Importance of Shahada

Bismillah e rahmani raheem (In the name of Allah (swt) {God}, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)
Bismillah e rahmani raheem (In the name of Allah (swt) {God}, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)

Ok, in my previous post I described the meaning of Shahada, now it is time to illustrate the importance of Shahada.

Islam is the only religion that solely depends on Shahada

I testify there is no God, but Allah (SWT) ( الله سُبْحَانَهُ وتَعَالَى), He has no partners.

By believing and saying this is you are sincerely acknowledging that Allah (swt) is the sole Creator of all, and the Supreme Authority over everything and everyone in the universe.

You believe with your soul, body, mind, and heart to:

  • Trust Allah (swt) — Everything happens for good by Will of (Allah (swt)
  • Believe in Allah (swt) — He has the Power over everything in the world, between Heaven and Earth, everything Known and Unknown, everything that is Seen and Unseen
  • Obey Allah (swt) — Five Pillars of Islam, Living by the word of Allah (swt) that is written in Qur’an, following Hadiths of Muhammed (SAW), and being part of Ummah
  • Worship Allah (swt) — Praying Qur’an, Salah, Dua, and etc only to Allah (swt) and no one else. Acting/behaving within Islam

I testify Muhammed (SAW) (صلى الله عليه وسلم‎ ) is His last Messenger and Prophet. 

You believe with your soul, body, mind, and heart to:

  • Belief in the Prophethood of Muhammad (SAW) (Peace and blessings be upon him)
  • Guidance brought by him and contained in his Sunnah (traditions of his sayings and actions),
  • Intention to follow his guidance faithfully.
  • Acknowledging and accepting Muhammad (SAW) (Peace and blessings be upon him) was also a human being, a man with feelings and emotions, who ate, drank and slept, and was born and died, like other men.
  • He had a pure and upright nature, extraordinary righteousness, and an unwavering faith in Allah (SWT) and commitment to Islam, but he was not divine.
  • Muslims do not pray to him, not even as an intercessor, and Muslims abhor the terms “Mohammedan” and “Mohammedanism”

Muslim’s Duty to Allah (swt)

  • Be an exemplary example of good behavior towards all, Muslims and non Muslims alike
  • Act and dress modestly (all Muslims – men and women)
  • Dawah-Spread good through your positive behavior and example
  • Appreciate- Thank Allah (swt) frequently and help people who are in need, regardless of their beliefs
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Shahada – Testimony of Faith in Islam

Bismillah e rahmani raheem (In the name of Allah (swt) {God}, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)
Bismillah e rahmani raheem (In the name of Allah (swt) {God}, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)

Shahada is an Islamic creed declaring belief in the Oneness of Allah (SWT) ( الله سُبْحَانَهُ وتَعَالَى) and the acceptance of Muhammed (SAW) (صلى الله عليه وسلم‎ ) as His Last Messenger/Prophet.

The first pillar of Islam is to believe and declare the faith by saying the Shahada or better known as the Kalimah.

One to say it verbally and firmly believe that with his/her own will. No one can force another individual to say the Shahada, it has to come from his/her own free will.

Shahada in Arabic 

أشهد أن لا إله إلاَّ الله و أشهد أن محمد رسول الله

Shahada Transliteration

Esh-Hadu Ina La E-LaHa illa Allah wa Esh-Hadu Ina Mohammed Rasoul Allah. 

Shahada Meaning

I testify there is no God, but Allah (SWT) ( الله سُبْحَانَهُ وتَعَالَى), He has no partners. Muhammed (SAW) (صلى الله عليه وسلم‎ ) is His last Messenger and Prophet. 

Freedom in Bikini or Hijab?

Bikini or Headscarf: Which Offers More Freedom?

Confident that her daughter would follow in her footsteps while growing up, Krista Bremer was surprised when Aliya decided to wear the headscarf instead — at the tender age of nine.

Nine years ago, I danced my newborn daughter around my North Carolina living room to the music of Free to Be . . . You and Me, the 70s children’s classic whose every lyric about tolerance and gender equality I had memorized as a girl growing up in California.

My Libyan-born husband, Ismail, sat with her for hours on our screened porch, swaying back and forth on a creaky metal rocker and singing old Arabic folk songs, and took her to a Muslim sheikh who chanted a prayer for long life into her tiny, velvety ear.

She had espresso eyes and lush black lashes like her father’s, and her milky-brown skin darkened quickly in the summer sun. We named her Aliya, which means ‘exalted’ in Arabic, and agreed that we would raise her to choose what she identified with most from our dramatically-different backgrounds.

I secretly felt smug about this agreement — confident that she would favour my comfortable American lifestyle over his modest Muslim upbringing. Ismail’s parents live in a squat stone house down a winding dirt alley outside Tripoli, Libya. Its walls are bare except for passages from the Qur’an engraved on to wood, its floors empty but for thin cushions that double as bedding.

My parents live in a sprawling home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a three-car garage, hundreds of channels on the flat-screen television, organic food in the refrigerator and a closet full of toys for the grandchildren.

I imagined Aliya embracing shopping trips to Whole Foods and the stack of presents under the Christmas tree, while still fully appreciating the melodic sound of Arabic, the honey-soaked baklava Ismail makes from scratch, and the intricate henna tattoos her aunt draws on her feet when we visit Libya. Not once did I imagine her falling for the head covering worn by Muslim girls as an expression of modesty.

Last summer we were celebrating the end of Ramadan with our Muslim community at a festival in the car park behind our local mosque. Children bounced in inflatable fun houses while their parents sat beneath a plastic tarpaulin nearby, shooing flies from plates of curried chicken, rice and baklava.

Aliya and I wandered past rows of vendors selling prayer mats, henna tattoos, and Muslim clothing. When we reached a table displaying head coverings, Aliya turned to me and pleaded, ‘Please, Mom — can I have one?’ She riffled through neatly-folded stacks of headscarves while the vendor, an African-American woman shrouded in black, beamed at her.

I had recently seen Aliya cast admiring glances at Muslim girls her age. I quietly pitied them, covered in floor-length skirts and long sleeves on even the hottest days. My best childhood memories were of my skin laid bare to the sun: feeling the grass between my toes as I ran through the sprinkler on my front lawn; wading into an icy river in Idaho, my shorts hitched up to my thighs, to catch my first rainbow trout; surfing a rolling emerald wave off the coast of Hawaii. But Aliya envied these girls and had already asked me to buy her clothes like theirs. And now, a headscarf.

In the past, my excuse was that they were hard to find, but here she was, offering to spend $10 from her allowance to buy the forest green rayon one she clutched in her hand. I started to shake my head, but caught myself, remembering my commitment to Ismail. So I gritted my teeth and bought it, assuming it would soon be forgotten.

That afternoon, as I was leaving for the grocery store, Aliya called out from her room that she wanted to come

More Freedom in Bikini or Hijab?A moment later she appeared at the top of the stairs—or, more accurately, half of her did. From the waist down, she was my daughter: sneakers, bright socks, jeans a little threadbare at the knees. But from the waist up, this girl was a stranger.

Her bright, round face was suspended in a tent of dark cloth like a moon in a starless sky.

‘Are you going to wear that?’

‘Yeah,’ she said slowly, in the tone she had recently begun to use with me.

On the way to the store, I stole glances at her in my rear view mirror. She stared out the window, appearing as aloof and unconcerned as a Muslim dignitary visiting our small Southern town—I merely her chauffeur.

I bit my lip. I wanted to ask her to remove her head covering before she got out of the car, but I couldn’t think of a single, logical reason why, except that the sight of it made my blood pressure rise. I’d always encouraged her to express her individuality and to resist peer pressure, but now I felt as self-conscious and claustrophobic as if I were wearing that headscarf myself.

In the supermarket car park, the heavy summer air smothered my skin. I gathered the damp hair on my neck into a ponytail, but Aliya seemed unfazed by the heat. We must have looked like an odd pair: a tall blonde woman in a tank top and jeans cupping the hand of a 1.2m-tall Muslim. I drew my daughter closer and the skin on my bare arms prickled – as much from protective instinct as from the blast of refrigerated air that hit me as I entered the store.

As we maneuvered our trolley down the aisles, shoppers glanced at us as if we were a riddle that they couldn’t quite solve, quickly dropping their gaze when I caught their eye.

In the produce aisle, a woman reaching for an apple fixed me with an overly bright, solicitous smile that said: ‘I embrace diversity and I am perfectly fine with your child.’ She looked so earnest, so painfully eager to put me at ease, that I suddenly understood how it must feel to have a child with an obvious disability, and all the curiosity or unwelcome sympathies from strangers that it evokes.

At the checkout, an elderly Southern woman clasped her bony hands together and bent slowly down towards Aliya.

‘My, my,’ she drawled, wobbling her head in disbelief. ‘Don’t you look absolutely precious!’ My daughter smiled politely, then turned to ask me for a pack of chewing gum.

In the following days, Aliya wore her headscarf to the breakfast table over her pajamas, to a Muslim gathering where she was showered with compliments, and to the park, where the mothers I chatted to studiously avoided mentioning it.

Later that week, at our local pool, I watched a girl only a few years older than Aliya play table tennis with a boy her age. She was caught in that awkward territory between childhood and adolescence—narrow hips, skinny legs, the slightest swelling of new breasts—and she wore a string bikini.

Her opponent wore an oversize t-shirt and baggy trunks that fell below his knees. When he slammed the ball at her, she lunged for it while trying with one hand to keep the slippery strips of spandex in place. I wanted to offer her a towel to wrap around her hips, so that she could lose herself in the contest and feel the exhilaration of making a perfect shot.

It was easy to see why she was getting demolished at this game: her near-naked body was consuming her focus. And in her pained expression I recognized the familiar mix of shame and excitement that I felt when I first wore a bikini.

At 14, I skittered down the halls of high school like a squirrel in traffic: hugging the walls, changing direction in midstream, darting for cover. Then I went to Los Angeles to visit my Aunt Mary during winter break. Mary collected mermaids, kept a black-and-white photo of her long-haired Indian guru on her dresser and shopped at a tiny health food store that smelled of patchouli and peanut butter. She took me to Venice Beach, where I bought a cheap bikini from a street vendor.

Dizzy with the promise of an impossibly bright afternoon, I thought I could be someone else—glistening and proud like the greased-up bodybuilders on the lawn, relaxed and unselfconscious as the hippies who lounged on the footpath with lit incense tucked behind their ears. In a beach side bathroom with gritty cement floors, I changed into my new suit.

Goose bumps spread across my chubby white tummy and the downy white hairs on my thighs stood on end; I felt as raw and exposed as a turtle stripped of its shell. And when I left the bathroom, the stares of men seemed to pin me in one spot.

In spite of a strange and mounting sense of shame, I was riveted by their smirking faces; in their suggestive expressions I thought I glimpsed some vital clue to the mystery of myself. What did these men see in me? What was this strange power surging between us, this rapidly shifting current that one moment made me feel powerful and the next, unspeakably vulnerable?

I imagined Aliya in a string bikini in a few years. Then I imagined her draped in Muslim attire. It was hard to say which image was more unsettling. I thought then of something a Sufi Muslim friend had told me: that Sufis believe our essence radiates beyond our physical bodies—that we have sort of an energetic second skin, which is sensitive and permeable to everyone we encounter. Muslim men and women wear modest clothing, she said, to protect this charged space between them and the world.

Growing up in Southern California in the 70s, I had learnt that freedom for women meant, among other things, fewer clothes, and that women could be anything—and still look good in a bikini. Exploring my physical freedom had been an important part of my self-discovery, but the exposure had come at a price.

Since that day in Venice Beach, I’d spent years learning to swim in the turbulent currents of attraction: wanting to be desired, resisting unwelcome advances, plumbing the mysterious depths of my own longing. I’d spent countless hours studying my reflection in the mirror—admiring it, hating it, wondering what others thought of it—and it sometimes seemed to me that if I had applied the same relentless scrutiny to another subject, I could have become enlightened, written a novel, or at least figured out how to create an organic vegetable garden.

On a recent Saturday morning, in the crowded dressing room of a large department store, I tried on designer jeans alongside college girls in high, spiky heels, young mothers with babies fussing in their pushchairs, and middle-aged women with glossed lips pursed into frowns. One by one we filed into changing rooms, then lined up to take our turn on a brightly lit pedestal surrounded by mirrors, cocking our hips and sucking in our tummies and craning our necks to stare at our rear ends.

When it was my turn, my heart felt as tight in my chest as my legs did in the jeans. My face looked drawn under the fluorescent lights, and suddenly I was exhausted by all the years I’d spent doggedly chasing the carrot of self-improvement, while dragging behind me a heavy cart of self-criticism.

At this stage in her life, Aliya is captivated by the world around her, not by what she sees in the mirror. Last summer she stood at the edge of the Blue Ridge Parkway, stared at the blue-black outline of the mountains in the distance, their tips swaddled by cottony clouds, and gasped. ‘This is the most beautiful thing I ever saw,’ she whispered. Her wide-open eyes were a mirror of all that beauty, and she stood so still that she blended into the lush landscape, until finally we broke her reverie by pulling her back to the car.

At school it’s different. In her fourth-grade class, girls already draw a connection between clothing and popularity. A few weeks ago, her voice rose in anger as she told me about a classmate who had ranked all the girls in class according to how stylish they were.

I understood then that while physical exposure had liberated me in some ways, Aliya could discover an entirely different type of freedom by choosing to cover herself.

I have no idea how long Aliya’s interest in Muslim clothing will last. If she chooses to embrace Islam, I trust that the faith will bring her tolerance, humility and a sense of justice – the way it has done for her father. And because I have a strong desire to protect her, I will also worry that her choice could make life in her own country difficult. She has recently memorized the Surah Al-Fatihah, the opening verse of the Qur’an, and she is pressing her father to teach her Arabic. She’s also becoming an agile mountain biker who rides with me on wooded trails, mud spraying her calves as she navigates swollen creeks.

The other day, when I dropped her off at school, instead of driving away in a rush as I usually do, I watched her walk into a crowd of kids, bent forward under the weight of her backpack as if she were bracing against a storm. She moved purposefully, in such a solitary way, so different from the way I was at her age, and I realized once again how mysterious she is to me.

It’s not just her head covering that makes her so: it’s her lack of concern for what others think about her. It’s finding her stash of Halloween candy untouched in her drawer, while as a child I was obsessed with sweets. It’s the fact that she would rather dive into a book than into the ocean; that she gets so consumed with her reading that she can’t hear me calling her from the next room.

I watched her kneel at the entryway to her school and pull a neatly folded cloth from the front of her pack, where other kids stash bubble gum or lip gloss. Then she slipped it over her head, and her shoulders disappeared beneath it like the cape her younger brother wears when he pretends to be a superhero.

I imagined that headscarf having magical powers to protect her boundless imagination, her keen perception and her unselfconscious goodness. I imagined it shielding her as she journeys through that house of mirrors where so many young women get trapped in adolescence, buffering her from the dissatisfaction that clings in spite of the growing number of choices at our fingertips, providing safe cover as she takes flight into a future I can only imagine.

© 2010 Krista Bremer. Pictures by Michael McGregor

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2011 issue of Aquila Stylemagazine

http://www.aquila-style.com/focus-points/bikini-or-headscarf/1006/

Hijab

Assalam’alaikum,

Today I added a new page called, “Hijab” please check it out!

I made actual page for Hijab, because I want to share Hijab stories and various hijabs out the world. I realized it’s not fair to write one post on hijab and then few days later write another post on hijab and that really mess things up for my readers.

Please remember Hijab is for everyone regardless of gender, culture, and religion. Hijab does not only mean covering of the head, but much more.

I will discuss in depth with time In Sha’Allah ( إن شاء الله)

Jazaka’Allah Khair ( جزاك اللهُ خيراً) and Peace be on all of you!

Hijab Covering in Different Religions

Islamophobia Historical or New Trend?

Bismillah e rahmani raheem (In the name of Allah (swt) {God}, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)
Bismillah e rahmani raheem (In the name of Allah (swt) {God}, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)

This topic is very crucial to cover before I go in depth of Islam. Many individuals who will come to this page and quickly close the window, while some of you will be curious. Other’s will be thirsty to want to know more and more.

I thought before I go in depth of illustrating what “true” Islam, why don’t I start with what the media conception is, that way we know where to go from here In Sha’Allah (With the Will of Allah (swt))

Islamophobia is define as fear of Islam. One would think, how someone fear a religion right? I thought the same thing, so again I understood the “error and misunderstanding” that is profoundly there. Let me actually redefine the Islamophobia, how it should have been defined in the first place.

First and foremost, Islamophobia is not even a correct word, since Islam is a religion, just like Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and etc. So the phobia cannot be against a religion, it can be against it’s followers. So technically it should be Muslimophobia (correct?)

Also this so called Islamophobia is not a new trend that started currently (after year 2000), but it has always been throughout history. To exactly pinpoint, the time of Adam (AS). Yes, that is correct, since the time of first man that was created by Allah (swt)!

It became extremely widespread at the time of Our Beloved Prophet Muhammed (SAW) and it has continued since then until current time.

The one actual reason behind Islamophoibia is exactly unknown, but here are few that can be easily assumed:

  • Media – Majority media channels/shows portray Islam and Muslims as negative
  • Lack of Knowledge and understanding- Many individuals judge the religion and its followers on what they have heard from media and or seen on TV
  • Bad Information – Majority of people have access to the internet, which is unfortunately full of false/bad information, or mixed information.
  • Religion vs Culture –  Majority part of Islam is viewed through traditional/cultural eye, as it is practiced in many countries
  • Fear – Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today, and many organizations fear Islam for power or economy reasons.

It is each individual Muslims (Muslim/Muslimah) responsibility to learn Islam and teach. It is important that we, ourselves, understand and acknowledge our actions, words, and behaviors can have positive/negative effect on our deen.

Umar (RA) on Manners

• Allah (swt) is an Arabic word for God.
• Bismillah e rahmani raheem (بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم) -In the name of Allah (swt), Most Gracious, Most Merciful
• Deen – Religion of Islam
• In Sha’Allah (إن شاء الله) – If it is Allah (swt)’s will
• Prophet Muhammed (SAW) – Last Prophet of Islam
• (SAW) “Salla allahu alaihi wa sallam” (صلى الله عليه و سلم ) – Peace Be Upon Him
• (SWT) – Subhanahu wa ta’ala, an Arabic phrase meaning “May He (Allah) be Glorified and Exalted”

Submission to Islam or Muslims

Bismillah e rahmani raheem (In the name of Allah (swt) {God}, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)
Bismillah e rahmani raheem (In the name of Allah (swt) {God}, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)

The word “Muslim” means one who submits to the will of Allah (swt), regardless of their race, gender, nationality or ethnic background. Being a Muslim entails recognizing and submitting to Allah (swt)’s will, while doing one’s level best to live in accordance with His message.

Some people mistakenly believe that Islam is just a religion for Arabs, but nothing could be further from the truth. Not only are there reverts to Islam in every corner of the world, especially in England and America, but by taking a look at the Muslim World from Bosnia to Nigeria, and from Indonesia to Morocco, one can clearly see that Muslims come from many various races, ethnic groups and nationalities.

It is also interesting to note that in actual fact, more than 80% of all Muslims are not Arabs – there are more Muslims in Indonesia than in the whole Arab World! So even though it is true that most Arabs are Muslims, the large majority of Muslims are not Arabs.

However, anyone who submits completely to Allah (swt) and worships Him alone is a Muslim.

*Allah (swt) is an Arabic word for God.
*(swt) – Subhanahu wa ta’ala, an Arabic phrase meaning “May He (Allah) be Glorified and Exalted”
*Reverts – a person who has come become a Muslim, from another religion/faith

What is Islam?

Bismillah e rahmani raheem (In the name of Allah (swt) {God}, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)
Bismillah e rahmani raheem (In the name of Allah (swt) {God}, Most Gracious, Most Merciful)

The word “Islam” is an Arabic word which means “submission to the will of Allah (swt) {God}”. This word comes from the same root as the Arabic word “Salam”, which means “Peace”. As such, the religion of Islam teaches that in order to achieve true peace of mind and surety of heart, one must submit to Allah (swt) and bring one’s life in accordance to the Divine will.

The most important truth that Allah (swt) revealed to mankind is that there is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty Allah, hence it’s wise to recognize and submit to this truth.

*Allah (swt) is an Arabic word for God.
*(swt) – Subhanahu wa ta’ala, an Arabic phrase meaning “May He (Allah) Be Glorified and Exalted”

Organization Skills or Lack of???

Assalam’Alaikum ( السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته). 

When I did my first post, I was super excited that now I finally have a place where I can share my experience and knowledge, but then got stuck, where do I start? How do I organize? I mean I finally have a platform, but how do I go about planning and sharing? 

I wonder if many individuals face similar dilemma? 

After a lot of thought, I finally realized, why don’t I start from the beginning and then if you (my reader) want me to write/discuss about a certain topic, you let me know! 

So what is the beginning? 

Stay tuned😜

Assalam’Alaikum 

Assalam’Alaikum ( السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته) {peace be on you}. Jazaka’Allah Khair ( جزاك اللهُ خيراً) {thank you} for visiting my blog (Muslimah 411). 

As being a Muslim born girl (Muslimah), I have faced many challenges on daily basis, but Alhumdulillah ( الحمد لله) {with the help of Allah (SWT) ( الله سُبْحَانَهُ وتَعَالَى) {One and only God}}, I was able to face and come up stronger. 

I want to share my experiences with you, my fellow born Muslim (male) brother/or Muslimah (female) sister or revert Muslim brother/Muslimah sister. We are all part of one Ummah (community). 

I understand there are many challenges on daily basis. With my experience and knowledge, I would like to help you when needed. 

As an American Muslimah, I have Marketing Degree, Administration in Business and international Business, and Psychology. 

If you have any questions, comments, feedback, or just plainly would like to say hi, please feel free to do so. Also feel free to email me at Muslimah411info@gmail.com. 

Jazaka’Allah Khair ( جزاك اللهُ خيراً) once again for your time. I will In Sha’Allah ( إن شاء الله) {with the help of Allah (SWT) ( الله سُبْحَانَهُ وتَعَالَى) } I will also share Qur’an verses, Hadiths (sayings by Muhammed (SAW) (صلى الله عليه وسلم‎ ) {Peace Be Upon Him}, Muslimah etiquettes (clothes, behavior, & etc), and much more. 

Please stay tuned!