Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Living in Madinah blog

As salaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

Just a quick post to let you know that the Living in Madinah blog is no longer open for comments, questions, or updates. We are keeping the blog open so any information therein can continue to benefit, inshaa Allah, but we won't be answering any emails on the now defunct,

Barak Allahu feekum!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Long, Lost, Me

As salaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

It feels so good to be back, al hamdul'Illah! Yes, it has been a long, long time. Yes, it was a long, long summer break. Yes, I learned and grew and went through something that I want to share with you all.

This past summer was busy for me - very busy. Imagine having to get an emergency passport last minute for our baby to travel, going to England for 10 days to see my parents and then flying on to Virginia to stay a couple of days with the family that came out to visit us later on in the summer. Then driving cross country to Missouri, to visit our dear family friends and pick up our truck and some trees they had been nursing for us. A couple of days there and then back on the road heading to New Mexico. Picked up a used stock trailer in Tennessee on the way and arrived in Roy the day before Ramadhaan started. Talk about hectic.

Well it just escalated from there. Getting supplies, fasting, visitors, construction, community, research, visits to key people and places, another visitor, land expansion, and flying back on 20 August only to miss our connecting flight from London to Jeddah and ending up stuck in England for 16 days until we could get another flight. Subhaan  Allah. Add to that the fact that the TSA did a "routine check" of our checked baggage and failed to return to the cases about $300 worth of goods as well as breaking some items. It was not a normal check, which we have undergone many other times. It was a hate crime, to which I say, "Alhamdul'Illah!" There is never any loss for the believer! It is all just accrued for a deferred time when it can benefit us the most, bi idhn Illah, ta'ala.

So, what do I have to share with you? Just a couple of observations and a personal experience. The first observation is that there are times when people will try to sabotage your efforts. They may do this out of spite, hate, jealousy, or selfishness...maybe even just ignorance.  You may feel like your efforts have been in vain, or that they have ruined something good or praiseworthy that you put your whole soul into. But I remind myself first and you, second, that nobody is more powerful than Allah. Those who do the work of shaytaan have no power in the face of Allah's Will and no power over His faithful believers. So, make dua' and KNOW that la hawla walaa quwwata ila b'Illah!

Also, when Allah sends us things, tests and hardships, remember He has already told us that He doesn't send anything more than we can bear. He clearly tells us in the Qur'aan. So, have yaqeen. Have certainty that whatever He sends you, YOU CAN HANDLE IT! Then handle it WELL. Say, "al hamdul'Illah," then rely on Allah, and seek the best way forward from Him.

When I said long, lost me, it was because through all of this I have been on a sort of spiritual autopilot. A very difficult time because Ramadhaan fell during my hiatus. I felt out of touch, simply functioning every day to get meals prepared, laundry done, and keep everyone cared for. Although my prayers were focused, I felt in a constant state of loss, sort of dead inside, because to really "feel" Ramadhaan, I have to cry. I don't mean tears over any old thing, I mean CRY in desperation to my Creator! I must get to a stage of desperate humility, begging Allah for improvement, rectification, forgiveness, and the ultimate success. I didn't have any chance to really lay my soul bare to Allah and have been biding my time, seeking relief from my unnatural state.

Well, just last week the relief came. We were finally back in Madinah and my daughters were begging me to read the seerah of Rasool Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. We reached the part about the Year of Sorrow and that did me in. I cried. My heart broke, as it always does to think of the pain our beloved Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, went through. The numbness dispersed, my heart came to life, and the depth of emotion that my love for Allah evokes, came bursting through. See? Water really does give life to everything! Al hamdul'Illah!

How do you spend your time? Do an assessment of how you please Allah. How do you worship Him every minute of every day? Consider what you do to learn about His Perfect Deen. Consider what you do to teach and call to His Perfect Deen. Consider how your actions are a form of worship. Half of my day is spent teaching and learning Islam with my children. It is the validation and shining light of my morning. Another 1/4 of my day is in educating my children in English, Math, Science & Social Studies...all linked to Islam, through the Qur'aan and the Sunnah. The other 1/4 of my day is spent doing laundry, managing the household, and preparing healthy and delicious meals for the family, which are eaten together. It is yet another form of worship, as I fulfill the duties that Allah has entrusted me with in regards to them. It is a hectic schedule that I follow...but at least at the end of each day, I know that everything has taken place with the intention of pleasing Allah. Even through my harshest self-criticism and shortcomings, it is a system for success...with no time left to waste or  mismanage to my detriment inshaa Allah. Al hamdul'Illahi Rabb il aal ameen!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Ramadhaan Notice

BIsm Illah wa assalaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

I have previously posted questions for each day's juz of Qur'aan during Ramadhaan. I didn't, however, find time to post answers to them all. Al hamdul'Illah for that, as Allah has saved both you readers and me. We have been using the Sahih International English translation of the Qur'aan for our children this past few years, due to it's ease of reading. However, my husband's friend and colleague is just embarking on a PhD dissertation on the mistakes in that translation of the Qur'aan...maashaa Allah. It was done by an American revert sister, who made a very good attempt but missed some key grammatical points that change the meanings This is a good reminder for us all that just because something is published in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and has been checked by certain institutions, doesn't mean it is completely correct or free of mistakes.  May Allah guide and protect us all - ameen!

As for the questions I posted, most certainly you can use the questions and find the answers in The Noble Qur'an by Hilali-Khan, inshaa Allah. However, I will not post the answers from the Sahih International translation. I will edit the posts, replacing the reference to the most unanimously approved Hilali-Khan translation, inshaa Allah.

As for the Ramadhaan program this year, we will be at our farm, Healing Earth, bi idhn Illah ta'ala. We should have another family with us for much of the summer, so al hamdul'Illah this will be our first year of including others in our lessons.

As many of you are aware, Ramadhaan is a very intense month for us, where we focus the majority of our time on ibaadah in its different forms. This year we will be covering the following: bi idhn Illah, ta'ala.

  • Reading the Qur'aan tranlation in English - one juz per day (for each individually) with a few questions to be answered on the daily juz.
  • Reading the Qur'aan in Arabic - one juz per day (for those who can do so) and for the younger members of the family then a goal such as reading Surat-ul-Baqarah and the last two or three ajzaa.
  • Lessons read each day from Shk Uthaymeen's Daily Sittings for Ramadhaan.
  • Lessons read each day from Ramadhaan 2011 Bitesize Articles
  • Fasting from Alif to Ya for the younger children 
  • Tahajjud/Qiyaam ul Layl
I am posting about this now to encourage you all to get your Ramadhaan program organized if you haven't already done so inshaa Allah. Inshaa Allah, I will be posting again before we leave on 10 June for the summer, but over the summer if I do post it will be mainly on Healing Earth, bi idhn Illah, ta'ala.

Barak Allahu feekum!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Your Day in a Nutshell

Bism Illah wa assalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

 "My day is ruined!"

Ever hear someone say that, or say it yourself?

No.Your day isn't ruined. You ruined your day.

Your day is entirely in your control. It is all in how you act, think about things, and understand them.

There are two things that can ruin your day: your ignorance or underestimation of Allah, subhaana wa ta'ala and your sins (which includes any disobedience to Allah or doing things He dislikes).

What about if someone is unpleasant to you, with no wrongdoing or provocation on your part? Can't that ruin your day? Not if you know that Allah is Al-Hakeem (The All-Wise), As-Samee' (The All-Hearing), Al-Baseer (The All-Seeing), Al-Haseeb (The Reckoner), Al-Hakam (The Judge), and Al-Adl (The Just). In such a case, the one who harmed you has given you a gift; either they have given you some of their good deeds or taken some of your sins - a perfectly good deal. Sit calm and say alhamdul'Illah.

What about if you fall sick, are hurt, or suffer some difficult test? Can't that ruin your day? Not if you know that Allah is Al-Wudood (The Loving), Al Hafeedth (The Guardian), Al-Wakeel (The Disposer of Affairs), Al-Qabid (The Taker) and Al-Baasit (The Extender). In such a case, you know that Allah loves you and is reminding you to return to Him in repentance and prayer. He is expiating your sins, elevating your ranks in Jennah, and guiding you call on Him, alone, for help.

What about if your children behave as though they never learned manners, respect, or morals? Can't that ruin your day? Not if you know that Allah is As-Salaam (The Peace), Al-Qawiyy (The Strong), Al-Mateen (The Powerful), Al-Jabbaar (The Compeller), Al-Musawwir (The Shaper), Al-Mujeeb (The Answerer), Al-Haadi (The Director), Ar-Rasheed (The Guide). Throw your hands up in du'a and keep on doing what your doing to guide them to righteousness. Leave the rest to Allah's Perfect Plan.

What if you are feeling unappreciated? Can't that ruin your day? Not if you know that Allah is Ash-Shaakir (The Recognizer and Rewarder of good) and Ash-Shakoor (The Appreciative). and Al-Kaafi (The Sufficient). Why worry when the only One Who can recompense and reward is appreciating you?

But what about if you commit a major sin? Can't that ruin your day? Yes, it can, if you don't repent for it with sincerity and heartfelt regret. Even with a complete and true repentance it can cast a shadow on your day. However, for the true believer the answer is still no, because you know that Allah is At-Tawwaab (The Oft-Returning), Al-Afuww (The Pardoning), Al-Ghafoor (The Forgiving), Al-Ghaffaar (The All-Forgiving), and Ar-Raheem (The All-Merciful). He created us to err and turn to Him in repentance, thereby learning a lesson and not wanting to commit that sin again. Crying to Allah in sorrow, regret, and repentance is an excellent thing. It confirms that you have eemaan and taqwa - hardly something to ruin your day. More like something to give you hope and something to build on, maashaa Allah.

So, I say to you, if you have correct understanding of Allah, your Creator, and true taqwa and eemaan, then nothing and nobody can ruin your day - not ever.

Resources: The Explanation of The Beautiful and Perfect Names of Allah (subhaana wa ta'ala)  by Abdur-Rahman bin Nasir as-Sadi (raheemahUllaah)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sorry, I'm not a Poet


How I envy the prisoner
Living by rules
Forced to comply
No opportunity for the fallible mind
Or foolish thoughts to govern actions
Weaknesses troubleshot
Taken into account and included in The Plan.

How I pity the free man
Left to his own devices
His whims and desires fighting on the front line
Against practicality, morality, and reason.
Surrounded by rules to pick and choose as he likes
Weaknesses laid bare, open sores to fester and spread
Rotting from the outside in

We have been given free will
But it is the truly gifted of us
Who realize that to be free is to live in a prison
Within the golden bars of compliance
And to be safe is to be a prison
Locking submission firmly inside us.

Just thinking...

that love born from desire is like a puddle - shallow and quick to evaporate in the heat of passion.

But love born from love of Allah and all He Loves, is like the ocean - fathomless. It gets deeper and deeper as our love of Allah grows, and fills the heart to near bursting. Al hamdul'Illahi Rabb il aal ameen!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Be Real with Yourself

Bism Illah wa assalaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

Every action has an intention. Just read the first hadith of An-Nawawi's 40 Hadith and ponder for a minute it's meaning.

On the authority of Ameer ul-Mu'mineen (the Commander of the Faithful), Abu Hafs 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab radhi Allahu anhu, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam say:

Actions are but by intentions and every man shall have only that which he intended. 

Thus he whose migration (Hijrah to Madeenah from Makkah) was for Allaah and His Messenger, his miration was for Allah and His Messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated.

(Agreed upon)

 عَنْ أَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَبِي حَفْصٍ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: سَمِعْت رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ: ” إنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى، فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ فَهِجْرَتُهُ إلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ، وَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ لِدُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوْ امْرَأَةٍ يَنْكِحُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ إلَى مَا هَاجَرَ إلَيْهِ“.

رَوَاهُ إِمَامَا الْمُحَدِّثِينَ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللهِ مُحَمَّدُ بنُ إِسْمَاعِيل بن إِبْرَاهِيم بن الْمُغِيرَة بن بَرْدِزبَه الْبُخَارِيُّ الْجُعْفِيُّ ، وَأَبُو الْحُسَيْنِ مُسْلِمٌ بنُ الْحَجَّاج بن مُسْلِم الْقُشَيْرِيُّ النَّيْسَابُورِيُّ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمَا فِي صَحِيحَيْهِمَا اللذَين هُمَا أَصَحُّ الْكُتُبِ الْمُصَنَّفَةِ.

It is easy to say, "I don't know," or, "Because I wanted to," or even, "Someone else made me do it," when being asked why you did something, However, not one of these answers is the truth or the whole truth.

When words come out of your mouth, contemplate why you say them. Try it for at least a day and see if your words were all helpful, beneficial, guiding to the good, and loving the good for those being spoken to. Consider if those words are sitting on your right hand side, recorded in Illiyyeen. Did you really say them with a clean heart and intentions? Or did you say them with the underlying desire to hurt, insult, put down, make fun of, condescend to, cajole, or manipulate?

So much is said and done without thought, but not without thought about why we did it, but more about what the result is of us doing it. What reward will we get for it - good or bad? It is easy, when being examined by others, to come up with an altruistic reason for our actions and speech. However,  it is the truth within us that we will answer for - the truth behind the reason for our actions and speech, not what we say in retrospect or try to convince ourselves or others of.

We, as human beings, will always have to fight our nafs and the incessant whispers of shaytaan feeding our base thoughts and desires. The only way we can truly address and correct ourselves for the good is if we are honest with ourselves about those negative and evil feelings that drive us to do or say bad or negative things.It is in being real with ourselves that we can pinpoint the things we need to rectify in our hearts and humble ourselves before our Creator. It is in being real with ourselves that we can cry in desperation to Allah for His Forgiveness and Help. It is in being real with ourselves that we stand a chance of true success in this life and the next, bi idhn Illah ta'ala.

Monday, February 3, 2014


Bism Illah wa assalaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

Just wanted to let you know that my husband has started a new blog for open discussion of matters for consideration and improvement. It's aimed at brothers, but anyone can read it...and perhaps if there is something pertinent, sisters can nudge their husbands to read it (SMILE). The blog is Naseeha4us. May it be a benefit to all who read it and draw them ever closer to Allah's Pleasure and success in this life and the next - ameen!

Also, a dear sister, who holds two ijaazas to teach Qur'aan maashaa Allah, is putting great effort into bringing us a website to learn tajweed - the correct way to recite the words of Allah in the Noble Qur'aan. This entails careful translation of the lessons and covers everything from basics for the beginners to higher level issues that can benefit us all, bi idhn Illah ta'ala. The website is: The Rightful Recital. May Allah shower His blessings upon all involved in this beautiful effort and reward them richly - ameen!

Friday, January 10, 2014

I'm here because...

Bism Illah wa assalaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

Why do I keep typing on this blog? If just for myself, an outlet for my own ideas and struggles, then a journal would do the trick. So why share all this with you? As I told my children, if I were to die tomorrow, every piece of advice, every example, every bit of practical guidance I could leave them with is right here. Words and sincere advice from the depths of my heart that will always be here for them to refer to throughout the various stages and events of their lives. It is here for them, and for every one of you who read it and find benefit, because

I love you.


Bism Illah wa assalaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

Short and sweet this post will be, bi idhn Illah ta'ala. When I get ready for bed each night, most usually I am very tired, al hamdul'Illah. I wake up about an hour before fajr, have no naps during the day, and it is sometimes very late by the time the baby has been nursed to sleep. However, no matter how tired I am, I make wudhu before I go to bed, maashaa Allah.

Don't think that there isn't that wicked voice whispering to me, "Forget the wudhu tonight, your tired/the water's cold/the baby just started crying again - just get to bed." But there is one thought that motivates me every single time: I refuse to give shaytaan the satisfaction and pleasure. It is a fight to the end between that rotten devil and me, and it's a challenge I cannot back down from, maashaa Allah. So I smile to myself, at shaytaan's expense, and make my wudhu...and just to annoy him some more, I will post this lovely hadeeth to remind and encourage you all.

Ibn Abbas reported that Allaah's Messenger said: “Purify these bodies and Allaah will purify you, for there is no slave who goes to sleep in a state of purity but an Angel spends the night with him, and every time he turns over, [the Angel] says, 'O Allah! Forgive Your slave, for he went to bed in a state of purity.'”

[Reported by at-Tabaranee. See Saheeh al-Jamee (3831)]