Musings of a Muslimah

Ways to Make the Most of Dhul Hijjah

The first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah are the most blessed days like the last 10 nights of Ramadan are the most blessed nights. So we should make the most of these days.

These days of Dhul Hijjah are so blessed because Allah completed the religion in these 10 days. All of the 5 pillars are present in these 10 days. Shahadah, praying, fasting, charity, and hajj which cannot be done at any other time. So we can complete all 5 pillars in these days which cannot be done at any other time of the year.

So I just wanted to share some of the things which are encouraged to do on these 10 days

Make Takbeer

Tahleel – La ilaha  illallah

Takbeer – Allahu Akbar

Tasbeeh – Subhanallah

Tahmeed – Alhamdulillah

There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, that these 10 days so recite a great deal of tahleel, takbeer, and tahmeed during them. (Ahmad)

Fasting

It is encouraged to fast the first 9 days of Dhul Hijjah and we are especially encouraged to fast on the 9th day which is the day of Arafah.

Fasting on the day of Arafah is an expiation for the preceding year and the following year. (Muslim)

Fulfil obligations

When we try to make the most of these days we need to remember that we have obligations to Allah and the people which we cannot neglect. So for example we need to make sure we perform our 5 daily prayers and fulfil our responsibilities to those who we are responsible for.

Increase in Good Deeds

We should try to increase in as many good deeds as we can during these days.

Some examples are; praying nafl prayers, increasing in how much Quran we read, giving in Sadaqah and making istigfar

There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these 10 days. (Bukhari)

Perform Hajj

This is something that not everyone can do but for those that have the means and ability it is obligatory for them to perform Hajj at least once in their lifetime.

Hajj is one of the 5 pillars of Islam so we should do our utmost best to perform hajj if we are able.

Give Qurbani

Even if we can’t perform Hajj we can still give Qurbani which is the sacrifice of an animal. Today there are many charities we can donate the money to so that the meat from the sacrificed animal will go to the poor and needy.

It is a way for us to connect to Ibrahim and reminding ourselves of the faith he had in Allah and that we should strive to build our faith and connection with Allah too.

For every hair of the Qurban you receive a reward from Allah.” (Tirmidhi)

Inspirational People

Inspirational Women Throughout History – Aisha bint Abu Bakr

Today I am going to talk a little about Aisha bint Abu Bakr (ra). She is one of my favourite women to read about as I find her so inspiring and someone to look up to.

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She was an incredible woman, she was a wife of the Prophet (saw) and we know through many narrations that he loved her most from everyone. And when I read about her life and the woman she was I can see why!

She was the most renowned scholar and a teacher and she taught all the companions of the Prophet (saw) especially after his death. If anyone needed clarification on any matters or needed an answer for something they would go to her. She was known to be the most knowledgeable person. She especially excelled in hadith, fiqh, poetry and medicine. She was the type of person who, if she didn’t know or understand something she would go and learn about it until she became confident in that area.

She was a very sharp and feisty woman who stood up for her beliefs and was confident and assertive when it came to correcting people so that misinformation wouldn’t spread. She was also very eloquent in her speech, a great speaker and was even known to be a better speaker than the first four caliphs, Abu Bakr (ra), Umar (ra), Uthman (ra) and Ali (ra) and these four were known to be some of the best of people and leaders. She was outspoken and voiced her opinions on many matters in Islam, even if the other scholars disagreed she would give her opinion and her evidences for her opinion and always be confident in speaking up.

She spoke up about so many things from women’s rights, to education and so much more.

Her assertiveness and confidence to speak up is even more important to note because she lived in a time when that wasn’t the norm for women to be so outspoken. This slowly changed as Islam spread but she was alive right at the beginning when things were slowly changing. So for her to be so unafraid to speak up against even the men and those in power was something amazing. She did this throughout her life and because of her we have so much information about Islam and the Prophet (saw) and about life at the time.

She narrated 2210 hadith (sayings of the Prophet ) which included things on worship and family and especially women’s health, for example what women can and can’t do on their periods in terms of worship etc. She always shared intimate moments about her life with the Prophet (saw). Things we otherwise would never have known, from how he was in the home, how he spoke to her, how much he joked and made her laugh, how much he expressed his love to her and so attentive to the point that he knew by her changing one word in how she spoke to him that she was mad at him. We would never know any of these things without her.

She preserved so much of Islamic beliefs and worship and so much more because she was one of the best teachers and leaders in education. Without her so much would have been lost to time.

Musings of a Muslimah

Quran Reflections – A Glimpse of Jannah

I have been meaning to share some of my quranic reflections on here as it is an important part of my life and I thought that as Ramadan is approaching, I would start sharing some now. Sometimes I read an ayah (verse) in the Quran and I am left amazed at how it is the one ayah I needed to read at the time. It really makes me reflect on what I was reading so I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you all.

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I love that in the Quran, Allah gives us a glimpse of what Jannah (heaven) will be like. He (swt) tells us about gardens, rivers, food; things that we can see on the earth. And because we can see these things, we can imagine, to our best ability, what Jannah will be like. And because we can see the beauty on the earth, it makes us long for Jannah. We know that no matter how beautiful earth is, Jannah will be so much better. The beauty of the earth is nothing compared to the beauty of Jannah and I just long to see it. If we could not understand what was being described about Jannah, we wouldn’t long for it like we do. This longing helps us to strive for Jannah.

When I’m struggling, when I’m going through something difficult and I am really stressed, Allah has put these beautiful descriptions of Jannah in the Quran to help us through. Not only describing what Jannah will be like but also telling us that we won’t experience any hardship or sadness or pain or fear in Jannah. That’s one of the most amazing things that Allah could have shared with us. That in Jannah there is no pain, no sadness, no suffering. At all. Ever. For eternity. This completely blows my mind. Please let me be able to experience that.

Sometimes there are things that I really want or something I am hoping will happen, but it doesn’t. We are disappointed and we can’t always have the things we want. But in Jannah we can have whatever we want. We just have to think it and we will get it, whether it’s food, books, clothes, anything! It will literally be a thought in our head, and it will be in front of us. I could spend days doing everything and anything I want. Just thinking about it makes me sob.

Knowing these things about Jannah helps us to keep going when we feel like we can’t continue. When we feel like the pain won’t ever go away, knowing that we can live pain free for an eternity can push us to keep going. Because my life on earth is temporary and nothing stays the same in our lives on earth. We have good times and bad times; it is always changing. But in Jannah it is only good things, only exactly what we want. I can’t begin to explain how much my heart longs for this.

I could literally spend my days in Jannah reading and chilling with Sherlock all day, every day if I wanted. That’s the dream! Thinking of Jannah honestly gives me such motivation to continue to strive because oh my gosh I really want to spend an eternity in Jannah.

Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, Non Fiction Books

A History of Islam in 21 Women by Hossein Kamaly – ARC Review

I was sent an ARC by One World Publications in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed reading this book, reading about Muslim women, some which I already knew about and some who were new to me.

Rating: 4.5/5

What this book is about:

Beginning in seventh-century Mecca and Medina, A History of Islam in 21 Women takes us around the globe, through eleventh-century Yemen and Khorasan, and into sixteenth-century Spain, Istanbul and India. From there to nineteenth-century Persia and the African savannah, to twentieth-century Russia, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq, before reaching present day London.

From the first believer, Khadija, and the other women who witnessed the formative years of Islam, to award-winning mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani in the twenty-first century, Hossein Kamaly celebrates the lives and ground breaking achievements of these extraordinary women in the history of Islam.

When this book was announced I literally squealed with joy! Finally a book that includes Muslim women! Whenever I see a book published about amazing women, I have always found that consistently Muslim women are excluded or at most only one Muslim women is in there (always Malala) and I always felt upset because surely in 1400 years they must have found more than one woman worthy of being put into these books?

It actually put me off reading them eventually as even in books to empower women, women who looked like me were still excluded. The only time I found Muslim women being spoken about were in classical Islamic texts but I wanted something that was accessible to all and then this gem of a book was published.

While this book isn’t perfect, it is certainly a great book for anyone wanting to learn about Muslim women and how much they have achieved and in so many fields. From being literal queens and leaders of their communities to mathematicians and so much more. This book shows how accomplished women were throughout Islamic history and it is just the tip of the iceberg.

These are the women I was raised learning about, Khadijah (ra) who is the first woman spoken about in this book is my role model and always has been since I was young. She was a successful businesswoman and one of the wealthiest people in her tribes. She proposed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and he worked for her even after they were married. I could honestly write a whole essay about her and my love for her. And I am so glad that she is in this book and that you all get to meet her.

This book has a wide range of women, starting from when Islam first came all the way up to modern times and I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to narrow it down to just 21. But I am so glad to have read this book because there are so many women that even I hadn’t heard of. Muslim women who lived in different places in the world but all had a huge impact on their society.

These women are shown as they were, independent, outspoken, brave, smart, and so much more. It was refreshing to see this and not the usual media narrative which perpetuates stereotypes and always shows Muslim women as weak and submissive. This book amongst others I have read this year are the beginning of us taking back the narrative of who we truly are.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially if you do not know much about Muslim women throughout history. It is a great starting point as it gives a great overview of their lives and achievements but it isn’t so dense that it puts you off reading.

Musings of a Muslimah

Allah Loves

Recently I attended an evening talk and iftar at my local masjid on the Day of Arafah and the Imam spoke about the different qualities that Allah (swt) shares with us that make us amongst those that He (swt) loves. He only spoke about 5 different qualities but there is lots of others too.

So I wanted to share them with you all to so that we can all benefit from them.

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But before I share the 5 qualities he spoke about, he spoke about how the first and foremost way to gain the love of Allah (swt) is to follow the sunnah of the Prophet (saw).

Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” Quran (3:31)

This doesn’t just mean the way you dress, but also, in your character and how you treat others. The Prophet (saw) was someone who had great concern for humanity and always treated others with kindness and respect, no matter who they were.

His sunnah was broad and encompassed all aspects of life so it is important for us to learn about his life and implement the way he was in our lives.

So the 5 qualities that the Imam spoke about:

1 Sabiroon – The Patient Ones

The people who are patient in the different circumstances in life gain the love of Allah. This doesn’t mean you don’t feel upset or stressed but that you don’t despair and complain about your circumstance to everyone.

When we are going through something difficult we show patience by only complaining to Allah (swt). When we are doing good deeds like fasting or praying etc, we show patience when doing it. We persevere even though we may find it difficult. For example, getting up to pray fajr even though you’re tired and fasting when it’s hot.

2 Muhsineen – The People of Ihsan

These are the people who strive to perfection by being their best possible self and in all that they do.

The Prophet (saw) told us what ihsan is, he said: “It is to worship Allah as though you see Him, and though you do not see Him, you know that He sees you.” (Bukhari)

There are some characteristics of the people of muhsineen:

• They are those who spend from their wealth in times of ease AND in times of difficulty.
• They restrain their anger.
• They pardon people, they forgive others and let things go.

3 Tawabeen – The People of Repentance

They are people who are constantly seeking forgiveness. We are human so we will commit sin, knowingly and unknowingly and these are the people who everyday think about what they did that day and seek forgiveness for their mistakes and transgressions. It is not just blindly and robotically seeking forgiveness. They realise and acknowledge that they committed a sin and then seek forgiveness for that.

4 Mutatahireen – The People of Taqwa

Taqwa is a state of consciousness of Allah (swt) so they are the people who are always aware that Allah (swt) is watching them

Ali (ra) who was one of the four rightly guided caliphs said taqwa is:

• The fear of Allah.
• Acting upon the Quran. This would mean acting upon the laws of the Quran and the hadith. So living life according to the sunnah and shariah.
• Being content with whatever Allah (swt) has given you, even though it may seem like it is not much.
• Preparing for death and the journey of the Hereafter. We should live life with the hereafter in mind.

So these people are conscious of things that will hurt or impact them and others and are conscious of doing the good deeds to the best of their ability.

5 Mutawakkaleen – The people who have tawakkal in Allah

These are people who have complete faith and trust in Allah (swt). This doesn’t mean that they don’t work for themselves and just say Allah (swt) will provide. These are people who do their best in what they do but they leave the outcome in the hands of Allah (swt). That we can plan things for ourselves and a future we envision for ourselves but the result is in the hands of Allah (swt).

The Prophet (saw) said: “Rely on Allah but tie your camel.” (Tirmidhi)

This was in response to someone asking the Prophet (saw) if he should leave his camel without tying it to the tree and just trust that Allah (swt) will keep it there. But what we learn is that even though we should trust in Allah (swt) we still need to do the work ourselves. So for example, we have to study and revise before taking an exam, not just do no work and expect Allah to give us a good grade.

When we truly rely on Allah (swt) then He will find a way out for you in any situation you find yourself in.

So these are the 5 qualities we were discussed in the class but he also mentioned a few others and that we should learn the others.

Some of the most beloved to Allah (swt) are those who bring benefit to other people.

Some of the best deeds:

• Bring joy and happiness to someone
• To help relieve a difficulty that someone is going through
• To forgive someone’s debt
• To feed a person who is hungry

For some further reading I highly recommend reading Muhammad: How He can make you Extraordinary by Hesham Al-Awadi.

And watching this short video series by Imam Omar Suleiman called Allah Loves here