Concept of Sadaqa


Concept of Sadaqa

Prophetic Principles of Islamic Interaction Lesson Two: The Concept of Sadaqa   The process of Islamicizing our perceptions is vital for us to act properly and in accordance with our deen. It is known that the Islamic view of giving is wide and all inclusive. Every gift you have been blessed with you must spend of or use for the benefit of others: your health, your time, your wealth, your talents, your status, etc…

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Fatima: weaning and the concept of restraint


Fatima: weaning and the concept of restraint

Prophetic Principles of Islamic Interaction Lesson One — Fatima: weaning and the concept of restraint The wealth of barakah in the Messenger of Allah’s life cannot be encompassed. Every word, every move, every look is a cascade of never ending benefit and guidance. In few words and plain actions, he modeled for us the upright way to live by striving to be kind to others and to please our Lord. His words had that amazing ability to be comprehended by a child yet inimitable by a genius: the gift of saying much in few words. Simply put he attributes this ability to his Lord and describes it saying, أوتيت جوامع الكلم

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Thul-Hijjah Workshop


Once you’ve read On Hajj and Thul-Hijjah Part 1 and Part 2, your take home activities should include: 1) Whether traveling to Hajj this year or not, seek forgiveness from those you have wronged. 2) Return any borrowed items or owed money (amanas) to their rightful owners immediately. 3) Spend time alone to reflect on past sins and make towbah (repentance) for each of them specifically. 4) Give sadaqa or fund an udhiya/qurbani (slaughtered sheep) as part of your towbah.

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Reflections on Haj


Reflections on Haj

The conditions for an accepted towbah are, remorse, making amends and a sincere intention not to commit the sin again. Back-biting or similar offenses are best amended by making dua for the person, doing/giving sadaqa in their name or the like. Going up to a person and telling them you have been talking or talked behind their back will only make things worse. For those of you leaving to haj soon, I include part of a letter I wrote to someone concerning her trip to haj. May it be helpful and please do remember us in your dua. Two thoughts stay with me from my first haj. One was the shock with which I discovered that I remained very much a mortal there. I was under some impression that as soon as I saw the Kaba it would be pretty much a spiritual experience and nothing less. I found out to my chagrin and great annoyance that one still had to heed such human needs as sleep and looking for a bathroom. I remember once having walked for so many hours (I was afraid of the driving there and declined riding taxis!) that as soon as I prayed Asr in a mosque on our way home, I fell into a deep sleep in sujood. The women there thought I had passed out. So, that was a disappointment that your body still existed and had needs.

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Dhul-Hijjah Preparation: amanas and towbah


Dhul-Hijjah Preparation:  amanas and towbah

Our second step in getting ready for Dhul Hijjah is returning all amanas to their owners. In fact it is a good idea to have a place close to the front door where you place all borrowed items that need to be returned, so they do not get mixed up with your things and you forget they were borrowed. Keeping items from their owners through negligence or forgetfulness is a serious matter. Take three days to go through your house for any book, clothing or appliance that is not yours. Rack your brain and go through your papers for any money you owe anyone, or that was given to you to give away as sadaqa that is still sitting around. Sadaqa money that has not been dispensed with on time will bring darkness and heaviness into the home.

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The Prerequisite of Towbah: halal money


The Prerequisite of Towbah:  halal money

Soon we conclude the month of Dhul Qi`da and then comes the month of Dhul Hijjah, the month of haj. Before one goes on haj, one must repent from all wrong he has done, reconcile with all people and learn about the rites of haj. For those of us not going on haj, the Prophet SAW says that good deeds are most beloved to God in the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.  May we succeed in taking advantage of these special days.   The Prerequisite of Towbah: The path to pleasing our Creator and gaining Allah’s rida has been the preoccupation of humans in general and Muslims in particular throughout the ages. A student once asked his teacher, “What is the first step to pleasing Allah?” His teacher said, “Repentance.” Upon hearing from another sheikh otherwise, he returned to his teacher and said, “You said that the first step was repentance, but Sheikh so-and-so said it was making sure your source of income was halal. Which is right?” His teacher answered, “My son I told you what the first step was, but my brother spoke of the prerequisite to the first step. No repentance is possible if one’s money is not halal.”

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The Ummah’s Prescription: moving a step beyond mundane motherhood


The Ummah’s Prescription: moving a step beyond mundane motherhood

Umrah’s Life Lessons #9: The Ummah’s Prescription: moving a step beyond mundane motherhood Muslim women amazed me on this trip. I was impressed by their eye for beauty. The head covers they wore for instance mesmerized me. The fabric, chosen with such care and love: swiss dot sparkles, flower print, eyelet, pure silk and airy open-weave cotton. The hours of embroidery apparent in the tiny blue flowers spreading from the hem in every direction, in the intricate lace-work of gold and brown sequins and beads, in the red rose sprigs and pink blossom sprays unfurling from the top down. And the colors… reflecting the wearer’s personality, or the trip they were planned for in the loveliest manner: snowy white, minty green, summer blue and pale corn-silk yellow, light lavender and lilac leaves, and deep swirls of bold African batik. Their crisply starched and ironed appearance, the ruffles, the lace and the tailored or crocheted trim, were details that only one who had a deep appreciation for beauty would take the trouble to have.

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To teach: understand… experience… respect


To teach: understand… experience… respect

Umrah’s Life Lessons #8: To teach: understand…experience…respect I do not regard myself as one living a pampered life.  Yet my age is an advantage. With grown daughters I can always count on someone to help out at home, and with grown sons, there is someone to fall back on for an errand I simply can’t face. At work, there are people whose job it is to carry out my orders, and my trusted car of eleven years still burns the road to get me quickly to where I want to go. Still, it’s not like my life is devoid of difficulties, but it was the combination of so many hardships this umrah that overwhelmed me and made me think. It occurred to me as I walked on the same ground, under the same sky, feeling the same heat as the sahaba that I was also going through some of the same adversity they did, as well. One imagines, as one reads the seerah that she has understood the alienation and persecution that the sahaba underwent to hold onto their belief and to deliver the message to oncoming generations. The truth is, not only do we not fully appreciate their suffering, we have ceased to comprehend the physical limitations of a human body in terms of ability and in terms of endurance of  pain.

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Burning passion required to accomplish…anything worth accomplishing


Burning passion required to accomplish…anything worth accomplishing

Umrah’s Life Lessons #7: Burning passion required to accomplish…anything worth accomplishing I have always been the expert in child-rearing in the family, but in matters of prayer and Quran, my husband surpasses me by far. While I think of creative ways to enforce prayer, he would be calling them to stand with him and giving them attention and demonstrative love after each prayer; while I tried to write up the best memorization schedule, his daily sessions with them after every fajr had gotten them hooked. Every so often he plans a spiritual experience “to improve the prayer of so-and-so” or “encourage so-and so to memorize more”.  I respect and admire this in him, so when he announced that the main reason he was thinking of Umrah was to get Fatimah working on her sunna prayers and to increase her focus in prayer in general, I couldn’t object. But, I was ill-prepared. There was so much going on in my life. What with my daily worry about each member of my family, the deadline for a project I am part of a team for, the girls I was seeing daily for taraweeh, I couldn’t feel excited. But then, there was very little chance that it would come to be. Ramadan had begun, we had no reservations, my mother-in-law who is extremely attached to my husband was very sick, and my husband was surprised with a sudden trip he had to go on.

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Real life is raw, sans glamor… but naturally sweet


Real life is raw, sans glamor… but naturally sweet

Umrah’s Life Lessons #6: Real life is raw, sans glamor… but naturally sweet Five years ago I went on a luxury haj. We could pray in the hotel, see the Kaba and have it count as jama’a with the Haram. We could make wudu after the athan and still make it to a decent place in view of the Kaba. We had air-conditioned, carpeted tents in Arafat and food fit for a king. We had buses zooming to Mina and back at times that would count for two days, in one trip. Every day we had our choice from an amazing buffet for breakfast and dinner. Every evening we were invited to pray tahajud and listen to a lesson on the roof of the Haram, and our tawaf was video-taped for us to remember. My first haj, we were abandoned or ripped off by a non-existent group. We (my husband and my 24 year-old self)  performed haj with my fiqh book in hand. We knew no one and had no help. In Muzdalifah we slept in a sleeping bag on the shoulder of the road and we walked to Mina because we had no ride. We were so consumed by trying to correctly perform the rites that every once in a while we would feel dizzy, stop and count how many days it had been since we had last eaten, and find out that invariably it was three. Three days on Zamzam and soft drinks, so we would buy some cheese and bread. After haj we visited my sister-in-law who was on haj from a different country and with a group. She took me with her to buy a roasted chicken, I was shocked. You mean they have food in Mecca? My childhood memories were of my aunts frying meat and preserving it in shortening and buying dried fruit and vegetables to take to the land that had no food. But, that first haj… transformed my life.

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