Friday, November 27, 2009

Single Sisters Etiquette - do's and dont's in public

Part 2:

This article topic caught my attention after being shocked at some Sister's facebook images and comments. Facebook and other social media like Twitter and Myspace are now part of “the public domain.” A good rule of thumb to keep in mind, especially when you are on the marriage market, is to never post any photo or write anything that you wouldn't be comfortable with your mother seeing.

The marriage scene has gotten more and more competitive as brothers are having to wait longer and longer to purpose because of financial constraints. And with the advent of all the new social media formats, we have many new ways to embarrass ourselves and cause a lot of fitna.

So what are some basic do's and dont's in public and why are they important to uphold?

1.Dont use profanity period. Its not classy and especially in cultures overseas - ladies dont curse. In addition, you'll be repelling the angels that surround you throughout your day ( except for the two the write your deeds. )Yes I know some people are freaking out right now throwing up the sexism card, and I agree that there does seem to be a double standard when it comes to cursing. No one should curse, but it reflects worse on us, sadly. If you curse, you'll give the wrong impression about yourself – even if you dont mean to. You'll attract the wrong crowd. If you notice that men curse openly around you, this is a bad sign. These guys definitely dont see you as a potential life partner, and they dont respect you. Drop them like a bad habit! With fitna levels so high in our Ummah already, the last thing we need is to give others any reason to talk about us. Cursing will only push potential mates away, in a word, its a turn off.

2.Do attend events that you enjoy and spark your interest. Sporting events, cookouts, volunteering opportunities, college clubs, educational forums, etc...Go to group events that involve things you actually like doing. Who knows, maybe Mr. Right also volunteers at the homeless shelter or likes a good Cricket match. ;)

3.Don't go to bars, clubs or hookah huts. I know this one is obvious, but again, even if it feels like harmless fun, a woman who is serious about becoming a wife shouldn't be exposing herself in that manner. Again, its all about public perception. Sadly, people do talk, and even though Ghriba is haraam, people engage in it all the time. A moment of weakness can cause a lot of damage to your reputation – especially if pics of you doing it end up on the web. Dont give others the opportunity to talk. Many introductions are lost because of Ghriba. Protect yourself by avoiding those situations entirely.

4.Do surround yourself with nice Sisters. Another no brainer, but lately many Sisters are maintaining lots of guy friends. While it feels great to be liked and desirable, surrounding yourself with too many guys can also send the wrong message. “ She's a flirt,” “She's a little loose,” “She LIKES having lots of men around.” Are these assumptions unfair? Yes, they probably are – but when competition for good brothers is so fierce, presenting yourself in the best light possible is a must. That said, who you surround yourself with says a lot about you and your level of Deen – this also includes online mediums like facebook and twitter.

5.Don't wear tight or revealing clothes (in public) – and don't post pics of yourself in them online! A brother who is serious about marriage doesn't want a women who displays herself provacativly in public. I know it feels good to look sexually attractive, but a serious potential husband will want you to keep some of your feminine charms just for him. Modesty really is beautiful! Don't just give lip service to it, make it a part of how you dress and behave in public. This isn't just another religious requirement or a way of protecting yourself, above all its an act of worship.

6.Do let others know that you are serious about finding a spouse. Sometimes introductions happen just because your auntie ran into her friend who happens to have a handsome son! Make sure that people close to you know that you are serious about getting married and finding the right man. Let them know of basic qualities you are looking for, and that you're not just goofing around. If your behavior reflects this sincerity, people will keep you in mind when meeting others and the topic of marriage and spouses comes up. Be sure people are putting you at the top of their recommendation lists.

7.Don't be too friendly with guys. If you're seen as a flirt, constantly joking with guys or hitting up their cyber walls with comments, people will notice. Maintaining a certain level of restraint and haya (shyness) is important. Goof all you want with your girlfriends. Just keep in mind that goofing with guys is read differently by people around you, and guys themselves. Your harmless comments or conversations may mean nothing to you, but they may be sending the wrong message publicly and to the opposite sex as well. If you're seen as 'too friendly' you can be hurting your marriage prospects. Keep the silliness between you and your girls.

8.Do put together a bio and take time to improve yourself. Bio's are the new thing people send when introductions are being considered. Your bio should include important info and specs you'd want a potential suitor to know about you. Its also a good idea to add what you are looking for in a husband. If you have educational goals or requirements, living preferences, anything really. Pictures are optional.

Those eight issues have all come up time and again gatherings and sisters events. Most of them seem pretty obvious, I know, but sometimes its easy to forget ourselves when we are having fun. Enjoy being single and having fun with your friends, improving yourself and preparing for married life. Just try to remember that people are watching, and that you never know when Mr. Right may show up. You want to put your best foot forward at all times. It doesn't mean you cant goof and joke with your girlfriends, just be sure that the image you present in public is one that will attract the right kind of man. :)


This post is a part of our new series "A Sister's guide to getting Married – What They Dont Tell You."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Sister's guide to getting Married – What They Dont Tell You - Part 1


This series came about after many talks with Muslim Sisters, both born Muslims and converts, discussing important issues that they felt were left out of the the big marriage to-do in halaqas, and at Muslim events.

Getting married is a big deal in any person's life. As Muslim Sisters who live in Western countries this can be particularly challenging, balancing our faith with our culture...and all the other “back home” cultures that matriculate in our local communities. There are all the general halaqas and conference meet-ups that try to encourage single Muslims to mingle and potentially find a life partner, but it seems that most of them leave out some pretty important info that every sister considering marriage should think about.

Issues of Maher (dowry), marriage counseling, paying for the wedding, the honeymoon and kids always seem to be the main themes of these get-togethers. But what about the other very real issues that sisters face when trying to choose a spouse? This new article series hopes to bring to light some of those very important and often ignored phenomenon that go on beneath the surface as Sisters navigate the marriage pool.

Issues like:
“Finding a mate the 2nd time around – helping divorced sisters find a great spouse”, “The Green Card Issue – yes we're going there!”, “Single Sisters Etiquette, do's and dont's in public”, “Things for Older Sisters to Consider when finding a Good Spouse”, “Red Flags to avoid in any situation”, “the Mother-in-Law factor”, “Love across many cultures – deciphering culture vs. faith”, “When to try for Children” “Finding a Spouse Online” - and many more!

Please note: This series is not meant to diminish the general Islamic principles of what to look for in a spouse or our rights as women/wives in Islam. This series is designed to highlight topics not generally covered, but nonetheless important subjects to broach, especially for converts new to the Faith and Muslim community.

Stay tuned and have a happy Eid!


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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"Someday" May Never Come

I was just blog browsing when i came upon this quick reminder from Muslima2Muslima about Signs of the Final Hour - Death and Islam. How often do we put off things that are vital to our spiritual well being? Do we really have another year, month, day or breath? A very nice little youtube vid from two great Sisters in the Deen! :)


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Self Righteous Behavior and Hurt


Sit back and think about this last week, this last month for that matter, have you behaved as though you were “better” then someone else? Have you talked down to someone? Maybe even hurt their feelings by your behavior?

At some point in life, most people go on a pride kick, where for whatever reason be it socioeconomic status, education, beauty, material possessions, faith, even fashion sense....they get a little bit (or a big bit) of an ego and start to talk down to others.

Typical condescending comments begin as follows:

“I dont mean to be like this but.....”
“I mean its ok for her/you considering , but as for me I would never.....”
“Wow did you see what she....I can't believe she thinks thats ok”
“Just so you know.....”
“Well in my circle we would never.....”
“I guess some people can't afford......I mean its not their/your fault....but im just saying....”
“I wouldn't expect her/you to know....”

We've all heard these kind of remarks coming from others, and probably even ourselves from time to time. But where does all this superiority come from? Just because we have been blessed with something good, doesnt mean that we should put others down because they have a different set of good qualities. Most people have something good about them, we don't all have the same things, but in general we all have something about us that is admirable and desirable.

The next time you are about to utter something that you know is a put down, even if its said in the nicest manner...why not flush it? Would you like it if someone else said this to or about you? Is there really a good reason for putting someone else down? Most of the time, we do it with silly, unimportant, trivial things – like fashion sense, or food preference. But what about bigger things, like material means or education? Is there really a need to put someone down, or act superior? Even though you may think(or even know) that you know there really a need to be negative and hurtful? What does it say about you and your level of faith when you do this? The main point of self righteous superiority is to inflict harm on someone and to raise our own status in the eyes of others at someone else's expense.

So, in short, the next time you find yourself about to spew some less-than-kind words or remarks that are of a “superior” nature, do the right and kind thing and keep silent. Give yourself a confidence boost in a healthier, kinder way.

Think about it like this: after you pass on from this life, what will people say of you? Will they say you were kind and pray for your salvation...or will they say that you were self righteous and mean and ask that you get what you deserve???

“Fellow Muslims! The greatest goal of Islam is to extend kindness to self and kindness to the creatures. It is this goal that determines the position of one before Allah in this world and the Hereafter. It is also this kindness that determines man’s position among his fellow human beings. All obligatory and forbidden things are based on this kindness. Allaah has made it obligatory in all His legislations.”

Shaikh ‘Ali bin Abdur-Rahmaan Al-Hudhayfee

“Worship Allaah and join none with Him in worship; and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allaah does not like such as are proud and boastful.”
(An-Nisaa 4:36)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Missing Prayer - Are All Your Eternal Affairs in Order?

Bismillah Ir Rahman Ir Rahim.

*This post was taken with permission from Hijabistyle -Al Muhajaba El Aniqa Hijab Blog

* I really liked the idea of taking a step back from life and focusing on our purpose here and whats most important.

Today, instead of posting a cute outfit or random commentary on fashion, I thought i'd take a step back to the basics of what is MOST important in this life. How often do you miss prayer because you're IM-img, blogging, e-shopping, texting, or updating your Myspace/Facebook page? Be honest, how often???

So my question today is: Are all your eternal affairs in order? What if today was your last day, last hour in this life?. Do you have prayers or fasting that you've been putting off, and need to make up? Have you given all the zakat you owe? Have you made the point to apologize to people you may have hurt? Have you righted all the wrongs in your life? If you havent, what are you waiting for?

Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah. For Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."- Qur'an, 39:53.

Our Lord is the Oft Forgiving, the Most Merciful. Have we really taken the time to ask for forgiveness for EVERYTHING? Have we made the point to forgive and ask for forgiveness - even from those that we dont want to, dont like, or dont feel deserve it?

Yusuf Islam narrates: "There is a hadith or saying of the Prophet, salla'llahu 'alayhi wa sallim, with regard to pride. Ibn Mas'ud reported that the Messenger of Allah, salla'llahu 'alayhi wa sallim, said, 'No one who has got faith in his heart to the weight of a mustard-seed shall enter the Fire and nobody who has got pride in his heart to the weight of a mustard-seed shall enter Paradise.'"

What is more important: Holding a grudge and being self righteous, clinging to ones' pride and arrogance, or humbling oneself, seeking forgiveness and preparing your soul for the Hereafter?

Watch this short video from Aqim Salatak. Its a great, poignant reminder that this life is a test, and could be over at a moments notice.

Peace and Love.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

An Envious Sister – My Recent Run-in with the Evil Eye

I decided to post this after a series of sad events and good Deen building experiences recently happened. My purpose in writing this is to educate myself and friends about the dangers of the Evil Eye (Ain Al Hasad) and how we can protect ourselves from being afflicted by it.

My Story: I recently went thru a miscarriage. It was devastating for me and my family. I was close to the end of the first trimester, about to relax into the rest of the pregnancy, when I started to have pain and miscarry. When I got home from the hospital we buried the remnants of that little soul that had barely had a glimpse at life. My mother in law over the phone kindly reminded me that I “have a little green bird waiting for me in Jennah, insha Allah, and that could have more children.” Everyone was gentle and kind, and slowly I began to heal and move on.

A few weeks later after confiding in a friend that I was still very sad, she very delicatly mentioned that she thought I might have been afflicted by Ain Al-Hassad.

“What? No way, are you serious?” I asked in dismay not wanting to take her seriously.

“Yes, its quite possible” she said “ Lots of people knew that you were pregnant. And it was your third child. It makes sense that some people would have been jealous.”

It was then that I began to sit down and really read about envy, and the evil eye in Islam. I knew the basics, but I admit that I never thought it could happen to me. I guess I was oblivious, and wrote it off as a super natural thing that only happens in the Middle East, Astaghfir Allah.

So after reading the book Jinn and Human Sickness by Dr, Abu'l-Mundhir Khaleel ibn Ibraheen Ameen and listening to lectures about Hassad, envy and jealously online, I decided to take stock of my life paying special attention to my frenships and aquaintances. I began evaluating each relationship, trying to see if i had missed anything or wasnt seeing the whole picture. As it turned out, i had some really rose colored glasses on in several of my relatively close relationships. When i stood back and evaluated situations and conversations, keeping in mind what i had learned, i began to see that some Sisters that i believed were friends, may have been foes all along. Again my being oblivious, or inability to read them well, or refusal to aknowledge negative treatment, may have been my downfall. On top of all of that i felt the need to share my joy over the pregnancy with just about everyone, which Im now sure was a major mistake.

What can invite Hassad and the Evil Eye?

Marriage (especially happiness in marriage), children, friends, a new job, beauty, house/material possessions, intelligence, abilities, attributes, education, - just about anything that you can think of can be envied and make people jealous.

“Everything that has a Na'mah in it, is envied by the people.” Prophet Mohammad (sws)

The first sin that was created was Hassad. I didn't know that. Basically, a person sees something that another has been blessed with. They begin to envy them and grow jealous. They then wish that the other doesn't have it, or worse that the person will lose it and it will come to them instead.

How can I protect myself from the Evil Eye?

“Seek the success of all of your needs by being quiet” Prophet Muhammad (sws)

This much I have learned. Hassad is real! Don't be silly like me. In your happiness over whatever Allah(swt) has blessed you with, don't go around telling people. Keep it to yourself and thank Him for His Generosity and Kindness and seek refuge in Him from the envy and jealousy of others.

The Messenger of Allah(sws) commanded us to pray for blessing for everything that we like. That includes things that other people have that we desire – in fact, it is VERY important to pray for blessings for our Sisters, because we naturally often pray for blessing for ourselves.

“If one of you sees something that his brother has, let him pray for blessing for him.” - Prophet Muhammad (sws)

This is why you often hear Muslims saying things like: “She had a baby, Masha Allah.” or “She is beautiful, Masha Allah.” or “She graduated from college, Masha Allah.” or “They just bought a house, Masha Allah.” or “She is getting married, Masha Allah.” etc etc get the idea.

Sahl ibn Haneef (ra) said: the Messenger of Allah (sws) said:
“If one of you sees something that he likes in himself or his wealth, let him pray for blessing for it, for the evil eye is real.” Narrated by Ibn Al-Sunni , and by Imam Ahmad and Al- Haakim

Could your Sister be envying you?

Listed below are the characteristsics of one who envies. Take a look at your relationships and compare them with this list. Do these characteristics remind you of anyone you are close to?

1. The envier is always angry at the decrees of Allah(swt)

2. The envier always complains and raraley thanks Allah(swt) even if he owns the whole world.

3. He/She follows up the mistakes of the one whom he/she envies, and tries to seek out his faults, and exposes them and exaggerates about them before others.

4. He/She conceals or ignores or belittles the good qualities and distinguishing characteristics of the person whom he/she envies.

5. You will notice that the envier cannot speak I front of the one who he/she envies without addressing him/her in a laughing, jocular manner, but deep down he/she is filled with hatred and resentment that is clear from the way in which he/she looks at him/her.

6. He/She clearly criticizes the one whom he/she envies, with or without evidence.

7. He/She looks for opportunities and makes the most of any chance to harm the one whom he/she envies in him/herself or their wealth.

8. Finally, the envier is a troubled person, due to the resentment that is always festering in their heart, depression and dullness show on their face.
*pages 263-264 of Jinn and Human Sickness

Conclusion: It is natural to see something good that your friend has and want it for yourself. The danger lies in develping jealousy and hatred for your Sister because of Allah's(swt) blessings upon her.

The Messenger of Allah (sws) said: "The evil eye is real and can bring down a person from a high mountain."

Seek refuge in Allah(swt) from the Evil Eye. Take caution in the way you look at your Sister and her blessings. Thank Allah(swt) for everything He(swt) has bestowed upon you, and ask Him to bless you and purify your heart of Hassad.

Finally, if you believe that you may have afflicted someone with the Evil Eye, intentionally or unintentionally: Pray for forgiveness and their well being. You may be asked to wash with water, making Wudu or Ghusl. Then that water is poured over the person that was affected so that the water may cancel out the effect of the evil eye and heal them. If you are asked to wash for someone, it is obligatory. Don't be embarassed to do it, or to ask someone to as well.

Another treatment for those afflicted by the evil eye is Ruqyah and Dhikr. If you are interested in learning more about how this is done, washing, or just for more info on envy, hassad and jealousy follow this link: Jinn and Human Sickness

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Real Naseeha and the “Holier than Thou” Attitude – How we can learn to accept Naseeha with grace and humility

As Muslim Sisters we are called to enjoin good and forbid evil. We all know this. But, when it comes to the art to offering and receiving Naseeha, a lot of hijabs can get ruffled in the process. I use the term “offering” because lately in our Ummah it seems that anytime some good-intentioned Sister does so (who may suffer from the inability to determine appropriate timing,) she ends up having her offering thrown right back in her face – along with a string of insults and accusations. The usual ones heard coming from the back of the Masala are: “When was the last time you made Witr prayer?”, or “You don’t always wear proper hijab.” Or even better, “ Please, everyone knows you don’t eat Thabiha! Who are you to tell me that Im doing something wrong?”. The abayas really seem to fly when this topic comes up.

So often our immediate reaction to someone pointing out our faults (whether they are right or wrong Islamically speaking) is to find every fault and sin possible in the Sister and essentially call her a hypocrite. Yes, it is our duty to give Naseeha. But if our intention is wrong, meaning that we want to make ourselves look good, we want to embarrass someone, we want to prove that we are right and they are wrong, we want to “win” the argument...whatever....THAT IS NOT NASEEHA. Correcting someone in public ( I.e. Publicly chastising a fellow Sister– even in a sweet tone!) whether it is in the Mosque, at school, at the mall, at the gym, or even on her Facebook or Myspace wall is Ta-eer, not Naseeha.

The “Holier than Thou” attitude really comes into play when someones pride can get hurt. More so – being corrected or humbled by someone that we believe is somehow “less” than us in terms of faith, intelligence, behavior, material means, knowledge, or what have you - is embarrassing to say the least. But I think the real questions that come into play here are: Why do you think you're better? What was their intention in giving you Naseeha? And – How can we learn to accept Naseeha with humility and grace?

Watch this video and see how the lady of the house treats her cook, do you think she would accept Naseeha from her?

In this video the lady of the house abuses her cook in front of her guests. Clearly she has status, fine clothes, many friends and great wealth. If her cook came and offered her sincere Naseeha, would her heart accept it? Would yours? Her pride and arrogance are clearly getting in her way keeping her from showing mercy. Would they not also block her ability to receive honest Islamic advice? While we may not be rich, we may perceive other attributes of ourselves to be better than others. Too good to be given Naseeha by “certain people.” Indeed pride will only be our downfall.

“Anyone who possesses half a mustard seed of Pride (kibr) in his heart will not be granted admission to Paradise. And anyone who possesses half a mustard seed of Iman will not enter the (Eternal) Fire.” [Muslim]

So how can we really open ourselves up to accepting Naseeha?

First – Take your pride and arrogance and flush it. Arrogance is an attribute of al Shaytan ir Rajeem. We dont need it. It has no place in our faith. Although it is really hard, we must put aside our perceived status and keep in mind that the only status that counts is our Iman-o-meter! Don't let it run on low because you refuse to accept Naseeha. One would hope that the Sister offering it would do it kindly and gently in secret, with the utmost sincerity and care for the feelings of the other person, avoiding embarrassment and chastisement, picking the appropriate time and circumstance, putting aside any personal issues of superiority or “Holier than Thou” attitudes and hopefully getting the context and Fiqh correct – Insha Allah :).

Second – Read some “heart softeners”. Read about instances from the Life of the Prophet(sws ) or the Sahaba (ra) and how they showed mercy and kindness to one another, and even to their enemies. Concentrate on opening your heart to kindess and compassion. Practice being compassionate to others, just as you would be to your own child.

Third – Take stock of your own spiritual life. This can be a fairly weighty task, but since we arnt Buddhist or Hindu and believe that this life is our only shot, it is worth sitting down and taking some time to really look at your faith. Do you have prayers or fasting to make up? Have you paid all your zakat? Could you be giving more in Sadaqa? Do you have old grudges that you should let go of? If you have all your prayers, what about starting Witr prayer? Fasting Mondays and Thursdays? You get the idea.

Fourth – Ask Forgivness from Allah(swt),and seek refuge in Him. He knows all that we think, experience and do. Who better than Him (swt) to cleanse our hearts and minds of pride? Insha Allah he will open us up to truly being able to give and receive Naseeha as it was intended.

So I guess the conclusion is: Fear Allah(swt) to the point where you will accept Naseeha from a child. Be truly humble and open to accepting it from anyone before you expect others to accept it from you.

For more info please read: