“Polygamy, Not My Problem”- A Muslim Woman

By Umm Zakiyyah
Source: onIslam.net

Being a man doesn’t mean diving into polygamy while completely disregarding the first wife’s feelings.

“If you don’t want your husband to marry another woman,” the imams said, “then, reflect on the hadith of the Prophet,(peace and blessings be upon him). You should love for your sister what you love for yourself.”

I turned off the video and sipped my tea in the silence of the room. I had planned to watch the prominent imam’s entire lecture on the subject of plural marriage in Islam, but I couldn’t get past the first few minutes.

It wasn’t that I disagreed with his point. After all, it is true. If Muslim women who are already married think of a potential co-wife as a sister in Islam instead of a potential rival, then sharing a husband wouldn’t be so difficult.

But is this mental shift really as simple as people make it sound?

Is it even realistic?

“What role do you think women play in polygamy?”

The inquiry took me off guard because it was unrelated to the subject of the meeting. He wasn’t asking about the details of women’s role in a Muslim marriage (He already knew that). He was asking what role they play in ensuring that a husband’s pursuit of subsequent life in plural marriage Continue reading

Time, Love, Praise and Encouragement in Relationships

Time, love praise and encouragement in relationships.. as catchy the title of the article is, so is  its content, mashaAllah! Had to save this one on my blog.. Just loved the article! For all the newly married sisters and to-be married sisters or just any sister whose looking out for tips to make her married life smoother, this one is a MUST read!! 🙂

Rabbana Hablana min azwajina wa durriyatina qurratha ayioni wa-ja’alna lil muttaqeena imaam
“Our Lord! Grant us from our wives and our offspring the comfort of our eyes, and make us an example for the righteous.”[Al-Furqan 25: 74] 

Ameen! ❤

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Time, Love, Praise and Encouragement in Relationships By Bint Mohib

Source: HabibiHalaqas.org

Bismillah 
What is love? This seemed to be everyone’s favourite topic when I was a teenager. I even had a shiny purple diary in which I would meticulously write down every quote on love that I would come across. Such was the obsession with “love”, the curiosity cum fantasy. The quotes I would relate to most would then go up as my “nickname”s on MSN Messenger, the Facebook-statuses of the time.
Much further back in time, when I was a kid, my mom would shoo me away while she watched The Bold and the Beautiful; I still managed to sneak some glimpses though, intrigued. However I was allowed to watch the stories of the likes of Cinderella, Ariel and Jasmine over and over again, until I had the plots memorized (to date!). That was my TV- time. In my playing time, I’d make my Barbies go on dates with Ken. Astaghfirullah! Needless to say, my pre- to mid-teen years were filled with music, movies and books with romantic love as the predominant theme.
When Allah guided me, alhamdulillah, I put a stop to all this. But little did I know that, even after several years of mostly abstinence, the ideas and images that had been exposed to me all those years would come back to haunt me. I found this out when I got married.
I have been married for almost a year-and-a-half, so I guess I can only advise the newly-weds or to-be-weds.
Marriage, I’ve learnt, is in the beginning full of shockers and heart-breakers – if, like me, your expectations are based on the definition of love portrayed by popular culture. In retrospect, these heart-breakers were like speed-breakers – every so often, it was vital for me to slow down, stop, and reflect for a moment what this love thing was really about, forcibly putting all preconceived notions aside.
Though he was certainly a prince, my husband sometimes disappointed me by not promising me the stars or breaking out into Shakespearean verse. Instead he won my heart in a million ways, by little, everyday actions that demonstrated great consideration, care and love.
 
And that is the Sunnah of the Prophet sall Allahu ’alayhi wa sallam, isn’t it? We don’t find him picking out desert roses for his wives or buying them boxes of dates; instead, we find him wiping the tears of Safiyyah radiyAllahu ’anhaa, racing with ’Aa’ishah radiyAllahu ’anhaa, and refraining from having honey lest his wives dislike the smell that would emanate from his mouth.
That is love.
But if you are anything like me, you need to be shown a dozen warning signs or so before treading the marital path.
WARNING!!!

SOME CONCEPTS OF LOVE ARE HAZARDOUS TO HEART
If you are getting married soon or are newly-married, please do yourself (and your husband) a favour by throwing the following expectations out of your head immediately! I know they sound lovely and incredibly romantic, and they may even happen at times, but no, not all the time:
Expecting him to say, or act in accordance to, words such as “I’d die for you” or “I’d do anything for you” 
Really, it doesn’t happen like that. There will be times when he may portray that and you’ll feel nothing short of fairy-tale bliss. But there will also be times when he’s lazy or not in the mood of doing something. Don’t break your heart over it, bitterly accusing, “I thought you loved me”. Of course he loves you, but he’s not your slave.
 
Expecting him to be “into” you 24/7
You’re his wife, not his crush. He has already attained you, so he will not always follow you around like a puppy-dog, trying to woo you. Yes, we all want to be pursued because it makes us feel wanted and special. But if he doesn’t do it like in the movies, it’s because you’re married and halaal for each other, and there’s no force of Shaytaan between you trying to make you irresistibly gravitate towards each other. Nay, once you’re married, Shaytaan’s top focus is to try to bring discord between the hearts of husband and wife, so beware of that; may Allah protect us all.
Expecting that your clothing/beauty alone will dazzle him
We’ve all seen those scenes in movies where a beautiful woman appears and she is highlighted from bottom to top in slow-motion, apparently through the eyes of the man whose expression denotes total jaw-dropping awe, while appropriate music plays in the background. Beautify yourselves, yes, but don’t concentrate your efforts on that alone, nor expect a mesmerized man every time! I don’t mean to sound cliché, but there really does come a time where your demeanor and inner beauty are attractive in a way that no amount of makeup or dressing up can induce.
Expecting him to want to be with you 24/7
This was one of those things upon which my husband and I argued over, over and over again: Time. Having the messed-up romantic ideas that I had, I had believed that since he had decided to spend the rest of his life with me, he would want to spend every waking minute with me, not wanting to leave my side for even a moment, because being together was too good to be true. Sounds like something out of a song, doesn’t it? Needless to say, I would be sorely disappointed every time he would come home from work and switch on the laptop instead of hastening to make up for lost time together.
TIME
Don’t take it personally…
If your husband does not immediately start spending time with you when he gets back from work, DO NOT take it personally; I did, and found myself crying almost every night, wondering why he was not as keen and eager as I to spend some quality time. It’s not rocket-science, but it took me a long time to figure this out: It has nothing to do with love. A man indeed needs his downtime, or fire-gazing time, when he comes home from a long day at work. It’s called “fire-gazing” because that’s what our earliest ancestors amongst the male species used to do at the end of their day. Today, men do this in the form of watching TV, reading, or going on the internet. This is a time where they unwind and are not in the frame of mind to talk. Give your man at least 30 minutes, and try to occupy yourself with something else during that time. He will eventually come to you, re-energized and revitalized.
Demand can never match supply…
Do not demand your husband’s time, nor make blaming remarks such as “You never want to spend time with me.” This will only put pressure on him and he will see it as a chore rather than a pleasure. Saying “I miss you” is safer, as it is an invitation as well as a compliment, which can never go wrong.
Me-time
In her book, The Surrendered Wife, Laura Doyle says that it is imperative we take time out to practice self-care on a daily basis so that we are less likely to take our frustrations and (negative) energies out on our husbands. She instructs that we make two lists – one for the things we have fun doing, and the other for the things that make us feel good after doing them. Subsequently, we should take time out to do three things from each list every day – this could be something as simple as having a lunch-date with our friends (fun) to reciting the Qur’an (feeling good afterwards). The end result: a happier, more vibrant you, who is more relaxed and more pleasant to be around.
BEHAVIORS THAT FOSTER LOVE AND INTIMACY
Respect, Respect, Respect
Respect is as important to men as love is to women. If your man doesn’t feel respected in the relationship, you will never see his best side, and he will not love you in the way that you crave. Here are some things you can make a mental note of to avoid disrespecting him:
DO NOT criticize him, even if he deserves it
Whether he’s put the dishes in the wrong place or he’s come home late from work again, do not say anything to demean him in any way. If urgently required, then communicate in an effective manner; instead of starting your sentences with “you didn’t…” which sounds like blaming, start with “I feel” or “I want”.
Do not offer “better” solutions
If he has a solution to a problem, let him handle it rather than you offering your expert advice. If there is a broken tap and your husband is trying to fix it, don’t call the plumber while there is already a capable man in the house.
Don’t doubt his decisions
When you show skepticism regarding his decisions, you indicate that you believe he is incapable of making smart choices. So even if he is about to do something you think is a totally bad idea, bite your lip and trust him to follow through with success. If you can, encourage him. That will be the icing on the cake. When he knows you have trust in his abilities, he will feel more confident, masculine, and be more efficient in his tasks than ever.
PRAISE AND ENCOURAGEMENT

Treat him like he’s your hero
The boy inside every man wants to be a superhero. Men have a natural instinct to take care of and protect their women. Tap into this instinct by seeking his help in things which you, as a damsel in distress (sorry for being dramatic), cannot (or don’t want to) do yourself. After he has “rescued” you from your distress, make sure to actively show him your admiration and approval. This will make him feel good about himself and happily help you more in the future without you even asking.
Praise him with sincerity
Keenly observe your husband and praise him with anything that makes you proud of or impressed by him, big or small. This will encourage him to reinforce his good qualities. You can praise him on his effort to keep good ties with his extended family, his honesty in the workplace, or even his way of managing to find a shortcut to a new far-away place.
The magic word really is a magic word
If there’s any word that has kept my marriage soaring with the grace of Allah, it’s “thank you”. Don’t ever underestimate the power of this word. It is the simplest yet most effective word in a relationship. I purposely overdo it by throwing in a hug and a grin and a compliment alongside, because I know of the beautiful “repercussion”s. Be creative with gratitude and express it in as many forms as you can, as frequently as possible. Whether your husband has washed the dishes, got you a take-away meal on his way back from work, or filled up the water-bottles, go all out in expressing how much you appreciate it.
Believe it or not, one of a man’s primary concerns is making his wife happy. If you effectively communicate to him that you respect him, admire him, and that your happiness is a fruit of his (successful) efforts, then there is no greater booster for love and intimacy than that. This is a special gift given by Allah, as He has taught us in this beautiful dua:
“Our Lord! Grant us from our wives and our offspring the comfort of our eyes, and make us an example for the righteous.”[Al-Furqan 25: 74]

Love is in the air..

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So, its “Valentines day” across the world today.. here’s an appropriate article for the “occasion” by our dearest Sister Yasmin Mogahed! 🙂

Source:www.suhaibwebb.com

Love is in the air!

…Or at least that’s what advertisers want you to think this month. While it’s nice to express your love often, Valentine’s Day comes once a year, leaving you no choice but to do so or risk seeming heartless. For the owners of floral boutiques and chocolate shops, Eid comes in February.

But even amidst such commercialized affections, one can hardly keep from thinking about those they love. And while we do so, we are inevitably faced with some  pivotal questions.

I was reminded of some of those questions when I reflected on something a friend of mine had told me. She described how it felt to be with the person she loved. In her words, the whole world disappeared when they were together. The more I reflected on her statement, the more it affected me, and the more it made me wonder. Continue reading

THIS is love.

No words… Sister Yasmin Mogahed at her BEST, mashaAllah!

This is love.

And so there are some who spend their whole lives seeking. Sometimes giving, sometimes taking. Sometimes chasing. But often, just waiting. They believe that love is a place that you get to: a destination at the end of a long road. And they can’t wait for that road to end at their destination. They are those hearts moved by the movement of hearts. Those hopeless romantics, the sucker for a love story, or any sincere expression of true devotion. For them, the search is almost a lifelong obsession of sorts. But, this tragic ‘quest’ can have its costs—and its’ gifts.

The path of expectations and the ‘falling in love with love’ is a painful one, but it can bring its own lessons. Lessons about the nature of love, this world, people, and one’s own heart, can pave this often painful path. Most of all, this path can bring its own lessons about the Creator of love.

Those who take this route will often reach the knowledge that the human love they seek wasnot the destination. Some form of that human love, can be a gift. It can be a means. But the moment you make it the End, you will fall. And you will live your whole life with the wrong focus. You will become willing to sacrifice the Goal for the sake of the means. You will give your life to reaching a ‘destination’ of worldly perfection that does not exist.

And the one who runs after a mirage, never gets there; but keeps running. And so too will you keep running, and be willing to lose sleep, cry, bleed, and sacrifice precious parts of yourself—at times, even your own dignity. But you’ll never reach what you’re looking for in this life, because what you seek isn’t a worldly destination. The type of perfection you seek cannot be found in the material world. It can only be found in God.

That image of human love that you seek is an illusion in the desert of life. So if that is what you seek, you’ll keep chasing. But no matter how close you get to a mirage, you never touch it. You don’t own an image. You can’t hold a creation of your own mind.

Yet, you will give your whole life, still, to reaching this ‘place’. You do this because in the fairy tale, that’s where the story ends. It ends at the finding, the joining, the wedding. It is found at the oneness of two souls. And everyone around you will make you think that your path ends there: at the place where you meet your soul mate, your other half—at the point in the path where you get married. Then and only then, they tell you, will you ever finally be complete. This, of course, is a lie because completion cannot be found in anything other than God.

But the lesson you’ve been taught since the time you were little—from every story, every song, every movie, every ad, every well-meaning auntie—is that you aren’t complete otherwise. And if—God forbid—you are one of the ‘outcasts’ who haven’t gotten married, or have been divorced, you are considered deficient or incomplete in some way.

The lesson you’re taught is that the story ends at the wedding, and then that’s when Jennah (paradise) begins. That’s when you’ll be saved and completed and everything that was once broken will be fixed. The only problem is, that’s not where the story ends. That’s where it begins. That’s where the building starts: the building of a life, the building of your character, the building of sabr, patience, perseverance, and sacrifice. The building of selflessness. The building of love.

And the building of your path back to Him.

But if the person you marry becomes your ultimate focus in life, your struggle has just begun. Now your spouse will become your greatest test. Until you remove that person from the place in your heart that only God should be, it will keep hurting. Ironically, your spouse will become the tool for this painful extraction process, until you learn that there are places in the human heart made only by—and for—God.

Among the other lessons you may learn along this path—after a long road of loss, gain, failure, success, and so many mistakes—is that there are at least 2 types of love. There will be some people you love because of what you get from them: what they give you, the way they make you feel. This is perhaps the majority of love—which is also what makes much of love so unstable. A person’s capacity to give is inconstant and changing. Your response to what you are given is also inconstant and changing. So if you’re chasing a feeling, you’ll always be chasing.  No feeling is ever constant. If love is dependent on this, it too becomes inconstant and changing. And just like everything in this world, the more you chase it, the more it will run away from you.

But, once in a while, people enter your life that you love—not for what they give you—but for what they are. The beauty you see in them is a reflection of the Creator, so you love them. Now suddenly it isn’t about what you’re getting, but rather what you can give. This is unselfish love. This second type of love is the most rare. And if it is based in, and not competing with, the love of God, it will also bring about the most joy. To love in any other way is to need, to be dependent, to have expectations—all the ingredients for misery and disappointment.

So for all those, who have spent their life seeking, know that purity of any thing is found at the Source. If it is love that you seek, seek it through God. Every other stream, not based in His love, poisons the one who drinks from it. And the drinker will continue to drink, until the poison all but kills him. He will continue to die more and more inside, until he stops and finds the pure Source of water.

Once you begin to see everything beautiful as only a reflection of God’s beauty, you will learn to love in the right way: for His sake. Everything and everyone you love with be for, through and because of Him. The foundation of such love is God. So what you hold onto will no longer be just an unstable feeling, a fleeting emotion. And what you chase will no longer be just a temporary high. What you hold, what you chase, what you love, will be God: the *only* thing stable and constant. Thereafter, everything else will be through Him. Everything you give or take or love or don’t love, will be by Him. Not by your nafs. It will be for Him. Not for your nafs.

This means you will love what He loves and not love what He does not love. And when you do love, you will give to the creation—not for what you can get in return from them. You will love and you will give, but you will be sufficed from Him. And the one who is sufficed by God, is the richest and most generous of all lovers. Your love will be by Him, for Him, and because of Him. That is the liberation of the self from servitude to any created thing. And that is freedom. That is happiness.

That is love.

Source: www.yasminmogahed.com

False Attachments…

A lovely article on ‘False attachments’ written by sister Nasmira Firdous.

When certain incidents or people hurt us, we end feeling let down, some even to an extent of feeling cheated and offended, but honestly when you really start looking at what hurt you so badly, you end up realizing your the one at fault in the first place. Placing hopes and hoping that someone would do the same for us is human nature. However, with time everything falls back into its original place.

Even if it was that one person or that one dream job or that one material you always wanted, you might get it for a few days or years but it will never truly be there with you forever.

The logic is simple, we came alone in this world and this journey has to be taken alone, for some the journey might start even while they are living, and for others it would begin after they die.

To look back and see every single minute little thing that happened in my life, and all that I spent my time worrying and being bothered about,  on the hindsight,  they look so minuscule now. I’m amazed at how much time I wasted worrying about them in the first place. Nothing lasts forever, does it?

To allow worldly things to occupy a place in your heart is similar to allowing garbage to grow in your backyard. The stench cannot be smelt immediately but when the garbage builds up to the extent of you not wanting to even breathe anymore, that’s when you realize how late you were in cleaning it. The heart on the hand takes a longer to time to cleanse, quite simply because its not physical, its metaphysical.  Therefore, that much more effort is needed to cleanse it from bad thoughts, ill feelings, jealousy and hatred we might have harbored towards others for an extremely minute reason.. we end up overlooking all that we did and focus on that one aspect, similar to bull’s eye, yeah?!!

Life teaches many lessons, false attachments are just one of them. and they are just what the name claims: FALSE!! In fact, not many would agree but for me, everything in this world looks “FALSE” and when you start believing its TRUE that’s the point when life smacks you hard, getting you back to reality!

Stop! And think! Do we feel the same towards someone who created us, the same towards someone who continues to provide again and again and again, is willing to shower and engulf us into His mercy, His love, do we even feel a wee bit towards Him like we feel towards His creations..

And after all this, sometimes I even had the audacity to question Him and ask why He hurt me by snatching that person or that thing away. Honestly, it wasn’t even mine to begin with. It was a test, and letting it go easily for His sake would have meant I’ve passed the test. Holding on to it even after its been snatched away, damning myself and everyone around me would have meant mega failure.

Feel disappointed at someone or something, quietly go back and see how it all started, was it the same with the person when you hardly knew the person.. everything was cordial, right?? Was anything expected, y this sudden change, the more close you get, the more you begin to expect!! what logic is this??

In my two decade of life on this planet, if there is one lesson I’ve learnt its been to let things go!

If only I could etch the following words of Umar ibn Al Khatab RA in gold!!

“No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of worrying can change the future. Go easy on yourself for the outcome of all affairs is determined by Allah’s Decree. If something is meant to go elsewhere, it will never come on your way, but if it is yours by destiny, from you it cannot flee.”

For umpteen reasons, he seems to be my all time favorite!

[Photo credit:lilesnet.com]

Source: Different Strokes