New Muslims on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a celebration observed on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and the second Monday of October in Canada. The celebration is about giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

The celebration is about giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

The celebration is about giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

Though it started as a Christian tradition, the current form of celebration is a culture holiday observed by all people of all faiths. The celebration is marked by family gatherings, cooking food, being thankful, watching football matches, staying home from work, and all the malls offer discounts on that occasion.

A Sense of Gratitude

Muslims are urged to give thanks to God (Allah) all the time. Giving thanks to Allah and showing gratitude are not limited to a certain time of the year. Actually the life of a Muslim is all about thanksgiving and gratitude.

A Muslim thanks Allah for creating him in the first place. A Muslim thanks Allah for guiding him to the right path of Islam. A Muslim thanks Allah for bestowing on him many blessings such as the blessing of health, money, having a good wife, having good children, etc.

We read in the Qur’an:

So remember Me; I will remember you. Be thankful to Me, and never ungrateful. (Al-Baqarah 2:152)

Allah promised that if we thank Him, He will give us more. This is a divine promise and we believe that Allah never breaks His promises.

Allah says what gives the meaning of:

Remember that He promised, “If you are thankful, I will give you more, but if you are thankless, My punishment is terrible indeed.” (Ibrahim 14:7)

These are the things that we should God for:

It is God who brought you out of your mothers’ wombs knowing nothing, and gave you hearing and sight and minds, so that you might be thankful. (An-Nahl 16:78)

Thanksgiving and Family Ties

New Muslims might find it an opportunity to meet their parents and family members whom they do not see usually. Meeting parents and family members will strengthen the family ties. It will give them a sense of belonging. It will give them a feeling that their son or daughter is still a member of the family and he is not detached from them. It will also be a good opportunity to explain to them how Muslims thank God and they do so.

Islam places great emphasis on maintaining family ties. We read in the Qur’an:

… Beware of severing the ties of kinship, God is always watching over you. (An-Nisa’ 4:12)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) urged Muslims to keep their family ties when he said:

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him maintain the bonds of kinship.” (Al-Bukhari)

Do’s and Don’ts

When attending such gatherings, please note that your attendance will be judged according to your intention. The Prophet said: “Actions are judged by intentions.” (Al-Bukhari)

Don’t participate in any activity that is against the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah such as eating pork or drinking alcohol. Don’t compromise the basic teachings of Islam.

You as a Muslim, should explain to them that thank Allah is not limited to that day. Muslims thank Allah on all other days of the year. When offering prayer, a Muslims is thanking Allah. When helping the poor, a Muslim is thanking Allah. When offering fasting, a Muslim is thanking Allah. When making hajj, a Muslim is thanking Allah.

The Prophet used to thank Allah when he ate, drank, dressed new clothes, mount on his camel, etc. Therefore the whole life of a Muslim is about thanksgiving from an Islamic perspective, i.e. thanking Allah for His blessings.

It is permissible for a Muslim also to thank anyone who does him a favor. The Prophet is reported to have said: Whoever does not thank people, does not thank Allah.” (At-Tirmidhti) You are allowed to thank your parents, friends, people next to door, etc.

About thanking parents, we read in the Qur’an:

We have commanded people to be good to their parents: their mothers carried them, with strain upon strain, and it takes two years to wean them. Give thanks to Me and to your parents– all will return to Me. (Luqman 31:14)

It’s about God’s Blessings

What is unique about Allah is praising Him, i.e. saying Alhamdullilah (praise be to Allah). You say to friend (thank you), but you do not say (I praise you or ahmaduka.)

New Muslims should understand that celebrating thanksgiving is not the sixth pillar of Islam or the seventh article of faith. If you decide not to participate, it is up to you. We are talking about cases in which you are invited to a family gathering.

I would like to invite everyone to sit back, relax, reflect for a moment and count God’s blessings on him. You will find countless blessings. God tells us:

… If you tried to count God’s favors you could never calculate them: man is truly unjust and ungrateful. (Ibrahim 14:34))

Think of how you are going to thank God for all that. The least you can do is to recognize His infinite mercy on you and declare His Oneness and that He is the only one worthy of worship. God is the most worthy of our thanks, praise and gratitude.

We should note that God does need our thank. It us who benefit from offering thanks to God:

…Be thankful to God: whoever gives thanks benefits his own soul, and as for those who are thankless–God is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise. (Luqman 31:12)

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Muslims and Merry Christmas Wishes

By Jamaal Diwan

merry christmas

Exchanging greetings , even gifts with non-Muslims out of companionship and manners is permissible.

Is it permissible for me to say “Merry Christmas” to my non-Muslim classmates, friends, family, neighbors, and others this holiday season?

(Please keep in mind that on the days of `Eid they always wish me a “Happy `Eid” and even buy me gifts.)

Allah says in the Qur’an, addressing how Muslims should deal with non-Muslims:

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion – (forbids) that you make allies of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers. (Al-Mumtahanah 60:8, 9)

There are also many places in the Qur’an and Sunnah that encourage the Muslim to be of the best of manners. One example of this is the adith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) where he said: “The believers with the most complete faith are the ones with the best manners.” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Ibn Habban, and Al-Hakim)

The Prophet also said: “Verily, I was sent to perfect good character.” (Al-Bukhari)

That being said there are a couple of things to take into consideration here. The first is that there is no disagreement between the scholars regarding the impermissibility of celebrating Christmas. It is a religious holiday that is based on beliefs that are against Islam and it is not permissible for Muslims to celebrate it.

This is because it goes against the concept of protecting one’s deen (religion) and contradicts the teachings of the Prophet which limited Muslim religious holidays to the two `Eids. That does not mean that they cannot spend time with their non-Muslim family on such a day if there is a family get together but that is a different issue.

As to whether or not one can greet their non-Muslim family and friends with “Merry Christmas” there are two major opinions. The first says that it is impermissible and was held by scholars such as Ibn Al-Qayyim, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn `Uthaymin, and others.

The second opinion is that it is permissible as long as the intention is to interact with them in the best way possible without supporting their belief.

What is meant by this is not that people are not allowed to believe what they want to believe. They are. What rather is meant by this is that the Muslim is not agreeing with their belief. This opinion was held by scholars like Yusuf Al-Qaraḍawi and Muṣṭafa Zarqa. The latter opinion also allows the exchanging of greeting cards on holidays like Christmas as long as the card is free from any sort of religious symbolism.

Al-Qaradawi in his fatwa specifically mentions  being aware of the opinion of Ibn Taymiyya, but that he does not agree with it based on the influence of the different times and  circumstances during Ibn Taymiyyah’s era.

Al-Qaradawi speculated that had Ibn Taymiyyah lived during the times in which we live and seen the importance of good relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims, that he would have changed his opinion. Regardless whether that would be the case or not,  it does show that Al-Qaradawi was acutely aware of Ibn Taymiyyah’s opinion when he gave his fatwa.

Social Sensitivity

The argument against saying “Merry Christmas” to one’s family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers is based on the concept that in doing so you are approving of their beliefs in some way. This is simply not the case, and saying “Merry Christmas” is nothing more than an act of good societal manners.

However, it should be noted that this is not the same as actually celebrating Christmas or other non-Muslim religious holidays. Celebrating these holidays is not allowed but exchanging greetings and even gifts with non-Muslims on them out of companionship and manners is permissible, as long as the gifts themselves are permissible. This is especially the case when those same friends and family greet and exchange gifts with you on the Muslim holidays.

In conclusion, in America, for example, we need to try and seek a balance between maintaining our identity and the purity of our beliefs while at the same time dealing with our greater society in the best way possible.

Therefore, I think the way Muslims in America should deal with this issue depends on their circumstances. An interesting way to understand this predicament is to look at how Jews in America deal with this same question. It seems that they have many of the same discussions that we have around this time of year.

In general there are a couple of things that we want to try and be aware of at the same time: we want to maintain our identity and belief, we want people to understand Islam as much as possible, we want to respect and appreciate others, we want to treat others in the best way possible, we don’t want to be socially awkward or insular. Different situations will require different responses. Those of us who have non-Muslim families have different situations than those of us who do not.

You could reply with a number of different answers, including: “Merry Christmas”, “Happy Holidays”, “As a Muslim I don’t celebrate Christmas”, or “Thank you.  I don’t celebrate Christmas, but merry Christmas to you.” The appropriate answer will depend on the person, the situation, one’s internal intentions, and the perceived intentions of the one they are speaking to.

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Source: Jamaaldiwan.com

Note: The answer here by Jamaal Diwan is based on the fatwas of Sheikhs Yusuf Al-Qaraawi and Muṣṭafa Al-Zarqa.

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What Does Hijab Mean to Yasmin Mogahed?

Yasmin Mogahed is an instructor for  AlMaghrib Institute, a writer for the Huffington Post, an international speaker, and author, where she focuses most of her work on spiritual and personal development.

Mogahed wore the hijab when she was between thirteen and fourteen years old.

What did motivate Mogahed to wear the hijab at that age? What change did hijab bring to her life? How did it impact her view of the world, her Islamic identity, and her identity as a Muslim “woman”? How did it impact other acts of worship?

What does hijab mean to her? How has the meaning of hijab evolved for her over time? How did she find her path to God through the hijab?

What challenges has she faced with hijab? What is her advice for women regarding the hijab?

Watch the interview her with Yasmin Mogahed by AlMaghrib Institute

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On World Hijab Day: Stand for Her Right to Cover

World Hijab Day (WHD) is an annual event in its fifth year. On February 1st of every year, WHD asks global citizens of all faiths to observe Hijab (head-covering) for a day in solidarity with Muslim women worldwide.

Hijab Day

The overall mission of WHD is to create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect each other.

Hijab Day…the Mission

The overall mission of WHD is to create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect each other. Particularly, WHD focuses on fighting bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslim women. This is most crucial in these times where Hijab is being banned in some countries while in other countries, Muslim women are being targeted and harassed verbally and physically.

Below are some of the shocking but true headlines:

Muslim Women Have Been Attacked at Multiple Colleges Since Trump Won (Vice)
Queens Muslim Woman 19: Pair Yelled Remove Hijab (NY Daily News)
Muslim High School Teacher Told Hang Yourself With Hijab (NY Daily News)
Muslim Girl’s Hijab Ripped Off in Front of Students (Times of India)
UW Bothwell Investigating Possible Hate Crime Against Muslim Women (Seattle Times)
California Woman Robbed Called Hijab-Wearing B* (NY Daily News)

New York State assemblyman David Weprin issued an endorsement of World Hijab Day stating: “With hate crimes against Muslim-Americans tripling in 2016, it is important we take this moment to stand together with our fellow Americans on World Hijab Day. Rooted in the American principles of religious freedom and liberty, the World Hijab Day movement seeks to end the discrimination and judgment that comes with wearing a hijab.”

Nazma Khan

Nazma Khan, a New York native, initiated this global movement with the intent of bringing awareness on a subject that’s very dear to her and millions of Muslim women across the globe. While growing up in NYC, she was harassed both physically and emotionally on numerous occasions.

The presence of such discrimination heightened around 9/11 because of her human right to wear the hijab. Her purpose was to introduce her pain to others in hopes that no one will ever have to go through the emotional trauma simply because of the love they have for their faith. Consequently, on February 1st, 2013, she asked her fellow sisters of all faiths across the globe to don the hijab for one day.

Within eight days, she got responses from women residing in 67 different countries that represented a conglomerate of religious backgrounds, to include Christians, Jewish, Pagans, Wiccans, Rastafarians, Buddhists, Atheists etc. WHD gave an opportunity to citizens worldwide who were not familiar with the Islamic faith to open up dialogues with their Muslim neighbors, co-workers, and friends.

Additionally, WHD presented an opportunity for teachers to understand why their Muslim students wear the hijab. It also provided non-Muslim mothers a chance to better understand their daughter’s faith and the decision to wear hijab.

Conquer the Fear

The negative perception on hijab allowed people to act upon their fears and hurt innocent women without a real and existing threat. WHD simply presented an opportunity for everyone to learn about hijab and its importance in the Islamic faith without perpetuating the negative generalizations in today’s society.

WHD has thousands of volunteers worldwide and 70+ WHD Ambassadors from over 45 countries. WHD Ambassadors come from all walks of life from a high school student to a Congresswoman in the Philippines. Last year alone, 150 countries partook in WHD.

In addition to that, WHD has been endorsed by many world renowned individuals including scholars, politicians, and celebrities worldwide. WHD was covered in mainstream news media including New York Times, BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera, Huffington Post, etc to name a few. Recently, Time Magazine listed World Hijab Day in their world calendar, The Year Ahead 2017. It is estimated 190 countries will take part in WHD’17.

I participated in World Hijab Day and it was a good experience that I will repeat. I live in a very small, very Christian town.  There were some strange looks and people were staring at me – and then looking away quickly when they realized I saw them looking. A few people seemed surprised that I spoke English. The fact that I was wearing hijab gave me the opportunity to talk to my step children about respect, difference, and peace.” (Talya Leodari -Jewish, USA)

Stand for Her…How?

We must STAND for Muslim women’s right to cover. There are many ways to show your solidarity.
*Attend the WHD event on Facebook and invite your friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/357711751248489
*Observe Hijab on Feb. 1st, 2017
*Use the hashtags: #IStand4Hijab and #WorldHijabDay
*Organize a WHD event in your community.
*Send emails or letters to local Mosques/religious congregations showing your support.
*Write letters to local officials about protecting Muslim women’s right to cover.

For more information or to support our campaign, go to http://worldhijabday.com

In the following video Nazma Khan tells us about the persecution she faced due to her hijab and why she started World Hijab Day..

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Source: worldhijabday.com and Rad Talks youtube channel

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That’s Why I Wear the Hijab

nature-spirituality

There is no one answer why a woman will chose to wear a hijab, but her reasons are based on spirituality, a sense of control over her philosophical and ideological beliefs.

Montreal- As a young Muslim woman, Nadia Naqvi wears a traditional head scarf every day.

“I made the decision to put this on after the Christmas break when I turned 15,” Naqvi said.

“I’m 32 now and I have been wearing a hijab more than half of my life.”

Despite what politicians and others promoting the proposed charter of secularism, Bill 60, claim, Naqvi said she is not the product of a society that makes women second-class citizens and dictates that they must cover their hair.

“If you get to know me you will see that I am not oppressed and I am not stupid,” said Naqvi, currently on maternity leave from her teaching job at Beaconsfield High School.

World Hijab Day was marked Saturday afternoon in a Concordia building with a seminar, panel discussions and presentations by highly articulate women as a way to spread awareness about religious head covering.

This event was started in New York last year and has spread to more than 50 countries. This marked Montreal’s first participation.

The issue is timely with all the negativity and furor surrounding Bill 60.

Gwenda Wells, an Anglican minister, came to the meeting as an act of solidarity with the Muslim women.

“If Bill 60 — banning allegedly ostentatious religious symbols and clothing for those in the public sector — is passed, jobs in education, health and childcare will be lost to women, and all of these are valuable and life-affirming jobs,” Wells said.

A Choice of Her Own

Farida Mohamed, gave a lively history of the hijab and pointed out that the role of the head scarf is constantly changing.

“There are young Muslim women out there who want to wear tight clothes and yet cover their hair so the hijab is evolving,” Mohamed said.

Naqvi said there is no one answer why a woman will chose to wear a hijab, but her reasons are based on spirituality, a sense of control over her philosophical and ideological beliefs and the role models her parents set.

“I have seen the discrimination that this brings, particularly after Sept. 11,” she said of the rough ride given to Muslims after Islamic terrorists brought down the Twin Towers.

“I was looking for a part-time job then and I did well in a phone interview for a department store but when the manager saw me I was told the job was filled. I was once called ‘les sauvages’ when I was with my family in Walmart.

“I wear my hijab for the strength to rise above racism and misogyny,” Naqvi said.

“When I walk into my classroom my kids see me and not the hijab.”

The mother of three, whose family emigrated to Canada in the 1970s, added her thoughts to a presentation made by the Lester B. Pearson School Board against the adoption of the contentious bill.

“I wrote that children see people and adults see religion.”

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Source: montrealgazette.com

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New Muslims and the Valentine’s Day Traps

Shannon Abulnasr 

Valentine’s Day… the day of “love”! I’m not going to jump into the evolution of Valentine’s day to what it is today, nor the innovation it is to practice in Islam.

happy Valentine’s Day

Many become depressed because they still don’t know how to find a spouse, or to find one they are compatible with.

Valentine’s Day & Satan’s Tricks

Instead of a history lesson, or barking rules, I would rather give warnings to Muslims and new Muslims about the traps we can fall into, and how we should feel about the intended methods of expressing love in Islam.

New Muslims usually learn very quickly that in Islam love has a different approach than it did before accepting Islam. Since in Islam, we do not “date” and intermingle with the opposite sex, it can cause a new Muslim to feel lost in their “journey of love”.

While learning about the tricks of Shaytan (Satan), which are well hidden behind the mask of red roses, and boxes of chocolate, we can be more on guard and prevent ourselves from falling into such traps.

The “Single” New Muslim Traps

Single new Muslims, still having the lingering emotional attachment that comes with Valentine’s Day, can really play a number on them. Many become depressed because they still don’t know how to find a spouse, or to find one they are compatible with, leaving them to feel they will forever be alone. This is most prevalent amongst the new Muslim brothers, more so than the sisters.

I’ve had numerous new Muslim brothers telling me that they are fed up with their search for a spouse, and have considered looking for a non-Muslim spouse instead. This shows me that there is a big problem for new Muslim brothers when it comes to finding a mate.

Although they are permitted to marry from the People of the Book (Jews & Christians), the approach is what makes it difficult because they don’t want to approach marriage in the same regards a Muslim is required to do so. As a result, the brothers tend to resort back to their “pre-Islam” way of interacting with the opposite sex when they feel they can’t find a Muslim to marry– but not always of course.

Non-Muslims in the West will not agree to be in a relationship without touching and kissing, and even without intercourse. Many do not respect the sanctity of marriage and chastity in these days and times. It is difficult to find a non-Muslim in the West that would accept such a “cold” seeming relationship. This is a jihad for the new Muslim brothers.

So, what should they do to overcome these feelings during the time period leading up to and including Valentine’s Day that has engulfed the non-Muslim mindset?

How can they attempt a halal relationship that would lead to marriage with a non-Muslim, especially when there are obstacles like Valentine’s Day in their midst?

Valentine’s Day

Tricks of Satan are well hidden behind the mask of red roses, and boxes of chocolate

There is no cookie cutter answer that will suite everyone. I would suggest that they avoid trying to find a partner that would cause them distress in their religion in this regards. There are pious non-Muslims out there, but they are just really difficult to find these days.

It will be tough to get over such obstacles the first few years of being a Muslim, especially in regards to these sorts of holidays and feeling lonely, but it will fade over time, I promise. Just remember to pray to Allah regularly to help you find ease in overcoming the emotional attachment to such holidays. Sometimes being single is a blessing in disguise. Don’t lose hope!

The “In a Relationship” New Muslim Traps

Some new Muslims may actually still be in a relationship with a non-Muslim, or even a Muslim that they were dating from before they accepted Islam. It is complicated, especially when holidays that revolve around “love and intimacy” come around. It all boils down to avoiding haram situations.

We can’t even think about Valentine’s Day, when the bigger issue we face is that we are in a haram relationship to begin with. New Muslims in this situation are stuck in a state of limbo. They “love” their boyfriend/girlfriend, and don’t want to break up simply because they accepted a new religion. Some feel they should stay in it for the sake of da`wah too. So, what should they do?

No one will ever like to hear the typical advice for this situation, which I agree with, which is to end such relationships. More harm can come from staying in these relationships than leaving them. We need to worry more about pleasing Allah instead of people. If they truly care about your relationship with God, they will understand and accept, and if they don’t, then that is a clear indicator that they are not a good match for you in regards to protecting your religion.

You have to just put your trust in Allah, and pray for it to be easy on you.

It really isn’t worth all the sins that you would accumulate to stay in such relationships. It may in fact cause that person to have respect for you in the end, because they will see your dedication to being a good Muslim, and may cause them to be interested in learning more about Islam since they saw you do something so big for the sake of Allah!

Let’s be realistic, and face it… How many sins are you accumulating by staying in this relationship? If we review just the basics, you will have sins for: 1- touching, kissing, etc. 2- being alone without mahrams (husband or close male relative forbidden in marriage) 3- inappropriate speech between one another 4- lusting after the other 5- exposing `awrah (parts of the body that must be covered) 6- intercourse outside of marriage (be realistic, it is more likely than not… going to happen) 7- lying to others to hide it 8- repeating all the previous seven things daily. Is it really worth all that?

Satan is very active in relationships outside marriage, so remember what Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us about how that when a man and a woman are together alone, the Satan is the third wheel.

For those born and raised in Islam, that are involved in such relationships, you are spreading the wrong impression about Islam and how the status of women is raised in Islam.  How can you honestly feel good about having a haram relationship with a woman outside of marriage?

Even if, and when they convert to Islam and learn all this, you can probably expect them to not have respect for you knowing that you were willing to do such a thing! More likely than not, once they learn this about Islam, they will leave you, so it would be all for nothing! Be responsible and give non-Muslims and new Muslims the correct image of Islam about love and marriage from the beginning, because you are not ‘helping’ anyone by doing this.

All of these things are considered cooperating in sin and transgression and disobedience to Allah, who tells us:

Help you one another in Al-Birr and Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment. (Al-Ma’idah 5:2)

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Source: aboutislam.net

 

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