Tag Archives: islam

“I’m just going to call you ‘Lord’ because I don’t know what else to call you” How I came To Islam

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"the day you meet God, He is going to ask you about your sins and not about their sins. You will not be responsible for their actions and they will not be responsible or yours.”

“The day you meet God, He is going to ask you about your sins and not about their sins. You will not be responsible for their actions and they will not be responsible for yours.”

Guest post by: Jessenia Ortiz. She works as an editorial manager for a electronic publishing company. When she is not working she likes to spend time with her family, her 3yr old and her husband. Sister Jessie is pursuing hifdhs and spends most of her time memorizing the Quran. She enjoys traveling, and her last big trip was umrah. 

I read a novel entitled “If I should speak” by Umm Zakiyah. This book contains some ayahs of the Quran and Hadiths woven into the story. That novel led me to read the English translation of the Quran, which eventually led to me taking my shahada.

The author included the hadith that says:

“O evil soul, come out to the wrath and anger of Allaah.’ Then his soul disperses in his body and is dragged out like a skewer being pulled out of wet wool…”

This shook me to my core. For 3 days it was all I kept thinking about. I couldn’t believe my God could do something like that (although I did feel inside myself that it was true). After that, I told myself I have to find out what else is in that book, so started reading the Quran.

My journey towards “finding” Allah (the Arabic word for God) really started early around age 5. That was when my grandmother taught me how to pray.  I did include intermediaries in my prayers but I always wondered why I couldn’t pray to Allah directly. I never understood the 3 in 1 God. (Alhamdulillah).

I grew up going to Catholic school and attending church with my grandmother. I learned about the Prophets, perhaps because we were children we were not taught all the negative things that the Bible says about them. I still remember that when I was little, going to Catholic school, I wanted to grow up and be a nun. They seemed so close to Allah. I use to sit in church asking (God) Allah to help me love that religion, if it was the right one. I always wondered why do we say “Thank you God for your son our lord”; why not worship the one that created the “son”?

The first time I was exposed to Islam was actually in my global studies class in high school. Ironically, it was a Jewish teacher who told us about Islam. Alhamdulilah, he presented it clearly, he said Muslims face the Kabah 5 times a day and pray. He even told us how they prostrated on the floor to pray. I thought to myself, if there is anyway to pray to God that is the best way. Unbeknownst to me, while my teacher was telling us about Islam in school, my older sister was also learning about Islam. She would become Muslim that year; it would take me 13 more years to enter into Islam.

My sister did her best to explain Islam to me and in my mind I couldn’t see the difference from what I believed and what she believed. At that point, I had started praying to Allah directly. I still remember that I would say to Allah “I’m just going to call you ‘Lord’ because I don’t know what else to call you”.

As the years passed my sister and her husband would always try to give me dawah (invitation to Islam) but it always seemed that I would have to stop believing in all the prophets (peace be upon them) and believe in a new prophet–Muhammad (peace be upon him). I just couldn’t give them up. Yet, they tried their best but guidance is in the hands of Allah alone.

After some years my sister and her husband moved to MD and put their children in a school called Al Huda. When I asked them what the name of the school meant they said “guidance to the straight path.” After learning that, I always use to pray “Lord, guide me to the straight path“. It was during one of those visits to MD that I my oldest niece just gave me the new novel written by a sister from their community. She gave me the novel, and a copy of the Quran in English. She didn’t say much except “maybe you’ll find it interesting.” I read the novel and didn’t really feel connected, but when I got to hadith quoted within the story (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him) it all changed. While the story was from the imagination of the author, the Hadith and the Quranic ayat were real. In my heart felt “this is the truth” so it led me to read the Quran.

I, then, started reading the English translation of the Quran. It was amazing. I couldn’t put it down. I had tried to read the Bible but every time I tried, I kept falling asleep (literally on the book). As I read the meaning of the Quran it just confirmed what I already believed. The Quran told the stories for all the prophets and told the stories of the most upright men in history including Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them).

When I use to read ayat that refer to the disbelievers I use to wonder who those people where. My sister broke the news to me that I was the disbeliever. Finally, I was getting ready to say the shahada but I was still weary. It was a couple years after 9/11 and I just didn’t want to be associated with people who could do something like that. My sister gave me the best advice. She said “the day you meet God, He is going to ask you about your sins and not about their sins. You will not be responsible for their actions and they will not be responsible for yours.”

 I took my shahada on October 3, 2004. It was the same night that Muhammad Alshareef (founder of Al Maghrib Institute) gave his farewell speech at Al Huda school. I still remember him saying “There is only one way towards God. Sometimes you stumble upon the truth. You have a choice you can take it or you can dust yourself off and walk away”. I called my sister after the lecture was over and I took my shahada over the phone with the whole family.

When I look back I think, Subhannallah, Allah is the best of planners. He planned out my path so perfectly. There were and are so many tiny details along the way from before Islam up until now. I always make dua that Allah let keeps me on the straight path and never lets me go astray. Ameen.

Quranic Reflections: Surah Naml (27) ayah 18

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Quranic Reflections: Surah Naml (27) ayah 18

Guest Post by Salitah Qureshi. She has completed her master’s in bioethics. She currently working with research centers to help study and provide better health care to the south asian community of NYC. Her interests include traveling, playing sports including badminton and volleyball and creating artwork and calligraphy.

Surah Naml (27) ayah 18

حَتّٰٓى اِذَاۤ اَتَوۡا عَلٰى وَادِ النَّمۡلِۙ قَالَتۡ نَمۡلَةٌ يّٰۤاَيُّهَا النَّمۡلُ ادۡخُلُوۡا مَسٰكِنَكُمۡۚ لَا يَحۡطِمَنَّكُمۡ سُلَيۡمٰنُ وَجُنُوۡدُهٗۙ وَهُمۡ لَا يَشۡعُرُوۡنَ.

Until, when they (Prophet Suleiman and his army of men, jinn, and birds) came to the valley of the ants, an ant said, “O ants! Enter your dwellings so that Suleiman and his hosts may not crush you while they do not perceive.”

We studied Surah Naml today, and this ayah was so amazing to understand. In this ayah, an ant is warning its fellow ants about Suleiman (A) and his army approaching, so that they may move out of the way and not get crushed. But the way Allah has said these ayahs is truly amazing. So much depth!

First, Quran is talking about how animals talk! There are so many people, companies, even scientists studying animal behavior, trying to figure out their language even teaching animals to talk. There was an article about how an ape was able to understand 450 words. For instance for the word pizza he would point at cheese, tomato and bread. I believe his name was Kanzi. There are talking dog collars, etc. So much time and money has been spent on these studies, experiments and devices just so we can ‘understand animals’. And here Allah has so simply shown us at least one animal/insect talking! This was 1300-1400 years ago! I found it amazing…it reminded me of when I was little and would feed the pigeons and pretend to talk to them and use my imagination on how they would reply. I can only imagine how this ant would have sounded!

Secondly, in this one ayah the ant was able to portray many emotions! The ant Felt, Called, Warned, Advised, Emphasized, Commanded, Clarified and Forbade! In the ayah instead of ‘ya naml’ the word ‘ya-ayuhanaml’ يّٰۤاَيُّهَا النَّمۡلُ is used…the first one would have been fine to call the ants, but why use the longer word, instead? Because in Arabic increasing the letters in a word increases the meaning of the word, therefore by using this specific word it bring attention…like a flood warning on tv…ALERT! Big and Bold, so you don’t miss it…in this case so it grabs the attention of the ants and they don’t miss it.

Then there is the use of the word ادۡخُلُوۡا which is a masculine word. Masculine is used for things that are animate (not inanimate). Here it shows that animals are intelligent creatures. The ant is commanding the other ants to get into their own homes. You have seen an ant farm, with all its tunnels beneath the ground. Do you think 1300 years ago people knew how ants homes are like? From the top all you see is a hole. But each ant has its own home and knows where its home is! So the ant is advising the ants to go to their individual homes!

Then the ant says ‘they won’t perceive it‘ لَا يَشۡعُرُوۡنَ …if you were to step on an ant do you feel it? You don’t, unlike if you were to step on a cat or dog or mouse (please don’t step on animals). So the ant knows they would not be noticed and get stepped on. But that is not the only thing it knows….it is also aware of who is coming: Prophet Suleiman. And the ant just doesn’t say Suleiman (A) and an army are coming, it attributes the entire army to Suleiman (A) and says, Suleiman (A) and HIS army is coming. It shows the respect a tiny ant had for him.

The ayah was so amazing, so much brain leakage by just one ayah and that too about an ant! I remember when i was younger someone told me that the Prophet (saw) would watch where he was going and not step on any ants…I don’t know how true this is, but when I heard it I always tried my best to not step on a single ant. And now to read and understand even a little of this ayah about the ant made all the side stepping worth it.

Ants are very small and I would say humble creatures. In the big world they get trampled upon by people even if they don’t mean any harm. However, this ayah shows the ant to be wise. It is able to carry on its own (ants can carry 10-100- some even say 1000 times their body weight) and they even make a big impact on the ecosystem. So even in this big complicated world, there is always space for the small, humble people.

How I Came About Hijab #ProjectHijab

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Guest Post by: Bushra Rashid. Sister Bushra is currently a third year in undergrad as a Psychology major at the University of Texas at Austin. Her hobbies include reading and blogging with a goal to inspire others and bring them closer to Islam. Inshallah, she is planning on going to graduate school for Clinical Psychology and one day medical school. 

The fact that I would represent Islam intimidated and frightened me because what if I couldn’t live up to those expectations? What if I was not worthy yet? But I was, I am, and I always will be – I just had not realized it yet.

The fact that I would represent Islam intimidated and frightened me because what if I couldn’t live up to those expectations? What if I was not worthy yet? But I was, I am, and I always will be – I just had not realized it yet.

Assalamualaikum my few readers,

I really don’t know where to start. It is the 26th day of Ramadan, the month of forgiveness. I knew this Ramadan would be quite life changing for me a few months ago…

I had a friend, more like an older sister to me, who I could share anything with. She was really beautiful mA, probably one of the most beautiful women I will ever meet. When I was in 7th grade, she started wearing hijab. I saw so many people look at her in awe as her face glowed with so much Noor. She looked even more beautiful than she did before. I myself looked at her with so much inspiration, admiration, and most of all respect. Here was a 15 or 16 year old girl who had so much courage and love for Allah that she decided to cover her body and hair for His sake. And there started my interest and love for the hijab.

Years passed, high school came and went; my love for Allah always there, but a little drifted at the same time. A close Muslim friend of mine and I would talk about Islam sometimes, and I remember there was a day where we both said that we would start wearing hijab in college inshaaAllah, because even then we loved it. I then started college, away from my parents…alone, but not alone. I bought my first translation of the Quran – The Meaning of The Holy Quran in Today’s English by Yahiya Emerick. A wonderful translation, mashaaAllah, recommended to me by a good friend. I became more involved with MSA, I made new friends, and went to new places. The summer of 2012 after my first year in college, Ramadan came. That Ramadan, I guess it was after I had talked to my friends a lot about Islam and after I had done lots of research of my own, I began thinking about wearing hijab again, very seriously. I did not start covering right then because I felt as if I needed to make sure I wasn’t going through a phase, and that there were a lot of things I needed to fix about myself first – like praying five times a day. I would discuss hijab with a few close friends, who would always give me the utmost encouragement. I would watch them put on their hijabs, I would notice how they behave, and for some reason, sometimes when they would do something unexpected of a “perfect hijabi”, I would be glad because it would remind me – Hey, they’re only human. Hijab or no hijab, they should still be treated the same way. The fact that they even wear a hijab is what makes them beautiful. Wearing hijab shows that they want to be close to Allah, that they do it only for Allah’s sake. Just because you are hijabi, does not mean you won’t make mistakes. They are human, why should we expect more from them than we do a non-hijabi? I was afraid that wearing the hijab would make people expect so much of me. The fact that I would represent Islam intimidated and frightened me because what if I couldn’t live up to those expectations? What if I was not worthy yet? But I was, I am, and I always will be – I just had not realized it yet. One day, I was told by a wonderful friend to “just start hijab, and the rest will come along with it.” May Allah reward her for telling me that, because I think those are the words that pushed me the farthest towards hijab. As the busy year went by, Islam would still be discussed almost every day when we would get a break from school work. My heart began to want to be closer and closer to Allah. I would see other people start hijab and wish it was me. Alhamdulillah for those thoughts… Allah was bringing me closer to Him. I even made it my New Year’s resolution to start hijab in 2013. I began watching hijab tutorials, videos about hijab, and preparing my wardrobe. My appearance wasn’t a problem for me. What I was most afraid of was what people would think and how they would react. “Would they think I changed all of a sudden?” I had to trust in Allah and hope they wouldn’t. After my sophomore year of college was over and summer came, I felt like I didn’t accomplish too much. Yes, I had remembrance of Allah the majority of the time, but it didn’t show as much in my actions as I had wanted it to. But what stuck in my head was, “just start hijab, and the rest will come along with it.” So, I decided to start hijab this Ramadan, because not only is it the best time to start,  but it is what will push me closest to Allah. To be able to be reminded of Allah constantly by wearing hijab is a privilege I no longer wanted to miss out on. To be able to do something – solely for Allah’s love and for His sake – can only be perfect and can only make me better.

July 19, 2013, just one Ramadan after I started to seriously think about it, I began my life as a hijabi. And it feels amazing. Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah! I told my mother I was going to start hijab, but she didn’t know exactly when. Alhamdulillah, she was very supportive. That day, I just put it on and went out without telling anyone for a few days that I actually started, not even my family. Then slowly, when I felt 100% ready to take on the challenges of hijab I began to tell people; family, close friends, and then Facebook friends.

I could have never taken this step without my amazing friends who remind me of Allah with their appearance, speech, and actions. I love you all for the sake of Allah, and I pray to Allah to be able to be with all of you in jannah. Please make dua for me.

My advice: If you’re thinking of hijab, make sure you do it with the sincere intention of doing it for Allah and for Him only. Don’t wait too long – who knows how many years, weeks, days, or even seconds we have left in the dunya. Aim for Akhira and pray that Allah guides you.

There will be another post soon about my first day and the different reactions I got. Please comment if you have questions and jazakallah khair for reading

You read more of Sister Bushra’s work at her personal blog here: http://bushrashid.wordpress.com

The Secret Life of An American Hijabi

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Hipster Muslims Made for Jannah. (photo credit America Muslim Memes)

Hipster Muslims Made for Jannah. (photo credit America Muslim Memes)

#SecretLifeofAnAmericanHijabi Is a work of fiction-it is not based on any Real Life persons only Real Life problems. Also beside the catchy title THIS IS NOT BASED ON THE TV SERIES.

“Is your hijab so big because it’s full of secrets?”

Secrets? You could say that, but you know what they say about a girl and secrets. You’re telling her and her best friend.  So consider yourself my new bffle because I’m about to share a whole lot of secrets.

First things first though, let’s clear up the air. As a hijabi with years of scarf wearing, long sleeve hunting, loose shirt abiding experience, I’m not about to sugar coat anything. But let’s start with the basics: The questions everyone asks…all the time.

1. Do you shower with that thing on?

That thing is called a scarf. It’s really quite an innocent piece of clothing, but when you hop in the shower it transforms into a head soaking-ultra head warmer that also massages, shampoos and conditions my Rapunzel like hair-NOT. This is wonderful question and if every hijabi got a penny for each and every time she was asked this she’d probably be able to pay off her medical/grad school loans-Not kidding. But this question really makes me question whether common sense has actually somehow been lifted from our communities. Honestly! Like, I’m glad we have so much technology to do our work but when we’re starting to put common sense on hold it might just be a problem. And if you really can’t reason this one out, ask yourself this, why do you need to know my personal showering habits? It’s creepy.

2. Are you bald?

Maybe I am. Maybe I’m not. But the fact that my hair keeps popping out around the side of my face and you-being the wonderful person you are-keeps pointing it out, might just mean I do have some kind of hair type thing on my head. I’ve had awesome friends who theorized that I might be hiding a wild side beneath my quiet demeanor and modest dress wear; a mohawk or some kind of special buzz cut and I honestly didn’t want to let them down, but the truth is….

3. Do you guys date?

Nope. Moving on…

4. Who made you wear that?

Well right now I’m wearing Burberry-I’m highly inspired by Emma Watson’s fashion style and yesterday-oh wait, you’re not talking about my coat.

I chose to wear hijab. I choose to dress modestly. I choose to follow my religion.

I know, you’re like ‘whaaat? I thought they forced you to wear that. Aren’t the men of your kind oppressive and you can’t do anything-and that is the symbol of anti-women rights that dominates every aspect of your sad, restrictive life!’

Slow down there righteously angry person! (Also, for those of you who think the above sounds outrageous, you’d be surprised at what I’ve heard). I usually respond to this with a sad sigh for humanity, but not today friends, today I will address the question. First of all, after all these years can someone-anyone-please define who “they” are? I always get this from people, ‘what will they say if you take it off? What will they do?’ But to this day no one has ever told me who “they” are, and while being moderately curious, I could care less. These anonymous groups, whoever they are, sound awful. And ladies, I’ll let you in on a secret: any man who wants to have an oppressive, backwards attitude towards women will find any means to do it. Sure, men can use modesty to oppress women, but they can (and usually do) use immodesty to oppress as well. . Why else would the makeup, plastic surgery, and weight loss industries be such huge successes?

Second: There’s this craftily painted horrid misconception about Muslim men. (Thank you media! Owe you one!) When you see a long beard on a middle-eastern/Asian man you think ‘EVIL!SCARY!FREEDOMHATER!” but when you see Dumbledore and think “Awe, Harry’s wise, old mentor.” See the problem? Muslim men adorn beards for many of the same reason Muslim women adorn the hijab. They’re not scary or frightening because of the way that they look. You know what this reminds me of? That old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its’ cover.” Now, let’s all take a deep breath and try that?

5. Why don’t you just do what you want?

Right, okay good. Now we’re getting somewhere. Hijab is what I want to do and here’s why. I want to be okay with who I am physically but that doesn’t define who I am or what I can do. I don’t want society to tell me how to dress. I don’t even want me to tell me how to dress (goodness knows how much I’ve erred in the realm of personal fashion-lets all please forget when colorful tweed was totally in). In Islam, women dress in accordance to God. Covered, modest. But this doesn’t mean their voices are muted. Rather, women are an honored and integral part of society. And man is not equal to her in creation, rather they are complimentary in strengths and weaknesses, but they are equal in front of God with their deeds based on faith and sincerity. This is what fuels my choice. This is why I choose hijab.

8. Do you know what freedom is?

You guys, here’s the thing (particularly to the girl who literally grabbed my shoulders in the locker room in junior high and shouted this at me). Every time you see someone wearing hijab or practicing their religion in public (whatever that might be) go and thank them. They’re protecting your first amendment, your personal rights. Each day someone tells them what they should or should not be doing as a “real American” and each time they respond by showing everyone that a real American has the freedom to choose.

Until next time,

Your secrets are safe with me.

Xx A

Learning to Love Him #SeerahClass Reflection

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greendomePlease take a short moment to read darood (send peace and blessings on the Prophet (S) before reading this post).

While most of us live our lives knowing Rasoolullah (S), seerah class does what books and hours of Sunday school does not; it breaths life into the knowing, by allowing us to fall unequivocally in love. Emotions are tangible and they are real. What we feel truly affects us, physically.

After tuning into seerah classes via the Qalam institute podcasts with Moulana ANJ for sometime, I decided to share some of the thoughts that preoccupy my mind through the week between each class.

Seerah is the study of the life of Muhammad (S); the difficulties, the struggles and the eventual triumph. Most of us learn this at an early age in Islamic schools, weekend, regular or over the summer. Most of us carry a basic outline of the life of the Prophet (S)’s life in our mind: Cave of Hira, Revelation, Makkah, Boycott, Hijra are all terms we were essentially familiar with. Nonetheless, the seerah brings us something incomprehensibly greater and that is love.

Unlike so much of what we feel through out our day to day lives, whether it is love for a celebrity who will never know us, the desire to impress someone who will never give us a second thought, or the hope to become successful as strictly defined by societal parameters, we remain unfulfilled in our quests. Contrary to all that we keep near and dear to our hearts, it is the love that Muhammad (S) had for us, that gives us more than we can return. And it is regrettable that we often feel unable to return this love simply because we do not know him (S).

We know the facts, most children do, but we do not fall in love with facts, we do not fall in love with numbers, and we certainly do not fall in love with over-played emotions that we have become desensitized to. I recall siting in my Sunday School class while our teacher said, “Do you know how great Rasoolullah (S) was? He was kind to everyone. He was the kindest person. Kindest.” I remember feeling unfortunate to be unable to classify the words. Maybe I was to young to have met cruel, stingy people, or maybe I did not know what real kindness was, nevertheless, I remember feeling hopeless unengaged and equally worried that my classmates would feel similarly and would thusly write Rasoolullah (S) off with the simple adjective and would never desire to know more. Kind is good, mean is bad, but we still love both and in between, don’t we?

Love is tangible and listening to life of Rasoolullah (S)’s makes it 3D, makes it tangible, brings it within our grasps, allows us to venture into our mind’s eye and envision, sense, breath, and live in a time and feel something more than textbook historical figure “greatness” or philanthropist “kindness.” Seerah brings along connectedness that only love can foster.

I have noticed a trend. Many times great historical figures are referred by how much they conquest and how big their empires were. Very rarely are they considered great for their treatment of conquered people and even more rare are those of high moral character. I have noticed how their morals are written off as insignificant, by “look how much land and resources they accumulated, who cares how many were displaced or murdered, who cares about how he or she cheated on their spouse by engaging in immorality…” Historical greatness, it seems, is flawed. There is a simple trade off between greatness achieved and morality. This can never be the case with Muhammad (S): He was a successful military leader yet a loving father and husband, a ruler who sat with and befriended the poor and visited the sick, a Prophet who never gave a believer priority over a non-believer when it came to social justice, a man who was trusted by his own enemies-the very people that planned to kill him (S).

His greatness did not diminish his moral character nor did his morality decrease his greatness. Today Muhammad is the most common name in the world; a man of great simplicity has 1.6 billion followers currently worldwide (you can forget about counting your number twitter followers!) and people constantly speaking of him, thinking of him and teaching what he (S) taught. The daunting question that arises is: How does one fall in love with man so, so, so amazing? So accomplished, so great? Here’s what I am learning in seerah class…

Muhammad (S) cared. He cared about the people he met and interacted with. He loved his followers, and each person who spoke with him (S) would feel as though he or she were the most important or closest to him (S). Imagine this: meeting the President once on a trip to the state capital, and then imagine him calling you up and saying, “I’ve been thinking about you. I’ve been worried about you. I’ve been hoping you do well. I will do everything I can to see you succeed.” The President would never do this, you might get a signed letter in the mail, but a part of you knows someone else wrote the letter and the President hardly looked down before signing it. But Muhammad (S) did, he thought about us, he worried about us, he hoped we were doing well and he wanted to see us succeed. It is why he spent hours in prayer with swollen feet, for us. He (S) did not just lay down the law, accept the power and rule a people who showed fierce loyalty, he cared. He cared so much so that in the last moments of his blessed life who did he think of? Us.

He believed in us. And not just for the people who were already recognized and on their way to greatness but the average folks, the ones that tend to be overlooked by society, Rasoolullah (S) believed in them. To me this was tremendously eye opening. Many times within our own masjid people clamor over a few, while the rest of the youth are discounted. In fact, a leader at the local masjid once swore that two boys at our masjid would never become huffaz because “they don’t have what it takes!” SubhanAllah, it really makes me think that Rasoolullah (S) would have never discounted those boys.* A sister I used to go to school with tried to learn the recitation of the Quran, when she presented herself to the expert tajweed teachers they similarly discounted her, telling her she didn’t really know how to recite properly and picked the same few students participate in their group. I remember consoling her and wondering why, rather than foster her interest in Quran and recitation, they so simply tossed her aside.

Muhammad (S) gave importance to each of us and he (S) believed that we all could in some way succeed in being pleasing to our Lord (SWT). He never discounted anyone; he never picked a few and left the rest. This is seen in his love for the Ansar (the Helpers). Moulana ANJ described the people of medina as a group of “small town farmers” the ones who lived simply and were not given importance by the neighboring tribes and communities. Only years later would the world see greatness in these men and women that Muhammad (S) had seen in them during their very first meeting.

Muhammad (S) felt. It was never easy to do what he (S) did. Often times we chalk it up to “Well, he was the Prophet” and assume that he “would obviously be successful.” We fail to realize that the greatness and success took time, not minutes or hours but years…Years. Thirteen years spent in Makkah among not only enemies but hypocrites as well. Thirteen years working and waiting and calling while watching the few followers he did have be tortured. Thirteen years of abuses from the very people he grew up with, and it was difficult for him as it would be for anybody. This very human aspect of our Nabi is often left out of the conversation. Maybe we do not talk about the Prophet (S)’s pain, because it is unimaginable. Because it is too painful even in reflection, it is the hardship only a prophet (A) could endure. He was patient and forbearing and the extraordinary truth is that only Allah (SWT) could comfort and console Rasoolullah (S). (ref: Surah Yasin, Surah Taha tafseer by M.ANJ). The very human side of the Prophet (S) allows us to love a man who reached greatness, but still felt the way we feel. Our frustrations, downfalls and limitations were not strange to him (S). If anything, he (S) knew it better than we ever could.

Finally, Muhammad (S) smiled. For so many of us Islam is a set of rules and regulations and we think if we were to meet the Prophet (S) he would simply chastise us, tell us what we were doing wrong like so many do at the masjids today. What we fail to realize is that the Prophet (S) treated people as people, gave them their right and they were so incredibly surprised and taken aback by this that they immediately loved him (S) and they immediately accepted Islam. Muhammad (S) was a man who believed in them even if no one else did, who worried and cared for them as no one else did. He welcomed them to Islam in such a beautiful way that they would go to him with nothing, empty as those who are surrounded by dunya often are, and they would leave with everything, leaving behind the dunya and all it’s wonders and replacing it only with their love and loyalty for the Messenger (S), and they say that when he (S) smiled, his face was brighter than the full moon.

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Sharing this reflection on the far-reaching efforts of M. ANJ and Qalam Institute and the seerah podcast series! Only a great teacher inspires students. While nothing matches sitting in a masjid and at the feet of a scholar, who can be opposed to learning small gems from the life of the Rasoolullah by any means possible? Links are in the Library of Gems to tune into live seerah class and access podscasts! Thanks for reading!

Necessary Accessories: Hijab And Medical School

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Necessary Accessories: What I learned In Medical School [<—This is the link]

Sister Nusheen Ameenuddin kindly shared with us a link to her article about the role of HIJAB while in medical school.

Many of us are students pursuing professional degrees in all different fields and we often wonder: how might wearing Hijab might affect our future plans?

Sister Nusheen shines light on her personal experience with Hijab. How she over came fears of hypocrisy and negative reactions by building a relationship with Allah (SWT) through Qur’an. And how her future career as a doctor played a role in the importance of her identity as a muslima. Please check out her article via google documents on the attached link!

JazakAllah khair to sister Nusheen for sharing this with us! May you be rewarded for all the hearts you strengthen! Aameen.

H&H

Revved2013 Ramadan Reflection: The Sliver Linings

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I’m writing this because I don’t want to ever forget. I don’t want to forget this moment. This second. This Ramadan in which I took a class you might have heard of called Revved for Ramadan.

I can’t explain precisely what Revved is, and when people ask I usually say it is a Quran class, because in my humble opinion that sounds pretty awesome within itself. At this point most people usually tell me, ‘Oh, interesting..’ but they’re not really interested and they don’t really want to know. They give me that patronizing look like, ‘are you really going to keep talking?’ and causally look around at the walls as if they’ll find a more interesting topic of discussion written on it’s panels.

So, here’s the more descriptive description:

Imagine settling in to take a trip, one of those super posh helicopter tours. You’re sitting with with nervous anticipation. You’re not sure what you’re going to see but you’re excited. Will you be able to stop at places on your trip? Are you prepared? Have you made all the proper accommodations? Who else is going with you?

And then the helicopter lifts off, you start and something amazing happens… and by the end of your trip you realize a very small price was paid for a journey so amazing that you can’t really put it into words. Sights you see leave you breathless gardens, canyons, caves, and oceans. If you stop for a moment, stick your hand out the window you can feel the breeze, taste the sweetness of the air in moments that can only be described as a miracle. Beautiful people surround you, they encourage and inspire you despite never having known you. They remember you and pray for you and wish you well. You quickly find out this isn’t just any ordinary helicopter, it functions also as a time machine. You watch the greatest moments in human history on the earth unfold. You watch Moses (Musa (A)) speak to Allah (SWT) for the first time, then prepare to face off the greatest Tyrant of all time. You watch Joseph (Yusuf (A)) wronged by his brothers rise to prominence in the Kingdom and reunite with his father. You watch young Maryam (A) place all her trust in Allah (SWT) and grow up to give birth to a miracle, Jesus (Isa (A)).

Essentially, it’s the feeling that you’ve won the lottery. And while you can’t really explain in words to those around you what you’ve gained except you realized one thing, Allah (SWT) answered your dua in the best of ways.

What was my dua? Well, that’s between me and Allah (SWT) and each day I see a beautifully crafted plan being laid out in front of me, and all those long commutes to university with my heart singing its deepest desires to Allah (SWT) are so rewarding…I can tear up just thinking about.

Now while I really wish I could share all the gems I’ve collected from Revved for Ramadan (better understood as: A Journey through the Quran). But I cannot. I have a beautiful 150 page notebook that is covered with these gems because I just had to write everything down. If you would like, you can most certainly come over and I will go through my notes with you. It’s a lot of fun! In fact I had made it a habit for going through my notes during tahajud with my family, and tweeting some gems (#revved2013) that you can find on Twitter.

These are the miracles, the magic moments, the silver linings.