My Iman

Don’t lose hope, you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Allah has perfect timing, never early, never late. It takes a little patience and a lot of faith but it is always worth the wait. Alhamdulillah, I converted to Islam sometime ago and I have had m ups and downs, just like any Muslim. The biggest challenge has been that with those tests my iman also fluctuates. However, every time I read something about Islam things started to make sense to me. The information I read felt like something was pulling me closer and closer, as if you are going on an airplane somewhere far away and you are almost at the end of the trip and you are about to get off. I felt like I was being pulled towards that plane, not getting off, but jumping on.

Today, I strive to spread the message but it is not simple as not everyone is meant to accept Islam in their hearts. It is like comparing it to today’s public new broadcasts, there is actually so many opinions and facts that sometimes are not very favorable or well received. On the other hand, my iman is the only area in my life that I can hold steadfast to as I continue to strive in personal growth as a Muslim.

Islam, I believe, has saved me from the life I would have taken. Allah is so merciful and a lot of times we take this for granted. We need to realize that Allah is always with us no matter where we go and is so gracious!

I hope you too can get others to realize the beauty of Islam and how much happier they would be.

Loneliness

“Language…has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.”

Theologian, Paul Tillich

Tillich’s words above has planted an interest in beginning to investigate the meaning of  “being alone.” I realized that being alone in and of itself is neither positive nor negative. It was just a fact that now described a good portion of my life.

So, I went online to see what people treasured about solitude. This is what I have found…

“I love solitude because no one is making demands on me.”

“When I’m alone, my senses are sharpened and I feel part of the rhythm of the universe.

“Solitude refreshes my spirit.”

“I make my wisest decisions when I’m alone.”

These statements were inspiring but they didn’t replace the pain of loneliness for me

I turned to Allah for help. I worried so much about things that in the end are not in my control but to just leave it to Allah. I felt stuck like glue on the desire to return to a country that held so many wonderful experiences and people, but it was not written to happen. It’s the nature of  life as Allah is the best planner of our well being and we may not understand the wisdom behind such events .  As I seek Allah, I saw that if I could let go of that desire, I might be able to open my heart and mind to the possibility that I was not alone and that Allah has been the most glorious in my life.

I asked myself, “What might I treasure about being alone?”

Well, being alone heightens my powers of observation. I notice details around me that I’d otherwise ignore, like the play of sunlight on the ceiling or leaves floating in the air on a breezy day.

More importantly  to remember that its ok to be ALONE but when we feel LONELY Allah is always there, so I do need to connect with Him more.

Finally, when you are in bright light everyone will follow you but when you are in darkness even your own shadow will not follow you.

What is…

Eid al-Adha is an Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (also known as Abraham) to follow Allah’s (God’s) command to sacrifice his son Ishmael. Muslims around the world observe this event.

Because God spared Ishmael, substituting a sheep in his stead, Muslims commemorate this occasion by slaughtering an animal and distributing its meat among family, friends and the needy as a special act of charity for the occasion. Because of this, many poor Muslims are able to enjoy the unusual luxury of eating meat during the four days of the festival.

Eid al-Adha follows from the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, in which Muslims are required to make at least once in their lives. Eid al-Adha is also known as the Feast of Sacrifice because it traditionally includes the sacrifice of an animal permitted for food (eg. a lamb) as an act of thanksgiving for God’s mercy. Some Muslims seek out a farm where they can carry out the sacrifice, but many also send money to their native lands to help fund a sacrifice. Eid al-Adha lasts for up to three days and is a time to seek mercy from God.

The feast re-enacts Ibrahim’s obedience by sacrificing a cow, goat, sheep or ram. The sacrifice symbolizes obedience to Allah and its distribution to others is an expression of generosity, one of the five pillars of Islam.

May we take benefit from these 10 days.

Ameen

 

On Charity

The Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said:

“CHARITY DOES NOT IN ANY WAY DECREASE THE WEALTH AND THE SERVANT WHO
FORGIVES, ALLAH ADDS TO HIS RESPECT; AND THE ONE WHO SHOWS HUMILITY,
ALLAH ELEVATES HIM IN THE ESTIMATION (OF THE PEOPLE).”

Muslim Vol. 4, Hadith 6264

May Allah bless us all.

Ameen

Alhamdulillah

O Allah,
I ask You to strengthen my iman and those around me.
I ask You to soften my heart
And to soften the hearts of the believers.
O Allah,
Forgive me for my shortcomings, for only You are perfect.
O Allah,
Please forgive me if I ever got too wrapped in a matter
That I didn’t have time to utter Your name.
O Allah,
Please forgive me for all the salat I missed
Because of ignorance or laziness,
Please forgive me for all the fasts I didn’t make up,
Thinking it was alright, since I fasted most of the days anyway.
O Allah,
Please forgive me for the sins I committed in the past
And those I will commit in the future.
O Allah,
Have mercy on all the Muslimeen,
And guide them.
Guide me O Allah,

Ya Allah,

I am thankful for giving me another day!

Ameen

Insight

The Prophet pbuh said, “When anyone of you is engaged in the Prayer, he is holding an intimate conversation with his Lord.” [Muslim]

Islamic Entertainment for our Children

“Each of you is a shepherd and each of you shall be asked about his flock”

Bukhari and Muslim

 I am always worried about what my child watches on television. I do not stop him from watching television completely as I feel that could have  negative results.  However, I try and  provide a controlled environment in which he can only watch DVDs and programs which I have approved.  This summer I have been on the look out for quality Islamic shows for him to watch and enjoy.

As a Muslim convert I have realized over the years that as a mother watching her child grow would also mean being able to hand down the importance of knowledge through books and interactions with other children his age group. Alhamdulillah, as society continues to change with the times so has the importance of Islamic media. Thus, in the past few years many products for children have been produced.

I have compiled a list of my favorite Islamic entertainment products for children to share with other parents who have similar concerns. People may differ over the permissibility of these products (music, animation, etc) but this is not the forum for that.

Stories of the Prophets – Yusuf Estes

PEACE TV has produced some of the best Islamic shows for children. The first one to make this list is Stories of the Prophets. Yusuf Estes is perfect as an Islamic teacher for children, looking like a jolly grandfather and with a very good sense of humor, he keeps the children entertained while teaching them the stories of the prophets (peace be upon them) and many valuable lessons from each story. This is a very important show to let your children watch and one of many reasons why I recommend PEACE TV for every Muslim home.

 Whiz Kids & Wonder Kids

Other entertaining shows on PEACE TV are Whiz Kids and Wonder Kids, both feature performances by the children of the IIS (International Islamic School) in which the children deliver lectures, sing nasheeds, act out plays and overall provide good entertainment and lessons for children. I really like these shows because they provide positive role models for Muslim children, as your children can grow up watching practicing Muslim children on television.

Hooray for Baba Ali

Young people and teenagers are entertained and learn a lot through Baba Ali’s Reminder series, but for the little ones, there is Hooray for Baba Ali. A series of short videos in which Baba Ali entertains the kids by behaving like a child (more like a Muslim version of Mr. Bean) while teaching them many important lessons including obedience to parents, cleanliness, kindness to animals and so much more.

The Zaky Series

Islam Productions child division One4Kids have hired quality animators to put together a series of DVDs with an Islamic ethos about a purple bear named Zaky. There is so much to praise about this series. The animation is of the highest quality, the knowledge passed on is approved by scholars and authentic, there are no musical instruments and it is very well scripted. The best DVD in this series thus far is Time to Pray with Zaky which teaches children how to perform Wudhu, Tayyamum and Salah as well as many other lessons along the way. This DVD taught my children how to pray before they were two years old and at the moment they are learning their duas and surahs from this movie. If you don’t have this DVD in your collection, get it now. At the moment, we are eagerly awaiting the DVD release of the next Zaky movie in which he deals with protecting the environment

Muhammad (pbuh): The Final Prophet

It is hard to choose between the Message, the Final Legacy (series on Islam Channel) or the animated movie Muhammad: The Final Prophet. All three tell the Seerah beautifully, but since this is a list for children, I will go with the animated movie as the best way to teach your children the basic Seerah. The movie is well-animated, has good voice acting, an excellent script and tells all the major events of the Seerah with many moral lessons in just one and a half hours. I find this movie perfect as an introduction to the Seerah for children, Non-Muslims and new converts.

Insha’Allah, if you have something to add to this list of resources, please feel free to share your media experiences with your children. I would love to got to know more of your favorite places to visit with your children.

Jazakallahukhair!