As Ramadan Departs

Hooray

As Ramadan departs us, what have we taken away from this blessed month? What have we learnt? Have we grasped the religious significance of this month as it leaves us?

Ramadan, a month full of blessings. A month that exposes our own shortcomings. A month which is so significant in the life of a true believing Muslim. Now that it leaves us, what are we taking away from it?

Yes, I know. These are many questions, but these are questions that we should reflect on ourselves. If we wish to fully grasp the meaning of this month then we must also consider what we do after Ramadan.

We should aim to carry what we have learnt from Ramadan into the months that follow after it. Ramadan should be a month of renewal for our Iman (Faith), as it should move us in ways that influence us to become better practicing Muslims.

We place emphasis and effort during Ramadan to the Holy Qur’an, to praying the Taraweeh and Tahajuud prayers, and we give up on most worldy things; or we try to limit our access to things that can affect our iman.

Yet I have one word of advice as this month leaves us: Think, just what if you were about to die right now, what would you change about yourself? This is something we forget when Ramadan ends, is it not true? As Muslims, we should take what we have learnt about this blessed month and put them to practice once this Holy month ends. Ramadan isn’t just once a year, we shouldn’t forget that, it’s for all time. Ramadan is about rejuvenating your iman, connecting you to your Creator. And, most of all it is about cleansing your soul.

As Muslims, we should take what we have learnt from this blessed month and put them into practice once this Holy month ends. Ramadan isn’t just a once a year traditional religious month, we shouldn’t forget that, it’s for all time. Ramadan is about rejuvenating your iman, connecting you to your Creator, and most of all it is about cleansing your soul.

So, I leave you with this blog post —a reminder for myself first and foremost and then to others inshaAllah—  now that your soul is cleansed are you going to allow it to become dirty with misdeeds and sins now that this month is ending? Are you going to go back to the old you? Are you going to disregard the amazing efforts you took during Ramadan to get closer to your Rabb (Lord)?

May Allah SWT allow us to achieve greatness in His eyes. May He allow us to become righteous believing and practicing Muslims as the Prophet Muhammed SAW, and may we leave this month having learnt. Amin.

The Inconvenience of Stress

Life is too short to belived counting the years.Enjoy the ride and makeamazing memories.Have a great birthday!

It has been way too long since I last blogged—which was when I officially started my blogstory, which may need to sit for a few more weeks unfortunately—as I’ve been stressed out by all the things I need to do.

Being timely is a blessing, and when you can’t achieve timeliness that’s when all hell breaks loose. I hate feeling regret and worrying about what could have been done in the past recent months, when I’m still trying to complete tasks that aren’t due yet but could have been completed earlier.

I’ve tried to console my stress through coffee and tea, but when you have too much of these delicious hot drinks it doesn’t help at all. Sometimes they leave you jittery and bewildered as to how to disperse this new found energy, caffeine.

I recently promised myself that I would take charge and not give up—as I surprisingly don’t give up when I am passionate about something—despite being asked why I took up an extra task when I already had more coming my way. But I’m determined and InshaAllah I will get there!

So now I’ve changed up my diet and the way in which I consume my caffeine. I’ve taken sugar out of my diet too, consuming low amounts only when I really feel like it. I’ve changed up my diet in that my consumption of carbohydrates are low. I’m staying away from bread, rice and all others that fit into this category, only very occasionally consuming them.

The reason I am doing this little diet/experiment is to examine my levels of stress from my dietary intake, and to see whether or not it is a factor in my levels of stress. I’m also adding daily/weekly activities to see if I will retain better focus.

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One of these activities is ‘colouring for mindfulness’ exercises, which will help relieve stress and tension from my mind. Above is the very first colouring of a leaf from the book, and I must say my colouring techniques are quite rusty, and makes me raise the question: Is colouring slightly outside the lines a result of my levels of stress?…I believe so.

My aim at the moment is to colour a leaf each day, slowly distracting my brain from thinking overwhelming thoughts of all that I need to do.

Though my number one priority as a Muslim is to get rid of stress by praying to Allah-u Teala, as praying contributes to lowering stress levels through the release of negative energy (see video below). Furthermore obtaining optimum kushoo’ is very important in the release of this negative energy, i.e. stress. Stress should not remain within your mind or body when kushoo’ is obtained, instead there should be a feeling of calm and humility within the mind and body.

I must admit my mind wonders during prayer and I absolutely hate it. I hate the feeling of being so engulfed in my daily tasks and everyday dunya that my mind cannot concentrate enough during my prayers.

I hope to write another blog post soon with some results to the inconvenience of stress I am currently experiencing. In the meantime I hope Allah SWT eases all our stress and that we obtain firm kushoo’ when we put our foreheads on the ground and pray to him.

 

 

The Hijabie – Chapter One

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For some time now I have been planning and drafting a story with the means to be published on my blog, and finally (Elhamdullilah) it is here!

I thank my family and friends who continue to support me with my writing!

I dedicate this story to my friends who contributed to a questionaire I conducted last year (2016). Their responses were heartfelt and inspiring. May Allah SWT reward you for the changes that took place in your lives no matter how hard or easy, and the sabr you girls had against those who tried to hurt you for wearing the cloth that sits on your heads today.

Every Muslim woman deserves an applause for wearing her hijab on her head everyday. Tirelessly crafting their scarves out of modesty or haya. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage, especially for those living in the West who deal with racist slurs, this story is for those who wear and for those who don’t.

May Allah SWT give those who want to wear a hijab the courage to wear one.<3

Hilal Raile 🙂

Melbourne, Australia 2017

‘What are you going to wear for your cousin’s wedding?’

‘I’m actually not sure.’ I said shrugging.

‘You’d look so hot in that black dress!’ Selma said pointing at the knee-length black dress in my wardrobe.

‘It’s going to be a religious wedding, though I don’t want to disrespect my cousin…’

‘Safiye, she probably wouldn’t mind.’ Selma grinned, ‘I’d wear it if I wear you… Oh, sometimes I wish I didn’t wear a hijab, I’d so look hot in that dress and I’d flaunt it too.’

Selma wore her hijab about a year ago and still complains about it. I, on the other hand, am late actually make that very delayed in wearing a hijab. Being the youngest and with my parents working full-time running a kebab restaurant, it didn’t give me the one on one time to talk about wearing a hijab with my mum. That’s why I’m 18, and still no whereabouts of one on my head.

‘Was it hard for you, you know wearing the hijab?’

‘Not really, it’s pretty much a cloth on my head. But fashioned of course.’

Selma was the type of girl who wore a hijab but not for the right reasons. Her neck was out in the open, and from what I remember from Islamic Studies it was meant to flow onto your shoulders and therefore cover your chest and neck. Selma on the other hand always made sure she had a necklace visible or a choker. In her eye’s she saw it as a piece of cloth that had to be worn as a Muslim. Ultimately she knew deep down that it wasn’t right, she just didn’t want to admit it.

When she wasn’t covered we would both discuss the hijab, and not necessarily in a positive way; we judged those who wore it wrong. And two years later I still didn’t have one on my head despite an intention to do so, and Selma was wearing one in a matter she had once despised and judged so harshly. Though the topic of wearing a hijab correctly was off bounds now, I could never say it to her face because she’d say “You’re not even covered, what’s it to you”. I had mentioned it once and immediately regretted it.

You might be wondering why I hang around with such a person? Well, we’ve been friends since we were little. My mum’s best friend is Gulnigar teyze, Selma’s mum. Selma and I aren’t best friends but close friends. And as soon as year 12 starts next week, she would once again be head over heals for Umit. Most of the girls at school had a crush on him, and Selma was his biggest fan. Umit, on the other hand, didn’t even notice her despite all her efforts to “accidentally” bump into him, or come across him in the school yard. All Umit did do was play Down Ball, go to the masjid at school or you’d find him and his friends at the canteen. I should know, Selma would drag us all there just to try and get his attention but failed miserably. Now, we’d be living through this drama or should I say nightmare once again despite it being a new year.

Selma grabbed the black dress, placing it over herself and prancing around my room with the dress, ‘I’d look so hot in this!’ I rolled my eyes and went to my wardrobe, and pulled out the dress I would wear to the wedding. A dark purple long sleeve floor-length chiffon dress that I could match with a belt. I placed it over myself and looked in my mirror. I wonder how it would look with a hijab? I thought.

* * *

Returning to school  I didn’t expect this year to go about any different, as usual, first thing was to check the Year 12 Web Timetable: Safiye Sarayoglu – First Subject – Islamic Studies. Great, I thought. Another year of the exact same topics since Year 7. I made my way to the classroom, the first day is always boring and we never really do much in class unless we’re talking about Mrs Demirli’s Maths class. She would definitely be handing out homework the first week of Year 11, as she had done last year.

I walked into the classroom and sat down, there were only a few others in the classroom. Selma and Aylin weren’t here yet, they’re always running late because of their makeup, even though they’ll probably get told off for their mascara and foundation, again.

Just as I was thinking about how this year would bore me to death I was surprised by ‘Assalamunaleykum girls’. I looked toward the door and saw a hijabed woman with a bright smile on her face walk into our classroom. She placed her bag on the teacher’s table and looked at each of us. ‘I’ll introduce myself shortly after all of you are here’.

There was something about our new teacher that seemed different. It wasn’t her clothing, her long and perfectly covered hijab and abaya were normal for some of our teachers to wear, but there was something about the way she entered the room. The way she gave selam and the way she made eye contact with everyone in the room. It was her smile that seemed fresh and new. We’ve always had serious teachers deliver this subject, and having a new face for Islamic Studies was exciting. Maybe this year wouldn’t be so bad after all.

To be continued…

Culture & The Evil Eye

You may be thinking how does culture and the evil eye tie in together? Well, within many communities there is a belief that people cause the evil eye out of love. This I’ve observed specifically within the Turkish community. And d no-one has been able to clarify exactly what the evil eye is, even during Islamic lectures. Today many believe that it occurs when someone likes or envies a person’s beauty, child or sometimes their homes, wealth or even their marriage. But the evil eye is not something that occurs out of love, it occurs out of evil.

In Sheikh Yasir Qadhi’s ‘Truth about the Evil Eye: Seeking protection against al-‘Ayn – Yasir Qadhi | February 2011’ he discusses exactly what the evil eye is and how it effects people or objects.

So, what is the Evil Eye (al`Ayn)?

Al`Ayn is the negative consequences of jealousy…It is called Ayn from the eyes, because the number one reason to get jealous is when you look at something. But Ayn has nothing to do with the eyes; because you can hear about something and get jealous. You don’t have to necessarily look at it. It’s not like an invisible superman beam of ray that comes out. This is not al`Ayn. Okay?’

How does Al`Ayn (the Evil Eye) occur?

Al`Ayn is the feeling of the heart. Al`Ayn is the burning jealousy, and it has to be a burning jealousy. This is a jealousy that only an evil person allows this jealousy to go unchecked. Because the Prophet SAW said: Jealousy destroys good deeds like a fire destroys twigs or the herb that destroys honey…’

What is the Islamic perspective?

‘The Mu’min never allows it to go unchecked. Because jealousy is a filthy feeling. That even when you feel jealous you feel filthy…Jealousy is a filthy feeling. And it’s only the evil person who allows jealousy to go unchecked. And what happens when you allow jealousy to go unchecked? Somehow it causes an effect on the object of jealousy.’

‘How? Scholars have differed, as I said, the evidence are very little about al`Ayn. But one hadith seems to suggest that that jealousy empowers Sheytan. It gives some type of fuel to Sheytan. And Sheytan can then use that because Sheytan wants to harm. Sheytan can then use that fuel to get to the other person. And this seems to be the most logical, rational and hadithy interpretation.’

‘How could jealousy just affect somebody? How could it do it by that? Well it could if Allah has decreed. We’re not denying that, but it seems—and there are riwayat that shows this—that jealousy feeds Sheytan. And the Jinn basically, when I say Sheytan, I mean the Jinn. The evil Sheytan/Jinn; Sheyateen. And when you have so much jealousy then basically you empower the Jinns to go and harm the person, it gives them the motivation, it gives them the fuel they need to go and harm the other person.’

So how does this relate to culture?

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Culture teaches the many ways of living life and passes it onto another generation, but when cultures changes or modifies a religious belief this is when naivety repeats and spreads from one generation to another.

Do you know someone who openly says that they cause the evil eye out of too much love for another person?

This is a false belief. I suspect that it has been leftover from the Greeks and Russians who also believe in the evil eye, especially when it comes to beads. I once saw a documentary where Greeks had the evil eye beads and specified why they believed in them, I was shocked. I was already sceptical about what the evil eye was but finding out that a Christian/Orthodox nation believed in it made me question exactly how much influence this had on us Turks/Muslims, and how much of this cultural belief was influenced by non-Islamic beliefs and traditions.

Culture & Islam—Do not mix the two

The other day I decided to conduct some research on Loqman AS, he took my interest and so I decided to check the Holy Qur’an. There is a whole chapter named after him. And there in my translated Qur’an I found the following verse:

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I want to focus on this verse in particular: ‘And yet, should they press you to associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them, but befriend them in this life, in kindness.’ It is in relation to things we have no knowledge about where it may be something passed from one generation to another but is not in light of the teachings of Islam.

This made me think about the evil eye, and how sometimes you have one generation narrate it to the next falsely. This occurs only because some people are incredibly superstitious, naive and associate false beliefs with Islam. Little do they know that their knowledge has been changed and has lost it’s intended meaning. Especially in this case relating that too much love can cause the evil eye (al`Ayn).

I’ve had people make this very remark to me about their own family or their surrounds, commenting that they cause the evil eye due to the amount of love they feel or express. It is so embedded within their belief system that they repeat it on a regular basis, sometimes even smiling at the thought that it is out of so much love.

Some other examples relating to false beliefs in the Evil Eye (Al`Ayn):

  • Some women have a tendency to love children by calling them ‘you ugly little thing’ in a way which means ‘love’, out of fear that they will attract the evil eye.
  • When a person is ill they will believe that it is from the evil eye.
  • They will openly say that they cause the ‘evil eye’ out of extreme love.
  • The belief that the evil eye bead will protect them from evil, or those who envy them.
  • They are in a sense of doubt/suspicion regarding others, and they make assumptions about others without being witness to what they claim. I.e. saying someone has concocted a spell or has looked at them and have therefore caused the evil eye.

The above is in association with first-hand experiences in the Turkish-Australian community. It’s very upsetting to see how people live their lives adhering to culture and what their “forefathers” have believed. Wouldn’t a person ever question whether their forefathers believed in something correctly? Wouldn’t you do some research regarding the matter? I blame naivity, not the lack of education; sometimes we have educated people who are more cultural in their knowledge of Islam than Islam itself.

In the following Hadith:

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Riyad as-Salihin, The Book of Miscellany

The Prophet SAW mentions something important in this Hadith relating to the issue of the evil eye:

‘Allah is beautiful, He loves beauty.’

Why then must people insist and believe (more than they believe anything else that is Islamic) that mentioning or acknowledging someone’s beauty causes the evil eye? Why must people love children and call them ugly? Why is it so hard to acknowledge that Allah SWT has blessed this person?

In Surah Baqarah (2:83) Allah SWT says:

‘And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], “Do not worship except Allah , and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy. And speak to people good [words] and establish prayer and give zakah.” Then you turned away, except a few of you, and you were refusing.’

Is this not enough evidence?

ibn-qayyim

May Allah SWT protect us from speaking without knowledge and may He protect us from believing in things falsely, and may He allow us to remain steadily on His path. Amin.

Wearing the Hijab

Last weekend my husband and I decided to go for a bike ride. We ventured out toward the city, and managed to go past our intended destination. For us it is a chance to explore parts of Melbourne we don’t frequent. And the long ride into the city was well worth it.
When we reached our destination we stopped for coffee. We decided to sit outside as it was quite a nice sunny afternoon. My husband ordered our coffee and some cookies.

As he sat down I told him it was quite sunny where I was sitting as the sun was glarring directly on our table – I didn’t want to bother him, but we swapped seats anyway. 

As we dug into our cookies, finishing them before even receiving our coffee, my husband mentioned he moved me on purpose. ‘I thought it was because I said it was too sunny?’ But, it wasn’t.  Turns out I hadn’t noticed the woman inside the coffee shop who was starring at me, not moving an eye off me with her arms crossed (for some reason exibiting territorial behaviour). And to make matters worse after leaving the coffee shop she had stood and starred at me while her son begged and pleaded with her: ‘Mum, let’s go.’ 

I wonder what the outcome would have been if I had noticed her starring? 
***

A few weeks ago I found old print magazines at the local mosque, I was thrilled! I took a few copies home with me.
At home, as I skimmed through the pages of one of the old magazines, I found that there were familiar themes featured throughout the pages of each magazine that still has some relevance today. 

In  İslam magazine’s (cilt 5, sayı 54, Şubat5) volume 5, issue 54, February 1988, the heading Gençlik Nereye; Where is Youth Headed, describes the difficulty faced by religious youth and the somewhat privileged modern youth of the late 1980s in Turkey.

The discussions are about cultural and religious divide, this all comes during a time when military coups were common and feared. But the sentence: ‘Spring…Hijabi female students continue to sit in protest for days now. From the doors they are not allowed to pass bordering the university gardens and lawn,  are illimitably occupied by friendly young [men and women] students.’ shows just how much the cultural and religious divide was in the late 1980s, especially with the ban made on the hijab in schools – primary through to university.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that Turkish President R. T. Erdoğan changed the laws prohibiting hijab-wearing young women from studying. 

In juxtaposition, with the events that continually circulate around the hijab including personal experiences like the one mentioned above, and recently the burkini, it raises the question of what life may be like for Muslims living in the West in the future. 

As some measures have been enforced for the niqab in some Eurpoean countries, which is quite hypocritical; as for instance, if a woman were to walk around in a bikini it would not be deemed a threat as her skin is bare. But just what if she managed to hide a bomb within her own body? 

It’s hard to determine who exactly is a threat nowadays. As ‘terrorist’ should never have been a word coined for criminals who supposedly follow the Islamic faith, and sadly that is what it has become.

The past is an insight into how far us Muslims have come in relation to living our religion openly and freely in Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Though I sincerely hope that our freedoms, especially regarding the hijab, won’t be impacted by racists or those likeminded.

***

After hearing how the woman was starring at me I felt shocked, somewhat scared, and I couldn’t shake off what I just heard. It’s not easy to shake off, especially when I received remarks in the past labelling me as a ‘terrorist’ or ‘cloth head’. 

God help my hijabi sisters, it’s tough sometimes. But that is no reason to give up practicing our faith. Racist verbal remarks may be shocking, invoke fear or even anxiety, but despite it allwear your hijab proudly sister!

Hijab IS a personal choice. It’s a personal choice to submit to God rather than the fashion of society. To be beautiful to God rather than people. ~ Yasmin Mogahed