Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ways to Stay Proactive for Single Muslimahs

“Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent.” [Qur'an: Chapter 66, Verse 8]

We all wish to marry and settle down with a comforting partner in our lives. Especially women. They begin to hope and dream of a husband usually during their teens. The budding desire to have half our deen completed as soon as possible is quite strong in women. Women want to have a spouse who practically makes her life incredible with each passing moon, and kids who make her home a heaven. Truly, which woman wouldn’t want a picture perfect family in her life?

Every female wants this dream. And with this desire, comes a pressure for many Muslim females i.e., getting married at a youthful age. That’s right. While men do not deal with this pressure, many women do. The younger, the better.

On the other hand this tradition often leads towards too many low self-esteem points for single sisters out there who haven’t found their other half yet and feel like they are either forever alone or forever destined to be single.

Soon, they begin to develop serious depression as they watch their friends and even younger peers get married. Many are even left feeling like their youth is wasted if they are not married while they are young.

This article is penned down as a gift and advice from one single sister for her other single single sisters out there who are feeling down and need help to see the light of iman. I hope that you can gain wisdom from this and beat the obstacles to being productive, as Islam inspires us to do.

Identify the Negative Thoughts That’s Bringing You Down

The first and most foremost step is to realise the basic things that disturb you regarding your single marital status. Then using Hikmah, overcome that notion with a highly productive and halal thing in life to turn your sad days into blissful ones.

I have listed below major thoughts that come to mind and lure us towards negativity. Hunt them down, sisters – with antidotes! – before they hunt you down. 

1.        What good I am if am not married in youthful age? 
2.        Oh! What would become of me if I cross 25! I’ll get even older. 
3.        How will I enjoy my life if I am not married soon? 
4.        Oh no! What would my relatives say! She finished her studies but she’s still not married?! 
5.        Why has Allah (glorified and exalted be He) put me through this? 
6.        I have to hunt a husband soon or I’ll be too old to get married one day. 
7.        Am I not pretty? 
8.        I am a failure… 
9.        Maybe I should give up the hijab!
10.      And so on…

If none of these thoughts have ever crossed your mind, Masha Allah and Subhan Allah, congratulations on your firm belief in Allah (glorified and exalted be He) and His works.

But if any of these thoughts has crossed your mind, be alert sister! You are suffering from a state which paralyses your soul and halts productivity in beautiful Muslimahs – Muslimahs who probably can make a good difference in this world or someone’s life. Remember, shaytan’s greatest enemy is the soul that is most pleasing and dutiful to Allah (glorified and exalted be He), so he tries to dishearten you and spoil your life.

This is where you need to be wise and patient. For Allah (glorified and exalted be He) orders in Qur’an, “Say: “Nothing will happen to us except what Allah has decreed for us; He is our Protector”. And upon Allah let the believers rely.” [Qur’an Chapter 9: Verse 51].

6 Antidotes to Negative Thoughts & Sadness 

1.        Dedicate your youth to Allah (glorified and exalted be He) if a husband hasn’t come yet.

The reasons for not being able to get married yet can vary, but just because marriage hasn’t come to you yet, it does not mean that your youth – or your whole life – is wasted, sister. If you regret losing time in waiting for a spouse, then turn the tables by dedicating your youthful single days to Allah’s cause and obedience.

This way you won’t feel sad nor regret losing beautiful days. In fact, if Allah (glorified and exalted be He) is with you every day, what have you lost? After all, among the seven who would be provided shade under His shade on the day is the youth who grew up worshipping Allah (glorified and exalted be He). [Al-Bukhari & Muslim] 

2.        Start a noble project

You’re only young once. Would you really let it slip away while you mourn over being single, or would you rather do something productive for the sake of Allah (glorified and exalted be He)? Once again, turn the tables over and start an amazing project. Let this project be one that is beneficial for both your present time in the dunya and the akhirah.

Maybe you could start on a noble project that you can pass on to your children and further generations as legacy. One idea is to produce a copy of handwritten Qur’an using beautiful calligraphy. I’m sure you can think of many more ideas! 

3.        Don’t pay heed to what others say. Allah (glorified and exalted be He) is your Protector and Caretaker.

I know that family pressures tend to bubble up and make your life unhappy. In the words of someone I interviewed for this article, “It’s not easy with these destructive relatives; but I focus on what I have, not on what I do not have, and definitely not on others’ opinions about me. But you know how it is – their words do get to you in a painful way and you can’t help not getting affected by it. So allow yourself to be upset but pick yourself up and simply move on. That’s how I do it.”

Remember that pain is just a state of mind. You can think your way out of everything, even pain. Try not to involve yourself in arguments, avoid the company of negative people, be wise and exit an uncomfortable situation politely. And if you feel burdened, pray, “Our Lord! Lay not upon us such a burden as You did lay upon those before us.” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 286] 

4.        Know you’re special and were born with an aim in this world.

We are special, sisters! The special creation of Allah (glorified and exalted be He) with an aim in this world. There’s nothing wrong with your face or mind or hijab or your nose to be honest. Our life, though filled with not-so-pleasant moments sometimes, is a gift from Allah (glorified and exalted be He). We’ll always be tested. There will be tears but there will also be laughter and love. You have the right to live your life however you want it to. Marriage isn’t something you can force. Trust in Allah’s plan for you and be strong. 

5.        Take the education route.

Take advantage of the time and freedom you have and invest in education. It could be a language course or a degree. Don’t miss out on the time. Make Hazrat Aisha (may Allāh be pleased with her) your role model and pursue education with noble passion and zeal. She is considered one of the great female scholars in Islam. This is your opportunity to educate yourself in the best manner for the sake of becoming a good educated mother and a wife in the future, In sha Allah. 

6.        Know that there has to be a reason why Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has chosen this for you.

To believe in Allah (glorified and exalted be He) requires total faith in His Actions and what he wills for you. Try to sit alone for a few minutes and talk to your soul. Then reason with your heart and inform your nafs that there is a reason why Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has chosen this situation for you.

Maybe He desires that you fulfill a very important task in life for His sake, so He decrees that you stay single till you have achieved that aim? Or maybe He wants to reward you with something great and this ordeal is a test for you. So make istighfar as much as you can, and make dua to your Lord to grant you victory and peace and fill your heart with serenity and love. Then make lots of dua for your future spouse’s khair.

And always say, “O My Lord, Whenever you wish for me to be married, let it be for good and happiness”.

Some Final Words of Comfort

If you wish to recite dua from Qur’an, take refuge in this verse: “And those who say,”Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.” [Qur’an: Chapter 25, Verse 74]

If you fill your heart with love for Allah (glorified and exalted be He) and His Rasool (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), I can guarantee that all these hurdles and troubling thoughts concerning marriage will perish and you will see yourself as a productive Muslimah who is making a difference in the world of Allah (glorified and exalted be He).

May Allah (glorified and exalted be He) be your Light, my Light, our Light. Ameen.

Author: Pervisha Khan | Productive Muslim

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Last Ten Days of Ramadhan

It’s hard to believe that Ramadan is heading down the final homestretch. The last few days of Ramadan are upon us, as Muslims from all over the world step up their efforts to make the most of every remaining moment. The last ten nights of Ramadan are are the most blessed and we should increase our worship and devotion as they hold the glittering jewel of Lailatul-Qadr, or the Night of Power, which Allah describes it in the Quran as being better than a thousand months. 

Allah’s Messenger used to exert himself in devotion during the last ten nights to a greater extent than at any other time. (Muslim). 

Aisha r.a reported: With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet s.a.w. used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work harder) and used to pray the whole night, & used to keep his family awake for the prayers. (Bukhari) 

So there is still time for us to redeem ourselves in the last 10 blessed days of Ramadan. We must NOT miss this opportunity otherwise we will regret it forever. We should strive to seek out night of power which is hidden in one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan, particularly in the odd numbered nights. So this is our chance to get closer to Allah & to gain his mercy and forgiveness of ALL of our past and present sins! Therefore we should put everything into the last 10 nights & know that we will get so much more in return. But if we waste these nights then we will regret it FOREVER! 

How can we maximize these blessed nights? 

1. Sitting I’tikaf in the last 10 days 
I`tikaf is the seclusion and staying in the Masjid with the intention of becoming closer to Allah by doing constant remembrance, glorification and worship of Allah. I’tikaf is a great Sunnah. 

Aishah r.a reported that the Prophet s.a.w.: “Used to perform i’tikaf in the last ten days of Ramadan until Allah the Mighty & Majestic, took him.” (Bukhari & Muslim) 

Women can also sit I’tikaf 
Women can also sit I’tikaf at the Masjid with husbands permission. There is a difference of opinion whether she can sit I’tikaf at home. The Hanafi mazhab states a woman can sit I’tikaf at a designated place in her home. 

2. Reciting Qur’an abundantly 
What better time to recite the Qur’an than in ones of the very nights it was revealed – The Night of Power. Therefore we should increase our recitation even more during the last ten days & nights. The reward for reciting each letter of the Qur’an during Ramadan is 700 hasanah or more. Subhanallah! 

We should try & aim to complete the Qur’an at least once if not more by the end of the last 10 days of Ramadan. Along with recitation we should also read & learn the meanings of the Qur’an. We should contemplate & ponder over the verses & implement what we read & learn into our daily lives. 

3. Nawafil (Voluntary) prayers 
What better way of drawing closer to Allah during the last 10 days of Ramadan than by praying the voluntary prayers: 

Allah says in Hadith Qudsi: "….And My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (voluntary deeds) until I love him," [Bukhari] 

The Most Rewarding Nawafil Prayer of all is Tahajjud. Hadith of Abu Hurayrah r.a that the Prophet s.a.w. said, “If you get up for night prayer, start with two short Rakaats.” [Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Dawud] 

When we make Du'a we should imagine Allah is watching us and so we should call on him, crying to him. If we can’t cry due to the hardness of our hearts then we should at least act & make the face like we are crying. We should ask of Allah sincerely with remorse & intention not to repeat such sins again for forgiveness of our past & present sins. 

Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him) was asked, “I cannot pray at night.” He said, ”Your sins have prevented you.” 

4. Making Excessive Dua 
Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an: “When my servants ask you concerning me, (tell them) I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on me.” [2:186] 

Many of us rush our Dua’s & quite often our hearts are not present whilst we are making dua to Allah. That is why we lose out on much of the benefits & blessings of Du'a. Therefore we should not let our minds wonder whilst in Dua & we should concentrate more, making sure our hearts are present whilst asking of Allah. Whilst we are in dua we should imagine Almighty Allah in front of us & so we should humble ourselves in front of him in a state of meekness & humility. 

It may also help if we made a list of what we want to ask Allah during our dua’s. We can then refer to this list as a reminder so that we can cover everything we need to ask him, which may help in making our Dua’s longer & more sincere. This is because we will not always remember everything we want to ask Allah unless we note it down & refer back to it when we need to. 

Aisha (RA) said: I asked the Prophet s.a.w. : "O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?" He said, Say:  ”Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee" (O Allah, You are pardoning & You love to pardon, so pardon me.) (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, & Tirmidhi). 

5. Repentance of past & present sins 
We should cry & beg of Allah to give us his mercy & forgiveness especially in the last 10 blessed nights of Ramadan. If we leave Ramadan without gaining the mercy of Allah then surely we are of the most unfortunate and amongst the biggest losers in this world and the next. 

Stand in prayer to gain forgiveness for all sins 
Abu Hurairah r.a narrated that the Prophet s.a.w. said: “Whoever stands (in prayer) in Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation, expecting reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” (Bukhari and Muslim). 

Best opportunity for forgiveness of past & present sins: 
This is our best opportunity to gain forgiveness of our past ans present sins. Forget the past now, learn from it & take lessons from it. What matters is NOW. So ask of Allah every night especially in the odd numbered nights for mercy & forgiveness. 

6. Seeking out Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power) 
"By the manifest Book (the Quran) that makes thing clear. We sent it (this Quraan) down on a Blessed Night (i.e. the Night of Qadr) in the month of Ramadaan.." (The Smoke 44:2-5) 

So valuable is the Night of Qadr (Power) that the Quran devotes a special surah to it: “Lailatul Qadr is better than a thousand months” [97:3] 

This one night surpasses the value of 30,000 nights. There is NO doubt that if we pray on all of the last ten nights of Ramadan then we will catch this auspicious night & gain the rewards of over 83 YEARS OF WORSHIP! Subhaanallah! Most do not live up to such an age! 

Forgiveness of past & present sins on Laylatul Qadr 
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that the Prophet s.a.w. said: ”Whoever stands (in qiyaam) in Lailatul-Qadr out of faith and expectation (of Allah’s reward), will have ALL of his previous sins forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Edited from: muslimvillage.com 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Kesilapan Kerap Muslim Dalam Bulan Ramadhan

Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. bersabda maksudnya: “Sesiapa berpuasa pada Ramadan dengan penuh keimanan dan keikhlasan, diampunkan dosanya yang telah lalu.” (Hadis riwayat Bukhari, Muslim dan Ahmad).

Alangkah ruginya jika kebanyakan umat Islam mensia-siakan atau tidak memanfaatkan kedatangan Ramadan yang sebentar itu dengan kerja kebajikan. Perkara ini kerana pada bulan inilah Allah memberi banyak keistimewaan iaitu berupa ganjaran pahala berganda bagi setiap amalan baik yang dikerjakan. Ia tidak dikurniakan Allah pada bulan lain. Namun, kemampuan untuk mendapatkan kesempurnaan pahala Ramadhan kerap kali tergugat akibat kekurangan ilmu dan kekurangperihatinan umat Islam kini. 

Antara yang dimaksudkan adalah :- 

1) Makan dan minum dengan bebas setelah batal puasa dengan sengaja (bukan kerana uzur yang diterima Islam). 

Perlu diketahui bahawa sesiapa yang batal puasanya dengan sengaja tanpa uzur seperti mengeluarkan mani secara sengaja, merokok, makan dan minum, ia dilarang untuk makan dan minum lagi atau melakukan apa jua perkara yang membatalkan puasa yang lain sepanjang hari itu. Ia dikira denda yang pertama baginya selain kewajiban menggantikannya kemudiannya. Keadaan ini disebut di dalam sebuah hadith, 

Ertinya : "Sesungguhnya sesiapa yang telah makan (batal puasa) hendaklah ia berpuasa baki waktu harinya itu" (Riwayat al-Bukhari) 

2) Makan sahur di waktu tengah malam kerana malas bangun di akhir malam. 

Jelasnya, individu yang melakukan amalan ini terhalang dari mendapat keberkatan dan kelebihan yang ditawarkan oleh Nabi SAW malah bercanggah dengan sunnah baginda. "Sahur" itu sendiri dari sudut bahasanya adalah waktu terakhir di hujung malam. Para Ulama pula menyebut waktunya adalah 1/6 terakhir malam. Imam Ibn Hajar menegaskan melewatkan sahur adalah lebih mampu mencapai objektif yang diletakkan oleh Nabi SAW. 

3) Bersahur dengan hanya makan & minum sahaja tanpa ibadah lain. 

Ini satu lagi kesilapan umat Islam kini, waktu tersebut pada hakikatnya adalah antara waktu terbaik untuk beristigfar dan menunaikan solat malam. 

Firman Allah ketika memuji orang Mukmin ertinya : "dan ketika waktu-waktu bersahur itu mereka meminta ampun dan beristighfar" (Az-Zariyyat : 18) 

يا رسول الله , أي الدعاء أسمع ؟ : قال : جوف الليل الأخير ودبر الصلوات المكتوبة

Ertinya : "Ditanya kepada Nabi (oleh seorang sahabat) : Wahai Rasulullah :" Waktu bilakah doa paling didengari (oleh Allah s.w.t) ; Jawab Nabi : Pada hujung malam (waktu sahur) dan selepas solat fardhu" (Riwayat At-Tirmidzi) 

4) Tidak menunaikan solat ketika berpuasa. 

Ia adalah satu kesilapan yang maha besar. Memang benar, solat bukanlah syarat sah puasa. Tetapi ia adalah rukun Islam yang menjadi tonggak kepada keislaman sesorang. Justeru, ‘ponteng' solat dengan sengaja akan menyebabkan pahala puasa seseorang itu menjadi ‘kurus kering' pastinya. 

5) Tidak mengutamakan solat Subuh berjemaah sebagaimana Terawih. 

Ini jelas suatu kelompongan yang ada dalam masyarakat tatkala berpuasa. Ramai yang lupa dan tidak mengetahui kelebihan besar semua solat fardhu berbanding solat sunat, terutamanya solat subuh berjemaah yang disebutkan oleh Nabi SAW bagi orang yang mendirikannya secara berjemaah, maka beroleh pahala menghidupkan seluruh malam. 

6) Menunaikan solat terawih di masjid dengan niat inginkan meriah. 

Malanglah mereka kerana setiap amalan di kira dengan niat, jika niat utama seseorang itu (samada lelaki atau wanita) hadir ke masjid adalah untuk meriah dan bukannya atas dasar keimanan dan mengharap ganjaran redha Allah sebagaimana yang ditetapkan oleh Nabi SAW di dalam hadith riwayat al-Bukhari. Maka, "Sesungguhnya sesuatu amalan itu dikira dengan niat". (Riwayat al-Bukhari) 

7) Bermalasan dan tidak produktif dalam kerja-kerja di siang hari dengan alasan berpuasa. 

Sedangkan, kerja yang kita lakukan di pejabat dengan niat ibadat pastinya menambahkan lagi pahala. Justeru, umat Islam sewajarnya memperaktifkan produktiviti mereka dan bukan mengurangkannya di Ramadhan ini. 

8) Memperbanyakkan tidur di siang hari dengan alasan ia adalah ibadat. 

Sedangkan Imam As-Sayuti menegaskan bahawa hadith yang menyebut berkenaan tidur orang berpuasa itu ibadat adalah amat lemah. (al-Jami' as-Soghir; Faidhul Qadir, Al-Munawi, 6/291) 

9) Menganggap waktu imsak sebagai ‘lampu merah' bagi sahur. 

Ini adalah kerana waktu imsak sebenarnya tidak lain hanyalah ‘lampu amaran oren' yang dicadangkan oleh beberapa ulama demi mengingatkan bahawa waktu sahur sudah hampir tamat. Ia bukanlah waktu tamat untuk makan sahur, tetapi waktu amaran sahaja. Lalu, janganlah ada yang memberi alasan lewat bangun dan sudah masuk imsak lalu tidak dapat berpuasa pada hari itu. Waktu yang disepakti ulama merupakan waktu penamat sahur adalah sejurus masuk fajar sadiq (subuh). (As-Siyam, Dr Md ‘Uqlah, hlm 278) 

10) Wanita berterawih beramai-ramai di masjid tanpa menjaga aurat. 

Ini nyata apabila ramai antara wanita walaupun siap bertelekung ke masjid, malangnya kaki dan aurat mereka kerap terdedah dan didedahkan ketika berjalan dan naik tangga masjid di hadapan jemaah lelaki. Tatkala itu, fadhilat mereka solat di rumah adalah lebih tinggi dari mendatangkan fitnah buat lelaki ketika di masjid. 

11) Memasuki Ramadhan dalam keadaan harta masih dipenuhi dengan harta haram, samada terlibat dengan pinjaman rumah, kad kredit, insuran, pelaburan dan kereta secara riba. 

Ini sudah tentu akan memberi kesan yang amat nyata kepada kualiti ibadah di bulan Ramadhan, kerana status orang terlibat dengan riba adalah sama dengan berperang dengan Allah dan RasulNya, tanpa azam dan usaha untuk mengubahnya dengan segera di bulan 'tanpa Syaitan' ini, bakal menyaksikan potensi besar untuk gagal terus untuk kembali ke pangkal jalan di bulan lain. 

Nabi Muhammad menceritakan :- 

ذَكَرَ الرَّجُلَ يُطِيلُ السَّفَرَ أَشْعَثَ أَغْبَرَ يَمُدُّ يَدَيْهِ إلى السَّمَاءِ يا رَبِّ يا رَبِّ وَمَطْعَمُهُ حَرَامٌ وَمَشْرَبُهُ حَرَامٌ وَمَلْبَسُهُ حَرَامٌ وَغُذِيَ بِالْحَرَامِ فَأَنَّى يُسْتَجَابُ لِذَلِكَ

Ertinya :  "menyebut tentang seorang pemuda yang bermusafir dalam perjalanan yang jauh, hal rambutnya kusut masai, mukanya berdebu di mana dia mengangkat tangan ke langit : Wahai Tuhanku...wahai Tuhanku... sedangkan makanannya haram, minumannya haram dan pakaiannya haram..Dan dia dibesarkan dengan memakan makanan haram maka bagaimana Kami mahu mengabulkan doanya." (Riwayat Muslim) 

Justeru, bagaimana Allah mahu memakbulkan doa orang yang berpuasa sedangkan keretanya haram, rumahnya haram, kad kreditnya haram, insurannya haram, simpanan banknya haram, pendapatannya haram?. Benar, kita perlu bersangka baik dengan Allah, tetapi sangka baik tanpa meloloskan diri dari riba yang haram adalah penipuan kata Imam Hasan Al-Basri. 

12) Tidak memperbanyakkan doa tatkala berpuasa dan berbuka. 

Ini satu lagi jenis kerugian yang kerap dilakukan oleh umat Islam. Nabi SAW telah menyebut, yang bererti: 

"Tiga golongan yang tidak ditolak doa mereka, pemimpin yang adil, individu berpuasa sehingga berbuka dan doa orang yang di zalimi" (Riwayat At-Tirmizi) 
Selain itu, doa menjadi bertambah maqbul tatkala ingin berbuka berdasarkan hadith. 
Ertinya : "Sesungguhnya bagi orang berpuasa itu ketika berbuka (atau hampir berbuka) doa yang tidak akan ditolak" (Riwayat Ibn Majah) 


Artikel asal oleh: Dr Zaharuddin Abd Rahman (www.zaharuddin.net)