Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

Eid-ul-Fitr 2013 in London

// August 8th, 2013 // 2 Comments » // Photos

UK Muslims: Zakat Begins at Home

// July 29th, 2013 // 2 Comments » // Blog

If you owe Zakat and are based in England*, here are a few charities that distribute Zakat locally as is encouraged by the Sunnah:

NZF partners with many UK charities including some of those listed above, so if you just want to give to one place, I recommend them. But really, you can't go wrong with any of the charities listed inshā’Allāh. Allahu 'Alam.

Please clearly state that your donation is Zakat so that the money can be spent appropriately.
If you pay Income Tax, then don't forget to select Gift Aid (or email the charity a completed form) so that 25% can be added to the donation.

JazakumAllah khair.

*I say England rather than UK, as admittedly I do not know whether these charities work in Scotland, Wales or N.Ireland. If you are based in these areas, please do your best to find local cases or charities for your Zakat. [31/07/2013, Update] My Community UK does provide the option to distribute Zakat in various UK regions, including Scotland and Wales.

There Was An Old Woman Who Swatted A Fly…

// May 30th, 2013 // No Comments » // Blog

A big, fat fly, was buzzing around my room today. Odd, because it has been rainy and cold since Monday (i.e., not typical big, fat fly weather). In fact, I think it might have been the first fly of 2013.

As I feebly tried to shoo the little buzzer out of my room, I half remembered a Quranic verse – something about not being able to defeat a measly fly. I could relate.

An hour later, I am sat with the Qur'an as part of my daily ritual. I try to be consistent in reading a little every day, but the reality is, some days I read one page, some days three, and some days none (astagfirullah).

So it was a shock when I unexpectedly came across this ayah:

“You people, here is an illustration, so listen carefully: those you call on beside God could not, even if they combined all their forces, create a fly, and if a fly took something away from them, they would not be able to retrieve it. How feeble the petitioners are and how feeble are those they petition!” [Qur'an, 22:73]

When 'coincidences' such as this occur, it's quite an event as I know it is not something that I could have planned, even subconsciously. I always respond the same way: my eyes pop, my jaw drops, and sometimes, I even giggle – I think that's a natural response to a surprise, right?

There is so much that can be taken from this experience. But the lesson that touches my heart the most is that Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) remembered me.

Pathetic, little me is on the radar of the Supreme Being.

Honestly, I needed that reminder. Allahu akbar.

Little Lessons Learned In India

// February 20th, 2013 // 1 Comment » // Blog

I recently spent a week in a dusty, little village in Gujarat, India, getting to know a small fraction of my husband's very large family. The last time I visited the subcontinent I was on the cusp of adolescence. A whole life time has passed in between, during which my relationship with Islam and my own cultural heritage has continuously evolved, to the extent that I have come to appreciate many of the same customs that I reviled not so long ago. I guess marrying an Indian will do that to you.

hens go cluck

Here are a few little lessons that my trip taught me about a religion and a people whom I thought I already knew:

1) Making wuḍūʼ for every prayer can become a necessary Sunnah.
Living in cool climes, washing yourself with cold water multiple times a day can be a challenge, especially when you don't feel physically unclean. The dust and heat of India meant that with every prayer I was looking forward to the special kind of refreshment that came with making wuḍūʼ. The increased khushoo I experienced during and after the prayer made me appreciate a Sunnah that I usually neglect.

2) Folding the prayer mat finally makes sense.
I have never understood the odd, unverified explanations behind the practice of folding over the corner of unused prayer mats (which is why my own masalla lays unfurled on my bedroom floor as I type). But the custom made a bit more sense to me whilst staying at my in-laws' house. It is open-plan, and most of the doors and windows are left open throughout the day to allow the air to flow. But with the breeze came the dust: an exposed prayer mat would quickly gather a visible layer of the stuff, thus defeating the object of praying on a mat to begin with. One dim light bulb moment later, I realised that folding the mat over would keep it clean in between uses. Kind of obvious, I guess, but I never had to think it through all these years, living in a sealed terraced house surrounded by concrete jungle.

cows go moo

3) Feet are meant to be dirty. Deal with it!
Feet walk on the floor; the floor is always covered in dust, even after multiple sweepings. Yes, it does not feel nice on your soles after you've washed them so carefully. But if you don't accept the dirt as inevitable, you will go mad. Other than making me less of a princess, this experience also helped me to understand why the positioning of feet has reached a level of significance in certain cultures. For example, the practice of not sitting with your feet facing the Qibla. Who knew dust was so educational?

4) Muslims don't hate dogs.
Not all Muslims, at any road. There are stray dogs all over rural India, both in the villages and the towns. This came as quite a surprise as I don't remember seeing any when I visited Mumbai as a child (I do remember the giant rats though, ngggh). A few were a bit mangy, but on the whole they looked plump and healthy. Yes, Muslims consider dogs to be unclean animals, and none of the houses I went to kept them as pets. But every Muslim village I visited had its fair share of canine residents. There are even a couple who frequent my in-laws' dairy farm. The mutts and humans seem to have developed a relationship of tolerance, both keeping to themselves, not getting in each others way. I do suspect, however, that the dogs have claimed the roads: they lie so comfortably on the narrow roadsides, completely indifferent to the hundreds of rickshaws speeding by within an inch of their paws!

It's amazing how much one can learn during such a short trip. I only spent a week in India, but in a way I feel like I am still traveling; navigating the deep, sometimes murky waters of my heritage. Here's to a smooth journey ahead.

Our True Enemy: A Powerful (If Not Blunt!) Reminder

// July 27th, 2012 // 2 Comments » // Blog

From Sh. Abu Eesa's Facebook page

AE ART – The Eighth Chapter

Allāh jalla wa 'ala says, “And then Iblis said, 'Because You have put me in the wrong, I will lie in wait for them on Your straight path: I will come at them – from their front and their back, from their right and their left – and You will find that most of them are ungrateful.'” (7:16-17)

I want you to cast your minds back a few months ago when we started to get those horrific pictures and videos from Syria where Bashar al-Assad's mercenary killers were going around massacring the wives and children of the Mujahideen to break their spirits. They were videoing their beheadings and torture. People witnessed and felt pure evil and we were repulsed by it. And devastated.

But in addition to that grief, all of us – especially those directly affected – even if we might be the most softest of pacifists, felt sheer rage towards these criminals. And I am confident that every single person reading this would not find it difficult to exact revenge on these criminals, even capital punishment. Or let me make it even more graphic and please note that I *don't* apologise for this: imagine you come home to find a man stabbing your toddler to death – I can guarantee you that you will kill that man in a manner that you never ever thought it possible from yourself. The rage you will develop, the anger that will come forth, the focus you will show in trying to save your child and to extinguish the threat will all be quite extraordinary. And I guess, quite appropriate.

So here's the thing: every single moment of every single day, there is a criminal out there who is infinitely more evil than all of the psychopaths above, who is focused on doing nothing else but torturing you, your children, and all your loved ones for ever. And ever. And ever. And his name is Iblis. His name is Shaytaan. His name is the Devil. And it doesn't matter what his name is, he knows yours.

He's not interested in killing your mother. Or stabbing your child. Pointless. Waste of time. Small fry stuff that. Let some freak in a Joker haircut and a Bane costume do that bakwas. In fact, I personally wish, and I mean this folks, I *wish* that this was *all* Iblis could do in our lives. But he's far too big-time for that nonsense. Why stab your child to death and cause it pain for only a few minutes, or traumatise you as the parents for a few decades, when he can make that child grow up to adulthood in a certain way and then ensure that he boils and roasts him alive for ETERNITY in the Fire and for you to witness that for the same eternity but also whilst suffering the most incredible torture and punishment that is possible for your limited mind to imagine.

And you know what? He LOVES that. It gives Iblis a buzz to think that he can take all of us out like that, get us off the Straight Path

I don't swear in public, well, not properly anyway. I don't curse peoples' mothers (because “Your Mum” isn't a curse as you've seen me prove a number of occasions but anyway), but I must admit that I spend significant parts of my day cussing the life out of Iblis's mother. Man, I don't know even know if he had a mother, has a mother, or even the fiqhi issues behind it and neither do I care – but what I do know is that I cuss the **** out of Iblis every single day. I picture him in my dreams and enjoy torturing him, stabbing him in his eye and all sick things like that. I fantasise over burning him. I motivate myself every morning with the simple fact that I will NOT let that scum cursed pig have a good day at my expense. No sir.

We have to change the rules of the game. At the moment he's having a BALL at our expense. We've got to implement the words of Allāh: “He is your enemy, so TAKE him as your enemy!” The ayah above shows his absolute commitment to his job, that he won't spare any expense or any effort. He's going to come at you from every angle, from the top, from the bottom, from the left, from the right, from the front, from the back, open to your face, hidden from your eyes, directly, indirectly. He's all OVER you. Man, he's *owning* you.

I mean, are you kidding me? We took the world's greatest and most evil force, and we painted him a nice dark red, gave him a pointy little fork, a cute little tail, shiny eyes and a cheeky smile. And then we made him the international symbol for foods and sins or anything which is “naughty…but nice”.

Subhanallah.

We made him into a logo for the world's biggest sports team. We made him the representative of everything which is daring and exciting. We made him into a ruddy cartoon character for God's sake, where our children watch him and giggle at his antics and feel sorry for him when he gets hurt.

Subhanallah.

Oh you think that's *me* going too far? You think that having the devil in cartoons for your kids, or Muslim organisations using cute giggling little (big?) devils in Arab promo videos to try and get people to pray or wear hijab isn't like the most naive thing in the world ever in this eternal war? See? THAT'S why I said you guys have been owned.

How on earth are you ever going to take seriously the threat of Allāh that the Devil is your open, clear, deadly and dedicated enemy – something which He warns us about at *least* fifteen times in the Qur'an, yes FIFTEEN – when all you want to do is giggle at him?

One thing known from the Prophet (s) is that even the Devil speaks the truth. And when I heard our Imam recite the last part of this verse where Iblis says, “…and You will find that most of them are ungrateful,” I thought to myself Subhanallah how true is that. How much care and warning does our Lord give us, how much help, how much of a heads-up, but we're so so stupid. So so stupid. So so ungrateful for that warning and advice. We just think it's all one big Disney cartoon. “Oh, I've forgotten which rak'ah I'm praying. Silly Shaytan! Bad boy! Let me just do another extra one giggle giggle.”

Imagine if we could picture Iblis like we picture that murderer of our child – imagine if you could create in yourself that same anger and focus against this true real enemy of yours. I swear by Allāh that Iblis is infinitely more times evil than even the biggest mass murderer of children. So start to show that and up your game against him and his tricks and his whisperings and his domination. The more you can actualise him, like the Prophet (s) was blessedly able to do, even once grabbing Shaytan mid-attack on him during his Salah, by the THROAT no less (Ya salaam!), the more you can immunise yourself to his dying mission: to send you and your loved ones to Hell forever.

The fightback starts here. In sha Allāh.

Chandelier in Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

// May 1st, 2012 // 2 Comments » // Photos

I took several photos during my recent visit to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. You really can't help yourself, it's too beautiful a building not to capture, māshā’Allāh. But this was my favourite from the set.

Wanted: Single White Female (Muslims)

// August 23rd, 2011 // 7 Comments » // Blog

I saw the following advertised in the weekly Islamic Events UK email:

CONTRIBUTORS NEEDED FOR DOCUMENTARY ON CAUCASIAN MUSLIM FEMALES

The BBC World Service, Heart and Soul series, is making a programme on Caucasian Female Muslim converts to Islam over the last 10 years since 9/11. We are looking for Muslim sisters happy to share their own personal experiences of converting into a faith which has been on the political agenda over the past decade. The basis of this programme is to mark 9/11 by celebrating these personal, spiritual journeys. The programme will be broadcast on radio internationally.

For further information please contact:
E-mail: saba.zaman[@]bbc.co.uk / kristine.pommert[@]bbc.co.uk
Tel: 020 7557 3144 / 020 7557 3048

Okay, so the 'White Female Muslims' don't have to be single. Catchy titles are hard to resist.

I wonder what other programming to expect around the 10th anniversary of 9/11? Honestly, I'd prefer the hermit life over those coming few days. And I'm not even in the US – God help my American brethren.

Did You Make Dua Today?

// October 20th, 2010 // 2 Comments » // Blog

I received the following quote in an email forward this morning. I hope it benefits you, inshā’Allāh:

“I am not worried about whether my du'a will be responded to, but rather I am worrried about whether I will be able to make du'a or not. So if I have been guided by Allāh to make du'a, then (I know) that the response will come with it”

[Umar bin al Khattab radi Allāh anhu]

Eid-ul-Fitr Salat in the Park, 2010

// September 10th, 2010 // No Comments » // Photos

‘Īd Mubarak! I didn't have much time to take (or post) the number of pics that I usually do. But I quite like this one, cuz it captures some nice little moments, māshā’Allāh. Have a look through and see what you see! =)

Click to enlarge

Question for Computer Scientists: How to Build A Donation Tracker?

// September 9th, 2010 // No Comments » // Blog

Before I begin the official post: ‘Īd Mubarak to everyone reading! May Allāh accept it from me and from you. Āmīn! I hope to bring you my now traditional “‘Īd in the Park” picture post tomorrow, inshā’Allāh. :)

I had a random thought this evening, perhaps triggered by the charitable atmosphere of both Ramadan solemnity and ‘Īd celebrations.

With all the recent advances in technology, there must be a way for charities to keep track of an individual's donations, from the time it is received, to the moment it is spent and distributed.

In fact, I imagine it could be exactly like the online tracking system used by most courier companies. Instead of lumping all donations in one pot, each amount could be treated as an individual entity, a 'package', which is tracked all the way until it reaches the hands of the person in need. Large donations could be split into smaller packages to be spread over several projects.

I think this would be a great way to encourage people to keep giving, as they could see exactly where their money is going. Photos and messages from recipients could also be easily attached as confirmation of receipt where time and resources permit, in the same way one signs for a delivery.

It's may also be a good way to keep charities open and accountable, and hopefully prevent fraud and corruption, inshā’Allāh.

Has anyone come across such a system in place already? I'd love to see a big Muslim charity, like Islamic Relief, take up the idea. Even if it's just a pilot project in one location, such as their water project in Niger (donate now).

I may suggest it to Dr Hanni of the Muslim Charities Forum myself, next time I see him, inshā’Allāh! It would definitely be an interesting project for a Comp Sci student to manage. Any volunteers? :)

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