Serves as a good reminder. Click here for the lecture
Serves as a good reminder. Click here for the lecture
Courtesy of my boy The Mixer
How many men and women prepare themselves to live as a couple, as a family?
Some think about it, others are already committed to it. We hear of stories… and one is sometimes moved by the expectations and hopes of some, and sometimes saddened by the painful life experiences of others. Perhaps you are also, sisters and brothers, preparing yourselves to engage in this life experience of marriage, known as half of your faith. Or perhaps you have already started sharing your life with someone. In this, your expectations, thank God, were more than met but sometimes doubts have emerged.This… is not what you had expected.
Brothers and sisters, nothing should be idealized.
The perfect husband or the perfect wife only exists in your dreams. God has given you, as He has given others, noble qualities and intelligence. God has given you, as He has given others, faults and deficiencies. Perfection is not given to you or any human being.
It is not enough to share the same faith, the same principles and the same hopes to make an ideal couple. How many young couples have been under the illusion that their future life will be harmonious as if being Muslim was enough for a successful marriage? As if their union was based solely on the meeting of two worlds founded on the same principles that one respects or on the rules which one applies.
This illusion, which yesterday promised a small earthly paradise, today makes life a difficult struggle How many speak about “the principles of marriage in Islam” and actually live the reality of a torn, ravaged and frustrated existence?
Today, more than ever, living as a married couple has become a real challenge. Around us, men and women meet and leave each other in a modern society in which they confuse freedom and the absence of accountability as love and flexibility.
Living as a couple is not without its challenges – preparing yourself, learning and constantly trying to reach out to the other with patience, depth and tenderness. Although it is true that the principles of Islam bring you together, or will bring you together, you must remember each day that the person with whom you share your life comes with his or her own history, wounds, sensitivities and hopes. Learn to listen, to understand, to observe, to accompany.
Living as a couple is the greatest of tests: a test of patience, of attention, of the ability to listen for unspoken words, of self-control, of mending one’s faults, of healing the wounds. In each of these tests, there are two parties. It isn’t easy. A meaningful effort has to be grounded in the deepest sense of spirituality, a jihad, in the most intense meaning of the term. The jihad of love which reminds that feelings have to be taken care of. They are maintained, deepened, rooted through your shared challenges and your patience
Patience and attention to the hearts, in a couple, will lead them towards the light, God willing. Remember, brothers and sisters, the last of the Prophets (peace be on him), an example for eternity, so attentive, so tender, and so patient. He did not only remind the Umma of principles, he enlightened with his presence, his listening, and his love.
Before being the mother of his children, his wife was a woman, his spouse, a person he discovered each day, a person whom he accompanied and who accompanied him; subject of his attention, a testimony of his love. He knew the meaning of silence, the power of a touch, the complicity of a shared glance, the pleasure in a smile, and the kindness found in being attentive.
There are those who idealize the other so much they never really see their partners and those who leave each other too quickly without taking the time to know each other. We are reminded of the principles Islam, its depth, its spirituality, its essence. Living as a couple, forming a relationship, being patient in adversity, loving to the extent of enduring, grounding by way of reforming is an initiation to spirituality. Knowing how to be one with God assures greater comfort in being together as two. A challenge, a test, far from the ideal, close to reality.
Sisters and brothers, you must prepare yourselves to live one of the most beautiful tests of life. It requires all from you, your heart, your conscience, and your efforts. The road is long. One must learn to demand, to share, and to forgive…indefinitely.
Of the things permitted by God, divorce is the most detested. Living as a couple is difficult: remember that your wife is woman before being the mother of your children; remember that your husband is a man before being the father of your children. Know how to live as a couple, within your family…in front of God and in front of your children.
This meeting place, these efforts will result in a sense of protection: They are your garments and you are their garments . Know how to be patient, learn how to be affectionate, offer forgiveness, and you will attain the spirituality of the protected, the proximity of the ones that are close. Faith then becomes your source of light and “his or her” presence, becomes your source of protection; the test of your heart, the energy of your love, half of your faith.
I pray to God that this love be the school of your efforts and the light of your patience.
Women are prouder than men, but men are more lustful, according to a Vatican report which states that the two sexes sin differently.
A Catholic survey found that the most common sin for women was pride, while for men, the urge for food was only surpassed by the urge for sex.
The report was based on a study of confessions carried out by Fr Roberto Busa, a 95-year-old Jesuit scholar.
The Pope’s personal theologian backed up the report in the Vatican newspaper.
“Men and women sin in different ways,” Msgr Wojciech Giertych, theologian to the papal household, wrote in L’Osservatore Romano.
“When you look at vices from the point of view of the difficulties they create you find that men experiment in a different way from women.”
Msgr Giertych said the most difficult sin for men to face was lust, followed by gluttony, sloth, anger, pride, envy and greed.
For women, the most dangerous sins were pride, envy, anger, lust, and sloth, he added.
Catholics are supposed to confess their sins to a priest at least once a year. The priest absolves them in God’s name.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into Hell”.
Traditionally, the seven deadly sins were considered: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth.
The Apostolic Penitentiary, one of the Vatican’s most secretive departments, which fixes the punishments and indulgences handed down to sinners, last year updated its list of deadly sins to include more modern ones.
The revised list included seven modern sins it said were becoming prevalent during an era of “unstoppable globalisation”.
These included: genetic modification, experiments on the person, environmental pollution, taking or selling illegal drugs, social injustice, causing poverty and financial greed.
The report came amid Vatican concerns about the declining rate of confessions.
A recent survey of Catholics found nearly a third no longer considered confession necessary, while one in 10 considered the process an obstacle to their dialogue with God.
Pope Benedict, who reportedly confesses his sins once a week, last year issued his own voice of disquiet on the subject.
“We are losing the notion of sin,” he said. “If people do not confess regularly, they risk slowing their spiritual rhythm.”
“The World of Deaf Muslims”
You are cordially invited to a one day symposium to experience the culture and challenges that face the Deaf Muslim Community locally and globally. Join us in an effort to enhance community awareness and inclusiveness!
When: Saturday February 21, 2009
Where: Georgetown University, Copley Formal Lounge
37th & 0 Street NW, Washington DC 20057
Suggested Donation: $10
Please See the Attached Flyer
For More information contact
Global Deaf Muslim (www.globaldeafmuslim.org )
Deaf Muslim Student Association
Georgetown University Muslim Ministry
By Imam Mohamed Hagmagid Ali
Executive Director, ADAMS Center
Vice-President, The Islamic Society of North America
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is saddened and shocked by the news of the loss of one of our respected sisters, Aasiya Hassan whose life was taken violently. To God we belong and to Him we return (Qur’an 2:156). We pray that she find peace in God’s infinite Mercy, and our prayers and sympathies are with sister Aasiya’s family. Our prayers are also with the Muslim community of Buffalo who have been devastated by the loss of their beloved sister and the shocking nature of this incident.
This is a wake up call to all of us, that violence against women is real and can not be ignored. It must be addressed collectively by every member of our community. Several times each day in America, a woman is abused or assaulted. Domestic violence is a behavior that knows no boundaries of religion, race, ethnicity, or social status. Domestic violence occurs in every community. The Muslim community is not exempt from this issue. We, the Muslim community, need to take a strong stand against domestic violence. Unfortunately, some of us ignore such problems in our community, wanting to think that it does not occur among Muslims or we downgrade its seriousness.
I call upon my fellow imams and community leaders to never second-guess a woman who comes to us indicating that she feels her life to be in danger. We should provide support and help to protect the victims of domestic violence by providing for them a safe place and inform them of their rights as well as refer them to social service providers in our areas.
Marriage is a relationship that should be based on love, mutual respect and kindness. No one who experiences a marriage that is built on these principles would pretend that their life is in danger. We must respond to all complaints or reports of abuse as genuine and we must take appropriate and immediate action to ensure the victim’s safety, as well as the safety of any children that may be involved.
Women who seek divorce from their spouses because of physical abuse should get full support from the community and should not be viewed as someone who has brought shame to herself or her family. The shame is on the person who committed the act of violence or abuse. Our community needs to take a strong stand against abusive spouses. We should not make it easy for people who are known to abuse to remarry if they have already victimized someone. We should support people who work against domestic violence in our community, whether they are educators, social service providers, community leaders, or other professionals.
Our community needs to take strong stand against abusive spouses and we should not make it easy for them to remarry if they chose a path of abusive behavior. We should support people who work against domestic violence in our community, whether they are educators or social service providers. As Allah says in the Qur’an: “O ye who believe! Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do” (4:136).
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never hit a women or child in his life. The purpose of marriage is to bring peace and tranquility between two people, not fear, intimidation, belittling, controlling, or demonizing. Allah the All-Mighty says in the Qur’an: “Among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are signs for those who reflect” (30:21),
We must make it a priority to teach our young men in the community what it means to be a good husband and what the role the husband has as a protector of his family. The husband is not one who terrorizes or does harm and jeopardizes the safety of his family. At the same time, we must teach our young women not to accept abuse in any way, and to come forward if abuse occurs in the marriage. They must feel that they are able to inform those who are in authority and feel comfortable confiding in the imams and social workers of our communities.
Community and family members should support a woman in her decision to leave a home where her life is threatened and provide shelter and safety for her. No imam, mosque leader or social worker should suggest that she return to such a relationship and to be patient if she feels the relationship is abusive. Rather they should help and empower her to stand up for her rights and to be able to make the decision of protecting herself against her abuser without feeling she has done something wrong, regardless of the status of the abuser in the community.
A man’s position in the community should not affect the imam’s decision to help a woman in need. Many disasters that take place in our community could have been prevented if those being abused were heard. Domestic violence is not a private matter. Any one who abuses their spouse should know that their business becomes the business of the community and it is our responsibility to do something about it. She needs to tell someone and seek advice and protection.
Community leaders should also be aware that those who isolate their spouses are more likely to also be physically abusive, as isolation is in its own way a form of abuse. Some of the abusers use the abuse itself to silence the women, by telling her “If you tell people I abused you, think how people will see you, a well-known person being abused. You should keep it private.”
Therefore, to our sisters, we say: your honor is to live a dignified life, not to put on the face that others want to see. The way that we measure the best people among us in the community is to see how they treat their families. It is not about how much money one makes, or how much involvement they have in the community, or the name they make for themselves. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said, “The best among you are those who are best to their families.”
It was a comfort for me to see a group of imams in our local community, as well as in the MANA conference signing a declaration promising to eradicate domestic violence in our community. Healthy marriages should be part of a curriculum within our youth programs, MSA conferences, and seminars as well as part of our adult programs in our masajid and in our khutbahs.
The Islamic Society of North America has done many training workshops for imams on combating domestic violence, as has the Islamic Social Service Associate and Peaceful Families Project. Organizations, such as FAITH Social Services in Herndon, Virginia, serve survivors of domestic violence. All of these organizations can serve as resources for those who seek to know more about the issues of domestic violence.
Faith Trust Institute, one of the largest interfaith organizations, with Peaceful Families Project, has produced a DVD in which many
scholars come together to address this issue. I call on my fellow imams and social workers to use this DVD for training others on the issues of domestic violence. (For information, go to the website: http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/). For more information, or to access resources and materials about domestic violence, please visit www.peacefulfamilies.org.
In conclusion, Allah says in the Qur’an “O my son! Establish regular prayer, enjoin what is just, and forbid what is wrong; and bear with patient constancy whatever betide thee; for this is firmness (of purpose) in (the conduct of) affairs” (31:17). Let us pray that Allah will help us to stand for what is right and leave what is evil and to promote healthy marriages and peaceful family environments. Let us work together to prevent domestic violence and abuse and especially, violence against women.
I pray that she is brought to justice. May Allah have mercy on Aasiya and console her family and loved ones. Please make du’a for this women, whose promising life was cut too short. I hope that Muslim leaders heed this call and that more of us support women and children who are in danger.
We ask Allah to make the Imam’s illness an expiation and provide him with a speedy recovery, Insha’Allah. According to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws), we know that our body has rights over us. Our health is a high priority and cannot be compromised. We all look forward to the continuation of Imam Siraj’s great work in service to humanity and for the love of Allah. Yet, we are encouraging him to take all the time he needs to stabilize and thrive again.
Let us all make dua for Imam Siraj and his family. We pray that Allah will guide, protect and shower His mercy on them during this crisis, insha’Allah. To offset the considerable costs associated with the Imam’s treatment and care, and to aid in the support of his family, MANA is collecting donations. Donations can be made online or can be sent by mail to: MANA Office, FOR IMAM SIRAJ, P.O. Box 910375, Lexington, KY 40591. Please indicate “FOR IMAM SIRAJ” on the memo line of the payment, insha’Allah.
Once again, we appreciate your concern, prayers, generosity and support. May Allah reward you.