Sabr

Sabr or patience is something I often struggle with. Not because I am always impatient but because I struggle with how people define it and as a result what they say people should do in situations that require you to be patient.

Yes patience means that we endure the hardship without complaining about why you have been put through this, it’s a test from Allah and we all know the ayah that speaks about hardship. We are never given hardship without also being given ease.

“Verily, with hardship there is ease.” Quran (94:6)

But what I find astounding is how many people use that in situations of abuse, of someone living in a toxic environment. I have even heard people say that a person should patiently live in an abusive situation. It is something I often hear directed at women, stay and be patient, do it for the sake of the children. And I could never wrap my head around this. Why should she stay? How is staying equated to being patient?

Sabr is one of the greatest virtues to have as a Muslim, we all know this but sabr is not suffering in silence.

I think one of the reasons is that we forget that sabr is much more than patience, it also means endurance, perseverance and persistence. To know when to respond and when not to respond. Arabic is a much richer and complex language than English so words can lose some of their meaning in translation.

So sabr is not passive, we aren’t supposed to just stay in that situation that is toxic or abusive, it means we stand firm, that we take action to change our situation. So to take action, to stand firm, we need sabr, so we can persevere.

It reminds me of the hadith:

The Prophet (saw) said: Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” (Muslim)

This is how we should respond to abuse, and that means that if someone brings up the courage to come to us and say that are being abused we should take action. We should help them get out of that situation, not tell them to be patient.

It makes me so mad when I hear of situations where women aren’t given support and told to just endure it, using children to shackle them to the abusive husband. It goes against what we are taught and it will not benefit the wife or the children. How can children grow up safely in an abusive environment and how can that be better than living with a single parent but safe?

Sabr is not standing still. Sabr is not being passive. Sabr is the endurance necessary to make the change needed to move one step closer to where Allah wants us to be. – Yasmin Mogahed

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Am I Complete?

When I say that having children isn’t a priority for me right now. People will often tell me that I am not “complete” until I have kids.

Let me tell you this: I am complete. I do not need a husband or children to make me a complete human being. I am complete. God created me complete.

My reason for existence isn’t for my husband or for my children. There is only one reason for my existence.

To worship Allah.

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me alone. (Quran 51:56)

Yes, children are a blessing but not everyone will have children. Does that mean those women have incomplete lives than those who have children?

It does not.

People are more than capable of living happily both with and without children. They can also be miserable with or without children. It really depends on how you look at it.

I am happy without children in my life right now. I am happy focusing on my marriage, my career, my health. This notion of being complete once you’re married with children needs to stop.

We should be teaching the youth that they are complete in and of themselves. That they should find themselves before they get married before they have children.

Because getting married or having a child is not a cure for completeness or happiness.

There are many examples of women who lived happy, complete lives; some were married, some were not. Some had children and some did not. The Mothers of the Believers are prime examples of living complete lives even though they didn’t have children.

No-one made them feel as though they were less because they didn’t have children, they weren’t continually told that they NEED to have children. They were celebrated for all that they did and achieved in life.

Maybe we should learn to mind our business and not tell girls and women these toxic messages that to be “complete” they need to get married or have kids. Everyone will have a different path in life and not everyone’s path will include marriage and children.

There are so many reasons as to why women don’t have children some because of a health condition which makes it dangerous or impossible, some out of choice.

Who are we to decide that they need to have children?

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

World Book Day

Today is World Book Day! As I love books I always feel really excited about today and I thought I would share with you some of my favourite Islamic fiction and non-fiction books. Happy reading!

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1) She wore red trainers by Na’ima B Robert

So this fast became my favourite love story and the first halal love story I’ve read. I could completely relate to the characters throughput the book and what they were going through and seriously loved this story! Everyone needs to read this book! It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s heartbreaking, basically it has everything you need in a book. I read this in one sitting!

2) The Echoes series by Jamilah Kolocotronis (5 book series)

So this is the first series I read that was classed as Islamic fiction, before this I didn’t even know that this genre existed! This is a story about a brother who reverts to Islam and how his life and his family’s life changes. Each book you see the development of him and his family and friends and it’s a series that will keep you on the edge of your seat. There’s so many things brought up in this series and so amazingly woven into the story from racism to terrorism and everything else in between. Completely loved this series.

3) Normal Calm by Hend Hegazi

So this book I picked up because I read about it in sisters magazine and it really intrigued me because the story was about a young Muslim girl who is raped and how her journey through surviving progresses. It’s a heartbreaking story but one that needs to be told as its somethings that isn’t dealt with appropriately in our society. I did wish some parts had been given more depth but it’s still worth reading.

4) From my sisters lips by Na’ima B Robert

This book is nothing but inspiring, to read about how Islam empowered the women sister Na’ima talks about in her book and especially how much of an impact Islam had on her life. It shatters the stereotype that women are oppressed and we get to see a much more real image of what Muslim women are like.

5) Reclaim your heart by Yasmin Mogahed

This book needs no introduction, I’m sure many of you have heard of sister Yasmin and know about her book. This book got me through some difficult times and it’s a book you can read multiple times and gain new insights into your life everytime you read it. Absolutely love this book!

6) Duas of the superstars by Alima Ashfaq

This is a sister who I have done several online courses with through Islamic Online University and they have been amazing. Her book goes through the importance of having goals and making the best duas we can make. She uses examples from both historic and contemporary figures and gives us Quranic duas that will help us to reach our goals. I really really loved this book and regularly read the duas she spoke about.

7) Al-Muhaddithat: The women scholars in Islam by Mohammad Akram Nadwi

This is just the introductory book of a 40 volume book of women scholars in Islam. This is the only one that has been translated into English (the 40 volumes are in Arabic) but even reading this gives so much insight into the lives of Muslim women throughout Islamic history. It challenges the misconceptions about women in society today, some of which include that women shouldn’t study or work etc. This book can be a little confusing for those who don’t understand the way that people were named within Arab society but it’s well worth reading.

8) Muhammad: How he can make you extraordinary by Hesham Al Awadi

Having listened to several of his lecture series and loves them, I just had to buy his book, and I wasn’t disappointed. This book is not a typical seerah book but it takes you through all the different stages in the prophet (saw) life and gives practical examples of how we can implement his habits into our lives. Giving practical techniques in raising children, to having a harmonious marriage to how to deal with teenagers. Using examples from the seerah and explaining how the prophet (saw) did things and what impact it had in his life and those around him.

9) The productive Muslim by Mohammad Faris

I love the articles on the productive Muslim website and the book is even better. Going through step by step each chapter tackles a different aspect of your life and goes through examples and exercises for us to implement to become more productive I our lives. It’s not a book you read I one sitting but go through each section and try to implement that before moving on. This is a book I’m still reading and learning from.

So these are some of my favourite Islamic books, if anyone’s read any of these let me know what you think! I would definitely recommend everyone to read all these books. Happy world book day!

What happens when you Marry a Bookworm

This post is dedicated to my husband who has put up with all that comes with marrying a booknerd. So these are just some of things you have to deal with if your spouse is a booknerd! To all the people who are looking to get married and your potential spouse says they love reading, you have been warned!

1) We will constantly gush about whatever book we’re reading. Especially when we finish a book we NEED to talk to someone about everything we’re feeling and you are the closest person to us therefore you will have to listen. Even if that means we wake you up at 4am because we we’re an emotional wreck. This will also mean that you will know characters and storylines about books you may not have even looked at, let alone read.

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2) If something traumatic happens in the book we’re reading we will be severely affected by it. If one of our favourite characters dies then we will be an emotional wreck. We will cry, laugh, scream and yell at the book. Basically our emotions are affected by the book.

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3) Everytime we walk past a bookshop we will NEED to go inside to browse. This can mean we think we’re in there for 10 minutes but it can be an hour. We really won’t realise the that much time has passed because we’re too busy looking at all the amazing book we want to buy. You will more than likely end up dragging us out.

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4) We will want to buy more books even though we have a pile of books at home we haven’t read yet. Our favourite kind of shopping spree is a book shopping spree. Don’t worry we will eventually get round to reading all the books we have.

5) We will NEVER have enough books, just not enough bookcases.

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6) Our main post will be books! Because like I mentioned we need to buy books all the time it’s not always from the shop. We will also buy books online. You will also end up carrying the bag of books when we do go to the bookshop.

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7) As we love books, we will want to meet the author of these books. This will mean we will drag you book events as we don’t want to go alone.

8) Our books are like our children, our prized possessions. We will not take kindly to any damage to our books and we always dream of having our own personal library.

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9) We will want several editions of our favourite books. They’re so many pretty covers out there and we want them all!

10) You should never interrupt us mid-chapter. We will either not even realise you spoke to us or become highly irritated with you.

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11) You will never be stuck for a gift for us. You can literally buy us books for any and all occasions and we will be happy.

12) We will tell you every night that we will finish the chapter and come up to bed but it will become one more chapter until it’s past midnight and we’re exhausted but we still need to read one more chapter.

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13) We will carry a book wherever we go, even if it’s to go get the groceries because you know, just in case. We can’t ever get bored if we have a book with us.

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So these are things that me and my husband came up with. I’m sure that others will have their own ones to add. We booknerds are a unique bunch but at least we will keep your life interesting and you will always have something to talk about. 🙂

Even the disco can be a place of religious inspiration

Even the disco can be a place of religious inspiration…
Describing herself as an “air force brat”, Joann’s religious inspiration came one night while she was at a disco.

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

The Benefits of Reading

So I recently shared my love for reading but many people just see it as something to do for enjoyment. But there are so many benefits from reading regularly. I will go through some of them here and maybe it will inspire some of you to read regularly inshaAllah.

So some of the many benefits are:

1) Mental stimulation

Studies have shown that reading slows the progress of alzheimer’s and dementia and can even prevent them from developing. This is because keeping the brain active prevents it from losing power and enables the brain to stay strong and healthy.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. – Joseph Addison

2) Reduces stress

No matter how stressed you are, you can lose yourself in a great story which will distract you for a short time, letting you ease your tension. Even if you spend 10-15 minutes reading in the evening or before you go to bed, will mean you are much more relaxed when you go to sleep. This will allow you to have a more restful sleep leaving you refreshed for the next day.

3) Knowledge

Every time you read, you learn something new. It could be a new word or a literary technique or a new piece of information or even how people react to a situation. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you will be to tackle the different situations you will face in your life. Gaining knowledge is very important to be able to progress in life and reading is one of the most effective ways to do it. Even the First word revealed in the Quran was ‘read’ this alone should indicate how important and beneficial reading is for us.

The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one that makes you think. – Harper Lee

4) Increased vocabulary

So carrying on from the last point, reading vastly improved your vocabulary. The more you read, the more words you’re exposed to which will give you a wider vocabulary to use for yourself. It will help you to become more articulate in your speech, which will be especially useful in a professional setting. Being able to speak more clearly and better explain yourself will help to increase your confidence and self esteem too.

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read. – Mark Twain

5) Memory improvement

When you read, you have to remember a number of things to understand the story. From the characters backgrounds to subplots, so your brain creates new synapses for each new memory and will strengthen old ones.

A library is a hospital for the mind – Anonymous

6) Focus and concentration

We live in such a busy society that we often try to divide our attention between several things which increases stress levels and lowers our productivity. Reading is an activity that requires your full concentration so focusing on that one thing even for 10-15 minutes can improve your focus for the rest of the day.

7) Better writing skills

The more exposure you have to well written work, the better your own writing will be. One of the things authors say when trying to write is to read as much as you can. When you read you will pick up lots of literary techniques which will improve your own writing.

Libraries were full of ideas perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons. – Sarah J. Maas

8) Tranquility

Depending on what you read, it can help you find inner peace. So for us reading the Quran helps us to be more tranquil and calm. Reading self help books can help to improve certain areas in your life which help to also bring a sense of peace.

9) Improves empathy

Books can provide life changing perspective, reading the lives of characters can strengthen your ability to understand other people’s feelings and what others may be going through. For example many of us don’t really understand what someone who suffers from abuse goes through unless we experience it ourselves. But reading through the eyes of a character who may be suffering from abuse can help us to understand what real life victims may go through.

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one. – George R.R. Martin

So these are just SOME of the many benefits of reading! I hope these inspire some of you to pick up a book! If any of you think of any more please do comment below!

If you don’t like to read you just haven’t found the right book – J.K Rowling