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Thursday, January 13, 2011

An Islamic Perspective on the Bee

Thursday, January 13, 2011 - by King slaveofAllah · - 0 Comments

An Islamic Perspective on the Bee

{Qur'an 16:68} "And your Lord inspired the Bee, build your dwellings in hills, on trees, and in (human's) habitations."

The imperative "build" above is the translation of the Arabic word "attakhithi", which is feminine form (Arabic unlike English, differentiates between the sexes). The feminine form is used when all of those it refers to are female, whereas the masculine is used when a group consists of at least 1 male.

Therefore the Quran is in fact saying "build, you female bees.." A swarm of bees (which collect honey and build the hive), are female only. Thus, the phrasing of this command is in agreement with the Fact that male bees do not partake in the construction of the hive.

"And your Lord inspired the Bee, saying: 'Take your habitations in the mountains and the trees and in what they erect. Then eat of all fruits, and follow the ways of your Lord, made easy (for you).' There comes forth from their bellies a drink of varying colour wherein is a healing for men. Verily, in this is indeed a sign for people who think." [Al-Quran 16:68-69]

Let us for a while be one of those who reflect and think about the wonders of Allah (swt) and what He in His supreme wisdom, created. We may compare our factories to the factories of Allah (swt). The lovely honey bees may be small, yet quick and efficient. When they fly it seems as if they are programmed, following the tracks ordained for them.

For a pound of honey around 2 million flowers are visited by the bee. So next time we gulp down that liquid maybe we can be grateful for all that went into producing it and realize the numerous favors of Allah (swt) on us. They travel about 50,000 miles. At the first step the liquid is like water, which is then fluttered upon by their wings till a sweet liquid is left. They then suck it and by using their special glands convert it into honey. Once ready the honey is packed into its special compartments in the hive and sealed with wax thus becoming secure.

Such a small insect makes such a pure thing, so what have we done or are proud of? There are many characteristics of a bee that man can learn from and the wise already have them embedded in them. The following is a comparison between the two and we pray that Allah (swt) also helps us to learn from them and be like them - Ameen

The Bee A Mumin (believer)
How does the bee manage to fulfill all her tasks? She knows the purpose of its being. She has a goal in front of her and she goes out and does it. If a Mumin was to realize his purpose in life; conveyance of the message then he can move forward and attain his goal.
The submission of the bee helps her to complete her task. The submission of the Mumin helps him to stay steadfast and persist in his cause and reach his goal.
The honey bee never rests until she has finished a full days work and is satisfied. A Mumin who has realized his purpose will never rest until he reaches his goal. (Here-After)
The bee travels far distances to get what is essential for the making of honey. A Mumin is prepared to go through any-thing for the sake of his Lord.
If the honey bee wasn't to realize its skill then she would be no different to a house fly. If a Mumin doesn't realize his duty (responsibilty) then he is no different to a disbeliever.

Experiences of a Recently Converted Hindu Woman

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Experiences of a Recently Converted Hindu Woman
My Experiences and How I Find that Islam does not Oppress Women"

by Sister Noor, University of Essex

I came from a purely Hindu family where we were always taught to regard ourselves (i.e. women) as beings who were eventually to be married off and have children and serve the husband-- whether he was kind or not. Other than this I found that there were a lot of things which really oppressed women, such as:
  • If a woman was widowed, she would always have to wear a white sari (costume), eat vegetarian meals, cut her hair short, and never re-marry.
  • The bride always had to pay the dowry (bridal money) to the husband's family.
  • And the husband could ask for anything, irrespective of whether the bride would have difficulty giving it
Not only that, if after marriage she was not able to pay the full dowry she would be both emotionally and physically tortured, and could end up being a victim of "kitchen death" where the husband, or both the mother-in-law and the husband try to set fire to the wife while she is cooking or is in the kitchen, and try to make it look like an accidental death. More and more of these instances are taking place. The daughter of a friend of my own father's had the same fate last year! 

In addition to all this, men in Hinduism are treated literally as among the gods. In one of the religious Hindu celebration, unmarried girls pray for and worship an idol representing a particular god (Shira) so that they may have husbands like him. Even my own mother had asked me to do this. This made me see that the Hindu religion which is based on superstitions and things that have no manifest proof (1), but were merely traditions which oppressed women could not be right.

Subsequently, when I came to England to study, I thought that at least this is a country which gives equal rights to men and women, and does not oppress them. We all have the freedom to do as we like, I thought. Well, as I started to meet people and make new friends, learn about this new society, and go to all the places my friends went to in order to "socialise" (bars, dance halls, ...etc.), I realised that this "equality" was not so true in practice as it was in theory.

Outwardly, women were seen to be given equal rights in education, work, and so forth, but in reality women were still oppressed in a different, more subtle way. When I went with my friends to those places they hung out at, I found everybody interested to talk to me and I thought that was normal. But it was only later that I realised how naive I was, and recognised what these people were really looking for. I soon began to feel uncomfortable, as if I was not myself: I had to dress in a certain way so that people would like me, and had to talk in a certain way to please them. I soon found that I was feeling more and more uncomfortable, less and less myself, yet I could not get out. Everybody was saying they were enjoying themselves, but I don't call this enjoying.

I think women in this way of life are oppressed; they have to dress in a certain way in order to please and appear more appealing, and also talk in a certain way so people like them. During this time I had not thought about Islam, even though I had some Muslim acquaintances. But I felt I really had to do something, to find something that I would be happy and secure with, and would feel respected with. Something to believe in that is the right belief, because everybody has a belief that they live according to. If having fun by getting off with other people is someone's belief, they do this. If making money is someone's belief, they do everything to achieve this. If they believe drinking is one way to enjoy life then they do it. But I feel all this leads to nowhere; no one is truly satisfied, and the respect women are looking for is diminishing in this way.

In these days of so called "society of equal rights", you are expected to have a boyfriend (or you're weird!) and to not be a virgin. So this is a form of oppression even though some women do not realise it.(2) When I came to Islam, it was obvious that I had finally found permanent security. A religion, a belief that was so complete and clear in every aspect of life. Many people have a misconception that Islam is an oppressive religion, where women are covered from head to toe, and are not allowed any freedom or rights. In fact, women in Islam are given more rights, and have been for the past 1400 years, compared to the only-recently rights given to non-Muslim women in some western and some other societies. But there are, even now, societies where women are still oppressed, as I mentioned earlier in relation to Hindu women.

Muslim women have the right to inheritance. They have the right to run their own trade and business. They have the full right to ownership, property, disposal over their wealth to which the husband has no right. They have the right to education, a right to refuse marriage as long as this refusal is according to reasonable and justifiable grounds. The Quran itself, which is the word of Allah, contains many verses commanding men to be kind to their wives and stressing the rights of women. Islam gives the right set of rules, because they are NOT made by men, but made by Allah; hence it is a perfect religion.

Quite often Muslim women are asked why they are covered from head to toe, and are told that this is oppression--it is not. In Islam, marriage is an important part of life, the making of the society. Therefore, a woman should not go around showing herself to everybody, only for her husband. Even the man is not allowed to show certain parts of his body to none but his wife. In addition, Allah has commanded Muslim women to cover themselves for their modesty:

"O prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) over their bodies (when outdoors). That is most convenient that they could be known as such (i.e. decent and chaste) and not molested." (Quran 33:59)

If we look around at any other society, we find that in the majority of cases women are attacked and molested because of how they are dressed. Another point I'd like to comment on is that the rules and regulation laid down in Islam by Allah (God) do not apply just to women but to men also. There is no intermingling and free-running between men and women for the benefit of both. Whatever Allah commands is right, wholesome, pure and beneficial to mankind; there is no doubt about that. A verse in the Quran explains this concept clearly:

"Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and protect their private parts (i.e. from indecency, illegal sexual acts); that will make for greater purity for them. And Allah is well aware of what they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and protect their privaate parts (from indecency, illegal sexual intercourse); and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments...." (Quran, surah "Al-Nur" 24:31)

When I put on my hijaab (veil), I was really happy to do it. In fact, I really want to do it. When I put on the hijaab, I felt a great sense of satisfaction and happiness. Satisfied that I had obeyed Allah’s command. And happy with the good and blessings that come with it. I have felt secure and protected. In fact people respect me more for it. I could really see the difference in behaviour towards me.

Finally, I'd like to say that I had accepted Islam not blindly, or under any compulsion. In the Quran itself there is a verse which says "there is no compulsion in religion" (3). I accepted Islam with conviction. I have seen, been there, done that, and seen both sides of the story. I know and have experienced what the other side is like, and I know that I have done the right thing. Islam does not oppress women, but rather Islam liberates them and gives them the respect they deserve. Islam is the religion Allah has chosen for the whole of mankind. Those who accept it are truly liberated from the chains and shackles of mankind whose ruling and legislating necessitates nothing but the oppression of one group by another and the exploitation and oppression of one sex by the other. This is not the case of Islam which truly liberated women and gave them an individuality not given by any other authority.

Sister Noor has been a muslim for over a year and a half and is currently in her second year of undergraduate study in the Department of Biology

(1) In Islaam, strong emphasis is placed on proof and evidence. Superstition, conjecture and following the ways of ones ancestors is heavily censured. Allaah says:

{Say : Bring your proof if indeed you are truthful} {Baqarah 2:111} {Inform me with knowledge if indeed you are truthful} [An’aam 6:143] {And they do not possess any knowledge regarding it. They do nothing but follow conjecture and conjecture avails nothing against the Truth} [Najm 53:28] 

{And when it is said to them: ‘Follow that which Allaah has sent down’, they say: ‘Nay! We shall follow that which we found our fathers following} [Baqarah 2:170]

If the scientists among the non-muslims were to follow this advice and research objectively many of the rulings regarding women in Islam they would find that they are in perfect harmony with the biological/psychological knowledge they have arrived at regarding the nature of women. It is the reaction of the feminist movement to western hypocrisy that has led to the debasement of ‘perceived’ female roles in Islam. That is why most of what is portrayed regarding women in Islaam is pure conjecture and distortion, not fact and truth.

(2) This is where muslims consider the fallacy of the freedom and non-oppression of women lies. Under the name of ‘freedom’ women are told that they have complete automonomy to do as they wish. However, ‘do as they wish’ means that they are encouraged to conform to the trends and fashions that are set for them and imposed upon them by means of the media machine and by means of the multi-billion dollar film industry which makes, fashions, and nurtures the ideas of people and their principles, morals and conduct. As a result they are made the objects of the fantasies of menwho harass them, oppress them and reduce them to nothing but a source of temporary joy and pleasure. Men themselves have been made to let loose the reins of their desires due to the high exposure to naked women they receive, day in day out. This results in provocation, frustration and eventually - a deserving punishment - desensitization. Impotence is a widespread ‘disease’ in the West! This is the position of women in the west. The mere mention of the words sexual harrasment, date-rape - which includes men deliberately getting women tipsy or drunk so that they can have their way with them - and slogans such as NO MEANS NO are sufficient as proof for this reality of the oppression of women in the west. These problems are unknown to the muslim world and are not issues in Islaam. 

(3) {There is no complulsion in religion. The truth has been made clear from error} [Baqarah 2:256]

My Shadah :: A Revert Sister

- by King slaveofAllah · - 0 Comments

Islamic Advice On Dealing With Anger

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Advice On Dealing With Anger

Anger is one of the evil whispers of Shaytan, which leads to so many evils and tragedies, of which only Allah knows their full extent. For this reason Islam has a great deal to say about this bad characteristic, and the Prophet (saws) described cures for this “disease” and ways to limit its effects, among which are the following:

(1) Seeking refuge with Allah from the Shaytan:

Sulayman ibn Sard said: “I was sitting with the Prophet (saws), and two men were slandering one another. One of them was red in the face, and the veins on his neck were standing out. The Prophet (saws) said, ‘I know a word which, if he were to say it, what he feels would go away. If he said “I seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytan,” what he feels (i.e., his anger) would go away.’” (Reported by al-Bukhari, al-Fath, 6/337)

The Prophet (saws) said: “If a man gets angry and says, ‘I seek refuge with Allah,’ his anger will go away.” (Saheeh al-Jaami‘ al-Sagheer, no. 695)

(2) Keeping silent:

The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “If any of you becomes angry, let him keep silent.” (Reported by Imam Ahmad, al-Musnad, 1/329; see also Sahih al-Jaami‘, 693, 4027)

This is because in most cases, the angry person loses self control and could utter words of kufr (from which we seek refuge with Allah), or curses, or the word of divorce (talaaq) which would destroy his home, or words of slander which would bring him the enmity and hatred of others. So, in short, keeping silent is the solution which helps one to avoid all that.

(3) Not moving:

The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “If any of you becomes angry and he is standing, let him sit down, so his anger will go away; if it does not go away, let him lie down.”

The narrator of this hadeeth is Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him), and there is a story connected to his telling of it: he was taking his camels to drink at a trough that he owned, when some other people came along and said (to one another), “Who can compete with Abu Dharr (in bringing animals to drink) and make his hair stand on end?” A man said, “I can,” so he brought his animals and competed with Abu Dharr, with the result that the trough was broken. (i.e., Abu Dharr was expecting help in watering his camels, but instead the man misbehaved and caused the trough to be broken). Abu Dharr was standing, so he sat down, then he laid down. Someone asked him, “O Abu Dharr, why did you sit down then lie down?” He said: “The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: . . .” and quoted the hadeeth. (The hadeeth and this story may be found in Musnad Ahmad, 5/152; see also Sahih al-Jaami‘, no. 694).

According to another report, Abu Dharr was watering his animals at the trough, when another man made him angry, so he sat down . . . (Fayd al-Qadeer, al-Manaawi, 1/408)

Among the benefits of this advice given by the Prophet (saws) is the fact that it prevents the angry person from going out of control, because he could strike out and injure someone, or even kill - as we will find out shortly - or he could destroy possessions and so on. Sitting down makes it less likely that he will become overexcited, and lying down makes it even less likely that he will do something crazy or harmful. Al-‘Allaamah al-Khattaabi, may Allah have mercy on him, said in his commentary on Aboo Daawood: “One who is standing is in a position to strike and destroy, while the one who is sitting is less likely to do that, and the one who is lying down can do neither. It is possible that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told the angry person to sit down or lie down so that he would not do something that he would later regret. And Allah knows best.”(Sunan Abee Daawood, with Ma‘aalim al-Sunan, 5/141)

(4) Following the advice of the Prophet (saws):

Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that a man said to the Prophet (saws), “Advise me.” He said, “Do not become angry.” The man repeated his request several times, and each time the Prophet (saws) told him, “Do not become angry.”(Reported by al-Bukhari, Fath al-Baaree, 10/456)

According to another report, the man said: “I thought about what the Prophet (saws) said, and I realized that anger combines all kinds of evil.”(Musnad Ahmad, 5/373)

(5) Do not become angry and Paradise will be yours (a saheeh hadeeth, see Saheeh al-Jaam‘, 7374. Ibn Hajr attributed it to al-Tabaraanee, see al-Fath 4/465):

Remembering what Allah has promised to the righteous (muttaqeen) who keep away from the causes of anger and struggle within themselves to control it, is one of the most effective ways of extinguishing the flames of anger. One of the ahaadeeth that describe the great reward for doing this is: “Whoever controls his anger at the time when he has the means to act upon it, Allah will fill his heart with contentment on the Day of Resurrection.”(Reported by al-Tabaraanee, 12/453, see also Sahih al-Jaami‘, 6518)

Another great reward is described in the Prophet’s (saws) words: “Whoever controls his anger at the time when he has the means to act upon it, Allah will call him before all of mankind on the Day of Resurrection, and will let him choose of the Hoor al-‘Ayn whoever he wants.”(Reported by Aboo Daawood, 4777, and others. It is classified as hasan in Sahih al-Jaami‘, 6518).

(6) Knowing the high status and advantages offered to those who control themselves:

The Messenger of Allah (saws) said: “The strong man is not the one who can overpower others (in wrestling); rather, the strong man is the one who controls himself when he gets angry.” (Reported by Ahmad, 2/236; the hadeeth is agreed upon) . The greater the anger, the higher the status of the one who controls himself. The Prophet (saws) said: “The strongest man is the one who, when he gets angry and his face reddens and his hackles rise, is able to defeat his anger.” (Reported by Imam Ahmad, 5/367, and classified as hasan in Saheeh al-Jaami‘, 3859)

Anas reported that the Prophet (saws) passed by some people who were wrestling. He asked, “What is this?” They said: “So-and-so is the strongest, he can beat anybody.” The Prophet (saws) said, “Shall I not tell you who is even stronger then him? The man who, when he is mistreated by another, controls his anger, has defeated his own Shaytan and the Shaytan of the one who made him angry.”(Reported by al-Bazzaar, and Ibn Hajr said its isnaad is saheeh. Al-Fath, 10/519)

(7) Following the Prophet’s (saws) example in the case of anger:

The Prophet (saws) is our leader and has set the highest example in this matter, as is recorded in a number of ahaadeeth. One of the most famous was reported by Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: “I was walking with the Messenger of Allah (saws), and he was wearing a Najraanee cloak with a rough collar. A Bedouin came and seized him roughly by the edge of his cloak, and I saw the marks left on his neck by the collar. Then the Bedouin ordered him to give him some of the wealth of Allaah that he had. The Prophet (saws) turned to him and smiled, then ordered that he should be given something.”(Agreed upon. Fath al-Baaree, 10/375)

Another way in which we can follow the example of the Prophet (saws) is by making our anger for the sake of Allah, when His rights are violated. This is the kind of anger which is praiseworthy. So the Prophet (saws) became angry when he was told about the imam who was putting people off the prayer by making it too long; when he saw a curtain with pictures of animate creatures in ‘Aa’ishah’s house; when Usaamah spoke to him about the Makhzoomee woman who had been convicted of theft, and he said “Do you seek to intervene concerning one of the punishments prescribed by Allah?”; when he was asked questions that he disliked, and so on. His anger was purely for the sake of Allah.

(8) Knowing that resisting anger is one of the signs of righteousness (taqwaa):

The righteous (al-muttaqoon) are those praised by Allah in the Qur'an and by His Messenger (saws). Paradise as wide as heaven and earth has been prepared for them. One of their characteristics is that they (interpretation of the meaning) “spend (in Allah's Cause) in prosperity and in adversity, [they] repress anger, and [they] pardon men; verily, Allah loves al-muhsinoon (the good-doers).” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:134]

These are the ones whose good character and beautiful attributes and deeds Allaah has mentioned, and whom people admire and want to emulate. One of their characteristics is that (interpretation of the meaning) “. . . when they are angry, they forgive.” [al-Shooraa 42:47]

(9) Listening to reminders:

Anger is a part of human nature, and people vary in their anger. It may be difficult for a man not to get angry, but sincere people will remember Allah when they are reminded, and they will not overstep the mark. Some examples follow:

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that a man sought permission to speak to 'Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him), then he said: “O son of al-Khattaab, you are not giving us much and you are not judging fairly between us.” ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was so angry that he was about to attack the man, but al-Hurr ibn Qays, who was one of those present, said: “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, Allah said to His Prophet (saws) (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish’ [al-A‘raaf 7:199]. This man is one of the foolish.” By Allah, ‘Umar could go no further after al-Hurr had recited this aayah to him, and he was a man who was careful to adhere to the Book of Allah.(Reported by al-Bukhari, al-Fath, 4/304).

This is how the Muslim should be. The evil munaafiq (hypocrite) was not like this when he was told the hadeeth of the Prophet (saws) and one of the Companions said to him, “Seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytan.” He said to the one who reminded him, “Do you think I am crazy? Go away!”(Reported by al-Bukhari, al-Fath, 1/465). We seek refuge with Allah from failure.

(10) Knowing the bad effects of anger:

The negative effects of anger are many; in short they cause damage to one’s own self and to others. The angry person may utter words of slander and obscenity, he may attack others (physically) in an uncontrolled manner, even to the point of killing. The following story contains a valuable lesson:

‘Ilqimah ibn Waa’il reported that his father (may Allah be pleased with him) told him: “I was sitting with the Prophet (saws) when a man came to him leading another man by a rope. He said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, this man killed my brother.’ The Messenger of Allah (saws) asked him, ‘Did you kill him?’ He said, ‘Yes, I killed him.’ He asked, ‘How did you kill him?’ He said, ‘He and I were hitting a tree to make the leaves fall, for animal feed, and he slandered me, so I struck him on the side of the head with an axe, and killed him.’ . . .” (Reported by Muslim, 1307, edited by al-Baaqi).

Anger could lead to less than killing, such as wounding and breaking bones. If the one who caused the anger runs away, the angry person turns his anger in on himself, so he may tear his clothes, or strike his cheeks, or have a fit, or fall unconscious, or he may break dishes and plates, or break furniture.

In the worst cases, anger results in social disasters and the breaking of family ties, i.e., divorce. Ask many of those who divorced their wives, and they will tell you: it was in a moment of anger. This divorce results in misery for the children, regret and frustration, a hard and difficult life, all as a result of anger. If they had remembered Allah, come to their senses, restrained their anger and sought refuge with Allah, none of this would have happened. Going against the Shariah only results in loss.

The damage to health that results from anger can only be described by doctors, such as thrombosis, high blood pressure, tachycardia (abnormally rapid heartbeat) and hyperventilation (rapid, shallow breathing), which can lead to fatal heart attacks, diabetes, etc. We ask Allah for good health.

(11) The angry person should think about himself during moments of anger:

If the angry person could see himself in the mirror when he is angry, he would hate himself and the way he looks. If he could see the way he changes, and the way his body and limbs shake, how his eyes glare and how out of control and crazy his behaviour is, he would despise himself and be revolted by his own appearance. It is well-known that inner ugliness is even worse than outer ugliness; how happy the Shaytan must be when a person is in this state! We seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytan and from failure.

(12) Du‘aa’:

Du'a’ is always the weapon of the believer, whereby he asks Allah to protect him from evil, trouble and bad behaviour and seeks refuge with Him from falling into the pit of kufr or wrongdoing because of anger. One of the three things that can help save him is: being fair at times of contentment and of anger (Saheeh al-Jaami‘, 3039). One of the du‘aa’s of the Prophet (saws) was:

“O Allah, by Your knowledge of the Unseen and Your power over Your creation, keep me alive for as long as You know life is good for me, and cause me to die when You know death is good for me. O Allah, I ask You to make me fear You in secret and in public, and I ask You to make me speak the truth in times of contentment and of anger. I ask You not to let me be extravagant in poverty or in prosperity. I ask You for continuous blessings, and for contentment that does not end. I ask You to let me accept Your decree, and for a good life after death. I ask You for the joy of seeing Your face and for the longing to meet You, without going through diseases and misguiding fitnah (trials). O Allah, adorn us with the adornment of faith and make us among those who are guided. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.”

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