7th Muharram, 1436 Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Assalaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barkaatuhu brothers and sisters in Islam. Alhamdulillaah for the uncountable blessings. Alhamdulillaah for Islam. May He, azza wa jal, keep us on this gift, His guidance. Aameen. Remember to not forget me in your du’a. Tell Allah azza wa jal to make me simply ‘a beautiful soul’. The amazing thing is that; as you make du’a for me, the Angels do the same for you (smile for sadaqa). May Allah azza wa jal bless us with the gift of contentment and the zeal to strive in His way solely for His pleasure. Aameen.
So, I have an uncountable number of people who pull the ‘take advantage of now to worship Allah before later’ string in my heart and soul. Some of them I came across some years ago, when I didn’t even know what I was probably about exactly in this life and I keep discovering some more, alhamdulillaah.
Among them are men and women and of course these are straight from the Prophet Muhammad, suallallaahu alayhi wa sallam (who is more than enough as a motivator), his faithful male and female companions (super awesome heroes) and many others who are long dead. I call them; ‘the men and women of old who inspire me.’
These are men and women we must stop all else and read and learn about with vigour and all seriousness. So I started some updates on seerah especially of Umar ibn al-Khattab radiyallaahu anhu on facebook with the hashtag #LEARNSEERAHCAMPAIGN just to get some of us who aren’t into the seerah thing interested. Alhamdulillaah, I succeeded to a point (smile to Jannah). I guess you are going to start reading too in shaa Allah if you don’t do that already.
Among them are also the men and women of recent times who strived and are striving to walk in the path of ‘the men and women of old.’ Two of the women among this category are Sheikha Zeinab al-Ghazali and Sheikha Amina Assilmi.
These are also people that we must read about and learn from their struggles to keep the flames of their faith burning. Unfortunately, our youth, the Muslim youth especially, simply detests reading…yet did Allah azza wa jal not make ‘iqra’ ‘read’ ‘learn’ ‘recite’ ‘research’ ‘look for’ ‘find’ e.t.c. His first command to the noble one? Indeed, in this is a sign for the thoughtful.
So, I want to talk about Sheikha Amina Assilmi. She died in 2010 and we pray that Allah jalla jalaaluhu shower an abundance of His Rahma (Mercy), Magfira (Forgiveness) and Nuur (Light) upon her and all of those who have gone ahead of us. Aameen.
She gave an awesome answer to why she, as a Muslim woman, needs and has to dress in the Islamic cover which we mostly called the hijab, the barrier. It is her answer that I wanted to type verbatim and leave you to go and read about her (smile for sadaqa). But let me give you some facts about her to make you hungry enough to want to know more. Will I succeed? Well, let’s see! (Unfortunately, some people are simply unresponsive).
Amina Assilmi was a Christian who didn’t play by the rules much and she was a feminist too. She got a scholarship to study in the University and she found that there were Arab Muslims in one of her class. She refused to sit in the same class with them because she had them labelled already:
‘Muslims were a bunch of terrorists and uncivilized beings.’
At least, that was what the media programmed her mind to believe in just like it still does a million more ignorant ones. May Allah azza wa jal grant us His guidance. Aameen. She tried to change her course but it didn’t work out so she had to make do with them in the class. She then decided to do something good for them at least, interesting huh! What good is that?
‘She wanted to preach Christ and all the Christianity thing to them so they could have their souls saved.’
And she did start. Well, that is one of the things I admire about some people in the other faiths, they are passionate about spreading the message and they do not fear to do so whenever granted the opportunity.
As she sweet-talked them into salvation, they posed as a challenge to her. She started to practise Christianity as it is preached in the Bible and not the popular ‘everyone-does-as-pleased’ type of Christianity. They challenged her about drinking alcohol, living a morally righteous life, dressing decently and she found out too late that she was changing from the free-living woman she used to be into a woman like the Bible wanted her to be. She was still Christian.
Soon, the truth finally settled calmly in her heart and being someone who has always believed in standing by the truth come what may, she decided to profess it against all odds. She took the shahada…
‘She bore witness that indeed there was absolutely nothing that any human being should dare worship but Allah, the Mighty and Majestic and she bore witness that Prophet Muhammad suallallaahu alayhi wa sallam was indeed his final Messenger and a Prophet.’
May Allah azza wa jal make us among the people whose belief in this never ever shirks for whatever reason and may we die on this beauty, this shahada. Aameen.
She decided that she will wear the long covering clothes but she wouldn’t cover her hair (smiles) but…
‘the parable of her kind of faith in the heart was like a glowing seed put in the best of soils and blessed with the best of conditions…it grows and glows.’
So, she started the total cover and with joy until she inspired a lot more to do the same. You must wait patiently to read the answer she gives to ‘why the hijab?’ in order to know what I am talking about.
The Trials Did Come…
Her whole family was non-Muslim and each one of them had the bad media image of Islam just like she used to have deeply imprinted on their beings. They would not have her, their blood, get lured into something like that ever so they tried their very best to take her Islam out of her heart…How could that be possible? Reminds me of how she described her Islamic feel in a lecture of hers I watched. She says;
‘I love Islam. Islam is absolutely my life. There is nothing in the world as important to me as Islam. And there is nothing in the world that I am not willing to give up for the sake of Allah, for Islam, for the Muslims. That is a fact! It’s an unquestionable fact! Because Islam is everything to me because I know the power of Islam. I know the power of Allah. I understand Allah’s love. I understand His wisdom. I understand His Mercy. I understand His justice and I know there is nothing that is better and I wish to share this with everyone and the first thing I had to learn was how to present Islam and how to live Islam.’
Subhaanallaahi Robbil ‘Arshil ‘Azeem! Indeed, she achieved this aim because she is an inspiration and a motivation to me at least. May Allah azza wa jal make us like her and better. Aameen. And indeed, we must not just read these things but also ponder on them and ask ourselves questions: do we feel this way too?
For a person with such a passion, we should know that Allah azza wa jal is her strength and no human could bring her faith down even for even an inch ever. And that was exactly what happened; none of them…those who wanted to kill her and those who wanted to give her a mind treatment, none of them succeeded.
Her husband divorced her. She had two children, a boy and a girl. She had been diagnosed of cancer and told that she would not live that long (and she did live long) and she cannot give birth again either. So, her children were her world. She found herself in a court and given thirty (30) minutes to choose between her two children and Islam. It is a wonder how a court could actually do something like that! The enmity for Islam is overwhelming! She says in an article;
‘During the divorce, there was a time when I was told I could make a choice. I could renounce this religion and leave with my children, or renounce my children and leave with my religion. I was in shock. To me, this was not a possible choice. If I renounce my Islam, I would be teaching my children how to be deceptive for there was no way to deny what was in my heart. I could not deny Allah, not then, not ever. I prayed like I had never prayed before. After the thirty minutes was up, I knew that there was no safer place for my children to be than in the hands of Allah. If I denied Him, there will be no way in the future to show to my children the wonders of being with Allah. The courts were told that I would leave my children in the hands of Allah. This was not a rejection of my children! I left the courts knowing that life without my children will be very difficult. My heart bled, even though I knew, inside, I had done the right thing. I found solace in Aayat-ul-Kursiyy.’
And indeed, whoever puts his or her trust in Allah azza wa jal, then indeed He is enough for the person.
Alhamdulillaah! Almost all of her family members became Muslim overtime. She lost them and her job but Allah azza wa jal, who is able to do all things that might seem impossible in our sights as humans, brought everything back to her in a much better package.
It started with her grandmother who died about a month after she had become Muslim. Then her father who hid his Islam from everyone only for them to find out when they were trying to let him know that her mother wanted to become Muslim now whether he liked it or not. Amazing, isn’t it? And then her former husband had become Muslim and living his life somewhere and her two children became Muslims. Alhamdulillaah!
Why Hijab? Super Answer
So, this amazing Ruby of Our Deen (smile to Jannah…so a khalil of mine addressed me like that and I prayed…Yaa Allah! Make me so. Aameen), gives a mind-blowing answer to why the hijab. She says;
‘And I had promised the young sisters that I would also go ahead and…because we are talking about how we can make an impact, the women, and one of the ways is you have to be able to explain Islam in a way that they would understand. Ok. So, one of the most important things they always ask about is the rug on our heads. Why do we wear that thing? Ok. And you know, I’m amazed, I ask Muslims why do your women cover their hair and may be one out of 99 gives the right answer. Now, if Muslims don’t know why women wear this scarf, how do we expect non-Muslims to understand? Seriously! The Qur’an itself says why we cover our hair. What does the Qur’an say?
To identify ourselves as being Muslim; that is number one. That we will be recognised. We put this on, this is an act of truthfulness, all right, so that everybody will know that we are Muslim women. We want everyone to know that we are Muslim women. We are proud of being Muslim women but then this says a lot too.
See, what this tells everyone who sees me is; what stands before you is a woman of enormous strength, enormous courage and integrity. This woman will not lie, she will not cheat, she will not deceive. She will be the best employer, the best employee, the best friend, the best adviser, the best counsellor. That is a Muslim woman. You can trust her. And it is a warning. Oh yah!
It looks apparent and it tells to everybody; what stands before you is a woman who knows her worth. She knows her value. She is not a toy so don’t even try to play with her. This is a woman you take serious. See, my hijab lets people know straight up front that I want to be set apart from everyone else. I want you to know who I am and this is what you have a right to expect from me and this is what I will accept from you, therefore, when you come near me, leave your profanity somewhere else. I will not hear it. When you come to me, don’t tell me stories about someone else, I do not eat the flesh of my brother.
This identifies me as being a Muslim woman. Now, the ayah goes further, you know, when it says that; you will not be molested and some people have taken the word molested and turned it into ‘rape.’ It has nothing to do with rape. Actually, rape has nothing to do with sexual attraction. Rape is an act of violence and hate and domination. Old women, I mean, ancient old women, even older than me get raped. Ok! No matter what you wear, it doesn’t matter because it has nothing to do with sex. They are not turned on; they are filled with hate. That is where rape comes from. It has nothing to do with sex.
When He speaks of protection, the protection comes from your attitude. Ok! Because I know what Allah has said about me then I am going to have what I call; ‘the Islamic attitude.’ I’m not a toy. I’m truth. I’m honesty. You can trust me. Ok! I take my attitude and I let you know; ‘you don’t go pass this point with me.’ I don’t accept that. That is my attitude and that attitude, makes everyone notice so when I walk up to a shopping centre, ok, everyone rushes to open the door for me. I expect it; so they do it. If I get on a bus, they would get up and give me their seat. I expect it; so they do it. I walk into a room where they are telling a dirty story and they stop because they know I won’t tolerate it. So, I have the Islamic attitude that lets people know what to expect from me and at the same time, anyone who has trouble knows that they can come to me and talk to me about their problems and their problems will be safe. It will be secured and the guidance they get will be the best of guidance.
Therefore, I do counselling not only of Muslims but of non-Muslims because they trust me. They know they can trust me. See, these little things, they may sound like little things, but they really aren’t. But you see the difference in the way that I explain things to you and some people go…(makes a face)… you know, they think this is horrible but I don’t think it is horrible. I think it is closer to the truth than what has been…’’
So, this is just like…she has said it all. The challenge now is;
‘Do you as a Muslim woman understand your covering in such a manner?’
‘Do you don this blessed covering at all?’
‘Will you take it as a challenge to start donning it if you don’t do so already?’
‘If you do, will you try to live a life such as she describes above, that comes with this code of dressing?’
Alhamdulillaah thumma alhamdulillaah! I believe this is enough to set all of us thinking about how much of the purpose of our lives, which is solely worship, we are living. The standards have been set by millions. We only have to learn how to trek in those beautifully impressive footsteps as we pray for acceptance from Allah azza wa jal.
May Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aalaa forgive all of our wrongs, past, present and future. May He forgive our living and our dead. May He count us among His blessed and beloved slaves both in this Dunya and the Akhira and may He increase us in His consciousness, taqwa. Aameen.
Remember as I say always, and I mean it from the deepest core of my heart, I love you for the sake of Allah and I pray that Allah azza wa jal will love us even more. Aameen.
Jazaakumullaahu khair always!
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