Her Beauty Quest

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I was asked to perform some spoken word at the Pearls of the World Fashion Show this evening. I realized none of my poetry is really girly-orientated… so I whipped this up on the city bus yesterday (trying to ignore the fact the woman next to me was reading every word I wrote over my shoulder the whole time). 

Her Beauty Quest

beauty quest

She spends her entire life seeking it

Searching, dreaming,

Paying all she has for it–

But she still hasn’t found it.

She can’t find it

By looking in the wrong place

Some misconceptions won’t let her move forward

Unless them she’d erase–

Now:

Allow

Me to tell you

What

They tell her.

They tell her

True beauty means she must

Look like that girl, that actress

Always compare herself to them

And always them to impress

Be as skinny as a twig

Change hair styles like a wig

Eyeshadow colors that gives off a look of bruised eyes

Seems ugly is the new beauty –  magazines can’t lie!

They tell her

She would be more kissable if she puffed up those lips

Practically grow claws on her fingertips

Be more successful with a little cleavage showing

Wear super short skirts even when it’s snowing–

When they told her such

She obeyed them, pretty much

She read up on every fashion news feed

Spent SO much money on cosmetics in greed

But so much time passes, and she sees no result

She still feels so insecure; could she be at fault?

Why wasn’t there improvement, even slight as sprinkles?

Nothing to show her efforts except, well– some early wrinkles

They told her to be beautiful

She must embark on this superficial beauty quest

But a wise man once said that physical beauty

Is merely a stepping stone to pass the real test

If she’d only say,

With an open heart everyday:

Oh Allah, as You have made my appearance beautiful, make my character beautiful.”

Now this begs the question:

How could you find something you don’t know you already have?

drop perfect

Physical beautiful will eventually pass

Unless it’s retained with good character in a tight grasp

So why would she want what fades

Without seeking also what lasts?

And she is beautiful now

If she would only allow

Herself to embark on a real beauty quest

To seek out the type that will outshine the rest…

BEAUTY

Comes from confidence in herself

Because she knows Who’s got her back

Comes from a nurtured intellect

To keep her on the right track

BEAUTY

Comes from eyes that see blessings

That shed tears when she repents from sinning

Comes from a heart that can empathize, and deeply feel

A heart that results in actions sincere, genuine and real

BEAUTY

Comes from a tongue that speaks kindness

That won’t allow any filth to touch it like gossip

Comes with a wise spirit, from listening and acting right

With a sharp mind that won’t accept being manipulated without a fight

It comes from contemplation, self-knowledge and strong faith

BEAUTY comes in so many forms that all combine to create…

— YOU.

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–A.S.

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Sky-Falling Gold

*You know it’s exam time when you blog twice a day. Something about academic examinations increases my appetite to write… de-stressing? – I never understood it. That’s IT, Aya; I’m getting Noor to change my password for the next two weeks. Sorry Mr. WordPress, I just need some space.

IT IS ALMOST MID-APRIL, spring supposedly- and yet it has been snowing all day today and tomorrow probably. Many Montreal folks are annoyed, because, well… snow, rain or anything wet falling from the sky is generally looked down upon as a bad and inconvenient thing. But what if we looked at falling water as falling gold?

Narrated Sahel Ibn Sa’ad (RA): that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:

‘Two will not be rejected: Supplication when the Adhan (call of prayer) is being called, and at the time of the rain’. [Abu Dawud & ibn Majah] 

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(Written Apr.12/13, on the bus at 2:44 PM)

Sky-Falling Gold

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Some complain of snow

Some complain of the cold

But what falls from the sky

Is much more golden than gold

Blessings from the sky

Yet we turn a blind eye

We instead express our disgust

When we could turn our sins into dust

We could pray to alleviate someone’s pain

But instead we scowl and frown on that rain

We could thank God instead of making a fuss

(It’s not like He’s throwing rocks down at us!)

A time to be grateful,

Yet we just complain

We could be making precious du’aa

For major beneficial gain

But it’s easier to grumble

Roll your eyes and shake your head

You may regret not taking advantage of this

When you’re long gone and dead

Don’t delay being

Grateful to your Lord

Let your heart live out

The ‘alhamdulileh’ word.

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And Allah knows best.

A.S.

Madhabs, Ijtihad & Ego

A most brilliant excerpt from Abdal-Hakim Murad

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“Because of the traditional pious fear of distorting the Law of Islam, the overwhelming majority of the great scholars of the past – certainly well over ninety-nine percent of them – have adhered loyally to a madhhab. It is true that in the troubled fourteenth century a handful of dissenters appeared, such as Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim; but even these individuals never recommended that semi-educated Muslims should attempt ijtihad without expert help….

Nonetheless, social turbulences have in the past century thrown up a number of writers who have advocated the abandonment of authoritative scholarship. The most prominent figures in this campaign were Muhammad Abduh and his pupil Muhammad Rashid Rida. Dazzled by the triumph of the West, and informed in subtle ways by their own well-documented commitment to Freemasonry, these men urged Muslims to throw off the shackles of taqlid, and to reject the authority of the Four Schools. Today in some Arab capitals, especially where the indigenous tradition of orthodox scholarship has been weakened, it is common to see young Arabs filling their homes with every hadith collection they can lay their hands upon, and poring over them in the apparent belief that they are less likely to misinterpret this vast and complex literature than Imam al-Shafi’i, Imam Ahmad, and the other great Imams. This irresponsible approach, although still not widespread, is predictably opening the door to sharply divergent opinions, which have seriously damaged the unity, credibility and effectiveness of the Islamic movement, and provoked sharp arguments over issues settled by the great Imams over a thousand years ago. It is common now to see young activists prowling the mosques, criticising other worshippers for what they believe to be defects in their worship, even when their victims are following the verdicts of some of the great Imams of Islam. The unpleasant, Pharisaic atmosphere generated by this activity has the effect of discouraging many less committed Muslims from attending the mosque at all. No-one now recalls the view of the early ulama, which was that Muslims should tolerate divergent interpretations of the Sunnah as long as these interpretations have been held by reputable scholars. As Sufyan al-Thawri said: ‘If you see a man doing something over which there is a debate among the scholars, and which you yourself believe to be forbidden, you should not forbid him from doing it.’ The alternative to this policy is, of course, a disunity and rancour which will poison and cripple the Muslim community from within.

In a Western-influenced global culture in which people are urged from early childhood to think for themselves and to challenge established authority, it can sometimes be difficult to muster enough humility to recognise ones own limitations. We are all a little like Pharaoh: our egos are by nature resistant to the idea that anyone else might be much more intelligent or learned than ourselves. The belief that ordinary Muslims, even if they know Arabic, are qualified to derive rulings of the Shariah for themselves, is an example of this egotism running wild. To young people proud of their own judgement, and unfamiliar with the complexity of the sources and the brilliance of authentic scholarship, this can be an effective trap, which ends by luring them away from the orthodox path of Islam and into an unintentional agenda of provoking deep divisions among the Muslims. The fact that all the great scholars of the religion, including the hadith experts, themselves belonged to madhhabs, and required their students to belong to madhhabs, seems to have been forgotten. Self-esteem has won a major victory here over common sense and Islamic responsibility.

The Holy Quran commands Muslims to use their minds and reflective capacities; and the issue of following qualified scholarship is an area in which this faculty must be very carefully deployed. The basic point should be appreciated that no categoric difference exists between usul al-fiqh and any other specialised science requiring lengthy training. Shaykh Sa`id Ramadan al-Buti, who has articulated the orthodox response to the anti-Madhhab trend in his book: Non-Madhhabism: The Greatest Bida Threatening the Islamic Shari`a, likes to compare the science of deriving rulings to that of medicine. “If ones child is seriously ill”, he asks, “does one look for oneself in the medical textbooks for the proper diagnosis and cure, or should one go to a trained medical practitioner?” Clearly, sanity dictates the latter option. And so it is in matters of religion, which are in reality even more important and potentially hazardous: we would be both foolish and irresponsible to try to look through the sources ourselves, and become our own muftis. Instead, we should recognise that those who have spent their entire lives studying the Sunnah and the principles of law are far less likely to be mistaken than we are….

The edifice has stood for centuries, withstanding the most bitter blows of its enemies. Only from within can it be weakened. No doubt, Islam has its intelligent foes among whom this fact is well-known. The spectacle of the disunity and fitnas which divided the early Muslims despite their superior piety, and the solidity and cohesiveness of Sunnism after the final codification of the Shariah in the four Schools of the great Imams, must have put ideas into many a malevolent head. This is not to suggest in any way that those who attack the great madhhabs are the conscious tools of Islam’s enemies. But it may go some way to explaining why they will continue to be well-publicised and well-funded, while the orthodox alternative is starved of resources. With every Muslim now a proud mujtahid, and with taqlid dismissed as a sin rather than a humble and necessary virtue, the divergent views which caused such pain in our early history will surely break surface again. Instead of four madhhabs in harmony, we will have a billion madhhabs in bitter and self-righteous conflict. No more brilliant scheme for the destruction of Islam could ever have been devised.”

P.S.: I strongly recommend reading the entire article for its full context and further elaborated content: UNDERSTANDING THE FOUR MADHABS – the problem with anti-madhabism

Peace. 

The Power Of Gentleness

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“Indeed gentleness does not enter into anything except that it beautifies it, and is it not removed from anything except that it disfigures it.” (Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him)

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“Nothing is so strong as gentleness and nothing is so gentle as real strength.” (Frances de Sales)