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In the Name of God بسم الله

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Hoor al-`Ayn are not White Chicks

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Qa'im

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There is a common misconception among modern Muslim men that they will be rewarded with white women in Paradise. This attitude has even caused some to justify their preference of light-skin women and Western women through Islamic texts that describe beautiful women in this world and the Hereafter. They put white skin on a pedestal, which both sidelines women with darker complexions, and objectifies women with lighter skin. I would like to investigate the claim that the heavenly maidens of Paradise are essentially "white girls".

Heaven is unlike anything

In the hadith literature, Paradise is described as what the eye has not seen, what the ear has not heard, and what the heart has not imagined. ( مَا لَا عَيْنٌ رَأَتْ وَ لَا أُذُنٌ سَمِعَتْ وَ لَا خَطَرَ عَلَى قَلْبِ بَشَرٍ ). You will be an entirely new creation in Paradise, which will cause those who suffered most in this world to completely forget their suffering. Therefore the descriptions of the pleasures of Paradise are, at most, symbols of things that we cannot exactly know.

The meaning of abyad

The word that modern Arabs use to refer to the colour "white" ( أبيض ) has certainly been used to describe the women of Paradise. In one narration, the Prophet (s) says that the women of Paradise will be every shade of "white" ( ان في الجنة نهرا حافتاه الابكار من كل بيضاء ). In another narration, Imam ar-Rida recites a poem in which he describes beautiful "white" women ( أَرَى الِبيضَ الْحِسَانَ يَجِدْنَ عَنِّي ). Other narrations associate this "whiteness" with pleasure ( سعادة الرجل أن يكشف الثوب عن امرأة بيضاء ).

But what does all of this mean? Abyad comes from the root word bayada ( بيض ), which means "to lay eggs". An egg is a bayda ( بيضة ), and eggs can be white or brown, depending on the colour of the feathers of the chicken. In Arabic, there is no special word for either type of egg, both are given the name bayda, which is related to the word for "white".

Several Arabic dictionaries have interpreted abyad to mean pure, fair, and without blemish; rather than strictly "white". Here are a few references:

In Lisan al-`Arab:

إذا قالت العرب فلان أبيض، وفلانة بيضاء، فالمعنى نقاء العرض من الدنس والعيوب لا يريدون به بياض اللون، ولكنهم يريدون المدح بالكرم، ونقاء العرض من العيوب وإذا قالوا: فلان أبيض الوجه، وفلانة بيضاء الوجه، أرادوا نقاء اللون من الكلف والسواد الشائن

“When the Arabs say that a man is white or a woman is white, they mean that he has an appearance that is pure and clear from defects. They don’t mean that he has a white complexion, but they mean that someone has an appearance that is pure from defects. When they say that a man or woman has a white face, they mean that their colour is pure from blemish and darkness.

”العرب لا تقول : رجل أبيض من بياض اللون إنما الأبيض عندهم الطاهر النقي من العيوب”

The Arab does not say that a man is white in terms of the colour white. Rather, the "white" for them is he who is pure from any defects.

Abu Tayyib al-Lughawi says in Kitab al-Idad al-`Arab:

و انما الأبيض من الناس البعيد من الدنس، النقي من العيب

The whitest of people are those who are far from impurity, and are purified from defects.

Ibn Atheer says in an-Nahaya fii Ghareeb al-Hadith:

الغر : جمع الأغر ، من الغرة : بياض الوجه ، يريد بياض وجوههم بنور الوضوء يوم القيامة

The innocent (al-ghurr); its plural is al-aghur, from al-ghurra: a white face, meaning, a face whitened by light and illumination on the Day of Resurrection.

al-Dhahabi says in Siyar A`laam an-Nubala':

“إن العرب إذا قالت: فلان أبيض ، فإنهم يريدون الحنطي اللون بحلية سوداء

When Arabs say a person is white, they mean tawny in colour with black hair.

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So according to these dictionaries, "whiteness" in a person is either: (1) purity in their reputation, (2) purity in their appearance with no blemishes or defects (scars, birth marks, discolouration, wrinkles, moles, bumps), (3) tawny or wheat-coloured skin, (4) light and illumination, (5) a strong contrast between their face and hair colours.

The meaning of hoor al-`ayn

The Quran describes the houri (hoor al-`ayn) as a heavenly beauty that has been gifted exclusively to a good, believing person. The Quran does not provide much more detail than that. The hoor al-`ayn can be translated as "one with contrasting eyes", and it is often tied to the related word hawra', which refers to a person who has a strong contrast between her dark pupil and white sclera (white part of the eye). If this is the meaning of hooriya, then her "whiteness" may have more to do with her eyes than her skin. The word hawar can also mean "to bleach", but also "to tan". The same word is used in the Quran to refer to the apostles of Jesus, who were "purified" from evil ( فَسُمِّيَ الْحَوَارِيُّونَ حَوَارِيِّينَ لانَّهُمْ كَانُوا مُخْلَصِينَ فِي أَنْفُسِهِمْ وَمُخْلِصِينَ لِغَيْرِهِمْ مِنْ أَوْسَاخِ الذُّنُوبِ ). The word therefore may also be an indication to the maiden's spiritual purity and not just her physical beauty.

The word hoor also means to change, alter, remodel, and modify, so perhaps one feature of this heavenly beauty is constant rejuvenation and transformation.

Another related word means to converse and discuss - it is possible that there is more to the houri than her looks!

I have heard that there may be a relationship between hooriya and hayara, which means "to be confused, bewildered, perplexed, baffled, embarrassed", because the believer will be perplexed by the startling beauty of the hoor al-`ayn.

Remember that we cannot imagine Paradise, so the skintone of the heavenly beauty would also be beyond comprehension.

The word for "pale" in Arabic is actually yellow

When Arabs describe a pale complexion, such as a pale face of an ill person, they use the word musfar (مصفر), which means "yellowed", rather than saying he has been whitened.

The Prophet's colour

Many hadiths describe the Prophet Muhammad (s) as being abyad, but these could be descriptions of the fairness of his skin or the purity of his character. Other hadiths say that the Prophet was reddish. To reconcile both sets of narrations, one can say that he had a tawny or wheatish complexion, which was light in Arabia but unlike the pale western Europeans. While modern Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, and Germanic peoples have a monopoly on "whiteness" today, most people in the Middle East would have never met such people by the 7th century.

White faces on the Day of Resurrection

The Quran describes the believers' faces on the Day of Resurrection as "white" (3:106), but this will be due to their illumination. Some hadiths describe that the body parts washed in wudu will glow in the Hereafter, which includes the face, and other hadiths say that the wudu washes sins away from a person. Similarly, other narrations discuss the illumination of the faces of those who stay up to pray at night. These are not references to pigment.

"Whiteness" will be due to light, and the colour of light, which was found in the Sun, Moon, and fire, ranges from orange to light yellow.

Lady Fatima was a human houri

Several narrations describe Lady Fatima (as) as a human houri. Her houri nature in Paradise was a dazzling light ( نورا ساطعا ) - first she was beneath the Throne, and then she resided within a fruit in Paradise - both in the form of a beautiful lady of light.

Paradise is much more than this world

In conclusion, there is much more to look forward to in the next world than conquering a colonial inferiority complex. Muslims have a very complicated relationship with white folks - from lust, to hatred, to jealousy, to emulation - and our relationships with other races are no where near as complex. The first step to overcome something is to realize and understand it. Allah gave us all of our hues so that we may learn about one another, and understand that the Creator of spectrums is beyond all spectrums Himself. If the hoor al-`ayn is simply a pretty white girl, then she would not be a sufficient reward for the believers, since there are plenty of them in this dunya. Paradise is more than a brothel, open bar, and buffet. It's a chance to gain true proximity to Allah, through His Prophet and Ahl al-Bayt, and to gain gnosis. The journey into timelessness starts in this world, and it culminates in the Hereafter.

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Okay. What about this?

Quote

1) "They are like rubies and corals" al-Hasan said: "they are fine like rubies and white like corals. And others say: Like rubies in beauty, fineness, brightness. and al-Hasan said: al-Marjaan (corals) is extremely pearly white, and they are young

Source: al-Toosi, al-Tibyaan fee Tafseer al-Qur'aan, vol. 9, pg. 48

2) "They are like rubies and corals" - in red cheeks, and white complexion and fineness

Source: al-Kashaani, al-aSfee fee al-Tafseer al-Qur'aan, vol. 2, pg. 1247

3) "And the corals" (meaning) the white complexion"

Source: Muhammad bin Murtada al-Kashaani, Tafseer al-Mu`een, vol. 3, pg. 1450

Credit of translation goes to brother @Nader Zaveri

Edited by E.L King

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10 hours ago, E.L King said:

1) "They are like rubies and corals" al-Hasan said: "they are fine like rubies and white like corals. And others say: Like rubies in beauty, fineness, brightness. and al-Hasan said: al-Marjaan (corals) is extremely pearly white, and they are young

Source: al-Toosi, al-Tibyaan fee Tafseer al-Qur'aan, vol. 9, pg. 48

2) "They are like rubies and corals" - in red cheeks, and white complexion and fineness

Source: al-Kashaani, al-aSfee fee al-Tafseer al-Qur'aan, vol. 2, pg. 1247

3) "And the corals" (meaning) the white complexion"

Source: Muhammad bin Murtada al-Kashaani, Tafseer al-Mu`een, vol. 3, pg. 1450

Thank you for this. This is from 55:58 of the Quran. Rubies are red, and coral stones are a bright red. As for the references to "white" (abyad), this can mean pure, clear, illuminated, without blemish, contrasting, rather than pale.

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8 minutes ago, Qa'im said:

Thank you for this.

No problem bro I just wanna learn.

9 minutes ago, Qa'im said:

This is from 55:58 of the Quran. Rubies are red, and coral stones are a bright red. 

That is correct.

9 minutes ago, Qa'im said:

As for the references to "white" (abyad), this can mean pure, clear, illuminated, without blemish, contrasting, rather than pale.

It can mean that, but would it make sense in this context, seeing as though they are speaking about white "complexion" (at least the tafasir of Al-Safi and Al-Mu'een are)?

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Just now, E.L King said:

It can mean that, but would it make sense in this context, seeing as though they are speaking about white "complexion" (at least the tafasir of Al-Safi and Al-Mu'een are)?

Do you have the Arabic?

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Jazakallah for this beneficial piece. Just a slight observation about one of the quoted definitions.

Quote

”العرب لا تقول : رجل أبيض من بياض اللون إنما الأبيض عندهم الطاهر النقي من العيوب”

The Arab does not say that a man is white in terms of the colour white. Rather, the "white" for them is he who is pure from any defects.

Ibn Athir comments on this in the next line [in Lisan] and says:

وفي هذا القول نظر فإنهم قد استعملوا الأبيض في ألوان الناس وغيرهم

And there could be an objection to this claim, for they [the Arabs] have used 'Abyadh' to refer the complexions of people and others.

Edited by Islamic Salvation

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9 minutes ago, Qa'im said:

 

As I have noted earlier, abyad according to the dictionary definitions I have provided is not the same as the 20th century understanding of "white" (i.e. Caucasian people). The reference above does indeed say that their skin would be abyad, but that is probably a reference to the clarity of her skin, purity in youth, and lack of blemishes, discolouration, bumps, wrinkles, and burns. Al-Dhahabi's reference even says "white" means "tawny" (bronze), which is a more Mediterranean complexion. A "hooriya" literally means "a contrasting one", and an abyad person in classical Arabic is someone with fair skin and dark hair. White faces in the Hereafter refers to noor. Pale skin in Arabic is actually musfar and not mubyad.

Either way, the Hereafter is not something you can imagine. You should probably ask yourself what makes you hung up on the colour of the hooriya. I don't see anyone arguing over what kind of wine Paradise would have, but I have angered multiple people over this blog (usually young South Asian and Arab men/boys), which just exposes our community's undue obsession with whiteness. I have seen Muslim girls rejected by their inlaws because of their dark colour, called the N-word, and light-skinned Muslims treated like royalty. I've seen western women treated like war booty. I am very light skinned myself, and I'm given a pedestal in some communities. A very famous speaker whom I will not name brags about his temporary marriages with European women, saying that it was "the Sunna of Imam al-`Askari" (even though Narjis was probably not European). It's really hard to deny that this is a big problem.

Thanks bro. 

Edited by E.L King

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Thank you for this very necessary information!

I liked everything about it except for this sentence:
"Muslims have a very complicated relationship with white folks  "

People who are called/calls themselves muslims are people who follow/adhere to the ideology/religion called Islam. As such muslims are not a race and can consist of white people as well. By using the word muslim and middle eastern without any difference you are playing into the game of the enemies of Islam who would like to cover their racism by calling middle eastern and north african people muslims instead of arabs. Saying you hate muslims is much more acceptable in todays political climate than to say that you hate arabs, because that would be racism. 

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9 hours ago, IbnSina said:

People who are called/calls themselves muslims are people who follow/adhere to the ideology/religion called Islam. As such muslims are not a race and can consist of white people as well. By using the word muslim and middle eastern without any difference you are playing into the game of the enemies of Islam who would like to cover their racism by calling middle eastern and north african people muslims instead of arabs. Saying you hate muslims is much more acceptable in todays political climate than to say that you hate arabs, because that would be racism. 

In principle I agree, and when I said "Muslims" there, I should have clarified that I am referring to established modern Muslim communities, who are largely Mideastern, African, South Asian, and Central Asian. There is undeniably a complicated and strange relationship between the modern "Umma" and Caucasian people. On one side, there is the Orientalism of the West, which Edward Said has written about, which fetishizes the East as a mysterious gem to be coveted. On the other side, there is decades of colonialism, conflict, Western scientific progress, and Western pop culture. There is a complicated relationship with converts - from admiration of blue-eyed blonde-haired approval, to alienation and suspicion. Skin tone is very important in South Asia and the Middle East, both as a fetish and as a social currency. In short, "our" (modern Muslim communities) relationship with other races is not as complex.

A perfect example, look at this depiction of the Prophet. It comes from 13th century Persia, just after the Mongol invasion of the region. Notice how the prophets in this painting all look east Asian. This is probably due to the cultural emulation of ruling powers and royal classes. It is not much different today - the depictions of Ahl al-Bayt are light-skinned and thin-nosed, even though many of the Imams would have been very dark. In Iran, many evil characters are given black faces on television.

Medieval_Persian_manuscript_Muhammad_lea

imam_al_reda____a_s___by_shia_ali-d5oo5o

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On 2/2/2017 at 2:05 AM, Qa'im said:

In principle I agree, and when I said "Muslims" there, I should have clarified that I am referring to established modern Muslim communities, who are largely Mideastern, African, South Asian, and Central Asian. There is undeniably a complicated and strange relationship between the modern "Umma" and Caucasian people. On one side, there is the Orientalism of the West, which Edward Said has written about, which fetishizes the East as a mysterious gem to be coveted. On the other side, there is decades of colonialism, conflict, Western scientific progress, and Western pop culture. There is a complicated relationship with converts - from admiration of blue-eyed blonde-haired approval, to alienation and suspicion. Skin tone is very important in South Asia and the Middle East, both as a fetish and as a social currency. In short, "our" (modern Muslim communities) relationship with other races is not as complex.

A perfect example, look at this depiction of the Prophet. It comes from 13th century Persia, just after the Mongol invasion of the region. Notice how the prophets in this painting all look east Asian. This is probably due to the cultural emulation of ruling powers and royal classes. It is not much different today - the depictions of Ahl al-Bayt are light-skinned and thin-nosed, even though many of the Imams would have been very dark. In Iran, many evil characters are given black faces on television.

Medieval_Persian_manuscript_Muhammad_lea

imam_al_reda____a_s___by_shia_ali-d5oo5o

You do realise that Arabs are Semites, and that Semites are Caucasian ergo Arabs are also Caucasian? The definition of Caucasian being European pale skin and blond hair (or such like) is a US construction. It is not the correct definition. Certain Ethiopian tribes are also regarded as Caucasian, as are Iranians, Indians and Pakistanis being from the sub-group of IndoAryan/IndoEuropean to which most European ethnicities also belong. Also, we Arabs describe ourselves as 'white' (most of us anyway) except when some want to play the victim card and then its all about the 'brown' man v the 'white' man.

You present a good article but ruin it by your lack of knowledge on ethnicity and your blanket assumption that Caucasian is something other than what most Muslims are - it is not. 

Edited by Ikiryo

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9 hours ago, Ikiryo said:

You do realise that Arabs are Semites, and that Semites are Caucasian ergo Arabs are also Caucasian? The definition of Caucasian being European pale skin and blond hair (or such like) is a US construction. It is not the correct definition. Certain Ethiopian tribes are also regarded as Caucasian, as are Iranians, Indians and Pakistanis being from the sub-group of IndoAryan/IndoEuropean to which most European ethnicities also belong. Also, we Arabs describe ourselves as 'white' (most of us anyway) except when some want to play the victim card and then its all about the 'brown' man v the 'white' man.

You present a good article but ruin it by your lack of knowledge on ethnicity and your blanket assumption that Caucasian is something other than what most Muslims are - it is not. 

There's two definitions of caucasian here, one is the widely and most commonly known, and the other is the technical definition of the word, which in my view, for the vast majority of us, is redundant.

The majority of indians and pakistani's do not think of themselves as caucasian , even if they are caucasian technically speaking.

 

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They never were white chicks, Qaim is right, the whiteness is used in context of purity. At least that was the impression I got from reading about the Houris. Anybody who made this into a race issue, shame on you. Maybe your Houri will be white but don't argue about things that you cannot definitively prove.

 

Edited by Gaius I. Caesar

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4 hours ago, Gaius I. Caesar said:

They never were white chicks, Qaim is right, the whiteness is used in context of purity. At least that was the impression I got from reading about the Houris. Anybody who made this into a race issue, shame on you. Maybe your Houri will be white but don't argue about things that you cannot definitively prove.

 

Yeah shame on Shaykh Makarem Al-Shirazi.... according to you.

Edited by E.L King

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      3. DID EVERYONE PLEAD ALLEGIANCE TO Abu Bakr? WHAT HAPPENED TO PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T? 
      Of course, one of the persons to not pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr was our Imam Ali(عليه السلام) but there were people amongst Arabs who refused to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. Let's just look at two examples.
      1. MALIK b.NUWAYRAH: Malik b Nuwayarh was a devout companion of the Holy Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). Upon his refusal to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr, Abu Bakr told Khalid b. Waleed to prepare an army against him and attack him under the pretext that he had turned apostate and was refusing to pay Zakat and taxes to the Caliph. What Khalid b. Waleed did was attack him during the night in his house, like a coward. They killed him, later raped his wife and they didn't stop there. They cut off Malik's head and cooked it with camel meat and the food from the vessel containing Malik's head was consumed by Khalid b. Waleed's army. 
      2. SA'AD b. UBADAH: Saad b.Ubadah was from the Ansaar of Medina and a contender with Abu Bakr for caliphate.However, he lost when the clan of al-Khizraj did not side with him. Umar tried to force him to pledge allegiance. However,he refused to swear allegiance to Abu Bakr and to Umar after him and instead lived a life of seclusion. When Umar took over the reins he ordered Khalid b. Waleed to kill Sa'ad. He shot arrows at him which killed him and they later spread a rumour that he was killed by jinns(narrated by Historian al-baladhuri)
      So now we have some idea what was happening to people who refused allegiance. 
      4.CONFISCATION OF Fadak
      Fadak was confiscated and one of the reasons behind confiscating Fadak was to hurt Imam Ali(عليه السلام) economically because Abu Bakr and Umar feared that Imam Ali(عليه السلام) might rise against them so they took away Fadak. 
      5. WHY DIDN'T Imam Ali (عليه السلام) OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT OF Abu Bakr?
      After Saqeefa took place three hundred and sixty people pledged allegiance at the hand of Imam Ali(عليه السلام) to defend him until his death. Imam(عليه السلام) told them go home and gather in a particular street the next day with shaved heads.Out of of these three hundred and sixty people how many turned up the next day? Only FIVE!     Abu Dharr, Miqdad, Hudhayfah, Ammar and Salman.
      Imam Ali(عليه السلام) saw a flock of sheep, about thirty in number gathered in a pen and looking at them he said, "By Allah! If I had along with me men who were true supporters of Allah, the Mighty, the Sublime, and His Prophet, equaling the number of these sheep, I would certainly have deposed Abu Bakr, from his authority."
      6. FORCING Imam Ali(عليه السلام) TO GIVE ALLEGIANCE & THREATENING TO BURN THEIR HOUSE
      After seeing fickleness of the people Imam Ali (عليه السلام)settled into his house. Abu Bakr sent men to get Imam Ali(عليه السلام) to come out. He turned them down.They went again,this time Lady Fatima(عليه السلام) refused to open the door and sent them away. Next, three men gathered firewood outside the home of Hazrat Ali(عليه السلام) and Bibi Fatima(عليه السلام). Who were these three men 1. Qunfudh  2.Khalid b.Waleed  3.Mughaira b.Shu'bah.
      Umar came to the door and asked Fatima(عليه السلام) to open it, which she refused once again.They started lighting up the firewood on Umar's instructions. Hazrat Fatima(عليه السلام)cried out and tried to remind them of her position which they ignored and, pushed the door open behind which Hazrat Fatima(عليه السلام),who was pregnant at that time was standin, and she was crushed between the wall and door. Umar entered the house and struck Fatima(عليه السلام) on the arm with his whip which left a bruise there. She sustained injuries which led her to miscarrying the baby Mohsin; and went into an illness from which she did not recover. 
      7.IS IT REALLY POSSIBLE THAT Umar ASSAULTED Fatima(عليه السلام)?
      If we look at Umer's life we see that he had an explosive temper a history of abuse against women. The famous incident narrated by our Sunni brothers about his conversion to Islam, where Umar struck his own sister and wounded her. Before going to his Sister's house he was on his way to kill Prophet of Allah(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم)
      8. Islamic POSITION ON ENTERING SOMEONE'S HOUSE WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION
      O you who have believed, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants. That is best for you; perhaps you will be reminded.And if you do not find anyone therein, do not enter them until permission has been given you. And if it is said to you, "Go back," then go back; it is purer for you. And Allah is Knowing of what you do. - Qur'an Surah Nur: 27-28
      9. WHY DID Fatima(عليه السلام) ANSWER THE DOOR AND NOT Imam Ali(عليه السلام)?
      This is one of the points frequently brought up, why didn't Imam Ali answer the door? The answer is, there is nothing wrong per se to a wife answering the door. there are numerous narrations where one of Prophet(saw)'s wives answered the door while the Prophet(صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) was himself in the house.
      10.WHY DIDN'T Imam Ali DEFEND Fatima(عليه السلام)?
      After Umar had struck Fatima(عليه السلام) Imam Ali(عليه السلام) came out and caught hold of the collar of ‘Umar and threw him down to the ground. He was determined to kill him but suddenly recalled the testimony of the Prophet (to forebear) and called out, ‘O son of Sahhak! I swear by Allah Who exalted Muhammad to the rank of prophethood that if the command of Allah would not have been decreed and the promise (to bear patiently) not have been given to me by the Prophet of Allah, you would have realized how difficult it is to enter my house!’
      11. HAZRAT Fatima(عليه السلام) PASSED AWAY AT LEAST A MONTH AFTER HER SERMON ON Fadak
      https://www.al-Islam.org/house-sorrows-life-sayyidah-fatimah-al-Zahra-and-her-grief-shaykh-Abbas-qummi/chapter-3-state
      http://www.askthesheikh.com/can-you-provide-reliable-shiasunni-sources-on-martyrdom-of-lady-Fatima-al-Zahra-a-s/
    • By 3wliya_maryam in spoken words/poetry/ deep thinking
         1
      The correlation between OCD and being sensitive may apply only to some people. There is no clear evidence that highly sensitive individuals are prone to the disorder, although one of the symptoms indicate sensitivity to be a major factor. For instance, one may begin to obsess over hygiene as they fear being contaminated or infected with bacteria at home, so they start washing their hands repeatedly or attempting to maintain the cleanliness of the house. They are sensitive to any foreign substance present within their surrounding environment.
      In Islam, we must sustain purity before prayer. That means performing ablution or a full body ritual purification that is called 'ghusl'. Nevertheless, one may start developing doubts as to whether they are truly purified. Women may have doubts about discharge whilst men may begin to worry about excreting semen. Perhaps their clothes were impure, or that they passed gas during prayer. It could lead to repeatedly showering, performing ablution or using the bathroom more frequently. For the individual it is undoubtedly stressful and can lead to physical health problems, such as dry skin and hair as well as acne.
      The flashback memories of my past childhood always affects me till this day. I was born as a sensitive and naive child. Sensitivity is that one trait people often despise, even the carriers of it. I was faced with difficulties for self acceptance, because not only did I loathe my self for my overreacting personality, I was a victim of fat shaming. I wanted to feel happy, free of worries by claiming my desires. But unfortunately we do not live in a Utopian world; not everything we wish for can be granted, unless we choose to put the effort. I definitely take it to heart if someone still fat shamed me, even if it was merely a 'joke'. It evokes all my memories of self loathe, where I was rather too young to be feeling insecure followed by wasted effort from dieting and physical activity. We dislike being called sensitive despite us being fully aware. We refuse to admit our behaviours because we choose to not be defined by it. We feel weak, with no self control towards our impulses. When these emotions begin to overwhelm us, our mental health deteriorates. We feel violated if one makes a remark, which leads us being defensive.
      One must also understand that sensitive people can vary. Some are just easily emotional and have deep empathy, whereas others I previously mentioned have the tendency to take everything so personal. Normally these individuals have insecurities followed by low self esteem and hence their weakness is criticism. They are not skilled to ignore varying perceptions because they choose to listen to them and not their own conscious mind. It is the fear of judgement that they may receive.
      You may be wondering about its relevance to scrupulosity, but in some form it plays a role. Again, it is not necessarily the cause of the disorder and this is only an elucidation of my own personal experience. I investigated within myself and realised that one of the triggers towards OCD was my highly sensitive personality. Followed by the altering chemical changes, my overreactions led to repetitive self harm out of guilt and loathe. My personality may have been a stepping stone towards the disorder; the smallest of things I felt was a grave sin and through time it only had gotten worse.
      Do not let others define you, a very important lesson that I wish I had grasped years ago. People like to manipulate and make you feel bad, even though you may be the victim. That does not mean you should play its role, rather you should only believe in what your heart feels right. Sometimes we know that our very own mind controls us too and causes us to react or act in ways we regret later, but do not let the past define you. Every now and then I feel hurt from my own levels of faith, because when you have that love and dedication to the Lord, the judgements you receive will become meaningless.
       
       
    • By 3wliya_maryam in spoken words/poetry/ deep thinking
         1
      I came across a tragic story of a young man who committed suicide as he convinced himself that he was not a true servant of God. He was well known for his piety and devotion in religious obligations. But such dark whispers led him to believe that Allah was still displeased with him. Whether or not he knew that suicide is a grave sin, perhaps he thought that he would never reach God's satisfaction either way. 
      I was baffled and lost with words. Someone who had such high faith and yet found it hard to battle the demons that propelled him to his downfall. But only He knew precisely what he was going through; it may have been his family, or the community's imagery of Islam. He most likely was suffering from depression or anxiety. Part of me wishes to have helped him drive away his misery as we both share similar grievances. May Allah forgive and have mercy upon him.
      It is quite scary to even imagine the consequences of any mental illness and where it could lead to. For something as perplexing as this man's story I have never read that OCD could be this severe. Perhaps he had a secret, where he did not choose to end his life on the basis of these thoughts that are linked to the disorder. It may have been something else that was giving him torment.
      Guilt is an intolerable feeling second to heartbreak. Islamically it is meant to restrain us from sinning and if it were to cease from mankind, we would all turn into vicious and evil beings. However, in some cases guilt can become so vulnerable that it can no longer be tolerated. When this happens individuals may develop a strong fear towards guilt which is termed as "guilt sensitivity" and is shown to be one of the main symptoms of OCD. They feel violated and hence to avoid this unbearable emotion, ritualistic patterns and behaviours are performed to eliminate it. If we relate this to scrupulosity, the individual highly fears God. They will try their hardest to end the guilt by excessively praying or performing other religious obligations, believing that this will please Him. In fact, it only worsens the symptoms and results in pathological guilt that can become distressing.
      Prior to finding treatment within myself, I was the kind to easily feel overwhelmed with heavy guilt, especially towards my family. It tormented me from the inside, where I would choose to withdraw in my confined space and release my emotions. I loathed feeling this way as it was getting out of hand. When I finally found the means to break free from my compulsions, that feeling went away. And even when I still felt guilty for hurting my parents, I intended to drive it away as I did not want to experience the same kind of hurt again.
      Parents have a talented skill in guilt tripping their children as a means of attempting to keep them in line. If there is one aspect within our parents upbringing that has negatively impacted our lives of youth would be in terms of religion by using guilt ineffectively. An example would be forcing a child to pray, or forcing them to wear the headscarf. All that force only does more harm than good, but sadly some parents do not realise that. God does not intend to make our religion difficult to pursue, therefore Islam is a religion of encouragement and not force. Each Muslim is on their own journey, their own pathway into seeking the truth and strengthening their will regardless of what stage they are in. If our parents weren't so compromised towards their communities' vile perceptions and clinging onto idiotic cultural taboos then I doubt majority of us would be in such a position. Now that we have identified the truth, we will be the generation to alter the ways we have been taught by them.
       
    • By Haji 2003 in Contemporania
         0
      A niece living in India wrote a personal statement for British universities, in support of her application and wanted my feedback.
      Here it is:
       
      Salaam. It’s very well written. It has very good references to extra curricular activities.
      The only thing it may be missing are references to academic achievements, such as essay competitions / prizes etc. but if you don’t have anything to say there - there’s not much you can do. 
      Structure-wise it starts in a very abstract way and it may be an idea to begin with something more concrete.
      People who read these may be used to bull$hit and you want to avoid starting off with the wrong impression.
      Let me know if there is anything else.
       
      She did not come back to me with a response, perhaps because of one of the words that I used. But as you guys may remember I used the same for my son when warning his primary school teacher about how to handle him.
      Anyway one of the leading British universities responded that they did not understand her personal statement.
      Not surprised.
    • By Ibn al-Hussain in Just Another Muslim Blogger
         0
      Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IqraOnlineBlog/
      Original post: https://www.iqraonline.net/dialogue-with-believers/
      An epidemic harming our communities is the general inability, hesitance & fear of engaging in dialogue with one another. In fact, in recent years, it appears there has been a significant increase in our communities engaging and initiating inter-faith dialogue, yet we do not see this phenomenon within our own communities. This is while we need such initiatives perhaps even much more so than inter-faith. We lack the ethics and etiquette of engaging in dialogue with other believers and this naturally weakens, distances and breaks up our communities on various fronts. This is of utmost concern particularly for the diaspora that is already in a vulnerable position – and things do not seem to be getting any better. Dialogue is not simply “speaking” – speaking is not the issue, in fact, many of us speak and have a lot to say, and our pulpits are occupied all year long with trained scholars, untrained lecturers and academics speaking.
      A dialogue will generally have these three elements:
      1) Two or more people
      2) A subject of dispute or a subject that needs clarification
      3) An expectation that the result of dialogue will either be in favour of you and/or the other party, or not (depending on the conclusion).
      When dialogue does not take place, the results we observe are usually the belittlement of others, insults, accusations and rumours, swearing, and in fact, a lack of dialogue can even lead to physical confrontations, wars and bloodshed. These are of course all horrible consequences, particularly when the victims are no other than our selves. These consequences show that the subject of dispute was not resolved or there was no capacity to engage in a dialogue to begin with.
      Why do we not engage in dialogue amongst ourselves? Are those who we disagree with amongst the believers so off the mark that we need to maintain a position against them like we should do with those who are genuine enemies of our belief? This is most often not the case at all and only in extremely exceptional circumstances do we have to encounter such groups of people – at which point it would be difficult to even classify them as believers. In the Treatise of Rights, Imam Sajjad (a) says that people of your creed enjoy the following rights over you:
      The right of the people of your creed is harbouring safety for them, compassion toward them, kindness toward their wrong-doer, treating them with friendliness, seeking their well-being, thanking their good-doer, and keeping harm away from them. You should love for them what you love for yourself and dislike for them what you dislike for yourself. Their old men stand in the place of your father, their youths in the place of your brothers, their old women in the place of your mother, and their young ones in the place of your children.
      Neglecting dialogue over matters of contention, more often than not, results in the trampling of some or all of these rights. So what prevents us from engaging in dialogue? Perhaps one or more of the following preliminaries required for dialogue do not exist:
      1. The need to recognize other believers as noble creations of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). Verse [17:70] says Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has given the children of Adam nobility and honour. In some of our communities, we see believers giving a lot of respect to Sayyids and this is not for any reason except for the fact that they are connected to the Prophet (p) through a chain of many generations. However, it behooves us to realize that we (and creation as a whole) are connected to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) directly (or as per certain schools of philosophy, we are the very connection itself). Looking at another believer through the lens of dishonour and painting them as ignoble will not lead us anywhere and signifies a much greater spiritual problem.
      2. Acknowledging that humans are different from certain aspects – gender, ethnicities, tribes, physical and spiritual capacities, affinities, tastes etc. We have two types of Sunnah (pl. Sunan) – the Sunnah of the Prophet and the Sunnah of Allah. The Sunan of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) are divided into two: there are some Sunan that only become applicable when humans bring them upon themselves through their free-will; for example, the increased bestowal of guidance once we have wilfully chosen to come into Islam -
      [47:17] As for those who are [rightly] guided, He enhances their guidance.
      [19:76] Allah enhances in guidance those who are [rightly] guided.
      There are some Sunan of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) that are absolute, not conditioned to the free-will of man. One of these Sunan is His creating us different. These differences are one of the necessary conditions for trial and tribulation to have any meaning in this world.
      [5:48] …and had Allah wished He would have made you one community, but [His purposes required] that He should test you in respect to what He has given you…
      [6:165] It is He who has made you successors on the Earth, and raised some of you in rank above others so that He may test you in respect to what He has given you.
      As such, it is normal that even within the same worldview, there will be times people reach different conclusions and do things differently. Acknowledging this opens the door to considering certain points of contention worthy of engagement. On the contrary, allowing these contentions to break us apart may very well be a sign that the believers are failing in their trials.
      3. The lack of desire to engage in Ṣulḥ - to reach a conciliation and compromise. Ṣulḥ is often discussed in the context of resolving personal disputes and ironing out details of settlements, or as a treaty for halting warfare. But the general principles of Ṣulḥ can also be used to resolve larger community disputes – as was common in the Muslim world in the past and continues to be the case in many rural places. However, this generic understanding of Ṣulḥ only works if parties involved have a desire to discuss their disputes in a sincere manner (the details and mechanisms of Ṣulḥ have been discussed in detail in their appropriate places). One should not see the mere existence of differences as necessarily going against the command of holding on to the rope of Allah [3:103] - these two are reconcilable on many occasions as the scholars have mentioned. The absence of Ṣulḥ breaks and fragments the communities of the believers.
      4. Reality is too vast and not all of it is in our hands. At any given point we have only understood certain aspects of it and that as well to a certain degree, not absolute reality –
      [17:85] and you have not been given of the knowledge except a little.
      We need to acknowledge that there are other perspectives and there is genuine room for these perspectives to be justified within an Islamic framework. The vastness of reality should alone be enough to humble and soften us to engage in dialogue with another party amongst the believers. The delusion of having uncovered all of the truth regarding a certain matter and behaving as if no one else could possibly say anything that would add anything to our knowledge is a deterrent and barrier for dialogue.
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