Sunday, May 24, 2009

Page Excerpt: "The Ideal Muslimah" -- A Woman's Status


Asalaamu `alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu Sisters!! Here is the first part in a series of quotes and pages from the book "The Ideal Muslimah" that we at "A Girl's Guide to Being Muslim" hope will be of some benefit.

Taken from Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi's book "The Ideal Muslimah", published by the International Islamic Publishing House.

Chapter "The Muslim Woman and Her Lord" p. 109 -- She is distinguished by her Islamic character and true religion!!

N
o doubt, the true Muslim woman is distinguished by her Islamic character, and she is proud of the high status which Islam gave her at a very early stage, before women in other nations attained anything like it. Fifteen centuries ago, Islam proclaimed the full rights of women for the first time in history, and Muslim women enjoyed human rights, centuries before the world had ever heard of human rights organizations, or witnessed any "Declaration of Human Rights." At that early stage, Islam declared that women were the twin halves of men, as stated in the hadith narrated by Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, Ad-Darimi and Ahmad. At a time when the Christian world doubted the humanity of woman and the nature of her soul, the Qur'an declared:

[And their Lord has accepted of them, and answered them: 'Never will I suffer to be lost the world of any of you, be he male or female: you are members, one of another'] Qur'an 3:195

The Prophet (sallalahu `alayhi wa salam) accepted women's oath of Islam and obedience, just as he accepted that of men. The women's bay`ah was independent and separate from that of their menfolk, and was not done as an act of blind obedience. This is a confirmation of the independence of the Muslim woman's identidy, and of her competence to bear the responsibility of giving the oath of allegiance and making the commitment to obey Allah and be loyal to Him and His Messenger. All of this happened centuries before the moden world recognized a woman's right to freedom of expression and the right to vote independetly. This in addition to other important rights, such as her independent right to own wealth and her freedom from the responsibility to spend on others, even if she was rich, and her equality with men in human worth, education, and general religious and legal duties. A full discussion of the rights which Islam has given to women, and the respect which it has bestowed upon them, is not possible here.

--------

It is sufficient to know that the French Revolution of the late 18th century produced a human-rights document entitled "Declaration of the Rights of Men and Citizens." The first clause of this document states, "Men are born free and equal under the laws." There was an attempt to add the words "and women", but this was rejected, and the statement remained confined to men only: "Man is born free, and he should not be enslaved." A century later, the great French soldier Gustave le Bon, in the late 19th century and early 20th century, stated in his book "The Psychology of Peoples" that womam had never been equal to man except in periods of decline; this comment came in his refutation of demands that women should be made equal with men by giving them the same right to vote.

To be continued inshaa'Allah...

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Surah Al-Zalzalah & Some Very Beneficial Links!!

Bismillah
Asalaaamu `alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!!

Subhan-Allah, this Chapter makes me shiver!!


1.
When the earth is shaken to it's (utmost) convulsion,

2. And the earth throws up it's burdens (from within),

3. And man cries (distressed): 'What is the matter with it?'-

4. On that Day will it declare her tidings:

5. For that thy Lord will have given it inspiration.

6. On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds that they (had done).

7. Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it!

8. And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it.

Mashaa'Allah, here in Abu Dhabi we have a radio channel called "Quran Kareem" and every night beginning at 8:30pm it recites the last 16 chapters from the Quran both in Arabic and English. It's great!! But for those of you who are not able to hear the Glorious Quran recited on TV or the radio, click here to be taken to a great website that provides MP3 format recitations by all of the shayookh!! And if you're are interested in memorizing along with the Arabic script, here is another great website that can def. help you out, inshaa'Allah!!

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Who is *really* oppressed: A Muslim Woman's Views on Modesty

THE RIGHTS OF A MUSLIM WOMAN IN SHORT

ALOT of the rights of a Muslim woman in Islam are twisted to make us look suppressed rather than given protection and honor. Here are some questions I myself used to ask before Islam, about Muslim women being suppressed, and the answers I learned in my journey towards Islam.

1.) ``how can you say that you are equal to a man when you cannot marry without a Maharam`s permission.``

Answer: I can say that because a Muslim woman has the right given by God (Allah subhanhu wa ta'ala) in Islam to have a man promise to love her, protect, and provide every earthly need (and even entertainment and desire) before they even hold hands. Having myself been a non-muslim surrounded by the dating world, we know most guys aren`t willing to do this even after a year relationship, let alone after an honorable courtship. Even after marriage some guys don`t give us these things and Islam says it is our right to have them. A Maharam exists for a few purposes. They ensure that no one physically harms a woman, they are supposed to throughly investigate the character of this would-be-suitor, they make sure `no funny stuff`happens before the marriage contract is signed, and since it was their honor that brought the woman to marriage, it is their honor at stake if the one they agreed to her marrying turns out to break any of the marriage promises. Then they have the right to break the marriage for her protection. So not only do we usually have our family, and our own wit looking out for us, we also have someone sworn to protect us (not that or wit isn`t usually enough: D).

Question 2.): ``How can you say you are equal to a man when you go from being your father's to your husband's possession?``

Firstly, man and women are equal before God on right of their deeds and character. We are weighed by our souls. Not all women are equal to men in strength, and if we woman choose to have children (which couldn`t be avoided at the advent of Islam) we are not equal on time to work always (thought the Prophet Himself and a few Arab husbands I know of do the cooking, and sweeping, and take care of children equally with their wives). Islam gives the mother the highest status saying heaven is under the feet of our mothers. Having hoped I explained that, I will never be a pocession of my husband`s anymore than he is of mine. He is expected to provide for me completely finanacially should I not wish to raise a doller but for my own entertainment or to give to charity (anything a woman spends on the home or family is considered a charity before Allah subhanu wa ta`ala). He is also responsible to see me safe, and I am repsonsible for seeing that his household is safe and that I uphold Islam as well as possible. My father`s duty the is the same, and my duty to him is to take care of him in his old age. My father is not a Muslim, but my duty to him stays the same, although he cannot be my Maharam because he does not understand Islam enough to help me choose the right husband (since I want a man who prays five times a day and my Dad probably just wants a well-off, hard-working and honest guy who happens to ike learning how to build things so my father has someone to help out in his shop when he retires---all things I am looking for too, but my father would leave out some things that are very important to me). So then, a woman can have an Islamic father, brother, Uncle, or husband be her Maharam. She can also choose a Maharam from those well-respected in her community to act on her behalf, such as an Imam (she doesn`t always need her father`s permission---BTW a man sort of needs his mothers to marry just the same, but both women and men can forgo this to seek a very wise Islamic person like a respected Imam to act on their behalfs. I hope that explains the non-pocession thing.

Question 3.) Why give a dowry if you aren't a possession?``

Answer: Um, why does a man give a woman a diamond wedding ring in Western culutre you might want to ask yourself. It isn`t about pocessing.

The dowry is given to the woman by her husband. It goes ONLY to the woman (and anyone who takes this from her is severly to be punished in hell for this). It is also requested by the woman. She can ask for money, deeds, promises, or knowledge, and the man has the option of saying yes or no depending on how high or how difficult her reqest is. The dowry also forms her legal rights, a woman can ask that her husband sign a formal agreement to only ever take one wife, she can ask him to hep her start a business, ect... It isn`t to buy her, but part of her legal rights.

BTW Islamic ladies LOVE their dowries:::: HE HE HE. I have asked that my man help me save the lives of people even if it gets him or I jailed or worse and that was a difficult thing to ask for but I didn`t want a man that wouldn`t do that, ya know, cuz Ilike to live and work in dangerous places upon occasion. other sisters require their husbands be open to adoption. Enough said `bout dowries.

Question 4. ``How can you say that you are equal to a man when inheritance laws say you only receive 1/2 of your brothers.``

Answer first off: I get half of my brothers AND I get to have a husband who buys me everything, whereas my brother has to pay for a wife, and everything she needs. I get to demand a dowry, and he has to pay one if he wants wives and children. He also is responsible for financially providing for our parents when they get old, which I am not though it is charity for me to do so. He can be punished for not doing it, and I can only be rewarded if I do so. Actually, the inheritance laws are quite fair, since women in most Western and European properties didn`t have the right to own property up until the last few hundred years. Moving on...

Question number 5.):``Why is a man able to divorce by saying 3 times "I divorce you x3". Why can't woman do so?``

Answer: In some cases this law doesn`t work because some men try to keep their women out of spite (and they will probablly be tortured in hell for this---the men I mean) but for a good man, there are steps he does first proceeding this to ensure divorce is the only actions. The reason why subhanhu wa ta àla said so I don`t quite know, but maybe because we women would declare divorce more often, in the heat of emotion, and not really mean it. To obtain our divorces, we must present evidence why it can`t possibly work for us and simply stating you are unhappy and uncompatible was enough in the Sunnah of the Prophet`s time. I personally don`t mind doing this, because if they had a similar thing for children, knowing my father and me, I would have disowned him a thousand times, and I still love him to this day, and want him around. Bad answer but best I`ve got. LOL. If a woman is undergoing harm though, at the hands of her husband, or he is not praying, or he is preventing a woman from prayer, a woman can seek out the aid of an Imam, and the Imam will warn the man and give him a period to change while the Imam takes the woman out of situation for her protection. If he does not do change, the woman will be granted divorce. Also, if the terms of her marriage contract are not met, the Maharam may disolve the marriage and seek legal action against the failed husband.

Question 6.): ``Why is a child only to stay with a mother for 7 years. Why is he then the possession of his father's?``

Answer: Not quite true. Any baby---come child is the pocession of the mother until the child turns seven, after that, provided the father has no major sins or mental problems, the GIRL is given her father as her guardian, as she has the rights to a Maharam, and since her mother Islamically can`t go around intervewing boys to make sure they are good for her (though she lines up potential candiates through her own aquaintances more often than not) a daughter can receive this extra insurance from her father. Plus father`s tend to be gentler with their daughters. As for the son, he has the choice to stay with his mother or go with his father. He can act as a Maharam (though only a cute little one---she`d probably want a stronger one if she was going somewhere dangerous) for his mother, or he can go with his father. It is really his choice. It is actually more of the sunnah to foster children out to different families alotgether, but few families practice this anymore (the Prophet S.A.W was raised by a family other than his own when he was young).

Question 7.) ``Why can a man marry a woman of the book but not a muslimah without permission?``

Answer: No good Maharam will ever let his charge marry a non-muslim. The answer is, the Qu`ran says the believeing women are only for the believing men. As a Muslim woman I know that if a I met a man with a religion different than my own and he believed in it as strongly as I do my own, we would fight, plain and simple, and there are some things a Muslim is not allowed to compromise in, such as having pagan symbols in the home (worshipping Jesus as the son of God is one), being around those who drink alchohal, or talking to strange men without reason, ect.... (and this man can`t count as a Maharam because he is not beliveing in the laws of Islam). The reason it was forbidden for women but not for men (they are actually forbidden from marrying any woman who is not a believing (in God) Jew or Christian) is because these women are already supossed to believe in Allah, and they are bound by their own relgions which say they have to be obediant to their husbands (which the Qu`ran adds to, in what he is resonable in). So he cold forbid them form having pagan things in their home, or talking to unrelated men without business to attend to, ect. More often than not the Christian and Jewish women who marry Muslims end up becoming Muslims anyway. I studied Christianity almost ten years living with a fundamentalist (not evil fundamentalist but I mean they LIVED by the Bible) Christian family and they told me if I was Christian I could not marry a man who was not also Christian soooo... It is actually much the same between these three faiths, only, Islam gives more rights to women from what I have studied. I would also like to add, there aren`t very many practicing Christians that I have met, but those that I have (Tamara, Christina, and Karen----I love you!!!!) they can relate more to a muslim woman than the girls at their highschool can relate to them.


Bismillahir Ar-Rahmanir Rahim

Remember the days in high school, where the popular girls wore revealing clothes and always came to school looking their best? How about turning on your television and seeing the latest ad for "Desperate Housewives"? Nothing but 4 old women in lingerie and over-done faces. (At least that's what it shows here in UAE, not sure about the rest of the world LoL!)

Western women and even Muslim women are ignorant of the facts why we wear the full body cover of Hijaab. In fact, there are Muslim speakers (both men & women) who make claims that we don't have to wear the Hijaab -- that this was a pre-Islamic tradition and therefore no need to dress in such a "oppressive & demeaning" manner!!

A`uthu billahi min al-fasiqun, wa Allah yusamhina.


Don't listen to these corrupt people, they are slaves to their nafs and personal short-comings. To tell a Muslim woman to show her body and imitate the evil actions of others is to deny the verses of Allah ta`ala & call for munkar (fitnah on earth). I recently saw a woman on Youtube burning a headscarf to the applause of non-Muslims. She didn't accomplish much except make herself look foolish to the Sisters who truly follow their Lord's commands.
We have womens' groups and other "humanitarian" workers trying to "liberate" us. Newsflash, we were liberated 1400 years ago. While the media is busy corrupting a woman's body and prostution is seen and even accepted as a "profession", our Holy Book tells us that we are women with rights & deserve to be treated with diginity and respect -- without knowing our bra sizes or how long our legs are.

Meanwhile, some will say, "Islam is a barbaric religion because it approves the mistreatment of women and treats them as second-class citizens!!" One of these people once included my mom but when I showed her *true* message of Islam and it's laws concering women, she has since changed her mind (alhamdulillah!!).
My mother was once a member of the Church of Ladder Day Saints or the FLDS. They found her as a teen travelling across the country & converted her to their religion. She was married to another Mormon and was told that since she was only a woman, she was not allowed to pray to God; only her husband could on her behalf. Along with many other confusing rules, she eventually left and hasn't applied herself to any religion since then. But one day, insha'Allah, she will enter Islam and has asked many questions about this very mis-understood world religion. Of course, the made-in-Israel movie "Not Without My Daughter" didn't help the image of a Muslim woman and I think we are still doing damage control for that one.

So, to the female walking down the stree in her booty-tight jeans and chest revealing shirt who sighs down at a covered woman; re-evaluate the situation. It may appear to YOU that we are poor, suppressed women, slaves to our men but in reality it's YOU who is the slave to a man's desire. One only has to go to a strip club or even a place as innocent as Earl's, where the women have to wear mini-skirts & tight black t-shirts.


Please, leave us alone and stop telling us what to do -- all this talk of liberation when you're the ones oppressing us.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Answer to Chica's Question

When making wudu does one have to cover their hair?

The answer is no, because the Prophet S.A.W told us to wipe over it from the hairline to the back of head and then back up to wipe inside and behind the ears. This is the sunnah, so if you have privacy from non-maharam men, this is how you should make your wudu. If you are not able to find a private place to makde wudu and are in danger of the prayer time running out, the scholars are in agreement that you may wet what strands and parts of your hair that your fingers may reach underneath your hijab and still have a valid wudu, since you cannot remove your hijab in the presence of non-maharams. But the sunnah is to wet the hair from the hairline to the back of the head and then back up to wipe water within and around the ears.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Surah Al Fatihah سورة الفاتحة‎: its meaning in English and learning how to recite it

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم ,

NOW THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED:
a. the importance of prayer (salat) http://girlsguidetobeingmuslim.blogspot.com/2009/02/salat-importance-and-benefit-of-prayer.html

b. the times for prayer (salat)
http://girlsguidetobeingmuslim.blogspot.com/2009/02/five-obligatory-prayers-and-their-times.html and

c. how purify yourself for prayer (salat)
http://girlsguidetobeingmuslim.blogspot.com/2009/02/wudu-purification-for-prayer-why-it-is.html
http://girlsguidetobeingmuslim.blogspot.com/2009/02/how-to-make-wudu-things-to-do-before.html

...It is time for you to start praying like a Muslim!!!! Yay! MashaAllah for all your good effort sisters! The most important thing for you to learn now is memorising Surah Al Fatihah (which is a chapter in the Qu'ran called "The Opening").

WHAT IS "SURAH AL FATIHAH"?
A surah is an Islamic word for chapter, and an ayah is an Islamic word for "verse". In English, the title Al Fatihah is often translating to "The Opening" or the "Exordium". Surah Al Fatihah is the first surah (chapter) in the Qu'ran, and it consists of seven ayahs (verses) that form a prayer for Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala's mercy and guidance, and express the believer's dependence on the lordship and mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala.

WHY IS SURAH AL FATIHAH SO IMPORTANT TO LEARN?
Recitation of Surah Al Fatihah is considered a fard (obligatory) act during salat because Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam said: “Whoever offers a prayer in which he does not recite Umm al-Kitab (i.e., Al-Fatihah), it is defective” – he said so three times" [Narrated by Muslim]. Without a proper recitation of Surah Al Fatihah a prayer is defective, i.e invalid, so learning Surah Al Fatihah in arabic ASAP is of great importance.

WHY CAN I NOT JUST MEMORIZE A TRANSLATION OF SURAH AL FATIHAH IN MY OWN NATIVE TONGUE?
The Arabic language of the Qu'ran is a direct revelation (word for word) from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala of what was taught to the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam from the angel Jibreel (Gabriel). If it is translated, some of the original meaning is lost and that is something a Muslim never risks doing during his/her salat. The Qu'ran is recited ONLY in Arabic when it is used as a form of worship. So the worshipper must recite it properly in Arabic, because we are commanded to read and recite the Qur’an as it was revealed. Whoever is unable to pronounce it properly because of some defect in her tongue or because she is not an Arabic-speaker must learn to correct her pronunciation as much as she can. If she cannot, then she is relieved of this obligation, because Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala does not burden people with more than they are able to bear. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says: “Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope” [Al-Baqarah 2:286]

THE MEANING OF SURAH AL FATIHAH IN ENGLISH
One should still know the meaning of what they are reciting so that they can have good intentions while they say the words of a certain surah or ayah of the Qu'ran, and so that they can really mean what they are saying. Surah Al Fatihah has a meaning roughly as follows in English:
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Master of the worlds and Sovereign of the Day of Judgement
You alone we worship, and from You alone we seek our aid
Guide us to the straight path
The path of those You have earned Your favour
Not of those who have earned Your anger
Or those who have gone astray.
Ameen.

TRANSLITERATION OF HOW TO SAY SURAH AL FATIHAH IN ARABIC
Bismillahir Rahmanir-Raheem
Al-Hamdu Lil-lahi Rabbil-'Alameen
Ar-Rahmanir-Raheem
Maliki Yawmid-Deen
'Iyaka Na'budu Wa' Iyaka Nasta'een
Ihdinas-Siratal-Musta-qeem
Siratal-Ladheena 'An'amta 'Alay-him
Ghayril-Maghdhoubi 'Alay-him Wa La-dhaalleen
(Ameen) [this is sunnah to say but is not printed in the Qu'ran]

I personally found this to be a very good online tutorial teaching one how to recite Al Fatihah: http://www.mounthira.com/learning/surah/001-al-fatihah/

As newbie Muslimah you don't have to worry too much about your tajweed yet just good pronunciation of all the Arabic sounds forming the ayahs of Al Fatihah. Here are some others reading Al-Fatiha with tajweed (tajweed is a term for correct and beautiful and sometimes even artistic recitiation of the Qu'ran):
Surah Al-Fatihah recited by Sa'id Al Ghamdi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCz3UUKiPtw&feature=PlayList&p=346B966A2BA20FB9&index=14
Surah Al Fatihah recited by Mishary Rashid Alafasy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za-V0_X_AAM
Surah Al Fatihah recited by Fahd Al-Kanderi: =JqbPcAp_k-8&feature=related
Surah Al Fatihah recited by an Albanian boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4RD1d1qKd0

STARTING TO RECITE AL FATIHAH IN SALAT
When the time for salat comes now that you have learnt Al Fatihah make the proper ablution and then recite Surah Al Fatihah. If, in the middle of salat, you can only remember a few lines of Surah Al Fatihah, recite what you know because the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam said: “Whatever you know of Qur’an, recite it, otherwise praise Allah, proclaim His Oneness and magnify Him.” [Narrated by Abu Dawud][Al-Mughni, 1/289, 290] and then you may add after what you know, that God is One and the Creator/Maintainer of all to finish up your salat. Some sisters write down Surah Al Fatihah one something they can read while preforming salat in order to memorize it. So you must try hard and keep practising it. You can do this by reciting it to another Muslim sister who can recite it well, and by listening to surahs recited by skilled reciters on tapes or broadcasts.There is no need to feel nervous and anxious, because Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala knows what is in people’s hearts, and He knows who is trying hard and making the effort, and who is lazy and heedless.The difficulty that you find in reciting Qur’an will increase your hasanaat (good deeds) and rewards. It was narrated that ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said: the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam said: “The one who is skilled in reciting Qur’aan will be with the noble and obedient scribes (i.e., the angels?) and the one who reads the Qur’aan and struggles with it because it is difficult for him will have two rewards.”
(Narrated by Muslim, 798)
Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: The one who struggles with it is the one who is hesitant in his recitation because he is not able to memorize it well. He will have two rewards: the reward for reciting it and the reward for his efforts in reciting it. There is no need to repeat verses more than once, because this is not what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did or taught. Rather that opens the door to waswaas (whispers from the Shaytaan), detracts from the prayer, makes you lose your focus, distracts you from pondering the meaning of the verses and makes the shaytaan happy, because from that he can find a way to make you suffer so that you will ultimately give up praying. But Allah is Most Gracious and Most Merciful, and He is more merciful towards us than we are to ourselves, and He does not burden us with more than we can bear.

WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF SURAH AL FATIHAH?
a. A recitiation of Al Fatihah is necessary for salat to be valid since the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam said: “Whoever offers a prayer in which he does not recite Umm al-Kitab (i.e., Al-Fatihah), it is defective”
b. Besides being an obligation in the five fard prayers, there is hassanat (reward) for the act. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam said: the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam said: “The one who is skilled in reciting Qur’aan will be with the noble and obedient scribes (i.e., the angels?) and the one who reads the Qur’aan and struggles with it because it is difficult for him will have two rewards.”
c. It was said to Abu Hurayrah: "...I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:“Allah said: I have divided prayer between Myself and My slave into two halves and My slave shall have what he has asked for. When the slave says: Al-hamdu lillahi rabbi l-alamin (All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists), Allah says: My slave has praised Me. And when he says: Ar-Rahmaan ir-Raheem (The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful), Allah (mighty and sublime be He) says: My slave has extolled Me. and when he says: Maaliki yawm id-deen (The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)), Allah says: My slave has glorified Me - and on one occasion He said: My slave has submitted to My power. And when he says: Iyyaaka na’budu wa iyyaaka nasta’een (You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)), He says: This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall have what he is asking for. And when he says: Ihdina’s-siraata’l- mustaqeem, siraat alladzeena an’amta alaihim ghayril-maghdubi alayhim wa la’ d-dhalleen (Guide us to the Straight Way. The way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray), He says: This is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.” [Narrated by Muslim]

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Friday, February 13, 2009

How To Make Wudu الوضوء :things to do before wudu that you might not have known and the sunnah for making wudu

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم ,

This post is about how to make wudu الوضوء. If you need to know what exactly wudu is, why it is necessary in Islam, what its benefits are, and when it is necessary please see this post http://girlsguidetobeingmuslim.blogspot.com/2009/02/wudu-purification-for-prayer-why-it-is.html. THIS post concerns the sunnah (the prescribed and perfect) actions of making wudu, and highlights a few things that one should do before making wudu. We'll start off with those.

THINGS TO DO BEFORE MAKING WUDU YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE KNOWN
Use the toilet: before making wudu if one needs to use the toilet, they should since the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam said: "No prayer can be rightly said... when he [the worshipper] is prompted by the call of nature." (Sahih Muslim, [Eng. Trans. vol. 1 #1139]) If you have used the toilet you need to make istanja http://girlsguidetobeingmuslim.blogspot.com/2009/02/istanja-what-it-is-and-how-to-make-it.html and wash your hands before making wudu (***using the toilet is recommended and making istanja afterwards is obligatory or salat is not valid).
Remove anything from your body that might invalidate your wudu: before making wudu, if one is wearing nailpolish or fake nails, they must be removed, because the water will not touch the hand in its entirety so the wudu will be incomplete and any following salat will be invalid. Making wudu before applying nailpolish only means that your wudu is good until it is broken (see this post http://girlsguidetobeingmuslim.blogspot.com/2009/02/wudu-purification-for-prayer-why-it-is.html) and you will have to remove your nailpolish and reapply it everytime you re-make your wudu. An average wudu for myself is four hours. Trust me, it's not worth your time and effort [and I am a nailpolish fiend]. Don't worry though, wearing nailpolish is permitted when it's that time of the month (i.e a girl's got her period) since no prayer is due on her during this time and she doesn't have to worry about keeping her wudu on. ***Fake nails are disliked at all times, and in many opinions harraam (this will be discussed at a later date and a link will be added here). Hair extensions, wigs, fake eyelashes, and eyelash extensions fall under the same category as fake nails. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala knows best, and it is the majorirty opinion that is is safer to refrain from using any of the previous mentioned.*** This also means removing rings or any jewelry that are so tight to the skin that water cannot reach it.Clean your teeth/use a siwaak stick: before making wudu it is mustahaab (recommended) that you clean your teeth. Yes, in the days when washing the human body was thought to make it unhealthy in many places in the world the Prophet Mohammed salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam recommended good oral hygene. He used a tooth-stick to clean his teeth through-out the day, and especially for salat. Think about it, you always want to use gum or mints before a job interview to make sure you don't have bad breath in order to make a good impression. Who deserves to be more impressed? A mortal man/woman or Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala? Ironically many will spend money for Arab make-up and kohl and henna before investing in siwaak sticks, even though the use of them was almost made obligatory before prayer: Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Were it not for the fact that I did not want to make things too hard for my ummah, I would have commanded them to use the siwaak at every time of prayer.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2/299 and Muslim, 1/151). According to another report narrated by al-Bukhaari, he said: “…at every time of making wudoo’.” When making your first Islamic purchases of things you cannot obtain where you live (inshaAllah siwaak sticks are readily available to you) such as prayer clothes and hijab try and obtain siwaak sticks. Available from http://www.desertstore.com/products-For-Sale/miswak-siwak-01.html for .99 cents USD. If you do not have access to siwaak sticks where you live, the intention is very simple and good for you---brush your teeth.
HOW TO MAKE WUDU---The Physical Requirements/Actions for making wudu
I personally find it hard to learn from diagrams like this one so here are couple of how-to videos and then the written step by step instructions.:

1.) Make Niyaat (intention) to preform wudu
When you go to the place to make wudu (any place with clean water) [a post will be given later on how a Muslimah may make a public wudu and the link to it will be inserted here---for now this post is about the basics and we will assume our muslimah has a private place like a woman's washroom to make wudu in] you should make the intention to preform wudu. The intention should be silent and it has no strict wording. An example of such an intention would be "I am now going to purify myself for salat and do so in the name of Allah."
2.) Say "Bismillah" silently to yourself
Out of respect for Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala the name of God is not mentioned in a bathroom/washroom. After this is done, it is remmended strongly to not engage in any other purpose but making wudu especially if one is offering salat immediately after. "Bismillah" means "in the name of Allah"
3.) Rinse your mouth by drawing water from your cupped right hand. This is done three times.
4.) Rinse the nostrils of your nose by drawing water from your cupped right hand and using your left hand to pinch the nose and wipe it when expelling the water from the nasal passage. This is done three times.
5.) Wash your face from the hairline to the chin and ear to ear (both hands used). This is done three times.
6.) Wash your arms---Starting with your right arm wash with your left hand from the finger-tip to the elbow of that right arm. This is done three times. Then, starting with your left arm wash from the finger-tip to the elbow with the right hand. This is also done three times.
7.) Wipe your wet hands over your hair starting at the hairline moving to the back of the head then (with the hands remaining through the hair) bring the hands in the hair back to the hairline and as you do so, wipe the back and the inside of the ears with the forefinger and the thumb.
8.) Wash both feet---starting with the right foot clean from the tips of the toes to the ankle. Be especially careful to get the heels because Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) saw a man who did not wash his heel. Thereupon he remarked: Woe to those who will be dragged by their heels to the Hell-Fire. (Sahih Muslim 356). This is done three times, and then a finger is used to clean between the toes (this is done only once per foot). Then do likewise with the left foot.
10.) Repeat the shahada in sincerity and respect---To finish the wudu one must repeat their shahada by saying "There is no God but God and Mohammed is His servant and His Messenger". If you remain in the bathroom/washroom you may say this silently in your head or you can leave that space and say aloud: "ash-hadu alla ilaha ill-allah wahdahu la shareeka lahu wa ash-hadu anna sayyidana muhammadan `abduhu wa rasooluh" and it is recommended that you recite this three times because Umar Ibn Al-Khattab narrates: "If anyone amongst you performs the ablution and completes it well and then says, "I testify there is no god but Allah and that Muhammed is the servant of Allah and His Messenger", then the eight gates of Paradise will be open to him and he may enter from whichever one of them he chooses." (Sahih Muslim, [Eng. Trans. Vol. 1 #451])
*11.) Optional recitation of a sunnah dua. You may skip this step right now in order to learn how to pray as quickly as possible but it is recommended to recite this du'a after making wudu: "O Allah, count me among one of those who seek forgiveness and who keep themselves pure!"
HOW DO WE GET THE STEPS FOR WUDU?
We get the steps for wudu from the sunnah of the Prophet Mohammed salla Allahu alaihi wa-sallam: narration by Imam Muslim on the authority of Humran (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "'Uthnan Ibn 'Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) called for ablution water and this is how he performed ablution He washed his hands thrice. He then rinsed his mouth and cleansed his nose with water [three times]. He then washed his face three times;then washed his right arm up to the elbow three times, then washed his left like that, then wiped his head; then washed his right foot up to the ankle three times, then washed his left foot like that, and then said: I saw the Messenger of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala said: "He who performs ablution like this ablution of mine and then stood up [for prayer] and offered two rak'ahs of prayer without allowing his thoughts to be distracted, all his previous sins are expiated." (Sahih Muslim, [Eng. Trans. vol. 1 #436]).
If you are not certain whether of not you have made wudu, err on the side of not making it again, because there is an authentic hadith that says (this is the only thing missing in this post---I will post it ASAP or maybe Aalia can add it in)
More reading: http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=3&ID=4192&CATE=342

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Istanja---what it is and how to make it

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم ,
Before you learn how to make wudu you should know to preform Istanja, and how to. So what is Istanja?

WHAT IS MEANT BY "ISTANJA"?
Istanja is an Islamic term for getting rid of uncleanliness. It is a method of cleaning one's self with water after using the toilet.

If you have grown up using toilet paper, think of how we clean a baby when changing its diaper. Do we merely use toilet paper on a baby? No, we usually use a wet wipe, because it is cleaner to have something "wet". Toilet paper on its own is only a wiping device, not a sanitary one whatsoever, so unfortunately, what adults intrinsically think of when caring for infants, is forgotten when caring for themselves or training their children.

In Islam, even cleaner than a wet wipe, we use a spray of water to clean ourselves after urination or after using a wiping device in the case of defacation. If you have not performed Istanja after using the toilet before making wudu, your wudu is not valid, and so your salat will be invalid. It is also a sin and there is punishment from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala for neglecting it as is related in this sahih hadith (may Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala protect us from such things, ameen) :

Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrates: " The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) once passed by two graves and said: "They (in the grave) are being punished not for a great thing to avoid" Then he added: "Yes, (they are being punished for a great sin), for one of them used to go about with calumnies while the other never saved himself from the splashes of urine"

But who would want to keep on using toilet paper now that they have learnt the benefit of performing istanja with water?!!!

HOW TO DO ISTANJA WITH #1 (urine):
After urinating dry the urine with a clean piece of mud (for those in a country without toilet paper) or toilet paper and then wash with water.

HOW TO DO ISTANJA WITH #2 (you know):
Clean the private part with three or five clean mud pieces (hey, that's how they did it historically) or toilet paper and then wash with water.

WHEN TO MAKE ISTANJA?
After using the toilet for number 1 or 2.

WHICH HAND SHOULD BE USED FOR ISTANJA?
The left hand should be used for all acts of wiping in rinsing during istanja. It is a sin to use the right (which has to do with eating and taking meals, which is a subject that will be broached at a later date). In Islam know, that for every good thing the right hand is used, and everything else the left if used.

AND APPARENTLY THERE HAD TO BE A RULING ON THIS
By what things Istanja should be done? By toilet paper, clean mud pieces or stones, and finished ALWAYS with water. By what things should it not be done? With bones, or food, coal, or writing paper (i.e useful things should not be ruined for the sake of a wiping device).

Helpful notes for people not living in a Islamic country with Islamic toilets with spray devices like the one pictured below or bidets: carry a water bottle (that you won't use for drinking or let anyone else drink!!!!!!) or a small container of water with you in your purse when you go out prep for public washrooms and the like, and at home, keep a watering can (some of my Muslim sisters I have visited use these) or, as I prefer, a water spray bottle (the kind you use for your hair) from the dollar store and keep it beside the toilet. If you can, get a shower spray installed for yourself.

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