 2:155)

3. “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…” (Qur’an, 2:286).

4. “Say: ‘Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allâh has ordained for us…’” (9:51).

5. “We shall certainly test you, until We ascertain those of you who (sincerely) strive and those who are steadfast (in Allah’s Deen); and We shall test your affairs (to distinguish the liars from the truthful)”: (47:31)

6. “Most certainly you will face tests in your wealth and in your persons. You will definitely hear much painful abuse from those who have been given The Book before you and from those who worship many gods. But if you are patient and fear Allah, then that will be the determining factor in all affairs.” ~ Quran 3:186

7. The prophet p.b.u.h said: If Allah wants to do good to someone, He afflicts him with trials. ~ (Bukhari 75/5)

8. The prophet p.b.u.h said: If Allah intends for a servant to reach a rank he is unable to reach by his good deeds, then Allah will put him to trial in his body or his wealth or his children, and he will be patient until he reaches the rank intended for him. [Ahmad]

9. The prophet p.b.u.h said: Nothing befalls a believer, a (prick of a) thorn or more than that, but Allah will raise him one degree in status thereby, or erase a bad deed. ~ Bukhari

10. The prophet p.b.u.h said: On the Day of Judgement, when the people who were tried (in this world) are given their rewards, the people who were pardoned (in life), will wish that their skins had been cut off with scissors while they were in the world. ~ Tirmidhi 36/100

11. Mus’ab ibn Sa’eed reported: His father asked, “O Messenger of Allah, which people are tested most severely?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “They are the prophets, then the next best, then the next best…”

12. “… and be patient over what befalls you.” ~ Quran 31:17


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Shekuwe’s story is something you’d probably imagine to be something extracted from an emotional, heartbreaking Bollywood movie. But it isn’t. How much do you think Allah loves this human being to put him in such a test? How much strength of imaan does he have that Allah put him through such kind of pain? How much do you think Allah loves YOU to put you in the pain you go through?

Truth is, everyone is undergoing something. It only differs with magnitude. Some have it easier than others and others have it waayy heavier than you could possibly imagine. But don’t we all want Allah’s love that bad? Don’t we want to reach that kind of status that brings us closer to Him?? We can only pray for Shekuwe, and for ourselves and for each other. We can only support and be there for one another because behind every smile is an untold story of sabr. So let’s keep making dua over and over again; we pray for strength and imaan and taqwa to keep walking however bad the storm gets. May Allah easen it for him and for us all.

One of my favourite ayahs is from Surat Ankabut, 2nd verse: “Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested?” And I keep reciting this ayah over and over again like it is my mantra. It has a deep meaning that strikes right into the heart. It gives us a purpose to soldier on to prove our love to Allah.

Dear heart, dear you, Do you believe?? Then have sabr oh dear heart. Have sabr. Because sabr is indeed beautiful (Assabr Jameel).

May Allah grant us sabr like of Ayub aleyhi ssalam. Ameen.


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Photo Courtesy: https://www.pinterest.com

God and I, we used to be such good friends. God, don’t I miss that friendship! There was no rush of leaving the prayer mat after praying. I’d stay there and just talk to Him, you know? Maybe because I was lonely. And it was such a comfortable safe space to slide into. I could cry, laugh and say all I wanted to say that my anxiety wouldn’t otherwise let me. Or maybe because of the way people judged me a little too harshly. I had always been recognized as the religious one. Why? I didn’t shake hands with men. Or maybe because I did all my sunnahs like they were compulsory. Or my sujoods were noticeably longer. And I wasn’t even trying. That was my comfortable zone. I remember leaving school earlier on Fridays just so I could go to a distant mosque where nobody recognized me so I could have alone time with God. It was beautiful.

Update 1: I prefer hugs to handshakes now 🙁
Update 2: Where did y’all religious friends go?
Update 3: I’m doing compulsories like they’re sunnahs now.
Update 4: Refer to update 3

Thing with friendships though, you don’t realize when they’re breaking. It’s so gradual and smooth before you know it you’re the friend that people are coming to for good music. The religious friends are spending less and less time with you. You’re spending your nights in clubs. And then one day after so many days you’ll find yourself in a dirty pitch in your room or on your way to work wondering, “How? How did I become this person? How did I get here? I just want to go home.”

So yeah, I’m not in a very good place with God now. And that hurts me. I’d be in Jamia mosque praying and look at people who look so engrossed in their own prayers and duas with Allah and i’ll feel so much envy and pain and a

“That used to be you” Must be the devil hat whispers with his tongue out.

Like there was this girl in a red Hijab once. She was at the very first line. Flawless skin and such a beautiful hearty and warm smile. I imagined she woke up in the depths of the night to pray. The way I used to. The way I want to.

Sometimes, I’m reminded of God in the most bizarre and unexpected way or place. Take for example this friend. Said friend isn’t Muslim. Said friend asks me, “How are you and God, love?”
That has stuck with me for so long since it happened. I wish we had such honest conversations more often. Or this time I’m watching a play, in the form of contemporary dance, about a group of people escaping their homeland because of war, and so they’re fleeing to safer grounds. I remember sitting there alone, telling myself, it’s time to start that journey. Go back home, darling.

Thing is, it’s such a big place. When you’re being pressured into stuff, you can not remember anything like peer pressure. You’re not even doing it to be cool for anyone. You tell yourself that you’re doing it in the spirit of being ‘adventurous’. And really, maybe you are. Because, the world our parents think we live in and the world we actually live in, it’s mars and venus. Two totally different realities. And people are busy. Everyone is going on with their business and here you are, taking whatever path you deem right. Which to be honest, I don’t really have a problem with. Only thing is, ‘Is there room for my faith and God in this?’ Most times that answer is no. And almost all those times, you’ll go ahead with whatever it is.

I haven’t been to a club. I haven’t taken alcohol. Alhamdullillah. But I have seen how weak I can get, and I don’t know when that day will come. I have close friends that I have seen traverse the ‘halal-strict-hijabi’ life to the party all night, ‘take buibui off in the corner close to home’ life. And yes, they are STILL my friends. Because a part of me gets them. A very big part of me gets them. And then there’s this part that’s hanging on to whatever trail that’s left of my friendship with God. That i’m holding on to with my dear life.

There’s that voice again.
“Go back home, darling.”

Yours truly,
Your Favourite Stranger 🙂


P.S: You can read more of her pieces on her blog: https://www.favouritestranger.com/

Of Flames & the Night.

Photo Courtesy: https://static.pexels.com

​The scariest part

Of it all

Was not seeing the bad in me,

But watching myself

Yearn

For that sin

One more time…

Maybe there never was a devil…

Maybe monsters

Are a

Reflection

Of our true selves…

Maybe I spent too much time

Close to the fire

That I never noticed

How much

Darker

It had made me…

To me,

It was light,

But for the flame,

I was just

Another pile

Of wood,

Waiting to

Burn.

Photo Courtesy: https://c2.staticflickr.com

THE MONTH OF MONTHS

My heart sings with joy
The month of months has arrived
For many have yearned for it
But not all have survived

Such euphoria I get
When the warm air of my lungs
Caress my dry lips in supplication
As I pray the taraweh

In this miraculous month
Even the crooked find their way
Rich or poor no eating in the day
What a precious month I say

In it the night of nights
The night to better a thousand months
A night peaceful in nature
In it Quran descended to the greatest teacher

In it mosques fill to the brim
And everyone seems to be in the same team
We share, we care
Satan is chained he can only stare…

Photo Courtesy: http://www.khilafah.com

People who know me very well know two truths about me. One is that food and I don’t get along. Truth number two, food and I can’t really stay apart. We tend to have this love-hate relationship that never ends. You know, like Tom and Jerry? So most of the times it would roll out like this.

Me: “Aarghh, I’m starviingg” or “Yeepyyy can’t wait to have my delicious food!”

Two minutes into eating: “Really food? Really? All that joy, excitement, tears, anticipation and blood sacrifice yet this is all you offer?!! You and I are soo done!”

Also me: (every two hours) “I need you food 🙁 ” (There should have been the kermit meme image over here lol)

So automatically, truth number three is that fasting is my hardest ibadah.

Just the other day (4th of Ramadhan) I was walking in town headed home from work with a tiny flower between my fingers. So I was swirling it playfully, my mind so far deep in thoughts it took me time to realize there was an elderly man looking at me right ahead. He was in his traditional Swahili clothing of kikoi, shirt and kofia and he was looking into my face with such scrunity. I thought perhaps he is mistaking me for someone else so I went ahead and said the salam.
“Saumu inkushika?” He said, still giving me a concerned look. I just laughed it off and went on walking but I could still hear his voice behind me, “Saumu inkushika eh?! Nakuona…nakuona vile inkushika” *Face palm* I know right? And I just happen to be this frequent victim of having awkward embarrassing moments with strangers. But that’s a story for another day. Back to fasting…

Due to how much fasting drains me, at work and even at home, I always get comments like, “Can you walk? Lest you fall on the way.”
“Can you do this? Can you carry this?”
So every Ramadhan I’m subconsciously fully prepared to such teasing. Yet Ramadhan is still the best time for me.

You know, you walk around and see Muslims and you can greet each other, smile with that look like, ‘We know each other’s ‘suffering’ (not per say, but you know what I mean :p ) or like we are one people, we are partners in crime, something of the sort. The Ramadhan ambiance is special and it does feel so. Food stalls all over the streets during the evenings, people sending the kids to take a plate of goodies to the other neighbour and the other neighbour takes to the other and when known to be an awful cook, your food just seems to go in circles; forever trying to get a ‘mstiri’. Taraweh, tahajjud…the list is endless.

It’s that time where our mango trees produce in abundance. My mum would fill the bucket with mangoes and ask my brother to take to our neighbours. I would hear my dad get excited, reminding my brother of which neighbours to NOT miss. I would be standing there half-thrilled half-sorry that I am not the one to do that. You know, introvert problems? Mum would ensure to spice it up; ‘Ukigonga kila mlango, give them the mangoes then say Ramadhan kareem’ 😀 My brother puts on his kofia and sets out to knock doors. Then with a sigh and a smile, “I wish all year was Ramadhan.”

Muslims walking around just before Maghrib, sharing dates and water to fellow Muslims on the way. Some stranger passing dates to you to the back seat of a public vehicle so you can break your fast. I mean, any other random day we would probably pass by one another and I would mumble salaam and I wouldn’t even get a response or perhaps you’d mumble back or vice versa. But then Ramadhan, we have something making all of us familiar to one another such that we can strike random conversations with strangers on the way.

I am super delighted of how humanity is at its peak. We remember the orphans, the old, the sick…we remember to pray, to be more gentle, to read qur’an a lot, to hold back our insults, to donate, to forgive and most importantly, work on ourselves.

For me, besides it being the time for more Ibadah, Ramadhan is a time for me to work on my inner self. Get the peace of mind. Submit totally to Allah. And this is something many take for granted; our inner health. How composed are we to life? How much at peace are we with our fate? How much do we actually and sincerely talk to Allah? This is the time. It is my time to unleash my heart to Allah. It is my time to be a better human being not just for this month but for the rest of the year.

And as much as fasting is hard for me, Ramadhan has meant progress for me. I remember a time I would really admire people who could fast Monday and Thursday, Ayamil bayth or sitta min shawwal simply because I couldn’t do it. But then with every coming of Ramadhan, I tried more sunnah fasts and I keep trying over and over again. My biggest push has always been the thought that ‘If this is hard for me, then the rewards will definitely be more’ and that remains my motto as I keep trying.

Ramadhan means a lot of things to me; it means kindness, love and compassion. It means submission, forgiveness and willpower. It means struggle, endurance and success. Ramadhan means a lot to me. What about you? What does it mean to you??


 

On another note, my partner and I are embarking on another business journey, the branding of strokes of my pen. So alhamdulilah we have the first bunch of shirts out. We kindly ask for your support. Besides that, 10% of each shirt goes to Ahmad, a young boy who is undergoing kidney dialysis treatment yet he has a large outstanding balance at Pandya hospital to pay. If not the shirt then you can always mpesa their family directly (no. shown in image).Remember your reward is multiplied in this month so don’t hesitate to support in any little way in shaa Allah.

 

For the shirts, they come in colours of black, white, blue, grey and yellow. For more info: contact us via this no: 0734 201 665 or view our page: https://www.facebook.com/simplex.styles/. More is to come biidhnillah!

P.S. Please remember me in your duas! Whatever you pray for me, may you get just that a thousand more times. Ameen! Ramadhan Mubarak!