Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Internet Talks - Part 1:The Situation

Bism Illah wa assalaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

So many warnings are being given, including from our own scholars such as Shk.Saalih bin Fawzaan Al-Fawzaan, advising the Muslims to get off the Internet and social media sites and return to seeking knowledge. We can easily find talks, warnings, and admonishments about the social media being a cause of our destruction wa audhu b'Illahi min dhaalik. Here are a few personal observations about the Internet that I want to share with you.

The Internet, in particular social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, are for the most part in complete contradiction with the hadith on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allahu anh) who said: The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Part of the perfection of one's Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him."[Tirmidhi]

If I simply open up Twitter, I see photos of a Muslimah's hand holding a cup of Starbucks coffee, another of a container of ice cream someone is enjoying, another with a photo of someone from the nose down, some from the neck down, and a plethora of ideas, opinions, and information that can be found by anyone who seeks it. So instead of me learning something that I specifically need or concerns me, I inadvertently see an onslaught of things that don't concern me at all.

We seem to have lost the ability to differentiate between what is good to share in the differing situations of friendships, relationships, the public at large, and strangers. Most certainly, professing love and happiness over coffee is something the vast majority of people have no need to know about. It is also dangerous territory, as in the case of Muslimahs, they are giving out private information (yes, even loving Starbucks or a type of ice cream) to non-mahrem men who have no business knowing her likes and dislikes, let alone what her children's bodies look like from the neck down.

Do you see the danger in this? Those key bits of information are actually a nice, tidy puzzle easily put together by a man with a sickness in his heart or mind, who could seek out that sister by hanging around the Starbucks in her area and actually recognize her by her children's bodies once he finds her there...or by the photo showing her hand. It is a stalker's paradise.

So much danger and so much haraam comes from putting batil, unnecessary information about ourselves on social media. Subhaan Allah, Twitter is nothing compared to Facebook wa Allah ul Musta'an. I have seen decent, private Muslimahs end up in flirty repartee with non-mahrem, and at times non-Muslim men, simply from commenting on a sister's or friend's post. They mention personal things: likes, preferences, talents, or plans, on posts or comments, and perhaps forget that anyone can read them. That means that anyone can also respond to them, or at the least, formulate a more intimate or detailed picture of them that they have no right in Islam to have. Just remember, once you give away private information, you can never take it back. It is planted in the other person's/people's minds for as long as they like to keep it.

Even for those who want to use media to further their Islamic knowledge, there are many drawbacks as we:

- don't learn the manners and etiquette of seeking knowledge that are learned in a face to face lesson
- don't learn the patience required to seek knowledge, as everything is done on our own time, at our own convenience
- do not see the character and mannerisms of the teacher, in order to emulate them
-without proper research methods and logic, can be misled by the information and knowledge available
- simply read without guidance or explanation, which is not seeking knowledge according to Shk. Al Fawzaan and other senior scholars of Ahl us Sunnah
- face information overload, where so much information is available that we don't take in anything with any level of depth.

I have experienced this, personally. I use Whatsapp and Telegram to keep in touch with my mother, husband, and a few close friends. However, some well meaning friends started sending me beneficial reminders, until I got between 10 and 50 of them in a day. Imagine, this was just from a few friends not exceeding 10 in number! So many of the reminders I had read before, and others have nothing to do with my situation (for example, I am not going out to fight in the way of Jihad, my jihad is in my home alhamdul'Illah). The time it took me to read the reminders made them end up being the opposite of benefit, as my responsibilities suffered as a consequence.

If we simply look at the examples of the best Muslims on this earth, we will see that the sahabah learned 10 ayaat of Qur'aan and didn't learn another 10 until they had fully understood and implemented those ayaat in their lives. How does that equate to what we are doing now? It is impossible to read the tens of hundreds of messages and implement them in our day. It is impossible to even remember what those messages are, due to the sheer volume - so where is the benefit?

Are we really benefiting, or simply spending our days reading so many messages that we don't find time to read the Qur'aan, let alone memorize and implement it in our lives. We snatch pieces of information from these reminders instead of properly studying and memorizing the Sunnah and foundational texts and mutoon. It is like spraying perfume on a dirty body instead of giving it a bath. The first thing to know is our Book and the Sunnah; understanding and adherence to these will cleanse us and fragrance us from the inside out bi idhn Illah, ta'ala.

So the first stage is to see the situation and sickness of our relationship with the Internet truthfully and clearly, seeking Allah's aid in this. Then we can look at the ways to medicate and cure ourselves, bi idhn Illah ta'ala, which I will write about in Part 2 inshaa Allah.

Subhaanaka wa bihamdika la ilaaha ila ant, wa astaghfiruka wa atoobu ilayk.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Roadmap to Smiles

Bism Illah wa assalaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

Ever try to please someone, seeking their smile? You do something you think they will like so they will be pleased with you and you can enjoy seeing their pleasure. Well, just have a quick look at the map and make sure you are taking the right route to their pleasure. You see, sometimes when you want to see appreciation in the form of thanks, smiles, or even gifts, you might compliment, joke, play a trick, or do an act of compliance for the sole purpose of pleasing specific people.

"Your wealth and your children are only a trial, whereas Allah, with Him is a great reward." At-Taghaabun 15

This is a subject that needs to be clarified to children, as they might mistakenly try different things to please parents, but remain disobedient to them, and consequently Allah. I was once told that someone wanted to please me and was doing a certain action to gain my approval. I had to say that what will please me and gain my approval was them pleasing Allah. Pleasing Allah entails obedience to parents, and obedience to parents is obedience to Allah, so whichever way they approach it they will succeed. However, they said that they can't see Allah's pleasure.

I realized, then, that not just children, but many adults just don't feel motivated or satisfied with the concept of obeying and pleasing Allah. They are seeking instant, visible or tactile gratification. They cannot make the connection that all the goodness and blessing that comes to them is from Allah; that it comes from obedience to their Creator.

However, Who gives His Creation the ability and inspiration to smile and give instant, visible, or tactile gratification to others? Who puts in the nature of His believers love and appreciation for the good? Who decrees whether and what you will receive? Know that there is no goodness that comes to you, except by Allah's Will. If you want goodness, smiles, beautiful relationships, love, then go to the One Who can make that happen and give them to you - check your map and set your route to Allah.

"Is there any reward for good other than good?" Ar-Rahman 60

Seek Allah's pleasure through obedience to Him and acts loved by Him; Allah will send you rewards far beyond thanks and a smile. He will send you thanks and smiles from His creation far more heartfelt and plentiful than those you seek, and you will have other blessings in this life, as well as a reward set aside for your aakhirah.

"For those who have done good is the best (reward) and even more..." Yunus 10 

So rather than focusing on pleasing your parents, children, husband, wife, relatives, and friends, focus on obeying and pleasing Allah and see what Allah sends you through it. There is no shaky ground in this, it is a guarantee from your Creator that He will reward your obedience with good.
 "If you lend to Allah a goodly loan He will double it for you, and Allah is most ready to appreciate and to reward, Most Forebearing" At Taghaabun 17

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mai and the Rifq

BismIllah wa assalaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

Allah sent a test to me, wa alhamdul'Illahi Rabbil aal ameen! It was not the usual test, where He places some great difficulty, fitnah, or painful experience in my life that I have to remain patient through with tawakkal. It was something that was personal, a questioning and suspicion about my words, my religion, my manhaj. This test shook me to the core, had me sick and shaking for almost two weeks, because it planted the doubt in my mind that I had a fault in my aqeedah and had said or done something incorrect that was against Allah, and the perfection of Islaam.

The biggest issue surrounding the test, is that the people who questioned about me did not come to me to ask about whatever the matters are. They did not seek any clarity from me or complete information on any issues or concerns they had with me. They did not find mistakes in my explanations and advise me with daleel, but rather contacted someone else with screenshots of quotes from some things I wrote. To date, I don't know what those quotes are. I don't know if the quotes were sent as part of the total writing, to ensure they would be understood in context, or simply taken out of context as individual statements. That is a lot of not knowing, maashaa Allah.  

I prayed istikhara about this blog and had clear signs that I was not to stop it or close it. However, I made it private for the past month or so, in order to review the posts and try to see where there might be things that could be misunderstood or misinterpreted. Allahu aalam, anything can be interpreted badly if viewed through a negative lens but I can only seek refuge with Allah from that. However, reviewing is a process that has been of great benefit because I had a chance to spring clean and improve on some posts alhamdul'Illah. I also hoped that I would hear something from somebody regarding the issues, in case I needed to make changes, but still nothing Qadr Allahu wa maa shaa fa'al. This blog is now being checked through by an established student of knowledge, Baarak Allahu feehee wa jazaahullahu khayr. If I am informed of any errors, I will correct them and post clearly about them inshaa Allah.

I have written on several occasions over the years, asking that if there are any mistakes or clarifications needed, to please let me know. In fact, I was approached by a dear sister with concerns about a few wordings in my posts and the permissibility of  using personal experiences as examples for da'wah. I immediately sent out a notification and removed the capital letters in My therapist, clearly seeing where the danger lay. I then checked the other issues for scholarly proof through a student of knowledge to learn the status of them. I am not even asking for private communication; I gladly accept public questions by way of a comment on the post in question. I have had a few people ask for clarification or challenge certain points, which you can see I happily addressed. I know me and my intent; I can explain me and what I write bi idhn Illah ta'ala.

I am human and make mistakes but they are not intentional and are not based on me writing without a clear source of knowledge (Qur'aan, Sunnah, scholars). I have never followed a madhab and have based all my understanding on Salafiyyah for my 28 years in Islam, maashaa Allah. It has been a learning curve, and I hope that others can learn from my mistakes and experiences. As I learn at a basic level, I implement it in my life, and then I call to it - within the limitations Allah sets upon me. Please remember who I am - a middle aged nobody who loves Allah and calls others to Him in the rudimentary and basic way that I am able to - nothing more, nothing less.  May Allah protect you from any harm from me and benefit you with all that is good from Him.

Most of the things I write about are general reminders. If I remind sisters to make a little change to please their husbands, it is a general thing. If a sister has a demanding husband and a little change isn't enough to evoke any pleasure from him, that is a specific situation that would require a specific response. Please do read things in context, not picking out sentences to derive a meaning that doesn't exist when included in a paragraph or whole subject.

Alhamdul'Illah, I have been focusing on this beautiful naseehah from Shaykh Saalih as-Sindee for the past few days. If you have time, I highly recommend you read it. It gives order, direction,focus, encouragement, and comfort. However, I have included an excerpt near the end that was so important, subhaan Allah, that I had to include it in this post.

Establish the Deen in Yourself and Your family and Then call others to it – Shaykh Saalih as-Sindee 

September 12, 2009

 "Know that shaytan is extremely diligent in trying to bring about separation between people who follow the correct manhaj. And for this reason, we hear many times about the differences and the separation amongst the Salafees in the lands of the West, in the lands of the kufaar. This requires that we come together and work together to solve this problem.

And from the greatest things required from us all, so we can solve this problem, is that we get rid of something we may have in our hearts, and this is evil thoughts (suspicion), or suu-a-dhan.

We have to have good thoughts about our brothers, and not have evil suspicion. If we see something from our brother that is incorrect or could [go] either way, we should strive to get this thought out of our heads. This is the only way we can kill the fitna that shaytan will want to cause between us.
We claim that we follow the way of the Salaf. Then, let us look at the brotherhood they had [and those who followed them], and you can base your conditions upon this example.

At one point, Imam Shafi’ee (may Allaah have mercy on him) became sick, and one of his students – his most famous student al-Muzanee – made du’aa: “may Allaah make your weakness stronger.”

Imam Shafi’ee said: “If my weakness became stronger, I would die.”

The student said: Wallaahi, I didn’t intend anything except good.

{Shaikh as-Sindee commented: “And look how the Imam Ash-Shafi’ee dealt with his students”}

Imam Shafi’ee said: If you had cursed me explicitly, I (still) would have known that you really didn’t mean it. [Source later supplied by Shaikh as-Sindee: In Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah’s refutation upon al-Bakri, and Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) called it “a well-known story.”]

This is Husn-u-dhan.