What Would my Mates Think?

What Would My Mates Think?
Paul, from the UK, had been an Islamophobe. But when life took a turn for the worst, an increase in spirituality ignited his interest in Islam. But how would his friends react if he embraced it?

Be inspired by Paul’s short interview and share it to inspire others.

check out http://www.overcome.tv

The Seven Principles for making Marriage work book review

So I wanted to share some thoughts on this book, The seven principles for making marriage work by John Gottman. This book was actually recommend by Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed at her event that I attended last year about marriage.

My rating: 4/5
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This book teaches us methods that the author has tried and tested on many couples over the years to create a happy marriage. It has easy to follow exercises that you can do as a couple to help resolve conflicts, improve communication, nurture love, fondness and respect for each other.

I found the book very useful and insightful in helping to improve my own marriage. Although there are small things I disagree with the majority of the book is very relatable and easy to understand.

What can make a marriage work is surprisingly simple. Happily married couples aren’t smarter, richer, or more psychologically astute than others. But in their day to day lives, they have hit upon a dynamic that keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other (which all couples have) from overwhelming their positive ones. They have what I call an emotionally intelligent marriage.

He first discusses signs of a unhappy marriage and one of the first things discussed in his book, are things that are so toxic to a marriage that he’s named it the four horsemen of the apocalypse. They are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. He discusses how these can create long term problems and eventually lead to the couple becoming emotionally distant and can even cause divorce if they aren’t dealt with.

Then each chapter discusses a principle that will help to achieve a happy marriage.

The first principle is Enhancing your love maps. He explains that couples with detailed love maps of each other are better able to cope with stressful events or conflicts. Having a detailed love map means that they are intimately familiar with each other’s worlds.

The second principle is nurturing your fondness and admiration for each other. This is where you build on the belief that your spouse is worthy of being respected and liked. Reminding yourself of your spouses positive qualities even if you struggle with a negative one.

The third principle is turning toward each other instead of away. So the little things you do on a day to day basis has a greater impact on your marriage than going away for a holiday for example. The way you respond to your spouse can have a big impact on your emotional connection.

The fourth principle is letting your partner influence you. It’s important that you and your spouse make decisions together and you honour and respect each other’s feelings and opinions.

The next principle that was discussed was the two types of conflict, one that you are able to solve and the other that is perpetual. He discussed ways in which we can solve the solvable conflicts through several techniques in how we discuss them.

The sixth principle was overcoming gridlock, where a couple is stuck on a conflict for so long they feel they can no longer move past it. They are conflicts that keep coming up again and again, issues with in laws, when to have children, how to raise your children etc. These issues may never be resolved completely but the goal was to move out of the gridlock and to be able to reach a compromise.

The last principle was creating a shared meaning, so you are not just roommates that have seperate lives but you have goals and you create a life together that has deeper purpose than just sharing chores and looking after kids.

I found this book hugely beneficial even though I read it feeling unsure as to what I would gain from it. His writing can be a bit annoying at times but it well worth reading. Everyone has issues in their marriage, especially at the beginning when we’re learning how to communicate and understand each other but this book actually has really helpful advice in making it more effective.

There was a few things I disagreed with, for example he said the husband should always side with the wife in a disagreement between his wife and his mother. I don’t think it’s just to do that. Instead the husband needs to always remain just in all situations.

I think this is beneficial for anyone who is looking to find ways to strengthen their marriage and help to build better communication and understanding and to resolve conflicts.

Also if you’re interested in books check out my Instagram account @thetsundokuchronicles

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Would Islam Affect My Cultures?

Would Islam Affect My Cultures?
Isa, originally from Colombia, was impressed by the knowledge of God that young Muslims had. And he liked how Islam encouraged questions, whilst his previous faith discouraged them.

But could he make the changes Islam asked of him? And would Islam be compatible with his British / Colombian culture?

Be inspired by Isa’s short interview and share it to inspire others.

Diseases of the Heart part 4

In this post I will be discussing Ghibah (backbiting), it is especially important to discuss this as it is so prevalent in our society.

Someone people may think that backbiting is a sin of the tongue, not the heart but we need to understand that the tongue is a reflection of what is in the heart.

The tongue is a mirror for what is contained within the heart. – Arab saying

So from this we can see that there is a direct link between our tongues and our hearts. We cannot purify the heart until we purify the tongue.

The prophet (saw) said: “A persons imaan will not be upright until their heart is upright and strong. The heart will not be upright and strong until the tongue is upright and strong.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

Sins of the tongue have become widespread within our society. Foul language, backbiting, slander, lying etc are just some of the sins we have normalised within society and we so easily fall into those sins. These sins are not only harmful to ourselves but also have the power to ruin relationships.

The prophet (saw) said: “When the son of Adam gets up in the morning, all of the organs of his body submit Toni’s tongue and say, ‘Fear Allah with us for our condition is according to you. If you are good, we will be good; and if you are bad, we will become bad.'” (At-Tirmidhi)

We should remember that every single word we say is recorded and we will be held accountable for.

“Man does not utter a word except with him is an observer prepared (to record).” Quran (50:18)

The tongue has the ability to lead us to Jannah or the Hellfire

The prophet (saw) said: “A man utters a word pleasing to Allah without considering it of any significance for which Allah exalts his ranks (in Jannah); another one speaks a word displeasing to Allah without considering it of any importance, and for this reason he will sink down into Hell.” (Bukhari)

The prophet (saw) gave us a very important piece of advice regarding how we speak. He (saw) said: “He who believes in Allah and the last day should either speak good or remain silent.” (Bukhari)

So we need to remember this everytime we are about to say something. Is this a good thing to say? Will it be hurtful to someone? Is it my business to be speaking about this?

One of the great scholars, al-Fudayl ibn ‘Iyad said: There is no jihad which is more difficult that withholding the tongue.

The Quran also teaches us how vile backbiting is. In Surah Hujarat; ayah 12, Allah says: “…And do not backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would detest it…”

Allah mentions eating flesh because doing that will only hurt you not the dead person. Just like we incur sin by backbiting but nothing happens to the person we backbite about. We would never eat the flesh of a person so why do we backbite? Allah also specifies the flesh of a dead person because a dead person can’t defend themselves, just like if a person backbit someone they can’t defend themselves.

So I’ve spoken about how much Allah dislikes backbiting but what is backbiting?

The prophet (saw) asked his companions: “Do you know what is meant by backbiting?” They said, “Allah and His messenger know best.” He said, “To say something about your brother which he dislikes.” One asked, “Even if what I say is true about my brother?” He replied, “If such defects you say are true about him, then you have backbitten him, and if he doesn’t have what you say, then you have committed slander against him.” (Muslim)

So how do we fall into Backbiting?

It is so easy to fall into backbiting in your everyday life so we need to become aware of them so we can learn to avoid them.

1) Anger – if you feel wronged by someone you may start speaking bad about them out of anger.

2) Your peers are doing it – if people around you are backbiting it is so easy for you to join in. This is why it is so important to surround yourself with good company as the prophet (saw) told us that we are on the religion of our friends.

3) Envy – if you begin to envy someone who is getting attention, praise or love then you may start to say bad things about them to stop that praise and love.

4) To make yourself feel better about yourself – You may degrade someone by saying that they aren’t smart to show how smart you are.

These are only some of the ways in which we can fall into backbiting so we should be careful of what we say.

So how do we stop ourselves from backbiting?

1) Understand the severity of what backbiting is – we can’t resolve the issue until we acknowledge the issue. We should remember that we will be held accountable for all that we say.

2) Cure the cause of the backbiting – is the backbiting due to envy? Anger? Pride? Curing the root cause will help to cure the symptoms, in this caste the symptoms are backbiting.

3) Give yourself a punishment – Everytime you backbite you need to give yourself a punishment but it has to be something that works for you. So it could be that you fast for a day or you donate money. This was done by the salad to prevent themselves from committing these sins.

4) Change your company – It is so important to have good friends, people who will tell you if you are doing something wrong not encourage it. If people around you are backbiting then you will fall into it too.

There are however times when it is permissible to backbite.

1) If you are oppressed you are allowed to go to speak to a person in a position to help end it.

2) Seeking help to change what is wrong and saving a sinful person from committing a sin. So you can go to speak to someone to get help if someone has done something wrong.

3) Seeking advice or fatwa – So you can tell the scholar if someone has wronged you to seek advice.

4) Warning people of someone’s evil – you can highlight whether someone has bad qualities to someone who is looking into marrying that person for example.

5) If a person openly commits evil or bid’ah – if someone takes someone’s wealth unlawfully for example it is permissible to speak about what he has done openly but we cannot speak about him in any other way.

The prophet (saw) told us what happens on the day of judgement to the one who spends his life backbiting others so it is imperative that we do not backbite.

The prophet (saw) said to his companions, “Do you know who is bankrupt?” They said, “The one without money or goods is bankrupt.” The Prophet said, “Verily, the bankrupt of my nation are those who come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers, fasting, and charity, but also with insults, slander, consuming wealth, shedding blood, and beating others. The oppressed will each be given from his good deeds. If his good deeds run out before justice is fulfilled, then their sins will be cast upon him and he will be thrown into the Hellfire.” (Muslim)

So sorry for taking so long to post this! I’ve been crazy busy! I have a couple more posts on this series and I will get them out as soon as possible!

When a 16 year old embraces Islam…

When a 16 year old embraces Islam…
At 16, Nisha from the UK finally found the confidence to proclaim herself a Muslim.

Be inspired by Nisha’s short interview and share it to inspire others.

Check out other videos at: http://www.overcome.tv

When eating introduces someone to Islam

When eating introduces someone to Islam…
Abraham’s interest in Islam took off when he saw the special way that his Muslim friend ate. But he worried what his family, teachers and friends would think if he embraced Islam. Maybe they’d think that he was crazy?

Watch on to see how God guided him and helped him overcome…

Diseases of the Hearts and their Cures part1

So currently I’m attending a weekly class on the diseases of the heart and their cures and I wanted to share what I learnt with you all so we can all benefit inshaAllah.

So why is it important to study the diseases of the heart?

1) Purification of the heart was one of the objectives of prophethood.

Ibrahim (as) made this dua: Our Lord, and send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them your verses and teach them the book and hikmah and purify them. Quran (2:129)

Allah responded by saying: Certainly did Allah confer (great) favour upon the believers when He sent among them a messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the book and hikmah, although they had been before in manifest error. Quran (3:164)

In these ayahs we learn that Allah answered the dua of Ibrahim (as) but Allahs response was different in that He said ‘purify them’ before teaching the book and hikmah which shows that we need to purify ourselves first in order to learn what the Quran is teaching us and have hikmah.

2) The heart is the most important organ in the body.

Indeed in the body is a piece of flesh, if it is correct the whole body is correct and if it is corrupt then the whole body will be corrupt, verily this piece is the heart. (Bukhari)

If the heart is corrupt then this will dictate what the limbs will do. So we need to first fix our heart for our limbs to be fixed.

3) We often neglect studying the diseases of the heart but a lot of societal problems are a result of a corrupt heart. For example arguments are often caused by diseases such as envy, pride, arrogance etc. So in order to rectify these societal issues we must rectify our hearts.

4) Purification of the heart is the key to success in the dunya and the aakhirah.

The day when there will not benefit (anyone) wealth and children. But only those who comes to God with a sound heart. Quran (26:88-89)

If we want to be saved in the aakhirah and enter Jannah we need to purify our hearts of these diseases.

So how do we know that our heart is sick?

Ibn al-Qayyim discussed signs of a sick heart, some of these signs are:

1) The person doesn’t feel remorse when he commits a sin.

2) He finds pleasure in committing acts of disobedience.

3) When he hears the truth he has difficulty accepting or submitting to it.

4) He is not affected by any reminder, khutbah, Quran recitation etc.

Don’t look at the size of the sin, look at the greatness of the one who we disobeyed.

What effect does sinning have on the heart?

The prophet (saw) said: When a slave commits a sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he gives up the sin, seeks forgiveness and repents, his heart will be cleansed, but if he repeats it, (the blackness) will increase until it overwhelms his heart. (Ibn Majah)

Some of the effects that sinning has on the heart that Ibn al-Qayyim discusses are:

1) Being deprived of knowledge, as knowledge is a light that Allah causes to reach the heart and sinning extinguishes that light.

2) Being deprived of provision. The prophet (saw) said: A man is deprived of provision because of the sins that he commits. (Ahmad)

3) Deprivation of worship and obedience. Sinning prevents a person from doing an act of worship and cuts off access to other acts of worship.

4) Sin leads to sin. The more this happens the harder it is to escape it. Eg. Being jealous of someone can lead to you gossipping and backbiting that person.

5) Sin weakens a persons willpower and makes him desensitised to sinning. The person will gradually find it easier to commit sins and harder to repent. Eventually he will not be bothered about sinning and it will become a habit.

So how do we protect our heart?

There are a number of ways to strengthen the heart. Some of which are:

1) Consistently fulfilling the obligatory actions. Not just the pillars of Islam but also all the obligations we have in regards to family, friends, neighbours etc.

2) Building a strong relationship with the Quran

3) Reciting the morning and evening adhkar

4) Increasing your dua. We should make dua for all things, both in regards to deen and dunya.

5) Repentance. Allah tells us again and again to seek forgiveness because it’s in our nature to sin.

I hope this has been helpful and now we know why we need to study the diseases of the heart and give importance to purifying our heart. I will discuss each disease that we go through in class inshaAllah. The next post will be about hasad (envy).