Aqeedah Series – Tawheed

 

‘In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds; Most Gracious, Most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment. Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek. Show us the straight way, the way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.’ (Suratul Al-Faatihah, Q1:1-7)

 

‘and (remember) when Luqmân said to his son when He was advising him: “O My son! join not In Worship others with Allâh. Verily! joining others In Worship with Allâh is a great Zûlm (wrong) indeed.’ (31:13)

 

Salam,

This, God willing, is the first post in the Aqeedah Series.

Aqeedah refers to a set of beliefs, and is defined by Muslim scholars as ‘the firm Creed that one’s heart is fixed upon without any wavering or doubt.’ This is an attempt at explaining and clarifying Islamic beliefs, and what better way to start than with Tawheed (the Oneness of God).

Tawheed is one topic which has been discussed and explained so many times, and will continue to be, for it is the very foundation of Faith, and if any aspect of this is faulty, it results in major sin. May Allah (SWT) protect us and guide us from such a grave sin.

The statement ‘la illah illallah’ (none deserves to be worshipped but Allah) is a testimony to this, but how many of us really understand the gravity of those words, and fully appreciate all its implications?

Tawheed has three aspects (some maintain that there are two aspects, and usually combine the first and second, but for ease of understanding, I prefer going by three classifications). These three aspects are Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah (Oneness of Lordship), Tawheed al-asmaa wa sifaat (Oneness of Names, Qualities and Attributes), and Tawheed al-Ibadah (Oneness of Worship).

 

Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah is the absolute belief that Allah (SWT) is one, and without partners in His dominion. Saying ‘La illah illallah” is a way of testifying to this, that there is none worthy of worship except Allah (SWT). The second verse of Suratul Al-Fatihah (highlighted above), describes Allah as the ‘Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds’, not ‘One of the Cherishers and Sustainers’. He is THE Cherisher and Sustainer, no one else. This also includes the belief that everything is created by Allah, and all things depend on Him, and that nothing can occur unless He permits it.

La Hawla wa la quwata illa billah’ means that there is no power except by Allah’s Will. This is a statement that we often repeat, but we must also reflect on it in totality. This means that neither calamity nor good can occur without Allah’s permission. We must therefore, not accord any aspect of Lordship – which is Allah’s sole preserve – to anyone simply because we fear that they may do us harm. Nobody has the power to do anything which Allah (SWT) has not ordained to happen.

Therefore, when good or evil comes our way, we must accept that God is in control, lest we fall into the trap of polytheism and/or shirk. As is written in Suratul Hadid;

 “No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfûz), before We bring it into existence…’ (Q 57:21).

We should, therefore, not lose faith when tragedy strikes.

 


Tawheed al-Asmaa wa-sifaat
 refers to maintaining the uniqueness of Allah’s Names, Qualities and Attributes, by understanding Allah (SWT) according to how He described Himself, and not according to the things or people that we see (for shirk may result from this). Tawheed Al-Asmaa wa-Sifaat entails not adding any new names or attributes to Allah except what He revealed either in the Qur’an or through His Prophet (SAW), and describing Allah (SWT) without giving Him the attributes of His creations. For example, a Yorubaman may use the expression “Alagbada Ina” (one who wears the garment of fire) in describing God, this was never used by God or His Messenger (SAW) to describe Him and as such using such terms to describe God would be wrong. Also, Allah says in the Quran that He created man with His two hands (Q38:75); we must understand that His hands are nothing like ours, for Allah is like nothing that we know (Q42:11). This aspect of tawheed also implies that human beings cannot share Allah’s names, and this is why the prefix ‘Abdul’ is used. Human beings can also not be said to be infallible or perfect, for Allah (SWT) is the only one without error.

 

The third and final aspect of Tawheed is Tawheed al-Ibadah, which means to worship Allah (SWT) alone, and sincerely. This last aspect of Tawheed follows naturally from the first two, and implies that Allah (SWT) is the ONLY one that we pray to, and that we worship exactly as the Prophet (SAW) did, without innovations. Worship is all-encompassing, and is not just limited to the physical rituals, but includes emotional aspects as well. For instance, doing something haram in order to please a fellow human implies a greater love for the person than for Allah (may God protect us from such). Another example where somebody could associate a partner with Allah in this category of tawheed is when somebody says, in trying to show appreciation to somebody who has helped him “if not for Allah and you”. This person has associated a partner with Allah (albeit unconsciously) because he is equating Allah with one of His slaves, rather the person should have said “If not for Allah and then you”. [This is based on an hadith of the Prophet (SAW)]. The right to declare something as haram or halal should also not be attributed to human beings.

 

It is worthy of note that all three aspects of Tawheed are absolutely essential, and omission of any would lead to shirk (idolatory). While the classifications were not made by Nabiyy (SAW), it became necessary after Islam began to spread and reverts began to inculcate their previously held beliefs with Islam. These three classifications are based on verses from the Quran, and of course, supported by Hadith.

 

I leave you with this powerful Ayat (verse), which encompasses all three aspects of Tawheed, so that you may reflect on the words and their meanings, and see just how important Tawheed is.  

 

‘Allâh! Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (none has the Right to be worshipped but He), the ever living, the one who sustains and protects all that exists. Neither slumber, nor sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth. Who is He that can intercede with Him except with his Permission? He knows what happens to them (his creatures) in this world, and what will happen to them In the Hereafter. And they will never compass anything of his knowledge except that which He wills. His Kursî extends over the heavens and the earth, and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.’ [This Verse Q2:255 is called Ayat-ul-Kursî.]

 

Ma Salam

Ms. Rinsola Abiola

msreemah@yahoo.com

@Rinsola_Abiola

 

(For further reading, please see 7:59, 16:36, 12:38, 21:25, 39:3, 72:13, 6:102, 17:23, 2:21-22, among others)

I would like to thank brother Jamiu for his help, although he asked not to be acknowledged. Jazaak Allahu khayran katheeran.

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Thanks for Following!

Salam aleikum wahramatullah wabarakatuhu. 

For the Christians and other non-Muslims in the community, I wish you all very happy holidays. 

As you’ve probably already noticed, the tone of this post is rather different; this is because I’m writing this to and for all those who deemed this blog worthy of being followed. I’m not going to share the link to this post on any social media platform; this is strictly within the family.

I would like to express profound gratitude to you all. Yesterday, I decided to change the appearance settings, and just took a look through the list of followers, and the realization that I have to always post responsible content hit me. If you have honoured me with direct access to your mailbox, I might as well prove myself worthy by ensuring that I churn out only the best, so help me God.

I would like to seize this opportunity to give you a bit of insight into what kind of person i am, and what inspires my posts.

I am crazy about Islam. I haven’t always been, though, because it took me quite a while to understand, but I feel like I wasted too much time rebelling against something that’s meant for my protection and to make my life better. In order to make up for what I call lost time, I read anything and everything that can help me grow in the Deen, and I’m always eager to apply the knowledge to things that I see around me.

I’m Nigerian, and I love my country, but we live in a deplorable state due to bad leadership. I am very much involved in advocacy, and I often express my views on political happenings here, as I’m certain you’ve noticed.

I need your help. I’m considering having two blogs, and dedicating one exclusively to Islam, and the other to Politics/social issues. Of course, the two might intersect from time to time, but I wish there were a platform where all discussions will be purely Islamic and those of us who seek knowledge can help each other grow (a platform purely for Da’wah and nothing else). I’m seeking your opinion because I know that it’s not my decision alone, and I would, therefore, be very glad if you would all let me know what you think.

On the Islamic blog, everything from Aqeedah to relationships (marriage, courtship, etc) will be discussed without any sort of ‘punctuation’, and on the Social/Political blog, those of us with the passion for national integration and harmonious existence can propose viable solutions and also help each other grow. 

I’m eagerly awaiting your feedback, and thank you very much for following! 

 

msreemah@yahoo.com

@Rinsola_Abiola

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GEJ’s 5-DAY ₦161BN CONSPIRACY

Originally posted on Raymond Eyo's Blog:

Since its inception, the Goodluck Jonathan administration has treated Nigerians to very intriguing, sometimes laughable, events featuring dramatic twists and the sort of conspiracies that can only be the stuff of grand corruption! The most dramatic of such events, of course, remains the cowardly and botched attempt to remove the fuel subsidy in January 2012.

In the first weeks of December 2012, however, the Jonathan administration presented Nigerians with another very dramatic twist to the bigger fuel subsidy narrative. It was a conspiracy by fuel barons, who enjoy the regime’s subservience, to forcefully draw out more funds from the national till after facing what appeared to be some resistance to that devilish plan from the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NOI). What followed was equally devilish – the kidnapping of NOI’s mum to compel her to play along with the plan and release the requested funds!

What GEJ’s administration effectively staged…

View original 749 more words

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Waking Thoughts

I can not claim to deeply admire General Olusegun Obasanjo, but I can say that I respect him. He also did not live up to all his promises, and while his plan might have been to be succeeded by someone who would make his regime (yes, regime) seem spectacular; he did not force us to vote for Goodluck in anyway (which Nigerians actually did out of pure sentiments).

In typical Nigerian fashion, we hate to take responsibility and always look for whom to blame. The Peoples’ Deprivation Party is a big evil establishment, but it is one thing to carry out an evil act, and another entirely for the people to willingly accept it and consciously decide not to fight it. The General did not force Jonathan on us; many of us were swayed by his light words and ill-composed speeches and unimpressive track record simply because he had no shoes. That campaign slogan is sufficient to prove that Nigerians have a twisted opinion of who a leader should be, and what leadership represents.

A man whom I look up to once explained that in Nigeria, the party chooses a candidate, who is automatically elevated to the rank of a leader, and this is what is responsible for the bad leadership that we have experienced, and may continue to be subjected to. He said that ‘we need to go back to when leaders were chosen as candidates’. This is logic that I cannot fault.

Pray tell, what is Jonathan’s track record? What did he achieve right from when he held his first political office? As Governor of Bayelsa, what did he do? How do you expect someone who has absolutely no achievement to his name to successfully lead a nation with such intricate complexities as Nigeria? How do you expect a man who cannot even defend his doctorate degree to defend the lives and property of Nigerians? How do you expect a man who attempts to evoke pity by announcing that he once had no shoes, instead of proving that he is capable, to take the affairs of our nation seriously?

Voting for a man out of pity says a number of things about Nigerians (those who did, anyway); the first is that Nollywood has had a damning effect on many of us, and we expect real-life situations to turn out like a movie plot, and that we mistake a position as sensitive as the presidency for something that should be bestowed upon people who have ‘suffered’ so that they may have some ‘enjoyment’ in life. Having once being poor does not make anyone qualified to lead a hundred and sixty million people; in President Jonathan’s case, it has proved to work against us. The heart that ought to be compassionate is filled with unabated greed and disregard for the millions he conned into doing his bidding.

Everyone loves a good success story, but if that man from a humble background did not become wealthy through legal means, then he is not worth emulating, and is not worthy of being a leader. A man who would dismiss asset declaration in such uncouth terms is one who has many things to hide.

In 2011, I was torn between General Muhammadu Buhari and Mallam Nuhu Ribadu. In terms of precedence, the General had been tested and proven, but a man who would turn down millions of dollars was also worthy of my vote. Then I looked at Pastor Bakare and Dr. Adeola; Pastor Bakare is someone that I respect immensely for being different – he is not one of those who seek to enslave and extort people in the name of God, and his integrity has also been proven. Dr. Adeola is a role-model to many: a man whose face should grace posters advertising honest labour and a reason to remain steadfast and embrace principle. Then I thought of Nnamadi Sambo, and I couldn’t come up with anything he achieved while he was governor of Kaduna state (I called a number of friends and they couldn’t either).

To be honest, how these two tickets did not secure the highest number of votes still baffles me. The reason why we would go for two people who have absolutely nothing to offer while we had four others – integrity personified – still eludes me. The shamelessness with which this current administration squanders our commonwealth is beyond shocking; they have descended to the dirtiest levels, and ‘don’t give a damn’ about what we think.

This is a mistake that we cannot afford to repeat in 2015. Let us identify our leader now, and work towards ensuring victory for ‘us’. I know who I would choose, but my opinion is mine, but I also know that my kind of ticket would have two people whose names alone would inspire confidence for a true transformation – not the type that involves trains made a century ago.

 

Peace Be Upon You

Ms. Rinsola Abiola

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Lazy Poor People

On Wednesday, I set out on a journey to Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. I left Abeokuta around mid-day, after spending a considerable amount of time on a long queue at the Kuto branch of GTB (excellent service, though, and I wouldn’t trade my ‘GT account’ for anything). I hated that I was leaving Egba (Abeokuta) so late because my appointment in Ekiti was for 6p.m, but still, I was hopeful that I would be able to convince the team to reschedule; and so, I boarded a bus to Ibadan and refused to speak throughout the journey for fear of letting my heart out – the driver was a pilot who had missed his calling.

I had barely had a chance to find a manageable seat in the bus when a child asked if I wanted Ofada rice. I declined the offer, and as he was about leaving, another boy repeated the question, then another, and another. A female voice joined in the chorus and I glanced in their direction to see a teenage girl with a tray of kokoro (a local snack made of corn) balanced on her head; this, I bought, for I like having a bit of ‘cultural exchange’ when I meet people. Soon after, there were enough passengers and the journey to Ibadan commenced.

We got to Ibadan without incident (all thanks to Almighty Allah), and I asked for directions to the park where I’d board another bus heading to Ado. There were many funny, unintelligible, and outright rude remarks, but eventually, I found a brother who did help out. Five minutes and another rickety bus later, I was literally accosted by throngs of children hawking goods ranging from egg rolls to cookery books. I got another ‘experience’ when we got to Aramoko: there are heaps of sand in this area, and this slows vehicles down a bit as this makes the road narrow. It also provides hawkers with a huge opportunity to market their goods; hawkers who are mostly children.

While growing up, I had a counting disorder (to a large extent, I still do). At the first stop, I counted twenty-three hawkers, of which a staggering seventeen were children. Soon after, there was another ‘stop’, and although I didn’t take exact figures this time, I noticed that were still more children than adults.

I have ten fingers, but I wouldn’t point one at their parents.

In the name of ‘social welfare’, we ask that parents who ‘let their children hawk’ should be locked up, or even have such children taken from them. We scream ‘child abuse’ like we live in a country where even the adults are not being abused. We want to act like ‘oyinbo’ and speak big grammar and treat our children the way they treat theirs, but their government provides unemployed parents with welfare – ours does not.

Children who hawk have parents who also hawk, or even beg. Once, on my way back to Benin after a brief meeting in Warri, a beautiful girl child walked up to me and asked for money to buy lunch. We had a small chat, and I gave her a little gift; barely a minute later, her mother appeared by my side and said ‘thank you’. As I turned to ask why she had let the girl wander off on her own, I noticed that she held some drinks in a bowl; apparently, she’d been hawking, trying to make ends meet.

No parent would want his/her child to suffer, no parent would willingly expose a daughter to sexual abuse, no parent would wish to keep their children out of school while they regret not being educated. No sane parent would willingly do these things, but those who do so are those who do not have a choice. Before we enforce the same laws as the colonial exploiters, shouldn’t we strive to also create the ideal environment?

According to Shariah law, if a man steals out of poverty or hunger, he is to be helped by the society. In Nigeria, a man who steals Peak Milk is sentenced to death. While this is not a piece to advocate for Shariah, I am of the opinion that a secular society should have a system that is more ‘humane’ than one which is said to be utterly draconian.

I have thought long and hard about how to solve the problem of exposing our children to the risks of death and physical/sexual abuse and I have come up with just one solution; empower the parents.

Empowerment has nothing to do with motorcycles and wheelbarrows. You don’t promote a man from one level of poverty to another. Exposing a breadwinner to danger by asking him to ply dangerous roads on a motorcycle is no way of alleviating poverty. The question our Honourable, Distinguished Senators need to answer is if they could sustain their families on less than a thousand Naira per day. Why do the ruling elite try so hard to keep a large percentage of the population poor?

The answer is to empower the parents; the question is WHO would be willing to? I am a relatively fresh graduate, so perhaps I’m still rather idealistic, but I believe that not all Nigerians are such terrible people that none would be willing to help others escape poverty. Corporate Social Responsibility entails a lot more than sponsoring TV programmes to reward ‘faithful customers’; how about those who wish desperately to own a mobile phone but just cannot afford it? How about those whose children yearn to taste beverage but just have to dream of it? How about those who cook with firewood because they cannot afford kerosene, even in areas where crude oil is mined?

Are we fools? Are we stupid? If our government won’t do the right thing, why can’t we? If all the NCC knows is to ‘fine’ mobile telecommunication companies, why don’t we bring it to their consciousness? We have companies that make the bulk of their profit from the Nigerian market; how have they given back to us?

Our government? A band of bumbling baboons; misguided scavengers, vultures feeding on the carcass of our collective dreams. If they empower these people, there will be no voters’ cards to buy, nobody to entice with hundred Naira and pure water. While this is not a direct attack on the ill-equipped, terribly uncharismatic rogue currently occupying the Presidential Villa, what we need to know is that we do not have a government and the time has come to help ourselves and each other.

When government fails, parallel bodies should be formed to take up the duties which they neglect. That way, a revolution becomes even easier, better coordinated, and much less violent. We choose our leaders, and care for each other. We have gotten to that point, and now is the time to take action.

The question is – will you be a part of the solution, or will you continue to aid the problem? A wealthy (or ‘comfortable’) man in the midst of poverty-stricken people isn’t just poor, he’s also in danger. Will you help fellow Nigerians, or will you ignore them and ‘enjoy your life’?

For those who hate poor people and say they’re lazy, know that a woman who hawks from sunrise to sunset is more hard-working than the exec who sits in an air-conditioned office all day. One had no opportunity, the other did.

Will you stand with the poor, the oft-exploited and defenseless, or will you bend to the lowest low with the oppressors? If we are serious about reclaiming our country, the level of poverty must be reduced. As long as there are poor people, votes will continue to be bought. As long as there are poor people, we will always have hired thugs who will engage in electoral violence, thugs-for-hire who would eliminate candidates with good intentions, as long as there are poor people, the rest of us will not sleep in peace.

Peace be Unto You
Ms. Rinsola Abiola
msreemah@yahoo.com
@Rinsola_Abiola

P.S: The government of Ekiti state must, however, be commended for introducing a social welfare scheme. While it only caters to senior citizens (for now), we must consider the fact that Ekiti receives the second lowest federal allocation in the country (about 2.9 billion, 1.8 billion of which is used to pay workers’ salaries). A responsible government would seek for solutions, not excuses, and i believe that the government of Ekiti state is a responsible one.

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That Man and Woman Talk

Please note that ‘this’ is generally not my forte.
I believe that ‘secular feminism’ is an ideology designed to send women astray: *public, indiscriminate* sexual expression; promoting the idea that a woman can only ‘own’ her body if she exposes it every chance she gets. How will women get taken seriously if they use their bodies as tools in order to get ahead? If a man feels no need to show off ripped muscles at a board meeting, why on earth should my body be on display for all sorts of perverts to gawk at? (but then, that’s a story for another day). I agree with being ambitious and financially independent (or having the capacity to be), though.
The Holy Qur’an says that
‘Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means.’ (4:34)
In Islam, I get to keep my earnings and don’t have to spend a penny if I don’t want to. It is my husband’s duty to provide my needs.
I have highlighted this particular portion of the quoted verse in response to those who claim that the inheritance law (which states that a male child receives double the share of a female) is unfair to women. Really, how could this proclamation be unfair when women (daughters, wives, or mothers) had NO inheritance rights in the Pre-Islamic period? In some parts of present-day Nigeria, women still cannot inherit from their fathers. In all fairness, if all a woman is required to do in Islam is pay Zakat on her wealth, how is this law unfair? It is the duty of the man to ‘spend from his means’ in order to provide the woman’s needs. He has a wife to maintain, she gets to keep her money; surely, giving him double her share is not a great injustice now, or is it?
Also, in some parts of the country, the evil tradition of automatically inheriting women is still being practiced. In Islam, it is totally forbidden to inherit a woman against her will! (4:19)
The Prophet (PBUH) said that paradise lies at the mother’s feet. When asked ‘who has rights over the man?’ he answered ‘his mother!’
I once wrote about women in Islam, and one of the issues I addressed was physical punishment (i.e beating). In Islam, if you must beat your wife, you must do so in such a way that it would leave NO mark on her body (i.e with a very thin bundle of grass, and you must have made your displeasure manifest through other means first); any man who transgresses this provision is not following Islamic guidelines.
The way many women are treated in Islamic societies leaves a lot to be desired, but one thing is certain; a sick man is a sick man, Muslim or not. In the (civilized, liberated) West, there are extremely frequent cases of domestic violence. On the issue of honour killings which are rather commonplace in some Muslim societies, the Qur’an says
‘Indeed, lost are they who have killed their children, foolishly, without knowledge, and have forbidden that which Allah has provided for them, inventing a lie against Allah. They have indeed gone astray and are not guided’ (6:140)
Furthermore, the Quran says
‘And when the female buried alive, shall be questioned. For what sin, was she killed?’ (81:8-9)
The Quran even addresses the issue of rejoicing at the birth of a male child and being saddened by the birth of a daughter;
‘When news is brought to one of them of (the birth of) a female (child), his face darkens, and he is filled with inward grief. With shame does he hide himself from his people, because of the bad news he has had. Shall he keep her with dishonor or bury her in the earth? Certainly, evil is their decision.’ (16:58-59)
Killing a female (and/or a male) child is deemed evil in Islam.
On the issue of polygamy (which is where most men get it wrong), the instruction is ‘marry…..two or three or four, but if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one…’ (4:3). Now, while I do not wish to ever have to share my husband, I believe totally in God’s Will. If it is my destiny, I cannot escape it, all I can do is pray for a husband who will love and cherish me and treat me like a true Muslim man should treat a woman. This brings me to the second part of this ‘essay’; how should a Muslim man treat his wife?
Khadijah (RA) was a renowned businesswoman. She was industrious, hardworking, and the Prophet (SAW) NEVER prohibited her from working. The romance between Aisha (RA) and Nabiyy (SAW) is well-documented, and even I blush from reading a number of Hadiths, wishing endlessly and hoping for a man who would fill my life with joy the way Nabiyy (SAW) did hers. If the Prophet of Allah (SAW) was loving enough to help with house chores, if he was romantic enough to let his wife wash and comb his hair, if he was kind and considerate enough to tell men not to be harsh with their wives, then why would any ‘Muslim’ man treat his wife (or wives) like filth?
Nabiyy (SAW), who received the Quran, who relayed the instruction that ‘men are the maintainers of women’, did not treat his wives like they were stupid . There was a relationship of love and respect between them. He cared for his wives, and he managed his home effectively.
By all means, if you must marry more than one woman, manage your home in such a way that peace would reign. When you cram three women into one apartment with one kitchen, how will they not fight? Women are naturally ‘funny’ (being careful with words now, lest my dear sisters descend on me); we do not like competition, and would seek endlessly for avenues to let out pent up frustration and feelings of jealousy. Unless a man needs urgent medical *neuropsychiatric* attention, he should not enjoy watching his wives beat each other up.
Nabiyy (SAW) did not marry women, keep them in a house, and then neglect them. A true Muslim man would flee from the thought of not fulfilling his responsibilities over his wife, and would not view adultery like a ‘normal’ thing. How can a man who claims to belong to the Ummah of Muhammad (SAW) deprive his wife while paying serious attention to scantily clad women outside his home? How can a man who claims to be Muslim spend huge amounts of money on women of lose virtue while his wife and children suffer? Why should a Muslim man perpetrate ‘religious blackmail’ by advising his wife to be the ideal Muslimah when he is not prepared to make any effort to be the ideal Muslim husband? Which kind of selfish man guards, monitors, and ‘protects’ his wife obsessively while being very unguarded with other women?
In Nigeria today, many ‘girls’ insist that ‘being a girlfriend is better than being a wife’. When a ‘girlfriend’ gets a house in Ikoyi and Asokoro while the wife does not have a piece of land in her name, how do you expect them not to say so? We must promote religious ideals, but it’s so difficult when those who have no regard for God are obviously way ahead of the game!
If you are Muslim, then please BE Muslim. I am not against taking a second wife, what I am against is dereliction of duty. Men who sing that ‘a woman’s paradise depends on how she treats her husband’ should also know that it’s no excuse to maltreat her. Both the husband and wife have roles to play, and whoever breaches the ‘Quranic Contract’ as prescribed by Allah will be punished accordingly. While I’m willing to wait for as long as it takes in order to ensure that I never have cause to leave my marital home, I will not put up with un-Islamic behavior from my husband, and neither do I expect him to put up with same from me.
Women should respect their husbands; love and respect are potent tools that would make a man succumb to his wife’s demands. No matter how wealthy or intelligent the woman is, her husband is still her husband and deserves respect (if you scream at a man, especially when his/your friends are around, he’s going to withdraw from you and turn down most/all requests until you’re able to ensure that you’re forgiven. Even male children do things with a lot more enthusiasm when you make them feel ‘big’ and special). Apply wisdom: don’t eye his friends maliciously lest they incite him to send you packing; Yes, he should take care of you, but try not to ask like you worked for it and he’s simply the custodian (a loving husband wouldn’t wait for you to ask, anyway); Work, but don’t neglect your family lest he blames his ‘misdeeds’ on you. Support his dreams, if you must discourage, do it kindly (e.g Darling, this is a beautiful idea, but look at the financial projections, are you sure this investment is worth it?), NEVER compare him to his ‘mates’, don’t make him feel low, when he’s down, be the rock that he can draw strength from. (Borrowed words of advice from my grandmother)
Before we all succumb to the Western brand of feminism, we need to be made aware of our rights as women in Islam. Flashing skin does not make a woman equal; it reduces her to a sex object, and draws attention away from her intelligence. When you’re encouraged to go after your career, please bear in mind that there’s something called a biological clock; go after your dreams, but don’t forget to put that into consideration too. There are many married, successful women; being married is not a curse, marriage is not entrapment, not all men are part of the giant conspiracy to tie you down. Children are beautiful, and you deserve to have the experience too! Many of those ‘super-feminists’ are single, lonely, bitter women, and that’s the gospel truth. Not all men are perfect, as not all women are, but with good sense and patience, you won’t go wrong Insh’Allah. A supportive spouse is the best thing that could happen to anyone; support him and he will support you. Marriage is ‘half of your faith’; would you throw that opportunity away?
My rant ends here; I do hope I made a little sense, though.

Salam aleikum.
Ms. Rinsola Abiola.
msreemah@yahoo.com
@Rinsola_Abiola

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What Do We Call This?

“…. I have left you upon clear guidance….No one deviates from it after me except that he is destroyed.” – Prophet Muhammad (SAW)

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was given gifts on a very regular basis, yet he died leaving behind only his weapons and a piece of land that had been given to charity. He lived in the most humble condition when he could have lived like a king. That was the kind of man the Prophet (PBUH) was, that was the kind of exemplary life that He lived.

Fast-forward to a naming ceremony/wedding in present day Nigeria;

‘Eni to ba fe ki omo ohun o s’orire, ko wa san’wo alaafa!’ (Whoever wants successful children should come and give the clerics money)
‘Eni ba fe ki omo ohun o se igbeyawo, ko wa sanwo alaafa!’ (Whoever wants his/her children to get married should come and give the clerics money!)
‘Eni to ko ba fe ya agan, ko wa sanwo se!’ (Whoever does not wish to be barren should come and pay!)
‘Ki a to so omo l’oruko, e o dide l’eyo kookan lati wa sanwo oruko o!’ (Before we name this child, you must all get up one after the other, and pay the ‘naming tax’!)
‘Eni to ko ba fe se nnkan ‘re, ko joko!’ (Whoever would rather be unsuccessful should remain seated)

Where I live, this disgraceful behavior is as commonplace as people hawking on the streets. While I’m not saying that people who do God’s work do not deserve to be paid, I still think that attaching a curse-like prayer to the outright demand for cash is bad, and should be condemned.

What I find even more annoying is the fact that not giving to clerics at these ceremonies makes you a bad person in the eyes of your host, and indeed everyone present. Refusing to give somehow indicates that you are not happy that the host is celebrating.

The ‘Ceremony Tax’ has also become an indicator of social status – at occasions, guests wait for the Tax Segment(s) to see who gives the highest amount of money (oh, yes, our good clerics announce it). The Alhaji that gives more than fifty thousand might receive a round of applause, while not having money to give would keep the less buoyant away from the event altogether.

I know that giving Zakat is not voluntary – it is very compulsory and must be done without delay. What I don’t know is if I HAVE to give it to a cleric just because he’s overseeing wedding proceedings.

Imams deserve to be paid; this is an incontestable fact. Becoming a scholar entails many things – it takes even more time than becoming a Medical Doctor, and the real scholars deserve to be paid what any other professional with such qualifications would earn. The mistake that I believe we are making in this part of the world, however, is this – making ‘God’s work’ a full-time job, and expecting it to make you a billionaire! Kindly permit me to cite few examples in order to shed light on this;

Nuh was a carpenter, Hud was a trader, Ishma’il was a hunter and linguist, Ishaq, Yaqub, and Musa were shepherds, Yusuf invented the clock and the first office for distribution of agricultural produce. Dhul-Khifl was a baker, Uzayr was a gardener, Zakkariyah was a carpenter, Dawud forged iron and made armor (Peace Be Upon Them All). Prophet Muhammad, The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was a shepherd, and a trader.

All the above-mentioned Prophets (PBUT) did not rely on hand-outs, or attempt to curse people into giving them money. These same clerics are so quick to urge us to emulate Nabiyy (PBUH), so why don’t they do same?
If we choose to promote Islam, shouldn’t we do it for Allah’s sake alone? During the time of the Prophet (PBUH), were (incessant) taxes imposed upon guests at weddings, naming ceremonies, and even burials? If the answer is ‘no’, then why is it being done today?
The requirements for a wedding to hold are; the dowry, the parents’ consent, and the consent of those to be joined in matrimony. Nowhere is it written that clerics should also orchestrate multiple ‘shake-downs’.

This cannot even be called ‘bid’ah’; Bid’ah is an invention (without any supporting evidence for its foundation or procedure) in the Religion through which nearness to Allah (SWT) is sought. I sincerely doubt if ‘blackmailing’ wedding guests into giving is supposed to draw anyone close to God!

While I accept that not all clerics behave in this shameful manner, I believe that it is our duty as Muslims to speak against such actions whenever we witness such. We have a duty to protect the Deen, and to preserve it as it was taught by the Prophet (PBUH).

Once, I asked if taxing guests at ceremonies was Sunnah, the reply I got was ‘it’s our tradition’! In other words, ‘it’s okay because our society revolves around money’. I do not agree with this.

Before the advent of Islam, the Arabian society was characterized by female infanticide, incessant violence, marrying an infinite number of wives, and no rights whatsoever for women. Islam changed that. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did not say ‘it’s okay to continue killing the female babies because it’s a part of society’; Allah (SWT) forbade it, and so did He. Nabiyy (SAW) did not say ‘don’t give your women rights because that’s what you are used to’; Allah gave women rights, and the Prophet (SAW) taught the Religion as Allah decreed. Why, then, should we maintain a ‘tradition’ that is at odds with the Tradition of ALL the Prophets (PBUT) when we ought to strive to emulate them?

And Allah knows best.

Assalam aleikum.
Ms. Rinsola Abiola
@Rinsola_Abiola
msreemah@yahoo.com

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The Hajj Embarrassment

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A woman should absolutely not travel unless she has a mahram with her.” A man stood up and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, I have enlisted in such-and-such a military campaign, and my wife has set out for Hajj.” He said, “Go and do Hajj with your wife.” (al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 3006).
Below is an excerpt from the website of the Saudi embassy;

“• The Mahram should write his complete information on the application forms of his spouse and children or any relative with whom he is traveling. He should also provide copies of marriage or birth certificates; if these documents were issued outside the US, he should then provide copies translated and notarized by a certified translation office.
• All women are required to travel for Hajj with a Mahram. Proof of kinship must be submitted with the application form. Women over the age of forty-five (45) may travel without a Mahram with an organized group, They must, however submits a no objection letter from her husband, son or brother authorizing her to travel for Hajj with the named group. This letter should be notarized.”

I’m fully aware of how much disdain the green passport attracts in airports all over the world; but I can’t help but add that our penchant for bending – and often disregarding – the law is what we should blame for this one. By ‘this one’, I mean the deportation of female pilgrims from Saudi Arabia.
If the Prophet (SAW) could ask a man to accompany his wife instead of taking part in Jihad, who then are we to attempt to disregard this rule?

Sharia is Sharia; the law is the law. Muslim women are not to travel without mahrams (male relatives; father, brother, husband, paternal uncle, maternal uncle, father in law, mother’s husband or brother through radaa’ah..) who will guard, guide, protect, and care for them. I’ve come across a lot of feminist comments and would also like to ask those to kindly learn about Islam and what the requirements are, and of course the reasons for arriving at those requirements, and to refrain from making comments until they do. It’s not an ‘oppression’ technique; if anything, it just goes to show that women should be valued and not subjected to stress. Before aircrafts were made, the journey to Mecca was a long and stressful one indeed, during which anything could happen as many dangers were confronted on the way.
My opinion might not be particularly popular, but I still think our ‘system’ is to be blamed. The agents give women fake travelling companions in order to secure visas; we are used to getting things through crooked means, and we expect everybody else to put up with it. I’m still yet to imagine why anyone would intend to go on Hajj – pilgrimage for the sake of Allah, so that you may return purified and without sin – and still lay a dishonest ‘foundation’!

The lesson here isn’t that Nigerians are being victimized, the lesson is that until we stop being so dishonest and learn to abide by the law, we will continue to suffer humiliation at the hands of other peoples! Deporting them was a terrible thing to do, but perhaps if we had obeyed the laws as we ought to, it would not have happened.

Our women did not deserve to be caged like animals and treated like criminals, but I still do not blame anyone or anything apart from our system. National embarrassment has become an everyday thing – from South Africa (whose citizens had virtually no rights until very recently, whose representative had his plane barred from landing by a past Head of State), to Ghana (whose citizens fried puff-puff and mended shoes on our streets), Malaysia…the list is endless. If we are in this position today, it’s because we allowed it.

The reason for the persistent embarrassment can not be ‘they are jealous of Nigeria’. If it’s happening at such a high frequency, perhaps it’s time to ask ‘what are Nigerians doing wrong?’ Ours is not the only African country in the world, or is it?

Many of us conduct ourselves in ways that would make even the most patient people lose their temper. This is bad for our image, but then, what exactly is left of that image?

Nigerians are sent back home from the UK in cargo planes! Go to Italy and you’ll find our women on the streets, go to the prisons in the UK, US, China, Malaysia, India, Brazil, and you’ll find a large chunk of ‘Nigerians in Diaspora’ therein. Na only we?

It’s true that many of us are doing remarkably well on university campuses and in science laboratories, and even in Hollywood and on the political field, but for every model Nigerian, there are at least two criminals. Something needs to be done, and something needs to be done fast.

Asking the Federal Government to deport their representatives here is akin to saying ‘Nigerians must not be cautioned against doing something wrong’. We need to respect other peoples’ laws; it’s their country after all.

I deeply resent the insinuations some people are making about the character of those women, and this is because I know that there are bad eggs, but Nigerian women are nowhere near as terrible as people make them out to be.

There’s a need to educate ourselves, and indeed others, on the requirements for Hajj properly. Now is not the time to huff and puff and threaten to blow the house down. It’s sad, but the deed is done.
Claiming that we were not informed of the requirement is an admission of negligence at best. Every Muslim should know this.

Boycotting Hajj will do none of us any good; we are not going on pilgrimage to please anyone, we are doing it for the sake of Allah. We should endeavor to do it right.

Salam aleikum
@Rinsola_Abiola
msreemah@yahoo.com

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#SaveMusibaudeen

There’s a little boy with a hole in his heart. His mother is a petty trader; she sells recharge cards and makes a profit of a hundred Naira (about 63 cents) on a pack of ten. His father is a petrol attendant; a job he recently secured after years of being without a job.
There’s a child with a hole in his heart – poor boy; in class and circumstance, in wealth and in health. A poor, poor child – living in agony, not certain of his next breath, experiencing in two short years what those who have lived for decades can barely imagine. This child, this two year-old boy, his name is Musibaudeen.
I dare not imagine his mother’s pain, or his father’s anguish. I dare not pretend to comprehend the horror in which his parents are trapped, knowing fully well the gravity of inaction, no matter how not deliberate it might be. They rushed him to the hospital, but they were referred to another. They were referred to a hospital halfway across the world in India, and given a bill that exceeded anything that they had imagined – three million Naira (about 20,000 Dollars).
His parents ran helter-skelter, but the running yielded not more than 140,000. A church in their neighbourhood donated 100,000. How about us?
My Qur’an tells me that ‘he who saves a life will be judged like he saved all of mankind’, and that prayers aren’t complete until we give! Who do we give to? The needy!
Who could be more needy than a child who needs a chance at life? Who could be more needy than parents who need to hold on to their joy? Please let us support this child. Please give what you can.
The reason that God has blessed some of us is for us to be able to enrich other lives. You don’t have to give a million or half a million. Just give what you can, and if you cannot give, then please let others know about this boy. Please.
Please let us make efforts to help this boy as he is in critical condition.

Please make donations into;

Account Name: SHITTU MUSIBAUDEEN
Account No: 2058239672
Bank : UBA, Ifako- Gbagada branch,Lagos

His heart condition does not have the luxury of time, as he is also suffering from OEDEMA; his body is retaining liquid because the heart is not functioning properly.
His mother, Mrs. Shukurat Shittu, can be contacted on +2348086856324 and +2348026907690.
Please, #SaveMusibaudeen. I beg you in the name of God.

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What would Nabiyy(SAW) do?

“(O Muhammad) Therefore proclaim openly, that which you are commanded, and turn away from the polytheists. Truly! We will suffice you against the scoffers…Indeed, We know that your breast is distressed at what they say. So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him) and worship your Lord until there comes unto you the death.” [Surtu Al-Hijr, (Verses 94-99)]

“Verily, those who annoy Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), Allah has cursed them in this world and in the Hereafter. And has prepared for them a humiliating torment.” [Surat Al-Ahzab, (verse 57)]

The above verses are clear. Allah (SWT) said in His own words that He has prepared a great torment for those who mock the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and Islam. Who, then, are we to attempt to do God’s work?

While facing persecution from the Quraish in Mecca, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) decided to seek assistance from the tribe of Thaqif. He approached them and told them about Islam; their reaction, however, was extremely hostile. They turned their slaves and children against him, and stoned him until his feet bled. When, finally, He (SAW) took refuge in a garden, all He (SAW) said was;

‘O Allah it is to You that I bring my weakness, my helplessness, and my humiliation. O Most Merciful of the merciful, You are the Sustainer of those who are deemed weak, and You are my Sustainer. On whom but You shall I rely? On some distant personage who regards me with displeasure? Or on a foe to whom I have surrendered? So long as You are not displeased with me, then I have no cause for dismay. I take refuge in the light of Your face by which the darkness is illuminated, and in which both this world and the next are set aright. The well-being which You bestow upon me is too all encompassing for You to pour out Your wrath or displeasure upon me. To You I shall continue to turn until I have won Your favor, and there is no power or strength except in You.’

Nabiyy (SAW) did not ask God to destroy them, He (SAW) did not ask God to punish them, He (SAW) did not ask God to exterminate them. He (SAW) did not ask Muslims to come together to set their homes on fire, He (SAW) did not ask Muslims to avenge what had been done to Him.

In another incident, A’isha (R.A.) asked the Messenger of Allah, “Have you ever gone through any experience harsher than the battle of Uhud?” He (S.A.W.) replied, “The most difficult thing that I ever suffered at the hands of your people was on the day of Al-Aqabah, when I presented myself to one of their leaders, and he did not respond as I had hoped. I departed, feeling anxious and lost, and I remained in this state until I reached an area outside of Mecca. Then I looked up, and what I found was that I was in the midst of a cloud which had overshadowed me. When I looked to see what was happening, I saw Gabriel in the cloud, calling to me and saying, “Allah Almighty has heard the words spoken to you by your people and the manner in which they responded to you. Moreover, He has sent you the angel of the mountains, for you to give him whatever command you so desire.” Then the angel of the mountains called out to me with a greeting of peace, saying, “O Muhammad, Allah has heard the words spoken to you by your people, and I am the angel of the mountains. You Lord has sent me to you, for you to give me whatever command you wish. What then do you command? If you want me to bring the two great mountains of Mecca down upon them, I will do so.” But I said, “All I wish is for Allah to bring forth from their offspring those who worship Allah alone and associate no partners with Him.” [Reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim]

In this instance, the Prophet (PBUH) could have had mountains brought down upon them, but He (SAW) didn’t. Rather, He (SAW) prayed for them and asked Allah (SWT) to make their descendants believers.

The Prophet Muhammad always used to supplicate to Allah (S.W.T.) by saying, “O’ Allah forgive my people because they do not know.” [Reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim]

When the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) conquered Mecca, He (SAW) said to the people, “What do you think I will do with you?” They said ‘you are a noble brother and the son of a noble brother.’ The Prophet (S.A.W.) then replied, “Today I will tell you what Prophet Joseph (Yusuf) told his brothers, (which is) no harm on you today, and may Allah forgive you for all that you have done. Go! You are all free.”

Nabiyy (SAW) told the people of Mecca to go, He (SAW) told them that they were free. These were people who had victimized him for well over a decade – these were people who had harassed, assaulted, attacked, murdered, and forced Muslims into exile for thirteen solid years! These were people who had thrown mud at the Prophet (SAW), spat at Him, thrown fish guts at Him, called Him a sorcerer, said He was crazy, made attempts on His life, and denied the message of Islam; yet, He (SAW) asked them to go and told them that they were free.

Why are many of us so unlike Nabiyy (SAW)?

When some people who hate Islam do things to provoke us, why do we always react in ways that make them glad? When we respond violently to deliberate provocation, we are simply saying that ‘yes, Muslims are violent’. When we respond by taking innocent lives, we are simply saying that ‘yes, Muslims are not tolerant’. When we respond to the slightest provocation by going on rampage, we are simply telling the world that ‘yes, every negative thing that’s said about Muslims is true’.

If prophet Muhammad(SAW) were alive, if He (SAW) could see us destroying property and taking lives, would He be pleased? Would the Prophet of God (SAW) who waited thirteen years before fighting back be pleased with Muslims (who ought to emulate Him) acting in this manner?
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) never responded to insults with insults; in fact, He (SAW) urged Muslims not to insult the pagans’ deities so that they would not disrespect Allah (SWT) by insulting Him in return.

There is an urgent need for Muslims and non-Muslims alike to learn about who the Prophet (SAW) truly was, and to get a balanced view of Islam in the early years. There are some of us who would state that it is absolutely forbidden to be friends with non-Muslims (quoting the Qur’an as a source), while totally (deliberately or ignorantly) ignoring the part of the Quran which states clearly that those to be avoided are those who hate Islam and Muslims, or send Muslims out of their homes (forcefully obtain their property);

“Allah does not forbid you to treat kindly and act equitably towards those who have neither fought you in the matter of religion nor driven you out of your homes. Indeed Allah loves the just.” (Al-Mumtahanah: 8).
“He only forbids you to take for friends those who have fought you in the matter of religion, and have driven you out of your homes, and have cooperated with others in your expulsion…” (Al-Mumtahanah: 9)

I hate that those people made such a horrible film; but then, I know that Nabiyy (SAW) was not a womanizer. I know that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was not power-hungry; I know that He was not a horrible person.

This was a man that married a woman fifteen years his senior, and did not marry a younger woman until after she died (how many men would do that now?). The only young woman (and only virgin) that he married was Aisha (RA), the rest he married either to honour their husbands who had died in battle, or to help ensure that their people would embrace Islam.

In Yoruba (South-western Nigerian) tradition, female children would be married off as soon as they hit puberty; this was not dependent on age. I know that the Prophet (SAW) was not a child molester. There are many accounts of Aisha’s age at marriage, but the following are apparent;
• According to a hadith in Bukhari and Muslim, Aisha is said to have joined Muhammad on the raid that culminated in the Battle of Badr, in 624 CE. However, because no one below the age of fifteen was allowed to accompany raiding parties, Aisha should have been at least fifteen in 624 CE and thus at least thirteen when she was married following the Hijra in 622 CE.
• Ibn Hisham’s version of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rashul Allah, the earliest surviving biography of Muhammad, records Aisha as having converted to Islam before Umar ibn al-Khattab, during the first few years of Islam around 610 CE. In order to accept Islam she must have been walking and talking, hence at least three years of age, which would make her at least fifteen in 622 CE.
• Tabari reports that Abu Bakr wished to spare Aisha the discomforts of a journey to Ethiopia soon after 615 CE, and tried to bring forward her marriage to Mut`am’s son. Mut`am refused because Abu Bakr had converted to Islam, but if Aisha was already of marriageable age in 615 CE, she must have been older than nine in 622 CE.
• Tabari also reports that Abu Bakr’s four children were all born during the Jahiliyyah (Pre-Islam Period), which has ended in 610 CE, making Aisha at least twelve in 622 CE.
• According to Ibn Hajar, Fatima was five years older than Aisha. Fatima is reported to have been born when Muhammad was thirty-five years old, meaning Aisha was born when he was forty years old, and thus twelve when Muhammad married at fifty-two.

• According to the generally accepted tradition, Aisha was born about eight years before Hijrah (Migration to Medina). However, according to another narrative in Bukhari (Kitaab al-Tafseer) Aisha is reported to have said that at the time Surah Al-Qamar, the 54th chapter of the Qur’an, was revealed, “I was a young girl”. The 54th Surah of the Qur’an was revealed nine years before Hijrah. According to this tradition, Aisha had not only been born before the revelation of the referred Surah, but was actually a young girl, not even only an infant at that time. So if this age is assumed to be 7 to 14 years, then her age at the time of marriage would be 14 to 21.
• According to almost all the historians, Asma the elder sister of Aisha, was ten years older than Aisha. It is reported in Taqreeb al-Tehzeeb as well as in Ibn Kathir’s Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah that Asma died in the 73rd year after migration of Muhammad when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma was 100 years old in the 73rd year after Migration to Medina, she should have been 27 or 28 years old at the time of migration. If Asma was 27 or 28 years old at the time of hijrah, Aisha should have been 17 or 18 years old at that time. Thus, if Aisha got married in year 1 AH or 2 AH (after Migration to Medina), she must have been between 18 to 20 years old at the time of her marriage.
• According to many Ahadith in Bukhari, it is believed Aisha participated in the both of Badr and Uhud battles. Furthermore, in Bukhari’s Kitabu’l-Maghazi, Ibn `Umar states: “The Prophet did not permit me to participate in Uhud battle, as at that time, I was 14 years old. But on the day of Khandaq battle, when I was 15 years old, the Prophet permitted my participation”. So, since it was not allowed for Muslims younger than 15 years old to participate in Uhud battle, Aisha, who participated in Uhud, must have been at least 15 years old in those battles; thus her age was at least 13 to 14 at the time of her marriage.
• According to ibn Sa’d’s Tabaqat and Ansab al-Ashraf books, opinions are in disagreement concerning her marriage with Muhammad. The marriage seems to have taken place either two of five years after the Migration (Usd al-Ghaba, 5:501).

I believe that enlightenment is a more potent tool in circumstances such as these. For now, I rest my pen.

Ms. Rinsola Abiola
msreemah@yahoo.com
@Rinsola_Abiola
*I’m sorry if I took up too much of your time*

Posted in Islam | 7 Comments

Jesus (PBUH)

 

I was going to approach this from another angle, but then I changed my mind.

 As a Muslim, I am required to believe in all Prophets and revealed books. ALL prophets; Jesus (PBUH) was also sent by God.

My Qur’an tells me that Mary, the mother of Jesus (PBUT), was chosen by God above the women of all nations. Mary – not Fatimah, Khadijah, Amina, or Aisha.

“Behold! The angels said, ‘Oh Mary! God has chosen you and purified you, chosen you above the women of all nations. Oh Mary! Worship your Lord devoutly. Prostrate yourself, and bow down…..'” (3:42-43).

My Qur’an tells me of how the Spirit was breathed into Mary, and how her son, Jesus (PBUT) would be a sign unto mankind, held in honour in this world and in the Hereafter;

“And (remember) she who guarded her chastity. We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples (21:91).

“Behold! the angels said, ‘Oh Mary! God gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him. His name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter, and in (the company of) those nearest to God. He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. He shall be (in the company) of the righteous… And God will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel'” (3:45-48).

The miracle of speaking in the cradle was not recorded in the Bible. This occurred after Mary had given birth to Jesus (PBUT), and people questioned her saying;

“…. Your father was not a man of evil, nor was your mother a woman unchaste!”  (Qur’an 19:28).

The Qur’an relates that Mary put her finger to her lips and pointed to the child. The people asked how they could talk to a newborn baby. It was then that Jesus spoke, fulfilling the miracle that had been mentioned when the angels first appeared to Mary. He said,

 “I am indeed a servant of God. He has given me revelation, and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I may be….” (Qur’an 19:30–33).

Other verses about miracles performed by Jesus (PBUH) include;

‘O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favour unto you and unto your mother; how I strengthened you with the holy Spirit, so that you spoke unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I taught you the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how you did shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and did blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and you did heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission . . . (Qur’an 5:109-110)

“I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird. Then I breathe into it, and it becomes a bird, by God’s leave. And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I bring the dead into life, by God’s leave. And I declare to you what you eat, and what you store in your houses. Surely therein is a sign for you, if you did believe” (Qur’an 3:49).

These are just few verses out of many. There are others, and my advice still remains ‘pick up a copy of the Qur’an and read for yourself’. Where we (Muslims and Christians) differ is on the issue of crucifixion or ascension (and of course, on the ‘Son of God’ title). Muslims do not believe that Jesus (PBUH) was killed. The Qur’an says that God raised him to Himself. And he will once more descend to the earth to destroy the anti-Christ and unite believers.

My principle; we don’t have to agree, but we can always learn to respect other views.

Salam aleikum.

Ms. Rinsola Abiola

msreemah@yahoo.com

@Rinsola_Abiola

*When you’re about to lose your cool, remember that the Prophet (PBUH) was victimized for over a decade before fighting back.*

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Situation Report

Forgive me. Forgive me, this is all I ask. It’s been a whole month without a single update (no thanks to the laptop that decided to stress me a little and network problems); my last post was about giving in order to make society better – in a way, that’s what I’ve been doing.
This past month has been filled with new experiences; for the first time in my life, I’ve found myself among kindred spirits. I’ve found myself among people who don’t call me crazy or boring for thinking the way I do, or for saying the things I say. Of course, we don’t always agree, but we tend to debate in an intellectual manner and not insult each other. In the past one month, I have travelled frequently and met young Nigerians who make me believe that there’s truly hope for my country.
In July, I received a mail. I was told that a group of young Nigerians were organizing a summit to bring us all together with the aim of working as one. I ignored it. Then a series of calls followed, and when the originator of the idea called me, I had no choice but to find my way to Abuja. I can’t explain what exactly it was, but for one who is usually terribly difficult to convince, I felt a sense of urgency, like that was where I was meant to be.
When I heard of and eventually ‘saw’ plans underway to establish a peace council and an entrepreneurship programme for young Nigerians (poverty and unemployment, after all, are the things that fuel violence), I committed. Since that day, I’ve been on the road with people who I believe have everything it takes to re-write the history of this country.
In order to ensure that we are not just one of those groups that make statements on behalf of Nigerian youths without any due consultation, we have decided to hold summits in each region of the country before going to the national level. I have been given the enormous task of coordinating the south-west; and the plan is to ensure that all 174 local government areas in this zone (and the 774 in Nigeria) will be adequately represented, not by people who claim to be in touch with the people, but by those who the people choose to represent them. For the first time in the history of this country, those who have no means to make their voices heard will be given a platform on which to do so. ACOMORAN, market women, bus conductors, barrow-pushers, the woman by the road side who fries akara for a living, the secondary school student who has to learn despite being visited by rain in her classroom, the teachers who we so often neglect…
There is a large gap between government and the people, and we are going to bridge this. The aim isn’t to just give recommendations to government and return to our normal lives; we know that there are some responsibilities that we can and must fulfill as patriots and not just citizens of this country, and that government alone cannot solve our problems. We must address the ones that we can. We have consulted with youths in 23 states so far, and one major factor that needs to be addressed urgently is that of unemployment (hence the entrepreneurship programme).
I’ve been told that my blood must have been replaced with caffeine at a point in my life (I don’t sleep, you see?), but never have I felt so good about my ‘disorder’. Staying awake, thinking of the endless possibilities and what town I’ll visit next, which traditional ruler I’ll get to meet, what culture I’ll learn next, what situation I’ll find my people in… I’ve seen children bathing in dirty bodies of water but looking so happy caught in that moment of freedom. I have no children of my own yet, but they give me the zeal and the passion to make my country a better place. Relatively, I had it good. I have many friends who did not. I have lost friends to cultism and abortion, I have seen people die of the smallest illnesses, I analyzed data on children who died of malaria, mothers who died during childbirth, young people like me who lost their lives to senseless violence, and it hurts. But rather than give up, rather than pick up my passport and fly to England, I will make a difference here, or die trying. I would rather leave my ‘life’, cable TV and parties and my small business behind and help these people who need to be heard, than look upon them in disdain and be dispassionate about my country. I’m not doing this for me; I’m doing it for generations to come. I believe that the life I live is absolutely useless if I don’t spend it in the service of others. Our leaders are bad, but nothing will change if we continue to twiddle our thumbs and wait for a saviour.
I appreciate all the mails I’ve received, all the funny tweets, the facebook messages, the calls, those who said ‘wait! You’re in my town?!’ and arranged a meeting. I hope this hasn’t taken up too much of your time; I just felt a need to share.
*if you’d like to join the summit group, do let me know!*
Salam aleikum.
Good morning.
From Lokoja,
Ms. Rinsola Abiola
@Rinsola_Abiola
msreemah@yahoo.com

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Zakat – Social Worship

One of the pillars of Islam is to give Zakat (its most common translation is charity). Muslims are obliged to give 2.5% of their excess income at the end of the year (after debts, etc) to the less priviledged, and ways to give zakat are to give to the poor, the needy, the officials charged with the duty of collection, those whose hearts are inclined to truth, those in debt, and the wayfarer, the ransoming of captives, and to spend in the way of Allah. I won’t dwell much on the technical aspect; I’m more concerned about the social effects of giving zakat.

Zakat is something that I consider to be a social form of worship. It’s a test of faith (how willing are you to let go of your wealth?) and it also nurtures a spirit of brotherhood and responsibility. If we all gave to the needy, the rich ones amongst us would not be afraid of going to bed at night. The poor man can not sleep due to hunger, and the rich man cannot sleep because the poor man is awake. If income is redistributed as it should be, this wouldn’t be a problem because the poor would have no reason to stay up either. Everyone else would take care of them.

As sinful as prostitution is, as terrible as armed robbery is, as condemnable as fraud is, we all are still culpable to an extent because we contributed to making those with no means of survival resort to those sins/crimes. When we turn our backs on the poor and hate them for their condition, do we expect them to love us in return?

Many people say that poverty is a result of being lazy; yes, there are lazy people who are poor as a result, but there is also one fact which can not be denied – we all weren’t born in the same circumstances and given the same opportunities. Many people are rich by virtue of their birth; same applies to many who are poor.

It is, therefore, our duty as Muslims to alleviate suffering however, wherever, and whenever we can. A quarter of ten percent is not too much. The Quran says that you cannot achieve piety until you give! Zakat is so important that it’s mentioned eighty-two times in the Qur’an! Most of the time, it’s mentioned along with prayer, and this just goes to show that your prayer is not ‘complete’ until you give.

How could you possibly want something from God, and refuse those who NEED something from you? The Prophet (SAW) said that giving zakat does not in any way diminish your wealth. If you hoard your wealth now, know that you cannot give it in exchange for Paradise on that glorious Day. If you want to please God, then you should start NOW. You are not pious until you give. That means a lot to me; does it to you?

‘The wealthy persons would have little (reward) on the Day of Resurrection, except upon whom Allah conferred goodness (wealth). He dispensed it to his right, left, in front of him and at his back (just as the wind diffuses fragrance) and did good with it (riches)……..’ –Prophet Muhammad (Sahih Muslim, book5, number 2175)

Ramadan Mubarak

Barka Jumah

Ms. Rinsola Abiola

@Rinsola_Abiola

msreemah@yahoo.com

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Trials

 

Perhaps due to our traditional beliefs, some of us tend to attribute misfortune to the handiwork of the ‘wicked’; we have come to believe that some evil power could influence, or even change our destinies. What does the Qur’an say about this?

‘And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-sabirun (the patient). Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: ‘Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.’ (Q2:155-156)

‘Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed among with him said, “When will come the Help of Allah (God)?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!’ (Q2:214)

Subhanallah.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming that forces of evil do not exist; their existence is proven by the following verse;

‘…….and from these, people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife, but they could not thus harm anyone excerpt by Allah’s Leave. And they learn that which harms them and profits them not. And indeed they knew that the buyers of it (magic) shall have no share in the Hereafter. ..’ (Q2:102) God be praised.

V2:102 makes everything crystal clear; these things do exist, but they can not harm anyone unless God permits. Now, how can man make God NOT permit these evil acts?

Therefore, remember Me and I will remember you, and be grateful to Me, and never be ungrateful to Me. O you who believe, seek help in patience and As-Salat (prayer). Truly, Allah is with As-Sabirun, the patient.’ (Q2:152)

How do you remember God, and how do you show gratitude? By being prayerful, asking for forgiveness often, and thanking Him incessantly for His favours.

‘The patient’ have been mentioned twice so far; ‘give glad tidings to the patient’, and ‘Allah is with the patient’. Also, please note that in the second instance, patience was mentioned along with one other highly indispensable factor; prayer.  God says to ‘seek help in patience and prayer’! God says that He is with the patient! Could any one possibly harm you if God is with you?

You ensure God’s constant protection by praying regularly, and by being patient (see also 20:131-132). Questioning God is not something that patient people do. Remember, darkness may last for a night, but light will surely come in the morning.

Now, please note, 2:102 states clearly that buying magic will only lead one to hell; God didn’t say ‘those who buy magic in order to harm others are going to hell’. He didn’t say ‘those who buy magic for protection will be forgiven’. He made a clear statement, and did not distinguish between any of the groups, ‘the buyers of it (magic) shall have no share in the Hereafter’.

God has given us the ultimate way of protecting ourselves; prayer. Prayer is a Muslim’s sword.

With prayer, you can ward off evil, and it is a major sign of disbelief if you either believe someone is tampering with your destiny (because that’s a way of claiming that a mere mortal has more power than God), or that someone somewhere (a human being like you) can solve your problems. Would you bypass God, your maker, and seek refuge with someone He made? Have you no faith?

My people say that you have no business perceiving the inviting aroma of food that you know you won’t eat. It’s best to steer clear of such people in order not to fall for temptation.

And remember, you won’t be tested with something that you cannot handle, and how you do handle it is a determinant of how strong your faith really is. you can’t claim to have faith, and then run to the nearest witch doctor in your village; this is kufr (disbelief). May Allah make it easy for us.

 (Also, please refer to the story of Ayyub (Job); 21:83-84, 38:41-44)

Assalam Aleikum.

Ramadan Mubarak.

Ms. Rinsola Abiola.

@Rinsola_Abiola

msreemah@yahoo.com

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Who was Muhammad?

Prophet Muhammad was described by people of his time as generous, compassionate, extremely thoughtful, and humble to a fault. The quotes below shed more light on his character;
“The Messenger of God (PBUH) would busy himself with the remembrance of God and not engage in idle talk. He would lengthen his prayers and shorten his sermon and he would not hesitate to help and take care of the needs of a needy, the poor or the widow.’ (Ibn Hib’ban #6423)
A’ishah said that the Prophet of God (PBUH) used to pray during the night until his feet would swell. She said, ‘Why do you do this, O Messenger of God, while God has forgiven your past and future sins?’ The Prophet (PBUH) replied: ‘Shall I not be a grateful slave (of God)?’ (Bukhari #4557)

“He always joined in household chores and would at times mend his clothes, repair his shoes and sweep the floor. He would milk, tether and feed his animals.” (Bukhari)

‘The Prophet (PBUH) did not swear at anyone, nor was he rude, nor did he curse or abuse anyone, and would only say to reproach someone ‘What’s with him?…’ (Bukhari #5684)

‘The Messenger of God (PBUH) went to sleep on a mat. He stood up and he had marks on his side due to the mat that he had slept on. We said: ‘O Messenger of God, shall we not make [a proper] bedding for you?’ He said: ‘What do I have to do with this world? I am only like a wayfarer upon a mount that stopped to take shade and to rest under a tree, and then who leaves it behind and continues on the journey.’
(Tirmidthi #2377)
Amr’ b. al‐Haarith said the Messenger of God (PBUH) did not leave any gold or silver currency, or any slave male or female after his death. He only left behind his white mule, his weapons and a piece of land which he declared as Charity.’ (Bukhari #2588)
‘I looked at the feet of the pagans while we were in the cave [of Thawr]. I said, ‘O Prophet of God! If anyone of them looks down at his feet he would see us!’ The Messenger of God (PBUH) said: ‘O Abu Bakr! What do you think of two with whom God, the Exalted, is their Third?’ (Muslim #1854) (First time I read this, I practically screamed ‘FAITH!!!!!!’)
The Messenger of God (PBUH) said:
‘I start the prayer with the intention of lengthening it, but when I hear a child crying, I shorten the prayer, as I know its mother would suffer from his cries ’
(Bukhari #677)
Abu Dharr said:
‘I was walking with the Prophet (PBUH) in the Har’rah (volcanic region) of Madeenah and we faced the mount of Uhud; the Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘O Abu Dharr!’ I said: ‘Here I am O Messenger of God!’ He said: ‘It would not please me to have an amount of gold equal to the weight of Mount Uhud, until I spend and give it out (in the sake of God) within a night or within three nights. I would only keep a single silver piece of it to help those who are in debt. (Bukhari #2312)

Jabir b. Abdullah said:
‘The Prophet (PBUH) did not refuse to give anything which he had to someone if he asked for it.’ (Bukhari #5687)
‘The characteristic which the Prophet (PBUH) hated most was lying. A man would tell a lie in the presence of the Prophet (PBUH) and he would hold it against him until he knew that he repented.’ (Tirmidthi #1973)
‘The Messenger of God (PBUH) was the best of people and the most courageous. One night the people of Madeenah were frightened and headed out towards the sounds they had heard during the night. The Messenger of God (PBUH) met them while coming back from the place of the sound after he had made sure that there was no trouble. He was riding a horse that belonged to Abu Talhah without any saddle, and he had his sword with him. He was assuring the people, saying: ‘Do not be frightened! Do not be frightened!’ (Bukhari #2751)

‘A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: ʺO Messenger of God! By God! I do not pray Fajr prayer because so and so lengthens the prayer.ʺ He said: ‘I have never seen the Messenger of God (PBUH) deliver a speech in such an angry state. He said:‘O People! Verily there are among you those who chase people away! If you lead people in prayer, shorten the prayer. There are old and weak people and those with special needs behind you in prayer.’ (Bukhari #670)

The Jewish Rabbi, Zaid bin Sa’nah (who became a Muslim after this incident), gave a loan to the Messenger of God (PBUH). He himself said,
‘Two or three days prior to the return of the debt, the Messenger of God (PBUH) was attending the funeral of a man from the Ansar. Abu Bakr and Umar, Uthman and some other Companions were with the Prophet (PBUH). After he prayed the funeral prayer he sat down close to a wall, and I came towards him, grabbed him by the edges of his cloak, and looked at him in a harsh way, and said: ‘O Muhammad! Will you not pay me back my loan? I have not known the family of Abdul‐Mutalib to delay in repaying debts!”
I looked at Umar b. al‐Khat’taab ‐ his eyes were swollen with anger! He looked at me and said: ‘O Enemy of God, do you talk to the Messenger of God and behave towards him in this manner?! By the One who sent him with the truth, had it not been for the fear of not entering the Heavenly Gardens, I would behead you with my sword! The Prophet (PBUH) was looking at Umar in a calm and peaceful manner, and he said: ‘O Umar, you should have given us sincere counseling rather than to do what you did! O Umar, go and repay him his loan, and give him twenty Sa’a (measurement of weight) extra because you scared him!’

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said; ‘People before you were destroyed because when the noble among them stole they would let him go and if the poor and weak stole they would punish him. By God! If Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad stole, I would cut her hand off.’ (Bukhari #3288) (This was when people tried to intercede with him on behalf of a wealthy woman who stole)
Umar b. al‐Khattab said:
‘I entered the Messenger’s house and I found him sitting on a mat. He had a leather pillow stuffed with fibers. He had a pot of water by his feet, and there was some clothes hung on the wall. His side had marks due to the mat that he lay on. Umar wept when he saw this, and the Messenger (SAW) asked him: ‘Why do you weep?’ Umar said: ‘O Prophet of God! Khosrau and Caesar enjoy the best of this world, and you are suffering in poverty?!’ He said: ‘Aren’t you pleased that they enjoy this world, and we will enjoy the Hereafter?’ (Bukhari #4629)
The highlighted Hadiths are just a fraction of those that reflect the kind of person the Prophet was. I don’t know about you, but for me, these proved really helpful in my search for truth. Even before I came to understand the Qur’an (initially, it was challenging), what I’d learnt about the life and times of the Prophet (PBUH) were enough to make me have faith.
A man who had the whole of Arabia at his disposal could have lived like a king, but he didn’t. A man who had kings fearing him could have turned himself to a demi-god, but he didn’t. What I found so amazing, eventually, was the fact that he didn’t just preach; he also lived what he preached. He chose not to live like a King because in his own words, he was merely passing through and would continue his journey. He didn’t just tell people to live for the Hereafter, he did too.
He asked us to pray; he stood in prayer for whole nights. He asked us to give zakat (2.5% of excess income); he gave everything that he had. He asked us to fast; he fasted without breaking for days at a stretch. What better example could we want in a Prophet?
And Allah has said;
‘Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have an excellent example to follow for whoever hopes in Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.’ [33:21]

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The Story of Muhammad

Muhammad (SAW), son of Abdullah, son of Abdul-Mutallib, of the tribe of Adnan (descendant of Ishmael, Prophet and son of Abraham) was born in the year 571 CE into the most noble of Arab tribes; the Quraish. His father died before he was born, and at the age of six, his mother, Aminah, daughter of Wahb, also passed away. He was then taken care of by his grandfather, Abdul-Mutallib, and his uncle Abu Talib (after his grandfather passed away).
Even before he became a Prophet, he was renowned for his honesty and truthfulness, and these deeply admirable traits earned him titles like Al-Ameen (the Trustworthy), and As-Sideeq (the Truthful). So honest was he that people would keep their valuables with him whenever they wanted to travel, and return to find such items untouched.
He never lied, drank intoxicants, gambled, and he never worshipped idols, despite that being the order of the day in pre-Islamic Arabia.
His first wife, Khadeejah (RA), was a renowned businesswoman who had been twice widowed before meeting Muhammad (who wasn’t a Prophet at the time). She took interest in him because of his honesty; usually, she sent representatives to travel with her caravan and trade on her behalf, and once she needed a representative and young Muhammad was recommended on the basis of his renowned honesty. His conduct and truthfulness were reported to her upon his return, and she was further amazed when the returns he gave her exceeded that which previous representatives had ever delivered. Due to this, she initiated marriage proceedings by sending people from her family to him to ask if he would be interested in marrying her. Eventually, he accepted and made a formal proposal, and they got married and remained so until she died 25 years after.
Despite the difference in age (she was 15 years older than he), he didn’t take another wife even though it wouldn’t have been frowned upon in the society (in pre-Islamic times, there was no limit to the number of wives that a man could marry).
Muhammad (PBUH) received his first revelation when he was forty years old. He encountered the Angel Gabriel at the Cave of Hira (where he liked to spend a lot of time, sometimes, days at a stretch). After being asked to ‘read!’, and answering that he couldn’t read thrice, the Angel said ‘O Muhammad!’, and the following verse was revealed;
‘Recite with the Name of Your Lord Who has created (all that exists). He has created man out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood: Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.’ (96:1‐3)
An obviously shaken and terrified Muhammad ran home to his loving wife, and said ‘cover me! Cover me!’ When he felt better, he then narrated what had occurred to his wife, Khadeejah (RA), who said:
‘By God! You don’t have to worry for God the Exalted will never humiliate you! You are good to your kith and kin. You help the poor and needy. You are generous and hospitable to your guests. You help people who are in need.’
She then took him to a cousin of hers, Waraqah ibn Nawfal ibn Asad ibn Abdul Uzza, a Christian who had been a scribe of the Scriptures in Hebrew before he lost his eyesight. This cousin of hers told Muhammad (PBUH) that he had seen Angel Gabriel, and warned him that his people would turn against him; ‘Never has a man conveyed a Message similar to what you have been charged with, except that his people waged war against him’.
Soon after, the Prophet began to call people to Islam openly; he started with his own family, who did not listen. They were appalled by the Message that he preached because he asked them to do away with idols and worship Allah (God, the Creator) alone; they hated that he preached that all men were equal (how could they, the noble Quraish, be equal with other tribes, some who weren’t even worth being slaves?!); they detested the fact that he asked them to abstain from gambling, fornication, and intoxicants (these were the things that they enjoyed, how could he just prohibit them from indulging based on some God’s authority?!, they wondered).
People were incited against him, and he was given the worst possible treatment by his own people. He was called a sorcerer, a liar, and people spat in his face and threw mud at him. There were also attempts on his life. All these, however, didn’t stop him from calling people to Islam. A group from Yathrib, a small city north of Makkah known today as Madeenah, believed in him and pledged to support him if he ever emigrated there. He sent his companion Mus’ab ibn Umair with them to teach them the tenets of Islam .
Later, in the face of persecution from the people at Makkah, God granted the Muslims permission to move to Medinah. This town then became the capital of the new Islamic state from where Islam was spread far and wide.
The Quraish, angry that Islam kept spreading, decided to fight the Prophet (PBUH) in the first battle of Islam; the Battle of Badr. The Muslims, 314 in number, overcame the pagan army of a thousand men; and after eight years and other battles, the MUslims had an army of 10,000 men and Makkah was finally conquered. It wasn’t superior military tactics that triggered reversion, however; it was compassion and the Prophet’s magnanimity that did it.
After the conquest, he addressed the people of Makkah;
“What do you think I will do to you?” They answered: “You will only do something favorable; you are a kind and generous brother, and a kind and generous nephew!” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Go ‐ you are free.” (Baihaqi #18055)
After a period of time, the Prophet (SAW) performed Hajj with 114,000 companions. This is known as Hajjatul-Wada’a, or ‘Farewell Pilgrimage’, because he never got to perform another one and died a while after.
The Prophet’s (SAW) final sermon, given on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah at Mount Arafat, is quoted below;
O People! Listen attentively to me for I do not know whether I will be among you after this year! Listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and convey these words to those who could not be present here today.
O People! Just as you regard this month, this day, this city as sacred, so regard as sacred the life and property of every Muslim. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember, you will indeed meet your Lord and He will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury; therefore all interest (and usury) obligations henceforth are abrogated. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer inequity (in this affair). Beware of Satan for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in great things, so beware of following him in small things.
O People! It is true that you have certain rights with regards to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right, then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not take as intimate friends those whom you do not approve of as well as to never be unchaste.
O People! Listen to me in earnest; worship Allah, perform your five daily prayers, fast the month of Ramadhan, give alms and perform the pilgrimage (i.e. Hajj) if you can afford to. All mankind is from Adam and Adam is from clay. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non‐Arab, or for a non‐Arab over an Arab, or for a white over a black, or for a black over a white, except through piety. Know that every Muslim is a brother to every other Muslim and that the Muslims are one community. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim that belongs to another unless it was given freely and willingly: therefore do not, do injustice to yourselves.
Remember that one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware! Do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone. O People! No prophet or messenger will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O people! And understand the words that I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, if you follow them you will never go astray: the Book of Allah (i.e. the Qur’an) and my Sunnah. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O Allah, that I have conveyed Your Message to Your People.’
The Prophet (PBUH) died (at 63) in Madeenah, some reports stating on the 12th day of Rabi al‐Awal in the 11th year of Hijrah, and he was buried there also.

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#SaveMaryam

I am Muslim; this is a statement that I was unable to make until I
fully understood Islam.

A worrisome trend in the Islamic world is the conversion to other
faiths, most common of which is denouncing Islam for Christianity. It
takes more than learning Arabic to keep Muslims in the Deen; it
entails a lot of things.

Using myself as an example, I was frustrated with Islam as a child
because I never could understand it. I was instructed to learn Arabic
and commit the Qur’an to memory. I was commanded to pray five times a
day (FIVE TIMES???); a seemingly endless cycle of bowing and
prostrating. I was ordered to recite a particular Surah each time I
wanted to pray. I was told to go to the Mosque on Friday, go to the
prayer ground on Eid. The ‘highlight’ of my Islamic childhood was
wearing new clothes and eating loads of meat during Eid.

Needless to say, I enjoyed daily devotion in school a lot more than I
enjoyed Arabic school – the clapping and singing, the melody, the
rhythm, the dancing. I especially felt like I could relate to the
stories in the Bible; David and Goliath, Moses and the Ten Plagues,
CRK class was fun! In SS3, I started going to church.

Blessed with a good voice, I flirted with the idea of joining a choir.
For some reason, I didn’t (I’m terribly difficult to satisfy, I always
felt they all weren’t good enough). If I’m here today, saying with
pride that ‘I’m Muslim!’, it’s because I had the best set of friends
in the world who didn’t give up on me. They encouraged me to learn by
giving me books to read. I’m here because they showed me compassion.

Make no mistakes, my aim isn’t to criticize Christianity, rather it’s
to draw attention to what we, as Muslims, are doing to contribute to
the conversion trend. I was further spurred to write about this when I
saw #SaveMaryam ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6oDKyPmDgk ), a documentary on the alarming rate of conversion in
Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population.

Apparently, while the rest of us have been comfortable sitting in our
homes talking about the ‘success’ that’s Indonesia, there have been an
alarming 2,000,000 Muslims converting to Christianity every year.
I believe in Divine Pre-Ordainment, but I also believe in being
pro-active. Sitting back and doing nothing in the name of ‘what will
be will be’ will amount to total negligence and irresponsibility on
our part as Muslims. The solution – spread understanding, teach true Islam.
Our Imams need to know that fiery sermons and attacks on other
faiths won’t keep Muslims (the youths, especially) in Islam. We, as
Muslims, must develop the habit of learning constantly about our
religion, and not just waiting until Friday; especially when the
quality of the sermon can’t be guaranteed.

As parents, we should approach our children and meet them at their
point of their needs with Islam; it’s not enough to threaten fire and
brimstone if they don’t pray, it’s not by using the whip on them when
they refuse to learn Arabic. I’m not saying ‘indulge or spoil them’,
I’m saying ‘teach them, explain to them’.

How do you expect a child to take prayers seriously when he/she has no
idea what it’s about? How do you expect a child to look forward to
evenings in the mosque when it’s all in a strange tongue that he/she
doesn’t understand? How do we expect our youths not to be hijacked,
incited, and turned into weapons of destruction when we only push them
to cram, and not understand?

How many of us are patient enough to entertain/address genuine
questions? How many of us can rein in our tempers when we feel our
faiths challenged? How many of us refuse to ‘banish’ close friends or
relatives once they begin to show signs that they’re straying?
Convincing people is hardly about what you say; it’s about how you act
towards them.

As someone with a bit of sales and banking experience, I know that
marketing isn’t just about selling things to customers. It’s about
customers seeking you out because you have a product that meets them
at the point of their needs.
Right now, Islam is that product that we are marketing. Reciting in
Arabic alone won’t attract people or make them stay; we need to make
them realize that the Qur’an is indeed complete, that the Faith has
indeed been perfected, and that there’s no field of human endeavor to
which it can not be applied.

I know what the Qur’an says about women, I know what Islam says about
inheritance, marriage, crime, leadership, knowledge, health. I know
that the contents of the Qur’an can be applied in all spheres of life;
I know this because others helped me learn. The question is; how many
others do, and how many of us are willing to help them?

True, the Prophet (PBUH) said that among the portents of the Hour is
reduction in religious knowledge and increase in ignorance; that,
however, doesn’t mean that we should allow this ignorance to continue
unabated. This trend must be checked; it must be stopped, and it must
be reversed.

Rates of reversion to Islam have improved in the United States and
France respectively, but with such losses in Indonesia, and even our
own Nigeria, it’s safe to assume that we’re losing Muslims faster than
we are gaining them. We can’t continue to fetch water in a leaking
bucket.

Islam is spreading in those areas because people are seeking
knowledge, and getting it. Right now, as you read this, there are
millions of Muslims youths deprived of the knowledge that they so
desperately need. The onus, therefore, rests on us to learn more about
our religion, so that we can come to the aid of those who need us.
It’s not hard; pick up your Qur’an, read, digest, if there’s anything
that you do not understand, ASK questions.
We owe it to God to preserve our Deen. If God has given you life, the
least you can do is spend it in His cause, and what better way to do
that than to spread knowledge about His true religion?
As the #SaveMaryam documentary (the Indonesian campaign) rightly
showed, THE tool of evangelism is compassion; setting up helplines and
TV stations that apply Biblical Verses and proffer Biblical solutions
to problems plaguing young people.

The Qur’an is not a dispassionate Book, Islam is not a ‘cold’ religion. I’m a Muslim today because I
studied Islam, and the humanity I saw and felt touched me, and that sealed it.

I’d like to end this by saying a big thank you to those who saved me;
Yusuf, Habeeb, Lukman; Alhamdullillah and thank you very much.

Now, we must collectively #SaveMaryam.
Maryam isn’t one person, Maryam is a whole generation of Muslims who need true Islamic knowledge.
It’s not about geographical location, but what it symbolizes.

P.S: If you have questions about Islam that you need answered (privately), kindly send a mail to msreemah@yahoo.com, abuuaminah@yahoo.com, nda_mo@yahoo.com, mubarakakaq@yahoo.co.uk.

Ramadan Mubarak

Ms. Rinsola Abiola

@Rinsola_Abiola

Posted in Islam | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments

Women in Islam

‘…….”We never used to give significance to ladies in the days of the Pre-lslamic period of ignorance, but when Islam came and Allah mentioned their rights, we used to give them their rights…”….’ (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, number 734)

From the above Hadith, it is evident that women had no rights in pre-Islamic times. Almighty Allah, in His Infinite Mercy, then looked upon us and sent instructions for our protection. These instructions are contained in the fourth Surah (Chapter), Suratul Nisa’. Verse 19 says;

‘O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will; and you should not treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the Mahr (bride-price) you have given them, unless they openly commit Fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse, i.e adultery); and live with them honourably. If you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.”

Also consider the following Hadith;

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt (trouble) his neighbor. And I advise you to take care of the women, for they are created from a rib and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part; if you try to straighten it, it will break,…. so I urge you to take care of the women.” (Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 114)

One must admit, however, that the way some of our women are treated leaves a lot to be desired. Such unpleasant treatments or conditions are wrongly justified by the following verse (4:34);

‘Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore, the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in their husbands’ absence what Allah orders them to guard (chastity). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them, (next) refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful); but if they obey you, seek not against them means (of annoyance)…’

On the issue of beating, kindly permit me to refer you to the story of Job (V38:44);

‘and take in your hand a bundle of THIN GRASS and strike therewith (your wife), and break not your oath….’ (she had told him a word of disbelief , which made him angry and he swore to give her a hundred lashes. I have highlighted this example because she committed a great sin indeed, and if God had deemed it fit that she be beaten with a bundle of thin grass, and nothing heavy like a plank or a belt, or even fists, then I really don’t think any man should beat his wife with such. In light of this, the above verse (4:34) should not be seen as express permission to descend on a woman with full force.)

Also, women should take note of the advice contained in that verse; righteous women obey Allah and their husbands, and protect their chastity in their husbands’ absence. If there is one thing we’re told over and over by our mothers, it’s that a man wants nothing more from his wife than respect, and a woman who respects her husband will automatically have his love.
One thing that men appreciate in their women is intelligence, but that does not give any woman the excuse to condescend to her husband. Our role is to support our husbands, not scream at them and nag them into oblivion. Nobody is perfect, we all lose our tempers sometimes, but we really must learn to get a good grip of our emotions, and remain quiet especially when we fear we may say something extremely inappropriate to each other. It’s not easy, but learn, we must.

One other issue that we complain about is polygamy. Verse 4:3 says;
‘…then marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly (with them), then (marry) only one…..’

Our men should kindly endeavor to follow this verse to the very end. Having more than one wife isn’t the problem here, it’s the feeling of hurt when one woman is made to realize that she doesn’t mean as much to him as another. We know that it’s difficult to be just, we know that it’s impossible to love multiple women equally, but please, if you must marry another woman at all, try as hard as you can to be just.

Another issue which sparks up so much controversy is that of divorce. Non-Muslims, and indeed many Muslims, seem not to understand why a woman becomes unlawful to a man once he divorces her thrice. Once this happens, she can’t return to him unless she has consummated a marriage with another man and been divorced by him. It’s not some great injustice against women as some claim, rather, it’s a way of ensuring that men control their tempers and do not turn women to playthings that they can divorce and reclaim at will. When a man knows what’s at stake (the requirements of consummation and divorce from another), he’ll think twice (nay, thrice!) before divorcing his wife. This is just a way of ensuring that divorce doesn’t occur unless all other options have been exhausted, as can be seen in V4:35 below;

‘If you fear a breach between them twain (the man and his wife), appoint arbitrators, one from his family and one from hers; if they both wish for peace, Allah will cause their reconciliation….’

There were a number of exceptional women during the Prophet’s (PBUH) time. The mother of Islam, Khadija bint Khuwaylid (RA (the Prophet’s first wife)) was an immensely successful businesswoman who gave to the poor and assisted her family members financially. Despite the difference in age, she respected the Prophet (PBUH) and stood by him, and the love he had for her lived on even after her death (I will write on the early history of Islam soon, Insha Allah). The Prophet didn’t prohibit her from working, and she is indeed a beautiful example for all Muslim women to learn from and emulate.
Another woman worthy of note is Rufaida Al-Aslamiya, who was a nurse that trained other women and accompanied the Prophet (PBUH) on many battles. In fact, she started the first ever military hospital.

By Sharia law, women are not forbidden to work. A woman can work as long as such a job does not interfere with her duties as a wife. Furthermore, with the current economic situation, it would be extremely unwise for a man to want to hold on to multiple wives who are fully dependent on him (or even one dependent wife, for that matter). No one knows when his time is up, and widows are often poor in this part of the world because their husbands restricted them from working. We can perform our roles as helpers even better when we don’t have to be burdens on our husbands, and in the event of the man’s death, sustaining the family won’t prove to be so difficult, and we wouldn’t have to depend on hand-outs from other people.

Ramadan Mubarak.

Ms. Rinsola Abiola

@Rinsola_Abiola

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Let’s Get High

‘They ask you (O Muhammad) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: “In them is a great sin and some benefit for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.”…….’ (2:219)

‘O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, and Al-Ansab (animals sacrificed for idols), and Al-Azlam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaytan’s handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful.’ (5:90)

‘And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allah is Most Merciful to you.’ (4:29)

‘And do not throw yourselves into destruction.’ (2:159)

There is something that I say without ceasing; all laws given by God to mankind, at any point in time, are for our own good, not His. When God asked us in the Holy Qur’an to avoid consumption of intoxicants (anything at all that alters one’s state of mind), it wasn’t because He wanted to deprive us of the pleasure of getting high. That does not affect God in any way.

A rather worrisome trend amongst our youths is drug use; there are many addicts amongst us, and the number increases exponentially as days pass by. I’m not going to ‘preach’ to you; I will tell you, however, that even if that particular admonition wasn’t contained in the Qur’an, you would be doing yourself a whole lot of good to steer clear of intoxicants.

Some resort to drug use to ‘fix’ their emotions, while most do it simply because it wouldn’t be ‘cool’ to refuse. We wouldn’t have such a problem on our hands today if a drug habit could simply be discarded at will.

Addiction is a problem that we must acknowledge and work against, and it’s also a problem that creeps up and takes hold of people within a rather short period of time.

Our youths have become extremely creative with ‘drug creation’; ranging from petrol fumes to pawpaw leaves, to good old cannabis, speed, crack, ecstasy, codeine, skunk, etc.

Consequences of intoxicant (drug) addiction/abuse include physical and mental health problems, poor work and school performance, transmission of diseases, and in some cases, death.

When death occurs, it isn’t always due to an overdose. A friend of mine nearly lost his life on his way home from his graduation party a year ago simply because he was ‘high’. He’d pumped himself full of alcohol while ‘celebrating’ then proceeded to drive his car home. There have also been cases of young people sniffing hard drugs, developing a feeling of being invincible, and jumping off buildings. Some have gotten drunk, then committed suicide by hanging.

Despite claims that smoking marijuana makes a student smarter and schoolwork clearer, I know a notable number of people who excelled in academics without resorting to the use of weed as a study guide. If you want to excel, study hard.

Health effects of intoxicants are grouped into short and long-term effects.

Short-term effects of alcohol include reduced concentration and coordination, impaired judgment (those of us who schooled in Nigeria can attest to the fact that most cult wars start in beer parlors), and it generally makes you slow. This is especially dangerous for ladies as they could be sexually abused while in this state.

Long-term effects of alcohol include disruption of normal brain development, liver damage, decreasing brain mass, stomach and intestinal ulcers, increase in blood pressure (which could result in stroke), decrease in male sperm production, anemia, death, and fetal alcohol syndrome in unborn children.

Effects of other intoxicants (other psychoactive drugs such as cannabis, heroin, ecstacy, etc) include anxiety disorders (with increasing heart rates, trembling, a feeling of panic, and losing touch with reality), hallucinations, and mood disorders.

The drug, ecstasy, causes hallucinations by releasing hormones that make the user feel a sense of euphoria. With time, the hormone (serotonin) becomes ‘exhausted’ and the user then lunges into the dark abyss of depression (which is the cause of a large number of suicides).

The use of cannabis has been proven to trigger schizophrenia, an illness in which the person hears voices talking about how others wish to harm him.

Drug use is also related to HIV transmission through sharing drug paraphernalia. Such equipments could also carry the hepatitis virus, and drug use is especially linked with unprotected sex. It is also proven that people on Anti-Retroviral medication who consume alcohol are less likely to follow the prescribed dosage than those who don’t.

In conclusion, if you happen to know someone with a drug problem, kindly play your part in helping that person live a better life. It’s okay to make your displeasure known, but do not cast the person away from you, or refuse to help such a person. It is in that state that your help is most needed and valued.

The following Hadith could be applied in this instance;

Narrated Abu Huraira: A drunk was brought to the Prophet and he ordered him to be beaten. Some of us beat him with our hands, and some with their shoes, and some with their garments. When that drunk had left, a man said, “What is wrong with him? May Allah disgrace him!” Allah’s Apostle said, “Do not help Satan against your brother.” (Sahih Bukhari; volume 8, book 81, number 772)

You would be helping Satan against your brother if you simply ignored or banished him and let him deal with his addiction on his own.

It’s painful to see a loved one in that state, but we must be strong for them and help them get help. Your brother or sister’s problem is your problem, and you’ll find a more effective solution if you tackle it together.

Don’t drive them away from God; bring to their notice God’s stand on drug use, and go a step further and find a practical approach towards ending the problem. Drug abuse isn’t something that will simply vanish because some knowledge has come to the person, it’s a habitual problem that must be systematically eliminated. While undergoing rehabilitation, let the person know that God does accept repentance, and that breaking a rule or two doesn’t mean that God will forever close the door of His Mercy. Making mistakes is what makes us human, and being willing to correct such mistakes is commendable indeed.

P.S: From what’s stated above, it is apparent that an act of self-destruction which culminates in death is identical to committing suicide. It is, therefore, for this reason that people are advised against smoking also. The adverse effects are well-known, and tobacco might not be a hard drug, but addiction could also result in cancer (smokers are twice as likely to get ANY form of cancer) which could claim the smoker’s life. If a person dies from cancer which occurs as a result of the self-destructive habit of smoking, it’s just as good as committing suicide.

May Allah make it easy for us.

Ramadan Kareem.

Ms. Rinsola Abiola

Rinsola_Abiola.

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Misplaced Priorities

 

‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ (John 14:6)

‘Verily, the religion with Allah is Islam.’ (3:19)

‘Do they seek other than the religion of Allah, even though to Him submitted all creatures in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly? And to Him shall they all be returned. Say “We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us. We have believed in what was revealed to Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Ya’qub (Jacob) and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and in what was given to the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them. We have submitted to Allah.

And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted from Him. In the hereafter, He will be one of the losers.’ (3:83-85)

Allahu Akbar.

The question is – what would it profit me to sit a Christian down (or tweet at one) and begin to argue about Christianity?

Why would I leave that which I know, and begin to argue about that which I don’t?

And most importantly, why would I seek to explain every single thing I do in a bid to gain ‘approval’? Why would I spend a large portion of my time trying to make anyone understand the ‘legitimacy’ of my faith?

The silliest question I’ve ever been asked is ‘…but why are you a Muslim?’ to which I replied ‘because I understand it.’ Isn’t that obvious?!

In secondary school, you choose to go to arts or science or commercial class; some of us choose to be doctors, some engineers, some study Yoruba, some French, some become lawyers, and some opt out entirely for vocational training.

Christians would tell you that the narrow path leads to heaven, and that Christianity is that narrow path. Well, for me, I believe Islam is what will get me there!

Do I owe anyone an explanation or an apology? I don’t think so.

My grandfather, Sheik S.B Biobaku, was the Chief Imam of Gbabgura Land and the Secretary-General of the League of Imams and Alfas of Yorubaland, until he passed away in April. He predicted his own death. He told us that he would leave on Thursday, and be buried on Friday. He spent the last days of his life in the hospital, and when the time came, he asked to pray Asr before ‘leaving’. Nobody knew who he was talking to. Grandpa hadn’t left his bed unaided in over a week, but he prayed, returned to his bed, conversed in Arabic, and breathed his last. This was on Thursday, April 5, 2012. He was buried the following day. If that’s not the spirit of God, then I don’t know what is.

If you’re one of those who think no one has a right to hold a contrary opinion, kindly ask yourself if you would be swayed by anything anyone says about a case that you consider solved. If you’re a judge that’s just convicted a felon based on irrefutable evidence, would you still entertain doubts?

Isn’t it so frustrating that the pagans don’t destroy each other’s shrines or engage each other in senseless arguments? Would all the time spent arguing not amount to a whole lot of good if we all spent it doing what God actually wants? Helping the poor? Studying His Word? Remembering God and fearing Him every single moment? What would it profit a man to argue away all the time he could spend ensuring his salvation? I don’t understand!

My sister speaks in tongues; I do find it funny but then, it’s the same way she finds it funny when I do the ‘head-knocking thing’! I understand that I’m bowing before my Creator, she believes she’s communicating with Heaven. Who am I to argue?!

When she talks about standing in the Holy of Holies, I don’t understand it, but I do know that my time before God is the most valuable thing to me.

It baffles me – I swear it does – how people go on and on about things they know virtually nothing about. If we paid half as much attention to how we’re governed, would our country not be a lot better than it is now?

If we made politicians answer to us like we expect people of other faiths to, would they still go ahead and steal us blind?

If we guarded our sovereignty and unity half as jealously as we do religion, would we be so divided today?

Fellow Nigerian, waste your time on the things that won’t move us forward at your own peril. If what you know is how to poke holes in other peoples’ beliefs, then by all means, continue. You ought to know, however, that you’re ‘enjoying yourself’ in a house with a burning roof – it’s best you put out that fire before it consumes you;  and you cannot put out that fire alone.

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