Being SMART During The Last 10 Days

Nabiha started Ramadan with a good kick, zealous to complete her goals and take the steps towards the changes she wanted in her life. She was extremely excited, following her strict regime ‘To a T’. Extremely careful not to skip a day, for she had made up her mind to change and make the most of this blessed month. She did good, until the tenth day of Ramadan hit, the first third, she was feeling over-confident, and her motivation started to wane – just a little. She decided to give herself a break – just for one day.

BAM – the last ten days are approaching faster than she imagined; the first ten days surely hadn’t been so fast had they?  She felt guilty, having become lax with her goals and fell further behind than she would’ve dreamed, her to-do list now piling up. Her motivation was pretty much a thing of the past, and she had to struggle and fight to try to catch up. She felt despair…would she be able to make the most out of the last ten days like she’d originally hoped?

Many of us face a similar, if not the same, situation as Nabiha. We start off Ramadan all excited, rearing to go, only to crash and burn before the end has even arrived, feeling unmotivated with the idea of ‘throwing in the towel’ becoming more and more appealing as the days speed by.

A common mistake that we make is setting unrealistic goals that are general and broad.  After falling into this same trap time and time again, in countless situations a wise teacher taught me how to make SMART goals. Which means making your goals:

 S – specific, significant

Make sure that your goal is well defined and that it’s clear to anyone has basic knowledge of your goal.

M – measurable, meaningful, motivational

Measure whether it’s obtainable and how far away is the completion.

A – attainable, achievable, action orientated

Make sure you can actually achieve your goal within the set measured time that you’ve set above.

R – realistic, reasonable, result-orientated

That you can realistically do it with your given resources available, taking your level of comittment into account.

T – time based

Make sure you have enough time to complete your goal and not too much time as this can affect your project performance.

One valuable lesson my mom taught me was to eat my ‘Elephant’, goal,  bite by bite rather than trying to swallow it whole. As we can undoubtedly vouch from experience, it’s extremly easy to get overwhelmed by looking at the big picture. Even though the last ten days of Ramadan are almost here, it’s not too late to re-evaluate your goals and readjust your plan, using the SMART template above as a guide.

The Miracles of the Prophets: Part I-Prophet Musa (Moses)

Man has a natural distaste towards submitting to another and only does so if he is forced by the latter’s physical strength, mental superiority or if he has shown feats far beyond the abilities of other men. In the first two cases he yields reluctantly, while in the third he yields because of his belief in a higher force or power defying all human comparison. For this reason, Allah, Exalted is He, has favored His messengers, not only with revelation but with miracles, clearly proving the divine origin and truthfulness of their messages. The inability for people to imitate these divine miracles of the Prophets made their societies willing to bear witness to Allah’s Unity and obey the commandments of the Prophets.

The early Prophets were sent to a specific time and people due to the difficulties involved in communication and transportation. Thus, their miracles were particularly suited to the areas of knowledge in which their people excelled in, in order for the miracle to have maximum effect. There are three main examples which I would like to share that clearly demonstrate this point. First of Prophet Musa (Moses), the other of Prophet Isa (Jesus), and lastly that of Prophet Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon them. Their examples go into great length and therefore I will divide them into three articles.

Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, was raised amongst the Egyptians, a civilization that was far advanced in its time and home to some proud and mighty people. It was ruled by Firaoun (Pharaoh) who thought he was mightier than God and greatly oppressed his people. In this time the people were well noted and versed with the knowledge of occult arts, sorcery and magic. Hence, Allah, Exalted is He, bestowed upon Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, related miracles that would prove to these people the truth of his message.

The following is a clear example, right from the pages of the Quran: Prophet Musa, after having received his message was ordered by Allah, Exalted is He, to return to his people, despite being a fugitive, to confront the vicious Firaoun and implore him to follow the truth.

[Pharoah] said, “If you take a god other than me, I will surely place you among those imprisoned.”

[Musa] said, “Even if I brought you proof manifest?”

[Pharoah] said, “Then bring it, if you should be of the truthful.”

So [Musa] threw his staff, and suddenly it was a serpent manifest. And he drew out his hand; thereupon it was white for the observers.

[Pharaoh] said to the eminent ones around him, “Indeed, this is a learned magician. He wants to drive you out of your land by his magic, so what do you advise?”

They said, “Postpone [the matter of] him and his brother and send among the cities gatherers.”

So, magicians were assembled for the appointment of a well-known day. And it was said to the people, “Will you congregate That we might follow the magicians if they are the predominant?”

And when the magicians arrived, they said to the Pharoah, “Is there indeed for us a reward if we are the predominant?”

He said, “Yes, and indeed, you will then be of those near [to me].”

Musa said to them, “Throw whatever you will throw.”

So, they threw their ropes and their staffs and said, “By the might of Pharaoh, indeed it is we who are predominant.”

Then Musa threw his staff, and at once it devoured what they falsified. So, the magicians fell down in prostration [to Allah]. They said, “We have believed in the Lord of the worlds, The Lord of Musa and Harun [Aaron].”

[Pharoah] said, “You believed Musa before I gave you permission. Indeed, he is your leader who has taught you magic, but you are going to know. I will surely cut off your hands and your feet on opposite side, and I will surely crucify you all.”

They said, “No harm. Indeed, to our Lord we will return. Indeed, we aspire that our Lord will forgive us our sins because we were the first of the believers.” Ash-Shu’araa 29: 29-59

These magicians, who were the best and most powerful in their land, had clear motivation to win and gain the favor of the tyrannous Firaoun, yet when they saw the miracle of Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, his message was clearly and undeniably the truth. They displayed this by falling in prostration, disregarding and having no fear of the Pharaoh’s punishment, bearing witness to Allah’s unity. The Pharaoh’s plan of gathering the people and having them bear witness that Musa was a joke and a mere magician completely backfired as they must’ve watched in awe and amazement as these great sorcerers abandoned the Pharaoh and bore witness to the truth.

In the coming article, I will discuss another example, that of Prophet Isa (Jesus), peace be upon him, and how he too had a miracle that was tailored to the areas of knowledge in which his people excelled. Afterwards I will move on to the last Prophet’s, peace be upon him, miracle, a miracle that is still at work and can be seen in our lives today.

Staying away from Music

Music. Something that the youth is freely hearing these days, sometimes we come up with excuses like: “it is just a song” or “what is the big deal?”, ignoring the fact that it’s haram without exception in Islam.

Growing up in Saudi Arabia, I’ve noticed that Music is something which both adults and youth listen to, which is a shame considering Saudi is a Muslim country.

I’ve spoken to people who talk about Allah and the Quran, prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings he upon him) but at the same time they’ll say things like “I’m not sure why when I was growing up my teacher would say Music is haram” eventhough Islam provides a clear explanation for this issue.

The point is, as Muslims we have to try our best to obey the rules of Islam, not taking the ones we agree with and leaving the ones we disagree with. It is not a matter of opinion, but it is what Allah has told us to do.

So if you are somewhere or with someone, and music is being played, do not be afraid to say: “can you please turn that down” or “can you please turn that off” and explain why you are making this request. Dawah is something we are obligated to do, and it is not solely for non-muslims, we too are in need of the remembrance. Do not feel embarrassed or awkward, and do not feel concerned about them judging you, we are here to worship Allah swt, and we should continuously strive enjoin the good and forbid the evil regardless of the situation we are in.

We should encourage ourselves to develop a relationship with the Quran, as when we have the words of Allah with us, we will find that they suffice and we need nothing more.

This is an Ayah that always sticks with me when I am thinking or talking about this subject –

﴿شَهِدَ عَلَيْهِمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرُهُمْ وَجُلُودُهُم بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ﴾
(their hearing (ears) and their eyes and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do.) means, all their deeds, earlier and later; not a single letter will be concealed.

The Noble Qur’an – Luqman 31:6

And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Qur’an) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-Fire).

And this hadith:

Hadith – Bukhari 7:494

Narrated Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari that he heard the Prophet saaws saying,

“From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks, and the use of musical instruments as lawful. And (from them), there will be some who will stay near the side of a mountain, and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, ‘Return to us tomorrow.’ Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and Allah will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection.”

Arrogance: A hated characteristic in Islam

There are several characteristics that are looked down upon and detested in Islam, one of the greatest being arrogance. Undoubtedly, arrogance is a sin that is hated by Allah swt, and has no place in the religion of Islam. Muslims are constantly encouraged to be humbled and modest before their Lord and with other human beings too. In an authentic hadith, the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam said: The one who has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his heart will not enter Jannah” [muslim] SubhanAllah! This alarming hadith shows the severity of this sin, contemplate the size of an atom for a minute, it is tiny! And yet the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam is warning us that even if we possess such a tiny amount of arrogance, we will not be amongst the inhabitants of paradise.

The reasons why arrogance is a toxic characteristic and sin are many, I will highlight a few below to enlighten us on this issue, and remind myself primarily, and other servants of Allah swt to beware about being arrogant.

Arrogance as a disease:

It is no secret that many diseases, although present within our bodies, are manifested externally. For example, an individual may have a cold or flu, and although it is a sickness from within the body, its symptoms and effects are visible outside too. One would be able to detect someone who has a cold due to the person sneezing, perhaps looking visibly weak, coughing and so forth. Arrogance is a disease amongst the diseases of the heart. Like soot, arrogance covers the heart in darkness once it penetrates it, and its symptoms and effects begin to manifest themselves. A person with arrogance isn’t appreciated in any community, they are perceived as being haughty and proud, ungenerous and neglectful in many regards. Arrogant people are careless about what they say and how they act, hurting many others in the process. Such a disease doesn’t affect a believer in this life only, but in the hereafter too.

Why is arrogance despised in Islam?

Arrogance is one of the sins that can lead to kufr (disbelief). The one who is too arrogant fails to realise what he or she was created for, and doesn’t fulfil their objective in life. They consider themselves too proud to worship Allah swt as commanded. The one who has arrogance is generally too caught up in his narcissistic self and trapped within his vain desires to adhere to the commands of Islam, arrogant people are constantly disobeying Allah swt, and too proud to seek His forgiveness.

Arrogance corrupted those before us.

As we know, the prophet muhammed sallallahu alayhi wasalam is the final of many messengers and prophets sent by Allah before him. Among them were Ibrahim alayhi salam, Musa alayhi salam, Nuh alayhi salam and so forth. If you read and ponder over their incredible stories, you will find that their primary goal was to make their people worship Allah swt alone without associating partners with Him. Many of the people who denied or rejected the clear claims of these messengers did so out of arrogance, they refused to single out Allah swt in worship, and chose the actions of their forefathers over their intellect. Arrogance is also a characteristic of Iblees, as we know from the Quran, he was too proud to obey the command of Allah swt and prostrate before Adam. So when any of us are behaving arrogantly, we must remind ourselves of where this sin might take us, and Allah’s protection is sought.

I hope that this short reminder has instilled fear within us, and reminded us on the importance of abstaining from being arrogant Muslims. Many of us have and can fall short on this aspect, and the way to cure it is through worship of Allah swt, humbleness, piety and gratitude. We must reflect upon our weaknesses and deficiencies, and realise the Greatness of our creator. We mustn’t look down upon others, keeping in mind that they could be better and more beloved in the sight of Allah than us.

Dua: its virtue and importance

Dua (supplication to Allah) is one of the many gifts Allah swt has bestowed upon His slaves. It captures the very essence of eebadah and Tawheed, and it is an act which Our Lord loves. The prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam said: “Nothing is more honourable to Allah the Most High than dua’a” [sahih al jami no.5268], illustrating that it is an action which holds much significance in our religion. To highlight this further, in another hadith, rasul sallallahu alayhi wasalam said: “The most excellent worship is dua’a” [sahih al-jami no.1133] and once again, this shows its importance. Like many things in Islam, the topic of dua’a is broad, it can be tackled from different angles and discussed in length. The purpose of this post is to encourage Muslims to remember this act of worship, and to make it something that we consistently perform in our day to day lives. I will discuss some of the benefits of dua’a below.

A believer is always in need of Allah. Whether we are going through hardship, or our lives are running smoothly, it is in our nature to need Allah: “O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is Rich (free of wants and needs) Worthy of All Praise”, notice that in this verse Allah is not solely addressing His slaves, but the whole of mankind, illustrating that it is the entire human race is in need of Our Creator. When we need something from Allah, we ask Him by way of dua: “Ask Allah for everything, even the lace of your shoes. If Allah does not provide, it will never be available.” [Ibn al-sunni, no.349- hassan. Supported by at-Tirmidhi and others.] SubhanAllah! The prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam is telling us to ask for everything, even something as small as a shoelace, because Allah swt is the All Provider. At this stage in your life, there may be things which you are desperate to have, have you considered asking Allah for them? Perhaps you consider it impossible to acquire, but it is important for us to think positive about Allah. Recognize that everything is in His hands, and that He can make the impossible possible. “And He will provide for Him from places he never imagined. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient.” [surah at-Talaq]

Dua is one of the ways through which we build our connection with Allah, it is a means by which we can grow closer to Him. A beautiful feeling settles upon a believer when he realises that Allah has responded to his request. A similar feeling should occur when Allah doesn’t respond, it could be that He is saving you from something great that you do know of or realise. Allah swt says: “And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. And Allah knows but you do not know.” This verse brings comfort to a believer, knowing that whatever situation he finds himself in, then it is good for him. It could be, for example, that you want to marry a specific person. You ask Allah for that person but you don’t end up having them, before you become frustrated and upset at your Lord’s decree, take into consideration that He may be saving you from something great. We do not see or know what Allah swt Sees and Knows, from your perspective, this person is your dream spouse. However, Allah knows that he/she will make your life a misery if you end up with them, for example. He/she might not be able to offer you that happiness you want from them. It could be that this spouse was in fact okay, but Allahs swt has someone even better for you. A balance of patience and trust is what it takes, and do not worry because beautiful things await.

This life tires us. Some of us may not even be able to remember the last time we felt peace and tranquillity, everything from money to studies to kids stresses us. Dua’a is a relief from distress, worry and anxiety. When you make dua’a, you are settling your affairs with Allah, acknowledging that He has power over everything, and that He can make a way out of every stressful situation for you. Dua’a is an action, it is something that prophets and messenger always performed, and we see the benefit of this action as we read the Quran. They called upon Allah, He answered and helped them in unimaginable ways subhanAllah.

And so, brothers and sisters, I urge you to always make dua’a to Allah whether your life is running smoothly or you find yourself in a hard situation. Settle your affairs with him, and always remember to make dua’a for yourself, friends and family for the hereafter. When you see the Muslims being oppressed and harmed, do not feel hopeless at the fact that you cannot physically do something to help them, grant them your dua’as. Allah is in control after all, and you would be surprised the change that one dua’a can bring.

The sin of Backbiting

IMG_2673Backbiting is something that is hated by Allah, and this is evident in our religion. Sometimes we may talk about someone and think: “Oh they are not here so it is okay for me to say this”, or “they cannot  hear me so there will be no consequences”; but this does not matter, even if the person is not here, the most important thing is that Allah can see and hear us, He Witnesses everything. Backbiting is really bad characteristic and leads to many bad deeds being written. It is also very two faced and can lead to lying.

If you say something to someone, or act a certain way around them, and then behind their back you are speaking badly about them or insulting them, what type of person does that make you? Trustworthy? Loyal? Or infact a two faced and dishonest individual?!

Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasalam said :”Do you know what backbiting is?” They said, “God and His Messenger know best.” He then said, “It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike.” Someone asked him, “But what if what I say is true?” The Messenger of God said, “If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him.” (Muslim)

Just as Allah states: “Do not kill yourself.” Hence, if you kill others, they will try to kill you. Allah also says in the Qur’an: “Woe to every slanderer and back-biter!” (Surah Al-Humazah, 104: 1)

So we have to be very very careful about what we say and do without someone being aware behind their back. Also, we must treat people how we would like to be treated. Anyone of us would hate it if someome spoke negatively about us behind our backs. Is it fair to treat someone in a way that would upset or offend you? The answer is no. So then what gives you the right to do that to them?!

Please think again the next time you think to say or do something you know is wrong. And remember – “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet.” (i.e. abstain from dirty and evil talk, and focus on saying good and worthy things only).

Friendship is a gift

Every now and then we may try and convince ourselves that we don’t need friends to get us where we are in the life. However, that is not entirely true, we do need someone to help us up and get us started again. Even when we are started, we all need that one big push to get us going smoothly throughout the roads ahead of us — That is a friend.

A friend is someone who you can trust and speak to. They will always remind you of Allah when in a bad situation and make dua for you. As a friend, you will do the same, not  forcefully but out of kindness which is what brothers and sisters do in Islam. Not only for people you know, but the people who are in need of help. It’s true that there will always be someone who you will clash with and perhaps even spread hatred towards,  but we should refrain from allowing these negative feelings to develop, and allow shaytan to corrupt our friendships.

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do you know what gheebah (backbiting) is?” They said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “Saying something about your brother that he dislikes.” It was said, “What if what I say about my brother is true?” He said, “If what you say is true then you have backbitten about him, and if it is not true, then you have slandered him.”

Be very wary on choosing your group of friends, because the ones that will get you to Jannah will remind you what is Haaram and what is Halal. The people who will push you towards Jahnam will be the ones who say “It’s only for this day, why not pray tomorrow.”Always remember the wise words of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam, Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.”( Sunan Abu Dawood)

Don’t let anyone control your life and make your decisions, consciously or subconsciously, because as at the end of the day you are responsible for your actions. Personally, I choose my friends based on their deen, personality and how they treat themselves rather than their appearance. Honestly, choosing someone with a good appearance over their personality is like looking at a cake with good icing and design but when you take a bite of it, it tastes disgusting.

To be honest, I’ve never really had friends I thought being alone was better as I wouldn’t have friend issues. However, since two years living in Saudi Arabia, my mind set has changed due to me feeling sick of always being alone and not having anyone to share my joy with. I then started going to events, speaking to people, and I even entered a group with a lot of friends. Sadly, my friendship with one of the girls didn’t last and it became a lot harder than I expected. In the end it took me five years to find the  right friends that I needed. Surprisingly, they are the ones who are actually part of Muslim Youth Society masha’Allah and I couldn’t be happier.

Abu Musa reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, the parable of a good friend and a bad friend is only that of a seller of musk and a blacksmith. The seller of musk will give you some perfume, you will buy some, or you will notice a good smell. As for the blacksmith, he will burn your clothes or you will notice a bad smell.

Friendship is a gift, do not be afraid and hold yourself back for fear of rejection. Share the gift that you possess with someone else and strive to be that friend that gives a person in need the push that helps them get to a better place.

Salah: The Reminder of the Muslims

It’s no secret that we live in the 21st century. We now live in a demanding world where we have smartphones buzzing every couple of minutes as we run to school or to our jobs, we are extremely busy with distractions popping up every single second of our day. In today’s society, it’s extremely easy to get caught up in the moment and forget our purpose or the fact that life is short, slipping away and that this dunya’a, this world, is a mere test, a blip of our existence, a mere blink of an eye.

Allah, Exalted is He, says in the Quran: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” Adh-Dhaariyat (51):56

As Muslims, we’re well aware that our purpose in life is to worship and please Allah, Exalted is He. We also know that the second pillar of Islam is Prayer, an obligation on us five times a day. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Muslims who hold the thought that Salah is a burden, that it is something for Allah and not for us and that we don’t need it. However, the fact is that this mentality is completely twisted, because the truth is that your worship is not a gift to Allah but rather, it is a gift from Allah to you.

Allah says in the Quran: “…Allah is free of need, while you are the needy…” Muhammad (47):38

For some, the average Muslim, it can be hard to wrap your mind around this concept. How is it a gift to us? That question is one with a lofty explanation. I could write hundreds of pages on how exactly Salah benefits us. However, I want to touch on one specific concept, the very tip of the iceberg.

As I stated before, we live in the buzz of the 21st century, but our purpose is still to worship and please Allah, Exalted is He, and the fact is, that this dunya’a is still a test. So, this begs the question: how does praying five times a day help us, in our busy lives, to fulfill our purpose?

The key to this answer is that one of the reasons why salah is required, is because it is a reminder.  A reminder to the Muslims to wake up, take a step back from all the bling and distractions this world has to throw at us. It is a time to reevaluate our position on where we stand with Allah, and how exactly we plan to fulfill our purpose.

To be honest, it grieves me to hear that the average Muslim feels that they have no time for Salah and that they feel it is a burden. Because let’s be real, for the average Muslim, Salah takes about 30 minutes out of our day, divided by five, that’s five minutes at different times a day, out of the 1,440 minutes that our 24 hours hold. With those five minutes, at different times of the day, it’s our reminder that yes, even though we are busy we can’t allow ourselves to be so caught up in this dunya’a that we become too busy for our Creator and forget the eternity that we’re all striving, hoping and praying for.

However, not only is Salah a reminder, but it’s also an open opportunity where Allah is asking you to turn to Him and relieve all your hardship and sorrows and ask for anything you desire. It’s your one-on-one conversation with Allah, the All Knowing, The Most Forgiving.

Allah says in the Quran: “And your Lord says: Call upon Me; I will respond to you…” 49:60

As I’ve mentioned, this small fact about Salah is just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t even begin to cover the hundreds of gems within Salah. However, what I really hope and pray to Allah, Exalted is He, for the Muslims who do have a hard time getting up to pray and find themselves missing Salah, that this will help you realize that it really and truly is a gift from Allah, Exalted is He, to you and not the other way around. Take advantage of this gift, of this reminder, and make a conscious effort to take just 5 minutes out of each part of your day to take a breather and return to your Lord, reassess your situation and reset your intentions.

Realize that Allah has created us as imperfect beings so He does not expect perfection from us. However, He does expect us to try our best and when we slip to turn back to Him. For Allah said in the Quran: “Surely Allah loves those who turn unto him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves.” 2:222.

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, also said: “Every son of Adam is a sinner, and the best of sinners are those who repent.” At-tirmidhi.

Hijab: trends or Islam?

One of the most beautiful things legislated in Islam for Muslim women is hijab. Contrary to what many people believe, the hijab is not merely a piece of cloth that we drape over ourselves as a symbol of oppression. It is not something we wear because we are forced to by male guardians, or because we have no rights. The hijab is worn because Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has commanded us to wear it, it a reflection of our inner faith, and manifestation of our Islamic identity.

For many of us young women, wearing the appropriate hijab is a struggle. Sadly, we are not replicating the attitude of the female companions, who instantly wore it upon having the ayah of Quran revealed to them: “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty, and not to display their adornment except that which appears ordinarily thereof, and to draw their veils over their necks and bosoms…”. Rather, the hijab has become a kind of fashion statement for us. Many Muslim women observe it in a way that completely contradicts its intended modest purpose. Scholars (may Allah have mercy upon them) have written at length concerning hijab and how it should be worn, we have no excuses nor are we deprived of the knowledge; rather we are purposely making the choice and jumping into the bandwagon of trends, allowing societal standards to corrupt our Islamic identities. We have become ashamed of being distinguished, modest women.

Knowing Allah, and understanding some of the wisdom behind laws in Islam is essential if we want carry out the actions commanded by Allah. When you learn more about hijab, its revelation and benefits, you will be drawn to wear it always and proudly.

Observing the hijab enables us to become closer to Allah, we are performing a good deed by wearing it for His sake, and Allah loves that His slaves obey Him. Hijab symbolises liberation and freedom, we distinguish ourselves from other women. We don’t abide by fashion trends which other humans have decided, nor do we feel the need to copy or imitate. We are proud to wear that which the Creator has ordained, and not the creation.

By wearing hijab, we are judged by our intelligence and intellect because our beauty is shielded. In a society that is so fixated on ensuring that women look good, and judges you by your appearance, we are an exception to rule. People have no choice but judge us based on our conduct and speech, and not appearance.

Hijab is a type of shield and barrier against evil. We do not put ourselves in a vulnerable position by wearing immodest clothing and displaying too much of our body, thereupon looking appealing to men, being looked at or worse than that. We treat our bodies like jewels concealed in treasure boxes, they are not displayed whatsoever.

Another benefit is that our Islamic identities, which we should be very proud of, are manifested. Anyone can distinguish a doctor or policeman for example, because of the outfit they wear. Likewise, people can distinguish Muslim women based on their hijab. I once read a quote that goes as follows: “So what if their beauty is a topic in magazines? yours is a topic in the Quran!”, subhanAllah! If we understood the Greatness of Allah, and valued Islam as it should be valued, we would strive to expose our Islamic identities as ordained in the Quran and sunnah. We would not be afraid nor embarrassed about wearing other than what fashion commands, knowing that our brand is straight from the sunnah.

And so I remind myself, and my sisters to take care about Hijab and how we treat it, as mentioned above it is not merely a piece of cloth which we drape upon ourselves, it is a command from our lord. An outfit decided by Allah Himself, we should take care to wear it exactly as He wants, and encourage other women in the ummah to do so as well.

Do it for the sake of Allah

We have all been placed on this earth for the same reason: To obey Allah, abide by His rules, and the objective is for us to get to Jannah, in shaa Allah.

Doing things for the sake of Allah is immensely important. When there is something we do not feel like doing, or our mums ask us to do something for her, we must do it for the sake of Allah firstly, and then  because we want to please your parents. We are here to serve them and it is all part of our test. Doing things for the sake of Allah is one of the conditions needed to have our deeds accepted, and grants us many rewards.

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honour.” (Quran 17:23)

If I’m being completely honest, I myself am guilty of this sometimes, so it is very important to keep reminding yourself that everything you do is for the sake of Allah, and you have to make sure that your niyyah (intention) is correct, otherwise you will be performing actions void of rewards. If we just go about our day to day lives forgetting to remember Allah, and our sole purpose of why we are here and why we have been created, then we will have failed the test of this life and be amogst the losers, and we ask Allah swt to protect us from this.

So try to always remember Allah in everything you do, and always intend to perform actions for His sake, and not to make yourself look good or make other people happy in the process. It can be very easy for us to slip into this sin, to do things for the sake of others, to show off or boast. As humans, it is in our nature to love compliments and people’s approval of us, but this is insignificant. Our Creator is the One whom we should be most concerned about.

(59:19) And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. They are the wicked ones.

This also applies to things that are doubtful or wrong, but you try to justify it or make excuses. – On the authority Abi Ab’dillahi al-Nu’man ibn Basheer (ra) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: “That which is lawful is clear and that which is unlawful is clear and between the two of them are doubtful [or ambiguous] matters about which not many people are knowledgeable. Thus, he who avoids these doubtful matters certainly clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor. But he who falls into the doubtful matters falls into that which is unlawful like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Verily every king has a sanctuary and Allah’s sanctuary is His prohibition. In the body there is a morsel of flesh which, if it be sound, all the body is sound and which, if it be diseased, all the body is diseased. This part of the body is the heart”.

[Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This hadith teaches us that even doubtful matters are to be avoided, we should strive to commit good deeds ordained by the Quran and the sunnah, and abstain from comitting evil ones. If there is a matter upon which we may not be sure about, then we are told to avoid it. And as the saying goes: better be safe than sorry.

Abu Qatadah reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah the Exalted except that Allah will replace it with something better.”