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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

A Smart Muslimah

Assalaam Alaykum/Peace be upon you, 

I noticed my Grade 6 girls were looking like how Muslimahs should look - Smart! 
Grade 6 girls of Iqra International School
Therefore, I thought I should pen down my thoughts and share my notes from Dr Muhammad Ali's article(The Ideal Muslim Woman and her own self) about why we as Muslim women should stand out of the crowd and why it is so important to not just 'be' smart but to also appear smart in the way we dress (the Ramadan achievement blog which I had committed in my previous blog will follow this one In Shaa Allah). 

But before I began writing, I happened to have a conversation with my friend.

Friend: To be or not to be?
Me: what?
Friend: Smart Muslimah!
Me: why not?
Friend: In Islam aren't women advised to cover themselves up completely? then where is the question of appearing smart? 
Me: Oh doofus! Why can't we be covered up and still appear smart? Does Islam advice us not to appear smart, neat, tidy and presentable??!! 
Friend: Controversial! 
Me: ain't interested. 

On one occasion the Prophet(pbuh) advised his companions:

"You are going to visit your brothers, so repair your saddles and make sure that you are dressed well, so that you will stand out among people like an adornment, for Allah (SWT) does not love ugliness." [Abu Dawud, 4/83, in Kitab al-libas]

Dr Muhammad Ali in his article 'The Ideal Muslim Woman and her own self' states that, to be good examples, worthy of the great message that we bring to humanity, Islam encourages us Muslims to stand out among people, readily distinguishable by our dress, appearance and behavior.

Unkempt and careless appearance, and scruffy clothes and furnishings are forbidden and despised in Islam and were considered to be forms of ugliness by the Prophet(pbuh). In general, Islam encourages us Muslims to stand out among other people and in particular, as Muslimahs we should have a stark difference from other people in our appearance, this speaks volumes about us, our husband, family and children.

No matter how busy we are with our domestic chores and the duties of motherhood, as Muslimahs we should not neglect our appearance. A good appearance is an indication of how well we understand our self, our Islamic identity, and our mission in life. Therefore, we should be keen to look good, without going to extremes. A neat, tidy and clean outward appearance reflects a noble and decent inner character. Our inner nature is not separate from our outward appearance, both of which make up the character of a true Muslimah.

A smart Muslimah is one who strikes a balance between her external appearance and internal nature. We should understand that we are made up of a body, a mind and a soul, and we should give each the attention it deserves, without exaggerating any one of these which would lead to the destruction of the other aspects of our being. By striking this perfect balance, we as Muslimahs will be following the wise guidance of Islam which encourages us to do so.

How can we as Muslimahs achieve this balance between our body, mind and soul?

Our Body
  1. Moderation in food and drink
  2. Exercise regularly
  3. Clean body and clothes 
  4. Take care of mouth and teeth
  5. Take care of hair
  6. Good Appearance
  7. Do not go to extremes of beautification
It is not unknown to any researcher, of whatever era or country the fact that this teaching which encourages cleanliness and bathing, came fifteen hundred years ago, at a time when the world knew nothing of such hygienic habits. A thousand years later, the non-Muslim world had still not reached the level of cleanliness that the Muslims had reached.

In her book Min al-riqq ila'l-sayadah, Samihah A. Wirdi says:

  "There is no need for us to go back to the time of the Crusades in order to know the level of civilization in Europe at that time. We need go back no further than a few hundred years, to the days of the Ottoman Empire, and compare between the Ottomans and the Europeans to see what level the Ottoman civilization had reached.
"In 1624, Prince Brandeboug wrote the following on the invitations to a banquet that he sent to other princes and nobles: Guests are requested not to plunge their hands up to the elbow in the dishes; not to throw food behind them; not to lick their fingers; not to spit on their plates; and not to blow their noses on the edges of the tablecloths."

The author adds:
  "These words clearly indicate the level of civilization, culture, knowledge and manners among the Europeans. At the same time, in another part of Europe, the situation was not much different. In the palace of the King of England (George I), the ugly smell emanating from the persons of the King and his family overpowered the grandeur of their fine, lace-edged French clothes. This is what was happening in Europe. Meanwhile in Istanbul, the seat of the khilafah, it is well-known that the European ambassadors who were authorized by the Ottoman state be thrown into baths before they could approach the sultan. Sometime around 1730, during the reign of Sultan Ahmad III, when the Ottoman state entered its political and military decline, the wife of the English ambassador in Istanbul, Lady Montague, wrote many letters which were later published, in which she described the level of cleanliness, good manners and high standards among the Muslims. In one of her memoirs she wrote that the Ottoman princess Hafizah had given her a gift of a towel that had been hand-embroidered; she liked it so much that she could not even bear to wipe her mouth with it. The Europeans were particularly astounded by the fact that the Muslims used to wash their hands before and after every meal. It is enough to read the words of the famous English nurse Florence Nightingale, describing English hospitals in the mid-nineteenth century, where she describes how these hospitals were full of squalor, negligence and moral decay, and the wings of these hospitals were full of sick people who could not help answering the call of nature on their beds . . ."[Samihah A. Wirdi, Min al-riqq il'al'sayadah, Damla Yayinevi No. 89, p. 28ff]

Comprehend the great contrast between the refined civilization of Islam and other human civilizations!!!

Our Mind
Grade 6 'Smart Muslimahs' of Iqra International School
  • Taking care of our mind by pursuing knowledge and reading:
  1. The Noble Qur'an properly (with proper tajweed), and understanding its meaning. 
  2. Sciences of hadith
  3. The Seerah of the Prophet (PBUH)
  4. The history of the women of the Sahabah and Tabe'en
  5. Knowledge of fiqh as we need to ensure that our worship and daily dealings are correct
  6. Basic principles of Islam
  7. Muslim women's achievements in the field of knowledge
  • Not being Superstitious
  • Never stop reading and studying
As smart Muslimahs we should understand that reading is the source which supplies our mind with nourishment and knowledge which it needs in order to flourish and grow. Hence, we should not let our household duties and the burdens of motherhood prevent us from extensive reading. No matter how busy we may be with housework or with taking care of our children, we can never stop nourishing our mind with knowledge. We should steal the odd moment, here and there, to sit down with a good book, or a useful magazine, so that we can broaden our horizons with some useful academic, social or literary knowledge, thus increasing our intellectual abilities as we understand that seeking knowledge is a duty required of us by our faith. 
The book i'm hooked onto currently. If you've read 'The Secret' by Rhonda Byrne, you should read this one! It's far better.
Our Soul

As Muslimahs we should not neglect to polish our soul through worship, dhikr, and reading the Qur'an

•Perform acts of worship regularly and purify our soul
•Keep company with righteous people and join religious gatherings
•Frequently repeat dua's and supplications
                                                                        
My favorite Smart Muslimah from this era! 
                                                                                                                                                                These are very important aspects of being a Muslimah.  A Smart Muslimah!
Therefore, I shall be addressing this in great detail with my ladies at Iqra during our Monthly Saturday meeting In Shaa Allah. 

May Allah help me and all the others to practice what we preach as we are all striving every day to be better examples of being a Muslim. May Allah ease it for us. 

P.S The 'friend' in the conversation mentioned at the beginning of this blog is my mind! :) 

Lots of duas,
AM

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