patience

Shukr and Sabr

“Failure to do shukr in the majority of the time, removes the ability to do sabr in the minority of the time” ~ Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed

For the most part, we are in a state of shukr (gratitude to Allah Ta’aala). Each and every such moment is a GIFT from Allah Ta’aala and an opportunity for us to do shukr. For example: you slept indoors, in a warm bed, woke up in the morning, had breakfast, dressed yourself, walked, drove, talked, worked, laughed… each and every single instance was a gift and an opportunity to do shukr… “alhamdulillah for the house” “alhamdulillah for the warm bed” “alhamdulillah for another day” “alhamdulillah for the breakfast” “alhamdulillah for the clothes” “alhamdulillah…. alhamdulillah…. alhamdulillah…” For a human being who went from being completely naked and vulnerable as a baby – lacking in every material way, lacking in communication and motor skills,  lacking everything we need to survive on our own – to one who is sleeping in a warm house, belly full, fully clothed… how? All thanks to Allah Ta’aala! Alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah…

We neglect shukr because we are too busy comparing ourselves to those who we feel are in a better state than us in this world. We look to Joe with the job of his dreams, and Jane with the brand new house… and think about what we don’t have. Instead, we should look to refugee Abdul stuck in a tent in the cold of winter, and Aisha who is so happy to have found a stale piece of bread on the sidewalk and be grateful for the gifts we do have.

If we can be steadfast and truly feel shukr during the good times (and if we think about it, we have more good times than bad), then it will be easier for us to have sabr (patience, fortitude, perseverance, endurance, steadfastness) in bad times. Instead, if we don’t do shukr in the good times, we find that when the bad times come upon us, we aren’t able to do sabr – we fall into anxiety and depression instead.

(Source: personal notes from Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed’s one day course on How to Be a True Muslim – the Way of the Siddiqeen – January 26, 2013)

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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.