Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ramadan Mubarak

Alhamdulilah the Month of Ramadan is here (actually a couple hours away). I pray that each and everyone of you have a wonderful month full of worship and good deeds. I also pray that each of us have the honor to witness the Night of Power, insha'Allah.

I humbly ask that you remember me and my family in your dua's during this wonderful month and also keep the Muslim Ummah in your duas, including and not limited to our brothers and sisters that are suffering in the war-torn parts of this world.

Ramadan Mubarak!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The predicament of Muslim youth....

I know I said that I would take a break from blogging thoughts and what not, but I have been holding this under my hat for a quite a while now, and to be honest, I'd love to share. So, today will be my last official personal/my thoughts post until Eid Insha'Allah. Besides, school starts tomorrow, so I'll be rather busy with school and Ramadan. I will continue the "186 Rules for Ramadan" next week perhaps.

My cousins have been in town visiting me from the UK for the past few weeks. Alhamdulilah, despite the miles of ocean between us, we very close to one another so much so that we stay awake all night talking about everything under the sun from school to work, marriage and our personal lives, and the list goes on. With us, nothing is off limits.

When my cousin arrived, her first question to me was "Do you mind if I use your internet?" I jokingly call her a facebook junkie, and she admits it. Anyways, after about a good hour of catching up on photo comments and writing on peoples walls, letting her friends know that she has arrived in the states safely, she proceeds to show me her friends and catch me up on her life. And what I learned was rather horrifying to me, but apparently its no big deal where she comes from.

My cousins grew up in London but when they grew older and were of high school age, their father decided to uproot the family and move to Blackburn. Apparently it has a larger Muslim population - I saw the difference between London and Blackburn on my trip there about 4 years ago.

So, as we sat in our pijamas on my bed she went through her facebook pictures, dscribing to me who everyone in the pictures were and who was married to who, who was engaged to who, who was dating who, etc. (yes, I said who was dating who!). Now, many people maybe thinking whats the big deal, right? You know, its sad for me to even say this, but perhaps I could swallow this pill a little easier if the pictures of who was dating who were Muslim girls and boys who did not look religious, did not wear hijaab, were not Hufadh, not Alimahs, etc. I'm not saying that all of these types of people are saints. For goodness sake, any man can grow a beard and any woman can put on a hijaab. On the flip side, I am absolutely not saying that every non-hijaabi sister or every non-bearded man is involved in fitnah. As a matter of fact, I know a lot of people who don't necessarily fit the physical description of what people might think is "religious" who are very religious and have completely managed to stay away from fitnah all their lives.

I beleive that it is every Muslims duty to act like a good Muslim, whether you are young or old, a hijaabi or non-hijaabi or if you have been Muslim your whole life or only for the last 5 minutes. But for goodness sake, if you are wearing a hijaab, or have a long beard with a kufi, please, please, please ACT MUSLIM!! I am not saying that it is always easy, I have been there, but it has to be done and insha'Allah the reward will be sweeter in the hearafter.

Amid all this, the thing that baffles me more is that these "students of knowlege" are so open about their sin and in doing so, they are giving off the vibe to their "less educated" peers that its all good, when in fact it isn't! When my cousin was like "My friend the Alimah goes out with this guy, he's a hafidh" I had to clarify what she meant by go out, becuase to me the only going out that should be going on between the two of them is chaperoned "dates" with her father, brother, or other mehram. When she explained they were going out in the western sense of the word I gave her this look and she responded with "The way I see it, you can't help who you fall for. When you wanna be with someone, you just wanna be with them." I can't say that I don't agree, but why not "be with" that person the halal way? Why not have your nikkah done and then be with them? She continued to show me pictures of girls and guys hanging out in the same appartment near the University, I didn't see any parents in the picture and people were definitely in eachother's bubbles - I jokingly asked her if the Hafidh remembered any of the Quran that he had memorized (because I heard that you forget Islamic knowledge when you commit sin), but she didn't get the joke - it wasn't really meant to be funny, I was really curious.

My cousin is interested in wearing hijaab but one of her concerns is that people in her community will think that "she's like every other scarfie" and wears hijaab but acts like any other person on the street. She tells me that where she comes from a hijaab and an abaya is nothing and that she was rather suprised that wake up for fajr and refuse to go out to hookah bars and other things that good Muslims don't do. She's shocked at my desire to learn more about Islam and to spend time in the Masjid.

I don't know what is when you go to places like England where there is a high population of Muslims. When I went to England 4 years ago, I fell in love with it, mainly because I met someone who I thought to be religious, but I think it has lost its lustre as far as I am concerned. While I was there, I noticed that the youth had a lot of freedom, perhaps its becuase all the neighbors are Muslim? Parents never asked questions as to where their kids were going and what time they would be home or even who they were going with. Its a shame that parents have forfeited their rights to know what their children are up to.

My father always says "I am so happy that I did not raise you in England!" and I never knew what he meant, until now. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) that this is not only a problem in England, we probably have the same problems here in the US, I just don't have an account of it. My concern isn't to back talk the British - I love them - especially their accents, my point is to point out what is going on...I'm sure its in my backyard too. It just makes me sad. I think parents really need to step it up a notch and start asking questions. Just because you kids are with Muslims doesn't mean anything, because Shaytan will work harder to throw a Muslim off his course.

Please keep the Muslim Youth and the entire Muslim Ummah in your duas.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rulings relating to the month of Ramadan


Here are the notes from the first CD in Sh. Waleed Basyouni's lecture series "186 Rules for Ramadan." The Shaykh covered about 27 rules/points and here, I have only listed 20. Somewhere along the line I lost count, my apologies. I am not the best note-taker. That being said, please refere to lecture so that you may get a clearer understanding. I have not listed all of the Hadith and/or proofs that they shaykh gave, if you would like those, please listen to the lecture. Also, if I have made any mistakes or have misquoted anything, please do not hesitate to point it out to me as I am only human. Jazak'Allahu Khairan.

Here are the notes:

"Ramadan"comes from the word Ramada - Strong heat of the sun. The Arabs named the months based on conditions and situations, so when they came to name Ramadan it was at a time when the heat of the sun was strong.

1) The month of Ramadan according to shariah is either 29 days long or 30 days long.

2) The month starts with the sighting of the new moon or with the completion of Shabaan's 30 days.
  • Ibn Umar (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said "Fast after you have see the new moon, and end the fast at the end of the month when you see it. If it is hidden from you, then wait until the 30 days of Shaban have passed." Related in Bukhari and Muslim
3) Can a person use binoculars or a telescope to sight the moon?
  • Shaykh Uthaymeen was asked this and his reply was that it is permissible an that it was common for people to use similar practices in the early days from the minarets of the mosques.
4) The sighting of the moon is only accepted by ONE trustworthy MUSLIM person who knows the moon and its phases (majority opinion).
  • Imam Malik: It has to be sighted by two Men
  • Imam Abu Haneefa: There has to be two male witnesses if it is cloudy or if there is a doubt about the person who sighted the moon (a total of 3 people).
5) The end of the month of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid-ul-fitr is determined by the sighting of the moon of Shawal or the completion of 30 days of Ramadan.
  • The witness of sighting has to be two trustworthy Muslim men (majority opinion of the scholars of fiqh).
  • Few scholars such as Mohammed Ash-Shawkani had a different opinion in that he believed that the sighting of the moon by one trustworthy Muslim man was sufficient and that there was no difference between the sighting of the moon in the beginning of the month of Ramadan and the beginning of the month of Shawal.
6) It is not permissible to determine the month of Ramadan by using astronomical calculations.
  • The Prophet (SAW) said "We are an illiterate Ummah, we don't write or calculate, so fast after you have seen the new moon. And end the fast at the end of the month, when you see it." Related in Bukhari and Muslim
  • The use of calculation in regards to prayer times is different as the above hadith clearly states that the start of the month of Ramadan is to be determined by the sighting of the moon.
  • Shaykhul Islam Ibn Taymiyah said "Depending on calculations in sighting the moon, as it is a deviance and innovation in religion. And it is also considered wrong by logic."
  • Imam Shaafi mentioned in Ahkam al Quran: "The starting of the month is determined by the moon and not by calculation. Calculation is wrong, for it is the way of the Persians and the Romans."
7) Is the sighting of the moon in one country sufficient enough for all other countries in the world? In other words if one country sights the moon does that mean the entire world can start fasting?
  • There is a difference in opinion (listen to the lecture for details as I do not want to mis-quote) some say a single sighting in any country is good enough, some say each country has their own sighting and others say that close countries can go by a single sighting.
  • According to the Hanafi Madhab, for each country is their own sighting.
8) If you do not live in a city where there is an Islamic Center, you try and sight the moon on your own, and if you feel that you cannot then follow the closest Islamic Center.

9) It is not permissible to fast on the Day of Doubt which is the last day of Shaban.
  • The prophet Muhammed (SAW) said: "Do not precede Ramadan by fasting a day or two before it unless it is a day on which the person usually fasts." Related by Muslim
10) If a person had some days to make up and he fasts on the Day of Doubt, there is no sin on him.

11) If a person starts Ramadan in one country and then travels to another country, he has to celebrate Eid with the country that he is currently in.

12) If in the above mentioned situation the total number of fasts add up to only 28, the person still celebrates Eid with the country he is currently in and then makes up the additional fast later on.

13) What if the country that the above mentioned person is in started fasting a day before the previous country, does he still fast with the country he is currently in? In other words instead of fasting 30 days with the previous country would he have to fast 31?
  • In this situation, this person must break his fast thus fasting only 30 days.
  • In this situation the person secretly does not fast the 31st day and then celebrates Eid the following day with the country that he is in.
14) For those individuals who have an excuse to not fast during the month of Ramadan (a woman who is menstruating, breast feeding, pregnant, or someone in the situation mentioned above) they should be sure to eat and drink privately out of respect for the month of Ramadan as it is known as the month of fasting.

15) The Night of Power (Laylatul Qadr) is equal to a thousand months. Any act of worship done in that night, it is as if the worshiper did this act for a thousand months.

16) What night in Ramadan is Laylatul Qadr? There is a difference in opinion among the scholars:
  • Some say it is one of the nights of Ramadan
  • Some say it is the 27th night of Ramadan
  • Ibn Umar (RA) narrated that the prophet (SAW) said: "He who would like to seek the night of Laylatul Qadr should do so on the 27th." Hadith related by Ahmed and Muslim.
  • Some opinions say it is on the 23rd, 25th, 28th all these opinions are adopted by the companions of the prophet (SAW).
  • The difference in opinion can be understood in that Laylatul Qadr varies from year to year according to a majority of scholars.
  • In a report by Bukhari, the prophet (SAW) said: "Seek the night of Al-Qadr in the last 10 nights.'
17) The wisdom behind hiding when the Night of Power is is in order to keep Muslims from neglecting the rest of the month of Ramadan as we see them doing today.

  • Now a days we see that Muslims around the world take the for granted that the Night of Power is on the 27th night of Ramadan and this is the night that they insist on staying up all night making zhikr.
18) Are there any signs of the Night of Power?

  • It has been related by Muslim that the sign of the night of power is that in the morning the sunrise is white without any rays.
  • It is said to be a clear and calm night that will be followed by a shower at fajr time.
19) Is it Mustahab (recommended) to do a certain thing on that night?

  • It has been related in Bukhari and Muslim that the prophet (SAW) said: "Whoever prays during the night of al-Qadr with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven."
  • It was also related that Aishah (RA) said: "I asked the Prophet (SAW): 'Oh, Messenger of Allah if I know what night the night of Qadr is, what should I say during it?' He said: 'Say, Allahuma inaka afu' tuhibul afwa fa'fuanni"
  • Translation: Oh, Allah you are forgiving and you love to forgive, so forgive me.
  • It is also recommended to do I'tikaaf and do more worship, give more charity and engage in more supplications during this time.
20) Ramadan has many virtues and blessings among them are

  • The Quran was revealed to the prophet (SAW) in this month
  • The Prophet (SAW) was sent to mankind and jinn to spread the teachings of Islam in this month.
  • Laylatul Qadr is in the month of Ramadan
  • Our rewards are multiplied in Ramadan
  • In every night of Ramadan Allah (SWT) saves a number of people from the hell fire

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In the spirit of Ramadan

Assalaam Alaikum!

I've decided to do something a little different from what I have been doing with this blog lately. As you all know, Ramadan is approaching us, I pray to Allah (SWT) that He let each and every one of us witness this beautiful month and that we all benefit from its virtues and that we are blessed with the ability to witness Laylatul Qadr (Ameen).

So, in an attempt to prepare myself for this auspicious month, I am listening to Shaykh Waleed Basyouni's lecture titled "186 rules for Ramadan" Insha'Allah I will attempt to take notes as I listen and I will post what I learned here. You can also listen along for free here.

Also, I am going to be taking a break from blogging my thoughts and daily happenings as school is starting soon and I would like to put all my extra energy into my studies and Ramadan happenings.

I pray you all get the best spiritual experience this Ramadan.

Please remember to keep me, my family and the entire Muslim Ummah in your duas.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Its because you're a girl!

Last night, I went to sleep in a fairly bad mood. I had what could have turned into a massive argument with my father, only I wasn't really in the mood to fight, so instead I kept my mouth shut. Keeping my mouth shut is generally out of character for me, but I just kept thinking "two more weeks for school to start, and then you'll be on your own." So what was the argument about? Well lets just say that it all started with "Its because you're a girl!" I don't know if I have mentioned this in the past, but that is by far the worst statement that any man (or woman) can ever make.

I won't get into what triggered such an answer as I don't want to backbite my father in anyway (even though no one here really knows who I am), as Allah (SWT) is watching. I have these dreams and aspirations about what I want to do in life such as providing health care in underprivileged parts of the world, living in an Arab country to learn Arabic, learn Islam under prominent shuyukh, all of which, unless I am married would warrant me to travel away from home on my own. I find that I find certain things to be much more important than my parents do. A relaxing day for me is spending hours at the masjid, eve if I am the only person there. Unfortunately, my parents' backwards and back-home mentality does not allow me to escape this world of fitnah without having to sneak around doing so....hence my excitement about school starting. Its not school I look forward to as much as I look forward to the freedom that comes with it.

My father's side of the family is very much ingrained in culture and does thing where they somehow manage to wrongfully blend together culture with religion. What I mean by this is, ever since we were young they managed to make us believe that certain cultural things were apart of religion (I'm not sure if it really makes sense) I think they have done it rather unconsciously, but still.

I find it rather interesting and at the same time rather insulting how parents can allow their sons to leave the house almost without so much as asking them where they are going and when they will be home whereas if their daughter wants to go out, she has to ask permission a week, if not more, in advance. In a way, I think this contributes to the problem of their being a shortage of suitable Muslim boys for marriage...I'll explain a little later. I hate how my brother is allowed to spend the weekend with his friends, but I am not. I would totally understand if the issue was a matter of safety, but I think I am smart enough to realize that it isn't. I am not sure if people truly believe that women are supposed to stay at home under the roof of their fathers until they are ready to move under their husbands' roof only to listen to him tell her what she can and can't do or if this is a way for a man to be an egotistical maniac and have control over someone..I don't get it. I remember once, in the heat of an argument, telling my father "if there is one reason that I don't get married, its because I don't want to go from living with one controlling man to the other, and if there is a reason I want to get married, its to get away from having to give an answer every time I do something." Of course I felt sorry afterward, but I still feel the same way.

Now on to my theory on why I think this "freedom" boys get is what has caused there to be so few eligible bachelors in our communities.

Parents often let their sons go out at night without even so much as questioning them where they are going, who they are going with and when they will be coming home. This allows brothers to basically do whatever it is that they want to do without the remotest fear of having a parent waiting up late for them to ask them what they did when they arrive home. If you would like to know...I think it is a travesty. I understand that there is a safety factor when your daughter goes out late at night, but on that same note, who is to say that your son cannot possibly get shot on the highway on his way home? or that note he couldn't possibly get into a car accident on his way to or from his destination?

I think the lack of strictness on the part of parents towards sons has enabled brothers to do what they please (attend frat parties, hang out at hookah lounges, go clubbing, etc.). Of course, I know not all brothers with lenient parents do such things, but there is a high percentage that does.

What I am trying to say is that brothers can get into just as much trouble as sisters can simply because they are boys.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I am torn...its been a few days since I spoke to Mr. Possibility and still I cannot get our conversation out of my head. I see him sign in and sign out, the whole while he is online playing the "message him, don't message him" game. Before you snicker and laugh at how teenie-bopperish this sounds, I am not a love-struck teenager, as a matter of fact I am in my mid-20s. I want so badly to talk to him and square away whatever confusion the both of us have, but at the same time, although I told him that night that I forgave him for everything that he did back in the day, I still have this huge question mark at the back of my mind. I am not sure if I can trust him anymore.

I know brother Salaam suggests that I speak to Mr. Possibility, but my friends think that I should just wait and see what happens and that if he truly cares to make things right, eventually he will contact me again. I would have to admit that since things have gone sour between the two of us over the years, he has been the one to contact me, so I almost feel as if I owe it to him for taking such a huge step. As you can see, I am confused! I am not necessarily sure if I want things between us to work out, but if they did it would be a good thing - provided we are compatible - as he was my friend, my support and the one that I would talk to when I was in need of a pair of ears to listen.

My best friend is on her honeymoon..I could sure use her advice at a time like this.

Anyways...I came across this link...check it out: The Marriage Revolution

Monday, August 4, 2008


There he stood: tall and handsome just like he always was, stealing glances just like he always did. He was there, so close yet so far. And to think there were days where we would spend hours engaging in intellectual conversations discussing religion or politics or religion and politics. Its an awkward feeling when you see an old Future Mr. Possibility. You know, the brother that was so in love with you or in love with the idea of being with you, the one who claimed he wanted to be your husband and then when everything actually started to happen, he decided to bail out on you. I should be furious with him, I should really dislike him, but I don't. I feel sorry for him and us but I am also grateful we "happened." It made me smarter (or so I think).

So what do I do when he sends me a message asking for a second chance, another opportunity to make things work because now he is for certain I am the one and he is ready to take the leap of commitment? The smart answer would be "speak to my father and see what he has to say." Instead I told him I didn't think a second chance was necessary. Now, I feel like getting in touch with him and telling him to talk to my parents, but I don't want to seem too eager. At the same time, I want to test him, to see if he was really serious or if he is playing mind games. I'm curious, confused and every other word that describes the way I feel right now.

Needless to say, amid all of this feeling of confusion and curiosity, I feel good! He is asking for a second chance, it must mean something. Okay, Okay, I know, I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. I'm just being honest as to how I feel.

I really just don't know anymore.