Blessed With Brothers

A Muslimah’s Day to Day Life

Malcolm X May 14, 2009

Filed under: Islam — blessedwithbrothers @ 5:02 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I love watching this video of Hajj Malik El-Shabbaz (aka Malcolm X). This is after he accepted Sunni Islam and left the Nation of Islam. He talks about how Islam is the solution for racism in America. While we don’t live in the 1960s anymore, racism still exists all around the world, including in America.

 

IlmFest DC 2009 November 24, 2008

Filed under: Islam — blessedwithbrothers @ 11:13 am
Tags: , , , ,

Alhumdulilla at the Light Upon Light AlMaghrib class, Sh. Yasir Qadhi made the huge announcement of IlmFest 2009 being held in the DC area, Insha’Allah! 😀

This is SUPPPPER exciting and Insha’Allah our Qabeelat, Nurayn, will be able to do a good job with it.

Nurayn

 

Reviving ourselves October 22, 2008

Filed under: Islam — blessedwithbrothers @ 9:05 pm
Tags: , , ,

Assalamualaykum everyone,

I was having a conversation with my Ammie today about Muslims living in Muslim countries, and we were wondering why on Earth the Muslims in these countries are more “modern” than many Muslims who live in the west!? I understand this is a very cliché topic, but I just had to write down what I was feeling; I guess to vent. I want this to be a reminder to myself first and don’t want anyone to take offense to anything I have written.

I fail to understand how Muslims who have all that they could need (Islamic Universities, Teachers, Masjids) are irreligious. Do they not realize that some Muslims in the west have to drive 20 minutes to reach the nearest masjid?! Do they know that Muslims in the west have to struggle to learn Arabic and Islamic Studies?! Do they know how difficult it is to maintain your Muslim identity in a place where you are constantly being bombarded with fitna 24/7 from the time you are a child?! I mean Muslims in the west can’t even go to school without seeing or hearing something haraam! One example I can give is from where I went subbing today: a public elementary school. Children were talking about which girl to date and who was going to ask her out! Do the Muslims in Muslim countries not know that many Muslim children have to face this day in a day out, while still holding on to their religion. I was asking my Ammie why I’ve seen Muslimas in Pakistan wearing capris, sleeveless and of course, no hijab!? What are they promoting and who are they copying? Why are the youth forming bands and why are there whole channels dedicated to them! In fact the very second I am writing this, a channel from the Muslim world is showing a fashion show and a rock concert by local youth! Alhumdulilla for the off button. Of course the problem goes deeper than clothes and music. Why is it possible for Muslims in the west to be more Islamic? Why is it that religious and practicing Muslims in Muslim countries are looked down upon or mocked?! Why are students not encouraged to go into studying and serving the deen? What will these ultramodern people from Muslim countries be like if they live in a non-Muslim country? No one is here to babysit them, there is no hijab police or mulana saab. I’m sorry, but it’s a shame that these countries are called “Muslim” countries.

The mentality (of many of the Muslim youth worldwide) is that Islam is for the old. I have heard with my own ears, young people saying things like, “I don’t need to practice my deen until I am old.” I’d like to ask these people a simple question: Where did Allah promise you that you will live to old age? Show me your contract which states so! Your life can easily be cut short in your prime years! Do you know where and when you will die!? Do they not know that Allah will shade 7 different groups on the Day of Judgement and that one of these groups is the one who practiced Islam as a youth?! The last time I visited a Muslim country, some youth I knew did not even pray! Do they not know that leaving the prayer intentionally is kufr! You are taken out of the fold of Islam. Don’t these people live in places where the adhaan is called in public, outloud! You wake up to the sound of the Fajr adhaan, and it’s not from a CD! SubhanAllah, how many Muslims in the west would love to hear that?

Of course, we Muslims in the west are not excused from our behaviors because we live in non-Muslim countries. The same questions I raised about Muslims in Muslim countries are applicable to Muslims in non-Muslim countries. How much has Allah asked of us? NOT MUCH. Allah asks us to fulfill simple tasks and we fall short. Our excuse cannot be that we are living in a non-Muslim country. What is stopping us from praying, reading Quran, studying our deen, dressing according to Islamic standards, and practicing our religion? We are in a country which guarantees us religious freedom! People cannot stop us from praying at school and no one can deny us the right to wear hijab, Alhumdulilla. I know it’s not perfect, but relatively it’s better here than other places. Ask the Muslim women of France or Turkey. Compare that to the Muslims in the time of the Prophet(saw) who were persecuted for their deen or to the Muslims who were expelled and killed in Spain!

Why is it that we know Muslim brothers and sisters who are involved in such heinous acts such as smoking, drinking, free mixing, dating and wearing obscene clothes? Many of them hide these actions from their parents but did they remember that you cannot hide anything from Allah. Allah knows where you were, who you were with and what you were doing. Also it doesn’t matter if you are free mixing with other Muslims; it’s still not allowed. Muslims dating Muslims is not halal.

Why is it that many Islamic lectures and classes only turn up a hand full of people? One class I attended had about 150 people, Mash’Allah; but there are more Muslims on that university campus than those who attended the class. There are more Muslims in the metropolitan area; I know there are.

We cannot say that our religion is in our hearts and we don’t have to be Muslims on the “outside.” Iman is our manifested in our actions! Do not be afraid to show outwardly that you are a Muslim. Wear the hijab (WHOLE HIJAB) and grow the beard. Make a pure and sincere intention to improve yourself. Make du’a to Allah and ask Him to make it easy for you to fulfill what is required of you. Another point I’d like to put out there: Islam is not a video game. You do not have to reach level 55 before you can start practicing Islam. You do not have to be at a higher “level” to wear the hijab!

My main question is: Don’t we all claim to be Muslim? Can any of us (Muslims in Muslim or non-Muslim countries) raise our hands and say that we are not Muslim? We all love Islam and love the Prophet (saw). Then why is it so difficult for us to show our love? Why can’t we do what is required of us?

Stop and reflect: Why has Allah made me Muslim? Why was I born Muslim? Why did Allah guide me to Islam? Why did Allah choose me? You are special. (I know that sounds corny, but it’s true) You are special for being a Muslim. We are blessed with this deen while at the same time given a responsibility. What did we do with the Islam that we were given?

I guess the point of me writing this blurb is not to just complain and vent about why the Muslims are the way they are, but to urge people (including myself first) to become the best Muslims we can be. We all have to study Islam, just as we study for any subject in school. We will all get a grade eventually. We have to improve ourselves. I guess I just can’t make this point clearer. We must all remember that death is the killer of all desires. This is not our permanent abode. We must not become attached to this dunya, because Allah has promised us something much better.

May Allah forgive us and guide us all to become the best Muslims we can be. Anything I wrote which is of any good is from Allah, and any mistakes are from me. I hope anyone who reads this can Insha’Allah take it as a reminder and encouragement, just like I will.

 

An Education in Islam August 20, 2008

Filed under: Islam — blessedwithbrothers @ 11:45 am
Tags: , ,

I was sent this article about Islamic school. It’s pretty interesting.

An education in Islam

As Muslim schools grow, parents must decide: public or religious education?


AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Sunday, August 17, 2008

A decade ago, the Austin area had no Islamic schools. Most Muslim parents sent their kids to public schools and hoped that exposure to drinking, immodest clothing and other un-Islamic behavior wouldn’t undermine their religious values.

Now local Muslims have their choice of three schools — in Austin, Renaissance Academy and Austin Peace Academy, and in Round Rock, the Illuminated Academy — reflecting a similar surge in new Muslim schools across the state and the country.

But as parents embrace the new educational opportunities for their children, they’re also grappling with an issue they’ve never faced before. Renaissance and Peace Academy have begun adding high school grades with plans to expand to the 12th grade within the next couple of years, and Illuminated, which goes through sixth grade, is adding a grade each year. For the first time, local Muslim families will have the possibility of educating their kids exclusively in Islamic schools. But not everyone thinks that’s a good idea.

Will staying in a Muslim setting through high school help their kids develop as confident Muslim leaders when they arrive on secular college campuses or isolate them from the mainstream, making integration into American culture more difficult or impossible later?

Mohammad Al-Bedaiwi and Bahia Amawi volunteered and helped raise money for Islamic schools even before they had children. Now that the couple’s oldest daughter, Sumaya, is in the first grade at Renaissance Academy in far North Austin, they’re seeing the fruits of their labor. Along with reading and writing, Sumaya is learning Arabic and Islamic theology and the value of serving others — each student much complete 20 hours of community service to graduate. Her parents believe she is absorbing something even more rare: a sense of pride in being both American and Muslim.

A bright-eyed girl in a navy tunic, slacks and black patent leather shoes, Sumaya shyly offered the reason she likes her school: “because there are a lot of Muslims like me.”

Al-Bedaiwi, 35, a software engineer who grew up in Ramallah in the Palestinian territory of the West Bank, dismisses the idea that Muslim youth will miss out by not going to a public high school.

“I think (Islamic schools) will make them better prepared to be leaders,” he said.

Muslim Web site creator and editor Shahed Amanullah isn’t so sure. His 6-year-old son is enrolled in the first grade at Austin Peace Academy, a North Austin Islamic school that goes through the 10th grade; his younger son will start preschool there in the spring.

In a recent column in the Muslim publication Illume Magazine, Amanullah cited the benefits of an Islamic school.

“After attending this school for only two years, my son tests several grades above the state average and can recite far more surahs of the Quran than I can,” he wrote, “with the added benefit of having a proud sense of his Muslim identity.”

But before his boys leave home for college, Amanullah, who attended public schools in California, says he wants them to learn how to “interact in a pluralistic, gender-mixed and Muslim minority society.”

He hopes their presence in a public school will also help “inoculate other students from anti-Muslim feelings.”

Muslim youth can receive religious instruction at the mosque and stay connected through Muslim youth camps and retreats.

This is how Amanullah’s identity was forged, he said, adding, “I came out OK.”

Muslim schools increasingly popular

Although parents might be divided on whether to send their kids to public school, there’s no question that more Muslim families support Islamic education, following in the steps of Christians and Jews who have established a tradition of educational excellence with private religious schools, according to “Educating the Muslims of America,” a book that will be published next spring.

“A large number of Muslim parents are highly educated professionals who place a great value on education,” said Yvonne Haddad, professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and one of the book’s editors. “The fact that public schools in many areas in the United States are struggling with issues of violence, drugs and premarital sex keep parents very concerned.”

In addition, she said, they’re concerned about the Islamophobia their children might face, and they see Islamic schools as a way to protect them.

According to one of the book’s contributors, Karen Keyworth, co-founder and director of the Islamic Schools League of America, it’s difficult to know the number of Islamic schools, but she estimates about 235 in the United States and Virgin Islands.

For decades, the focus among Muslims was building mosques. And when it came to education, Al-Bedaiwi said, they tried to imitate Christian Sunday school. It wasn’t enough, he said.

“In the last 20 years, (Muslims) realized our children are losing their identity,” he said.

Families began pooling their resources to start small schools that often struggled in the beginning, Muslim educators said. Because they offered relatively inexpensive tuition (Renaissance currently charges about $375 a month), they had to find teachers and administrators willing to work for far less than they would earn in a public school.

But over time, the schools distinguished themselves academically, and the small class sizes and emphasis on character development drew more interest from Muslim families, said Hamed Ghazali, chairman of the Muslim American Society Council of Islamic Schools, an organization that supports Muslim educators.

Ghazali works as a consultant with schools across the country, helping them get accredited and develop a curriculum that emphasizes nurturing “committed, balanced Muslims” who shine academically and perform community service.

“It’s no longer like the past, where the Islamic school is struggling,” he said. “Now it’s a really solid system.”

In Houston, he said, several schools have long waiting lists for enrollment, and more cities, including Kansas City, Kan., Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kan., have shown support for such high schools.

Muslims fit in, but schools open to all

Renaissance opened last fall with grades pre-K through 8. The school barely came together in time for the academic year, said Principal Mohammed Malley. Organizers found a building in June — a former insurance company call center in North Austin — and managed to round up 140 students by August. This year, the school enrolled 160 and added a ninth-grade class. It plans to add a grade each year.

The hallways are decorated with construction paper displays on the presidential election and Islamic values. A large recreational room is used for afternoon prayer and student plays. Last year, the sixth-graders staged a production about the challenges of growing up Muslim in America. Students recently volunteered to stuff backpacks with school supplies and donate them to needy families in Austin.

The school isn’t exclusively Muslim. Renaissance has hired non-Muslim teachers — head scarves are not required for female teachers — and, like Austin’s other Islamic schools, admits non-Muslim students. Administrators and parents say they hope more non-Muslim students will enroll in the future.

The curriculum includes the basics such as language arts, social studies, math and science but also requires students to master Arabic, the language of the Quran, and take Islamic and Quaranic studies. Students start memorizing chapters of the Quran as early as pre-kindergarten.

Austin’s other Islamic schools offer similar models, and the three schools now have more than 300 students enrolled. Estimates of Austin’s Muslim population have ranged between 8,000 and 15,000 people.

Malley said he couldn’t be happier that his four children can attend Renaissance and avoid the sense of isolation he felt as one of a few Muslims in his Arizona public school in the 1980s.

“I remember the struggle of identity I went through,” he said. “I don’t see that with my children.”

Imam Islam Mossaad, leader of the North Austin Muslim Community Center, said he isn’t opposed to Muslims going to public school.

Much depends on the level of religious observance in the home, he said. When he was growing up and attending public schools in Austin and Pflugerville, Mossaad’s mother provided religious education in the home that he said helped him and his siblings preserve their Muslim values.

“Nowadays, with both parents working, the time to teach Islam to the kids is not available,” he said, adding that Islamic schools provide a sense of comfort for parents.

But he also thinks it’s important for young people to learn to cope with the challenges of mainstream society in a public school setting.

“This is how they’ll mature as American Muslims,” he said.

As far as Al-Bedaiwi and Amawi are concerned, there’s no better way to mature as a Muslim than to continue in an Islamic school.

“Right now, the message is you fit in as a Muslim,” Al-Bedaiwi said.

“And be proud of it,” Amawi added.

 

Quran Recitations August 6, 2008

Filed under: Islam — blessedwithbrothers @ 2:49 pm
Tags: , ,

I have a list of links on the side of this blog and there’s one link in particular I hope everyone visits. www.kalamullah.com

Kalamullah is a really good website with lots of lectures, articles and Quran. My favorite part of the website is the Quran section. They have a group of recitors under a heading called Exceptional. They ARE exceptional. Subhan’Allah, they have AMAZING qirats.

One of my favorite recitors on the website is Emad Al-Mansary. Mash’Allah his qirat is hands-down amazing!!! 😮 You can find more of his recitations on www.zanjabil.net as well.

I’ve posted a video with 5 surahs he recites below so you can listen 🙂

 

Why whales? August 5, 2008

Filed under: Islam,Random — blessedwithbrothers @ 3:22 pm
Tags: , ,

What does Finding Nemo have to do with Islam?

While I ride the spin cycle at home I usually turn on the TV. I feel like 20 minutes passes by quicker when I’m watching something on TV. Yesterday I couldn’t find anything on, except Finding Nemo.

Finding Nemo is actually a very interesting movie. I’m sure almost everyone has seen it. The part that I watched yesterday was when Marlin (Nemo’s dad) and Dory got eaten by a whale.  Here’s the part of the movie that I saw:

While watching Marlin struggle to get out of the whale (blue whale i think) was sad, I thought of Allah’s creation. Allah tells us in numerous places in the Quran to reflect upon His creation. It’s amazing how the blue whale is the largest animal on the Earth, however all it eats is krill and other small fish!! To put this into perspective a blue whale can be up to 110 ft long! Their heart is the size of a car! Here’s a diagram and a short clip from Blue Planet about whales:

Krill on the other hand range in size from 1 to 2 cm (⅜–¾ in) (about the size of a pen cap), the largest being 6 to 15 cm (2¼–6 in). Subhan’Allah!! It’s amazing that such a small creature can sustain the life of such an enormous giant. I find it hard to believe that us as humans, eat almost anything and everything, from whole camels to whole cows, while other creations of Allah eat such small amounts and still survive. Allah talks about the creation and how they rely upon Him for sustanence in Surah Hud, Aya 6:

وَمَا مِن دَآبَّةٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ إِلَّا عَلَى ٱللَّهِ رِزۡقُهَا وَيَعۡلَمُ مُسۡتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسۡتَوۡدَعَهَا‌ۚ كُلٌّ۬ فِى ڪِتَـٰبٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ

“There is no creature on the earth which is not dependent upon Allah for its provision. He knows where it lives and where it dies. They are all in a Clear Book.”

These animals are a sign of Allah’s Power over Creation.

This part of the movie also reminded me of the story of Yunus (as). He was sent to the people of Ninevah, a town located on the Tigris river. He called the people to the pure worship of Allah alone(Tawheed), however they turned away. As with any prophet, Yunus (as) was a human and had human emotions and feelings. He became impatient with the people and left them without the permission of Allah. He left the town and embarked on a boat. The boat got caught in a storm and the people on the boat with Yunus(as) drew lots and ended up throwing Yunus(as) overboard. He was then swolled whole by a giant fish. Prophet Yunus(as) realized that he had disobeyed Allah and repented and supplicated to Allah. The whale then threw Yunus(as) out onto the shore.

“And verily, Yunus is among Messengers. When he went away towards a laden boat. And cast lots and was of the pushed ones. Then the fish swallowed him and he was blaming himself. And had he not been of those who glorify Allah. He would have necessarily remained in its belly until the day when the people shall be raised. Then We cast him on a bare place and he was sick. And We caused to grow over him a tree of gourd. And We sent him towards a hundred thousand rather more. And they believed, then We allowed them to enjoy for a time.”  [37:139-148]

Maybe living in this fast paced world has made us heedless to the Signs Allah has placed all around us. I think it’s good to stop, take a break and reflect upon what Allah has created so that we may strengthen our eman and increase our love and fear of Allah.

Wow I didn’t know Finding Nemo could be so deep…Hope you enjoyed reading! 🙂

 

Islamic Knowledge

Filed under: Islam — blessedwithbrothers @ 7:13 am
Tags: , ,

Knowledge is important in Islam. This is a pretty simple statement, but it carries a lot of weight. You must be learned in the knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah. Without knowledge of the deen, (Islam) one would be lost as to their duties to Allah. Only through knowledge will you truly gain an insight and understanding of Islam and Insha’Allah acheive Jannah (Paradise).

There was a question on Islam.qa which asked: “To what extent is Islam concerned with knowledge?”

I really like the response which was given 🙂

Of course living in America, there’s the question of where can we get this knowledge from?! Seminars, lectures, CD’s and books are all good places to start.

Recently I started taking notes on a lecture by Sh. Yasir Qadhi called: Kitaab at-Tawheed. This is the probably 3rd time I’m “starting” to take notes on it, because I never kept it consistent and always would loose track of my notes and decided to start over. Insha’Allah this time, I’m going to try my best to be continuous with it. 🙂 I’ll post my notes Insha’Allah when I finish.

The lecture itself is based off a book entitled Kitaab At-Tawheed and goes into a good amount of detail as to what the Aqeedah (belief) of the Muslim is. Insha’Allah I’m trying to be systematic in my lecture listening (instead of just listening to lectures in the car, and not retaining the information as well as if you were to write what you hear- although listening in the car is good too :D) I hope to start at the basics of Islam (ie Tawheed) and build on it. Insha’Alah the next lecture I want to transcribe is Basic Fiqh also by Sh. Yasir.