Category Archives: Du’a

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Pre-Ramadan Tea & Talk

I belong to a Sisters’ group that tries to meet monthly hither and yon. Sometimes it’s a hit, sometimes it’s a miss.

Last Saturday, we got together to hear Sister Sh speak on Ramadan, and to share together a not-so-high tea of sorts. May Allah swt make this Ramadan one in which our taqwa is increased.

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A surprise! – a thankful tea-time at 75

 

Al  Qur’an 3:145

O you who believe,

eat from the good things we provided for you,

and be thankful to God,

if you do worship Him alone.

A Puff n’ Stuff Tea party delectables –

Savouries

  • chicken empanadas
  • tuna puffs
  • mini vegetarian pizza
  • spinach & mushroom quiche
  • vegetarian spring rolls

Sweets

  • mini mille fleur
  • mini eclairs
  • swiss roll
  • guava jam pies
  • coconut drops

Selection of Twining Teas

  • Darjeeling
  • Earl Grey
  • Lady Grey (not related to Earl Grey:))
  • Prince of Wales
  • English Breakfast

Black cherry punch

Glorying in ascent?

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When Youngest & I were in Trinidad recently, we attended a masjid family day – activities for all ages abounded. Included in the activities was the popular wall-climbing. In preparing this post, I searched my memory for an inkling with respect to a hadith on climbing, and compliments that google search engine, I found the following Q&A at https://islamqa.info/en/164340. I’ve reproduced the information below:

Praise be to Allah.

Al-Bukhari narrated in his Saheeh that Jabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: When we went up we would say takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and when we went down we would say tasbeeh (Subhan Allah).

Abu Dawood narrated that Ibn ‘Umar taught him that when the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) got up on his camel, when he was setting out on a journey, he would say takbeer three times, then he would say: “Subhaan allathi sakhkhara lana hadha wa ma kunna lahu muqrineen wa inna ila rabbina la munqaliboon. Allaahumma inna nas’aluka fi safarina haadha al-birra wa’l-taqwa wa min al-‘aml ma tarda, Allaahumma hawwin ‘alayna safarana haadha watwi ‘anna bu’dahu. Allaahumma anta al-saahib fi’l-safar wa’l-khaleefah fi’l-ahl (Glory be to the One Who has placed this (transport) at our service and we ourselves would not have been capable of that, and to our Lord is our final destiny. O Allah, we ask You for righteousness and piety in this journey of ours, and we ask You for deeds which please You. O Allah, facilitate our journey and let us cover its distance quickly. O Allah, You are the Companion on the journey and the Successor (the One Who guards them in a person’s absence) over the family).”

And when he returned he would say the same words and would add to them: “Ayiboona taiboona ‘abidoona li rabbina hamidoon (Returning, repenting, worshipping and praising our Lord).”

When the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and his army climbed a hill they would say takbeer and when they went downhill they would say tasbeeh.

Those scholars who say that this is mustahabb (recommended) when going up the stairs and so on, say that one should say takbeer when going up and that going up stairs or hills is the same thing.

But others say that saying takbeer when going up the stairs and so on is not prescribed, because that was not narrated except in specific circumstances, namely climbing up a mountain and the like when travelling; with regard to going up the stairs and so on, there is no such report, even though this was something known among them and they used to do it (i.e., climb up and down stairs etc). If it were prescribed, the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) would have done it or he would have taught it to his companions as he taught them what to say when entering the house and when leaving it, and other adhkar (words of remembrance) to be recited every day and night.

This is the most correct view concerning this issue.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked the following question: It says in the hadeeth that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to say takbeer when climbing a hill and tasbeeh when going down into a valley. Is this takbeer and tasbeeh only when travelling, or did he say takbeer – for example – at home when going up to the second and third floor? May Allah reward you with good.

He replied:

During his journeys, when the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) climbed up a hill he would say takbeer, and when he went down into a valley he would say tasbeeh. That is because the one who is above a thing may feel proud and think that he is great, so it is appropriate for him to proclaim the greatness of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, by saying: Allahu akbar. And when he descends, he is going down to a lower level, so it is appropriate for him to glorify Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, when going down. This is the context of saying takbeer and tasbeeh.

But there is no report in the Sunnah (prophetic teachings) about doing that when not travelling. Acts of worship are based on tawqeef i.e., they are limited to what is narrated in sound reports. Based on that, when a person goes up the stairs in his house he does not have to say takbeer, and when he comes downstairs he does not have to say tasbeeh. Rather that only applies in the case of travelling.

End quote from Liqaa’aat al-Baab al-Maftooh.

And Allah knows best.

 

 

My friend

On Saturday morning, I prepared for a workshop on Interviewers & Writers, and an appointment at 7a.m. In the kitchen preparing what would turn out to be crudites and tuna with tamarind dip, post fajr, I could hear my phone pinging, and then ring off after 1 ring.  (I am a checker of my phone messages in the mornings). I delayed checking. When I did, it was to see news that made me check again. Several sources reporting the same thing.

Qalloo nafsin za aqatul mawt – my friend, Maulana Mohmad Kholwadia had passed away. Stunned by its unexpectedness, I checked BH who was awake enough for me to share that news. And later on, BD. And even later on, while at my appointment, and with reddened eyes from various involuntary spurts of weeping, I shared with another friend that I could not go to see the family yet. But this post is not about me. This is about my friend.

We met Maulana almost 14+ years ago, when he became the first teacher of our first child who attended madressa. Our female child who attended madressa at a masjid which did not facilitate female attendees. Maulana was recommended by another friend of ours, who knew of his gentleness with children, his command of English, and his ability to teach Arabic without the urdu influences. Alif baa taa and not alif bay tay. Our second child started with him a year later. Then our eldest and Maulana’s youngest wound up in the same class with each other, and formed a fast friendship that lasted them throughout primary school.

From then until his death, we moved along the path of friendship – this Maulana who always wore white (with occasionally a grey trouser), who always wore a white topi and who I can visualise even now pushing that topi up on his forehead and settling it back into place. A Maulana who when he saw me walking with a child (or was it children) from the doctor’s office, years ago, stopped to give us a lift. A Maulana who was quiet and reserved and who I often teased about stepping up and speaking in public, and who agreed that he should. A Maulana whose elementary schoolteachers thought was mute but whose parents knew otherwise. A Maulana who introduced my family to his family and whose home became a frequent stop for us and the second stop for us on almost every Eid day over the last decade. A Maulana who frequently took my children home with him or dropped them to my office from school or madressa. A Maulana who I think was a foodie – never in excess, but he seemed to like trying new foods, and who was able to share recipes and flavours. Last year, BH was able to let him taste baked turkey, and he thought we should try caviar. A Maulana who was my go-to for contacts for cooks in the community, for questions on inheritance, for easy access to answers on fiqh. A Maulana who smoothed the way for BD when I was traumatised by the early onset of her menses and no one was ready for any of the girls in her class to experience that. A Maulana who was surrounded by family – his parents, his wife, his daughters, his sons, his sisters and all of their families, and to whom we were introduced. A Maulana whose wife and elder daughter now say to BD and me, that when they see us, it brings Maulana to mind strongly. A Maulana, the walimah of whose offspring we attended. A Maulana who allowed his daughter to accompany BD and our family to outings because he felt she should experience them before the expected strictures settled. A Maulana who began teaching BH how to read Arabic and who continued to wish to continue to do so. A Maulana who often said that he wished he could show us India, the birth-land of his parents and spouse. A Maulana who was known for his gentleness with children – and sometimes berated for what was seen as his softness – but whom children loved. A Maulana who I have since come to know was one of the first three Barbadians to travel abroad to undertake Islamic studies. A Maulana who introduced his students to the essay (possibly as punishment). A Maulana who loved Trinidad and who accompanied his youngest daughter there just weeks ago to enrol her in school. A Maulana whose father was a Maulana. A Maulana who has sired three haafiz, and one aalimah and was grooming another. A Maulana who was an obedient son. A Maulana whose doors were open to Muslims from all walks of life, and all ethnicities, and backgrounds. A Maulana who always encouraged and did not admonish/discourage. A Maulana who attended all of the programmes we invited him to. A Maulana who encouraged me by saying some years ago, that soon, my sons would be able to make public Quranic recitations and du’as at events held in our home. A Maulana who embraced email and whatsapp. A Maulana who at one time feared that he was forgetting. A Maulana who was interested in legal matters. A Maulana who was friend to my husband. A Maulana who my office staff knew by sight. A Maulana who was allowed by BH  to drive his car. A Maulana who was brisk but never brusque with us. A Maulana who walked or drove to masjid. A Maulana who was humble and self-effacing. A Maulana who performed the Hajj with his beloved wife last year.  A Maulana who earlier this year, offered with his wife to make gulab jamoon for us to share out when Youngest completed Qur’an . A Maulana whose suddenness of death and whose return to Allah swt, have made both BH and me cry. A Maulana whose friendship we are grateful to Allah swt to have experienced. A Maulana who was our friend and who is and will be missed.

Allah swt says:

To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. 

(Qur’an Surat Al Baqarah 2:156)
“Every soul shall have a taste of death, then to us you will be ultimately returned.”

(Qur’an Surat Al Ankaboot 29:57)

“Truly! The Muttaqun (pious and righteous persons – see V.2:2) will be amidst Gardens and water-springs (Paradise). “(It will be said to them): ‘Enter therein (Paradise), in peace and security.’ “And We shall remove from their breasts any sense of injury (that they may have), (So they will be like) brothers facing each other on thrones. “No sense of fatigue shall touch them, nor shall they (ever) be asked to leave it.” 

Quran 15: 45-48 

Truly, Allah will admit those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, to Gardens underneath which rivers flow (in Paradise), wherein they will be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls and their garments therein will be of silk. Quran 22: 23 

Verily, the dwellers of the Paradise, that Day, will be busy in joyful things. They and their wives will be in pleasant shade, reclining on thrones. They will have therein fruits (of all kinds) and all that they ask for. (It will be said to them): Salamun (peace be on you), a Word from the Lord (Allah), Most Merciful. Quran 36: 55-58

And those who kept their duty to their Lord will be led to Paradise in groups, till, when they reach it, and its gates will be opened (before their arrival for their reception) and its keepers will say: Salamun ‘Alaikum (peace be upon you)! You have done well, so enter here to abide therein.” And they will say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah Who has fulfilled His Promise to us and has made us inherit (this) land. We can dwell in Paradise where we will; how excellent a reward for the (pious good) workers!” 

Quran 39: 73-74 

Verily! The Muttaqun (pious – see V.2:2), will be in place of Security (Paradise). Among Gardens and Springs; Dressed in fine silk and (also) in thick silk, facing each other, So (it will be), and We shall marry them to Houris (female fair ones) with wide, lovely eyes. They will call therein for every kind of fruit in peace and security; 

Quran 44: 51-55 

The description of Paradise which the Muttaqun (pious – see V.2:2) have been promised is that in it are rivers of water the taste and smell of which are not changed; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine delicious to those who drink; and rivers of clarified honey (clear and pure) therein for them is every kind of fruit; and forgiveness from their Lord. (Are these) like those who shall dwell for ever in the Fire, and be given, to drink, boiling water, so that it cuts up their bowels? 

Quran 47: 15 

Verily, The Muttaqun (pious), will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers (Paradise). In a seat of truth (i.e. Paradise), near the Omnipotent King (Allah, the All-Blessed, the Most High, the Owner of Majesty and Honour).

May Allah swt forgive Maulana for any wrongs which he may have committed, and may He grant him mercy in the grave and on yawmul qiyyamah and may He grant him his Book of Deeds in his right hand and grant him entrance into Jannatul Firdaus, and may He guide his family and keep them on the path of those whom He has favoured. Ameen.

Sabr & Shukr – Parent of the Year

Again, much time has passed since my last burst of enthusiasm (March) to post here. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) my ideas and blogs in my mind do not immediately transfer onto wordpress, so here I am once again.

In January, I played in the Annual Lawson Nurse Scrabble Tournament, and brought home another trophy! I have since lost the photograph of same. However, NoS and Youngest and BH each brought home a trophy on the same day. (And apparently I have also lost those photos). (This blog needs emojis).

BH was awarded ‘Parent of the Year’ and the other muslimah mother was also awarded ‘Parent of the Year’. So while I could crow about my word tiles, I would rather cite some scripture on parenting:

“…kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them”. (Quran 6:151)

[Quran 25:74]…..”Our Lord, let our spouses and children be a source of joy for us, and keep us in the forefront of the righteous.”

[Quran 14:40] O my Lord! make me one who establishes regular Prayer, and also (raise such) among my offspring O our Lord! and accept Thou my Prayer.”

Prophet Muhammad saws said, “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock.  The ruler is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock.  A man is the shepherd of his family and is responsible for his flock.  A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s household and is responsible for her flock”.

The Prophet (s) said: “Allah (SWT) will ask every caretaker about the people under his care, and the man will be asked about the people of his household” (Nasa’i, Abu Da’ud)

O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded” (Qur’an 66:6).

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi va sallam) said, “The best gift to children from parents is their correct training”(Tirmizi).

Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:“Upon death, man’s deeds will stop except for three deeds, namely: a continuous charitable fund, endowment or goodwill; knowledge left for people to benefit from; and a pious righteous and God-fearing child who continuously prays to Allah, for the souls of his parents” (Muslim).

Susurrus or waswaas?

Today’s Daily Prompt topic is ‘Whisper’. It seems as if every word associated with whisper sounds like a whisper – a rustling, murmuring sound. Your voice automatically drops to near silence and your entire body tautens as it strains to hear the near quietude.

Susurrus means the same, and you can hear the sibilance in each syllable. Is this omnomatopoeia? Susurrus comes from the Latin susurrare – to hum, whisper. Can you hear the susurrant ripples of the flowing stream? It’s a beautiful word. Welcoming, soothing, enveloping. Sounds very enticing, doesn’t it? Like you could just sink in it. Well, you can sink into quicksand too.

In the Caribbean, we sometimes admonish those who ‘wiswis’ (whisper gossip and promote confusion and chaos). Without having delved into the etymology of that word, it is my view that it probably derives from the Muslims’ use of the term ‘waswaas’ – a term connoting the evil whisperings of the devil.

In Sura 114, the last Chapter of the Holy Qur’an, titled ‘An-Nas’, those whispers are recognised and the Sura itself legislates the protection to be recited against those whispers:

Say: I seek refuge with the Lord and Cherisher of Mankind,

The King (or Ruler) of Mankind,

The Allah (for judge) of Mankind,-

From the mischief of the Whisperer (of Evil), who withdraws (after his whisper),-

(The same) who whispers into the hearts of Mankind,-

Among Jinns and among men.

 

DAILY PROMPT

Whisper

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/whisper/

Trini reflections on a birthday – be-Fog-ged

The prettily decorated cupcake & server tell their own story. Especially in conjunction with the title of this post. And if I were silent, each of you would create your own story from your own inferences, selective knowledge, and personal views. So many times we colour our silences or our utterances because of knowledge we peculiarly hold. But just as many times, those colours can be filtered or shaded when that knowledge meets the light of reality.

Yes, the cake was served on my birthday. It’s a chocolate chiffon cupcake with homemade whipped cream, fresh strawberries & blackberries & chocolate drizzle. Compliments of BakerDaughter. So yes, my birthday was the occasion, but not the occasion. Be-fog-ged yet? Let us de-mist – the anniversary of my birth date was the time on which the cupcakes were served, but my birthday was not the reason for the cupcakes.

In Trinidad & Guyana, indentured servants/labourers were the replacement labour source for the sugarcane plantations, upon the abolition of slavery in the 1800s. 143,000+ indentured labourers went to Trinidad, almost 209,000 went to Guyana. These emanated from British India. The Fatel Razak which landed in Trinidad in 1838 is reputed to have brought the second set of Muslims to the Caribbean. Indentured labourers also went from other colonies.

It is reported that the ratio of males to females were 3:1 and in some cases 2:1.Despite the labour intensive days on the plantations and the many rules restricting religious and cultural practices, those practices (perhaps modified) survived. It is believed that both Hindu and Muslim labourers attended their respective religious ‘schooling’ on evenings after a day in the field. From one article I’ve read (and I cannot speak to its validity as a source),  those Muslims who congregated to observe their Eid prayers at the Palmiste Estate were flogged for offering their first Eid prayers in Trinidad. On another occasion, defenceless Muslim immigrants attempting to carry out a peaceful observance of a religious occasion  were shot by a platoon of armed policemen. Another source confirms the flogging but provides conflicting information – that Muslim religious practices were controlled and the building of mosques and the Friday congregational prayer discouraged – that Islamic community life was not transported, and the ‘Indian’-originated Muslims in Trinidad were called ‘madingas’ – in recognition of those African Muslims of the Madingo tribe. While used in a derogatory manner, the coining of that phrase by non-Muslims unknowingly reflects the recognition of racial equality amongst Muslims. This second source also states that Muslims succeeded in maintaining their religious practices by practising the fundamentals of Islam and gathering on various occasions. It is these gatherings that the author of the second source describes as an amalgamation of Hindu cultural practices with Islamic traditions.

A third author (Suresh Pillai) states: “Out of the recesses of their minds and memories they pieced together their religious and social practices and philosophies and recreated the institutions that sustain a civilization.” Pillai says: “Koran sheriff was the source of inspiration for Muslims. .There were Muslim scholars who could recite entire Koran sheriff from memory. The story of one Hajji Rukhnudeen of La Plaisance estate in Trinidad was inspiring , for he taught entire Koran to his fellow Muslims from memory under the moon light.” I had to search for the meaning of the term ‘Qur’an shareef’ as I think ‘Koran sheriff’ (a colloquialism perhaps attributable to Indo-Trinidian Muslims) was meant to be. It means the Honourable Qur’an. 

So, for the past 2+ centuries, Qur’an recitation in social gatherings has been occasioned. In Barbados, despite the number of memorisers of the Qur’an, it is not as prevalent, but that may be due to the paucity in comparative numbers. Some persons frown upon it as being innovative.

So, you wonder what any of this has to do with ‘fog’ and my birthday. (And let us accept without contradiction at this time, that the ‘celebration’ of birthdays is frowned upon in Islam because of the rationale that we ought not to be celebrating the nearing of certain death and the uncertain hereafter. It can however, be a time of reflection for us, as can any other random day. What have we done with the object of attaining one of those levels of heaven and how can we improve?)

Each of us has ‘comfort food’ – food for the soul. Each of us also has ‘comfort’ practices. My comfort practice was to invite some close friends to gather in my home to recite the Qur’an and to have lunch with us. Not everyone accepted the invitation. The fog, it appears, may have been in ascribing to me intentions that may not have been mine. A celebration of a birthday instead of a giving of thanks and sharing. An occasion not occasioned by my birthday.

My thanks to those who attended (and ate some Trini-style food). And to those whose efforts assisted in the easy-going camaraderie and fellowship. And that includes my ‘fogged’ friend.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fog/

 

Inclusion or Exclusion – Petition for Sisters’ Space

This really follows on from by second to last post  Beyond the vail. Some sisters in Barbados have launched Petition for Sisters’ Space, asking for support in the plea to those in control, to include within the construction and infrastructure of a proposed new masjid, a SPACE FOR SISTERS.

I invite you to check out the Petition and to read the comments, and to sign. The goal is for 1000 signatures, the 25% mark has just been reached. The phrasing of the appeal does convey a misconception, and perhaps should read ‘of the existing mosques in Barbados, three …….’ There are 6 congregational prayer spaces in Barbados, 5 of which have jummah salaah, and only 2 of which include sisters’ space. The misstatement in the petition has caused some caustic comments, but should not hinder you from supporting the effort by signing on, or by adding to your du’as a du’a that all masjids include spaces for sisters to attend and to pray.

As I think I have posted before, the masjid which is approximately 5 minutes away from my workplace has no allocated sisters’ space and I drive the 20 minutes or so to attend jummah at Masjid ibn Umar. This despite the recent reconstruction (practically in toto) of the masjid which is 5 minutes away – the one at which my husband prayed maghrib salaat, while I prayed on the grassy area in the car park opposite the masjid – the one, photos of which, along with the invitation to sisters to visit at specific times on two specific days to view, have reinforced for me that the world is my masjid.

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