Archive for islam

Why the Yearly Request ‘Forgive me if I’ve done Something Wrong Knowingly’ Bothers Me a Little 

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2016 by amanisma


Every Ramadan social media is flooded with request for forgiveness. We ask others to forgive us if we have done something wrong knowingly and unknowingly. Now the unknowingly part I get. Sometimes we do things that hurt others and we are unaware. In these cases we, the “wrongdoer”, aren’t given a chance to apologize or correct the mistake because we simply are not aware we have done something wrong. It’s completely understandable to cover that base and seek forgiveness because it’s unknown. 

Now for the knowingly part, why can’t we apologize to the people we have wronged? We know when we backbite or slander each other. We know if we have divorced and left children behind and refuse to take care of them. We know if we cut family ties, i.e. preventing a father from seeing his children. We know know if we have fought with a Muslim. We know when we lie on someone to make ourselves look good. We know if we run a business and hurt the communities by selling alcohol and synthetic drugs. We know when we are profiting from cheap unfinished products. We know if we have instigated an issue and caused problems for our sister. We know! We know! We know! 

In these instances we are aware of the wrong, so why wait until Ramadhan (or traveling) to toss out the request for forgiveness? It seems it’s become more of a ritual to ask in this manner. It’s become expected that before Ramadan and during Hajj season there is an influx of such request. I’m sorry but I’m truly giving the side eye to the “knowingly” part. Let’s make this year we accept the wrong we do to others and give our Muslim brothers and sisters their rights. Apologies are much more sincere when we accept what we’ve done and make necessary changes. 
Here are some alternative solutions to seeking forgiveness for the knowingly examples of wrongs mentioned above: 

1. If we backbite/slander a Muslim, go to the person and apologize. If you don’t have the guts to do that then speak good of them in the same company in which you tarnished their name. If you can’t do that, then get them a gift.  If can’t do that then stay quiet. 

2. If you have a child you do not  take care of then change your life. Get a job. Support your children. There are no excuses for not taking care of your children. Asking for forgiveness only works when you stop doing the wrong that you are apologizing for. Asking for forgiveness yearly as your child suffers seems a bit fake. 

3. Cutting family ties specifically between children and their fathers. Sometimes marriages don’t last but that doesn’t mean the children must suffer. Honestly, if there wasn’t abuse involved then there really isn’t any good reason to keep a child away from their father. Reconnect the child with their parents. Allow them to figure out how they feel on their own. 

4. Fighting with Muslims. Does this really need an explanation??? We know when there is either a verbal or physical altercation but rarely offer an apology. In fact, the dispute doesn’t end there. Too many times we quarrel and the first thing we do is call a friend and discuss what “just went down” ultimately inviting others to backbite. We could handle the issue in a more mature manner. Accept that anger has momentarily taken over and follow the sunnah when it comes to removing the anger. 

5. Telling lies on others to make ourselves look good. All I can suggest is stay calm and speak the truth. May Allah protect us all from hypocrisy and telling lies. Ameen

6. Can this be the year the Muslims stop selling alcohol and synthetic drugs? Aside from the clear evidence from the Quran telling us its wrong, statistics prove drunk driving is the cause many deadly accidents. Also there are many videos online showing reactions to the harmful synthetic marijuana K2. Now, I’m not saying selling real marijuana is any better but I mention the K2 because it is legally sold in many convenient stores along with alcohol. This is knowingly harming others. There isn’t any good that can come from either of these substances. 

7. Profiting from cheap products. If I purchase a pricey abaya from a Muslim business there is no reason I should have to literally retrace every single stitch because it’s falling apart. That shouldn’t happen after the first wear. On top of that having a “no return” policy. Come on! This is not right and if we sell any type of product then we should charge according to the quality. High quality should be high priced. Enough said. 

8. Instigating problems between Muslims. This goes along with backbiting but I’ll just say this, we should not be going back and forth with the “he said she said”. Such a mentality should have ended in grade school. Let’s solve our issues with each other and leave it at that. Let Islam make adults mature again. Ya Allah, Ameen! 

I know we all make mistakes. This is what makes us human. All I am trying to get across is that we refrain from being of those who act out certain rituals depending on the times of year. Let’s try to be better people for the sake of being good and pleasing our Creator. We all do things that unknowingly hurt others and for that I ask forgiveness for as well. As for the pain we knowingly cause let’s try to correct those faults instead of throwing yearly requests that feel a little phony. Especially if we don’t change our ways. May Allah make us all more sincere and courageous…Ameen 

Heartwarming story of American woman who embraced Islam

Posted in Religion with tags , , , , , , on July 15, 2015 by amanisma

No matter where I am, when I hear a story of how one has embraced the religion of Islam immediately I feel the tears forming in my eyes. Islam is such a blessing to those who truly understand its meaning. A couple of days ago I had a chance to sit with my sister in Islam,Dawn Brookbank, and ask her a few questions about how she came to Islam. Alhamdulillah, her story is so heartwarming. The more we talked the more I felt the need to share what she had to say. 

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Top reason you don’t hear Muslims condemn violence

Posted in Religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2015 by amanisma

I always hear the question asked: Why don’t  Muslims condemn terrorist groups? This question has always annoyed me as I do not expect Christians to condemn crimes committed in the name of Christianity. Seriously, it’s not like Muslims across the globe somehow hold meetings and agree upon the acts of terror. It’s pretty illogical to think every single Muslim has anything to do with such violent activity. There is never a good enough reason to blame an entire group of people because of the actions of some, yet Muslims are.

There are millions of Muslims here in the United States and as far as I have seen Muslims are the ones being attacked! Most recently was the shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where three young Muslims were murdered execution style by a neighbor who was known for his anti-religious Facebook rants. Prior to this incident a Muslim man was strangled to death in Chesterfield, Virginia. In Kansas City, Missouri a Muslim teenager was murdered because of his religious beliefs. Although no one was injured an Islamic institute in Houston was purposely set on fire days after the Chapel Hill shooting.

Aside from these  vicious attacks, Muslims (more specifically Muslim women who wear hijab) face endless harassment. It is very rare that I leave my home and do not deal with negative comments and dirty looks. Most recently in a grocery store a woman gave my girls, who wear hijab, a look of hate and when I caught her evil gaze she turned to her shopping companion and asked loudly had she “seen American Sniper”.

In my opinion this is what makes people perceive Muslims as less human. They watch Fox News and movies that portray Muslims as violent terrorist. There is no clear distinction  between Islam and extremism in the media which totally preys on the ignorance of the general public. People who do not take the time to read and inform themselves suddenly feel qualified to talk about “what Islam teaches”.

The ill informed individuals  seem to be the same ones asking why Muslims don’t condemn terrorism. To this I ask, how many Islamic events have you attended lately? How many Friday prayers have you been to? How many Muslims do you personally know?  I have been Muslim my entire life and have ALWAYS heard the leaders condemning violence.

It is very possible the TOP reason the condemnation of terrorist activity is not heard because those asking are absent when its being spoken.

Every Islamic event attended has been a public event and regardless of what hateful Islamophobic individuals will have you believe, there are no secret rooms in Islamic Centers grooming young Muslims to be terrorist. Mosques are public buildings. With that being said, I would like to personally invite every reader to a Jummuah (Friday) prayer at your local Masjid/Mosque/Islamic Center. You may learn something new.

Peace be with you.

CRACKS IN THE SISTERHOOD

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2013 by amanisma

These days it seems as though most us don’t fully understand what sisterhood is. Before I go any further I must say I may not be the best sister in the world but there are too many issues to ignore.  As sisters we shouldn’t be so quick to talk about and judge each other. Most of the time (and I mean most of the time like 99.9% of the time) we have absolutely no clue what is going on in the personal lives of others. Many wear a mask when leaving their homes. They smile and say “Allah is sufficient for me” when in fact times are extremely difficult. A lot of times when thinking of the hungry we think of individuals in far away places. We never think the ones starving could be the ones praying next to us. The ones who were made fun of for wearing the same dress frequently.

At times we don’t even have the decency or common sense to keep our negative thoughts to ourselves. We begin by saying “AstaghfirAllah, but…”. Starting a backbiting session (or any sin for that matter) by saying “God forgive me” doesn’t make it better. It seems it would be worse because we actually know better. We should keep in mind the rights of our sisters (and brothers). At the end of the day we may ask God to forgive us but we still need the forgiveness from the ones we’ve talked about. The reality about backbiting is it hurts others. We are all humans and as strong as we try to be when we learn we have been slandered we feel pain. Especially if we are slandered by ones we trusted, stood up for, prayed for, etc.

As mentioned earlier, many times we don’t know what is going on with our sisters. When we don’t see each other for a while we automatically think “oh so and so has changed” or “she thinks she is this or that”. Instead of picking up the phone and calling we talk about our sisters to others. Our sisters could be at home sick, going through a rough time, or suffering in some way or another and here we are talking about her. To add to that point, in her suffering, she may be making du’ah (supplicating) for us. Do we know? Do we check on each other? or Do we just chat for mere entertainment? God Knows best what is going on in each of our lives and only he can judge, but we must hold ourselves accountable.

Another issue when it comes to sisterhood are the cliques that exist. I am aware this is just not a local issue either. It is completely understood that when one moves to a foreign land they want to be around people who speak their language, eat the same foods, and have the same culture, but “As Salaam Alaikum” and a smile are universal. You don’t have to be from the same place to exchange the greetings. Many times sisters will walk pass a sister who doesn’t share the same background and not even acknowledge her. Sometimes it’s as though she doesn’t exist! Once again we are all human here, so this may have an affect. We should treat others the way we would like to be treated.

As sisters let’s all strive to be better to each other. I feel the main hindrance to a strong sisterhood is our inability to stop backbiting. We must find new topics of conversations other than the lives of our sisters. Being connected and loving each other for the sake of Allah is a start. Allah didn’t put us here to tear each other down and be divided. Each and everyone one us are sisters. It doesn’t matter the background or status. Those petty things should not stop us from forming a strong sisterhood where we encourage one another to be the best we could possibly be. May Allah help us all and make us amongst  the sincere.

Yes I am American and I was born Muslim

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2013 by amanisma

This is   the type of thing that happens everyday. Well, maybe not every day but quite often. So I’m sitting in the Masjid with my sister watching our kids play and Arab woman enters. She asks a few questions concerning when the program will begin and I answer her. This is the first time I am seeing her. I neither know her name nor exactly where she is from. All I can tell about her is that english is not her first language and she has features of an Arab. She sits down across the room as the kids play. She looks at me and asks me if I am American. I answer her and then ask her if she is new to the community and her name. She answers and then asks my name. I say “Aneesah” and then surprisingly she says “Oh you have an Arabic name”. I let her know I am aware of this and she asks if I have an “American name”. I’m not sure exactly what an “American name” is but I can assume its not arabic. So I tell her “no” and that my parents gave me this name. At this point her astonishment seems to deepen and I prepare myself for the questions to come because I know which questions will follow. “You were born Muslim? Your parents are Muslim?” “Yes, yes” I answer initially wondering why the latter question was asked after I’d answered yes to the former. The only excuse I could come up with is that it is an Islamic belief that all humans are born Muslim (one who submits to the Oneness of God). She then tells me she thought I had converted to Islam. I smile and say “many people think so but I was born Muslim”. I excuse myself with the intentions of later finishing the conversation.

My thoughts are this: When moving to a foreign land maybe its best to learn a little about the history especially as it pertains to Islam. The extent of the United States is not Tourist sites and converts. There are indeed American Muslims who have generations of Islam in their families. Although America is not a Muslim nation, I couldn’t see myself traveling to a “Muslim” country and assuming all Christians are converts. In these situations it’s better to not assume because at some point it may become offensive. Especially if one is constantly speaking to you as though you know nothing about Islam and you need to be “taught” something. I will admit I don’t know everything about Islam as I have not studied the religion in depth but I am aware of the basics. So if I am meeting you for the first time and its known I have a daughter from a previous marriage, don’t assume my ex was not Muslim because I was born Muslim and I am aware of the rulings concerning marriage. The bottom line is this: we are all different here in the U.S. Some of us are reverts, but there are many of us who are born Muslim. And Yes to Muslim parents.

All American Muslimah

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 17, 2013 by amanisma

All American Muslimah

Peace to the World

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