Solidarity with my Sisters

The hijab, first and foremost is an act of worship. It has been obligated in the Quran and sunnah clearly. There is the outer hijab, which most people think is the only aspect of hijab, and the inner hijab. The outer hijab is two parts, the khimaar (headscarf) and the jilbaab (outer garment). We are commanded by Allah to cover our hair, neck and bosoms with our khimaar and to wear an outer garment over our clothes when we go out or will be in an environment with non-mahrems.
“And let them draw their head coverings (khimar) over their neck and bosoms (chest).” Quran [24:31]
“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw a part of their outer garments around them. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused.” Quran [33:59]
The inner hijab is the way in which we conduct ourselves when we are alone and in public. It is the way we speak, the way we act, the way in which we present ourselves in front of others and in front of Allah. It is the way we think.
It is having good manners, not speaking in a vulgar way or using foul language. It is the way in which we walk and talk especially in front of the opposite sex. We should not be purposely behaving in a way so that we attract the attention of the opposite sex. We should be confident but still modest in our day to day lives.
This doesn’t mean we cannot speak or go out of the home. We can and should be part of our community and be working in different sectors as females are needed in all types of jobs. We should be seeking knowledge and volunteering. But it is the way we conduct ourselves while doing these things that is important.
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent” Quran [24:31]
In the same ayah, Allah speaks about both the inner and out hijab. This shows us that both are equally important. That both are needed to fulfill the act of worship of hijab.
Now we know that this is a command from Allah and an act of worship. In the Quran the word khimaar (headscarf) is used however in today’s society the word hijab is used to mean headscarf. Yes we are using different words to mean the same thing but it does not however negate the fact that wearing a khimaar is an obligation.
The word hijab means barrier or partition and if you actually look at what the khimaar and jilbaab do, they create a physical barrier. By covering ourselves people can no longer judge us based on how we look they must look at who we are. Our manners and thinking also create a barrier. If we are not using foul or vulgar language them others are less likely to use it around us. If we are behaving in a certain way then others see this and behave in a similar manner.
With everything happening recently, all the attacks on Muslim women, this is the time for all Muslim women whether they wear a headscarf or not to stand together. By making claims that we should not be wearing it you are dividing the sisterhood not empowering it. It makes it harder for those who wear it, you are making them more of a target. Where is the solidarity in that?
It has long been established we should be covering our heads by many scholars and even by the prophet (saw) so are you now claiming that all these people are wrong? We cannot force someone to wear a scarf or a jilbaab but no-one should be trying to force us to take it off either. We do not wear it because we are a sexual distraction for men or because we are weak or because we are forced to by men. We wear it because by fulfilling this act of worship we will please our creator and get closer to Him.

“That Woman”

That woman is stealing my son/brother. “That woman” being the daughter in law. I really don’t understand how she can steal him. She has come wanting a husband wife relationship. She does not want the same relationship as you have with your son/brother. So how can she steal him? That would mean you no longer have any connection with him but she can’t ever take away the fact that he is your son/brother.
But what people do need to understand is that things change when a person gets married. He is no longer single and cannot continue to live as though he is single. He now has responsibilities to look after and maintain his wife. Just like you want your husband to give you priority in his life so should you allow your son/brother to give his wife the time she deserves.
He has a duty to be good to you and he should continue to do so. It is upto you and your son/brother to ensure you maintain your relationship. But to make the wife the enemy will only drive a wedge between you and your son/brother and that will be your doing. In this process you may also destroy his marriage. Instead support your son/brother to be a good husband and see how close he will be to you.
And lastly, remember that for someone to be able to steal something you must first have to own it, and you do not own your son/brother. He belongs only to Allah.

 

The road to Paris – COP21

This post is written by Zunaira Malik. She is an Islamic Relief volunteer and a passionate environmentalist. She is trying to raise awareness in our community to help us to save the environment and tackle climate change.

She went to Paris with Islamic Relief to attend the COP21 and this is her reflection on what she experienced. For the original post on the Islamic relief website please follow this link: http://www.islamic-relief.org.uk/news/the-road-to-paris-zunairas-journey/

 

For those of us who are unaware, this month world leaders have been in Paris discussing law binding policies on how they will work to minimise climate change.

The first thing we did when we got to Paris was joining a conference called ‘People Power Action’ organised by Friends of the Earth International where different organisations and people represented the work they were involved in through art and took part in some amazing discussions. Muslim Climate Action were the only large Muslim group there so of course we made a masjid structure out of boxes (where there’s Muslims there’s a masjid structure). There were some fantastic discussions we were a part of and no doubt a great opportunity for dawah as we spoke about what our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us, how our Islamic principles are so connected to nature and living consciously and it was great to see that people were presently surprised. We met and spoke to a Palestinian woman who works on climate change in Palestine which was truly inspiring. We were also captivated by Asad Rehman from Friends of the Earth speaking on stage addressing a few thousand people about how the struggle against climate change is linked with the struggle against injustice around the world.

The second day we were involved in digital activism. Something we weren’t all familiar with before but by the end of it I can safely say it was something we were definitely proud of being a part of. About a thousand of us in various locations in Paris were coordinated to over a thousand different addresses, where we used geolocation to make our mark on the map. You can check that out here.

In the afternoon, we joined fellow activists near the Eiffel Tower to take part in a big demonstration where we also met the leader of the Green Party Natalie Bennett who was really happy to see us. In light of the Paris attacks and tensions between the mainstream and Muslim community, people were genuinely happy to see us being unapologetically Muslim and being part of the climate movement. So much so a lady who looked to be in her forties walked up to me with her arms open. I assumed she wanted to hug me but then she holds my face and kisses me on both cheeks leaving a lipstick mark on each one. ‘Share it’ she says to me, this lady (who I assume was French) was beaming with happiness and I was so overwhelmed with what just happened all I could say to her was ‘thank you!’ That was the highlight of my weekend.

Throughout the weekend I had only positive experiences, mingled with the people from the other Muslim organisations and had fruitful discussions with fellow activists whether it was the Dutch couple at the conference, the guy who came up to me on the streets of Paris, the fellow Brit I met in our communal bathroom or the girl from Florida who needed a spare Euro and we ended up speaking about how she had come from Florida to represent black and minority communities.

So what now?

Why does Islamic Relief care about climate change and why did they send a bunch of their volunteers to Paris to take part in campaigning and activism? Well, being an international development organisation, it is only natural to care about one of the biggest threats facing some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Although the agreements made at the COP21 weren’t as we hoped, all of us came back super motivated and ready to make changes in our personal lives as well as raise awareness in our own communities.

One of the most important things I’ve learnt is that we cannot carry on living the way we do. Change will begin with us with our choices and with our passion and it’s happening right now. I was so pleased to have come home from Paris and see my dad ask me about the outcome of COP21 and my mum mention climate change and the goal is for the whole community to be doing this! Someone mentioned how Parisians were glad to see a faith group in a secular environment so openly represent their principles and link it to the climate change movement and that is exactly what we need. We tend to keep to ourselves and to our own organisations but now it’s time to be a part of the larger movement just like in Paris. This was the beginning of a journey and faith inspired action is exactly what we need more of to tackle climate change and injustice.

Written by Zunaira Malik

Home Sweet Home part 1

Last weekend me and my husband attended a marriage course by Al Kauthar Institute called Home Sweet Home. This was one of the best marriage courses I’ve attended as we were not only taught the theory about marriage in Islam but how to implement what the Quran and sunnah say and also taking into account the way our lives are today in the west and what academic research is telling us about why marriages fail and how to avoid it.

Sheikh Alaa Elsayed was an amazing teacher mashaAllah teaching us everything from how to choose a spouse, the engagement and wedding, understanding your spouse in the beginning of your marriage, the responsibilities of the husband and wife, how to identify issues and strengths in your marriage so you can continue to improve it, why people get divorced and how to avoid it, and lastly the fundamentals of a happy marriage.

I wanted to share some of the things we learnt but I would recommend that everyone should attend this course whether you’re single, newlyweds or been married for years.

The Art of Choosing a Spouse

Before we can begin to start looking for a spouse we need to know why are we getting married? you need to think about why you want to get married so that we can start this search with the right intentions. As a class we came up with a list of reasons as to why we want to get married.

  • complete half your deen
  • complete half of your spouses deen
  • follow the Sunnah
  • halal intimacy
  • having a family
  • raise righteous children
  • have a righteous spouse
  • companionship
  • avoiding sin
  • lower your gaze
  • help each other get to jannah
If we start this with good intentions then our reward will also be greater, we can have multiple intentions so that we can get even more reward. So when we know what our intentions are then we can begin the search for a spouse that can help fulfill these intentions.
“Choose carefully for your children; marry the suitable and give in marriage to them.” (Ibn Majah)
From the Quran and sunnah we learn the importance of choosing a righteous spouse. But how do we know who is best for us?
The number one duty towards your children is to choose a righteous spouse.
When we look don’t be distracted by their worldly success that you neglect to look at their deen. But at the same time don’t focus only on deen as you do have to live in the dunya. You should be looking for both which is acceptable to you. Never fall into the trap of someone saying “they will change after marriage” studies have shown only 5% of people actually change after marriage. So you need to look at how this person is at the time to decide whether this person is right for you.
The best spouse is a best friend that is a lover.
As we learnt so much I will split it into several posts to make it easier to read and understand. I hope you found this beneficial. In my next post i will focus on what we learnt about what qualities are important to look for in a husband or a wife.