Month: February 2019

Meet the First Muslim to Lead a Presidential Campaign

Meet the First Muslim to Lead a Presidential Campaign

At the start of this week, Bernie Sanders announced that he is running for the office of the President of the United States for a second time. Along with that announcement, Bernie also announced that his 2020 campaign manager is going to be Faiz Shakir, […]

Bernie Sanders Hires ACLU’s National Political Director, Faiz Shakir, As 2020 Campaign Manager

Bernie Sanders Hires ACLU’s National Political Director, Faiz Shakir, As 2020 Campaign Manager

At the start of this week, Bernie Sanders announced that he is running for the office of the President of the United States for a second time. Along with that announcement, Bernie also announced that his 2020 campaign manager is going to be Faiz Shakir, […]

Are You Consumed, Contained, or Compassionate? Learn From Futuh al-Ghayb

Are You Consumed, Contained, or Compassionate? Learn From Futuh al-Ghayb


When encountering the glitter and magnetic force of the material world, whether while strolling in the malls or shopping online, or unintentionally while in spaces conducive to social comparison, even religious people display a wide variety of reactions. Our scholars of tazkiyah (spiritual purification) have long called us to capitalize on these reactions, by using them as gauges for identifying for ourselves the station we likely occupy in the sight of God.

Below is a beautifully nuanced reflection on this from Futūḥ al-Ghayb (#72) by Shaykh ‘AbdulQadir al-Jilāni (d. 561H, may Allah bestow mercy on him), which I pray has been translated effectively enough to serve you some introspective benefit.

Bismillah…

“People of religiosity and devotion who enter the markets on route to fulfilling what Allah (the Most High) has instructed – whether it be Friday or congregational prayers – or simply tending to their living needs, are of various types:

Ø Among them is the person whom, upon entering the market and seeing its attractions and temptations, becomes captivated by them and his heart clings to them. Consequently, this becomes the reason for his doom, the abandonment of his religiosity and devotion, and his regression into heeding his fancies and vain desires. Of course, this is unless Allah (the Mighty and Majestic) rescues him by His mercy, and grants him the protection and perseverance necessary to resist and survive them.

Ø Among them is the person whom, upon seeing all that, is nearly destroyed but quickly returns to his senses and religious commitment, and forces himself to be patient and endure the bitterness of refusing to indulge. This person is like the mujāhid (combatant); Allah (the Most High) grants him victory against himself, his lower-tendencies, and his vain desires – and writes for him a massive reward in the hereafter.

Just as some reports mention that the Prophet ﷺ said, “It is written for a believer, in exchange for resisting his lust when he could not perform it, or when he is capable of it, seventy good deeds,” or something to that effect.

  •  The person who reaches for it — indulges in it — and enjoys it as part of Allah’s bounty which He lawfully enjoys – such as abundant possessions and wealth – and he thanks Allah (the Mighty and Majestic) for this favor.
  • The person who neither sees it nor realizes its presence. He is blind to everything but Allah (the Mighty and Majestic) and does not see other than Him. He is deaf to everyone else and cannot listen to others. He is too busy to recognize or desire other than His beloved. He is totally isolated from what the rest of the world sees; when he enters the market and you ask him what saw in there, he will say I did not see anything. He saw everything, just with the eyesight of his head not the insight of his heart, and just inadvertently not cravingly, and just outwardly not with as something with intrinsic value. In other words, he externally perceives what exists in the market, while with his heart he perceives his Lord (the Mighty and Majestic) – a moment at His glory and a moment at His beauty.
  • The person whom, upon entering the market, his heart fills with Allah (the Mighty and Majestic) out of mercy for them (those entranced by materialism). His sympathy for them distracts him from admiring what they have and what sits in front of them. From the moment he enters until the moment he exits, he is busied with du‘ā’ (supplication) and istighfār (seeking forgiveness) and shafā‘ah (intercession) for its people and remains filled with concern and sympathy for them. This here is the true scholar, guide, ambassador (of the Prophet), and genius. May Allah be pleased with those who managed to reach the[se] highest stations.



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New Motherhood: When Mom Is Sad

New Motherhood: When Mom Is Sad

By Najwa Awad Becoming a new mother can be one the most rewarding experiences a woman can have in life, but it can also be incredibly challenging and overwhelming. New motherhood is typically associated with feeling incredibly blessed, a new sense of fulfillment and family […]

When Did the Headscarf Become Another Pillar of Islam?

When Did the Headscarf Become Another Pillar of Islam?

As per my own experience, one of the major issues Muslim women who live in non-Muslim countries face is whether they should observe the hijab (via wearing a headscarf) or not. Now this question is not necessarily related to whether the family is strictly religious […]

Does Anyone Believe What Your First Cousin Did?

Does Anyone Believe What Your First Cousin Did?


Trigger warning:  This article contains subject matter pertaining to childhood sexual abuse and rape.

Anyone’s first, second, even third cousins are considered potential suitors if you were raised in some Middle Eastern households. This does not particularly fall under “Islamic” practices only. Other religions, cultures, and upbringings practice this notion too. One must wonder why their cousin is such a good choice, and if the idea is even worth considering. Now, not everyone is going to have the same experience as myself. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that decent few have shared my experience, but have not had the opportunity to share their story. Shall I begin?

As a young girl, I was always around boys. I just so happen to be blessed with male cousins rather than female ones. Not that that was an issue, at first. The age gap between my two cousins and I is 11 months and three years.

Growing up, you could say we were pretty close with one another. We basically did everything together. Most would think we were siblings. However, something changed one day, and that sibling feeling did not remain the same. My cousin, who is three years older than me, explored earlier than most would have expected. I was the only girl around. You get where I am going with this, I hope.

I was four years old and clueless. He was seven years old and curious.

May of 1997, my grandmother witnessed my first time being molested. I was four years old and clueless. He was seven years old and curious. No one expects a four year old to know what being molested is. Of course, my grandmother removed me from the scene, and disciplined my cousin with whatever seemed fit, and forgot the encounter ever happened. What my grandmother thought was just a one-time incident, however, was a recurring nightmare.

My mother’s second eldest sister also witnessed my cousin molesting me at a later date, and repeated the same steps my grandmother once had. What they thought they were doing to held hinder the situation, in actuality, did nothing at all. The abuse continued.

As I grew older; so did he. His thirst for exploring just kept building up. The techniques he would use, and the mannerisms he would portray publicly ensured that no one suspected him to be a threat to me. Well, predators love to prey on the innocent, and he knew exactly how to do so. Family functions, birthday parties, barbecues, and holidays were the times he planned his attacks.

Perhaps Muslim families do not imagine that these incidents would occur because they instill in children that God sees everything. What you choose to do, good or bad, God sees. That reliance kept most children in check. So, of course, no one else witnessed these incidents occurring as time went on, and no one assumed they would happen because that’s not “how we were raised”.

My mother wasn’t an extremely religious person but she knew the important concepts of her faith and educated me on what is acceptable and not acceptable. So when I came out to my mother about the abuse I had faced up until the age of 14, you could only imagine the guilt she felt. She kept repeating to herself that she failed me as a mother who was supposed to protect her only daughter from monsters like my cousin. It is no secret that the abusers are commonly someone the victim knows.

My cousin had knowingly and deliberately abused me for his own gratification. He did not care about the damage it would cause me later on in life.

After several years of my body being his playground, I realized that his behavior was not normal, or just innocent curiosity. At this point, he was 17 years old and had gone through health class and sex education in high school. I remember the day vividly, when I realized that for all those years, my cousin had abused me for his own pleasure. I watched a movie in health class, “The Accused,” and immediately panicked during the graphic scenes of a woman being gang-raped. I realized that any man, no matter what the circumstances are, should respect a woman’s body.

My cousin had knowingly and deliberately abused me for his own gratification. He did not care about the damage it would cause me later on in life. The hands that once touched me became a horrific memory that replayed in my head.

I met my husband at the age of 16. By the second day of June 2012, I was a married woman at the age of 19. I struggled to consummate my marriage because I was guarding every part of me against a man. Even the man I fell in love with. The man I trusted, and believed would help me overcome these traumatic experiences I once faced. The man who would change my outlook on all men. It took me five months to build up the strength and trust to give myself to my husband. Only a man who truly loves you would wait. Only a man who respects you would wait. Only a man who genuinely cares about your well-being, instead of his personal pleasure, would wait. I was fortunate to have that man in my life.

Not everyone gets lucky. Many women are forced to marry their abusers because it is easier for families to hide the truth. Many women remain silent because their abuser has taken ahold of their voice through threats of dishonor. Even so, I encourage all women to speak up if they are going through a similar situation. Your story and voice to end abuse could change someone’s life, just as I hope mine has done.



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What About Daesh Wife Shamima Begum’s Innocent Baby?

What About Daesh Wife Shamima Begum’s Innocent Baby?

Shamima Begum left the United Kingdom in 2015 with two of her school friends to pursue a life they thought to be better; a life in Syria alongside Daesh fighters. She was one of roughly 850 British citizens that have joined Daesh. Upon her arrival, […]

#MGAnon: What If I Decided Not to Wear the Hijab?

#MGAnon: What If I Decided Not to Wear the Hijab?

Welcome to #MuslimGirlAnon, your one-stop spot for all the advice you could need! Every week, we crowd-source the very best advice our #MGClique has to offer about issues plaguing our girl gang. Need some advice? Write to editorial@muslimgirl.com, and we may just feature you!  Q: […]

Top Read Muslimmatters Posts Of 2018

Top Read Muslimmatters Posts Of 2018


5 Things to Know About The Movie Before Watching It | Review of Bilal: A New Breed Of Hero

Why I Walked Out Of The Film, Bilal

Why I Left The Muslim Leadership Initiative

A Powerful Dua for Happiness

Reclaiming Malcolm X’s Legacy

In The Age of Islamophobia, Why Reverts Are Leaving Islam

14 Topics All Islamic Schools Should Address During High School | Dr Shadee Elmasry

Girls and Sexuality: Understanding What Parents and Muslim Communities Can Do For Their Daughters

This is Who We Are– By Imam Zaid Shakir

The Story of Prophet Musa: A Story of Optimism | Part 1

Value Your Local Imam Even If He Is Not “Famous” | Imam Omar Suleiman

10 Tested Ways To Overcome Porn Addiction

The Male Lust, The Female Form And The Forbidden Gaze

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Here’s What Creating Through My Pain Taught Me

Here’s What Creating Through My Pain Taught Me

“You can’t blend in when you’re born to stand out,” sure sounds like an inspirational, beautiful quote when you aren’t the one doing the standing out, huh? And when you are, you learn how messy, tiring, and lonely “standing out” eventually gets—but what can you […]