Top 10 Posts for Muslimas' Oasis - 2014

MO in Review: Top 10 Posts in 2014

MO has had a big year with many changes, like a new admin team, new writers, and mashaAllah (God willed it), some fantastic new content! As we look back on what was most popular in 2014, we see a nice mix of both the old and new. In sha Allah (God willing) the coming year will bring more fantastic content for you to enjoy. If you’re not already getting new posts via email, make sure you sign up so you don’t miss anything!

1. Interview with a Second Wife

Polygyny is a hot topic for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Since it’s quite uncommon in most parts of the world, people are curious what it’s like for those living in polygyny, and that’s why this post remains on top year after year.

2. Why is Life After Repentance More Grueling?

MashaAllah, a thoughtful post from one of our new contributors on what life looks like after you decide to follow the straight path more closely. Allah tests those that He loves, and Salina helps this become clear, and uplifting.

3. Woman with Epilepsy Declines Cure

I love this article, and how Sister Saba helps us understand the bigger picture. Our trials in this life could pave the way for benefit in the Hereafter, in sha Allah (God willing). Make sure to read this one!

4. Calling People Kufar

Is kufar a bad word? Some people use it like it’s nearly a cuss word, but that’s not Allah’s intent! From an Islamic law standpoint, what does kufar mean? When it is appropriate to use? Read on to learn what I’ve learned about this through my studies. Allahu alim.

5. Missing Link Chain Letters

I was surprised to see this one come in the top ten since chain letters have been drastically reduced since the original publication date. Still, it’s a fantastic reminder of being mindful on everyday things, and how we shouldn’t let even the smallest acts be meaningless.

Top 10 Posts for Muslimas' Oasis - 2014

6. My Jannah Companion

Many sisters experience a miscarriage in their life, and it’s a trying time. The hope, possibilities, and dreams we have for our unborn child, and then for it to disappear in the blink of an eye. In sha Allah those who have found this post have found relief from a fraction of their sadness.

7. The Pens Have Been Lifted and the Pages Have Been Dried

Sometimes knowing that Allah’s plan is set is a hard pill to swallow. It’s hard to know that some things are outside of your control – that is until you realize that Allah is the best of planners. We know from the Qur’an that He plans and we plan, but He is the best of planners.

8. Blessings of Seeking Sacred Knowledge

Not sure if seeking knowledge of your deen is worth your time, or you think you know enough by now and you can back off from working hard? Make sure to read this to get a boost of motivation to keep striving toward always learning more, in sha Allah!

9. Using Public Restrooms Overseas

Muslimas’ Oasis doesn’t normally bring humorous posts, but this was a fun additional to our normal line up, and it looks like you, our valued readers, enjoyed it! We hope to bring you more fun reads this upcoming year, in sha Allah!

10. Noor Kids: Just What Little Muslims Need

MO has a lot of great reviews, and Noor Kids happened to make it to the top in 2014. After I received some Noor Kids books as a gift from a friend, I quickly realized why these became popular so quickly! Read on to learn more about these Islamic stories for kids!

Many people want to know! Did you become Muslim for a man? Or did you pick the man *because* he's Muslim? Hear real stories of revert sisters. - www.MuslimasOasis.com

What Came First? The Man, or Islam?

Most people won’t flat out ask if you converted for a man, but I think it’s safe to say that most people assume that a man had something to do with it (or a woman, for the men out there). This assumption seems to be cloaked in the question, “Where is your husband from?” See, but I don’t have an answer they are expecting.

“My husband is from here (the US).”

If they look confused, I tack on, “He was born and raised here.” Most times, I get a look as if I didn’t fully answer their question, because really, I didn’t answer the question behind the question. That’s okay. But let’s talk about this.

What came first? The man, or Islam?

Everyone’s answer is different. Many people came to Islam through knowing someone, and oftentimes that someone ends up being their spouse. Some people will openly admit they only said their shahadah (declaration of faith to become a Muslim) so they could marry the man they loved. Others believed in Islam before marriage. There are far fewer of us that came to Islam, spent some time as a single Muslim, and found our spouse later.

I’m one of those people.

There’s a large backstory on how I came to Islam, and it does involve some Muslims I met along the way. Still, those Muslims didn’t actively try to convince me of the truth of the message. I found the truth through the Qur’an, mashaAllah (Allah willed it to be).

After finishing the Qur’an, I was convinced it was written by the Creator of the everything there is. What other choice is there than to submit my will to His? Tweet this

After nearly a year of being Muslim, I decided to start wearing hijab (head scarf), which shook up life considerably. Many people at work started asking questions, including a conservative Christian guy in my department. He had numerous questions, and believed many of the stereotypes about Muslims because he simply had never had any reason or experience to think they weren’t true.

Right or wrong, from a dawah perspective, I took it upon myself to help him understand the true meaning of Islam. He was genuinely curious, and as any teacher knows, an eager student is one you look forward to teaching.

Fast forward, and this conservative Christian man in my department at work decided Islam was the truth and took his shahadah also. We married soon after. As you can imagine, he tends to get more of the suspicion that he only became Muslim because he was interested in a relationship. It’s a hard thing to overcome. You can only defend your intentions and what is in your heart to a certain extent. Beyond that, people just need to believe what you say.

I encourage you to question your own motives and intentions when you assume someone has come to Islam because of a relationship. Why is it hard to believe someone wouldn’t make the choice on their own? Why is it so easy to believe that someone’s relationship with their Creator is fickle enough to change based on the person they adore at that moment. True enough, it is the case in some instances, but let’s assume better before we have honest information.

Many people want to know! Did you become Muslim for a man? Or did you pick the man *because* he's Muslim? Hear real stories of revert sisters. - www.MuslimasOasis.com

Do people assume that you came to Islam because of the person you love?

What does it mean to participate in western holidays for a Muslim? Where do you stand? What do the scholars say? Join us for a discussion on Thanksgiving for Muslims in America.

Muslims in America: Thanksgiving

Living in the west creates many questions about how far a Muslim assimilates or participates in western holidays. Often, we look to the origin of the holiday, and make decisions on whether we will participate based on how the holiday started, the important traditions and their meanings, and the significance of it today. I believe Halloween and Christmas are fairly obvious holidays to avoid (and yes, I realize many people do not avoid them, but generally, most Muslims in America do), but holidays like Thanksgiving and Independence Day (both American holidays) are less clear.

What does it mean to participate in western holidays for a Muslim? Where do you stand? What do the scholars say? Join us for a discussion on Thanksgiving for Muslims in America.

 

I am not here to offer a fatwa (religious ruling) on whether you can participate or not.

With that said, I’d like to offer some thoughts, insight, and information.

Origins of Thanksgiving

Rulings on whether you can celebrate

Not all of these agree. It is all food for thought.

Personally, I have a hard time celebrating something that only means to people what we are told it means in the media. We are told Thanksgiving means giving thanks, and celebrating the bounties in the last year, regardless of their size and significance. We are told it is a time that we bring families together to bond and reconnect after a possibly busy year. Some of these things are true, but I personally have issue with glazing over what Thanksgiving means to the Native Americans. I would love if we could bring in traditions that honor the sacrifices they have made, and the troubles they still face because of the immigration of Europeans just a few short centuries ago. In sha Allah (God willing), that can be a beneficial addition if one chooses to participate in Thanksgiving traditions.

Eid is always #1

One thing all scholars agree on is Eid should never be overshadowed by the celebration of another holiday. Ever. For the sake of our families, our faith, and our kids, we should make Eid as exciting, enjoyable, and enriching as possible, in sha Allah (God willing). I recognize with the media and the ease of finding decorations, it takes more work to make Eid bigger and better than the other holidays. Even if you don’t participate in western holidays, if you own a TV, or head to a store anytime between October and February, you are overrun with advertisements for various holidays. No one said the right thing is going to be easy, but it will be worth it, in sha Allah.

The meaning of Thanksgiving

We know that the reason behind Thanksgiving should be something we concentrate on every day of the year, but in practice do we make that happen? Is Thanksgiving the only time we share what we are thankful for? Is it the only time we reflect on what we are thankful for? Muslim or not, we should be reflecting and speaking our thanks throughout the year. Let’s work to make it a daily practice to be thankful, inside and out.

Family ties

Some families put incredible significance on certain holidays, and choosing not to participate is akin to a slap in the face. Each person knows their own family, but remember: slow and steady wins the race. If you came to Islam, or decided to start seriously practicing Islam relatively recently, and now your family is grappling with how you are changing, then on top of it you are refusing to attend their special event, even for a short period of time, it could be doing more harm than good. On the other hand, pacifying family members year after year with your continued participation as if nothing changed isn’t beneficial for you either.

We should live our Islam each day. Not just the days it is convenient for us.

Make the steps you are able to make, but remember that life and its inevitable changes do not happen within your comfort zone.

Western holidays look different for everyone. Everyone takes different steps to their ultimate goal: Jannah (Heaven/Paradise), but in sha Allah we are all making steps. Decide for yourself how western holidays affect you and your iman, but don’t confuse this with how comfortable you feel. Comfort is not a sign of iman necessarily. Shaytan (Satan) is wonderful at helping us feel comfortable.

What does Thanksgiving look like for you as Muslims in America?

What is the true meaning of "kufar," and when is it appropriate to use it? Find out from a fellow student of knowledge. - www.MuslimasOasis.com

True Meaning of Kufar

What is the true meaning of "kufar," and when is it appropriate to use it? Find out from a fellow student of knowledge. - www.MuslimasOasis.com

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari

Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 10: The Qibla

384. It is related that Anas ibn Malik said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever prays our prayer and faces our qibla and eats what we slaughter, he is a Muslim and is under the protection of Allah and the protection of His Messenger. Do not act treacherously against Allah with respect to those under His protection.”

Who do we call a Muslim? What does Kufar really mean?

Kufar has almost turned into a curse word in our current community setting. People use this in anger towards one another and call them Kufar. When someone is seen smoking or being too close to the opposite gender, Kufar is an easy word off of many people’s tongues.

Kufar literally means “unbeliever” and unbeliever is defined as “someone who refuses to believe (as in a divinity.)” Notice how the word “belief” is the core component, not “action.” Of course as Muslims, we believe that belief is shown through action, but as I’m sure anyone can relate to, our actions sometimes are not as Muslim as our heart may be. By definition, there are only two groups – believer and unbeliever. Or, Muslim and Kufar, respectively.

Since only Allah is able to see what is in our heart, we must judge by actions who is a Muslim and who is a Kufar. We judge by outward appearances, but Allah judges by inward realities. We can not go to extremes and call someone a Kufar based on our witnessing of one sin. On the other side, we can not say that all sins are okay as long as you profess the shahadah (There is no god except Allah). Saying one is a Kufar does not, and should not be, labeling a person to Hellfire just like labeling someone a Muslim does not ensure their entry into Paradise.

When we say someone is Kufar, it is simply a legal statement and a label for who should be treated as a Muslim when they get married, die, have kids, etc.

Two terms are important in this discussion:

Tasdiq: “You are telling the truth”

Takdhib: “You are lying”

(both in reference to the Sunnah and Qur’an)

When someone is denying a pillar of Islam, such as saying that you don’t have to pray, they are essentially saying to the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him), “You are lying” and they are committing takdhib. To deny a pillar of Islam is the gravest of errors and anything that a person rejects that is necessarily known of the religion will remove them from Islam. For instance, if a person states that drinking is not forbidden, they have committed takdhib and it is safe to say they are Kufar. Again, does this mean we are saying they are going to Hellfire? No! We do not know what will happen in their life or what is in their heart but this person isn’t required to have a nikkah when they get married, they are not expected to pay zakat, etc.

Notice in the examples given that we mentioned people who are denying that an action is a sin or that something is obligatory. There is a big difference between someone committing a sin when they are weak and denying it is a sin altogether. We are all sinners and Muslims may be punished for their deeds, in this life or the next, even if they are eventually destined for Paradise, by Allah’s Mercy.

In short, Kufar is a legal term used for anyone who does not appear to be Muslim. Kufar is not a word used for a sinning Muslim, nor is it a derogatory term. We use it to classify someone, especially in legal matters such as paying zakat (required charity tax), creating a marriage contract, burial rights, etc. It does not mean this person is going to Hellfire as no one in creation can determine this, especially for a living person.

It is up to Allah. And for any living person, including you and me, He is giving us more days to determine our final destination, in sha Allah (God willing).