Musings of a Muslimah, Muslim Shelf Space

Islamic Talks and Series I Recommend Listening To

It’s Ramadan and a time of self reflection and building our relationship with Allah and one way to do this is to learn more about Islam and what it teaches, to learn from the Muslims in the past and to learn more about Allah and the Prophet (pbuh).

I have already shared a post about book recommendations to read to help work on our spiritual relationship which you can read here but I know many of us like to watch talks and attend classes. I miss the weekly Ramadan iftars at my masjid where our imam would give a short talk on various topics before we opened our fast. So I thought that I would share some of the online talks I have listened to and benefited from and inshalAllah they will be of benefit to you all too.

Imam Omar Suleiman does a Ramadan series every year and this year is called Meeting Muhammad (pbuh). These are short 10 minute reminders to help us connect to him and our faith. I absolutely love them and me and my husband watch them together while we open our fast every evening.

I absolutely love Hesham al-Awadi’s series about Women around the Prophet (pbuh). He shares so many incredible women that lived at the time of the Prophet (pbuh). It’s been a while since I listened to it but I did love it a lot.

Yasmin Mogahed is one of my absolute favourite teachers and I recommend you listen to all of her talks that are available online. This one she discusses unhealthy attachments and true love.

Another series that I loved when I listened to was about the Mothers of the Believers by Suhaib Webb. Again, I haven’t heard it in a while but I did love it when I listened to it.

The Firsts series by Omar Suleiman is an incredible series and a unique take on learning about the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) and Islam through their lives. This is an ongoing series.

Maryam Amir is another great teacher who I love listening to. In this one she discusses sustaining a healthy marriage.

I also want to share last years Ramadan series by Omar Sulieman that was about Angels in Islam. A topic that is rarely discussed but so important for us to know more about.

There are so many more I could share but I don’t want to overwhelm you all. These are all of course things we can continue to listen to after Ramadan as we won’t be able to get through all of these in a few weeks.

Musings of a Muslimah, Reflections

My Favourite Duas

Ramadan is only a few days away and I wanted to share some of my favourite duas to read in my prayers. These supplications have helped me in my most difficult times and I hope they are of benefit to you too.

Dua to read on laylatul qadr:

Allahumma innaka afuw-wun tuhibul afwa fa-fu-annee

O Allah you are the forgiving you love to forgive so forgive me

Ibn Majah

Dua for when something is difficult:

Allahumma la sahla illa ma ja’altu sahlan wa anta taj-alul hazna iza shi’ta sahlan

O Allah! There is nothing made easy except what you make easy and you make difficult easy if it be your will.

Ibn Hibban

Dua for beneficial knowledge:

Allahumma innee asaluka ilman naa-fi-an

O Allah! I ask you for knowledge that is of benefit

Ibn Majah

Dua for anxiety:

Allahumma inne a’uzu bika minal-hammi wal-hazani wal-ajzi wal-kasali wal-bukhli wal-jubni wa zala id’daini wa ghalabatir-rijaali

O Allah! I take refuge in you from anxiety and sorrow, from weakness and laziness, from miserliness and cowardice, from the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men

Al Bukhari

Dua for steadfastness in faith:

Ya muqallibal-qulub thabbit qalbi ‘ala deenak

O Controller of hearts make firm my heart in your religion

Tirmmidhi

Dua for when in difficulty:

La ilaha illah anta subhaanaka innee kuntu minazzalimeen

There is no deity except you, glory be to you, indeed I have been of the wrongdoers

Quran (21:87)

Dua for good in this world and the next:

Rabbana aatina fi’d-dunya hasana wa fil aakhirati hasana wa qia azaban-naar

Our lord grant us good in this world and in the hereafter and protect us from the torment of hell

Quran (2:201)

Dua to ask Allah to accept our worship:

Rabbana taqqabbal minnaa innaka antas-samee’ul aleem

Our Lord accept (this) from us indeed you are the hearing the knowing

Quran (2:127)

Dua for a house in paradise:

Rabbibnee lee a’indaka baytan fil jannati

My Lord build for me near you a house in paradise

Quran (66:11)

Dua for confidence:

Rabbish rahli sadri wa yassirli amri wahlul ‘uqdatum-mil-lisani yaf-qa-hu qawli

My Lord expand my breast for me and ease for me my task and untie the knot from my tongue that they may understand my speech

Quran (20:25-28)

Dua for repentance:

Rabbana zalamna anfusana wa il-lam taghfir lana wa tarhamna lana ku-nanna minal-khasireen

Our Lord we have wronged ourselves and if you don’t forgive us and have mercy upon us we will surely be among the losers

Quran (7:23)

Dua to be steadfast in prayer:

Rabbij’alni muqeemas-salaati wa min dhurriyaati rabbana wa taqabbal dua

My Lord make me an establisher of prayer and (many) from my descendants our Lord accept my supplication.

Quran (14:40)

There are so many more incredible duas and I recommend using the Fortress of a Muslim and also the app myduaa for more duas.

Musings of a Muslimah

Making the Most of Ramadan When You Can’t Fast

There are many reasons as to why someone may not be able to fast from being on your period to having a chronic illness that prevents you from fasting. Maybe you have to travel or you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

It can seem isolating or frustrating that you can’t fast because it can feel like you are missing out. But Allah has given us this for a reason even if we don’t know what it is. Even if we can’t fast we can still make the most of Ramadan because this month is not just the month of fasting it is the month of the Quran. The month in which the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) and so we can still build that taqwa to help us become closer to Allah.

And remember that if you had wanted to and intended to fast but couldn’t because circumstances prevented it, you will still get the reward for fasting. We know that we are rewarded for our intention for doing a righteous deed as if we did it, if we were prevented and the same is for fasting.

So here are some things you can still do even if you can’t fast:

1 Give money to charities that provide food to those who are fasting in places that they cannot afford to get food to open their fast.

2 Read and reflect on the Quran as much as you can and set a goal for yourself. What do you want to achieve in Ramadan when it comes to reading Quran. Read it daily, set aside time each day to read the Quran.

3 Pray your salah on time and also incorporate a nafl prayer into your routine eg. salah ad-duha (after fajr but before zuhr)

4 Incorporate Dhikr into your routine. Saying them after each salah, when you wake up, before you go to sleep etc

5 Dua is worship. Learn new duas that were taught to us from the Quran and sunnah. I recommend using Fortress of a Muslim and an app called MyDuaa. Write down your duas, all the things you want to ask for from Allah so that you don’t forget them.

6 Make istaghfar and incorporate it into your routine whether it’s before bed or after each salah

7 Give money to charity throughout the month. Even if it isn’t a lot even 50p is a lot in the sight of Allah. I also recommend spreading out what you want to give each day especially in the last 10 nights to make sure you catch Laylatul qadr

8 Stay up a portion of the night to pray. Even if you can’t pray because you are on your period you can read Quran, do dhikr and make dua.

9 Increase in Islamic knowledge. There is so many incredible Ramadan series running, my favourite is Omar Suleiman’s. Every year he has a different topic. This year is about the Prophet (pbuh). Read Islamic books and reflect on what you learnt and how you can incorporate it into your life.

10 Give up a bad habit or something you do that you know you shouldn’t as it’s haram. This is the perfect time to give up the haram. Replace it with something good. Eg replace listening to music with listening to vocals only nasheeds or play nature sounds instead.

I hope these are of benefit. If there’s anything else you think would be a great tip please do share in the comments!

Musings of a Muslimah, Reflections

International Women’s Day – Islam and Feminism

So it’s international women’s day and this year I thought I would try to share my thoughts on Islam and Feminism and what it means to me. This is an area that I am incredibly passionate about and will often speak up about these things regarding issues both with how Muslim women are perceived in the wider community and the treatment of women within Muslim communities.

Islam and feminism is a topic that ignites many varying opinions and I often find myself having long discussions with people about this. Some Muslims believe there is no space for feminism in Islam and some believe that it is the way forward and there are many opinions that range from one end of the spectrum to the other. This is also affected by what the word feminism means to each person and how they interpret it. Me, personally, I am somewhere in the middle.

For me feminism is fighting for justice for all women and people all over the world. However, to me justice and equality isn’t the same thing. Being equal doesn’t necessarily make things just. So I will advocate for justice for all. This to me is exactly what Islam teaches. Islam teaches that we must treat everyone with justice and any act of oppression is sinful and every person who was treated unjustly will get their justice whether it is in this world or the next. This has always brought me peace to know that Allah is The Just and that He will always make sure that we are all given our justice. So for me feminism and Islam go hand in hand.

I can however see why many have issues with calling themselves a feminist, the media perpetuates a single type of feminism and many of us have encountered people who believe in this type and that we must all adhere to this or we aren’t feminists. This type is white feminism and I truly hate this brand of feminism. It only advocates for certain women who look like them and that we must all believe in these beliefs. I have been told by white feminists that to truly be free I must take off my hijab and my refusal to do so is in fact internalised misogyny. They don’t think that women can have different views on what is empowerment for them. For many this is the only view of feminism they have seen and so are obviously hesitant to call themselves feminists and be linked to this brand of feminism.

Islam has given women so many rights and yet all we see are the narrative that Muslim women are submissive and oppressed. This is the only narrative the media is willing to show everyone and yet when you actually look at Muslim women we are excelling in so many areas. Yes, there are those who want to keep us submissive and do so in the name of our faith but that doesn’t mean it is the reality of so many of us. It is an issue all over the world no matter what culture or religion you come from. Yet Muslim women are often singled out, even though Muslims come from all walks of life and cultures.

When you look at what Islam actually says about women you will see that we are given such a high status in our faith and we have so many rights from owning property, education, working, our money is ours and so much more. We are to be treated with the utmost respect and when you see Muslim women throughout history you will see they were incredible women. They were scholars, warriors, queens, scientists and more. They were feisty and opinionated and fought for what they believed in. They were not these submissive meek women that people today would have us believe.

Over the years I realised that this is a battle on two fronts, one is the wider society and media that will perpetuate a single harmful narrative and the other is that there are people within the Muslim community who want to keep that patriarchal society where women are controlled by the men in their lives as this is what benefits these men. But more and more we are seeing change, we are seeing that there are so many incredible women excel in so many ways. And at the end of the day whether women choose to study, work or decide to stay at home, be a full time mother (les face it this is a whole full time job) it should be these women’s choices. Not something that is enforced upon them.

For me the more I learnt about Islam and women in Islam the more empowered I felt. I knew my rights, I knew what Islam said about women and it helped me to actually build a better relationship with Allah. I learnt about justice in Islam and how everyone will get their justice for any form of oppression that happens to them and that this is why we need to be extra careful in how we treat people (and even animals and plants) because we will be held accountable for our actions. I spent time learning about Islamic history and especially women throughout history and I was left in awe of how incredible these women were.

My journey started with learning about Khadijah (ra) who was the first person to become Muslim and was the wife of the Prophet (pbuh). She has been my role model since I was a teen and she has been the person who has truly shaped who I am today. She taught me so much and in many ways she saved me. Growing up in a culture that treated women as less, despite that Islam advocates for justice and equality in treatment towards men and women. I felt suffocated at times and it made me push away from my culture and faith but after I learnt about her and how she was a successful businesswoman and did so much for her community, known as the Princess of Quraysh and still perfected her faith. For her there was no contradiction in fighting for justice for women and her faith and it made me re-evaluate and go and learn more which lead me down the path I am on today.

I will continue to advocate for justice for women both within our communities and share how incredible Muslim women are through the blog posts I write and more. I will continue to learn and grow and my journey will continue to change me because I know that the person I was 10 years ago isn’t the person I am now.

If you want to learn more about Muslim women throughout history, I share a monthly blog post series about them. You can find it here.

I have also written a whole post about Khadijah (ra) and how much she means to me which you can read here.

Musings of a Muslimah

Sex Matters

This is something I have been thinking about for a while now as I have had several discussions with some of my friends and especially those looking to get married. Sex and intimacy in marriage is something that isn’t really discussed in Muslim communities. It’s treated like a taboo and we’re told it’s dirty or disgusting so we go into marriage with this mentality and it causes so much stress for so many people.

Girls are told it’s a bad thing and boys are told they can have sex all they want when they’re married so we give them no guidance and then leave them alone in a room. This isn’t okay. We can’t drill this into the youth and then wonder why they have marriage issues or issues in intimacy.

We need to be teaching intimacy properly, in Islam it’s an act of worship and we are rewarded for it. So then how can we be treating it like it is something dirty? Just to stop girls from being sexually active outside of marriage we scar them. If it’s an act of worship why aren’t boys taught they also need to satisfy their wives and women have desires too. Why do we tell them that their wife is there to please them but not that they are also there to please her?

We have created a society where we simultaneously say sex is bad but the moment a couple is married everyone is telling them they need to have children. How do you think this is going to happen? They think, baby, and they magically get one? NO! So then why create this environment and turn something beautiful and a way to express love into something that girls will think is disgusting and boys think it is just for their pleasure?

When we do teach about intimacy it is more a list of rules and regulations and while that is absolutely important. Intimacy is more than that and should solely be reduced down to that. It’s a way of expressing love and satisfying each others desires. It should be mutual and both should feel satisfied. Women are especially shamed for thinking about their sexual desires even though it is natural. Every single person has a sex drive and for women to feel shamed by it isn’t healthy. Both men and women need to learn to control their desires but they shouldn’t be shamed for having feelings. So when they go into a marriage that feeling of shame lingers and then the women don’t feel like they can express their desires because it’s a shameful thing to do they often are left unsatisfied and unable to say anything.

We need to learn how to have these conversations with our youth, we need to create an environment where they can ask questions and not be shamed for it. We need to teach them and guide them so they can grow up and create a safe and open environment with their spouses where both are happy and satisfied with the intimacy. I’m tired of hearing how many single women are scared of being intimate or that married women are feeling unsatisfied in their intimate life with their husband and we need to change and do better.