Why it is very important to train our Children in Islam

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Asallam Alaykum everyone!

Recently, I was at a sister’s event themed ‘Women in Islam’ while i would have loved to discuss the event, something happened that almost brought me to tears.

While the lecturer was discussing the importance of sisters raising their kids, a sister was sobbing quietly beside me. Initially I thought she was making a call, until I realized she was crying. So I  spoke to her and we went outside.

While outside she kept cursing her parents which I found really disturbing, all my effort to calm her down proved abortive as she was really emotional and very sad.

I went inside to call another sister who was a doctor to speak to her, after a while she calmed down and told us that in her own words ” I wish my parents have never allowed me to do what i wanted, i wish they had guided me, I wish they had not given me so much freedom while growing up”

She added: “Because they allowed me to do what i wanted, i made so many mistakes…………

And I wept too.

All my life I have never really appreciated the fact that my parents and brothers had Ghirah protective jealousy for me. I was never allowed out without a wali or parental supervision and when I was indeed going out they made sure that it was with the people and friends they were confident about.

Recently, i got a job about 2 to 3 hours away from home and parents as usual were very concerned about me, they trust me a lot, but they don’t want to be in a situation whereby if anything happens to me, what would they say? And how would they account for it in front of Allah?

Now that I think of it, I can’t help but say Alhamdulillah for having parents/Family who made sure that I was taught the deen and guided aright.

Alhamdulillah, the sister was fine later on and we told her to pray for her parents instead.

However, this made me think about so many parents who think granting their child freedom is the best thing for them but in reality they are still children and children always need guidance.

In this vein, here are some ways to train our children.

Du’a

Sometimes we get carried away with praying for the right spouse that we forget to pray for righteous children too. It is not too early, start praying for responsible kids as soon as possible even before you get married.

Give the child a good name

Parents have the responsibility to provide the child with a good name which is in accordance with Islamic traditions. One of the hadith in this context is the one narrated by Naafi’ that Ibn ‘Umar said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The most beloved of your names to Allah are ‘Abd-Allah and ‘Abd al-Rahmaan” (Narrated by Muslim, 2132).

Teach by example

Because children listen with their eyes. Parents are the most influential role models children are likely to have. Parents who worship Allah correctly, and  and show respect, kindness, honesty, friendliness, hospitality and generosity to their children will encourage them to behave in the same way.

Introduce them to the deen

As early as possible introduce Allah/Islam to your child: His glory, obedience to Him over obedience to anyone else, asking only from Him, Importance of obeying his command etc.

Introduce Rasoolullah to your child: His life & times, following his Sunnah in everything in life, his Message, and his Work: Da’wah.

Helping children to choose their role models

Role models help people to model their behavior and character after those personalities. Parents should, therefore, help their children choose their role models wisely. While small I have always wanted to grow up like Aisha because I thought whoever memorized and taught so many hadith must be really brilliant.

While it may be difficult to teach children about each one of the sahabahs, parents should at a minimum introduce these personalities to their children and how such personalities achieved high status within Islamic circles. Planting the seeds of respect for such personalities at an early age in your children’s hearts will make it easier for them to seek out more knowledge about these personalities of Islam when they get older.

Teach your children skills that lead to earning only Halal (legal)

Parents should spend their time, effort, and resources to help their children make the right choices for earning a living. In doing so, parents should stress the need for their children to pursue career paths that can provide them solely with Halal (legal) living.

Provide your children a healthy environment for their upbringing

Training children so that they can grow up to become responsible citizens requires that parents actively maintain an atmosphere at home that is conducive to positive learning and upbringing.

Physical fitness

Mothers stop pampering. Regular sports, especially team sports, nutrition, no junk food.

Scheduling time

Make sure they sleep and wake up early. Schedule time for TV, visits. Cartoons, Quran memorization etc.

Treating others right

Children should, therefore, be taught to be respectful and dutiful to their parents, maintain good relations with relatives, and neighbors. Children should also be warned against picking up habits that can lead to disrespecting others. These include backbiting, slandering, lying and abusing others.

Teaching children Islamic morals and characters

Besides teaching children the rituals of worship and the rights of individuals, children should be taught Islamic morals, characters, and etiquette from an early age so that it becomes part of their habits. Children should be taught the principles of humility, tolerance, patience, and other such behavioral traits. These personality traits can help any individual tremendously in their lives. For example, teach them about patience and tolerance and dealing with tough situations, and they will be thankful to you for the rest of their lives.

Drive for excellence in everything

Teach them that Muslims are the best of Mankind and they should make being No.1. a habit. And don’tt scold them when they are losing. Teach them to focus on quality and being a Standard Bearer of Islam.

Expressing Love

Parents should also express their unconditional love for their children, as well as provide them with the continued support they need to become self-assured and happy.

It’s also important that parents’ guide their children aright and reasonable expectations for their children and tell them in plain words what they expect from them.

Raising a child is the hardest, most responsible and satisfying task a human being can face. It’s also the job for which people receive the least formal training, May almighty Allah make parenting easier for us all, and grant us children who would pray for Jannah for us. Ameen

P.S Mabrook to my  very close friend Azeezah who just got married, May Almighty Allah accept it as an act of Ibadah and grant you sabr as you complete half of your faith. Ameen

Fee amanillah wasalam.x

Read More on Child Raising Productive and Confident Muslim Kids (Part 2)

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A Twitter guide for Muslims

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So while so many of us are twitter gurus, tweeps. Twittercelebs and whatever acronym/slangs we coin this days to describe ourselves as an ardent twitter user. We all have joined the bandwagon of using social media to express ourselves and voice out our opinions.

In that vein, it is very important as Muslims to be careful of our usage of social media.  We should not forget that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “A servant of Allah will remain standing on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked about four things: his life and how he spent it, his youth and how he used it up, his property and how he acquired and managed it and his knowledge and how he utilized it.”

In Islam there is no room for slogans like “am killing time with twitter”, for in Islam time is treasured. In fact, wasting time is much more dangerous than squandering property, because unlike property, time cannot be compensated. Free time is a blessing that is overlooked, and not wholly appreciated by many people. In the Hadith, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “There are two of Allah’s favors that are forgotten by many people: health and free time.”

Knowing that twitter is one of the most used social network by Nigerian youth, it is pertinent to enlighten us all on how to use twitter efficiently without wasting time and ensuring that we don’t make terrible mistakes while using it.

Here’s my guide to Twitter etiquette for Muslims.

Stop and think.

Before you press that tweet button, think and reflect on what you are about to tweet. If you really want to tweet. Make sure what you are about to tweet is truthful, harmless and beneficial.

Confessions
I once read a Muslim teen tweet in which she said “I went out to the club without my parent knowing” Too much information is, well, too much. If you wouldn’t tell your spouse, mother, or a close family, why would you tell me? Why would you post your ugly and boring confessions on Twitter?

Privacy
Are you tempted to post what your family is doing at the moment with a nice filtered picture of it. NOOO it’s a trap, don’t do it.

In todays’s world people tend to be more public about their personal lives. Because intimate details of our lives can be posted so easily, we all tend to bypass the screens we might normally employ when talking about their private lives. What’s more, the things we post remain available indefinitely.

Moreover, while we might think that our information is safe on the internet but in reality most of us are rendered vulnerable by the information we put out there. Take Facebook for example where majority of people have their full names, dates of birth, age, work, school, clubs, family members, hobbies and pictures online. It may seem harmless but in reality that’s a lot of information to post for strangers to see.

This might do us more harm than good and particularly increases the risk for identity theft. So I advise us all to be very private about our private issues

Wrong Islamic advice

If you are not a scholar, don’t act like one. I don’t want your opinion on issues that have already been agreed upon by the ulama. Keep your opinion to yourself.

Disturbing photos

Pictures of starving babies, burned dogs, and people with horrible disfigurements are in poor taste, and very upsetting to some people. We know a good cause is usually involved, but use some discretion when posting some of these pictures on Twitter.

Make up a rule – and stick to it
Perhaps you have more self-control than the average person. Create a rule such as no Twitter after Ishai, Twitter on weekends only, or no Twitter at work, and stick to it. If you’re an over-sharer, which is a hard habit to break, try sharing posts weekly instead of daily or only updating your status once at night instead of multiple times during the day.

Start by setting aside a specific time every day for catching up on social media. Humans have a schedule for exercising, going to work, eating meals, and sleeping. So if one hour per day, at the same time each day, is good enough for dinner, its good enough for your news feed. When you do tweet, limit yourself to only discussing important issues, instead of off-the-cuff thoughts or irrelevant snapshots of your food or your cat (no matter how cute he may be).

Profanity
A Muslim keeps his mouth shut if he doesn’t have anything nice to say. Don’t call anyone stupid or foolish on Twitter, be polite and respectful. A Muslim doesn’t cuss to be “cool” and chooses his words intelligently because he can get his point across better without dropping an f-bomb or an s-missile.

In short, behave on twitter like you would at a social event. No one suspended the rules of polite society for Internet interaction.
Don’t forget the hadith that says “most people that are in hellfire are in there because they couldn’t control their tongue.”  In the Qur’an, God states that he has given man “two lips and one tongue” so the lips can control the tongue. (Surah Al Balad)

Information without links

It’s fine to tell us about a cool website, but include the link, OK?

Trust nobody

First of all, while intermixing between the sexes is frowned upon by Islam. But Don’t be so confident on Twitter. No matter how female the intonations or how manly the syntax, 140 characters is no match for face-to-face interactions as proof of gender.
There was a sister who met another really nice sister on Twitter, she started sharing pictures of her spouse and children and before she knew it she later found out that she was actually a brother. If you’re still not convinced that Twitter entrapment can be a convincing ploy, read the story of Tory MP Brooks Newmark and You’ll never trust an attractive Twitter avatar again.

Cyber Bullying/ Hate Speech
Social Media has given people a new platform to post hateful comments and even threats. Don’t ever post about how disgusting a tribe or religion is, it is nauseating.

Also trolls and haters can read through someone’s profile find out what interests them and hence build a connection with that person. This can be dangerous especially for you if you post a lot of personal information, allowing the predator to track you down. Young Muslims are mostly vulnerable and are easily lured into such traps.

Twitter sees everything – even Favourites
Favourites are an odd aspect of the Twitterverse, and even social media experts can struggle with the appropriate behaviour. Clicking on a star icon to show Tweet approval won’t show up in your own timeline, yet favourites aren’t completely private either – others can see your favourited tweets by clicking on the relevant tab.

A basic rule is to favourite tweets that you like and approve of.

Use simple common sense
Why would a major airline promise two free round-trip tickets likely worth more than 250,000 Naira just for a retweet? The old adage if it looks too good to be true it probably isn’t certainly applies here.

Google it!
If you take 10 seconds to Google (or Bing or Yahoo or whatever) instead of 10 seconds to blindly cut and paste, you’ll save yourself all kinds of embarrassment. It’s important to understand what happens when you tweet content that is untrue or fake: Not only did you just ensure that more people will be able to see it, but you also look really silly.

Anger
Learn to control your anger even on Twitter. “I’m so mad!” doesn’t give us a lot of information to go on, or any way to help. It just shows that you can’t control your anger and emotions.

Get organized with lists
The lists functions on Twitter can organize your favorite people into efficient streams. Create a “friends and family” list on Twitter. You’ll quickly see what’s new in the lives of those you actually care about without all the clutter surrounding it.

Direct Messages
Direct messages – where you send a 140-character Tweet in private – are the social media equivalent of stepping into the corridor to briefly escape an overcrowded party.

DMs are where Twitter-users can swap numbers and whisper without having to make the conversation funny or relevant to the rest of Twitter. But please, just because it’s private, that doesn’t mean you should send wrong messages or gossips. Don’t forget there is screen shot too.

Using the @ doesn’t make your tweets private
You can send direct tweets to people using the ‘@’ sign, followed by their account name. These tweets will appear in said person’s ‘Notification’ tab, and they’ll receive an alert of Twitter activity.
It’s very, very important to remember, however, that all tweets are public even when directed at a specific person. ‘”@elrufai, you look so authoritative in your profile photo”, will not only be seen by el rufai but, to your great shame, everyone following both you and el rufai.

Hashtags
Hashtags (#) basically turn the group of words following the hashtag into a searchable link. Think of it as setting up a page where anyone discussing the thing that you’re interested in can find one another and join in the conversation.

For example, if you search #CIAREPORTS in twitter search bar, you’ll find everyone using that hashtag in their tweets, and you’ll be able to interact with them. You’ll get to join in with the jokers who write, “Waking up to devastating news that #CIAREPORTS isn’t real.

Replace one urge with another
Always reach for your smartphone when you’re bored? Train yourself to do something different. Pick up a book instead… or knitting needles… or cook… or learn the Quran…or a paper and pen… literally anything! If you carry your phone from room to room, consider docking your phone in a certain place and not touching it until necessary. Out of sight, out of mind.

Delete your account

When talking about Twitter it’s hard to not mention the ultimate option: deletion. If you’re ready to go cold turkey, start the goodbye process immediately.

You can experiment with temporarily limiting your access. Challenge yourself to abstaining from Twitter for a full week, or, if that’s too daunting, just delete Twitter from your phone for a week. Does your life get better or worse? You may find that you feel perfectly satisfied without Twitter in your life.
Be advised: this option is not for the faint of heart. But if you can pull it off, I applaud and congratulate you.

Conclusion
I do believe that this rules can be applied to all our social networks, I think it is high time muslims learn how to perceive and react to social media and social networking sites. This isn’t taught in schools, and I highly doubt that our parents can honestly understand social media to understand its effects.

It is also important to use social networking constructively by using maximum privacy settings, minimising the time spent on social networks, exercising caution about what is shared on social media and also build an online networks of people you can interact with face-to-face.

Obviously social networking sites are here to stay and already they have changed the way we experience, think, interact, share opinions, make friends and even vote. But it’s time we reconsidered some of our rapidly shaping social-networking habits before we lose ourselves in this mayhem.

P.S I know it’s been a while since I have posted on here. Quite a while, shame on me, shame on my brain. But I have never really took a break off writing, I just thought instead of blogging here, I could blog on known website and get my message to a much wider audience. So you can check read my worship articles every Friday in The Union Newspaper (www.theunion.com.ng) and every day on MuslimBeats http://www.muslimbeats.com

Here are some of recent articles:

The Muslim Feminism Debate
http://www.muslimbeats.com/muslim-feminists-boring-speech/

Matchmaker make me a perfect match
http://theunion.com.ng/matchmaker-make-me-a-perfect-match/

25 Bookish Things About Me [Tag]

Asallam Alaykum everyone, how is your weekend going? Here are some bookish things about me.  Hope you dont find it too weird lol.

 

1.  I discovered the powerful pull of words and books when I was very young. I had a reputation as a bookish child and I was rewarded with books for good grades and behaviour, and this is something I will do with my children in future.

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2.   I’m obsessed with adaptations. If there’s a movie or TV version of a book, I have to watch it. If there’s a book version of a movie/TV show, I have to read it. Even if I don’t particularly enjoy it, I still like to compare the differences. “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas is one of my favourites, and also the movie adaptation of “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo is splendid. I have to add this I hate the movie adaptation of “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Adichie and the Fault in our stars by John Green. Don’t ask me why.

dedication

Check out this dedication page, am sure the original buyer would be wondering how it ended up in Nigeria

3.   I buy lots of used books, it can be said that most of the books that I buy are second hand.I like their smell, yellowed pages, dedications that sometimes I find inside … and their reasonable prices 🙂 I often go on the hunt for used books to Yaba, Ikeja along (every Saturday morning), Ojuelegba etc)

4.   I read random genres. I love exploring different genres. Classic and motivation is my least favorite genre.(Religion, historicals, autobiographies, travelogues are my fav etc) I want to try more genres such as contemporary, thrillers etc in the future.

5.   The cartons of Books in my house offers an eclectic mix, but I still think my taste in books is influenced by what my mother reads. (My mum is a teacher, so she has instilled the love for reading in us while growing up)

6.   I love African Literature a lot, the characters, the plot, the diction are all so real to me. I totally relate to them. And then there’s the writing itself. In Africa literature descriptions are breathtaking. Metaphors that might seem clichéd or overwrought are delicate and powerful in Africa literature. It’s impossible not to marvel at the stories and the characters.

7.   I cant count how many books I have. It’s just there. I love my book collection and I keep them coming. 😉

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8.   I have been transported to far-flung China, and found myself in other places and other times as the books I read open up and take me in. I feel incomplete if I’m not reading something and I bring a book to keep me company in buses, in waiting rooms, as a matter of fact everywhere I go.

9.    I put down a book, skim, or skip pages if the book doesn’t suck me in the first 100 pages.

10.   The first classic I read was Romeo and Juliet and I didn’t like it probably that’s why am not into romantic novels and Shakespeare (although I love Macbeth, and the merchant of Venice)

11.  Most of the Books I read are in some way about belonging to places, belonging some where and then having to go away and learn to belong somewhere else.

12.   The author that got me into reading is most definitely Chinua Achebe with his book “Chike and the River”

13.   Though I like reading ebooks but I still prefer physical books because I can see my reading progress better. On an ebook reader it just tells you how many % you’re in, when holding an actual book you can feel that you’re making progress. makes sense right?

14.   I’m not afraid to read big books.

15.  I can read everywhere it is quiet. Doesn’t matter whether it’s on a bench somewhere, in my bed or in the living room. As long as no one or nothing is disturbing me, I’m good.

16.   Am slowly running out of space on my book shelves and book cartons. I will have to reorganize soon.

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17.   I hate it when I have no one to talk to about a book I just finished (basically ALL THE TIME except my family and I already know their response) which basically means I just have to stand there and keep myself from either falling apart out of sadness or jumping up and down out of excitement.

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18.   Am making an awesome Bookish T-shirt soon in shaa Allah! Because book-lovers need to proclaim their bookish ways with pride!

19.   I don’t have a favourite author.

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20.   When am asked “What is your favorite book?” Most likely I would give 365 different answers. But I think I have finally settled on one “The Noble Quran (a summarised version of At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with comments from Sahih Al-Bukhari)”

21.  My worst reading habit is being so curious that I have to read the last chapter halfway through the book. I always spoil the best books this way.

22.  Someone recently nicknamed me the crazy book lady LOL from one of the Book stores I used to shop from.

23.  I love building my mini islamic library but dislike how Islamic book’s are so expensive. Other than my Islamic book’s, my next largest collection is Travelogues, and memoirs, I love getting inspiration from them.

24.  Do you know how many more book’s I could have read in my life, if we had so many super duper cool book store in Nigeria? Such is life, my people (in a heavily accented igbo voice).

25.I am planning on opening a book store and a bookish artsy store. I actually plan on doing it in the not too distant future. I am learning how to make some bookish crafts from some instagram accounts  I follow. Hopefully I catch on really quick in shaa Allah.

Examples of some bookish stuff i saw online.

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Well, that was HARDDD. Coming up with 25 bookish things about me was not easy. It took me much longer than i expected to write this stuff, so please like it 😉 No, seriously.

Goodreads: Zaynabtyty

Instagram : Zaynabtyty

Twitter: zaynabtyty

 

THE EVIL EYE IS REAL

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Asallam alaykum everyone.

How are you all? By popular demand i have been told to share at least two articles and two books i have enjoyed reading monthly.

There are so many interesting stuff on the web these days, that it is quite impossible to just choose two articles, but In shaa Allah i promise to share the beneficial ones so that they would serve as reminders for us.

I use instagram a lot and i know the race on there to post a perfect picture and caption. In this vein i selected this article published on suhaib webb to serve as a check for us all. (Dont forget to read the comments too, i wonder why y’all read articles and not read the comments.)

This was first published on Suhaib Webb

 

 

THE EVIL EYE IS REAL by UBAH

 

Disclaimer: this post is not meant to explore the evil eye in and of itself, nor is it meant to provide any type of legal rulings or scholarly opinions regarding it. Instead, it’s simply meant to be a reflection and reminder to us all.

Although most of us have heard of the evil eye and maybe even stories of people being afflicted by it, we seem to act like it does not exist. Or maybe we have forgotten.

It’s funny – discussion surrounding the evil eye tends to involve either intense fear mongering, or mythical folklore mumbo jumbo. Yet, the Prophet ﷺ  (peace and blessings be upon him) so eloquently explained the evil eye – something very enormous and quite scary – in the simplest of ways:

It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amir bin Rabi’ah, from his father, that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The evil eye is real.” (Sahih Darussalam)

It’s real, and there’s no denying that. Yet we live and act like it’s not.

For example, social media in particular has given people a glimpse through the windows of our lives. In a beautiful way, we are able to share pieces of ourselves with those close to us and that we care deeply for.

But many of us abuse this privilege. We use social media as (primarily) a leverage for showing off the best sides of ourselves. Our families, vacations, new purchases, promotions, religiosity, social lives – you name it. If it’s going to make us look good, we share it. Sometimes with the world.

I’ve recently been doing research and readings on modern day narcissism, voyeurism, social media, and the links to our mental well-being. Studies have shown that platforms like Facebook can lead to people feeling depressed or sad about themselves. A reason for this is because many people go through what’s been dubbed as Facebook Envy. Replace “Facebook” with any popular social media outlet, and we’ve got our hands on a problem that is very, very real.

I’m sure we’ve all felt a twinge of jealousy while scrolling through our newsfeeds and comparing the success of others to our mundane, boring, unaccomplished lives (which, by the way, are complete exaggerations). Let me say that jealousy is normal. It’s a human emotion that we shouldn’t hold on to but instead, observe and eventually let pass.

However, problems occur when we cling to this jealousy and allow it to fester. When it plants its roots into our minds and branches off into feelings of envy. A good litmus test for whether or not you are feeling envious is to ask yourself this: “Would I feel happy/satisfied if [insert person’s name] lost [insert thing you are envious of]?” If you answer yes, then something is severely wrong with your thought process, outlook on life and your heart. It may sound harsh, but it’s true.

So how does this relate to the evil eye? Simple: we put ourselves out there in ways that may promote envious feelings in others. Is it 100% our fault? Of course not. Someone who is a firm believer in the qadr (predestination, divine will) of Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He), and who is grateful for their own blessings won’t harbor ill feelings towards what they perceive to be your amazing life.

But, we certainly play a big role. Ask yourself: “how do I present myself to others”? Let’s use social media as an example:

  • Do you use social media to brag, show off, or make yourself feel better?
  • Is there a (large) gap between your online persona and your real-life one?
  • Do you compete for the most shares, likes, views, etc?
  • Does being popular make you feel better about yourself?
  • When people don’t give you the attention that you are looking for, do you feel worse about yourself?

If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, then I recommend looking inwards and reassessing your intention whenever you share things with others online.

This applies to real life as well. Unless the person is extremely close to you (e.g. family member, good friend), don’t make it a point to indulge in your ego.

Here’s why:

  • Imagine if a person who can’t have children is constantly bombarded by pictures of your beautiful babies.
  • Imagine if a person who can’t get married or who’s had trouble finding a spouse is confronted with constant updates on your “perfect” relationship and/or wedding (or engagement) photos and posts.
  • Imagine how a person who wanted that job position or material possession you’ve just attained will feel when you rub it in their faces.
  • Imagine if someone with low self-esteem and self-perception comes across your beautiful personal photos or “selfies”, and the enormous amount of validation they receive from others.

My beloved Sisters and Brothers, don’t you see how any of the above could contribute to the evil eye? We know this, and yet, we indulge our egos. We paint perfect pictures of ourselves to others and we OVERSHARE with those who truly have no business knowing.

And even amongst our families and friends, there may be people who hide ill feelings towards our achievements, beauty, families, and lifestyles behind their smiles.

And the sad part is that most of the time, people envy what we know isn’t completely real – it’s just a facade. We know that our lives aren’t as glamorous or beautiful as we paint it to be, and yet we still project these images into the minds of others. In our modern times, people not only become envious of our lives, but also of what they perceive to be our lives.

I should note that if Allah (swt) wills for the evil eye to afflict you, then it will. And there is nothing you can do to stop it. BUT we should try to take precautions to limit the possibilities. For many, this will be hard because we live in such a narcissistic and self-serving society today. There is a deep need within many of us to be validated and accepted by others – even people we don’t know.

To wage war on the evil eye now means to wage war on our egos. To not feel compelled to brag, over-share, or make ourselves look good to others.

Personally, realizing the reality and the effects of the evil eye is a big part of the reason why I try to be as honest as possible through my writing. I would never want people to get the wrong impression of me – like I’m some great, intuitive, “deep” person or something. I try to highlight my struggles and relate to others to show that I’m NOT perfect. I struggle a LOT with my faith as well as my personal and social lives. My life isn’t glamorous and I would never want anyone to wrongly perceive that it is. Just because I like to speak/write about Allah and my religion, people sometimes mistake that I’m more religious than I know myself to be. It’s not true, believe me.

By being a bit more honest about ourselves, we can adjust the way that others perceive us. We can knock ourselves off that pedestal they may have placed us on and show them that sometimes, the grass isn’t really greener on the other side. In fact it may be the same, or even dead and gone.

Another thing we can do, Sisters and Brothers, is to be very careful and selective with who we share personal information and/or photos with. Again, this will be difficult, especially for those of us who are public figures or who have a public following. Still, this is something that I feel needs to be done as a safeguard against the evil eye. Social media, especially, needs to go back to being about friends and family as opposed to acquaintances, distant relatives and plain old strangers.

I’m not saying we should become hermits, all I’m saying is what the Prophet ﷺ said: the evil eye is real. And my dear Sisters and Brothers, we truly need to start treating it as such.

 

 

 

 

11 MOBILE APPS I USE AS A JOURNALIST AND AS A MUSLIMAH.

Screen shot of some of my Apps

Screen shot of some of my Apps

Getting a good and effective apps to use as a journalist and as a Muslim can be very challenging and overwhelming. As a mobile app nerd I cannot count the number of times I have had to wipe off my phone in order to restart with some applications again. Several times a month, I’m doing what many Android users only do a handful of times: logging into a clean phone and downloading the critical apps I need to get things done (I have free Wi-Fi at work lol). I don’t have time to re-install those once-in-a-blue moon apps, so I only bother with the most important (and useful) apps, which I’ll now share with you. This is my list of the essential apps that every Muslim and a journalist should install.

 

1. IQURANPRO

The screen shot of some reciters on IQuranPro

The screen shot of some reciters on IQuranPro

Apart from reminding on Friday to read Suratul Qahf. Iquran pro is very good for hifz and quran recitation (plus Tajweed too). Provides verse by verse audio playback, repeat functions, unlimited bookmarks, search, excellent navigational controls, several translations and reciters and much more. I found the playback feature to be top notch. There are eight reciters to choose from, which is a fun bonus. This is one of my best app for reading and memorizing the Quran on mobile.

 

2. FLIPBOARD AND GOOGLE NEWS STAND

flipboard

It is hard to choose between the two. So I would just add both instead. While Flipboard allows you flip through articles reformatted into a magazine style, with very readable text and large images, Google’s Newsstand app rolls up the magazine-like reading experience, along with easy access to your digital magazine subscriptions. You can also discover news stories by browsing the Read Now or Explore sections. Of course, it includes sharing features for when you find something really interesting. And I follow a lot of stuff on google news stand like “Off the shelf, Patheos, mashable etc.

 

 3. GOOGLE DRIVE AND DROPBOX

dropbox

Errm just like I did earlier, I love both Dropbox and Google drive. While google drive gave me 16 gig free, drop box gave me only 4gb free. However, If you ever need to take down some notes on the go, Drive and drop box ensures they’ll be waiting for you in the cloud later.

When i installed my drive, it came with Google docs which means i no longer needed the Polaris viewer anymore for typing my document on mobile. Thank You Google Drive.

Also, Automatically sync your photos, documents and videos across all devices — including your phone — when you save an item to your Dropbox and google drive account. They both make it easy to stay organized. Access your files from any web browser as well as your mobile device. This makes all of your important content more secure — if your phone or laptop breaks or gets lost, you still have everything backed up.

 

4. SLEEPBOT

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For those Tahajud and Qiyam moments, sleep bot has allowed me to be able to know what time is best for me to wake up, after a stressful day at work. Also if you’re curious about what goes on while you’re snoozing, SleepBot has all the answers. Leave your phone in bed with you, and SleepBot will track your movements and nocturnal noises using your Android’s microphone and accelerometer. But SleepBot is more than a mere tracker; it is designed to wake you up during the lightest part of your sleep cycle, promising better sleep and more wakeful mornings.

 

5. POCKET

pocket

if you are a writer or a student who does a lot of research, Instead of wasting work time reading articles, save them for later with Pocket. No longer do you have to read all the article at once as pocket lets you save articles, images, and videos for later. I especially like how it reformats articles for more comfortable reading, and how it syncs between all my devices.

 

6. GOODREADS

goodreads

My friends already know how much I love good reads, I get a lot of book recommendations from there. Also with a community of more than 8 million readers, I draw a lot of inspiration and suggested readings from an enormous catalogue of suggested books. While I prefer to use goodreads on my laptop, I still use it once in a while on my android device.

 

7. EVERNOTE

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To be honest, this is supposed to be my number one app, as I use it a lot. There is no day I don’t make use of Evernote to take notes during meetings, press conferences, events, create a shopping list, and stay productive. Evernote is my digital notepad, I have all my duas before entering the bus, before entering the mosque, before entering the market and every other important duas saved on my evernote. The app makes my notes searchable, allows me to capture photos and record voice reminders as well.

 

8. DUOLINGO

duolingo
And if you want to learn another language, this is the app for you! Duolingo gamifies language learning with bite-sized lessons, and a friendly interface. The more you use the app, the more you unlock and—with practice—the more you learn. I am very sad though that duolingo only supports Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese. I wish they would add Bahasa, Bengali, mandarin, Arabic and Hausa real soon. I am currently learning Spanish, you guys can find me on duolingo “zaynabtyty” (no pervs please)

 

9. GOOGLE TRANSLATE

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Probably my biggest fear as a blogger and a traveler is being unable to communicate with other people. Google Translate takes a bit of the edge off, quickly translating either written text or spoken words. You can even use the app to do the speaking for you, and input text through your camera or handwriting. Unfortunately, you’ll need a data connection to perform the translation, but it’s the next best thing to actually learning another language.

 

10.VSCOCAM

vscocam

I love vscocam because it doesn’t over edit photos like other photo editing apps. Am not much of a photographer, but vscocam has made me appreciate the “finer side” of photography.

 

11. QUORA

quora

I just started using quora after my co-worker suggested it to me. The concept of Quora is simple, you ask a question and you get so many awesome responses. The questions asked on Quora are very different from other Q&A sites. Instead, questions and answers offered on Quora are either incredibly informative or thought provoking – and sometimes even both!

Think of it like a Yahoo Answers forum, but with more of a focus on responses by professionals and experts in specific fields. There’s even a sort of gaming element involved, which lets you earn and spend Quora credits based on your activity. Also Users can easily hop from question to question and add their own answers and opinions to the questions of other users.

 

 

I’ve tried to include a little bit of everything with this list. It covers mostly on news gathering, reading articles and catching on what Is happening in the world today. I added a little bit of productivity and entertainment too (for travellers like me). Ideally, if you download these apps on your phone, you should be able to tackle just about anything in shaa Allah.

But these apps are just my opinion, feel free to send me your apps too via the comment box, twitter or instagram or send me an email. I would really love to read your responses.

 

Twitter : Zaynabtyty

Instagram: Zaynabtyty

THE FEAST

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The feast is set and the guests are arriving. It is not reserved for the elite or the street thugs. This is for all, every class of people, from every place. The guests arrive in groups of ones and twos, some alone, mostly smiling, a few expressionless.

After they have taken their seats, the host arrives to take his at the head of the table.
He greets, pleased at how much people turned up at his feast.
“I hope my staff have taken good care of you throughout your stay,” he asks.
They reply almost in unison, with nodding heads left and right.
“Lets eat.”

The clanking of cutlery respond.
“What type of meat is this? Tastes really good,” someone says with a mouthful.
“I really don’t care,” another replies, “all I know is that I’m having as much as I can.”

The host chuckles. He dips a piece of meat into the thick dark oil in front of him and as he is about to eat it, he notices the man at the far end of the table, not eating, looking pale.

“You should eat up, man from the East,” the host tells the guest.

“Its hard,” the guest says, “its hard knowing where the meat is coming from.”

“But you accepted the invitation. That means you are complicit. Don’t make your feigned morality ruin your night.” The host chuckles again. “I can assure you, the meat tastes just like roast lamb.”

Every other guest is either too engrossed in their eating, or just laughing as the host chuckled.

The host snaps his fingers twice and four chefs come in.  The guests give a standing ovation in approval of the chefs’ mastery of their art.

“Tell us about this wonder,” the host asks.

“We get meat from everywhere, the West, South, Equator, Dark lands, but it’s easiest getting them in the East,” the first chef says, looking at the man from the East.

“When we see a new herd to hunt,” the second chef begins, “we make everybody see reason why they are good game. You know how these hunting laws are,” he rolls his eyes making the guests laugh.

“When we have a go,” the third chef continues as the laughing ceases, “we create bait for them, because, hell, these animals are hard to catch!”
The guests nod in agreement while the host just watches, amused.

“The most effective bait is that,” the chef points to the biggest bowl of the thick black oil on the table.

“This is the best part,” the fourth chef takes over, brimming with excitement. “When they have gathered round the black oil traps, the grazing grounds become the killing fields.”

The guests give a roaring applause to the genius of the chefs who bow and leave the hall.
“But these are my brothers you call game!” the man from the East screams, fighting back the tears, and failing.

“Calm down East man,” one of the other guests cut in. “You need to understand that they stopped being your brothers when the landed on this table. They are just food.”

“Iblis!” the East man screams the host’s name, rising to his feet. Every other guest is shocked at the guts of the East man.
“You need to stop this!”

Iblis sits calmly, like a gentle sea with storms raging at its floors.
“You’ve got guts, calling me by name, but that aside,” Iblis leans back on his throne-like seat.

“Know this. An animal can beg in many languages for mercy or even fight back. But the moment it becomes food, it becomes defenseless.” Iblis pauses, making sure everyone was listening.

“Food speaks only two words, ‘EAT ME’,” Iblis roars, sending a shiver down the spine of every guest, “and that is what we are going to do! Eat!”

Silence.

“This feast will never hold again as long as there is breath in me,” the East man says, raging out of the hall.

“I have a question for you,” Iblis says to the East man, “what are you going to do about it?”

The Messenger of Allah said: “The nations are about will call each other against you just as they invite each other to a feast.”

It was asked, “Oh Messenger of Allah, will there be only few from among us?”

He replied, “No, you will be many just as much as the foam is on the sea. But fear will be taken out of the heart of your adversaries, and Wahn will be placed in your hearts.”

It was asked, “Oh Messenger of Allah, what is wahn?”

He answered, “Love of the material world and hatred of death”

This short story was sent in by Fuad Lekan Lawal, one of the most creative brothers on Twitter Sphere. More of his distinctive works can be seen at

http://rebelliousxiv.wordpress.com/

HOW WE UNDER-DEVELOPED OUR IMAMS

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This title is not meant to insult or ridicule our imams rather this article is written to throw more light on our imams and their poor meagre salaries.

All I have done is to add my own voice to this issue, which we have successfully neglected in our discussions in our various Islamic fora. Despite its tone, I am not anti rich people or anti anything. I am just speaking my mind, our commentators have through false modesty and perhaps because of fear of looking too materialistic not pointed out this anomalies in our masjids and in our muslim communities as a whole.

Having made this disclaimer, I was reading the UnMosqued Series on patheos when I came across a well written article on imams and the low salaries they earn in America. It was quite disheartening as this article dives into the deeply discomforting question of why Millennials, Generation Xers, reverts and women seem to be giving up on American mosques, and the third spaces they are creating in the absence of regularly attending mosques.

Here is a Link for those interested in following the unmosque discussions on patheos, it is hoped that we would all learn a lot and find solutions and ways to revive the role of the mosque.

Moving to the issue at hand, although no research has been carried out on how much an average imam makes here in Nigeria, but we all know that they end ZERO and NADA compared to their Christian counterparts that can afford to buy a private jet in the blink of an eye.   We all seem to believe that since imams (and their families) are working fi sabilillah – in God’s way they should sacrifice financial security. But, while Islam does frown upon extravagance, it does not require its adherents to take a vow of poverty.

A critical look at our mosque system in Nigeria reveals a decline, I have heard so many Muslim youth complain about the fact that they don’t have access to good and beneficial lectures in their community. Why? Because our Islamic scholars and commentators have been looking for consolation rather than the resolution of the various dilemma we face in our various Muslim communities. Examples are so abundant that I can’t even bother with particular instances.

Apparently our imams who seem as the only ones who possess the tools and possibly the insight to build our Muslim communities are constrained even sometimes without their knowing it, by certain provincialisms like poverty and cowardly inability to challenge mosque boards.

Unfortunately, many of these imams are also struggling with busy schedules and are ill-equipped to deal with the challenges facing their congregations in  a productive and culturally sensitive manner which is one of the reasons why so many people especially youth are becoming unmosqued.

I remember at a very young tender age of 15 while I had so many questions bothering me about Islam, I had no imam to answer my questions as some of them were unequipped despite their our vast resources (the Quran, and the Sunnah), scholars of ilm etc. to answer my atheism questions and they took the escape route of saying “we dont ask questions in Islam, we hear and we obey!!”

WHATTTT!!?? This is an answer unsuited for a generation like ours.

From my perspective and a thousand others I think, the title of a great imam should not be limited to one who recites the Quran with great tajweed and a mashaa Allah voice but rather one with sound and sober Islamic knowledge, an imam that totally understand the cultural intricacies of Nigeria, an imam that is concerned about the emotional and psychological welfare of his audience. Someone who understands the nature of structural tribalism and religious bigotry in this country and challenges it among his congregation. Someone who knows how to respond to a survivor of domestic violence or sexual assault, who can give advice to a teenager confused about marriage without judgement, who can comfort an audience suffering from depression, who can help frame the questions a person struggling with atheism is asking without spiritual abuse. Someone who would speak the truth and remind us about our temporary the dunya is. Yes, this might be a tall order, but I think that guy would be worth a lot and would need our support.

According to the Unmosqued series, One way to attract an imam with that kind of temperament is to offer him competitive salary, a salary that may siphon away some of the young men in our communities from medical, law or engineering schools, but really, how many more doctors, lawyers and engineers do we need? We do, however, critically need more imams who care for the needs of others, promote justice and are creative thinkers. I don’t want our communities to joke anymore about the kid who couldn’t get into medical or law school and went to the madrassa instead. We need more people like him in our society.

We must invest heavily (both human and fiscal capital) in building Muslim seminaries for imams and other religious leaders. We must develop a nationally recognized imam certification process which will help to keep imams accountable to their congregations. We must protect the rights of imams who are usually employed “at will” and at the mercy of their mosque boards. And we must pay them competitive salaries, in order to both attract the most qualified candidates and to mitigate the needs for imams to take on second or third jobs to support themselves and their families.

Also we should ensure that the voice of the imam is not dwarfed by the voice of the owners of the mosque. This happen in so many cases when the people who built the mosque dictate whatever happens in the mosque including the prayer times. Subhann Allah this is totally wrong, the mosque is the house of Allah and we all should refrain from referring to mosques as our own personal properties.

And I think I should also address the issue of the prayer times here too, it is very upsetting that after all the explanations about the prayer times subject to change some mosque still insist on praying Zuhr at 2pm and Asr at 4pm, This is very incorrect.

The lesson is clear, and in the words of Hind Makki “Being an imam is an emotionally draining job. We must acknowledge that as a community. There are many imams who frankly should not be in their positions – they have neither the temperament, nor the educational background for it. We must acknowledge that as a community. The solutions to these challenges are multifaceted and include developing religious educational institutions that serve our needs and paying our religious leaders better for the critical services they provide our communities.  We deserve better and so do our imams”.

For if we treats our leaders better, there is hope for us as a community and in shaa Allah Islam would perhaps lead the way again.  

THE CRIMINALS OF TIME

By the time, verily man is in loss, except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and join (together) in the mutual enjoining of Truth, and of patience and constancy.” (103:1-3)

“Time is life itself.” ….. Hasan Al Banna

Abu Hurairah R.a.) narrated that the Prophet said, “Allah said: ‘The son of Adam hurts Me by abusing Time, for I am Time; in My Hands are all things and I cause the revolution of night and day.’” (Bukhari 6/351 and Muslim 4/5581)

 

I am not happy!

I just came back from an Islamic event that was supposed to start at 9am, but the program started at 12am instead and I watched in disdain as this people managed to screw everyone’s time by delaying their zuhr solah. Nigerian time huh?

To put the icing on the already battered cake, the event coordinators interrupted sober and reflective sessions by introducing lecturers and VIP’s (criminals of time) as they walked in with their retinue of followers and Aids. Wallahi to be honest it was somewhat annoying.

It is not a rare sight in Nigeria during meetings or events when instead of going to the business of the day we interrupt sober sessions by serenading who is who when we should go to the business of the day. In fact in the case of general events, we have long winding sessions of prayer warriors (from every faith) stealing our time right from us and we giving them a resounding amen and ameen all the same.

Why try so hard to simultaneously worship God and Man when we end up failing in between?

Anyway, Every event I have attended I watch with contempt as the presenter or event coordinator begins with a long and winding introductions of chairmen, guests of honour, dignitaries, sponsors, alamala group, awon alaso ebi etc.

If a governor, business mogul arrives two hours late, the MC interrupts to pay homage to the person. No attention is paid to the fact that he has not shown respect to others there and even the organizers of the event.

These criminals of time usually do not come alone. Their long and boorish retinue of servants and PA also assume the cocky air of their principals and leaders (we are the boss attitude) and I observed that some VIP’s calculatedly attend events late just for ego massaging and self-worship.

Such display of supercilious extravagance is worsened, when they would have to displace people like me sitting in front who respected the event by coming early. (Imagine my face when I get bounced to the far back). Totally unacceptable.

I get more annoyed and amazed by the obsequious demeanour of reverence of everyone else in the hall as they wave, bow, clap and sing for the criminal of time. This is a culture unsuited for the 21st century.

The Qur’an and the Sunnah made it clear that time is very valuable. Almighty Allah says: “By the time! Verily man is in loss.” (Al-`Asr:1-2) The Sunnah of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, also has a rich record of many Hadiths that acknowledge the value of time and confirm the responsibility of man on how he maintains it; as he will be brought to account by Allah on the Day of Judgment. Mu`adh ibn Jabal quotes the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, as saying: “A servant of Allah will remain standing on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked about four things: his life and how he spent it, his youth and how he used it up, his property and how he acquired and managed it and his knowledge and how he utilized it.”

In Islam there is no room for slogans like “killing time”, for in Islam time is really valuable. In fact, wasting time is much more dangerous than squandering property, because unlike property, time cannot be compensated. Free time is a blessing that is overlooked, and not wholly appreciated by many people. In the Hadith, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “There are two of Allah’s favors that are forgotten by many people: health and free time.”
Both the Qur’ân and the Sunnah enjoin Muslims to be conscious of time. We are reminded that life in this world is nothing but temporary. We never know when death has been appointed for us. We must value time for the pleasure of Allah S.W.T.)  the Almighty. For our guidance and success, we must never waste time nor abuse it. Indeed, we displease Allah the Most High when we abuse time.

In general, sensible people know the importance of time. They believe “Time is gold.” Time in Islam is more than gold or any precious material thing in this world. Of all religions, only Islam guides mankind not only to the importance of time but also how to value it. Islam very clearly teaches us the value of time, why we must not waste it and how we can make use of our time wisely to increase our eeman (faith) and thus attain success, especially eternal success in this life and Hereafter.

I think these criminals of time should learn how to organize their time, and make a realistic plan for all of their schedules, without any of them overlapping the other. They should know how to arrange their priorities: the most important and the most urgent comes first, and carried out according to schedule. Organizing time is very important and when you can’t make an event, have it rescheduled or better still SAY NO or get someone to represent you.

In line with the above quotes quoted at the beginning of this essay, we have to discipline ourselves by giving value to the importance of time. We have to remember that on the day of judgement we shall be asked how we spent our lives, wealth and knowledge. In other words, we will be questioned on how we spent everything that Allah S.W.T.)  has given us as implied in the following ahadîth:

The Prophet said, “A man shall be asked concerning five things on the day of resurrection: concerning his life, how he spent it; concerning his youth, how he grew old; concerning his wealth, whence he acquired it, and in what way he spent it; and what was it that he did with the knowledge that he had.”   (Tirmidhî 5197)

The Prophet also said: “A servant of Allah will remain standing on the Day of Judgment till He s questioned: about his age and how he spent it; and about his knowledge and how he utilized it; about his wealth from where he acquired it and in what (activities) he spent it; and about his body as to how he used it.” (Tirmidhî 407)

If we are to evaluate ourselves objectively, am sure many of us reading and the writer too has in one way been guilty of murdering time, We should refrain from wasting our time and wasting the time of others too. For Verily, time is very important for our success both in this temporary world and the eternal world to come. If we waste time, if we abuse it, then we waste and abuse our lives. Therefore, if we really give value to our lives then, we must give due value to the importance of time.

And also to everyone who applauds the criminals of time, We can salute VIP’s but not as late comers.

May Almighty Allah give us the wisdom to use our time wisely throughout our lives, and May Allah grant us full and virtuous lives so that we may be successful in this world and in the hereafter. O Allah! Make us among the wise who spent their time wisely in this world, and not among the fools who spent their time foolishly in this world. Ameen thuma ameen ❤

 

 

 

P.s I refrained from mentioning the Islamic event so as not to offend the organizers as whoever conceal his brothers fault has beautified him and whoever reveals his brothers fault as uglified him.

Why I Don’t Need a Makeup Tutorial to Teach Me How to Wear a Hijab

This was original posted on Under a Blue Tree

By Maryam S.

When I first started wearing hijab, my mother would pin it for me every day—a square scarf that she’d fold into a triangle, pin under my chin, and whose ends I would then tie into a little knot on my chest. I’d go to school (where my sister and I were the only girls in hijab) like that, thinking that I looked pretty good, especially if I was wearing a particular blue silky scarf that made 5th-grade me feel glamorous. There were other aspects of my wardrobe that I wished I could change at 10 years old (namely the many denim shirts with flower decals that my mother loved buying me so much)—but I can’t recall feeling inferior to anyone because of my hijab style (or lack thereof, really) at that point in my life.

Fast forward 15 years. My fashion sense has developed considerably, and my hijab has gone through various style-phases, but it’s still there on my head, though it’s now more often secured with 3 pins instead of 1. But when I see images and videos of hijabis who teach others online how to wear this piece of cloth, now I feel somewhat inadequate. I had never considered that not being amongst many others who wore hijab during my youth could have had its benefits. But perhaps it allowed me to define for myself what my hijab should look like. I wonder how my formative pre-teen and teen years, as well as my concept of hijab, would have been different had I had access to hijab and makeup tutorials when I first started out—or, more importantly, had there been girls around me who followed them. I was content with my cotton scarves and bubble gum lip balm. But if I was 10 years old today, I think I’d be draping necklaces on my head and yearning for red lips.

I had the opportunity to grow into my hijab, to have it contribute to my own personal style and sense of individuality—and I believe that that is a right that every woman has. The requirements of hijab are a foundation around which women of different cultures, ages, and circumstances can work. As long as everything that needs to be covered is properly covered, one cannot call another woman’s hijab incorrect simply because it is different from her own.

But there is a key difference between shaping my hijab around the standards laid out in the Islamic tradition and styling my hijab around the standards laid out by society. The desire to conform is something real and it’s something that I fight against almost on a daily basis. What I was shocked to experience was feeling the need to continue that internal fight while around other Muslim women. I think the woman in a flowy tunic with white skinny jeans and stiletto heels looks beautiful, and the woman with red lipstick against a black hijab is striking, but I know that certain elements of their style are not ones that I can mimic with a clear conscience. And so the battle against myself and the beauty norms that I see around me, but that I choose not to adopt in an effort to please God, has permeated even my safe space.

I recently came across a video tutorial on “hijabi makeup”—how to dress up your face in order to make it stand out from the background of your hijab. There are tutorials on how to style your hijab with matching makeup for holiday celebrations, tutorials on “everyday makeup” for hijabis as though we can’t step outside without properly pink cheeks, ones for hijabis with blue eyes vs. brown eyes. The conversation still exists on the oxymoron of hijab with makeup, but each Islamic conference that I attend shows me that the norm is swiftly moving away from clean faces.

The fact that mainstream messages regarding women’s beauty standards have permeated into Muslim fashion is a testament to the rapid growth and development of our community, but also something that each Muslim woman should take the time to notice and consider on an individual level. I have to remind myself on an almost daily basis about the spirit behind my hijab. I style it and match it, but remind myself that it is not an accessory. It is a form of worship to my Creator that I get to show to the world every minute that I’m outside. And so I try to guard my hijab as I do any other form of worship. As its purpose is submission to God, I try to ensure that I am not simultaneously “submitting” to anyone else’s code of dress while wearing my hijab.

There is a difference between looking presentable and looking like a presentation. I know that any hijab will turn heads, but I am careful in ensuring that the one who turns will have nothing to see when he/she takes a second look. Stiletto heels, red lipstick, smoky eyes, jewels on my forehead—all of these will hold a stranger’s gaze on me and, for that reason, work directly against the spirit of the cloth on my head.

I find it to be a mercy that God revealed in the Qur’an that the believing women must “not reveal their beauty except that which [naturally] appears thereof” [Ch. The Light: verse 31]. We were created beautiful as humans, and certain manifestations of that cannot be hidden—and God is telling us that when they’re natural, that is normal. But when we place them there to beautify and accentuate, then they’re no longer natural, and that should not be part of our normal.

The Challenge of a Reading Challenge!

Someday

After mastering

The winds, the waves

The tides, and gravity

We shall harness for God

And the energies of Books………..Author Unknown

 

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.  -Charles W. Eliot

 

The art of reading is in great part that of acquiring a better understanding of life from one’s encounter with it in a book.   André Maurois

 

It was a great challenge when I started the reading challenge (permit me to rhyme and rap lol). Really the mind is a muscle, it needs constant exercise, and one way the mind grows in its ability is through reading. I love reading as reading is food for the soul, for it nourishes the human intellect in probing things deeper, analysing things, and it provides guidance to people, to instances they have not yet been exposed to life.

Reading exposes you to a world of imagination, showing you nothing is impossible in this world. By reading, you are exploring a different angle to see a thing you’ve known, on how different action leads to different results. Books are beyond imagination. It’s like a huge spider web, where you keep linking to more and more to things you knew, and things you just learn, structuring new solutions and answers.

In this vein, my Reading adventure began (tralalalalalalalalalala)

OCCUPY by NAOMY CHOMSKY

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Naomy Chomsky is probably one of my favourite authors of all time as his books helped influence my thought on media propaganda while in the university. I started my reading challenge with this pamphlet, when the debate about the abducted girls from chibok was trending across all platforms of social medium and across the traditional media.

In the spirit of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, I had to start my reading challenge with this e-book as it was included in the first few paragraphs of the book that one of the reasons for protests should be to put the inequalities of everyday life on the national agenda, influence reporting, public perception and protest against evil and injustice.

Although very short this book is not written by Noam Chomsky per se, but is rather a compilation of transcripts from interviews he has done and speeches he has given relating to the Occupy Movement. I knew very little about the Occupy Movement before reading this but there is a lot of information and insight in this book for anyone who is interested in the Occupy Movement and sympathises somewhat with its political direction, but anyone wanting a more in-depth investigation of the movement will not find it here. This is a mere pamphlet.
There was really a certain level of redundancy with some of the transcripts and no unifying narrative. This however can be overlooked because Chomsky is a brilliant orator and his views on the Occupy movement are compelling. While he is excellent at showcasing the failings of the economic governance of the US he offers somewhat little in the form of a tangible solution. Nevertheless, Chomsky demonstrates some interesting insights into the American political system and discusses the flawed version of democracy it has invented through corporate personhood.

I also discovered while reading this book that towards transforming Nigeria, The plight of those without resources, those without a voice, those without access to power, those traditionally ignored, should become the focus of greater national attention and widespread indignation and after reading this. This book also made me think of how youths in Nigeria could take an active role to change our society that is very corrupt and depressed. Also it encouraged me to know more about current affairs worldwide.

However, I find the last few pages very interesting as it gave practical information to a demonstrator about their legal rights in the USA and how to deal with the police. Although it might not be applicable in Nigeria but knowing that there are some rights a citizen is entitled to while protesting was quite refreshing.

 

THE WOMAN WHO FELL FROM THE SKY by JENNIFER STEIL

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First and foremost I have to apologise to all my followers on instagram who might have found this book very disgusting. Wallahi this book taught me a huge lesson about not ever judging a book by its cover, author, reviews and the first few pages.

I must first of all attack the author’s view about Yemen and the Yemeni people. I found her treatment of the culture and country shallow, especially for a journalist. Throughout the book, I was really annoyed by her ego centric attitude towards Yemeni people. On one hand she criticizes their culture because it isn’t what they do in the U.S., but then immediately says how much she loves Yemen and its people. I have a few Yemeni people as friends on Facebook and I must say that they would find this book disgusting as well.

Being a journalist and someone that enjoys travelling quite a bit, I enjoyed when she spoke about the reporters at the newspaper, especially when she related her conversations with the women reporters and discussed how they came to work at the paper and the obstacles they dealt with just to be able to do so.

However, even how the author described the reporters as “hers” – “my women”, “my men,” “my reporters” (as if she owns them) just rubbed me the wrong way. When her favourite Yemen reporter becomes ill, instead of expressing concern, she thinks, “Who will make me laugh when I’m feeling cross? Who will walk me to the Jordanian sandwich shop?”

It took me weeks to get through this book because I found the author to be selfish, self-centred, U.S.-centric and condescending from the very start of the book. She constantly described herself as a saviour of the newspaper, and even if she helped put in place more productivity, her self-glorification and boasting just wore on me the more I read.

Every time I picked up the book it was like having a frustrating conversation with someone I would never be friends with. This feeling was doubly confirmed when I got to the end of the book to find out she had an affair with a married man and described it as though it were some glorious experience that should be encouraged or desired by all.

Also, I was really interested to learn about the state of “journalism” in Yemen, and hear the observations of an outsider living there. The author was a bit too boring and she’s pretty shallow in the cultural sensitivity and interpretation departments. Her beginning an affair with the married British ambassador, and then moving into the embassy as his mistress in YEMEN leaves one wondering about her accuracy and wisdom in other areas and casts a little shadow of doubt upon the rest of her stories. Adventure readers may like this one (I doubt they would) but Muslims, people against adultery, Cultural anthropologist, random readers, and journalist would definitely hate this book to be honest.

Wallahi, I really wanted to like this book. I just couldn’t get past the author. I found her incredibly self-centred and shallow. However, the parts of the book written about the culture of Yemen were fascinating, especially when she kept her opinions to herself. Had the book been mostly about that, I would have enjoyed it a lot more than I did.

 

THE EXPLODING UNIVERSE by NIGEL HENBEST

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This book was an eye opener and it is probably one of the most voluminous books I have ever read in a long time. My mum who is geographer (a geography teacher to be precise) got this book for me so as to answer questions that has been bothering me for years like:

What are stars? How are they born and why do they shine only at night? Why the sun hot and the sea is cool? What is the difference btw life and non-life Are there are other universes? Why did life begin on earth instead of some other planet? Are aliens real? How old is earth? Did Africa and South America once fit together like pieces of puzzle? Are there other kinds of life?

So many questions and the author answered these questions by probing the mysteries of the universe, communicating the excitement and impact of recent discoveries in astronomy and other sciences. I love how the author broke the subjects into thought-provoking chapters like “Exploring the Universe, the other planets, inside the stars, black holes, geography of the universe, beginning and end of time and other attention-grabbing chapters.

I must be very sincere this book at first made a lot of sense to me, but then I got lost because of the many science terminologies used. I had to constantly check the dictionary as I am not a science student. I haven’t even finished it yet, as I had to first understand thereby googling topics like the Einstein theory of relativity, quantum theory, quarks (particles that make up an atom’s molecules) and other boring and uninteresting scientific jargons.

Nevertheless, the author interestingly broke down and clarified thoroughly “THE BIG BANG” one of the most mysterious theories ever (in my opinion). However, despite its obvious romance with astronomy, physics and science generally this book is a must read for every inquisitive person out there as it is a summary of today’s knowledge of creation, and it is also a tribute to the majestic beauty of the universe, and to the beauty of Truth, which is perhaps the same thing.

CONCLUSION

I also reviewed, “THE WONDERFUL LIFE OF SENATOR BONIFACE AND OTHER SORRY TALES” in a newspaper here.

I really hope the reviews has encouraged you all to explore the world of reading. I assure you through reading, you expose yourself to new things, new information, new ways to solve a problem, and new ways to achieve one thing. Who knows – you might find your new hobbies within it.

Who knows – you might actually explore one thing you really like and it may end up becoming your career and success in the future. Exploration begins from reading and understanding. Whatever you choose to read, make it an enjoyable experience. Have fun visiting that magical place, getting to know that famous person, finding the answers to questions, and reading with the rhythm of poetry.

Thanks to everyone who sent me virtual books, e books and everyone who participated in the reading challenge. May almighty Allah make the knowledge we have gained beneficial to us in this life and hereafter.

And that ends my reading challenge Alhamdulillah. Xoxo #ReadingChallenge #Botd#Botw