Category Archives: Pre-Launch Samples

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Wardah Abbas invites us to something that adds more value to our lives – joining the green bandwagon

Staring at the keyboard for what seemed like a very long time, my mind travelled into my past in order to locate the starting point of a journey that has brought me here, to where I invite you to travel.

Joining the green bandwagon did not start in a day. I remember the days when I couldn’t stand the horror of seeing victims of environmental disasters on BBC news, and the times when the CNN cover stories about environmental refugees struck an arrow in my heart. The sad tales of earthquakes, wildfires, floods, hurricanes and cyclones around the world drove me into eco-consciousness and I discovered that the problems we had with our earth came directly from us.

Allah did not create us in isolation. It is natural that our existence on the surface of this earth depends on the good condition of the earth itself. Allah has made us the captains of the earth. By our very position, the power to steer the affairs of the earth lies in our hands.

Abu Sa’id Khudri reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: “The world is sweet and green (alluring) and verily Allah is going to install you as vicegerent in it in order to see how you act.”

Muslim, Book 36, Hadith Number 6606

Isn’t it so sad that, even though our earth has served us diligently, we have done nothing but trample upon it for hundreds of years, building nothing more than a parasitic relationship with it? This reminds me of an adage my dad echoes all the time: The tapeworm is happy with the great suffering it has caused the dog, little does it know that it’s life comes to an end the moment the dog dies.

We have hurt our environment so much and now we are facing the consequences. We have expanded the earth by the reclamation of swampy areas around oceans and seas; we have wiped out trees in the forests in order to build more industries; we have diverted chemical and toxic wastes into the rivers and atmosphere; we have turned vast lands into waste-dumping grounds; we have wasted resources without consideration for sustainable development and we continue to do other vain acts. Acts which not only bring unprecedented hardship to us but also constitute the breach of an important amanah (trust) bestowed on us by our Creator, which we are surely going to account for on the day of Qiyamah (Judgement).

Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].

The Qur’an, Surah Ar-Rum (Chapter of the Romans) 30:41

Realising this marked the starting point of my journey to being green. I was guilty of some of these acts and I felt bad at being a contributor to the problems we have caused ourselves. So I decided to make a U-turn, and, trust me, there is nothing like developing a special love for the environment which itself is a creature of Allah. Bringing out the green ‘You’ may seem uneasy in the beginning, especially if you find it a bit difficult to adapt to changes. But since, as Muslimahs, we are all focussing on pleasing Allah in every way possible, we should try to march into the green world, and we can make it as easy and interesting as we want it to be. Here are a few things to bear in mind on your way to becoming green:

BE EXPRESSIVE IN YOUR LOVE FOR ALLAH

Let us reflect on the blessings of our environment. Allah has created everything for us: a vast variety of foods, fruits and flowers; lovely creatures and landscapes in which we take pleasure; and all other things from the sun to water, from the air we breathe to the vitamins we need. If truly we love Allah and hold Him in awe, then shouldn’t we let that love out in the way we handle His creatures?

Think about someone you love: probably your Mother. Think about what happens when she gives you a gift. The most likely thing is that you hold the gift very dear and handle it with great care and value. Now ask yourself what just happened. The answer is not far away: the love you have for your mother who is the source of the gift has made you place value on the gift which you now love very much. This is just how it works. Our environment is Allah’s gift to us so let us express the love we have for our Creator by loving our environment and handling it with great care.

SEE THE NATURAL WORLD AS A LIFE-SUPPORT SYSTEM

The mere fact that we cannot thrive without our environment is enough to bring out the green-consciousness in us. What can we ever do in life without air? Block the air-ways in your body to see what will happen to you. Moreover, imagine a day without water. The realisation that our environment serves as a life-support system for us is enough to inspire us to hold it very dear. By bearing in mind that when we destroy our environment, we destroy ourselves, and that when the environment is not at peace, we are not at peace, we find ways of attaching an immeasurable value and importance to our environment.

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I was guilty of some of these acts and I felt bad at being a contributor to the problems we have caused ourselves. So I decided to make a U-turn, and, trust me, there is nothing like developing a special love for the environment which itself is a creature of Allah.

BEWARE OF THE DOUBLE P – C – F

The acronym “double P – C – F” stands for “PROXIMITY WITHOUT PRESENCE”, “CONTIGUITY WITHOUT CONTACT” and “FAMILIARITY WITHOUT FEELINGS”. Your environment is very near to you but you don’t feel its presence and neither do you have close contact with it. You’re very familiar with it but you have developed no feelings for it. It is worth taking note of this.

If you are setting out on a journey to being green for the sake of Allah, then you do not only need to feel the environment around you, but also be in close contact with it and love it all the same. One of the many ways of doing this is by planting trees around you, especially where you live, or caring for plants in your room. Maybe you’ll love an orchard, a vegetable garden, or a pot-herbary. You can also develop eco-love by rearing pets such as parrots, cats, pigeons, chicks and other animals which are halal for us to keep. You may also beautify your surroundings with flowers such as the rose and the lily and build a water fountain. Doing one, two or even all of these things may help you fall head-over-heels in love with nature.

Is it the gentle, fresh breeze coming from the orchard, or the rhythmic sounds of the birds and chicks at dawn, the sweet scents coming from the flower garden or the splash of water from the fountain? These are beautiful gifts that Allah has blessed us with; we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of them.

The need to revive our eco-consciousness is more important than ever, not only to sustain our existence, but also to fulfil an important aspect of the deen (religious path) to obtain the pleasure of our Creator.

Take your first step and travel on this beautiful path with me.

Guide us to the straight path – the path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.

The Qur’an, Surah Al-Faatihah (Chapter of the Opener) 1:6–7

Wardah Abbas is a twenty something year-old Eco-Muslimah who is quick to express her feelings. She gives priority to creating a friendly environment and likes to enjoy herself to the fullest. When Wardah is not writing, volunteering at an event, or hanging out with friends, she can be found in front of the mirror trying out new make-up techniques. Wardah Abbas is the Earth Care staff writer for YMM so you can look forward to more articles from her inshaAllah. Find her blogging at: http://therosespen.wordpress.com/

 

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Forgotton Empty box

Forgotton Empty box

When it is past time to sleep and Hend Hegazi’s mind begins rushing with ideas to write about, she consults her memory to decide what to do

Why is it that all of the ideas I get come to me when I’m just about to fall asleep?

I spend hours tossing and turning, then, just as sleep begins to tug at my eyelids, the ideas start racing through my mind. I’m caught between giving myself up to slumber, or taking the one step it would take for me to get to my notebook and pen. Yes, it’s just one step … but it’s one step too many at 2:30 am.

So I say to my brain, “Brain … Can you please remember this for tomorrow?”

And she answers, “Of course.”

“Brain, ” I stress, “you cannot forget. Are you sure you can do that? Are you sure you’ll remember?”

“Yes, yes…of course. You can count on me, ” she replies confidently.

So I give in to sleep. Some time the following day, while I’m performing a mundane task like washing the dishes, it occurs to me that I had an epiphany just before I fell asleep the night before.

“Brain! What were you supposed to remember from last night?” I call.

No answer.

“Brain! Brain! What ideas came to me yesterday?”

She replies through a yawn: “Huh … What? Did you say something?”

Hend Hegazi is the author of the novel ‘Normal Calm’. InshaAllah this article is just the beginning of her column for YMM

[Gabriel said], “And we [angels] descend not except by the order of your Lord. To Him belongs that before us and that behind us and what is in between. And never is your Lord forgetful -

Lord of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them – so worship Him and have patience for His worship. Do you know of any similarity to Him?”} The Qur’an 19:64-65

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Writing

Writing

Aisha Davies writes candidly about her own self-doubts in solidarity with yours and shows you how to get past these limits to start achieving

Everyone suffers from writer’s block and nerves at some point in their writing career. Even me. Although I am a writer for a popular Muslimah magazine I haven’t written a single article. Talk about writer’s block.

Why, you may ask?

My own self-limiting belief that I am not as good, as talented or even as worthy as the other established sisters on the roll. Masha Allah their writings are articulate, highly intelligent and just darn good. It’s certainly a lot to live up to!

You may wonder then, why I am writing this. Well several reasons.

One: because my self-limiting belief isn’t necessarily true at all. It’s my own opinion and not necessarily that of others.

Two: How will I know if I am capable of writing read-worthy material unless I actually write?

The gentle reminder often helps. It seems the starting is the hardest part but once you pass the first hurdle the rest of the journey seems easy somehow.”

A sister recently gave me a great piece of advice. She said, “Don’t worry about getting it right, just write.” Wow, so simple and so seemingly obvious. And that is what I am doing. Over time insha Allah, through practice, I will find writing becomes easier and that I have established my style and a certain level of sophistication.

Another sister commented to me that we all have to start somewhere. Again fairly obvious but the gentle reminder often helps. It seems the starting is the hardest part but once you pass the first hurdle the rest of the journey seems easy somehow.

Three: To inspire young talented Muslimahs such as yourself to simply start and do your best. Not try but DO. It’s the doing that is the most important part and will eventually take you somewhere far away from the mere thought of writing to a physical piece published in a magazine, on a blog or in your very own book. Think of the possibilities!

So let’s look at your own limited beliefs.

As a young Muslimah you may feel that:

You’re too young.

No one will take you seriously.

That your writing isn’t good enough.

You may have several more limited beliefs but these tend to be the common ones most people have.

Ok so let’s analyse your limited beliefs. You’re simply too young to forge a writing career and because you’re so young your writing won’t be of a high standard nor will anyone take you seriously.

I’ve been calling these negative thoughts limited beliefs which is what they are, but it may be that my negative self-talk started with waswasa, whispers of Shaytan, our avowed enemy who till the Day of Judgement simply does not want any believing man or woman to succeed in anything positive.

I say kick these thoughts and Shaytan to the curb!

Whenever you get one of these self-limiting thoughts remember that you are a believer whom Shaytan is jealous of. Recite isti’adha (a’uthubillahi minashaytanir rajeem). And believe you can achieve refuge with Allah SWT from Shaytan, the accursed. Believe you can achieve and know that Allah SWT has given you abilities and skills to achieve.

You are not too young, your writing through your passion will be of a high standard and you will get taken seriously if that passion and love for writing shines through in your work. It isn’t always about paragraph structure or an impressive vocabulary. It’s about you, your message and love for what you do.

So go ahead, pick up that pen and paper, say bismillah and write!

Aisha Davies is the Adviser for Young Muslimah Magazine and a staff writer so you can anticipate more articles from her as she actively overcomes hurdles to achieving her writing career insha Allah

{And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.} The Qur’an 65:3

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A Handshake

A Handshake

Shabana Diouri decided she wanted to complete an intensive course to teach English as a foreign language. She got lost on her way to class and ended up being the last student in …

I noticed an awkward silence as I entered. The stares and confused looks. I couldn’t understand why. I sat down and busied myself in anticipation of the teacher.

As soon as the teacher arrived, she told me I was, “In the wrong room.” Apparently people learning English belonged down the corridor. In all honesty her assumption did take me by surprise. Not because I thought RACIST! But because I wasn’t used to this type of mentality.

I grew up in East London, my neighbours to the right were Nigerian Christians, to the left Irish Athiests, and opposite were Jamaican Rasta, English. We had an amazing community, we shared food and looked after each other’s houses and pets. We grew up with everyone so race and religion were not really a big deal to me, instead trust and respect were.

Hence the reason I felt so uncomfortable at people reacting the way they did. I felt singled out and the only obvious thing I could put it down to was the difference in the way I looked. I was the only brown coloured women wearing the hijab amongst a room of white people. But the story does not end there. I decided to conduct an experiment.

I could have taken their reactions to heart, retreated within myself and felt like a ‘victim’. But instead I thought of challenging the situation.

Sometimes, not always, but sometimes,

we are wrong and too quick to conclude

what we perceive to be the way people

think of us.

I had studied the theory of ‘self fulfilling prophecies’ in Economics and decided to apply this to the awkward situation I found myself in. Were people really giving me looks? Were they trying to single me out? Did they really see me as someone too different to them for us to even communicate? Was this an outward expression of racism? Or was this my own perception?

I could confirm I was being reacted to, but what I could not say with complete conviction were the reasons and intentions behind those reactions. If I had allowed myself to believe I was suffering from racism, I could’ve internalised that. Negative perception could then actually have caused me to behave ‘different’. I could have become increasingly quiet, keeping to myself and not engaging in dialogue. But I knew such reactionary behaviour could end up causing more of the ‘racism‘ that I didn’t like!

I didn’t want to initiate a cycle of self-fulfilling prophecies, and so I decided that I would treat the students like family. They hadn’t got to know me and I would make damn sure I changed that.

I spoke to every student. Though initially I wasn’t asked to join anyone for coffee or lunch, this soon changed. I ended up making very good friends.

This experience taught me something very valuable about the difference between racism and perception. Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, we are wrong and too quick to conclude what we perceive to be the way people think of us.

Last year we moved to a new house. My neighbours stood at their front doors staring. No one said hello. No one even smiled. I could have assumed the worst but instead I thought maybe they don’t know how to approach me. After our housewarming party, I sent a plate of food to each neighbour. The hellos and smiles came out instantly.

Not every look or silence is done with venomous racist intent. Sometimes people feel awkward, unsure, confused about how to approach someone that looks different. So why not initiate dialogue? Extend the hand of friendship and see what happens? Be first to initiate the conversation that could potentially turn strangers into friends.

Shabana Diouri is a staff writer for Young Muslimah Magazine so you can look forward to more articles from her inshaAllah. She blogs at http://muslimahuninterrupted.wordpress.com/

 

Excerpt from the Prophet Muhammad’s last sermon (Peace and blessings be upon him):

“All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action … Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves … Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.”

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