Category Archives: Du’a

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.

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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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Ramadan Note 9

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“Whosoever fasts experiences two joys. He is joyful when he breaks his fast, and is joyful because of his fasting when he meets his Lord.”

There are times when it is said that any supplication is accepted. One time is while in prostration to God and another is at the time of breaking one’s fast. We are blessed with an entire month in which we are allowed to fast. Imagine, 29 or 30 days where we can ask for anything and we are guaranteed to receive it! Are we not of the fortunate? So indeed, take advantage of this month and ask the Almighty for whatever you may desire, for He is Merciful and Kind.

One of several recommended prayers at the time of breaking the fast at sunset is:

“O my Allah, for You, I fast, and with the food You give me I break the fast, and I rely on You.”

Before all meals, Muslims are to recognize that all of their blessings come from God. Similar to the grace said before meals in many cultures and faiths, Muslims throughout the world say the same prayer before meals:

“In the name of Allah and with the blessings of Allah.

“, but unlike the communal grace, the prayer is said quietly and individually.

cupcakes – not! From Start to Finish

2014-11-10 19.46.42

Ok, the title is not as deceptive as the photo suggests. Nothing beats the combination of chocolate and orange (see Terry’s Orange Ball). This was a delightfully delicious orange chocolate creamsicle cupcake, with all of its divine-ness in the frosting. But a cupcake tastes SO different from a slice of cake.

And I didn’t make the cupcake (compliments go to Sister Waheeda), but I started and finished eating it!

Remember the du’a before you eat:
In the name of Allah and with the Blessings of Allah (I begin)

Remember the du’a when you forget to say the above du’a (this is Youngest’s most frequently uttered):
In the name of Allah in the beginning and end

And remember the du’a when you finish:
All praise belongs to Allah, who fed us and quenched our thirst and made us Muslims.

I learnt today that there are other alternatives to the finishing du’a (from http://www.searchtruth.com/dua/index.php?dua=23):
All praise belongs to Allah who filled our stomachs and quenched our thirst, rewarded us and gave us plentiful OR
O Allah, You grant us blessings in it and grant us better than it OR
All Praise belongs to Allah who granted this meal, (which I received) without my power or effort

Examples of love…………………….

The end of August and its successor September have always been highlighted months in our family calendar what with Younger Brother, Youngest, Eldest Niece, and Dad. Well, Dad’s gone (and we pray that Allah swt have mercy on his soul), YB just turned 40 (see Qur’an 46:15 and ), EN is away, but Youngest is HERE!

So while YB took Youngest and Youngest Niece to the water park and and then along with BD, N2S, and HRM1 to Playdium, Youngest dictated that he wanted three friends over to …..play video games. Are all persons born after 1990 born with a chip in them that enables them to play video games? Rhetoric aside, that was his wish. So…………with siblings seriously pitching in, three boys over, food cooked, fruit cut, cheesecake baked, poultry barbecued, video games and football, and voila………………

2014-09-14 15.55.40Cheesecake-edit

40 – the age of ………………….

 

“And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful & kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship. And she brings him forth with hardship, and the bearing of him and the weaning of him is thirty months, till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says:

 

My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You, and make my off-spring good. Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims.”

 

(Surah Al-Ahqaf, Chapter No. 46, Holy Qur’an).