Archive for islam

Niqaab

Posted in reflection with tags , , , on September 28, 2008 by servant of the most merciful

This was written from one niqaabi sister to a non-niqaabi sister to try and help her understand her reasons for wearing Niqaab.

As salaam alaykum,
I know that when ever you have asked me the question why I wear niqaab I fail to explain it. I can only say in most ways I cannot and inshaAllah I will flow with my fingers and give my account of wearing hijab.

In the beginning I didnt understand hijab properly, before converting I understood by covering yourself you could say to someone ” These are the limits you have with me. Dont push it further”. You could keep unwanted attention away. So as a westerner I dressed modestly in western clothing.

Two weeks after converting I realised that by wearing hijab people could then know that I was muslim. I was no longer this white girl walking down a platform at Liverpool Street, with ideas and values anyone could guess. By wearing hijab people knew I was muslim and the values I stood for.

The abaya came two weeks after. It felt like an extension to my hijab. Something that not only helped identify me as a muslim but gave me a greater protection. Where the western clothing lacked in trying to disguise my figure or how skinny I was, the abaya fulfilled the very purpose. I lost myself in the abaya. In loosing myself I found a new freedom. As the fabric flowed with my stride I felt more feminine.

Hijab and abaya, some feel is sufficient. I felt protected, however being white, and wearing hijab and abaya brought me attention. Both from non-muslims and muslims alike. Although I attracted more attention it was a different kind of attention. It wasnt “o my days, shes buff”, it was the astonishment of a white person being muslim. It made people think what on earth did she leave her past for? And for muslims some of them found it hard to understand why, just as equally as the non-muslims, just why I could convert. What good is there in Islam? It doesnt matter who you are. You can still lack knowledge. We are learning from the moment we are born to the time we die.

On converting, I started watching different sisters and how they went about life. A number of these sisters wore the niqaab. Dressed all in black, faces covered. Somehow it all seemed really serene. They all had this peaceful quality about them. It deeply intrigued me. I didnt look to the fiqh opinions or the fatwa of different groups. What attracted me to niqaab was the meaning it gave to those sisters and eventually myself.

Upon talking to a sister that wore it and my interest about it, she gave me my first niqaab, a day I can remember well. This small piece of fabric held so many meanings, so many mixed feelings to those that wore it, and those who would have to ” confront” it. Quite aptly I decided to try it one day upon traveling to uni. There was such a stark contrast from the previous day. I felt anonymous, people actually stared at me less, and I reveled in the freedom. I no longer had to worry about how my face looked, I was able to ditch the makeup, what little I still wore. I could loose those inhibitions, those insecurities I had developed in High School about how I looked and what people thought of me.

It wasnt until a couple of months later from that morning that I decided to start wearing niqaab more while out. I started wearing it to university and whilst out by myself without my parents knowing. They were still getting used to me being muslim, let alone niqaab.

Spiritually I now feel niqaab is my safety blanket. If I loose it I loose it all. Such deep feelings stem from the meaning niqaab now has to me. I mentioned how wearing niqaab I feel anonymous, and this gives me freedom. In a society where so much emphasis is placed on identity and in particular the face, many sisters deem wearing niqaab totally inappropriate. How can those who place so much value on the face cope with the niqaab, a small piece of fabric. A classic hadith that is used in tazkiyah or tassawuf  goes along the lines of the Prophet SWS saying ” Travel in the world as if you are a stranger”. The main interpretation being that we should be so far from the dunya that we are a stranger to it. For me by wearing niqaab I become that stranger. I travel through the world detached from it.

There is a barrier between me and the world.

When I walk down the street people give me looks but nothing else. There may be the odd shouted insult and so forth. But these stem from people of little understanding and who feel intimidated by a small piece of inanimate fabric. People who are after passersby attention to sell items dont try to sell me their items. The dunya no longer sells itself to me. I am in my own world and by far it is not the dunya. My world revolves around trying to please my Lord. To try and embody those who surrounded the Prophet SWS. Like the wives of the Prophet SWS who are the best examples for muslimahs. Muslims forget the contribution they gave to Islam yet for them niqaab was fardh, and they got past this.

So here I am saying that I love the niqaab because it isolates me from others. But surely as social human beings it can be lonely?? Another general principle in tazkiyah or tassawuf as well as expressed in many ahadith is that being alone is better than having bad company. And having good company is better than being alone. By wearing niqaab yes I am lonely but I dont have the bad company. Because the bad company is repelled by the niqaab. Those who are able to get past the niqaab, and communicate to me, both muslims and the odd non-muslim have some morals or good qualities to them that make them good company. For the non-muslims they have a perception, an open-mindedness and questioning mind which will inshaAllah lead them down to accepting Islam. I need not explain muslims being good company for them being muslim in the first place gives them these good qualities.

InshaAllah I hope this helps you with trying to understand why I wear it.

Like  I said niqaab is what you make of it. If you make it a barrier you will have a barrier. We are our own worst enemies. But if you look past it to what makes a person a person, their experiences, their morals and values, their personality, you will find the true essence of a person. People who are in the dunya are so far removed from their fitrah they have forgotten who they are. They have forgotten what they need and as such they find something missing. They are never able to connect with a person because they focus on everything except that essence. Everything external and not the internal. And of course they miss the most important thing of all. That link with Allah. The relationship between the master and the servant.

I pray that none of what I say here offends or insults. Please forgive me if it does as this was never my intention.

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Its My Duty To Speak Out

Posted in reflection, Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 1, 2008 by servant of the most merciful

I saw this and thought it really brought to light what implications war has.And here it is. Told as it was.

From Darkness to Light

Posted in Quran with tags , , on December 11, 2007 by servant of the most merciful

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

هُوَ الَّذِي يُنَزِّلُ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ

لِيُخْرِجَكُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ

وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُمْ لَرَؤُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“He is the One who sends to His servant Manifest Signs, that He may lead you from the Depths of Darkness into the Light and verily, Allah is to you most Kind and Merciful”

Surah Al Hadid(57) verse 9

Regrets

Posted in Poetry, reflection with tags , , , on November 29, 2007 by servant of the most merciful

Slouching on the floor,

Forever no more,

The gift that was given,

Abused then fire ridden.

Why that way?

Cut Up

Posted in reflection, Self reflection with tags , , , , , on November 27, 2007 by servant of the most merciful

During the weekend I took the tube like any normal londoner. It was saturday and unsurprisingly rush hour. The carriages were packed, not as bad as weekdays yet everyone was in a mad rush. A mad rush to get off before they got pushed back by the mad mob waiting to get on the same carriage.

Trying to be courteous I let the lady who was waiting before me get on the train first. In the process I was nearly cut up from behind by a nun who seemed to be in that same mad rush. I must say I was rather amused. Anyone who knows me for a long time knows I have a slight fascination of them. But a nun? Desperate to get on a central line carriage?

Am I being too inquisitive here? But I thought that nuns in particular gave up their worldy possessions and way of life to devote themselves to their God? Therefore what was her rush? I know we are all human but those so strong in their faith must have good character of some sorts.

I can understand some muslimahs and I firstly point to myself who forget to uphold such adab like that of the Prophet SWS. We have to maintain a balance between the duniya and our ibadah. InshaAllah our ibadah being heavier than our dealings with the duniya. But sometimes we get caught up by it all and do rash things. Like trying to jump onto trains before they’ve even come into the platform. However if you are able to devote yourself entirely where is the excuse? Perhaps christianity doesnt place such an emphasis on good character as Islam does?

The Prophet SWS was described by Aishah Umm Al Muminīn RA as a walking embodiment of the Quran. His character was renown throughout the arab peninsula before he was even blessed with Prophethood. And when he was blessed with the revelation, his character shone furthermore in his actions and decisions.

The ahadeeth relating to his character must run in its thousands. Al Adab al Mufrad being just one of the hadith books dedicated to such ahadeeth. The following are just a couple of examples.

The Prophet, SWS said: “Among the best of the believers in faith are the best of them in conduct, and the kindest to their families.”
[at-Tirmidhi]

Jabir Ibn Abdullah, radhiallahu anhu, narrated that the Prophet, said:
“The most beloved of you and the closest of you to me on the Day of Resurrection are the best of you in conduct. Surely, the most unbecoming of you to me on the Day of Resurrection are the talkative, the boastful, and the mutafayhiqun’
The Companions asked, ‘We know the talkative and the boastful, who are the mutafayhiqun?’ The Messenger of Allah replied, ‘The arrogant.'”
[at-Tirmidhi].

In a world where we are so eager to instill our own ideas and ideologies where does this leave the ummah. No doubt in pieces, cut up, arguing!

Over the past couple of weeks the universities have started holding talks. I have also started to attend the City Circle talks which bring in a variety of speakers. The underlying message of all the talks I have been to is “to let be”. A couple of weeks ago a speaker called Abu Muntasir (one of the founders of JIMAS) gave a talk ” The Hypocrisy in Our Zeal”. I was left alongside a couple of friends a little speechless at what he said which was very true.

There is a great deal of revival in people and indeed movements saying practice the Quran and Sunnah. You must practice it as much as possible. But the one point that Abu Muntasir illustrated was that although we are so keen to follow the actions of the Prophet SWS we overlook the character of the Prophet SWS.

How many people that you have come across that say such things like”quran and sunnah!”and yet do not have such adab. In most cases they have zeal as is rightly said of most of those who discover the deen, whether new to it or born muslim starting to practice. Yet are so hot headed to make takfir, claim this is biddah, that is haram they cut up people and put people off.

Abu Muntasir used the opportunity and openly apologised for being such a person back in the early days of the salafi movement. That with age people tend to mellow out and now he sees some of the actions resulting from his own. That one also gains wisdom alongside the knowledge. The knowledge that wasnt first present.

Our hypocrisy lies in firstly and foremost not looking for the hypocrisy in ourselves. It shouldnt be first in the muslim walking down the street in front of you but yourself. Because only with change in ourselves can we bring changes in others.Anyone who has come across the phrase Jihadul Nafs will understand.

The Prophet SWS didnt bring so many people to Islam through rash thinking and harsh rational. People came to Islam because of the awe and love they felt for him when they met him. The Prophet SWS’s character was so immaculate that not even his enemies could find fault with him.

Our zeal, our ignorance blinds us to think that if we keep on at certain people they will change. Whether it be in the fiqh that you think is so wrong or the aqeedah. But in all honesty it wont. Allah is the only one that has power to do such things. Its true you may be the means but there is no garantee. Hence the “let it be”, as when Allah decrees, it will happen. And inshaAllah because of your good character and conduct that person will be attracted to you.

Therefore before looking at the character of that nun I should look at the character of myself. Instead of perhaps trying to get on the train before her I should of let her on aswell with that lady? She was in more of a rush than I was by the looks of it.

May Allah give us the adab we need to be close to the Prophet SWS on the day of Judgment.

Ameen