Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Fragility of a 'Good Day'

For those who are struggling with various life challenges, having a good day or a good week becomes particularly precious.
One becomes aware of the way things are going "right," and is wary - perhaps paranoid - that maybe things are going *too* well. It is at this time when it is most important to remember who grants us ni'mah and what we can do to increase the barakah in our lives. If we want to maintain the goodness that we've been blessed with, we need to do that which causes it, and stay away from that which will destroy it.
Many times, we think that the acts of piety expected of us are too grand or ritualistic for us to do or maintain - praying Tahajjud every night, or fasting every other day, or completing a khatmah every week.
In truth, the ways we can bring about barakah in our lives can be quite small, yet deeply meaningful.
Starting the day with salatul Fajr, prayed on time; saying the du'a to leave the home; reciting even snatches of Qur'an on the bus or at work; biting one's tongue when the urge to mutter something inappropriate hits you; being mindful of your relationships with both loved ones and strangers; giving sadaqah, even if it's a dollar to a beggar.
Such things may seem insignificant, but they are the things which add up. The sincerity behind these actions is what makes it easier for us to bear daily inconveniences and to appreciate the everyday happinesses.
On the flip side, we can easily jeopardize our blessings when we start taking them for granted or slip back into bad habits. The moment we are quick to make a condescending comment about someone; the moment we tell ourselves, "Eh, such-and-such is just a small sin, no big deal," is the moment that we are showing ungratefulness towards our Lord's Mercy and gifts.
We should be aware of both our blessings and the ease with which our actions could destroy them all; we must be thankful, but never stop asking for forgiveness; we must be constantly vigilant against our Nafs.
One of the Salaf said, “If I disobey Allaah, I see that in the attitude of my riding beast and my family.”
{And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.} (Qur'an 14:34)

Virgin Hunters

The Muslim obsession with female virginity is disturbing, because it completely ignores the *Islamic* values and conceptualization of spiritual chastity.
Demanding a virgin bride turns a blind eye to:
1) sexual abuse and rape
2) those who may have engaged in zina but also did sincere tawba (this includes converts and 'born Muslims' alike)
3) divorcees and widows
4) the importance of MALE chastity
Using the hadith of Jabir to point out "look, RasulAllah commanded us to marry virgins!" is a very convenient and selective reading of the hadith of Jabir. When Jabir explained his reasoning, RasulAllah approved of his decision, and indeed praised it.
Jabir himself was a young man, possibly previously unmarried himself - presumably, a virgin. The recommendation to marry a 'virgin' was more along the lines of marrying someone closer to him in age so that they could relate to each other better on a personal level.
Of particularly worthy note is that Jabir married a 'matron' (previously married woman) because he was looking out for his family - specifically, his young sisters, who had no other caretaker.
He purposely chose an older, more experienced woman so that his sisters could have a loving maternal figure who would look out for them and care for them... not someone who herself was too young to know how to raise children well.
It's very convenient for bros to quote the hadith of Jabir to justify their search for some pure, virginal, unblemished wildflower who has never seen a nonMahram man in her life... while they themselves have a far from spotless past and struggle with basic adult responsibilities.
Narrated Jaabir ibn 'Abdillah:
"Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said to me, "Have you got married O Jabir?" I replied, "Yes." He asked "What, a virgin or a matron?" I replied, "Not a virgin but a matron." He said, "Why did you not marry a young girl who would have been playful with you?"
I replied, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! My father was martyred on the day of Uhud and left nine (orphan) daughters who are my nine sisters; so I disliked to have another young girl of their age, but (I sought) an (older) woman who could comb their hair and look after them."
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "You have done the right thing."
(Sahih al-Bukhari)
Virgin hunting brothers take note: think with something other than a certain appendage and your ego.
(Although, hey, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, and vice versa. Bros, be ready to have your virginity inquired about. There's nothing wrong with seeking someone who meets a certain standard so long as it is not a *double* standard that you're holding.)