Category Archives: Children

For you, a mate & tranquility

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Last night, we attended Sister F’s wedding reception.

And amongst the bedecked and bedazzled were the words contained in Surah 30 Ayah  21 of the Holy Qur’an:

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.

 

Masjid An Noor

Today, on yawm ul jummah, alhamdulillah & subhanallah, Masjid An Noor opened its doors to the believers. The esteemed Maulana Saleem Dhorat was the specially invited guest and I assume that he delivered the bayan (talk prior to jummah salaat) and the khutbah (Friday sermon). The adhan was scheduled for 12:50p.m. and the khutbah for 1:00p.m.

My Lord, Allah the Majestic and Sublime and owner of many many attributes, the One God, commands in Al Qur’an, Chapter 62, Ayah 11:

O you who have believed, when [the adhan] is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah [Friday], then proceed to the remembrance of Allah and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew.

There are some who ascribe to the notion or belief that it is not incumbent on women to attend the Jummah salaat – perhaps remembrance of Allah can be interpreted to mean other than performance of an obligatory salaat.

Ibn Kathir’s tafseer says that it means:

“(then hasten to the remembrance of Allah) means that you have to hasten to the prayer with your heart and actions, and walk to it.”

Today, the males in my family, ie BH, NoS and Youngest were attending jummah at Masjid An Noor. I returned home from work, made the ablutions, and joined them in the vehicle to the Masjid. They exited, I collected a Sister, and together we parked in a side street, and walked along the side path towards the frosted glassed door which bore the words ‘Sisters’ Prayer Entrance’. The bayan was already in session. Our path and entryway were well removed from the presence of any brothers whatsoever. We entered and traversed past a single toilet room and two wudhu seats, removed our shoes at the entrance to the beautifully painted, tiled and carpeted room. I prayed for Allah swt to Open to me the doors of His Mercy:

“Oh Allah, open the doors of mercy.”  (Mishkat)

“Let one of you pray two units of prayer when s/he enters a mosque before sitting down!” (Bukhari, Salat, 60).

These 2 rakaats, which I grew up terming as Daakhil masjid, and which I have learnt is Tahiyatul Masjid are not obligatory.

Large overhead ceiling fans, long narrow frosted windows, patterned tile, soothing colours, all lent to the serenity of that space. The only sound to breech that space was the whirring of the fans. Not a sound unsettled the otherwise hushed and tranquil space.

My mobile which acts many times as a timepiece for me, was left in the car so I relied on Sister to say when the 12:50 arrived. Exited the reserved prayer area, and walked to the end of the paved kerb outside of that prayer area, to the point where the open beautifully square-tiled courtyard was bordered by the exterior wall of the Sisters area, a white (picket) fence with two swing gates, and the arches of the entrance (I think) to the Brothers’ area. Pause at that point. A brother clad in grey gestured to us to (my interpretation) move to the other side – he may or may not have spoken. I said to him that we could not hear in the Sisters’ area so we would not be able to follow the salaat. Interspersed with salaams:

Al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) commanded us to do seven things: to visit the sick, to follow the funeral (of a dead believer), to invoke the Mercy of Allah upon one who sneezes (i.e., by saying to him: Yarhamuk- Allah), to support the weak, to help the oppressed, to promote the greeting of ‘As-Salamu ‘Alaikum’, and to help those who swear to do something to keep their oaths. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
He moved away and closed the gates nearest to where we stood (about halfway down the fenced area). i spread my prayer mat (a gift from the daughter of my now deceased Maulana friend from her Hajj and hitherto unused) on the kerb and sat. Heard the Adhaan which fills your mind and your chest.

 The Messenger of ALLAH [peace and blessings be upon him] said, “When you hear the adhan, repeat what the Mu’adhdhin says.” [Imam Malik – Muwatta]

Narrated by Yahya “Some of my companions told me that Hisham had said”, “When the Mu’adhdhin said, “Haiya alas-salah (come for the prayer).” Muawiya said, “La hawla wala quwata illa billah” and added, “We heard your Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saying the same.” [Sahih Bukhari :: Book 1 :: Volume 11 :: Hadith 587]

Moved around a bit (peering round the corner) in uncertainty as to whether the khutbah had started. The brother in gray returned and addressed the khala (aunty in Gujrati) – that he had arranged for the sound system but it was only able to be put in the brothers’ section and the madressa, but that it is only temporary and would be installed by Tuesday. I thanked him. In sha Allah:

 

“Nor say of anything, “I shall be sure to do so and so tomorrow”- (Surah Al-Kahf, 23)

Without adding, “So please Allah.” and call thy Lord to mind when thou forgettest, and say, “I hope that my Lord will guide me ever closer (even) than this to the right road.” (Surah Al-Kahf, 24)

Resumed my seat, heard the khutbah, heard the iqaamah, stood and followed the Imam in the 2 fard rakaat prayed for Jummah salaat.  On a prayer mat on the kerb. Who am I to complain when Allah swt favoured me to pray the jummah salaat on a prayer mat on the roadway in Mecca leading to Haram Sharif.

Got up and returned to the calm interior of the Sisters’ area and completed the sunnah of the salaat.

Returned to the vehicle the same way I had come, and BH, NoS and Youngest joined me. And amongst my whatsapp messages were announcements that one could listen live to the opening of Masjid An Noor.  It was being live streamed. Regrettably, there was no live stream to the Sisters’ area.

I commend those who have contributed in so many ways, known only to Allah swt, tangible and intangible, and in concert and in dissent, to the building and opening of Masjid An Noor:

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi).

and I praise and glorify Allah swt for His favours:

“And if you would count the favours of Allah, never could you be able to count them. Truly, Allah is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful” [16:18]

re Masjid An Noor.  It is now the masjid which is nearest to my home. and right across the road from Youngest’s school, so that in sha Allah, he will be able to attend unfettered jummah there during school term. Alhamdulillah.

I haven’t written this particular blog to be facetious. and I know that some of the tone is ironic. I pray that my intention is correct, and that nothing within this blog creates any fitnah (variously interpreted to mean testing, or civil strife, or sedition) amongst the Muslims in my community. I understand the need for control, or exclusion, for barriers. The Holy Prophet Muhammad saws never prohibited the Sisters, the female Muslim believers from attending the masjid. I pray that Allah swt opens the doors of His Mercy to me and to every Muslim in my community and the Ummah at large. I pray that He guides the hearts and minds of those in control of Masjid An Noor to open the doors of the masjid to every Muslim who enters the spheres of our island, regardless of race or gender:

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” Surah 49, Ayah 13

and to facilitate those of us who strive to leave off our trade on a Friday, the blessed day of Jummah, and attend to the remembrance of Allah swt, in that masjid.

I know I have focused on jummah salaat, but that focus is not meant in any way to diminish the other obligatory salaat.

 

 

Of death and other things……

This week, I attended two funerals – one of a person whom I can only describe as a gentleman through & through. At his funeral service was spoken words of his scholarly aptitude, his work ethic, his deferral to his wives, his dedication to family, his push of education as a goal, his love for his grandsons, his conduct as a manager of others. All words which bore out that epithet of gentleman. He died quietly and to all intents, peaceably, one day after the birth of his first great-grandchild. I know of some heartbreak which he endured.

I attended the other funeral out of respect for one of my partners. His youngest maternal uncle passed away. Leaving to mourn him no children of his own. Got there late, lingered awhile in the graveyard, greeting mortals, and reading tombstones, searching in vain for a marker for my father-in-law.

My father-in-law has been dead just shy of three decades. I knew him not. But my BH adored him (and that was probably an understatement). There is little I have heard during my married life that has endowed him with clay feet. BH adored him and from all recounts, he adored BH. His death was a blow that left BH reeling. The love and attention of a father are important for all children. The grave of BH’s father lies next to his own mother and is unmarked.

Which brings me to my father – my beloved charismatic pragmatic eloquent father whose feet of clay both YoungerBrother and I well recognise and which did not diminish for me the esteem, realistic and pragmatic, in which I held him. This year will mark 5 years from his passing.  I never doubted that he loved us or that our children in their own turns received from and gave to him unreservedly love and adoration. My youngest/only nephew knew him not. He was a man of many many parts – certainly when I read his autobiography, one wonders how one man could have achieved so much in one lifetime. And we knew that there was much left undone – his desire to play secondary school football went unquenched in the face of his parents’ dictates and the cost of a pair of football togs, his ambition to be a school supervisor was realised very late in his life, decades after being appointed the youngest Muslim primary school principal in Trinidad in the last century, his appointment to the national cricket team never materialised despite decades later YoungerBrother and I being regaled by tales of his batting and his sprint ability.  I cannot say whether it was development of our own self-sufficiency or not, but we cannot say that we ever felt neglected or ignored.  We were toted all over every cricket field in Trinidad, we went on every excursion to find young cricketers in all sorts of hills and fields, we grew up in the Oval, we went to county sports, school sports, lounged in the back seat of the car with our own games & books while he attended meetings, I went to Arabic classes with him, we played endless games of pedro when we were in our late teens, we listened to him speak at many many functions, we watched him lead the qurbani for years, and we followed behind his imamship, we watched his relationship with his mother, and his being ‘Baya’ for his siblings, and we watched and listened and learned from his relationship with our mother. And we learned at his table and around him. He was our father. And he too, is buried beside his own mother. And his grave too, is unmarked.

Today, in New Zealand, many Muslims died when they obeyed the command of Allah swt and left off their trade and attended the Jummah salaat. Amongst them no doubt, were fathers.

Qalloo nafsin za’aqatul mawt. Every soul shall taste of death.

And to Him is our eventual return.

The word ‘father’ appears 119 times in the Holy Qur’an.  Usually in relation to wrong practices. But the following verse is Verse 8 of Surah 20:

” Our Lord! And make them enter the Gardens of Eden which thou hast promised them, with such of their fathers and their wives and their descendants as do right. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Mighty, the Wise.”

And finally, the father of Rasool saws died before Rasool saws was born. And he, Rasool saws was a father. A beloved father.

Maryam & the Date Palm Tree

We are just exiting the festive season when Christmas has been celebrated by many. Last year, my in-law took the unprecedented step of excluding us from and breakfast, lunch or dinner which may or may not have occurred that particular Christmas, and the first exclusion in my 20+ years of being in that family. Perhaps an iota of hurt remains. But hurt aside, that act of exclusion did lead to me recognising that I needed to not be as involved in the celebrations as I have been in the past. I love the incidentals of the celebrations – the colours, the decorations, the movies, the togetherness.

This year, I re-read the translation of Sura Maryam (19th chapter of the Holy Qur’an). Prompted actually by a conversation with Aunty F on the preceding Jummah afternoon when I stopped by to visit. When I was relating to her the Cherry Tree carol and what I thought was its reference in Al Qur’an. Aunty F corrected me and said it was the date tree. So I re-read Sura Maryam. A suran full of references to several Prophets a.s, stemming with Zakariyya a.s. and the pure Yahya a.s., and Maryam r.a., and Esa a.s., and Ibrahim a.s. exhortation to his father to worship only the One God, and Musa a.s. and his brother Haroon a.s., Ismail a.s., Idrees a.s., and Nuh a.s.

I reproduce below the translation of Ayah 23 to 26 of Surah Maryam

And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, “Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.”

But he called her from below her, “Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream.

And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates.

So eat and drink and be contented. And if you see from among humanity anyone, say, ‘Indeed, I have vowed to the Most Merciful abstention, so I will not speak today to [any] man.’ “

My daughter – udhiyaa this Eid ul Adha

In this very comprehensive article on qurbani, the author states that it  is  proper  for  a  woman  to  slaughter  her  own animal, and that in  fact,  if  she  is  able  to  carry  out  the  Dhabah (slaughtering)  correctly,  it  will  be  better  for  her  to  sacrifice  her  own  animal.

The  following is the hadith of Rasool saws which supports that there is no prohibition against a female performing the slaughter of an animal:

ان امراة، ذبحت شاة بحجر، فسيل النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عن ذلك، فامر باكلها

A lady slaughtered a sheep with a stone and then the Prophet (ﷺ) was asked about it and he permitted it to be eaten.

— Sahih Bukhari, Book of Hunting

Al-Bukhari (may Allah have mercy on him) reported in his Saheeh from `Ubayd-Allah from Nafi`, that he (Nafi`) heard Ibn Ka`b ibn Malik narrating from his father that they used to have sheep which they allowed to graze on mount Sala’ in Madinah: a slave-women noticed that one of the sheep was dying, so she broke a stone and slaughtered it. He said: “Do not eat it until I ask the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) or I send someone to ask him. So he asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), or sent someone else to ask, and he told him to eat it. `Ubay-Allah said: “I liked the fact that she was a slave-woman and yet she managed to slaughter it.”

Commenting on this hadith, Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “This shows that it is permissible to eat meat slaughtered by a woman, whether she is free or a slave, old or young, Muslim or from the People of the Book (Jewish or Christian), in a state of purity or otherwise, because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told them to eat the meat she had slaughtered and did not ask for further details.”

This year, when Maulana summoned one of my children to perform the slaughter, Youngest shied away from the cow, stating that he preferred to start with a sheep. BD stepped forward and performed the slaughter herself. May Allah swt be pleased with her and accept her and our udhiyaa.

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Beachfront Eid – OOTD

It is narrated that Umm ‘Atiyah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said:

“We were commanded (and in one report it says, he commanded us – meaning the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) to bring out to the Eid prayers the adolescent girls and the women in seclusion, and he commanded the menstruating women to avoid the prayer-place of the Muslims.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1/93; Muslim, 890.

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Meat & Sweet – Eid ul Adha 2018

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This year, we invited friends to join with us yesterday, to partake of the Qurbani meat (beef from the cow slaughtered by BD). So while I have much to my chagrin, no photos of the decor (inclusive of a beautiful rose gold foil Eid Mubarak banner loaned by Sister R, beneath the eave of a pink & purple striped canopy set above pink covered tables dressed with silver bottles from whence sprang darker pink fronds of glitter), I can share photos of the sweets – mousse made by BD, caramel blondies & chocolate cupcakes topped with homemade marshmallow frosting made by BD, sour cream crumb cake made by BD, cheesecake made by Sister S, our neighbour, coconut cake squares made by Sister W of Halalicious Treats, & an unnamed absolutely deliciously dreamy concoction by Sister S, mother of 3 girls. With ice cream – caramel toffee, strawberry, coffee mocha & chocolate. Friends came, and stayed, and all seemed content.

The  Mustahab  (best)  method  of  distributing   qurbani  meat  is  to  divide  it  into  three  equal  parts.  One part  should  be  given  to  the  poor,  one  part  to  one’s  relatives  and  friends  and  one  part  retained  for  one’s own  family.

Eid OOTD

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BD & NoS in Granny’s Garden on Eid morning after Eid gaah

It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar (radi Allahu anhu) said that ‘Umar (radi Allahu anhu) took a brocade cloak that was for sale in the market and brought it to the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), and said, “O Messenger of Allah, buy this and adorn yourself with it for Eid and for receiving the delegations.” The Messenger of Allah  (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said to him, “Rather this is the dress of one who has no share (of piety or of reward in the Hereafter)…” [Sahih al-Bukhari]

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) agreed with ‘Umar  (radi Allahu anhu) on the idea of adorning oneself for Eid, but he denounced him for choosing this cloak because it was made of silk.

It was narrated that Jaabir (radi Allahu anhu) said: The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) had a cloak which he would wear on the two Eids and on Fridays. [Saheeh Ibn Khuzaymah, 1756]

Al-Bayhaqi (may Allah have mercy on him) narrated with a sahih isnaad that Ibn ‘Umar (radi Allahu anhu) used to wear his best clothes on Eid.

Backyard Eid Barbecue

I know, it sounds weird. and I have a non-Muslim friend who is adamant that Eid should only be celebrated with Indian food. (To be fair, on Eid day, we did prepare at home lamb vindaloo, pumpkin, stir fried shrimp & paratha & dhalpuri.)

However, the following day, we hosted a very impromptu backyard Eid barbecue at home. Fortunately, our friends were all amenable to what were very last minute invitations:).

Our menu was uncomplicated – macaroni pie, potato salad, barbecued chicken. Friends brought a chicken, a green salad, cole slaw, & added to our servings of garlic bread. Another friend, Sister N, who is holidaying here on her annual retreat to Barbados, brought hot dogs & burgers, and buns. We were able to source homemade pizza to add to the menu as we had some vegetarians and milk-allergic invitees, as well as some lamb sausage – so an unbaked cheese pizza to which BD added the lamb sausage, a cheeseless chicken pineapple & onion pizza, and a vegetarian pizza. Homemade lemonade & sorrel, and Barbados’ Plus & Malt drinks.

The dessert table offered varieties of sweetmeats including BD’s baked goods, a Muslim friendly great cake & coconut bread from L, and oodles of other sweet baked goods. (And I have NO pictures of that central table, sob).

Guests came, and stayed. And even anti-social Youngest softened enough to invite a friend other than the one that BD invited for him without his consent. Alhamdulillah for a soothing relaxed blessed Eid ul Fitr with families and friends.