IF YOU JUST TELL THEM.
I was sitting in the kitchen. Sabi (our servant) was washing the dishes & then she mop the floor. My Mom came in. Sabi why were you late again? She yelled at her. My bus...... Sabi was going to say something, when my Mom cut her off. That is not an excuse Sabi, she told her.
I had no idea what the excuse was. I decided to ask Sabi when my Mom won't be around. It was time for Zuher. We all made wudo & went to pray except Sabi. She was still working in the kitchen. I was shocked.
Because my Quran teacher told me," when it's time for salat you have to stop whatever you're doing". And yet I notice she wasn't even covering her hair, even in front of my father or uncle. Why? isn't she supposed to? I asked myself. When I've been told from everybody you have to cover your hair. (in front of nonmehrams) Wasn't my dad & uncle were nonmehram for her? Now I really wanted to talk to her. Later that day when my Mom went shopping I called her to my room. I told her to sit down when she came in. Then asked her about it. I don't know how to pray & nobody told me to cover. Do I have to? she asked me.
Yes, you do, I said.
She started to cry, I couldn't stop her she had to let those tears out.
I will teach you Sabi, don't cry, I said. She rubbed her blue eyes. She was so beautiful. You will? she asked. Yes, I answered.
That night I asked my parents to help her study after collage. My Mom was so mad. You little kiddy, how could you? they are our servents; if they started to learn who are going to work for us? You are forgetting something Mom. I'm not a kid & Prophet Muhammad (SAW) teach her to be nice with our servants. And there's nothing wrong if they'll learn. I see your point Aisha, my father said. Yes, you can teach her, my father said. My Mom couldn't say anymore.
I started to teach her. I was amazed how fast she was learning.
She learned her salat in a month. Then I stared to teach her reading & writing.
She finished her 1st quran in a year. Now she was memorizing some suras. She's so happy now. Now I see her covered from her head to toe, even in the hottest days.
One day my dad brought his friend's proposal for her. She was like, how could I? My Mom asked her Mom. She was happy to hear it.
She got married in the next two weeks. I was happy for her.
Thank you Aisha,if you haven't teached me I couldn't have learn anything. No Sabiha thank Allah. He had all planed, I just .....I did nothing I couldn't say anything else. Now I could teach my daughters. She was telling me. I started to laugh & she joined me, too. I looked at the sky & thought there was a big smile, too.
Finding the Straight Path
by Aziza Hussain
Matt Lennox, a 16-year old American of Scottish-Irish descent, who was raised in a nonreligious family, found himself amazed by what he learned about Islam in his freshman history class. Fascinated by it all, Matt continued to research Islam, along with many other religions to educate himself further.
To his surprise, he found that Islamic theology has much in common with the Christian and Jewish faiths. Growing up, Matt had always known Christians and Jews had similar beliefs, but Islam, the world's fastest growing religion, was practically alien of to him. However, as Matt was introduced to Islam, he was interested in it and continued to learn.
When asked "What interested you the most about Islam?" Matt answered confidently, "The Qur'an." He says everything he read in the Qur'an left him thinking, "Oh, man. Wow. I can't believe all this info that seems so wise and correct is all in one book." Matt claims many things in Christianity didn't make sense to him. Many of these aspects dealt with the Trinity, Jesus as God, priests and churches. One of the main things which bothered him was the idea that you had to be Christian to be saved from the Hell-fire.
In Surah Baqara verse 111, it states, "And [the Christians and Jews] say: 'None shall enter paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.'" Noticing this was true of Jews and Christians, Matt was somewhat perplexed. "How can only one type of people be right?" he questioned. If this were accurate, then only people from one geographical region would be right -- everyone else would be wrong.
After studying many different religions deeply, Matt understood this could not be true. However, Matt was not just interested by the Qur'an; he was fascinated by Malcolm X. "[He was] very, very smart, and the reality is that he was also very, very honest [although] all the people around him for the most part were notâ¦¡mp;#8364;?His book, his movie, everything he says is so true," says Matt.
Matt was not only drawn in by Malcolm X, but also by Cat Stevens. He enjoyed and still enjoys Cat Stevens' previous music, such as "Peace Train". Peace, knowledge, God, and going back to God were all reoccurring themes in Stevens' music as Matt saw it. Intrigued by this, Matt read the story of how Cat Stevens came to accept Islam, becoming Yusuf Islam.
In the 60's and 70's, Cat Stevens was looking into different religions and beliefs, but when he came to Islam, it changed everything for him. "He changed his whole life and everything and that's weird 'cause people don't change their whole life when they're pop stars and everything," says Matt. And many would agree with this. It seems quite perplexing that a pop star that had everything he wanted would change his whole life around. Perplexing as it is, it continues to happen over and over again. Why? For one reason.
Matt explains: "Some people, even celebrities, find that there are so many complications with spirituality, politics, economics, society and philosophy in the "modern" world that when they find something so true, simple and natural as Islam, and they feel Allah's guidance towards Him, they find a great sense of meaning."
Although Matt used to be a strong believer in evolution, he now understands how advancements in science have affected people's belief in God. Noticing the general lack of faith in God, Matt claims, "Most people have given up on religion. As science progresses, people are going to look at science and say 'Where's God?' People will drift farther and farther away. " Matt's father, seeing evolution as simply a theory, was keener on the idea of Matt becoming Muslim, rather than believing in evolution.
Being raised a Jehovah's Witness, Matt's father saw the similarities between Jehovah's Witness ideas and Islam, making it easier for him to accept. His mother, fully supporting Matt, told him, "Whatever religion you want to have is good." Surprisingly, both his mother and father supported him and his interest in Islam. If it weren't for the understanding of his family, and the good communication between them, Matt's conversion to Islam would probably have been extremely different. There are still a few obstacles, however. Matt's parents may be supportive of him, but his father also believes Matt won't stay Muslim his entire life. Hearing this, Matt laughs and says, "I absolutely disagree."
Matt found an unexpected source of support in not only his parents, but also his "new-age hippie" friends. Sitting around doing nothing, Matt and his friends usually end up talking about anything and everything. Before Matt accepted Islam, he talked about his interest in Islam when the topic of religion came up. Although his friends' reactions were mainly "that's cool" and "that's really good to do that," one of Matt's friends no longer respects his opinion on religion or international politics. He believes Matt supports all those "like him."
When Matt's friend refers to those "like him," he's referring Osama bin Laden and his followers. September 11th, Matt says, "affected me only in the mental sense." Being able to blend into a crowd of European-Americans, Matt says, "Since I do not 'look like a Muslim' no one would think to say anything to me. Mentally though, I have a hard time watching American news anyway. American news just seems to talk about Islam like it is a foreign religion, and not that it is wrong, but that it is a religion of foreign civilizations which are not as advanced as Christian Europe/America." This view, which looks down upon Islam, can be quite irritating to many, including Matt.
Despite the fact that September 11th has only affected Matt in the "mental sense," he says, "Some Muslims in my school who I am friends with have had to deal with some guff." Matt recognizes these difficulties and offers some advice to his fellow young Muslims: "Although it is not always easy, do not be afraid of what other people think of you being [Muslim]. Anyone who thinks bad about a person on the basis of religion is not worth your time. Try your best to be a proud and upstanding example."
Although Matt may have accepted Islam, his life overall has not been changed dramatically. Aside from going to the mosque, praying, and reading the Qur'an, his daily events are pretty much the same. Islam, though, has definitely affected his priorities. "I have found though, that some things that used to seem important, like having certain things or going to certain events, now seem like a second priority, and I find that in general, since I became a Muslim it is very difficult to get me feeling upset," says Matt.
Having such an easygoing personality and open mind, Matt doesn't expect much out of life or people in general. When asked what his goals in life are as a person and Muslim, he answers, "I would like to go to college. I would like to go to the Garden (Jannah). My goal is to be happy. I do not think that would require [many] things. I would like to be successful in the world though so that I have the means to help others."
Matt, understanding the power of Allah Subhana Wa Ta'ala, claims, "I do not think that I or anyone could accomplish very much of significance without Allah." Understanding the importance of seeking knowledge in Islam, the one thing Matt hopes to gain from Islam which he has hasn't already is "continued knowledge. That is something Islam can keep giving me until I die," he says. "The only real challenge I face is trying to live my life as faithfully as possible."
Seeing the World in a New Light
by Aziza Hussain
I walked into Pine Street Inn, a shelter for men and women, holding Safiya's tiny hand, hardly noticing that my grip continued to tighten as I walked through the shelter. I had never been in such a place and seen such different people -- people who didn't have adequate clothes, didn't have food, didn't even have a table to put food on, couldn't own a house. I had always imagined what homeless people lived like, but on this trip, it finally came into perspective: it was real.
Noticing dozens of eyes on me, I looked straight ahead, afraid to come into eye contact with anyone. I saw men, young and old, sober and drunk, sprawled across the floor sleeping, or leaning against the walls shouting at us, "helloo ladies." Seeing them frightened me along with the rest of the MAS youth group.
However, as I continued to walk through the shelter with my group and guide, Scottie, my grip on Safiya's hand began to loosen. Earlier I was glad to have a child's hand to hold; it made it seem as though I was protecting her; however, I realized I was just trying to protect myself. Finally, my fears calmed.
My stomach felt queasy, not out of fear, but out of depression. My heart clenched trying its hardest to fight back tears. Unshaven men looked upon us with deep eyes. Their eyes seemed to tell the stories of their lives, stories so powerful my eyes could hardly meet theirs.
As I looked around more carefully, I remembered these men and women were people, people like me. But they weren't like me. They didn't even have the basic necessities of life. I started to feel out of place wearing expensive clothing and carrying a nice purse. God's blessing over me contrasted with the surrounding in which I was. I began to realize how blessed I am.
I realized how much we all take for granted, forgetting to thank God for the wonderful things we've been blessed with. Many of us fail to see the blessings of this life and focus on the negative aspects of life. Visiting the Pine Street Inn reopened my eyes to reality. I remembered how many blessings have been bestowed upon me by God. Things finally started to come into perspective.
After leaving Pine Street, my outlook on life has changed. One would say, "how can a person change from one trip," but in reality, it is quite possible. I can hardly put into words what emotions have been going through me since I left, but my life has been greatly impacted. Before I say "my life is so hard!" I think back on what I saw at Pine Street. Alhamdullillah, all praises to God, my life is more than bearable. The Qur'an repeatedly states, "On no soul do We place a burden greater than it can bear."
Thinking back on everything I saw, I admire Scottie and the others who work there. Whether one is volunteering or being paid for working there, it takes more than just money to get someone to work in a place like that. It takes a heart. It takes strength. Many times we lack this sympathy for others and forget about the world around us. Scottie and those like her deserve a lot of credit for having the drive to help others. "Those who (in charity) spend of their goods by night and by day in secret and in public have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve." (The Qur'an 2:274).
STRANGER IN THE DARK
A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in our family. In my young mind, each member had a special niche. My brother, Bilal, five years my senior, was my example. Fatimah, my younger sister, gave me an opportunity to play big brother and develop the art of teasing. My parents were complementary instructors - Mom taught me to love the word of Allah, and Dad taught me to obey it.
But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries, and comedies were daily conversations. He could hold our whole family spell-bound for hours each evening. If I wanted to know about politics, history, or science, he knew it.
He knew about the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future. The pictures he could draw were so life like that I would often laugh or cry as I listened. He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Bilal, and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars.
The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn't seem to mind but sometimes Mom would quietly get up while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places, go to her room, and read her Quran and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.
You see, my dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions. But this stranger never felt an obligation to honor them.
Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our house-not for some of us, from our friends,or adults. Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that turned my ears and made Dad squirm. To my knowledge, the stranger was never confronted. My dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol in his home, as good Muslims should. But the stranger felt like we needed exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life. He offered us beer and other alcoholic beverages often. He made cigarettes look tasty, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (probably too much, too freely) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing. I know now that the stranger influenced my early concepts of the man-woman relationship.
As I look back, I believe it was the grace of Allah that the stranger did not influence us more. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents.
Yet, he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave. More than thirty years have passed since the stranger moved in with the young family on Wangee Road. He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years. But if I were to walk into my parents den today, you would still see him sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
His name you ask?
We called him TV.
There was once a man who was an enemy to Islam. He had three famous questions that no person could answer. No Islamic scholar in Baghdad could answer his three questions...thus he made fun of Islam in public. He constantly ridiculed Islam and the Muslims. One day a small boy, who`s age was 10, came along and heard the man yelling and screaming at Muslims in the street. He was challenging people openly to answer the three questions.
The boy stood quietly and watched. He then decided that he would challenge the man. He walked up and told the man, "I will accept your challenge".
The man laughed at the boy and ridiculed the Muslims even more by saying, "A ten year old boy challenges me. Is this all you people have to offer!"
But the boy patiently reiterated his stance. He would challenge the man, and with Allah`s help and guidance, he would put this to an end. The man finally accepted.
The entire city gathered around a small "hill" where open addresses were usually made. The man climbed to the top, and in a loud voice asked his first question.
"What is your God doing right now?"
The small boy thought for a little while and then told the man to climb down the hill and to allow him to go up in order to address the question.
The man says "What? You want me to come down?"
The boy says, "Yes. I need to reply, right?"
The man made his way down and the small boy, age 10, with his little feet made his way up.
This small child`s reply was "Oh Allah Almighty! You be my witness in front of all these people. You have just willed that a Kafir be brought down to a low level, and that a Muslim be brought to a high level!"
The crowd cheered and screamed "Takbir"...."Allah-hu-akbar!!!"
The man was humiliated, but he boldly asked his Second question... "What existed before your God?"
The small child thought and thought.
Then he asked the man to count backwards. "Count from 10 backwards."
The man counted..."10, 9 ,8 , 7 , 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,0"
The boy asked, "What comes before 0 ?"
The man: "I don`t know...nothing."
The boy: "Exactly. Nothing was before Allah, for He is eternal and absolute."
The crowd cheered again...."Takbir!"...."Allah-hu-akbar!!!!"
The man, now completely frustrated, asked his final question. "In which direction is your Allah facing?"
The boy thought and thought.
He then asked for a candle. A candle was brought to him. The blessed child handed it to the man and asked him to light it.
The man did so and remarked, "What is this supposed to prove?"
The young boy asked, "In which direction is light from the candle going?"
The man responded, "It is going in all directions."
The boy: "You have answered your own question. Allah`s light (noor) goes in all directions. He is everywhere. There is no where that He cannot be found.
"The crowd cheered again...."Takbir!"...."Allah-hu-akbar!!!"
The man was so impressed and so moved by the boy`s knowledge and spirituality, that he embraced Islam and became a student of the young boy.
So ended the debate.
Who was the young boy?
The young boy was one of our leaders and one of the greatest scholars, Imam Abu Hanîfa (May Allah bless him).
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