Hot Coals Eaten…

Excerpts from the chapter on ‘Consuming Haram Wealth’ from the book ‘Muharramat’.

It burns! It burns! It burns!

The wealth stolen, grabbed, deceived and extorted!

It feels like gold while in your grasp

The spoils of ill-gotten wealth but alas,

It burns! It burns! It burns!

 

O mankind, fear Allah the money earned or spent

Each source will be asked how it was gained

Avoid the fire in your search for dime and dinar

For it burns! It burns! It burns!

 

Rid yourself of the wealth from made in the dark

Avail your family with halal, though small but on track

Already earned in ignorance? Hasten to discard

For the Hell burns! It burns! It burns!

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Happy New Year!

I sit in the office and watch the supposed New Year fever go by.

It’s crazy how we celebrate the rotation of the earth and jubilate how we made it into another circulation….., rotation or merry go round. It’s ironic; I don’t feel any different from yesterday or the last time I saw any of the folks in the office. A couple of people are wearing new clothes but nothing really except that bright smile and the bewildered look like they’ve woken up from slumber to start a journey.

“We’ve made it!’. How have we made it? I guess it’s a question nobody asks. Did this new rotation and the bright smiles mean we would listen more, tolerate more, learn better and obey completely?

Every day we drive, walk, defy gravity and yet at the end of a rotation, we jubilate?

Are we not afraid that we get through each day rotating on our axis for a reason? Suspended in space, marveling at our own stupidity and self created greeting for surviving a miracle we never really think about?

Do we think our going through a rotation is a “we made it-fireworks-jubilation- greeting celebration” or something more? Something that far outweighs our own understanding of the very life we live, suspended in space, part of earthly rotating bodies?

For me, the rotation is “special”.

It’s another scary awe filled day for my Lord to judge me,

For me to ask for forgiveness

And pray that He gives life long enough to leave it with the best of deeds.

The businesses reopen, the financial transactions end and the schools resume so as Muslims we cannot pretend to ignore that this period is not different in these aspects, but they do not define us and why we are here.

Welcome to a new day.  Are you ready for your Lord’s awesome power today?

To acknowledge His commands and obey His tenets?

Am I making any sense?

Probably not; since you’re still smiling bewildered and telling me “Happy new year!” Sigh. “And to you too, the same……..and to you too.”

Enter the House Girl…culled from Daily Trust

The story of the house girl is not new to many of us. Contrary to belief, most of us did grow up with help that wasn’t from our mum or we grew up with “house girls”. That older aunty that finished University from our home but used to cook our meals, teach us new songs and pet us when Mummy has beaten the living daylights out of us for being naughty. And the good old fashioned house girl, that was our friend and we learnt how to cook from and maybe even played dress-up together. When she collected her salary, she’d buy us sweets too.

Our households have become “me against the world” circles. In the old days, extended family members stayed over all the time. Parents didn’t need house helps to assist with looking after kids or helping with the chores. In gratitude for assisting with their formal education or developing their business acumen, extended family members would watch over the home and its belongings. These days, we barely trust our spouses let alone our cousins, brothers, uncles, etc. Stories of an “uncle” or “aunt” stealing from the home, raping the kids or sleeping with the spouse have become rife.  So, we seem to have resolved that it is best to deal with an outsider, one we believe we can get rid of without any ceremony at the faintest whiff of trouble. Enter the maids.

It is reported in Sahih Muslim by Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (May peace be upon him) had the best disposition amongst people: ‘He sent me on an errand one day, and I said: By Allah, I would not go. I had; however, this idea in my mind that I would do as Allah’s Apostle (May peace be upon him) had commanded me to do. I went out until I happened to come across children who had been playing in the street. In the meanwhile, Allah’s Messenger (May peace be upon him) came there and he caught me by the back of my neck from behind me. As I looked towards him I found him smiling and he said: “Unais, did you go where I commanded you to go?” I said: “Allah’s Messenger, yes, I am going.”’ Anas further said: “I served him for nine years but I know not that he ever said to me about a thing which I had done why I did that, or about a thing I had left as to why I had not done that”.

So let’s look at the criteria first for every Muslim household as concerns the “helper”. If a house-help becomes necessary, then the following issues must be addressed:

  • Select a Muslim whose character and deen can be vouched for.
  • Select a Muslim post-menopausal maid or male who has lost his vigour or is impotent.
  • Select a pre-pubertal house-help (male or female). Yes, I mean pre-pubertal. The best of the creatures of Allah was the Prophet; salallahu ‘alayhi wa salaam, and he had Anas, and others in his household and he would send them on errands like the Hadeeth above indicates.
  • Make concrete timing arrangements which must be strictly adhered to, and which will require that a mature house-help only come into the house to attend to house-chores in the presence of mature and responsible members of the house-hold belonging to the same gender.
  • The presence of a mature male (non-mahram) house help in the household alone with the female member of the household in the absence of the husband or mahaarim (mature male relatives) of the women is absolutely prohibited.
  •  The presence of a mature female house help in the household alone with the male members of the household is absolutely prohibited.

It is after these have been addressed that the issue of being nice to the house-help comes in. This is because these points are all part of obedience to Allah. None falls within the realm of man-made laws. So, if a family fails in the first stage and admits a mature, flirtatious, non-Muslim female into the household and the family proceeds to be nice to her: overlooking her short-comings (and the greatest of this is her kufr), allow her to be alone with the male members of the house, then it is obvious where these niceties will lead to. Let us not forget the influences non-Muslims or Muslims with suspect deen can have on kids and households. We must take ultimate care to protect the household in our search for helps.

In these times, most employers try to be flexible. It’s why the help is treated with a lot of respect, sometimes at the expense of live-in in-laws. Recognize that life has just dealt them a different hand, so they are left to fend for themselves by serving you. It’s best to treat them right since you’ve placed this amount of trust on them, you say. So where did it go all wrong?

Little Derin and Eniola’s parents, who were kidnapped both from school and under their parent’s noses, definitely had no idea where it had all gone wrong. They were awfully good to their domestic help, maybe sent them to school, and treated them like family and the kids trusted them. In the days that followed the kids’ kidnap, well wishers will sigh and begin to trade necessary evil stories as concerns house help. Alhamdulilah, both kids are home at the writing of this piece – with probably some considerable money exchanged for their safety. Is the phenomenon really the influx of maids and domestic helps? The real phenomenon is greed.

It is greed that makes the public officer take more than his due and justify it. It is greed that makes the teacher fail a student so he/she can pay more to pass. It is greed that makes mummy shortchange daddy on shopping money so she can buy that lovely “asoebi” which he refused to purchase. It is greed for a new car that makes the older son steal his father’s car to show off even when he has no idea how to work for it. And it is greed that makes our lovely pious, good house-help want more – faster, quicker and without serving anyone.

And to curb this evil? Dua. Dua to Allah to grant you good help, the wisdom to treat them right. Dua, to use you as a vessel through which to assist them in their deen, so they may have patience in their current situation. Dua……. to truly make him/her a part of your family, the ummah.

As for those who are not sure that they can do without the house-help, I assure you, it is possible. And so, to end, I will like to cite a beautiful Hadith from our teacher and the most beloved man to Allah:

Narrated Ali, (May Allah be pleased with him): Fatima (May Allah be pleased with her) went to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) complaining about the bad effect of the stone hand-mill on her hand. She heard that the Prophet Peace be upon him) had received a few slave girls. But (when she came there) she did not find him, so she mentioned her problem to ‘Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her). When the Prophet (Peace be upon him) came, ‘Aisha informed him about that. ‘Ali added, “So the Prophet (Peace be upon him) came to us when we had gone to bed. We wanted to get up (on his arrival) but he (Peace be upon him) said, ‘Stay where you are.” Then he came and sat between me and her and I felt the coldness of his feet on my abdomen. He said, “Shall I direct you to something better than what you have requested? When you go to bed say ‘Subhan Allah’ thirty-three times, ‘Alhamdulillah’ thirty three times, and Allahu Akbar’ thirty four times, for that is better for you than a servant.”

May Allah guide and protect us all. Amin.

Hajj-An obligation to Allah…(culled from Daily Trust)

By

Aisha Mijindadi & Dr Mustapha Oloko

Labbaik Allahhuma labbaik! (I am here at your service, Oh Allah, I am here at your service).

Labaik Laa shareeka laka labbaik (I am here at your service, no partner have you, I am here at your service).

Innalhamda, wan ni’imata laka wal mulk (Surely all praise and blessings are Yours and dominion -likewise).

La shareeka lak (No partner have you).

The performance of hajj is an obligation; the beauty of which can only be experienced; not explained!

As I watched my friends depart for Hajj this year, I found myself overcome by a desire to share and talk about this journey of faith and to emphasize its status as a pillar of Islam; a core member of a community of rights that affixes the label of Islam on the slaves.

The common folk would say ‘hajj is a call from Allah, when it is time, you will be called’. They seek to propagate the idea that if a man is able to, but chooses not to perform hajj, then he has not been called to do so by Allah. Nay and by no means! No statement has been further from the truth!! The One Who prescribed it (Allah) stated that “And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka‘bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allaah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence)” – [ Surah Aal ‘Imraan 3:97]. Allah’s messenger described the compelled one as ‘he who is able to attain the means (money and a safe passage)’. The scholars add from the prophetic guidance, that such a one must have attained puberty, physical ability, freedom from debt, discernment and sanity to qualify for compulsion.  The correct statement therefore, is that ‘all are called to perform hajj, who have acquired the means’. Hence I implore us not to throw lavish parties, wear gold to the tune of thousands of dollars to the neglect of hajj, feeling that “Allah’ has not yet called for hajj to be made!

The common folk would ignore the needs of their families, an existing debt or borrow to perform hajj. Do not follow suit.

The Standing Committee for Research and Fatwa was asked about a man who has a sum of money in an Islamic bank and his income came from the profits on that money which gave him enough to live a moderate lifestyle. Is he obliged to do Hajj using that capital, knowing that this would affect his monthly income and stretch his finances unbearably? They replied: If your situation is as you describe, you are not obliged to perform Hajj because you are not able to in the manner required by sharee’ah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka‘bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allaah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence)” – [Aal ‘Imraan 3:97]. And He says (interpretation of the meaning): “and [Allaah] has not laid upon you in religion any hardship” [al-Hajj 22:78] – (Fatwa 11/36).

They also said: With regard to being able to perform Hajj, this means being physically healthy as well as having the means of transportation to the Sacred House of Allaah by plane, car or riding animal, or being able to pay for that, according to one’s situation, as well as having sufficient provisions for the journey there and back. That is in addition to having enough to cover the expenses of those on whom he is obliged to spend until he returns from Hajj – (Fatwa 11/36).

The scholars, past and present, differed concerning the permissibility of a woman travelling to hajj without her husband or a mahram. Some favored its permissibility if the road is safe and she is with a trustworthy group. Others stuck to clear hadith of the Prophet to declare it non-permissible. However, they were all unanimously against laying claim to a non-mahram as a mahram in order to make the journey. This effacement of truth is not from the qualities of Muslims and certainly not a quality of the one heading for the house of Allah.

Finding the right hajj operator and early too. The Arabs would say: ‘(choose) the neighbor before the house, the companion before the journey’. Hajj operators are a dime a dozen these days in Nigeria. We tend to look for the ones that give us the most value at the least cost. Whilst not a bad method to adopt, some form of caution is required viz:

  • Hajj operators normally have standard prices, please do a survey and then pick the ones with the average amounts in the market. If he’s extremely cheap, your antennas should go up, something major could be wrong.
  • Please inquire about the wali (guardian) in the group. This would ordinarily be the Ustadh or learned person within the group, who will guide the pilgrims and to whom they will refer religious issues to. This all important inquiry could make or mar one’s hajj. We all want our hajj to be accepted by Allah and for this reason we need a guide -where we know no better- to lead us aright. Do not have anything to do with a wali who will engage in innovated things or see the opportunity of leading as an enterprise. It is reassuring to know that days before the start of the hajj, the Saudi authorities provide educational materials, describing the hajj rites. It will be worth a pilgrim’s while to obtain some of these. The pilgrim could also avail himself of “Fortress of the Muslim”  a booklet wherein he will find authentic supplications for all aspects of hajj. It is your hajj and you must protect it. Ask , ask and then ask some more. And learn too!
  • For comfort, there’s nothing wrong with having plush accommodation next to the ka’aba and so on but please remember, hajj is not a holiday! It is ibaadah! Endure and focus on serving your lord, no matter the hardships!
  • Avoid the late rush. Take your time, plan your hajj; its funding and other requirements, well ahead of time. Do not prepare only at the last minute, lest you receive a late or fake visa or even fall prey to opportunists. A late rush can cause much fluster and throw askew one’s frame of mind. Humility, tranquility, sobriety are essential for the journey; do not lose them to a late rush.
  • Attend the hajj seminars hosted by your hajj operator. It should provide good insight into the hajj rights. Please take these and pay attention to the packing list. Here’s a little comfort list that could prove useful:

Extra slippers: Don’t waste money on trekkers or sandals, good old Dunlop will do, even if you wear socks.

Change of clothes: Thick clothing which protect against the often cold nights are a must have. The permission for muslimahs, to wear clothes that observe the etiquette of hijab gives her a range to choose from. An easily identifiable tag with personal information and contact details of one’s chosen hajj operators cum next of kin is important wear at all time. It will help in the case of emergency and in the event one is lost.

Medication: Consult your doctor about the medications, vaccinations and precautions that you need to arm yourself with. Check with your hajj operator and on the Saudi immigration’s website that your medications are permissible for you to carry on-board and to any of the countries you will be traversing to and from hajj (some drugs are permissible, even sold over the counter in some countries while they are controlled drugs in other countries).

Your valuables: keep all that you consider valuable in a secure pouch that you will wear like your skin. Delay the purchase of other valuable till around your homeward departure.

Taqwah, loads of patience, humility and alertness must always accompany you. You with need to dispense them in dealing with your fellow pilgrims; most of who will be strangers to you. Remember Allah’s words:

“…….Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the hajj. And whatever good you do, (be sure) Allah knows it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is Taqwah (the fear of Allah)……… (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:197).

As with all journeys, proper knowledge and the right preparation is key. From the airport, your patience will be tried. With each step you will recognize how different and yet, the same all Muslims are.

Take note: It is a common sight to see, some hajjis (strange how the name Alhaji, Alhaja, Hajiya means so much to some, when in Arabic it translates only to ‘traveler’), spend long periods in the market and foyers of hotels, shopping, shopping and shopping; from the first to the very last day of the hajj. With all funds expended on shopping, some are forced to sell off their purchases to feed when flights are delayed. This recurring phenomenon must be avoided at all cost for hajj is a journey of faith, an obligation to Allah, and a pillar of your Islam. Though trading is by itself not haram, we must refrain from making it the mainstay of our trip. We must instead seize the opportunity of the journey, to garner from the abundance of reward with Allah for the visitors to His house.

These pages are by no means exhaustive. However, I hope they suffice to project the importance of the journey to the house of the Almighty and highlight some pit-falls.

The first sight of the ka’aba, making tawaf or praying on the plains of Arafah…..

The race between Safa and Marwa, the stoning of the Jamrah.

The humility in change of abodes from the plush comfort of Mecca……….to the humble grounds of Muzdalifah……………………

Beyond words, Hajj is an experience.

May Allah make it easy for us all to make this journey, May it be accepted from us when we embark on it. We pray Allah to accept the hajj of our brothers and sisters on the plains now. (Amin)

Post Ramadan

So here we are…

A month ago, we were receiving emails and texts – and tweets too – reminding us of the virtues of this blessed month, of the different things we could accomplish and achieve during this Ramadan. Top of the list was the forgiveness of our sins, acceptance of our duas and nearness to Allah.

But as with all good things, the blessed month of Ramadan has come to an end. We ask Allah to accept our duas, our striving, our ibaadah, and all our feeble attempts to worship Him as His humble servants. May our ibaadah in Ramadan not be in vain and may we live to see the next Ramadan, insha Allah.

So, we’ve cleaned up eleven (11) months of stains in this one noble month, by Allah’s Mercy; what’s the plan now? To get right back to where we were 30 days ago? La!

In 30 days, we offered more duas than we probably had done in months

In 30 days, we gave to more people, more money, time and naseehah than we had done in months

In 30 days, we shared food with others and had friends, family and yes in some cases, foes, over to share meals with us

In 30 days, we read the Quran more times than we had done in months; some completed once, others twice, five times and even less than that; alhamdulilah!

In 30 days, for more nights than you can remember, you rose at night to cry to your Rabb, sleep deprived, food deprived but at peace in a time and place only Allah has provided

In 30 days, you must have learnt more about the Prophet (SAW), this deen and more ahadiths than you’ve ever interacted with and more. Attending lectures, sharing on emails, receiving sms and so on..

In 30 days, each obligatory salat was said and in the mosque too (for the brothers). Our masajids for each salat was brimming over

In 30 days, we ceased smoking, partying, speaking too much, shunning television, breaking habits, watching our tongues…..the list is endless

In 30 days.

In the next 330 odd days, what will you do?

In 330 days, we must do more! Allah’s blessings, forgiveness and rahmah does not cease in the month of Ramadan. Our Rabb is ever ready to accept the repentance of the believing soul. So what are you waiting for?

I know the Shaitan is back, I know the pitfalls might increase so I prepare just like I prepared for Ramadan, if not even harder!

Will I make it a practice to perform regular charity to my neighborhood? Will I have family and friends over as often as I can to eat and share with them? Will I send them gifts for the love of Allah?

Will I perform all my salat in the mosque? Will I attend learning circles and if none exist (because it’s not Ramadan), why don’t I organize some? Find learned brothers and put together learning circles in my area?

Will I bond with the Quran more? Memorise more surahs, understand its meaning and maybe even start learning Arabic, the language of the Quran so I can actually say Amin at the end of duas and mean it!

And will I make tahajjud every week, every odd night, finishing the Quran many more times before the next Ramadan?

330 days is enough time to catch up on all the things we did in Ramadan and all the things we hoped to do in Ramadan that we couldn’t. Just like we refused to compromise our Ramadan, this is no exception! Nothing is more important than not losing the closeness with our Lord NOW!

Let’s start with the 6 days of Shawwal. Why procrastinate on a good deed? You have just completed 30 odd days of fasting and suddenly six (6) more seems too much? Fa audhubillah! Perform the six (6) days immediately after the days of Eid! Its six (6) days! For my sisters, you missed out some days? Repay them and then do your six days. In total, they will be an odd 11-15 days! In comparison to 30 days? Piece of cake! Why not strive for the rewards of perpetually fasting instead of relaxing and fighting to catch up a few days to our next Ramadan, which if Allah wills so, we might not meet? Hasten to good deeds my brothers and sisters.

Let’s rise for tahajjud. Our need for forgiveness, problems and our wants in this duniya and our striving for Jannah, does not end in the month of Ramadan. And our Rabb still descends to the lower heavens each night!!! Rise for dua, moisten your tongue with dhikr and cry to your Rabb!

The ummah was one during this blessed month, joined in ibaadah, striving and service. We hastened to get the benefit of each other’s fast by sharing our meals; now we should get the benefit of keeping this ummah strong by sharing meals after this blessed month. Have neighborhood get-togethers, community get-togethers, children’s parties sharing stories of the Prophet (SAW), the sahabah….The ummah’s unity should not wane or die because we are not in Ramadan!

So, you might think, how can we do all this, the Shaitan, the Shaitan, the Shaitan! I agree and I’m not taking away from the difficulty, but that’s why it’s called striving! It’s why the pious ones are rewarded, because it is hard and we curb our desires to please Allah, azza wa jaal.

Practically? From the mouths of young Muslims, during a workshop this Ramadan, when the question of how to sustain ibaadah and good behavior after Ramadan was put to them, here was the simple reply.

“I will write an essay about my last Ramadan and then come up with a timetable so I can keep track and not fall back.”

Subhanallah! First, take stock. What did I do during Ramadan? What would I have liked to do? What do I want to do next Ramadan? If possible, write your own “How I spent my last Ramadan” highlighting the weak points and strong points insha Allah.

Second, plan how to be a better Mumeen (believer) henceforth. A little, a day. Do not leave any day without doing some of the ibaadah you performed during the month. If you gave N20,000 in sadaqah for the month of Ramadan, try and make sure you keep up that sum for every month before the next Ramadan. If you prayed tahajjud 20 nights in the month, try keep that tally each month after Ramadan. Make the effort!!! If you fall short, at least it will not  be none at all!!!

If you finished the Quran this Ramadan, Alhamdulilah. Now try doing that once in two months, trying to understand the meaning as well. You can vary the ibaadah each day but never be far away from your Rabb. Insha Allah, this will become normal routine for you before next Ramadan and you will be doubling your effort from this into the next year with better learning, better ibaadah and better relationship with the Lord of the Al-ameen, insha Allah. And if Allah wills and we are called before the next blessed month, we will insha Allah have been taken upon goodness.

We began the month of Ramadan with a preparation schedule to maximize the month with all the ibaadah, all the dua and all the charity we were going to perform. For a schedule for 30 days, a map for steadfastness in the next 330 days will be appropriate; wouldn’t you say?

We weep as we say good` bye to the month of blessing,

The month that its rewards are a thousand fold.

A month that if we sincerely pray Allah has assured us of the forgiveness of our sins

A month in which the greatest miracle known to man was revealed

A month that consists of a night better than a thousand months

One thing I hope to improve on, insha Allah, is learning more dhikr and I leave you with one I learnt in these last few days. May Allah make it easy for us to obey Him.

Allahumma ‘a’innee ‘alaa thikrika, wa shukrika, wa husni ‘ibaadatika

O Allah, help me to remember You, to give You thanks, and to perform Your worship in the best manner

Alhamdulillah for Islam!!!

The Muslimah and business…(culled Daily Trust)

Written by Aisha Mijindadi Friday, 01 July 2011 00:00

 

Strange subject. Especially when you’re putting it alongside a Muslim woman. Business. Work. Or maybe all the words it denotes – making money, leaving the home, disrespect for the home, a failing in her duties….. disrespect for the husband and in some sense, her Creator. None of these, however, is true about the Musilimah and business.

The most basic duty which the Muslimah must attend to is to obtain knowledge of her Lord and worship Him in the exact way that He demands that He be worshiped. After this, she must fulfill the basic roles for which she has been specifically chosen above her male counterpart. These are the role of tending the home, nursing the children, obeying her husband, beautifying herself for him, protecting the home from foreign intrusion in her husband’s absence, and much more. In fulfilling these roles, she must package them as an act of worship for onward presentation to her Lord and Creator. These are the most basic acts that Allah has asked of His female slaves and they are the very deeds that the foremost of women, presented in the time of the Prophet (SAW).

After obtaining the capacity to carry out the tasks above, some of the women of virtue in the time of the Prophet, went a step further. They would engage themselves in business transactions, earn a decent and halal income, pay Zakkat, offer sadaqa and spend on their children and family. They went further to support their husbands with their wealth even when male dignity prevented their husbands from asking. In the tide and hails of wealth, they remained humble to their Lord and their husbands. They were blessed to know, that all their endeavours were acts of worship and did not spend of their wealth without their husband’s consent.

I think the most important thing to note about this subject is NOT HARAM or forbidden in anyway by the only deen of mankind, Islam.

It is to this post-basic extra mile of excellence that we call our womenfolk. It is a non-compulsory but permissible exercise in pursuit of excellence in the sight of Allah. What better creature than a wealthy Muslimah who obeys her Lord, is subservient to her husband, stays within the comfort of her home; exiting with her veil, only when necessity demands!

That said, I am a strong advocate of the Muslimah to make some money of her own for many reasons. I will mention the ones that have come to the fore in my few years of existence in this world:

1) Opportunity to do many acts of ‘ibadah; creating business ideas that make living and worship easy for Muslims, using the wealth gathered for sadaqa, Zakat, Hajj, Umrah, etc.

2) A safety net against undesired but real events e.g the death or incapacitation of her husband, divorce, etc.

3) A means of keeping focused and chaste when single and waiting for the right man.

The world of business is demanding and distractive. To remain focused, the Muslimah must follow the texts of the Qur’an and Hadeeth, upon the understanding of the pious predecessor on her conduct as a Muslimah in business. She must act under such texts as:

“O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters, and the believing women that they should cast (Yudnina ‘Alaihinna) their outer garments (Jalabib) over them; so that it is likelier that they will be known and not harmed; and Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah Ahzab, v. 59)”

“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their fathers-in-law, their sons, their step sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O’ you believers! Turn you all together towards Allah, that you may attain bliss. (Surah Nur, v. 30-31).

Umar ibn al-Khattab (Allah be pleased with him) said: “No one may trade in our markets unless they have learned their fiqh, for otherwise they will eat unlawfully interest (riba) whether they like it or not.” [Zabidi, Sharh Ihya `Ulum al-Din, 1.130].

She must seek and be well grounded in knowledge about the rulings of Islam on business. When all this is done she may proceed to trade and take from contemporary knowledge of business, that which is permitted in Islam.

To start Muslimah, know who you are. Please do not attempt to start business without asking yourself that all important question. One of such pieces of information culled from the internet is as follows:

Starting a business is not about just making money, no matter how dire your financial situation or shaky your job. It is about solving a problem, giving service, adding value and making the life of others better. By its very nature, a business is a platform for you to give of yourself.

A business is propelled by a mission and a vision that is why companies have them (even if they don’t mean it). How many of us with a business have a mission and vision and this can be translated into what we do? How many of us have a personal mission statement?

Before you start that business, know who you are, what you are good at, where your skills and passion lie, where you are now and where you are heading to. Answering these questions will give you the right focus and appreciation of what you are getting yourself into, and will help attract like minds as you for your dream team and attract resource towards fulfilling your mission.

Here are some questions you have to ponder on:

* Is this something you really want to do or you got talked into it?

* Why do you choose that line of business (what is your motive)?

* What is your passion?

* What skills do you have, where does your talents lie?

* Does your passion, talent and skills align with this business?

* What is unique in your offering (what are you adding to the marketplace)? Are you willing to stick with it even if you make no profit in the first 1 – 2 years or more?

* Are you happy doing this (or you are in it for the money)?

* Where do you see this business in 5 – 10 years?

* How will your business contribute to the larger society?

If you are in for the money, you will not go far. Profit is the byproduct of business fulfilling its mission.

So, a business idea is forming? What do I do next? Make Istikharah. Write it down, think it through, plan, discuss with your husband, family or friends who know you better. They would see the light in your eyes, the tremor in your voice and know that you are ready to begin and give you the courage to start.

There’s a lot to do in starting a business, there are the decisions to make on learning the trade if you have no previous skills, registering, branding, marketing, getting staff (if need be), customer services, costs, costs and more costs but, there are also time-worn tricks of the trade in starting, people you can talk to, that can help you get going. Cost can be brought down by businesses coming together, leveraging on others’ strengths and most of all starting small. Do not be afraid of new waters or competition. That’s where the real grit of a business starts from. Make dua, more dua and even more dua.

Sisters are doing business from the privacy of their homes, over the internet, having delivery boys take orders around while they are on the phone, writing for magazines, writing books, selling jewellery, cooking, setting up libraries, opening crèches, the list is enormous and unending and each person can come up with something different and unique in her own idea once it’s her own, her passion, her ‘thing’…!

In summary, our exhortation is for our Muslim women to engage in halal business activities, after having tended to their primary roles as Muslim women. It is a call for our women to do that which is permissible of business, just like it was done by the female companions, and to do so in ways that neither distract from their primary duties nor bring them to sin.

May Allah guide and protect us all. Amin.

 

 

Let’s talk about Death….(Daily Trust Original)

Written by Aisha Mijindadi.

Friday, 18 February 2011

When we were younger, death was vague. We prided ourselves on not crying, or at least not yelling out so much when we were bereaved. We watched in amazed confusion and held ourselves tight while we witnessed the tears fall.

As we got older, death became mysterious. When our mates passed on in University due to illnesses or accidents, we were dumbfounded and struck because life was just “starting” and we felt it was sad that a life had been cut short before it even started.
Now we are older, with children of our own, when our mothers, uncles, brothers or our children die, we are beside ourselves with grief, our mortality is brought to the fore. We have suddenly reached the age of “no excuses”.

Death, my brothers and sisters, is here. The truth however, is that it has always been.

Death is the end of this existence and the beginning of another one. It is the end of the fallacy that time goes on endlessly, and that this dunya(life), is something to strive for well, how’s your striving going? Is it something to be proud of or something to fear?

In the last two months, my family has been bereaved, all from my mother’s side. We first lost a grand uncle, then my grandmother shortly after, followed two days ago by her first son, my uncle.

Death does a lot of things when it happens. Shock. Most people do not handle grief well. You have cases of people asking you to repeat the news over and over, of others humming and sighing over a phone line, at a complete loss of words. Some others begin to ask, “What happened?” “How?” and Allah forbid, “Why?”, “Why now?” etc.
We have the blamers. “If only this…”.or “if only that…”, “Why wasn’t I told?”, etc.  It’s a painful moment in which a lot of things could be done or said and most times, a lot of damage is done.

Secondly, the recriminations on family, self, loved ones. Who was there? Who wasn’t there? How do I console? Who do I console? Should I console?
What do we do now? Where will he/she be buried? What does the family do? Did someone have some peculiar dream of him asking to be buried in a particular spot for some reason we can only guess and fathom at?

Finally… the burial. And then, what next?

Patience with the first blow is key. This is a true test of obedience to Allah – to the law of creation.

When the news is first heard, the first things off our lips should be “Inna lillahi wa inna lillahi raji’un”. It is indeed from Allah we have come and to Him we shall all return. Death reminds us of that fact, especially since we don’t remind ourselves enough in this crazy world. It makes us take stock of our lives and gives us a moment to pause and reflect. The first thing to do is take heart.

As the one condoling, extol the virtues of patience to the bereaved. If we are the ones bereaved, try talking. Too little can be dangerous, bottling up grief to a breaking point for some, and too much may cause shirk and allow for the wrong things to be said.

Questions are expected on what happened – they give the informer something to say to help express his anguish. You may tell the story in its many variations if that would help, but avoid wailing and grieving. Protect your loved ones in the journey to the grave!

Please do not bother with the “whys”. Death is inevitable. Whether it is caused by a careless doctor, a negligent hospital or a wrong drug is irrelevant; Allah has taken His own by His choice and His choice alone. The worst reactions are when we start to blame wicked wives, step mothers, people in the office, the village – the list is endless. If someone lent you something and came back to collect it, would you have the power to say that it is not his, just because you have had it for a long time?

How many of us know how to wash the dead? It’s really simple – the same bath of ghusl, men for men women for women, (husbands may wash wives and vice versa), a single perfumed shroud and no coffins (not even glass ones), and definitely no lying in state! A simple trip with your shrouded body to an “L” shaped home in the ground, and we are all leveled.

What to do next? Where’s your will? Sadly, a lot of us do not keep a will or think we are too young to own one. Even though the Shariah saves us the trouble with the sharing of a person’s wealth, simple things like actually stipulating the burial and that your sharing must be by the Shariah are not things we should take for granted as Muslims. Many families do not care about what should be done after we are gone. Then the agony stories start, of widows and children left hapless, polygamy turns sour, families left to suffer, the whole nine yards.

Please have a Will TODAY! Very simply get a lawyer or speak with a learned Muslim – have your wealth listed out, your debts acknowledged. State that you will want your property monetized, and your debts paid.  You may set out a portion for charity if you so wish (not more than one third), and then have the remainder shared according to the Shariah.

State what you want for your burial! Not to be put in the uncompleted building you just purchased, or in a “special” corner in your father’s house! It is best to be buried in the company of other Muslims, in a Muslim graveyard.  It saves those you left behind from time wasting and fighting over inane things and also saves you from the torment of the grave.

One of our tasks in life is to prepare for the life after death. The journey of the soul after death and its eventual rewards are the stories of the life that we lived. Knowing our creator – the reason we are here, the purpose of living – is all geared towards this very hour, this very minute. Brace yourselves!!!

Death my brothers and sisters, is here. Prepare for it, embrace it, whatever others may say or fear. For us, ironically, death is not to be feared; for who, my dear brothers and sisters, will fear… a friend?