Life

Are You Afraid Of Ghosts??

By: Mass Shiara Usuf

The very mention of an unexplained appearance or what’s very commonly called “a ghost” brings fear into the hearts of many, almost everyone. Most of us have heard of people mentioning that they had seen so and so, who had died, reappearing in the house or area where he had died. Some of us might even have experienced hearing somebody talk and sound the same as our dead uncles and aunts.ghostglass-300x247.jpg

Then we also have cases of dead people walking about, standing next to the bed of their loved ones, making strange and haunting sounds,  or also apparently talking to us through somebody using their own voices. I recently also came across the mention of a school being closed down because there was a “ghost” in the school.

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So what do we do now??? People die, but they seem to be coming back, and putting fear into our minds and hearts. A grandparent who might have been very dear to us, a lady whom we loved the most and who had loved us back, dies and seems to be haunting and having fun with it. Does that even make sense? Why would a person who loves us so much make us scared after they are dead? We see loved ones dying and we cry so much due to their demise. So why are we scared when they “apparently” come back? Shouldn’t we be head over heels over the fact that they are back? Its seriously a food for thought. Its high time to get this fear off of our hearts and find the logical Islamic explanation.

Do Souls Come Back?

At the moment of death, in Islam, the angel of death arrives to retrieve the soul from the body. This angel (Israel ASWS) is an angel that delivers the soul and takes it to the next realm of this world, namely, the Hereafter. There is evidence in the Quran to prove that once the soul is taken from the person, it is not given a second chance to return back to this earth. This evidence being a very strong evidence against the belief that dead people walk about freely on earth creating havoc.

Allah mentions in Surah Al-Muminoon (23:99-100):

 “Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: “My Lord! Send me back, So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! (Kalla) It is but a word that he speaks; and in front of them is Barzakh until the Day when they will be resurrected.”

These are the verses where Allah describes the plight of the unsuccessful people in the Hereafter. These people had wasted their lives in this world by not being righteous and drawn towards the temptations, wrong doings and false deities of this world, that after they die when they finally see their deed of accounts in front of Allah, they shiver and shudder in fear. They in fact, beg their Lord to send them back to this world so that they may return and do good in this world. For now, after seeing the Truth and the Haq of Allah’s words, they believe with certainty and want to return to get more chances.

Allah also says:

“And if you only could see when the criminals shall hang their heads before their Lord (saying): “Our Lord! We have now seen and heard, so send us back, that we will do righteous good deeds. Verily, we now believe with certainty.”  (Surah As-Sajdah (32:12))

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However, once man dies, his time is done. Its too late for a second chance. Allah has definitely given man, innumerable chances, and all he had done was waste those opportunities and the Mercies that were bestowed upon him, taking everything that was given to him for granted. Another verse which explains this further is in Surah Ghafir (40:12) where Allah says,

 “Therein they will cry: “Our Lord! Bring us out, we shall do righteous good deeds, not what we used to do.” (Allah will reply:) “Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition could receive it And the warner came to you. So taste you (the evil of your deeds). For the wrongdoers there is no helper.”

The In Between

In verse 100 of Surah Muminoon (quoted above) Allah says, “and in front of them is Barzakh until the Day when they will be resurrected”

Which brings me to the definition of what actually is Barzakh. According to Muhammed bin Ka’b:  “Al-Barzakh is what is between this world and the Hereafter, neither they are the people of this world, eating and drinking, nor are they with the people of the Hereafter, being rewarded or punished for their deeds.”

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So very clearly Allah explains to us that we will never be given a second chance to return to this world. Ever. After the death of a person, in front of them is the barrier from this world and the hereafter. There is no way that Allah would allow them to cross that barrier and enter into the present realm of this world. In addition, the second assurance is, where Allah confirms to us saying that until the day of Resurrection, dead people will be behind this barrier, full description of which only Allah has knowledge of. Barzakh is a place where the people will either suffer as per their wrongdoings in this world, or would enjoy the bliss of rewards as per the righteous acts that they do in this world.

These verses actually gives us some awakening notes, and points to ponder, making it the right time to WAKE UP:

  1. Life in this world is temporary. Our aim and efforts should be directed to the life in the Hereafter, which is permanent and definite. Our actions in this world is what will give us the rewards or the torments of the Barzakh and will decide our plight on the day of Resurrection (the day our bodies and souls will once again be united).
  2. Its thus high time for us to make efforts to do as much righteous deeds as we can. As and when you remember Allah, praise and glorify your Lord and seek forgiveness for whatever sins you do. If you do not wish to be amongst those that will be begging Allah to send you back to this world (an effortless plee once you die), then start today and change for the sake of YOUR life in the hereafter.
  3. And last but not the least, there is no such thing as ghosts or dead people walking around as dead aimless souls, in Islam. Enough of Quranic evidences suggest strongly against any such possibility.

May Allah help us all to be successful Muslims Inshallah in this world and the Hereafter. Aameen!

New Mums Don’t Stress!!

By: Iman Said

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Whether you are becoming a mother for the first time or adding to your brood, the prospect of being responsible for all the needs of another human being, can be incredibly overwhelming. While pregnant, you are concerned about meeting the needs of your growing baby, how labour is going to pan out, and trying to prepare yourself for the life-changing moment when you bring your son or daughter into this world. I found that I received a lot of advice about pregnancy and labour, what kind of nappies to buy, what to pack in my hospital bag and heard constant references to how I would ‘never sleep again.’

While advice on practical things like that is helpful, two years and two children later, I wished that people had given me advice on the more important things and told me a little more about what to expect and how to cope with it all. Here’s a list of things you may be feeling as a new mum, and ways to cope with the roller coaster of emotions. When you feel:tired-dad-multitasking1

  • Tired: If you have family or friends nearby who have offered to babysit or help you to clean or will cook for you – accept it. Don’t try to be a martyr. Use that time to rest and recuperate or even just to shower and maybe take a walk by yourself – whatever you need to do to catch your breath and feel a little like you again.

 

  • Scared: A lot of mums are terrified at the prospect of having to care for someone so little, especially with several reports of cot deaths and deaths caused by suffocation with plastic packaging or from unsecured furniture falling on top of children. Worrying is part of motherhood and is completely normal – it’s good to be aware of potential dangers inside and outside your home that your child can be exposed to and how to minimise the risk of something happening. As long as that does not turn into a debilitating kind of worry where you are unable to function properly, you are doing just fine. 

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  • Unattractive: Pregnancy takes a toll on our bodies – there’s no question about it. It takes 40 weeks for us to grow full term babies within our bodies and for all those hormonal, skin and other bodily changes to take place, so give your body that much time at the very least, to recover postpartum. When you look down at that soft belly and those stretch marks, instead of being disgusted, be grateful you were chosen to carry your children and proud that you did it and did it well.

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  • Overwhelmed: There are days where it can seem like there isn’t a start or end. Days that begin with feeding, changing, rocking a baby to sleep and repeat. Add to that laundry, cooking, cleaning, self-care and anything else that you need to get done and it is enough to overwhelm anyone. Take a deep breath. Tell yourself that what needs to get done, will get done and anything that doesn’t – there’s always tomorrow. If your baby is on some sort of a schedule, try and wake up about half an hour before they do. Just having 30 minutes to yourself, to wash up, throw some clothes on, do your hair, pray or meditate and have breakfast to yourself gives you a better start to the day and you will often find that the rest of the day pans out much better when you’ve had a good start.

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  • Confused: A lot of first time mums, and mums who have done it all before, can feel confused about various things from what dirty diapers should look like to how many feeds baby should be having to wondering why their belly button is red or what they should do for circumcision aftercare or how much tummy time they should introduce -the list is endless. No question is a stupid question. Knowledge is power, and the more you have, the better equipped you are to care for your child. Join baby forums online; learn from other mums who have babies the same age as yours and may be going through similar challenges. Speak to your health visitor or health care professional about any concerns you have, try not to Google symptoms that can lead to you being even more scared and confused. Your baby will go through several developmental phases and I found a resource called ‘The Wonder Weeks’ to be incredibly helpful in determining periods where I could expect my children to be crankier and clingier than usual, and I was able to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for them. This is available in app form too – so is handy to have on your phone.

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  • Guilty: I cannot remember a day in the past two years where I have not gone to bed feeling guilty that I did not do more, whether that is for the kids or my husband. It can be incredibly exhausting to always have to worry that you didn’t cuddle more, or that I had way too much screen time that day, or that you and your husband weren’t even able to have a conversation that wasn’t about the kids, but you are doing your best. For your family – that is more than enough. You don’t have to be perfect – because no one is, but to your children, you are amazing.

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The sleepless nights will end and will lead to weeks and months of ‘firsts’ and while the challenges may be different as they grow, the roller coaster ride of feelings, special moments and experiences will continue for as long as you are a mum. Remember that you are good enough, you are doing enough and you are mum enough.

**Iman is a work at home/ stay at home mum of two. A mother, wife and organising junkie – she blogs over at Andthenshesaid.com and Andthensheate.com, where she shares the beautiful, chaotic, ever-changing life journey that she’s on through her DIY, recipes and home organisation ramblings.

 

To Share or not to Share…

This is the question we all are faced with several times everyday as we go through the various applications in our phones, be it Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Blogs etc..The question of whether to share a piece of information or forward a message to your friends. It just takes a matter of seconds to make the decision but we fail to realise on how great its consequences can be.

We receive so many messages that Prophet (saws) said this and the other, but there is no authentication to these hadith. Even though there is no reference to where the hadith is derived from, we accept it just because Prophet (saws) name is mentioned. We then forward it to our friends feeling satisfied that we have done a good deed. Did you know that there are so many hadith out there that are fabricated and categorised as weak.

Salamah Ibn Al-Akwa (RAA) narrated: I heard the Prophet (saws) saying : ‘ Whoever (intentionally) ascribes to me what I have not said then ( surely) let him occupy his seat in Hell- fire’. (Al Bukhari)

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Then there are the comical messages where there is threat of Allah’s punishment or some misfortune befalling you if you do not forward the message. I wonder how the originator of  the messasge came to that conclusion because I have never come across a hadith or Quran ayah reprimanding a person who does not forward an Islamic Whatsapp message.

Most people get frightened at the sight of such threats and quickly forward it thinking what if it comes true. Do you think that Allah is going to have a calamity transpire on you just because you did not forward a message? Doesn’t it sound cynical? So don’t get deceived by these gimmicks people use to make sure you share the content with others. Of course you might earn some merit from sharing a valid message with the intention of guiding a Muslim.

Similarly, there is the message promising some blessing of  Allah in your life for sharing it with ten people. What happens I wonder if I share it with only nine people. Am I still qualified for the reward ? If  I keep getting ten such messages everyday and do as told I think I can end up being very prosperous in life.

We fail to observe our basic five daily prayers at the proper time and in the proper manner, but give so much more importance to earning Allah’s favour by moving our finger to forward a message!!!!!!!!!!!

We spend so much of our time going through this overload of information but find it difficult to find the time to do some zikr, read the Quran or do the sunnah and nawafil prayers.

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What is happening to us??????

Don’t let technology lead your life? Don’t let it cloud your thoughts and reasoning? Don’t let it make a fool out of you. Be smart and use it right!!!

Too Busy To Remember Allah?

Throughout our daily busy schedules our days seem to go by very quickly and we don’t even realise that by the time we get to bed at night, we haven’t remembered our Creator, Allah. Is it not ironic how backward we have become. Even after all the facilities and technology we have access to, yet we don’t have time for Him, the One who gave us all these facilities to begin with.

But Alhamdulillah, with all the hustle and bustle, the Almighty knows us better than we know ourselves. However far away from Him we may be, Allah is always close to us. Allah says in the Quran “And indeed We have created man, and We know what his own self whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.” (50:16)

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The Prophet (PBUH) said “Allah says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than they; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; if he comes one cubit nearer to me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running” (Sahih Al Bukhari)

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We are overly and happily preoccupied with our occupation, education, family technology and other commitments. But, why is it when it comes to our Creator we are so tired and forgetful?

“But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’ân nor acts on its orders, etc.) verily, for him is a life of hardship” (20:124)

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allâh do hearts find rest.” (13:28)

It is food for the heart and soul. A natural cleanser of the rust in the heart A releaser from the worldly desires just how fish cant live without water, without Allah swt we cannot survive.

istock_000017833425xsmallHere are some praises of remembrance of Allah you can include on a daily basis despite our busy life. Lets try to make use of some idle time during which we do nothing. Like when you’re going to work, during your lunch breaks, waiting for the bus or train or even when your relaxing etc. Once you are familiar with it, Insha Allah it will come from the heart and roll of your tongue with ease.

  1. Use simple words in your conversation:
  • INSHALLAH (If Allah wills)- when talking about something that is yet to happen
  • MASHALLAH (Whatever Allah wills)- if you see something beautiful/or praise someone
  • ALHAMDHULILLAH (All praise is due to Allah)- when being thankful to Allah for something

2.Do a few simple Tasbih:

  • SUBHANALLAH (Glory be to Allah)
  • ALHAMDHULILLAH (All praise is due to Allah)
  • ALLAHU AKBAR (Allah is Great)
  • SUBHANALLAHI WABI HAMDIHI (Glory be to Allah and all Praise) 

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  1. Ask dua:

Asking dua doesnt mean you have to raise your hands or it has to be after a prayer. It can be done anywhere anytime. Just make a silent prayer in your heart that is a dua too. Ask dua silently or loudly. In public or in private. Ask for yourself or someone else. The more you ask the happier Allah gets. He loves it when a believer asks him for something. So ask even 20 times a day it’ll only get you closer to Allah.

And your Lord Says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” (40:60)

4. Recite the Quran: 

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 Did you know that for every LETTER recited you receive 10 rewards!

Download the Quran app on your phone. That way whenever & wherever you are you can recite. Take 5 minutes before u browse facebook to recite a few verses or for the next half an hour that you will be staring out the window while travelling to work 5 minutes of reciting  aint gonna do you no harm. 

  1. Do Sadaqah:

              Abu Dhar reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Your smile to your brother is a sadaqah (charitable act) for you. Your commanding the right and forbidding the wrong is a sadaqah.  Your guiding a man in the land of misguidance is a sadaqah for you. Your seeing (showing the way) for a man with bad eyesight is a sadaqah for you. Your removing a stone or thorn or bone from the road is a sadaqah for you. Your emptying your bucket of water into your brother’s (empty) bucket is a sadaqah for you.”  [Tirmidhi]

           Whatever good deed you do, do it with the intention of pleasing Allah. This way you get rewarded for it too. Allah loves you, He is just waiting for you to remember Him. May Allah guide us all.

Ibadah With Your Spouse

By: Dr. Aqeel Azmi

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What is our purpose in this life? We were Created to worship Allah. What is worship or ibadah? It is not just restricted to performing our daily prayers or reciting the Holy Quran as most people may tend to think. Everything that you do can be a form of worship, if, that was your intention.

For example, there is a man who is hungry and is eating. He doesn’t really care about what he is eating or how he is eating, but he just eats with the intention of satisfying his hunger.

Then there is another man. He eats with different thoughts in his mind. His intention all the while is “I am eating so that I will have the strength to be able to worship Allah and do good deeds for His sake and to earn His pleasure”

Isn’t there a difference?

The basic act of eating can be an act of ibaadah provided that one’s intention is such. Likewise, all our daily actions that do not conflict with what Allah has ordained can become acts of Ibaadah if we intend for them to be. And also, if we try to do these deeds just as how our Prophet (saws) did, then we will earn more reward for following the sunnah of Allah’s Messenger.

Therefore with regards to Ibaadah with your spouse, what a husband does for his wife and what a wife does for her husband will all come under acts of ibaadah provided that the intention is intact.

So, if a wife takes care of her household and takes care of her husband to please Allah, it becomes ibaadah for her. And if a husband is just with his wife and provides for her intending to earn Allah’s pleasure then it becomes an act of ibaadah for him. And they will both earn their respective rewards in shaa Allah.

The husband and wife are partners with a mutual desire to support and encourage each others’ footsteps towards Jannah and away from the Hell-fire.12

A husband and wife should try to read and understand the Quran and memorize its verses together – This can be done in a way that is fun. For example, they can set a time everyday where they sit down together and repeat the verses that they are memorizing to each other multiple times following by understanding the message conveyed by them by referring to a tafseer. Then later on when they are travelling etc, they can recall the verses in such a way that the husband reads a verse and then the wife would read the following verse and then the husband would read the next one and so on. They can also discuss what is meant by those verses which they had memorized. The Prophet used to recite the Quran while lying on Aisha’s lap. So why not follow the example of the Prophet and spend this lovely quality time together while at the same time reciting from Allah’s Quran.14.jpg

A husband and wife should pray in Jamath, when both are home for prayers – The husband can be the imaam and lead the wife in prayer. This way they will remind each other about prayers and perform it together. Also they will earn the reward of praying in a jamath than alone.

 

The husband and the wife should regularly remind each other to do dhikr –  Sometimes we pass time doing mundane tasks that do not need much thought. During these times we can earn rewards by repeating praises of Allah and also sending blessings to the Prophet. So an example would be if a couple is travelling somewhere, waiting for an appointment etc. instead of sitting together in silence, they can remind each other to do dhikr.16.jpg

The husband and wife should make dua for each other –They should do this in each other’s absence and should also ask for Allah to reward and bless each other by regularly saying, Jazaak Allah khair (for the man) and Jazaaki Illah khair (for the woman) and also Allahumma baarik laka (for the man) and Allahumma baarik laki (for the woman). This is also a protection from each others’ evil eye which is a reality. They should also make it a habit to help each other memorize the beautiful duas from the Quran and the duas of the Prophet and use them in their prayers.

The husband and wife should regularly offer Tahajjud – They should try their best to form a strong regular habit of waking up during the last part of the night so that they may offer Tahajjud together. This is one of the best deeds that one can ever do. The benefits and the rewards of this deed cannot be emphasized enough.

The husband and wife should try to support each other in performing voluntary fasts- They should try to make it a habit and help each other to fast on Mondays and Thursdays or they can try to fast on the three white days of every month(13th, 14th & 15th).

The husband and wife should watch beneficial Islamic videos, attend lecturers & Quran classes together – The husband and wife should take interest in increasing their knowledge and also should keep their levels of imaan high by encouraging and suggesting to each other different lectures of trustworthy scholars and other beneficial Islamic videos which are based on authentic sources. They can watch these videos together or even separately but a discussion should always follow.

The husband and wife should encourage each other to give charity to those in need –  If either the husband or wife is talented in making handicrafts for example, then they can utilize free time and spend it together in making different items that could be sold and the proceedings could be given in the form of sadaqah. And while making these items the couple can revise verses of the quran, help each other with memorization of duas, or they can even do dhikr together.

The husband and wife should also feed the hungry together – This can be done to a great extent during the month of ramadaan. The wife may cook extra food that the husband can give to deserving households or people who are needy. They can also form good relationships with the neighbors’ around them by sharing with them some of the food cooked at home.15.jpg

The husband and wife should always be kind and loving with each other – Treat each other with gentleness and respect. They should remember that intimacy is also a form of ibadah and it is a source of reward. The husband and wife should both be approachable. If there are issues then it should be dealt with patiently and with sensitivity.

These are some of so many deeds that can be done together as acts of ibaadah. The main thing is that there should be a genuine mutual desire to want the best for each other in this life and in the next life then worshipping Allah together as partners will come naturally. And also it will be a source of Mercy and Blessings and a means by which Allah may increase the love and understanding between the husband and wife so that they may live a truly blissful married life.