Categories
New Muslims Reflections

How a Convert Woman Sees Their Status in Islam

 

Thompson was drawn to Islam because of what she calls the ‘peacefulness’ of the faith as well as the personal nature of Muslim religious practice

Thompson was drawn to Islam because of what she calls the ‘peacefulness’ of the faith as well as the personal nature of Muslim religious practice

Converting to a new religion is never an easy thing. There’s a lot to learn and, of course, the issue of how to break the news to family and loved ones. Things can be even more complicated for non-Muslim women who convert to Islam … most of the time.

‘I feel really blessed because my family reacted much better than other families I’ve heard about.’

Sarah Thompson is a native of Noblesville, Indiana. She grew up in what she would call a Christian household but says she always felt like something was missing and eventually left Christianity. It wasn’t until she began exploring Islam that she says she felt like she found a spiritual home. Thompson converted a few years ago after taking several months to learn about the faith.

A Family’s Reaction

‘My mom was like, ‘Okay, great, this is wonderful; what can I do?’ Thompson says of her mother’s reaction. ‘And she went out and bought me like fifteen scarves. I mean, she was just amazing.’

Although not everyone has been amazing, some of her family did have a difficult time understanding Thompson’s decision. Her father and stepfather, in particular, began to take it hard once they realized ‘just how real’ Thompson’s conversion was.

Most of her close friends were also supportive of her decision, although Thompson says she did have a few who thought she was crazy.

Feminism and Islam

‘I’ve always been a really strong feminist, so when I say they thought I was crazy, that’s what they meant,’ Thompson says.

‘They have a very limited idea of what Islam is. It is the woman in the hijab and it is this woman in the veil that’s being oppressed and that’s sort of the image (they have).’

The funny thing is, Thompson says, that she feels more liberated as a Muslim woman than she ever did as a Christian one.

‘I didn’t feel oppressed, but I didn’t necessarily feel liberated in Christianity,’ she says. ‘I definitely feel more liberated, and more free, in Islam. The way that some women are treated in other countries is more cultural and it’s definitely not Islamic. In the Qur’an it says ‘men have this right and women have this right’ and it’s the same right.’

The Beauty of Islam

Thompson says she was drawn to Islam because of what she calls the ‘peacefulness’ of the faith as well as the personal nature of Muslim religious practice.

‘It is a community religion but it is really focused on you and your relationship with God and you making your prayers every day and your intent being right every day,” Thompson says. “Only He knows what you’ve done.’

Thompson says that, in many ways she feels she’s the same person she was before the conversion. The big difference is that, instead of just saying she’s putting her faith in God, as a Muslim Thompson’s actually doing it.

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Source: Muslimvoices.org

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Categories
New Muslims Society

What Does Hijab Mean to Yasmin Mogahed?

Yasmin Mogahed is an instructor for  AlMaghrib Institute, a writer for the Huffington Post, an international speaker, and author, where she focuses most of her work on spiritual and personal development.

Mogahed wore the hijab when she was between thirteen and fourteen years old.

What did motivate Mogahed to wear the hijab at that age? What change did hijab bring to her life? How did it impact her view of the world, her Islamic identity, and her identity as a Muslim “woman”? How did it impact other acts of worship?

What does hijab mean to her? How has the meaning of hijab evolved for her over time? How did she find her path to God through the hijab?

What challenges has she faced with hijab? What is her advice for women regarding the hijab?

Watch the interview her with Yasmin Mogahed by AlMaghrib Institute

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Categories
New Muslims Society

On World Hijab Day: Stand for Her Right to Cover

World Hijab Day (WHD) is an annual event in its fifth year. On February 1st of every year, WHD asks global citizens of all faiths to observe Hijab (head-covering) for a day in solidarity with Muslim women worldwide.

Hijab Day

The overall mission of WHD is to create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect each other.

Hijab Day…the Mission

The overall mission of WHD is to create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect each other. Particularly, WHD focuses on fighting bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslim women. This is most crucial in these times where Hijab is being banned in some countries while in other countries, Muslim women are being targeted and harassed verbally and physically.

Below are some of the shocking but true headlines:

Muslim Women Have Been Attacked at Multiple Colleges Since Trump Won (Vice)
Queens Muslim Woman 19: Pair Yelled Remove Hijab (NY Daily News)
Muslim High School Teacher Told Hang Yourself With Hijab (NY Daily News)
Muslim Girl’s Hijab Ripped Off in Front of Students (Times of India)
UW Bothwell Investigating Possible Hate Crime Against Muslim Women (Seattle Times)
California Woman Robbed Called Hijab-Wearing B* (NY Daily News)

New York State assemblyman David Weprin issued an endorsement of World Hijab Day stating: “With hate crimes against Muslim-Americans tripling in 2016, it is important we take this moment to stand together with our fellow Americans on World Hijab Day. Rooted in the American principles of religious freedom and liberty, the World Hijab Day movement seeks to end the discrimination and judgment that comes with wearing a hijab.”

Nazma Khan

Nazma Khan, a New York native, initiated this global movement with the intent of bringing awareness on a subject that’s very dear to her and millions of Muslim women across the globe. While growing up in NYC, she was harassed both physically and emotionally on numerous occasions.

The presence of such discrimination heightened around 9/11 because of her human right to wear the hijab. Her purpose was to introduce her pain to others in hopes that no one will ever have to go through the emotional trauma simply because of the love they have for their faith. Consequently, on February 1st, 2013, she asked her fellow sisters of all faiths across the globe to don the hijab for one day.

Within eight days, she got responses from women residing in 67 different countries that represented a conglomerate of religious backgrounds, to include Christians, Jewish, Pagans, Wiccans, Rastafarians, Buddhists, Atheists etc. WHD gave an opportunity to citizens worldwide who were not familiar with the Islamic faith to open up dialogues with their Muslim neighbors, co-workers, and friends.

Additionally, WHD presented an opportunity for teachers to understand why their Muslim students wear the hijab. It also provided non-Muslim mothers a chance to better understand their daughter’s faith and the decision to wear hijab.

Conquer the Fear

The negative perception on hijab allowed people to act upon their fears and hurt innocent women without a real and existing threat. WHD simply presented an opportunity for everyone to learn about hijab and its importance in the Islamic faith without perpetuating the negative generalizations in today’s society.

WHD has thousands of volunteers worldwide and 70+ WHD Ambassadors from over 45 countries. WHD Ambassadors come from all walks of life from a high school student to a Congresswoman in the Philippines. Last year alone, 150 countries partook in WHD.

In addition to that, WHD has been endorsed by many world renowned individuals including scholars, politicians, and celebrities worldwide. WHD was covered in mainstream news media including New York Times, BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera, Huffington Post, etc to name a few. Recently, Time Magazine listed World Hijab Day in their world calendar, The Year Ahead 2017. It is estimated 190 countries will take part in WHD’17.

I participated in World Hijab Day and it was a good experience that I will repeat. I live in a very small, very Christian town.  There were some strange looks and people were staring at me – and then looking away quickly when they realized I saw them looking. A few people seemed surprised that I spoke English. The fact that I was wearing hijab gave me the opportunity to talk to my step children about respect, difference, and peace.” (Talya Leodari -Jewish, USA)

Stand for Her…How?

We must STAND for Muslim women’s right to cover. There are many ways to show your solidarity.
*Attend the WHD event on Facebook and invite your friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/357711751248489
*Observe Hijab on Feb. 1st, 2017
*Use the hashtags: #IStand4Hijab and #WorldHijabDay
*Organize a WHD event in your community.
*Send emails or letters to local Mosques/religious congregations showing your support.
*Write letters to local officials about protecting Muslim women’s right to cover.

For more information or to support our campaign, go to http://worldhijabday.com

In the following video Nazma Khan tells us about the persecution she faced due to her hijab and why she started World Hijab Day..

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Source: worldhijabday.com and Rad Talks youtube channel

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Categories
New Muslims Reflections

What Is Mysterious about the Hijab?

It’s like a golden garden; it’s like the way we like our houses to be.

It’s like a golden garden; it’s like the way we like our houses to be.

Have you ever thought of the Muslim woman’s hijab as just a religious traditional habit?

The words of a new American Muslim speaking about the hijab are a fascinating little exploration of the true meaning behind the Islamic dress code…

When I was a child growing into my teenage years, my mother always talked to me about being attractive. She was very careful about vests, appearance, hair, and etc.

And it was only much later when I came to understand that ‘being attractive’ means you attract like a magnet. And I accordingly began to observe what exactly you attract.

It was a certain key experience that I had that proved to me that wearing a scarf and loose clothing, which is what hijab is, was indeed protection, which is what hijab means.

When I was first coming into Islam I started playing around with the headscarf, because I knew that it was something that Muslim women do, but I didn’t know why or what for.

The only way I could find out was to experiment on myself. At first I didn’t figure out a way to tie it. So I tried different ways; sometimes behind my neck and other times under my chin.

But, finally what convinced me was a particular experience. I was working in publishing, and I had to visit a printer in a big printing house in Acapulco, Mexico. I was waiting for my appointment there while there was another lady sitting with him. I was watching idly when I realized how, to get whatever she wanted, she was thrilling with the guy with many improper movements. It was just much more than business.

Then I thought of myself very proudly: ‘I’m wearing scarf and I don’t have this problem, and of course I’m not going to do this’. Then she left and I went to see the man. I was in the middle of talking to him when I realized I could be going through all the emotions that I’d be going through if my hair had been long and down as it always had been. And thus my whole life had been an unconscious response to talking to a man.

God-Consciousness

At that point I realized that for a Muslim who is striving to be conscious of Allah, unconscious playacting has no place and is useless and irrelevant, and that there are other ways to get what you want other than that.

For a woman to work in that world alongside men and other women it’s much more convenient to work as a human being rather than a sexual object.

It was at that specific point that I started wearing a scarf, and I’ve never took it off since. I’ve found nothing but respect from wearing it. I’ve never had any problem at all, except for a few weird glances which, comparing to the sorts of glances I’d have gotten if weren’t wearing the scarf, it has been nothing.

The hijab has helped me contain myself inside myself, which one of the objects for both men and women in Islam; not to throw away their precious energies, sexual energies, the energies that goes through the eye, the sound, and even through the motion. But rather to conserve those to where they can do their best job which is at home.

And when you move in the world you move simply as a human being, not as a sexual object. I think that the way people dress now in most of the world, particularly in Western world, is really denying their souls, denying the qualities of love, tenderness, humanness, intelligence, and all the things we value.

It’s putting those values away aside and just emphasizing the physical. And if you happen to be having the perfect body, you may enjoy it, but only for a few years. But concentrating on the physical for the great majority of human beings is simply sitting them a goal that is unreachable, number one, and, number two, the goal itself is self-defeating. That’s because concentrating completely on the physical doesn’t allow the inner beauty to show through.

Enticing Hijab

There’s another thing about understanding hijab in Islamic culture in general. If you go to an old Muslim city and walk around, you’ll find for example that the roads are very narrow and the walls around yards are very high you cannot see over them, while the yards themselves may be very spacious. And all you get from walking through these narrow streets- while taking your time bending, turning and going around- you have a feeling that behind all these high walls there’re great industries taking place, great love and a whole great life taking place. But you don’t know what they are.

So there’s a mysterious and enticing quality about it; you may had a smell of jasmine or see some beautiful vine coming down the outside of the wall, or see some lattice windows with a face behind it. This is a stuff of dreams.

And this is the way a Muslim woman is when she is covered.

It’s like a golden garden. It’s like the way we like our houses to be. We don’t favor pictured windows and big front lowlands. Instead, we favor a wall and inside of it all kinds of private delights can take place of every kind of nature, and it is not for every one on the earth to see.

We just are not interested in showing off. We are interested in being praising Allah and loving one another and doing better business as human beings.

Watch the fellow Muslim sister describe her unique experience with the hijab…

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Categories
New Muslims Reflections

My Journey to Islam: A Worthy Struggle with the Hijab

New American Muslim sister, Lisa, shares her struggle with the hijab and how she converted to Islam.

struggle with the hijab

So, you feel like you’re in a battle; I’m trying to be Muslim, but I’m trying also to please my family.

I come from Michigan. I’m 31 years old, married. But I come from a Christian family, like most of us converts. My father’s side is Catholic, and my mother’s is very conservative Christian Baptist. So me converting was a very big deal for my entire family.

However my mother comes from a very large family as she was the one child out of six that may rebound and then she embraced Christianity. So she raised me quite differently. She raised me to be very open-minded, very liberal, politically and religiously. So, I embraced all her values and morals of thinking, but I never really embraced the way she thought about religion.

From a very young age I actually was very attached to Christianity, and on my own; nobody pushed me because my grandparents were already around pushing me into Christianity. But I just willingly entered into that religion. So I started going to young life and Christian camps; really trying to get involved in the religion as much as I could. I believe I was 15 years old when I went to Christian camps.

At Christian camps, you have amazing time but they have you staying up and have you claim Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and that exactly what I did. I did it but a kind of blindly as I was 15 years old. As such, you aren’t really researching as much as you should be, you are just following what people are telling you to believe. You don’t really question. I went ahead with that, but I had questions about my life.

I always had in my mind just what kind of what my mother would always be putting in my mind …for example, what about all the children who haven’t heard of the Gospel? Aren’t they going to Hell? Is that what they teach you? And so I’d be battling this; arguing within myself like… no I believe in Jesus, but my own mom is telling me something like how can anybody just tell you that a random person that they are going to Hell?!

And so I never really faced that question. Then after going to college and through Freshman year I met somebody who helped me exploring the world. I met some Muslim friends, some of them were from Morocco. A friend of mine was the grandson of the director of the American Language Center of Tangier, Morocco. And it seemed like there was an opportunity for teaching English there, he asked me “Do you want to go? And I said “yes, definitely.”

I went there, and, Alhamdulillah, I was able to live with that Moroccan family. So I did that and I was like, hey! I’d like to dress like you are dressing. Can I try that scarf! So, she gave me the scarf and I wore it. And I asked from where did you buy it? I want to buy one. So, for three months I’d wake up before Fajr. I had no idea what I was doing. I’d put my hijab and I didn’t know why, but I was just excited. It’s a new dress!

By time, I had found Morocco an awesome experience, but I never questioned anything I did. I spoke English, and they spoke Arabic. I started to learn a little Arabic, but we couldn’t communicate. So, it was just an awesome experience.

Back at Home

I came home. Back to my life, I graduated from college.  I worked at a bank. And here the irony comes in. Even though I lived in a Muslim country, I had no idea about Islam. And yes… I worked at a bank, and I was dealing with interest and basis, and something told me to quit.

Something within told me ‘this is not right”, and so I didn’t want to do it. Now I know what this thing was, but at the time I couldn’t explain it. I just knew I was not doing what I supposed to be doing. I was on the wrong path.

So, I’ve always wanted to be a photographer. I needed to be in a creative field. So, I quitted everything. I dropped everything. I moved to Florida. And I went to a photography school.

At the same time, I decided to join a project on town. So, I met tons of Muslim friends- one of them named Nadeen. She is an awesome friend. And at that time they asked me at photography school to do an assignment; a documentary on my choice.

So, I decided to do it on hijab. I lived in Morocco, and I had worn this for three months, and yet I still have no clue why they wear it. So I asked Nadden, “Can I please interview you?’ and she said “Absolutely.”

So we went ahead. I did an interview asking this question- just general questions I asked all the time: ‘why do you wear hijab?’ ‘Do people judge you? Is it hot?

These obviously were just ignorant questions because I had no idea what they were talking about. And so when she started speaking to me, she opened up my eye asking me: ‘you are a Christian, right? I said, ‘yes’.

She continued: ‘You know! It is in the Bible- specifically, in Corinthians chapter: 11, verse: 6, that a woman should wear a hijab. I said: ‘What? ‘Really?’

True Feminism

In that way she opened up my eyes, and it is one of the things I live about Islam; one of the beauties of Islam; such a feminist religion. And I grew up as the biggest feminist, fighting for women’s rights. And what of the things I learned is the rights Islam does give to women.  This is what I really loved about it

And so I started listening to her. Getting that other point of view  that you never thought of, you think that most of these women they don’t really have a career, they are just there for their husbands, and all the stereotypes that are always out there. They really are there. And she opened up my eyes as like: ‘Just look around! Look at the magazine aisles… nothing is sold without a  woman’s body being put next to it”. I remember her saying: “Can you even sell a pack of chips without having a naked woman next to it!” And I thought l “Oh My God! That is not feminism. That is oppression.”

I’ve been living in an oppressed society, and I without even knowing it. I asked myself: “why do we have to feel so self-conscious about our bodies all the time?

And so, I really started thinking about it. I went home. I looked for that verse of the Bible. And Wow! It was really there!

From there I got so interested, and I looked into the Qur’an and see what the Qur’an said about the hijab. And, surprisingly, when I read the Bible’s verse of the hijab it was actually very demeaning for women. I don’t know if many of you may read it. It says:

 “If it is a shameful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.” (Corinthians chapter 11:6)

That seemed to me very demeaning way. But, on the other hand, the Qur’an talks how beautiful the woman is that she should be covered. And that’s why I just started looking at things differently.

So then I just was so interested I couldn’t get my hands of converting to Islam. So then I read many books. I read the Qur’an. I watched YouTube videos. Yusuf Estes is one of my favorites. I watched all his YouTube videos.

I did this for about three months. And at that time I knew I was going to become Muslim. But I felt I was not ready to take the Shahadah, but ready to put my hijab on. So I actually put the hijab on before I took my Shahadah.  And I didn’t put it full time. I traveled to New York and decided to put it on just because I felt comfortable to do so. And remember flying back . I remember going to class and I remember just being so nervous (crying).

And Alhamdulillah, I cut through it. You have to answer everybody’s question: “why are you wearing that?” “You came in and you were not wearing it.”

I know it’s minuscule now, but at that time it was so hard; I had to explain it to everybody, it took so much strength. But Alhamdulillah I’m so proud to wear my hijab now.

And then three months later, I kept researching and researching. And I found “yes! This is the real religion for me. I’m ready to do this”.

And I remember being alone. It was July 29th, 2011. It was the Friday before Ramadan. And I used to go to the mosque for Jum`ah (Friday) Prayer, but I was not yet a Muslim. But I remember sitting this day next to a lady and she said “I think you should convert before Ramadan starts. There’d be  so many blessings. So I thought more about it. I got my car and thought “yes. I guess this is what I want to do. I’m ready”.

So I went to the first woman I could find, and told her “I want to take my Shahadah”. And it was such a sense of peace that came over me when I took my Shahadah.

Since then it has been a journey, definitely a journey. I believe I-before taking the Shahadah- really was on the wrong path.

I wasn’t really praying. No one is there to guide you. You are trying to do things on your own, i.e. you don’t know how to pray, so you watch YouTube a video and try. You just do the best you can.

I’m supporting myself, living in an apartment alone; I even thought the fast began at sunrise not Fajr. So, you do things wrong but you do the best you can.

Me & My Hijab

My family, and particularly my Mom, took it very hard. And there was a kind or irony about it; she’d told me my whole life to be open-minded and to accept everybody, though it was so hard for her to accept this.

But though I has a very easy convert, comparing to other converts. My mom after a while-Alhamdulillah, accepted it. But she’d always say “why do you have to wear the hijab? Can’t you just take it off?”

So, I went through this struggle. Even if this (hijab) what let me to Islam, I’d take it for my Mom. I went home to Michigan, and I took it off. So, you feel like you’re in a battle; I’m trying to be Muslim, but I’m trying also to please my family. It was truly a struggle.

Now I’m on the right path, praying five times a day- Alhamdulillah. And I’m still learning.

And this is my story.

Watch Sister Liza tells of her touching journey to Islam in this video…

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Categories
His Life New Muslims

Prophet Muhammad: A Gentle Father and a Merciful Human

dawn light

The first Muslims’ generosity and open-handedness were plain for all to see.

The Prophet’s daughter Zaynab had been married to Abu Al-`Aas, who had not accepted Islam. She had initially stayed with him in Makkah, until the Prophet asked her to join him in Medinah with her small daughter Umamah. Zaynab deeply loved her husband, but their different life choices had eventually caused them to part. However, neither of them had remarried.

A few months after the Battle of the Trench, the Prophet sent an expedition to stop a rich Quraysh caravan coming from the north. Zayd, who commanded the Muslim horsemen, seized the caravan’s goods and captured most of the men, while others managed to get away. Among the latter was Abu Al-`Aas, who decided on his journey back to Makkah to stop at Madinah and pay a secret visit to his wife and daughter.

This in itself was madness, but his desire to see his wife and child was stronger than his awareness of the risks incurred. He knocked on his wife’s door in the dead of night, and Zaynab let him in. He stayed with her, and when dawn drew near, she went to the mosque for prayer as she usually did. She entered the mosque and stood in the first line of women, just behind the men. Then the Prophet said the formula announcing the beginning of prayer, she took advantage of the short pause to exclaim in a very loud voice: “0 you people! I grant my protection to Abu Al-`Aas, son of Rabi`!”

Gentleness & Respect

When prayer was over, the Prophet, who had had no prior knowledge of what had happened between his daughter and her husband, had the audience confirm that they had heard the proclamation as well. He insisted that the protection granted- whether by his daughter or by any other ordinary Muslim- must be respected.

He then went to his daughter, who told him about the situation facing Abu Al-`Aas, whose goods had all been taken during the recent expedition in the north and who was therefore in debt, for the said goods had been entrusted to him by people in Makkah.

Prophet Muhammad suggested that the people who had those goads in their possession might give them back to Abu Al-`Aas if they wished to, and all of them complied. Some Companions advised Abu Al-`Aas to convert to Islam and keep those belongings for himself. He refused, saying that becoming a Muslim and beginning by betraying people’s trust would not have been suitable. He took all the goods, went back to Makkah, and gave each owner his due. He then came back to Madinah, converted to Islam, and was reunited with Zaynab and their daughter Umamah.

nature gentleness

There was always gentleness and dignity in his behavior toward women, whom he listened to, and whose rights he acknowledged, protected, and promoted.

Status of Women

Thus, the first Muslims’ generosity and open-handedness were plain for all to see. like the Prophet, they had required nothing of Abu Al-`Aas: he was not a Muslim, he belonged to an enemy clan, and he refused to convert, but they let him go anyway, allowing him the freedom to choose and the time needed for his spiritual development- he even received at a critical time in inter-clan relations- the Muslim community‘s protection and it was a woman who spoke out publicly and forcefully on his behalf.

Zaynah often went to the mosque, which was a space open to both men and women, and nobody objected to her making a statement there, among men; in fact, it was not at all uncommon for Muslim women to speak up publicly in such a manner.

Later, in one such instance that is particularly famous in Muslim history, a woman would address `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, who had become the Muslims’ caliph, and point out an error of judgment that he immediately acknowledged.

Inside the mosque, the women would line up behind the men’s ranks, as the postures of prayer, in its various stages, require an arrangement that preserves modesty, decency, and respect. Women prayed, studied, and expressed themselves in that space. Moreover, they found in the Prophet’s attitude the epitome of courtesy and regard: he demanded that men remain seated in order to let women leave first and without inconvenience.

There was always gentleness and dignity in his behavior toward women, whom he listened to, and whose right to express themselves and set forth their opinions and arguments he acknowledged, protected, and promoted.

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The article is an excerpt from Dr. Tariq Ramadan’s book “In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press (2007).

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Categories
His Character New Muslims

Spirituality and Productivity: The Prophet’s Recipe

nature-spirituality

Belonging to God, he was nobody’s possession; he simply offered his love to all.

Throughout the twenty-three years of his mission, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sought the way to spiritual freedom and liberation. He received revelation, step by step, in the midst of the circumstances of life, as if the Most High was conversing with him in history, for eternity.

The Prophet listened to Him, spoke to Him, and contemplated His signs day and night, in the warm company of his Companions or in the solitude of the Arabian desert. He prayed while the world of humans was asleep, he invoked God while his brothers and sisters despaired, and he remained patient and steadfast in the face of adversity and insult while so many beings turned away.

His deep spirituality had freed him from the prison of the self, and he kept seeing and recalling the signs of the Most Near, whether in a flying bird, a standing tree, falling darkness, or a shining star.

Love & Unity

Muhammad was able to express love and spread it around him. His wives were gratified by his presence, tenderness, and affection, and his Companions loved him with an intense, profound, and extraordinarily generous love. He gave and offered his presence, his smiles, his being, and if a slave happened to address him or wanted to take him to the other end of the city)’, he went, he listened, he loved.

Belonging to God, he was nobody’s possession; he simply offered his love to all. When he gave someone his hand, he was never the first to draw it back, and he knew what light and peace can surge in the heart of a being who is offered a tender word, an affection ate name, comfort. Freed from his own self, he neglected nobody’s self. His presence was a refuge; he was the Messenger.

He loved, he forgave. Every day he begged God to forgive his own failings and oversights, and when a woman or a man came to him burdened with a mistake, however serious, he received that soul and showed her or him the way to forgiveness, solace, dialogue with God, and the Most Gentle’s protection. He covered other people’s mistakes from the sight of others, while teaching everyone the need for personal rigor and discipline.

Positiveness

When laziness moved anyone to ask him for minimal practice, he always answered positively and invited them to use their intelligence and their qualities to understand, improve, and free themselves from their own contradictions while accepting their own fragility. He taught responsibility without guilt and adherence to ethics as the conditions for freedom.

Justice is a condition for peace, and the Prophet kept insisting that one cannot experience the taste of equity if one is unable to respect the dignity of individuals. He set slaves free and recommended that Muslims pledge to do so constantly: the faith community of believers had to be a community of free beings.

Revelation showed him the way’, and, as we have often seen, he never ceased to give particular attention to slaves, the poor, and the lowly in society. He invited them to assert their dignity, to demand their rights. and to get rid of any feeling of inferiority; the message was a call for religious, social, and political liberation.

At the close of his mission, in the plain lying at the foot of the Mount of Mercy (Jabal Ar-Rahmah), men and women of all races, cultures, and colors, rich and poor, were present and listened to this message, which stressed that the best among people are so through their hearts, which are determined neither by class nor by color or culture.

“The best among you is the best toward people,” he had once said. (At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)

In the name of human brotherhood- addressing not just Muslims but all people (an-nas), as he did during me farewell sermon, he taught each conscience to transcend the appearances that might hinder its progress toward the Just (Al-`Adl). In the presence of God, nothing could justify discrimination, social injustice, or racism.

In the Muslim community, a black man called the believers to prayer, and a slave’s son commanded the army; faith had freed the believers from judgments based on deceptive appearances (linked to origin and social status) that stimulate unwise passions and dehumanize them.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book “In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press (2007).

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His Character New Muslims

Muhammad: An All-time Example of Moral Conduct

For forty years Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was leading a normal life. Suddenly he became a political leader, military leader, religious leader, law maker, teacher, imam, an all-time exemplar of moral conduct and ethics.

And all of that was done within twenty three years. Impossible, right?

Now we’re studying the life of the greatest man that ever set foot on this earth, and this man is Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Muhammad was a man that came more than fourteen hundred years ago into an environment in 7th century Arabia where men were burying their daughters alive, and he stopped this evil practice and when women were being abused and prostitution was rife.

There was economic injustice and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) came and brought peace and tolerance and justice, not only to the 7th century Arabia, but to the whole world.

The desert Arabs were rude to him and he never returned their rudeness with rudeness, he smiled on their faces, he returned their bad manners with good character, he said: “keep relations with those who cut you off, and do good to people even if they harm you, and speak the truth even if it is against yourself.”

The Prophet was a living example for –not only Muslims- but all humanity to follow. Watch the video below to learn about his everyday manners in dealing with people around him…

 

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Source:  ILM 12 YouTube Channel

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FEATURED New Muslims

That’s Why I Wear the Hijab

nature-spirituality

There is no one answer why a woman will choose to wear a hijab, but her reasons are based on spirituality, a sense of control over her philosophical and ideological beliefs.

Montreal- As a young Muslim woman, Nadia Naqvi wears a traditional head scarf every day.

“I made the decision to put this on after the Christmas break when I turned 15,” Naqvi said.

“I’m 32 now and I have been wearing a hijab more than half of my life.”

Despite what politicians and others promoting the proposed charter of secularism, Bill 60, claim, Naqvi said she is not the product of a society that makes women second-class citizens and dictates that they must cover their hair.

“If you get to know me you will see that I am not oppressed and I am not stupid,” said Naqvi, currently on maternity leave from her teaching job at Beaconsfield High School.

World Hijab Day was marked Saturday afternoon in a Concordia building with a seminar, panel discussions and presentations by highly articulate women as a way to spread awareness about religious head covering.

This event was started in New York last year and has spread to more than 50 countries. This marked Montreal’s first participation.

The issue is timely with all the negativity and furor surrounding Bill 60.

Gwenda Wells, an Anglican minister, came to the meeting as an act of solidarity with the Muslim women.

“If Bill 60 — banning allegedly ostentatious religious symbols and clothing for those in the public sector — is passed, jobs in education, health and childcare will be lost to women, and all of these are valuable and life-affirming jobs,” Wells said.

A Choice of Her Own

Farida Mohamed, gave a lively history of the hijab and pointed out that the role of the head scarf is constantly changing.

“There are young Muslim women out there who want to wear tight clothes and yet cover their hair so the hijab is evolving,” Mohamed said.

Naqvi said there is no one answer why a woman will chose to wear a hijab, but her reasons are based on spirituality, a sense of control over her philosophical and ideological beliefs and the role models her parents set.

“I have seen the discrimination that this brings, particularly after Sept. 11,” she said of the rough ride given to Muslims after Islamic terrorists brought down the Twin Towers.

“I was looking for a part-time job then and I did well in a phone interview for a department store but when the manager saw me I was told the job was filled. I was once called ‘les sauvages’ when I was with my family in Walmart.

“I wear my hijab for the strength to rise above racism and misogyny,” Naqvi said.

“When I walk into my classroom my kids see me and not the hijab.”

The mother of three, whose family emigrated to Canada in the 1970s, added her thoughts to a presentation made by the Lester B. Pearson School Board against the adoption of the contentious bill.

“I wrote that children see people and adults see religion.”

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Source: montrealgazette.com

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Categories
His Family New Muslims

Khadijah: The Faithful Wife & Companion

Lady Khadijah, the Prophet’s wife, played a very critical role throughout the first years of revelation which were ridden with events, some extraordinary and others deeply painful.

Prophet’s wife Khadijah

Khadijah was a sign sent by the One to manifest His presence and His support to His Prophet.

She was the one who had first noticed and then chosen Muhammad for his honesty, his fairness, and the nobleness of his character.

Widely courted in Makkah because of her wealth, Lady Khadijah had been able to measure the disinterested and reserved attitude of that young man, who was nonetheless so enterprising and efficient.

And against usual practice, she had the courage to propose marriage to him through her friend Nufaysah.

Their union was to bring them their lot of happiness, sorrow, and grief: they lost their two sons, Qasim and `Abdullah, in infancy and only their four daughters survived. (They, daughters, all died when Muhammad was still alive, except for Fatimah, who died six months after him.)

Faithful Khadijah

This family destiny was difficult enough, but among the Arabs, the birth of a daughter was considered shameful; tradition reports how much, on the contrary, Muhammad and his wife surrounded their daughters with deep love and constant care, which they never hesitated to express in public.

When at the age of forty, Muhammad received the first Revelation, it was to his wife he immediately turned, and she was the first to stand by him and comfort him. During all the previous years, Lady Khadijah observed a man whose nobleness of character was a distinctive feature.

When he came back to her from the cave of Hira’, troubled and assailed with deep doubt as to what he was and what was happening to him, she wrapped him in her love, reminded him of his qualities, and restored his self-confidence.

The first Revelations were both an extraordinary gift and a terrible trial for a man who no longer knew whether he was possessed or the prey of devilish delirium. He was alone and confused: he turned to his wife, who immediately lent him comfort and support.

A Gift from God

From that moment on, there were two of them facing the trial, trying to understand its meaning and then, after the silence of Revelation had ended, answering God’s call and following the path of spiritual initiation.

In this respect, Khadijah is a sign of God’s presence at the heart of Muhammad’s trial; she is to the Prophet Muhammad’s spiritual experience what Ishmael and Hagar were to Abraham’s trial. Both women and the son were the signs sent by the One to manifest His presence and His support in their trial, so that they should never doubt Him.

Khadijah was to be the first to accept Islam, and throughout the first ten years of Muhammad’s mission, she was to remain at his side, an unfailingly faithful companion.

This woman’s role in the Prophet’s life was tremendous. She was, for twenty-five years, his only wife, whose presence alone protected the Prophet but who also underwent with him rejection by his kin, persecution, and isolation. She was the mother of all his children, except for Ibrahim, whom Muhammad had with the Copt Mariyah and who also died in infancy.

The Prophet’s Love for Khadijah

He loved her so much. This was so obvious that, many years after Khadijah’s death, `A’ishah -who later married the Prophet-was to say that Khadijah was the only woman of whom she had ever been jealous.

Khadijah received the good news of his election by God; she was a woman, independent, dignified, and respected, then a wife, strong, attentive, faithful, and confident; she was a pious Muslim, sincere, determined, and enduring.

Muhammad, the Last Prophet of the One, was not alone, and one of the dearest signs of God’s bounty and love for him was a woman in his life, his wife.

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s book In the Footsteps of the Prophet: Lessons from the Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press,2007.

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