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“I saw a Muslim in need…” – Inspiring Story from Islamic History

During the time of Umar Ibn Al Khattab (radiaalahu anhu) there were two men who brought in a young boy, dragging him in to the courthouse. Umar Ibn Al Khattab (radiallahu anhu) asked, ‘What is this, what is going on? Why are you dragging him into the courthouse?” They replied, “This boy has killed our father.” Umar Ibn Al Khattab (radiaalahu anhu) then asked the boy, “Did you really kill their father?” The boy said, “Yes, I did but it was by accident. My camel, it used to tread on their property so one day their father took a rock and hit the camel in the eye and I saw the camel suffering and it made me furious and aggravated. So I took a rock and I threw it at the father. It hit him in the head and he died.

Umar Ibn Al Khattab (radiaalahu anhu) asked the two brothers, “Will you forgive this young boy for this accident?” They said no, they wanted Qisaas (retribution). Umar Ibn Al Khattab (radiaalahu anhu) asked the young boy, “Do you have any last wishes, any last requests?” The young boy said yes, “My father passed away and I have a younger brother and my father left some money behind for my younger brother. I would like three days to go and retrieve this wealth from a hidden place so that I can make sure my brother gets it when I die.”

Umar Ibn Al Khattab (radiaalahu anhu) thinks the boy is making this story up and asks him what wealth he is talking about. “What wealth? What father? What young brother?” The young boy said, “Trust me.” Umar Ibn Al Khattab (radiaalahu anhu) agrees to trust him, “But find a guarantor for you, someone who will guarantee that you will come.” The young boy looks around, there is a packed courthouse, he asked “Will someone not help me today?” as the boy looked around the people of the courthouse turn their face away down, and they turn their faces away. Non one wants to help this boy.

Then from the back of the courthouse a hand raises up. Whose hand is it? Abu Dharr al Ghifari (radiallahu anhu), the noble and illustrious companion of our beloved Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), and who gave da’wah to many tribes. He says, “I will be the guarantor of this boy.” One has to understand what it means to be the guarantor. It means, if this boy does not come back, it is the head of Abu Dharr (radiallahu anhu) that will be chopped off. He will be killed. And so the boy goes away.

The first day goes by and the boy is nowhere to be seen, the second day goes by, the boy is still nowhere to be seen. The time for Asr Salaah approaches on the third day and the two brothers went to Abu Dhar al Ghifari (radiallahu anhu) and they tell him to come with them to the courthouse, “It is time.” Abu Dhar al Ghifari (radiallahu anhu) said, “I will come to the house but the day does not end until Maghrib.” Abu Dhar al Ghifari (radiallahu anhu) walks through Madinah with these two brothers to the courthouse and the people of Madinah are following them, proceeding to the courthouse to see what is going to happen. It is the talk of the town.

Minutes are going by, the courthouse is filling up, and the anxiety is building up. Will Abu Dhar al Ghifari (radiallahu anhu) have his life sacrificed for the mistake of a boy? Literally minutes before the adhaan of Salatul Maghrib the boy rushes in. People begin shouting, they are happy and wondering what is going to happen. The boy comes in. The Maghrib adhaan hasn’t yet gone.

Umar Ibn Al Khattab (radiaalahu anhu) asked the boy, “Oh boy, why did you come back? I did not send a spy behind you. I did not send anyone to follow you. What made you come back?” The boy replied, “I did not want anyone to say that a Muslim gave his word and did not fulfill it, so I came back.” Umar Ibn Al Khattab (radiaalahu anhu) turned to Abu Dharr al Ghifari (radiallahu anhu) and asked, “Oh Abu Dharr, what made you want to be the guarantor of this boy?” He said, “I saw a Muslim in need and I did not want anyone ever to say that a Muslim was in need and no one was there to help him so I raised my hand to be his guarantor.” The two brothers heard this and said, “When we have people like this how can a Muslim ask for forgiveness and no one be there to forgive him. So they forgave the boy.”

This was the legacy of Islam. This was the code of conduct. This is why during the caliphate of Umar Ibn Al Khattab (radiaalahu anhu) they were able to reach the border of China, all the way to the South of France because they had strong relationships with Allah. They did things with Ihsaan and they lived with the code of conduct of Islam and this is when Allah SWT will restore the honour of this nation.

The legacy of Islam has been left to us by the cream of the crop. We have many inspirational stories to help us in our daily efforts to be a better Muslim. We must be inspired to take example from the way Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the Sahabah (radiallahu anhum) interacted with each other when we interact with each other in our daily lives and even on social media.

(sources: 1 and 2)

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Women in Islam – Are Women Inferior to Men? Part II: Role Of Community

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Change is inevitable.

Change does not necessarily take us off-course though it has the potential to. Change then can be thought of as a test – an inevitable test – as we shift from childhood into youth, from living with our parents to marriage, from illiteracy to literacy, from birth to death, etc., striving and struggling towards Falah (falah: success, happiness, well-being; Falah: the ultimate success, happiness, well-being – Paradise).

Along our lifelong struggle towards Falah, we encounter many situations which we either recognize and label as ‘obstacles’ or ‘opportunities.’

Change in living situation or community is one such struggle. Some of us leave our homes in search of ‘opportunity’ and others are forced to leave due to ‘obstacles.’ All sorts of cultural shifts come into play and some who leave for ‘opportunity’ may find themselves encountering ‘obstacles,’ while those who flee ‘obstacles’ may encounter ‘opportunities.’

But enough of that… what about women? Well, imagine this scenario: life in an environment rich with family relations and support – perhaps living under the same roof with extended family, perhaps living close but apart. Life in an environment where friends and neighbours value each other’s rights – caring for one another, making sure one does not go hungry and is not left needy, sharing the sustenance and other things provided by Allah Ta’ala, all for His pleasure.

Enter instability. Some families are shattered and torn apart. Either by force or by choice, some families move to distant lands where family support is unavailable, friendships take a long time to form, and people do not know the names of their neighbours.

Government and support agencies try to take on the roles left vacant by lack of family and friends. Social services, violence helplines, counseling services, and women’s shelters are born.

Were women free of abuse and neglect prior to this? Likely not however, the support system was maintained by large groups of people (not just 9am-5pm employees) and the entire community and individual members grew stronger in their struggles. Are women free of abuse and neglect now? Certainly not though many are given the impression that they are, that they receive assistance and are freed from oppression – the community absolves itself of any responsibility over individual members, shifting the responsibility totally onto the shoulders of individual women and agencies; meanwhile, many individuals are weakened by various exchanges and often feel like they must fend for themselves.

Now, layer this situation over top of the world economy and observe the complexity. Families and communities have gradually changed to also keep pace with the economy – of striving and struggling for success with a small ‘s’ (falah), for stuff and the false hope of freeing ourselves from the burden of debt. Our days are consumed by thoughts and actions of acquiring more stuff and more debt, while our nights are consumed by fitful dreams of freedom from debt.

We’ve gone off track… a loooong way off!

Women – Muslim and non-Muslim alike – fare far worse in ‘modern’ societies where some lack proper social supports and community, and are left to fend for themselves – struggling to keep from drowning in debt and oftentimes taking wrong turns, veering dangerously off-course.

On this issue, a Muslim brother suggests communities come together as jamaats. Here is an excerpt from his post on Sunni Forum:

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1) Traditionally Muslims did not live as isolated nuclear families with no contact with neighbours and the wider community. Women had a social support structure from other women. Without this we would just have depressed and isolated women at home, not good for anyone. Maybe we should try to do something together as a jamaa.

2) Economics. We are today forced to use bankers fiat money, to get loans, our governments take out loans…we pay the interest with blood sweat and tears…it requires both men and women to work, we are exhausted and stressed….instead of campaigning to change things, doing things as a jamaa to make the economy Islamic and halaal we waste our energy in useless arguments designed to make us all into consumers and workers, and to lose our true focus. Muslim men need well informed, focused and strong Muslim women, and Muslim women need strong, masculine well focused men who will guide and be gentle and wise. Step up to the plate make our lives extraordinary and great for the sake of Allah and the benefit of the ummah.

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Until next post, peace to you all.

Women in Islam – Are Women Inferior to Men? Part I: Roles

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Are you new to Islam? Or perhaps you are just learning more about Islam? Wait, perhaps you are a Muslim but consider certain aspects of Islam as ‘extreme’ or ‘backward’ or ‘cultural’?

Whether you are Muslim or not, there are a number of misconceptions out there – some of which relate to the outward appearance of Muslims and others relate to our way of life – Shariah law, striving in the path of Allah Ta’aala, communications with others, etc. One other misconception relates to the place women hold in Islam, and hence in the community or ummah.

It could be that when you think of ‘Islam’ images of women in niqab or burqah come to mind. Perhaps you have put those thoughts/images together with others such as female genital mutilation, certain legal rulings, and family violence. Perhaps you are under the impression that Muslim women who are out-of-the-public view and covered are somehow oppressed, wronged, demeaned… crushed. Then again, perhaps you have no such thoughts or your thoughts are positive or neutral.

Whatever your current conceptions of a woman’s place in Islam may be, I hope you will receive this effort clear and pure – leaving any and all pre-conceptions and baggage out – and truly try to understand the position of Muslims who strive to live by the covenant with Allah Ta’aala for His pleasure, by following the example of the best of His creation – the beloved Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم‎ . Insha’Allah,  over the next few posts, I will share information on the issue of women in Islam taken from various sources.

So please, sit back and relax… a stiff back, eyebrows pulled together, wrinkled forehead, face jutting forward, and arms crossed are not conducive to reception… relax and try to absorb the words through a filter of positivity. Open up those channels such body tension locks out.

Okay, there… alhamdulillah, much better. Here we go then – I’ll start with a piece I wrote elsewhere and tidied up for this post:

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim (In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful)

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The roles of men and women are beautifully delegated by Allah Ta’aal, in Islam. One way to look at the clear-cut differences between the roles is:

Women are truly blessed in marriages that live up to Islamic standards. Women bear children, nurse children, nurture children, care for coming generations; and care for the sick and elderly as well. Men aren’t absolved of responsibility. On the contrary, men bear the full responsibility of ensuring the proper tarbiyyah (development, upbringing, training) of their children; an overly harsh father can drive a child away, and a father who isn’t careful can be negligent in his duties. Hence the careful choice of spouse for each – man and woman – is crucial.

The relations between women and men are so intertwined with kindness, mercy, patience and forgiveness that it is truly amazing, awe inspiring. I see proper marriage as a favour from Allah (SWT) – and which of His favours will we deny? (~see Surah Rahman). Man is given an opportunity to be patient and kind towards his wife and children, to be merciful towards them and to forgive them their differences and shortcomings. Women are given the same opportunity with their husbands and children. We are human and we all have our shortcomings but marriage and marital relations is one area of struggle – striving in the path of Allah Ta’aala – where jannah (paradise) has been promised so that should tell us how important such relations are. Relations between women and men are not minor details that can be taken for granted. Relations between women and men are not child’s play. Nor is it an area to exercise oppression through.

Anyone, placing the hand on the heart, who has endured heartache after ‘play’, endured mistreatment, endured broken relations and marriages, knows the shortcomings and can clearly see where their (and the other person’s) kindness, patience, mercy and forgiveness may have been lacking. Careful planning and pure intentions are a must to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from ills that come by way of haste, infatuation, desire, impatience and so on.

And Allah Ta’aala knows best.

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Until the next post, peace to you all.