F O R T HE WO ME N O F F AIT H AN D HO N OR
IN THIS ISSUE:
PLUS: Interview with the Designer Hijab and Hair Hobbies, recipes and much more...
What are women looking for in marriage? Tips for raising children in the West
Stress and My Relationship
FIRST LAUNCH ISSUE
“My Muslim Veil” mission is to help you to connect with other Muslim women through inspirational stories and life experiences. “My Muslim Veil” readers are women of all walks of life, who wish to connect with the body of believers and desire to live in the best way with the guidance of their Creator. We believe that we all can be enriched, and inspired and live in harmony by following and learning our Deen (religion).
Reminders from the Holy Quran ‘Will
they not, then, try to understand this Qur’an? Had it come from anyone other than God, they would have found in it many an inner contradiction.’ (al-Nisa 4:82) ‘Blessed is He in whose hands is the Kingdom- who is powerful over everything- who has created death and life, so that He might test you as to which among you [proves that he] is good in conduct.’ (al-Mulk 67: 1-2) ‘Say: The Truth has come from your Lord. Let him who will, believe it, and let him who will, reject it.’ (al-Kahf 18: 29)
MARRIAGE & FAMILY 14
By Shaikh Yasir Qadhi
18 By Aysha K
RECIPES By Aaapa
12 By Jenifer Hebert
by Jenifer Hebert
VOICES 24 By Zaynab Ansari Abdul Razacq
CONVERTS 26 Interview with Ms. Brown
HOBBIES 30 By Aisha-Anastasia Izgagina
Letter From the Editor Contributors Samiha Islam: ”My Muslim Veil” writer and editor.
Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim
In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful!
Zaynab Ansari Abdul Razacq: Guest writer
Shaikh Yasir Qadhi: Guest writer Jennifer Hebert: ” My Muslim Veil ” writer and editor
Shannon Feugil: Graphic Design Dana Atiyat: Graphic Design Aapa: “My Muslim Veil” writer. Aisha-Anastasia Izgagina: Editor in Chief and Founder of “My Muslim Veil Magazine” firstname.lastname@example.org Advertise: email@example.com Letters to the Editor: info@mymuslimveilmagazine,.com Write for us: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.mymuslimveilmagazine.com
My dear readers, I welcome you to the first issue of “My Muslim Veil”: a magazine for Muslim women of all ages and backgrounds. “My Muslim Veil” is a dream project that has started in 2009 with many struggles and challenges in making this dream come true. Strong will and desire to serve the humanity and our beautiful religion kept us moving forward to accomplish this task. By the will of Allah Almighty, we are finally happy to announce our first issue. We will be publishing quarterly, and we hope to get support and subscriptions from our readers, which is essential for us as a starting point. “My Muslim Veil” is pleased to present you information covering all aspects of Muslim women’s lives, such as family and marriage life, healthy lifestyle, spiritual well being, reminders and teachings based on the Quran and Sunnah, real-life stories and inspirations, and much more.
We Muslim Women need to be at the forefront teaching about things in our Deen. We should be the ones explaining about Hijab, removing misconceptions, being active in Daw’ah and our communities so that we can come together in striving for goodness, uplifting the Ummah and trying to make the world a better place. These thoughts are what pushed me to create a magazine for Muslim Women, where I could finally take a chance to show the world who Muslim Women truly are. I also Welcome Women from other cultural backgrounds to read our magazine and come together to have better understanding of Muslim Faith. Sincerely, Aisha-Anastasia Izgagina Founder and Director of “My Muslim Veil Magazine”
By Sheikh Yasir Qadhi Women get married to find a special best friend. They want someone who will share their secrets, laugh and joke with them, love them, cherish them, adore them, be romantic with them, and make them feel beautiful and sexy. They want someone who will be attracted to them emotionally through their personality, and attracted to them physically through their bodies. A woman wants a partner who will strive together with her through this life; laughing and rejoicing through the good times, and sticking by each other and supporting each other through the bad times. She wants a man strong in his deen who can stand up and take the responsibility of the household, and help raise the children in accordance with Islam. A woman wants her husband to be her friend, companion, and soul mate. Any good husband must realize that a woman’s primary need is emotional. He must take into account the prophetic tradition “The best of you are those who
are best to their wives,” [Sahih al-Bukhari], and then strive to be the best to his wife. Men have been assigned the responsibility by Allah to take care of their wives, and this entails treating them with love and respect, and striving to make them happy. If a husband can fulfill his wife‟s primary needs, not only will Allah reward him, his wife will be content with him, and together the couple‟s life will be more harmonious. Moreover, when a woman‟s needs are fulfilled she will be more willing to fulfill her husband‟s needs. The best way to satisfy a woman‟s emotional needs is to listen to her and respond to her with compassion. By listening to her intently, with your undivided attention, and taking a genuine interest in what she has to say, she will feel loved, cherished and important. Realize that when she approaches you with her problems, she doesn‟t necessarily want solutions, she just wants sympathy and understanding. Being Romantic A good husband must love his wife both as a person (meaning 6
her personality) and as a woman (meaning her physical body). One of the ways a man can fulfill this emotional need is through romance. During the „honeymoon period,‟ romance is easy for most men. This is because everything about the relationship is new and exciting; the man is continuously daydreaming about his wife and is eager to communicate that to her. It is easier for men to be more attentive and show extra tenderness during this phase. But true romance is when a man continues this even after the „honeymoon‟ phase. It is when the husband makes an effort to keep the marriage alive, thinks about ways to please his wife, and genuinely strives to make her feel loved and appreciated. Unfortunately, after the honeymoon phase, romance loses its appeal for most men, and in fact becomes awkward and even unnatural! But Alhamdulillah, it is not difficult, and with the correct intention and mindset, romance can easily be re-learnt.
1. Spontaneous Romance: These are little acts that the husband does to show affection without being prompted. The key concept here is to be spontaneous. The element of surprise is crucial! It is not what you do that is as important as simply doing something personal. This could include sending her a message saying “I love you” via text, email, or a little sticky note placed in a convenient place. Other examples include buying her an unexpected gift, or giving her a tight hug or a passionate kiss when she least expects it. These acts keep the marriage alive, as it injects excitement and heat into the relationship. This spontaneity helps melts away any resentment that inevitably builds up.
2. Responsive Romance: These are acts that the husband does in response to a situation at hand. They are done when a husband finds his wife emotionally or physically down. For example, ordering food from outside if her day was hectic; giving her a massage if her back is sore; or simply sitting down with her and listening to her if she is upset about an incident that happened. These acts show genuine care, and strengthen and deepen the marital bond. The fact of the matter is that many men are scared by the word „romance‟; they feel that it is beyond them. Yet true romance is nothing more or less than appreciating a woman for who she is, looking after her, and caring for her. Remember the beautiful hadith in which our beloved Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam compared women to „…fragile vessels,‟ and reminded us to be gentle with them (Reported by alBukhari). Emotionally, women are different than men, and protecting these fragile vessels in every way possible is the best (and most natural) job men can do. “Like a Garment series” www.likeagarment.com/ebook/
STRESS & By Shaikh Yasir Qadhi
“Like a Garment series” www.likeagarment.com One major difference between men and women is the way that men and women handle stress. This is especially manifested when an argument occurs. Frivolous arguments are inevitable in any marriage – whether it‟s to do with who does what chores, or not living up to an expectation, or making a comment that was deemed inconsiderate. When two people are living together, friction is simply unavoidable. However, the way one spouse deals with stress can sometimes compound the problem, and propel a trivial dispute into a serious argument. Having an understanding of the way men and women deal with stress helps to alleviate some of the pain. Men generally deal with stress by thinking through the problem – by withdrawing into an imaginary bubble (some have called it a „cave‟) and having some silent time to reason through the issues.
Women on the other hand, want to talk through the problem with someone and reach a solution via communication. If a petty argument occurs, typically the woman wishes to communicate her feelings in an expressive manner, which irritates the man and causes him to leave the room. This is a recipe for disaster. Whatever issue the couple was arguing about becomes secondary. What goes through the woman‟s mind is “I can‟t believe he left me in this state! I‟m trying to solve the problem with him and he just walks away!” The man, on the other hand, thinks to himself: “I can‟t believe she got so emotional. I need to leave this stressful area, calm down, and think things through!” During a heated argument, the last thing a man wants to do is talk about the issue. And the last thing a woman wants to do is not talk about the issue. So what is the solution, as both want opposite things?
Men need to understand that when they walk away to be alone, the woman feels that he is acting heartless and therefore doesn‟t love her anymore. To her, communication equates to love. The time that he is silent and alone is the most painful time for a woman. Women need to understand that if a man stops talking and leaves, it just means he needs time to himself to think things through. It does not mean he doesn‟t love her or doesn‟t care; in fact, if he didn‟t care he would not be stressed and would not need to think things through! For a man, staying and talking about things will make it worse and cause him more stress. Such scenarios can be dealt with by each spouse communicating his or her needs.
DEALING WITH STRESS “...To her, communication equates to love. The time that he is silent and alone is the most painful time for a woman…”
The husband tells his wife that he wants some time to think things through, that insha Allah the two of them will work things out, but he can‟t concentrate on a solution when she is so emotional. The wife, in turn, understands that his wanting to „withdraw‟ is his way of trying to solve the problem, and asks for a time when the two will later talk over the issue. This way, the man gets his space, and the woman knows that she will get to a conclusion. Of course, throughout all difficult situations, Muslim couples should always turn to Allah and ask Allah to make their affairs easy for them. Remember that duaa solves all problems if done properly! And remember what Allah has promised in the Qur‟aan to couples who have a serious argument, and yet they are sincere in trying to reconcile and take all the proper steps: “…if the both of them truly desire reconciliation, Allah will bring about a reconciliation between them” [Nisaa; 35]
is a an inspirational designer with her clothing collection for all women , whether it be Muslims or Non Muslims. She designs for women who come from various backgrounds and traditions. In her collection there is everything you can find for yourself and choose where to wear it. Everything from stunning tunics to modest and sophisticated full length dresses. Her unique aesthetic vision captures the essence of modesty without compromising style. Seema believes that fashion and modesty are not opposing forces. When harmonized they create beautiful silhouettes that are both feminine and modern. Seema's elegantly beautiful evening and bridal wear get clients calling from California to Canada.
Following is the interview with the designer, where she shares her personal experience in the Fashion business and how it all started.
“..Design is not just how it looks, but how it fits, how it feels, and how it flows..”
How old is the business? Established Fall of 2008 Modern Mary's boutique opened its doors to the public December 2010 outside of DC in the Northern Virginia area. Modern Mary's full collection can be viewed at the boutique by appointment only. Custom evening and bridal wear available. We offer complimentary fittings when creating a custom design. During special events, for large group viewings, or when working with brides, we offer sweets, tea, and sparkling drinks. The Boutique offers my customers an exclusive shopping experience without compromise to privacy and comfort. Can you tell our readers more about yourself, your background, where you were born and your educational background? I was born and raised in New York in an Uzbek Muslim household. After moving to Virginia I completed my BA in Psychology, and received my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology after getting married. I now reside outside of the Washington DC area with my Husband and two children.
You are a great inspiration for many Muslim Women. Can you tell us how it all started? I’ve always had an understanding of fashion and a strong sense of how to style. When shopping through the malls, there was no difficulty in creating a modest wardrobe, rather a challenge. Actually, the challenge was exciting and refreshing; kept me hunting through each store in the mall. Women would always stop me and ask me, “where did you buy that?” or “how did you think of putting that outfit together?” Noticing the comments and compliments, I knew I was doing something right. And what is better than putting together an outfit? Designing an outfit! I want women to have a fun and comfortable shopping experience. The only way was to bring the designs to them. I know what elements are needed to make a modest yet modern design. Design is not just how it looks, but how it fits, how it feels, and how it flows. Not only is designing a passion of mine, but I am good at it. After I started designing, I knew that an online store was not enough, which is why I decided to open up a boutique. 15
The Boutique offers my customers an exclusive shopping experience without compromise to privacy and comfort. The boutique's modern and high end appeal reflects the same values as my brand, Modern Mary. What inspired you to get into Fashion Design? The Muslim community is an underserved market in the American retail industry. Retail shops and the clothing industry at large cannot exclude these women when it comes to fashion and shopping. These women are consumers, but continue to struggle finding products that fit their needs. Women shopping at major clothing brands have to be creative in order to piece together a modest look, which can be difficult, expensive, and at times uncomfortable depending on the weather. Modern Mary’s styles create a hassle free shopping experience. Every piece already fits with the guidelines of their faith while offering styles that are fashionable. From fabric to cut, the designs are thoughtfully sold. Modesty is never compromised with my designs. Was it a struggle to start a business as many of us know it’s very challenging? It’s a struggle everyday but Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), my passion for designing is what keeps me going. I have a vision but anchored to the ground by reality and resources. Being able to balance the role of being a mother, a wife, a designer, and an entrepreneur- this is my every day struggle. When starting a business, it’s more than just pursuing a passion.
How old is the business? Established Fall of 2008 Modern Mary's boutique opened its doors to the public December 2010 outside of DC in the Northern Virginia area. Modern Mary's full collection can be viewed at the boutique by appointment only. Custom evening and bridal wear available. We offer complimentary fittings when creating a custom design. During special events, for large group viewings, or when working with brides, we offer sweets, tea, and sparkling drinks. The Boutique offers my customers an exclusive shopping experience without compromise to privacy and comfort. 16
Yes, you have to be passionate about what you are doing, but you also have to be persistent, willing to learn, and ready to play various roles. I can’t run a business by just designing- I had to learn to be a manager, bookkeeper, marketer, etc. Thankfully I have a great support network I can turn to when seeking advice and guidance- from family to colleagues. What inspires your designs? What inspires me is a desire to adhere to my values without limiting myself to preconceived notions while designing for women who come from various backgrounds and traditions. I want to design for ALL women, and my designs are for ALL women. Does the preparation of a season's collection take time? Yes! I’m already sketching designs for my Spring 2012 collection. It’s not so much as being ready, but an excitement for seeing the final pieces from the collection; being able to transform a vision into a beautiful garment. Hearing reviews about the designs, now that’s the part that is rewarding. What does your Company name stand for and why you chose this name? I wanted a name that evokes beauty, modesty, and confidence while speaking to all women; capturing different cultures, various faith traditions, and diverse languages. A woman that embodies these values is Mary (peace and blessings be upon her). She is an inspirational figure. I want to inspire women with my designs. I believe that modesty is beautiful; that fashion and modesty are not opposing forces. Hence the name, Modern Mary. Business Name: Modern Mary modest designs | modern concepts Website: www.modernmary.com Address: Boutique located outside of DC 8300 Old Courthouse Rd., Suite 231 Vienna VA 22182 Photographer Naiffer Romero. Models Ana Maria Lawson and Oksana Anel Hairstylist- Simon Bechara and Makeup artist- Arika Riedell Burton
By Aysha K
YOU After reading many of the Islamic forums and engaging in conversations with other Muslim women, I came to realize that many of us face the same problem while wearing Hijab, and that is hair loss. But is it really Hijab that causes our hair loss? Or is it our lack of caring for our bodies under the Hijab that cause it and the many other health problems? It happens very often that many women forget about caring for their beauty and neglect their looks. It is true that we need to be focused on the inner beauty, but looking good also plays a major role in day-to-day life.
Many sisters will agree with me that sometimes we just put Hijab on and do not care how our hair looks like or whether it is combed or not. Wearing Hijab doesn’t just mean wearing whatever and not caring for your hygiene and body cleanliness. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, instructed that whomever has hair must honor it. This means taking proper care of our hair. Moreover, remember that cleanliness is half of our Deen (religion). Don’t just forget about your hair and think that because you wear Hijab nobody will see your hair. It's important to comb and style your hair in an attractive manner, no matter who will be around to see it.
“..Make sure to be constant, and do not leave your hair without care..” 18
Whether you lose hair or not, remember that Muslim women have been wearing head coverings for decades, and probably, you’re not the only one who has the same problem. Keep in mind that InshaAllah Allah Subhana wa Taala (praise be to Him The Most High) will reward you for every single hair you have lost, if you are sincerely wearing Hijab and doing it for the sake of Allah and obeying His command.
There are a few things you can do to fight this problem. Make a checklist for yourself, and check your health, including your diet, eating habits, how much time you spend on fresh air, and whether you exercise daily.
6. It is not recommended to wash your hair in very hot or very cold water.
1. Check your Hijabs.
7. Do not put shampoo on dry hair.
What fabric are they made of? Cotton works best for your hair. You can use cotton or silk under scarf, and make sure don’t make it too tight, as this can be a major factor causing your hair to break and weaken.
Make sure to wet it first, and apply shampoo slowly.
8. Brush your hair before washing.
2. Keep yourself hydrated.
It is a well-known fact that brushing your hair before washing makes it also easy to brush it after washing. For short hair, it is recommended to comb from roots to the ends, and for long hair, brushing from the ends to the roots is advised.
Drink a lot of liquid, and make sure to use conditioner or other types of oil for your hair.
3. Give your hair rest.
9. Don’t comb wet hair.
Don’t tie your hair too tight in ponytail, and give your hair a rest when you take the Hijab off. Put some oil, and massage your head before you go into the shower. Loosen your hair as much as you can when you are at home.
It is better not to comb wet hair, but if you have to, use a wooden comb.
10. Dry your hair naturally. If you have to use a hair dryer, it’s better to use cold air.
4. Use silk pillowcases Another suggestion that really does wonders is to use silk pillowcases. Your hair will glide easily over the pillow as you move during the night. Regular pillowcases cause static electricity in your hair, making it vulnerable to breakage. You can buy a yard or so of pure silk fabric, and cut it to make small bandannas that you can use as under scarf under your Hijab.
It is important to realize that caring for the hair, as for any part of your body, has to be a constant process and not just from time to time. You cannot just take care of your hair for a few days and then leave it, hoping that it will remain healthy for the rest of your life. Make sure to be constant, and do not leave your hair without care. By taking this simple advice, your hair InshaAllah will stay beautiful.
From all aspects of caring for the hair, washing your hair is the most important component. These are a few things to remember: 19
Recipe by Jennifer Hebert 1 whole skinned and quartered chicken. If you only like dark meat or only like white meat go ahead and use four legs and four thighs or four breasts. 4 cups pitted green olives 3 cups medium sliced carrots 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms of your choice, you can substitute with potatoes if you don't like mushrooms 1 head of garlic finely minced 1 finely chopped onion Salt to taste Pepper to taste 1 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. cumin 1/2 tsp. coriander 1/2 tsp. caraway Pinch of powdered cloves; use caution with the amount, it's strong 1 bay leaf
1. In a large pot, Dutch oven or pressure cooker over medium high heat add the olive oil. Brown the chicken and spices.
If the gravy isn't as thick as you would like you can add 1 tbsp. of corn starch to 1/2 cup cold water, stir it well with a fork, breaking up all the lumps.
2. Add the onions, garlic, mushrooms and carrots. SautĂŠ them for 5 minutes, the onions will be golden/ brownish. Don't burn your garlic.
Add it to the pot and let it boil for a few more minutes
3. If you are using a pressure cooker you won't need more than 2 cups of water, if you are not you will need a quart or more. Add water, olives, your bay leaf, half the cilantro and bring it up to a boil. Cover and let it cook down until everything is soft and you have a nice thick gravy. If you are using a pressure cooker, bring it up to pressure and cook for about 10-15 minutes. until it's the thickness you like.
Pressure cookers are a life saver and a good investment that you can use all year round! Great for cooking lots of food for guests too! It also saves a ton of time if you have a big family and find that the day goes by and you haven't found time to cook; they cut the time into a third! A must for working women who come home tired and don't want to spend two hours watching over food. You really can skip sautĂŠing and just toss everything (including frozen meat) in it, close up and let it cook. Pressure cookers are a great blessing!
Boureks Recipe by Jenifer Hebert These are eaten with soup and are pretty simple to prepare. Almost any non-wet ingredient can be used. This recipe is for chicken bourek. Of course you can use any meat or make it meatless by substituting the chicken with cooked and mashed potatoes or cooked and drained spinach.
1 lb. chicken breast sliced thin Salt to taste Pepper to taste 2 tsp. turmeric 2 cups ricotta cheese 1/8 cup finely chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley 1 package of spring roll papers 2 cups sautĂŠing olive oil
1.SautĂŠ the chicken, spinach or boil and mash the potatoes. 2. Cool the chicken then season with pepper, salt and turmeric to taste. 3. Add the parsley to the cheese, stir well to combine. 4. Bring the spring rolls to room temperature, thawing them according to the directions on the package. 5. Place an individual spring roll paper on your counter, add a spoon of the cheese to the middle of the paper. Place a couple of strips of chicken on the cheese, press it down. Starting with one edge, fold over the filling, then the opposite edge fold over the filling as well. Pull the bottom up over the top and roll it away from your body. It should look just like an egg roll. Set them on a plate, seam down, covered with a cool damp cloth. Every spring roll brand I have ever bought has the directions on the package, just follow one of the shapes and you cannot go wrong! Continue until the spring roll papers or the filling has finished. 5. In a cast iron skillet, Dutch oven or chicken fryer heat the oil but not to smoking point. 6. SautĂŠ them until they are golden brown. Turn them on each side making sure they are completely brown. 7. Place the cooked boureks on paper towels and then onto a serving platter arranged with slices of lemon.
Illness of the hearts By Samiha Islam What is Ghafla? The Arabic word Ghafla, coming from ghayn-fa-laam )(ل ف غexplains an illness that is prevalent in many of our hearts today. It gives the meaning of being unmindful, neglectful, heedless, and is many times referred to as an intentional turning away. So in the case of Islam, what does one turn away from, and what symptoms, causes and losses arise from such a state?
Turning Away from… When a person is described to be in a state of Ghafla in Islam, it means that he or she is turning away from and being heedless and negligent of the duties towards Allah and the requirements of a Muslim. Also referred to in the Quran, it also implicates those who are heedless of the remembrance of Allah. They contain no dhikr (remembrance) of Allah in their hearts, be it Quran or any general form of dhikr. In a broader scope, it includes those who do not pay attention to their end in the Hereafter, who neglect the accounting to come on the Day of Judgment and do not see the Ayaat (signs) of Allah. Allah describes them in the Quran as even worse than cattle, as they have hearts yet they do not understand; they have eyes yet they cannot see what’s right, and they have ears yet they do not hear the truth. And surely, We have created many of the jinns and humankind for Hell. They have hearts wherewith they understand not, they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones. [7:179] Just as there are physical illnesses of the
body, Ghafla is a type illness of the heart. This illness may not be tangible to the human sight but has great affect on a person’s spiritual health. It creates love and attention only of the life of this world and removes the striving towards the Akhirah ( Hereafter). It prompts people into becoming unaware of the accounting to come and the sins they are committing. Ghafla is thus, for the human heart, one of the worst types of diseases to contract. Why is this so? Because even a person who is a sinner may commit sins day and night and at one point become tired of sinning. They may see the reality of their wrongdoings and return to Allah with Tawbah (repentance), and by that, become better then they were before, out of fear of their sins. But a person -- when they are heedless, will never become sick of their sins, as they do not see them or believe they are doing them. Due to their condition of neglect for themselves, they have no idea of right and wrong in their actions! And what a dangerous situation this becomes. As when a person does not see their sins, they will of course not repent of them. And to compound upon their state of sinning and neglect, is the seal is placed upon their hearts, ears, and eyes. Allah says in the Quran: They are those upon whose hearts, hearing (ears) and sight (eyes) Allah has set a seal. And they are the heedless! [16:108]
This seal now prevents any good from coming in and a person increasingly inclines towards wrong. Despite this, since they can no longer make use of their most important faculties, they are not able to realize the direction they are heading. Thus, Ghafla is
what leads a person to sinning and also a cause for a person to continue in that direction as well. Amazingly, though this disease has such ill effects and is so prevalent in our societies- so little do we do to prevent it. When physical diseases come out into notice, we rush to find their symptoms, causes and cures. Yet often when we are told of such a disease of the heart, we do not seem to take the same precautions. Therefore, to counteract this act of heedlessness – Let’s look a bit more into this disease of Ghafla and check ourselves as well:
Certain Symptoms of Ghafla
When doing an action, you neglect the intentions or are devoid of them – Imam Ahmad rahimahullah before doing any action would advise to pause for a few moments before doing it, simply to bring about the right intentions. Shaytan (Satan) freely enters your house/area (though this cannot be seen, its effects may manifest). Being devoid of dhikr within your life.
Belief in the longevity of life – The `ulama(scholars) would say that one of the big soldiers of Shaytan is “Future” (i.e. believing that a person will do something in the future, that they will do good actions/repent at some point later). Being away from Gatherings of Remembrance / Knowledge. Not remembering Death and its reality. Being immersed in the enjoyments of Life. Following all whims and desires. Associating and being friends with those who are in Ghafla. Failing to judge/interrogate ourselves. Not doing dhikr.
Seek repentance after sinning, and even if you have not sinned constantly stay in a state of repentance: “Truly Allah loves those who turn [to Him] in repentance, and He loves those who keep themselves in purity.” (2:222) Make friends with those who keep you in the remembrance of Allah. Read the Quran with understanding. It is a cure for the heedless hearts, but only when they take the time to understand it.
Losses (while in Ghafla)
Inability to understand the Quran. Loss of the mercy of Allaah subhana wa ta`ala( Praise be to Him the Most High). Prevention from the acceptance of Du`a( Supplication)
ing on a journey. On his way, he finds himself confronted by a lion, which begins to race towards the man in order to attack him. The man, seeing this, begins to run for his life but soon gets tired. At that point, he notices a tree and quickly climbs it. However the lion, refusing to give up, is still present beneath the tree waiting for the man to fall. The man feels himself losing strength, but knows if he falls that he will be eaten, so he turns to the other side to jump off the tree. Yet there, beneath him, he finds a pit of snakes. There are now two things which could happen. Looking further down, the man realizes that there are two beavers eating away at the trunk of this tree, one black and one white, and notices his tree is about to fall. In the midst of this all, the man spots some bees and a honeycomb near his branch and begins to draw out and eat the honey.
Let’s check our hearts…
Constantly interrogate your Nafs ( soul), and see what it is doing wrong. Question yourself: What is preventing me from doing better? Remember to be engaged in Dhikr. Although recommended throughout the day, specifically remember to do the morning and evening adkhaar. And in doing so, try to understand it is you are saying, rather than reciting by rote memorization. Visit Graves to remember death (according to most opinions, this is only allowed for men). Seek refuge within your Duas ( supplications) from falling in ghafla. Praying Qiyaam ul-Layl( mid-night prayer) with at least 10 ayaat: The Prophet sallahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever spends the night by reciting 10 ayahs is not deemed to be among the heedless…” [Sihah Sita, Vol. 9, Hadith
no: 3003; Abu Dawoud, Salat 326 (1398)]
The Prophet sallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: “Call upon Allah when you are certain of receiving a response, and remember that Allah does not answer a du’aa’ that comes from a heedless heart.” [Narrated
Shaytan is with the those who are heedless. Regret in the Akhirah ( Hereafter) of what they missed while in Ghafla. The above is by no means a complete list of all causes and conditions of this disease. It is only a small outlines some certain characteristics. Ultimately it is up to us to look towards our states and critically judge ourselves. Are we in a state of heedlessness? Can we see some of these symptoms in our lives? Have our hearts been touched by these outcomes? And in the end, it is up to us to rectify our situations, if and when we fall into heedlessness, before it is too late.
Imagine this Parable A man passes by a forest while travel23
The question might come out now… what is this parable supposed to mean? Well quite simply, the man represents us as individuals. The lion is our fate- whatever accidents, events, or sicknesses which may cause our life to end abruptly. The tree is our life, and the beavers of the two colors are the day and night, meaning the time which eats away at our period of living. The snakes and the hole represent our graves; thus, even if a person is not afflicted by sudden death, their graves still wait for them at the end of their lives. And lastly, the bees and the honey represent the sweetness of life. It represents all that causes us to forget our surroundings and the situation we are in. It represents the Ghafla which causes us to become so concentrated on its sweetness, that we forget reality. The real question then is – will we be able to stop eating that honey quickly enough to realize the reality of our lives? Or by then… will it be too late? May Allah protect us from all that which makes us heedless. Ameen
By Zaynab Ansari Abdul-Razacq
Women’s Role in Islam
One of the oft-discussed themes within popular and academic discussions on Islam is that of women and gender. In Muslim circles, the topic of women in Islam is frequently brought up, with much emphasis on hijab, gender rules, and the proffering of (apologetic) explanations for women’s role in Islam. Often it seems like the two groups are talking right past each other. Non-Muslims continue to view Muslim women through the sensational and stereotypical portrayals in the news, movies, TV shows, and novels. Even academic discourses on gender in Islam often cannot accept the idea that devoutly religious, modest Muslim women possess a form of agency. Muslim women are eager for the world around them to know that they exist and that they have voices, thoughts, and opinions, yet they are often stymied by the lack of opportunity in their own communities to be heard as well as the overly-pedantic and apologetic tone of much of the intra-Muslim conversation on gender.
I stand as an observer between both worlds, a daughter of a woman who converted to Islam at a time when American women of her generation were embracing second-wave feminism. I was born in the West, spent part of my formative years in the Middle East, and studied in both secular Western and traditional Muslim institutions. Given my positionality, I can view Islam and gender from the inside out or the outside in. This vantage point has led me to reconsider the merits and flaws of much of the current discourse on Muslim women. Moving forward, I urge those concerned with elucidating the role of women in Islam to stop reinventing the wheel. Muslim women expend a lot of energy pointing to lofty Islamic ideals and calling for rights that were revealed and lived out over 1,400 years ago. Case in point: I was invited to speak at a university recently and was surprised to hear that women were discouraged from assuming leadership positions within certain student organizations. Apparently, some of the men in the organization felt the women should avoid public, administrative positions and, instead work behind-the-scenes. The men felt that it was not proper for the women to deal with members of the general public, which would surely happen if they were to assume leadership positions. My surprise came not from hearing this characterization of the men’s position; it is not at all uncommon for Muslim women to be told that they cannot have a presence in public life. My surprise came from the fact that the men promoting this viewpoint were young and not, presumably, burdened by the cultural “baggage” of their parents. I had naively assumed that the glass ceiling in Muslim organizations had been shattered by the historic election of women like Dr. Ingrid Mattson and Hadia Mubarak to lead ISNA and MSA National, respectively. To hear that this glass ceiling still existed was intriguing for a number of reasons. 24
First, as an historian-intraining, I believe it is critical to look back at early Muslim societies to see how they conceptualized gender. Almost always, after reading the Prophetic seera (biography of the Prophet Muhammad, God bless him and grant him peace), one comes away with the distinct impression that women played hugely important roles in the Prophet’s life and the formation of the first Islamic community. I am genuinely puzzled that we are still debating the lawfulness of women’s participation in the public sphere when we know at least enough about the first Muslims to conclude that their women had a distinct public presence. After all, we know these women's names and quite a bit about their lives. For example, Umm Waraqah was a woman who commanded such an important role that the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, consulted her in matters of importance, appointed a muezzin for her, and ordered her to lead her household, and even the people in the neighborhood, in prayer. Muslim scholars differ over whether she led men in prayer, but the point is: This was a woman with a public
role. Umm Waraqah was also a woman of means, being single and having inherited wealth from her father. Another good example is Lady Khadija, a devoted wife and mother. She supported the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, enabling him to free his time for devotions and bringing the word of Allah to the people. She was a trusted adviser, taking the Prophet to her Christian cousin for reassurance after the Messenger of Allah was visited by the Archangel Gabriel. She was an extraordinary woman so much so that the Prophet never married any other while married to her. Now one could argue that Lady Khadija’s role was “behind the scenes,” however, to discount her role as a leader is ingenuous. She was a leader. Second, another reason for my surprise at the constraints that Muslim women face today draws from the gulf between the community’s unrealistic expectations and the lived reality of modern societies. Are we not aware of the vast cognitive dissonance we create when we tell women, on the one hand, to be shy, modest, and quiet, then we send them out in public in full hijab, as literal walking symbols of Islam? How do we do that, yet tell them they can’t speak up, that they can’t interact with men, and that they can’t be leaders? Considering that most Muslim women in the
West, at some point in their lives, must leave the house, would it not be in the community’s best interests to empower these women to be effective spokespersons? By denying our women leadership roles, we are disempowering the community. These women shoulder a huge burden when they walk outside, sometimes amid hostile headlines about Islam, and are automatically identified as Muslims, yet are not equipped with the intellectual tools and psychological confidence to speak. Finally, my surprise at the situation I encountered at the university owes to the women as well. And I don’t just restrict this discussion to this recent episode. Women don’t empower themselves by setting men up as their adversaries, whether it’s in the mosque, the local organization, or at home. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give peace said, “Women are the twin halves of men.” (Abu Dawud) As I have learned from my mentor, Dr. Fareeha Khan, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies at Willamette University, everything that affects women will, ultimately, affect men, children, families, and communities. Let’s widen our myopic focus on women’s role in Islam and, instead, consider the role of women, men, and children in Islam. After all, we are all in this together.
ey to Islamâ€?
Interview with Ms. Brown, an American Muslim, who reverted to Islam and gave up her home country seeking pleasure of Allah and peace in her new life as a Muslim. This story is a great inspiration and reminder for each one of us. Look at your journey and ask yourself these questions to remind you that every journey comes to an end. Do you take Islam for granted? Do you struggle to become better? Do you think about the end of your journey and what will be the result?
Can you tell our readers more about yourself and what is your background? I'm an American originally from Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA. Growing up, I always felt a connection to God even though my parents were never very religious. My dad never talked to me about God and my mom used to take me to Catholic Church with my stepdad and sister. I never felt anything in church so I decided to do some research on my own. When I was about 12 years old, I used to ride my bike to the library and read books on each different religion. I always thought, I’m not going to be Catholic just because my mom is. No matter what I read, nothing made 100% sense to me. I was always searching for something with more truth to it and no matter how many churches I went to, I could never find the answers.
What was the first thing that attracted you to Islam and what brought you to Islam? 3 years ago, I decided to move to Los Angeles by myself. I packed everything in my car and drove 5 days to get to California. I didn't know what I would do there, but I always dreamt about moving there and I didn't know
why. At the time I was in search of the "fabulous life”: the glitz and glamour of living in a big city. After a year of partying, going to nightclubs, working on music videos, commercials TV, and working with celebrities, I felt that I needed something more fulfilling. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), my prayers were answered. A few months later I was waiting at a friend's house and I saw a copy of the Holy Quran on the bookshelf. While I waited, I flipped through it and instantly became intrigued. In the months that followed, I always asked to read it when I was there. I found that I couldn't put it down and
How has Islam changed your life? The most important way Islam has changed my life is that I'm now living for Allah and inshallah(Allah’s will) Jannah (Paradise)...and not for the life of this world. I have given up so so so so so much and sometimes it was hard but it was all definitely worth it. The things I used to think were so important mean nothing to me. Examples of this are: always wanting to have fun and living like a free spirit, always being stylish and fashionable, listening to music constantly, hanging out with friends that didn't have the same beliefs as me, always doing things my way and not listening to anybody, and so on. Alhamdulillah I've traded hairstyles for Hijab(head covering), partying for praying, and music for Masjids (mosques). I am WAY happier now!
What was the reaction of your family and people around you 28
who learned about your decision? I waited a year to tell everyone. The reason for this is because I wanted people to see that I was still a normal person and not a "terrorist" or "extremist" or any other stereotype they may have about Muslims. When I finally told my parents, they were happy for me. They've always supported EVERYTHING I've ever done whether they agreed with it or not. As for my friends...well I lost a lot of them. But I'd rather lose fake friends in exchange for the Real Allah.
Can you share with us your first experience with Hijab (head covering)? When I flew into Agadir, Morocco, I wanted to put on a Hijab(head covering) the second day I landed. So I took my backpack with me and wrapped myself up for the first time in the airport bathroom. This was important for me because it symbolized that I was a new woman in a new country with a new religion, living a new life. I was proud to be wearing it. It was kind of fun at first because I felt like I was in disguise like a ninja. I mean, people could see my face but I liked that nobody knew what I looked like underneath it all. I felt really good inside and happy to be in a country where women are free to wear it without criticism. People always say that "You can worship Allah everywhere. You didn't need to move to Morocco to worship Him."
True, You can worship Allah everywhere...but freedom to practice your religion is not. There's no way I could wear Hijab(head covering) and keep my job in the USA. I know many reverts that were fired from their jobs when they adopted Hijab (head covering).
Every new Revert to Islam goes through identity crisis at some point. Was it hard for you to adopt new lifestyle? I'd say the hardest part for me is having to follow rules. My whole life I've always been independent and my parents have always given me a lot of freedom. They felt that they instilled good morals and values in me and always trusted that I'd make the right choices. Now, I sometimes feel like a bird in a cage. I don't like being told what to do and living with a Muslim family is a lot different than living on my own in Los Angeles. I'm not used to telling people where I'm at every second of the day, having a curfew, not being allowed to go certain places and so on. I've never felt an "identity crisis" really, I just feel like I'm an entirely new person. My birth name is Jaime (pronounced "JAY-me") and my new name is the closest thing to itJamila. I won't be changing my name on any paperwork and I will always be Jaime. Jamila is a nickname I suppose and I'm happy with either one.
How do you like living in Morocco? Where do I start? I love living in a Muslim society and I have no plans to ever live in the USA
again. Sometimes it's difficult, though. I miss the conveniences of home like having a car to get wherever I need to go, using a washer and dryer, eating the food that I'm used to (I particularly miss Mexican and Chinese!) seeing my family and friends, grass, stores where you can find what you're looking for, organization, structure, education, and so many other things. Living in America was so easy and at the time I had no idea how lucky I was to be born there. Now that I see things from a 3rd World perspective, I realize how different these places really are. One of my favorite parts of Morocco is the pace of life here. There is absolutely no sense of urgency at any time. Everything is easy-breezy and nobody runs on any kind of time schedule. I did a post on my blog called "The Heartbeat of Morocco" and that explains further what I mean. Also, most of the people here have hearts of gold. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly. And the children are so happy here!
How do people react to you as American Muslim? Everyone is so happy when I tell them my story. So many people have asked me to tell them about my journey alone to this foreign land. One time, I was at a cafe inside of a hotel using the wi-fi and I heard the call to prayer for Asr( Afternoon prayer). I took a sajada(prayer rug) and prayed in a hidden part of the corridor. One of the hotel workers, a woman also named Jamila, saw me praying and waited for me when I was done. She introduced herself to me and started crying. I asked her why and she said, "Here I am a born Muslim wearing jeans, flipflops, and no Hijab(head cover29
ing) and I see you an American girl completely covered in Hijab (head covering) stopping to pray on time. It makes me examine my own life and question what I'm doing." I've also received emails from sisters who have read my blog that told me I inspired them to wear Hijab(head covering). If I inspire people in a positive way, that's the best feeling for me.
What would you like to say to those who are interested in Islam? Go slowly. Do not try to change yourself or your life overnight. There are many aspects to Islam â€œ...Do your and even a whole liferesearch, time isn't enough time to think for understand it all. It's important to learn on yourself, your own and not let and give other people influence or mold you too much. your heart Take the time to underto Allahâ€Śâ€? stand the religion and pray to Allah for ease in making changes. Never ever change for someone else--only for the sole intention of pleasing Almighty Allah (Praise be to Him the Most High). Converting to Islam is a huge commitment but the best choice you could ever make in your life. Self-purification is the key that opens the real doors of happiness and peace. Think about what's important in your life now and what's not. Do your research, think for yourself, and give your heart to Allah. He will always take care of it, protect it, and fill it up with true love.
Hobbies By Aishaâ€“ Anastasia Izgagina
Being a stay-at-home Mom can be very stressful and monotonous for many women, especially those with a first child. Motherhood brings along not only a new baby, but having to adjust to a completely new lifestyle and to give up on many things. Now you find that the free time for things you used to enjoy, and have time for to do exclusively for yourself seems to just vanish before you know it. Many mothers are left angry and frustrated at their disappearing life. But the truth is â€“ being a stay-at-home Mom does not mean you have to give up on everything! Personally, as a stay-at-home Mom, finding hobbies that were for myself even throughout a hectic schedule around my son uplifted my spirits, gave me an opportunity to bring joy and smile to others, and even helped to inspire
ions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and learn from them. A book group is a great way to get to know other sisters. At
ent patterns and projects can be found everywhere. Try them out! If you get really good at this, you may even be able to sell some of your work for a profit.
the same time, having the goal of reading one book per month forces you to take time for yourself.
Stay in shape and take care of your body. Most women find that they don't have the same body as they did before they had children. This is natural but often brings frustration to many women. Working out gives you that chance to feel stronger, gives you a more positive self-image, and provides that much needed boost of energy (especially when you have children!).
Remember, a healthy Muslim makes a strong Muslim. Learn some new recipes, and take some time out to read about nutrition and healthy eating. Use this newly acquired knowledge to make your meals tastier and healthy for your whole family. Being a Mom is not an easy job. You are responsible for the wellbeing of your children and whole family. Thatâ€™s why it is very important to take time to think about a healthy diet and how to maintain healthy life style. Eating the right foods will also give you more energy which you definitely need in day to day routine in order to keep
I encourage every sister to take some time out and find a hobby which will occupy her time in a beneficial way and give her the chance to cultivate her skills. other stay-at-home Moms. I encourage every sister to take some time out and find a hobby which will occupy her time in a beneficial way and give her the chance to cultivate her skills. If youâ€™re not sure where to get started, here are some hobbies that have been helpful for many stay-at-home Moms:
Read whatever interests you and make time for yourself. It can be very beneficial for you to read Islamic books about improving your marriage and how to raise children the Islamic way. Spend part of your day learning your Deen, it will always bring you benefit and teach you how to live your life in best way. Reading yourself also gives you the opportunity to set a good example for your children. You can have them read a book at the same time as you are reading. This also gives you a chance to bond and interact with them. Discuss things that you read and also encourage them to read about Companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, about their lives and their character. Also, why not start a book club with other women? Invite other sisters to your home and discuss a book, read about the lives of the Women compan-
your household and yourself happy. If you like to write, you can make a blog and share your thoughts and ideas with the world. Depending on your interests and what you wish to write about, whether it is public or private is completely up to you. Writing can relieve stress in your life and give you a creative outlet. You can also use the skill of writing in giving Dawah. Make an Islamic blog and write about your life as a Muslim, new things that you have learned, about Hijab and how do you feel wearing it etc. You might change many misconceptions about Islam through your efforts.
If you are skillful and have a lot of patience, this can be a great hobby for you. In order to start, you can visit the local craft store where you can find a huge variety of materials to make jewelry with. You can make jewelry for yourself, for your friends and families or even to sell at local craft fairs.
Learning sewing can give you endless possibilities of things you can create. You can start off by making simple things, like a baby quilt and then move on to tackling larger projects. Now with online resources, templates and instructions on many differ-
7.GET INVOLVED Getting involved with the community and charity organizations gives you that opportunity to benefit others and take an active role in the Ummah. Whether it is by helping distribute donations, speaking to or contacting families in need, cooking for a homeless shelter, or any other charity event. Even volunteering once a week to visit older people, who may need your help, assistance or even just company, is a great thing to do! Remember, any act of charity is greatly rewarded in Islam, even if it is just saying a good word or smiling at someone. In the end, there are so many different hobbies to choose from. Take some time out yourself to think about how you would like to spend your free time. As a mother myself, I do recommend for every sister to find a hobby that can benefit others and they enjoy. Remember, being a stay-at-home Mom does not mean that you are tied only to the home. Try to go out and meet other Moms, other people with similar interests, or simply find some time for yourself to take a walk and get a bit of fresh air. Do not give up on yourself just because you are now a mother. Find hobbies that you enjoy and will bring positive results to your well-being. This will translate not only to helping yourself, but your family and all those around you.