Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects

Are Muslims Required To Have Children? (Part 2 of 2)

Children are not a requirement or a duty, but a great blessing from God himself on those whom He chooses to give one child or many children. These days many young people contemplate what they want to do with their future, knowing that many of their choices will be permanent in this life and have serious implications in the next, now more than ever with much uncertainty considering the state the world is currently in.

Bringing a child into this world is a big deal, and one that should be done with careful consideration to all factors that will come into play throughout this child’s life. It’s also important to remember that just because you don’t want to have children now or the near future (for whatever reason it may be) it doesn’t mean that you will always think this way. We all mature at different rates and experience and perceive things differently at different times in our lives. It’s okay if you don’t want kids right now or aren’t ready for them. God promised that there is a proper time and place for everything. Right now may simply not be the time that God has chosen to give you this blessing, if this is the blessing that He has chosen for you.

So why am I childless? That is a question many people, both young and old, who want children ask themselves. Many who want children are either barren or otherwise unable to have children and God only knows the reasons why this is. One way to be content with whatever comes your way is by having good expectations of God. If God made things happen, then know that they are good for you. You may not know, but God does all he does because He loves you more than you can ever know and whatever He gives you or withholds from you if for your best interest, even if you don’t currently see it this way.

If you are barren or childless, consider the following:

  • God gives certain blessings to certain people, and other blessings to other people. A child may not be the blessing that is destined for you
  • Having children isn’t what makes a marriage successful of a life enjoyable, God does that, and it may be through other means than children
  • Just because you can’t or don’t have a child right now doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck this way forever
  • Just because you don’t have a biological child or can’t have doesn’t mean that there won’t be a very special child in your life. Consider what I previously said about being socially conscience when it comes to kids
  • Maybe you and your spouse are not “mommy material” and “daddy material.” Even if you believe you are (or are not), ultimately God is the only one who truly knows because He is All-Wise and All-Knowing. God will not give you a child as a burden instead of a blessing
  • Maybe having a child will be a bad distraction for you, maybe it’ll distract you from God and other plans He has for you
  • God wants to choose you for Himself. What I mean by this is that often times our hearts are filled more love for people and things instead of God and in this sense, a child would not be a blessing if he or she kept you from the One who gave you that precious gift to begin with!

By not granting you kids, God does not want you to waste your emotions over kids. Instead, God wants you to love Him and trust Him more than anything else. He wants to empty your heart from all other types of love which shackle you and make you weak. He does not want anything in your path to distract you from Him and the plans He has for you. He wants to you focus on the greater purpose of your creation. I cannot stress enough that your purpose in being created was not merely to create other humans.

While it is undoubtedly very emotionally (and possibly socially) painful to want to have a child but not being able to, remember that God doesn’t burden a soul beyond what it can handle. God created you for a very specific purpose and God is the only one who should give you purpose and fulfillment in your life, not your kids or your spouse or your money or anything else. If God has withheld any of these things for you, it is for the greater good because God is good, even if what is best may also be painful.

Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. “Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.”

—Al Baqarah 2:286

While children are most certainly a blessing and a Muslim is encouraged to get married and have a family for obvious purposes, it’s not God’s plan for everyone. We have all been created differently to serve a different purpose in His divine plan and in whatever we choose to do, we should always use wisdom and discernment and most importantly, seek guidance from God in these matters.

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Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects

Are Muslims Required To Have Children? (Part 1 of 2)

The short answer is no. Children are a blessing from God, not a duty, and with children comes an enormous responsibility. It seems to be a popular opinion nowadays that you must get married, settle down, have kids, and everything else that comes with that as soon as possible and to be regarded as successful in society. On the other hand you also see more and more families being torn apart, kids being abandoned and going into the (very broken, one should note) foster system, rampart poverty and imbalance with resources.

To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He creates what he wills. He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to whom He wills males. Or He makes them [both] males and females, and He renders whom He wills barren. Indeed, He is Knowing and Competent.

—Ash-Shura 42:49-50

One thing that many, if not most, people get wrong if that they don’t choose whether or not they will have children — God does! No matter how much you want or don’t want children, at the end of the day it’s really not your choice. To some God may give children as blessings and to others he may give many other things because ultimately only God knows what is truly best for you, even if you are incapable of seeing or understanding this.

The cold hard truth is that not everybody is fit to be a parent, both Muslims and non-Muslims. Only God knows why those who abuse their children are allowed to have them and some good men and women are barren, but we must trust that this is for a higher purpose. Regardless of whether you are actively seeking to become pregnant, still don’t know where you stand, or don’t feel like you’re in a place to be a parent, everyone should consider the following:

  • Children are a huge responsibility that will last a lifetime and parents should be adequately ready to provide for them emotionally, physically, financially, etc.
  • Don’t rush into marriage and having a family! If you want to have a strong family, it should have a strong foundation. Marriage is supposed to be a life-long union and often the people who are quickest to settle down are also the quickest to have their family broken up

While it is forbidden to not have children out of fear of poverty (because ultimately God is the provider of everything), that doesn’t give you the right to pop out children carelessly with no regard to all the responsibilities that come with properly raising a child.

  • It’s still morally wrong to submit a child to unnecessary poverty and you still have to financially provide for the basic needs of that child
  • That child deserves to live in a safe environment where they have everything they need to thrive
  • Children are completely dependent on their parents and both the parents are to be completely devoted to their children
    • Many people choose to delay having a child (or another one) in order to pursue education, a career, or some other form of long-term stability
    • Many delay having another child so that the age gap between their children is bigger to give the mother a well-deserved break
    • One may delay having children until they are more mature, let’s face it, modern society is made up of many “kids raising kids” as they are called

God gives many rights to children both before and after they are born and both parents should be ready and competent to adequately provide these throughout the child’s life. Here are a few reasons people decide to delay having children or not have them:

  • Prolong marriage
  • Get an education and/of pursue a career
  • Explore the world for yourself independently and without having anything to hold you down
  • Being young, immature, unprepared or in deplorable circumstances
  • Not being ready for a lifetime commitment right away
    • Being single and getting to know different people can definitely be fun and exciting
    • Wanting to make sure they marry the right person
    • Wanting to get to know your spouse and experience more things with them before settling down
  • Being socially conscious of the current state of children in the world

By this last point I mean that a person may feel like there are already too many children in the world and perhaps they feel they would like to give an orphan child a home instead. Many young people today are socially conscious and feel that bringing more children into the world is irresponsible when there are so many children who are orphans due to wars and other tragedies. They instead, focus on helping these children as a couple or work together in altruistic ways for charity and solution focused work regarding social issues. There is nothing wrong with choosing this option instead of wanting to have biological children as there are an endless number of verses where God commands to take care of orphans and children in general. This is more important than ever now because the number of children being innocent victims of social circumstances out of their control is constantly increasing and the collapse of society doesn’t appear like it will end in the near future either.

A couple may also choose to not have children at all for various reasons. While the majority of people delight in children and family, the truth is that not everyone has it in them to be a parent. If you simply don’t want a child for whatever reason it may be it’s best to abstain from having one because every child deserves to be brought into this world by two parents who want them. It’s a child’s fundamental right to be wanted, so if two people consciously decide they don’t want children they should not burden an innocent child with the feeling of being unwanted. As mentioned right from the start, children are a blessing from God, not a duty. While there are many social and spiritual benefits to having children (whether biologically or otherwise), ultimately it’s not having or not having children that will get you to heaven. Your faith is what will get you in (or leave you out of) paradise.

And it is not your wealth or your children that bring you nearer to Us in position, but it is [by being] one who has believed and done righteousness. For them there will be the double reward for what they did, and they will be in the upper chambers [of Paradise], safe [and secure].

—Saba 34:37

Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one’s] hope.

—Al-Kahf 18:46

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects, Personal & Opinion

Hijab or no hijab?

As I posted in a previous article, one of the biggest debates in the Muslim world is whether or not women are required to wear a hijab. The yes side has many valid arguments but so does the no side. Personally, I don’t believe it’s required but I wear one anyway and it’s a personal choice. My problem really isn’t with the covering itself, it’s with people or governments interfering with how I choose to practice my religion and how I choose to express myself through it.

Of course my thoughts and opinions are influenced by my culture and the make up of my society, and the truth is that everyone’s thoughts are a reflection of their time and environment. Considering I live in Canada and people freely walk around half naked, just wearing long pants and a t-shirt that covers your chest and shoulders might as well be the equivalent of a burqa in this society. I personally choose to wear a hijab because it makes me feel confident about myself, not having to deal with being objectified as an object of sexual desire for other people. In case you’ve never heard of modern society, it’s obsessed with sex…

For other women, the hijab makes them feel oppressed. That’s not the purpose of the hijab. It’s supposed to be a choice of modesty. In some societies and cultures modesty will be valued more, and in others less. Considering my society, modesty and purity are two things I put a high importance on. Sure, you will get “terrorist-shamed” but my hijab gives me peace of mind that I won’t be objectified and body-shamed because the unfortunate reality of the situation is that this society puts literally zero value on the treasures inside your heart and only wants to enjoy your body for a night or two.

Now, each sect of Islam will have their own things to say about this, but I found to be interesting was what Saudi Cleric Ahmed bin Qassim al-Ghamidi has to say about the issue:

A new fatwa against wearing Hijab has been issued last week by a Saudi Cleric who said that “Islam doesn’t require women to wear veil,” adding that women can put makeup on, take pictures for themselves and post them on social media networks.

Ahmed bin Qassim al-Ghamidi goes on to add instead of blaming women, the blame should put on men who are required to lower their gaze. The Saudi cleric quoted Morocco’s scholar Qadi Ayyad, who once said: It’s not mandatory for woman to cover her face outside her house, but it is a Sunna Mustahaba  (preferable not obligatory). Men, on the other hand, shall lower their gaze.”

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It’s not anything new that no two Muslim scholars can agree on anything, but we can all agree that it’s wrong for a person or government to impose something on another person, such as whether or not they are obligated to wear a hijab. At the end of the day only God knows best and whatever you choose to do it’s between you and the Creator.

 

Posted in Postcards & Correspondence

Sunflower 2011

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I’ve just unearthed a photo of the other sunflower card from the Canada Post 2011 postage paid postcard. These seem to be discontinued and unavailable from their online shop but a couple of people uploaded scans of theirs online. I’ve noticed that Tumblr is a popular destination for postcard blogs so I might be looking into that in the future too.

Posted in Reblogged Posts

Very Beautiful Hadith and Forgiveness in Islam

This is indeed a very beautiful article 🙂

A Glimpse Into The Life of A Muslimah

This is truly a beautiful hadith. Very touching.  Many non Muslims think our religion is too hard and that we view Allah as only to be feared. Wheras, in reality Islam combines an equal amount of Love, Fear, and Hope.  We are only humans so inevitably we will make mistakes and sin from time to time. Often, we tend to despair when we commit a sin. But Alhamdullilah, our forgiveness is only a prayer away. We don’t need any intercessors. We don’t have to pray to anyone else. We have a direct link. Mash’Allah what a beautiful religion…….a beautiful Way of Life!

On the authority of Anas, who said: I heard the messenger of Allah say:

Allah the Almighty has said: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O…

View original post 1,928 more words

Posted in Postcards & Correspondence

Hydrangea 2016

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I finally found the newest Canada Post postage-paid postcards including the beautiful hydrangeas and even the little insects on the leaves! Unfortunately they seem to be sold out online! It’s also a shame about the situation with Canada Post right now. I remember when something similar happened back in 2011 but back then I didn’t care too much. Nowadays I’m kinda worried if the buyer protection on my last hijab purchase will run out before I get it, not knowing where it’s really stuck in the postal system right now.

Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects

Was Jesus Crucified? (Part 2 of 2)

Cyril Glassé, a Sunni Muslim and compiler of The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, acknowledges that the Qur’an does not deny the crucifixion of Christ as a historical event:

It is in fact the common belief among Muslims that the crucifixion was an illusion, or that someone else was substituted for Jesus… [but] the crucifixion as a pointless charade can hardly be meet to God’s purpose, and two thousand years have not shown what God could have meant by such sleight of hand. Nor does the Koran warrant such a view…In Islam it is the absolute, or higher, reality that takes precedence in the Koran over the appearances of this world, be they of life or of death. It is this verse about the state of the martyrs which holds the key to understanding ‘They slew him not’: ‘Say not of those who are slain in God’s way that they are dead; they are living but you perceive not.’ (2:154)

— The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam (pp. 208-209)

Now that it’s determined that Jesus was crucified but did not die on the cross, what do we make of the rest? What happened afterwards? How did Jesus die? The most popular theory regarding this is the swoon hypothesis where Jesus only fell unconscious on the cross and did not die on it as previously established. This is a hypothesis that has been going around for well over 200 years. Here are some of the varying viewpoints when it comes to the swoon hypothesis:

  • Jesus regained consciousness in the tomb and he was rescued when people heard groaning coming from inside
  • Jesus was healed or resurrected by God inside the tomb without needing any type of medical attention
  • Pontius Pilate was bribed to remove Jesus from the cross before he was dead

And here are some arguments that uphold the swoon hypothesis:

  • It was uncommon for a crucified healthy adult to die in the time described by the Gospels; the Gospel of Mark reports that Jesus was crucified at nine in the morning and died at three in the afternoon, or six hours after the crucifixion.
    • Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus had died so soon (Mark 15:44)
    • The average time of suffering before death by crucifixion is stated to be about 2–4 days, and there were reported cases where the victims lived for as long as 9 days
    • Of course the time of death by crucifixion depended on the type of crucifixion and no accounts have been found of the exact method of Jesus’ crucifixion
  • Further support is lent to the theory when Jesus’ body in the Gospel narratives is quickly whisked away and hidden from public view
    • No elaborate funeral arrangements and no public viewing of the corpse are known to take place
    • The body is taken down from the cross and immediately handed over to a close disciple (Joseph of Arimathea), who transports Jesus’ body to a nearby-by, secure burial chamber
  • Islam accepts the story of the prophet Jonah (Yunnus) who survived inside the belly of a whale as true, hence it is plausible that Jesus was crucified and survived
    • Jonah was in much more dire circumstances that Jesus for much longer, yet he successfully survived and God healed him
    • Jesus was exalted high above Jonah; Jonah was merely a prophet but Jesus is the promised Messiah who will come again on the Day of Resurrection

So when, where and how did Jesus die if he didn’t die on the cross? Most Muslims believe that God brought him straight to heaven at some point before he died a natural death and he is waiting there until the Day of Judgment when he will come again, while others such as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believe that he traveled to India in search of the Lost Tribes of Israel and died there of old age. However, there is no solid and consistent proof of this.

The only link between Jesus and India that I’ve been able to find is the Shroud of Turin. In 2015, Italian researchers published a new study in Scientific Reports. After sequencing some DNA of pollen and dust found on the shroud, they confirmed that many people from many different places came in contact with the shroud. According to the scientists, “such diversity does not exclude a Medieval origin in Europe but it would be also compatible with the historic path followed by the Turin Shroud during its presumed journey from the Near East. Furthermore, the results raise the possibility of an Indian manufacture of the linen cloth.”

There is doubt, however, when it comes to whether or not the Shroud is authentic or a counterfeit so all in all, there is no proof that Jesus ever went to India at any time in his life, neither in his lost years nor after he survived the crucifixion.

I have no doubt that this will be an issue of much debate in the years to come as new scientific discoveries are made and more pieces of history are put together but at the end of the day God knows what happened to Jesus, and we can look forward to Jesus coming back on the Day of Resurrection to defeat evil and permanently restore peace for eternity.