Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"N" for Note : 'Advice To My Son-dealing with women & girls' By Omar Mahmood

Dear son,

Many of the following points apply to ALL people. But I am specifically focusing here on your interaction with women and girls. We live in a world where, unfortunately, there is a bias against females that takes the form of unequal opportunities, pay/compensation discrepancies, unfair judgments, objectification, etc that tends to benefit males… It is frequently demonstrated that although a female may be more deserving or more qualified… she may unjustly end up with less than she deserves.

Try your best to be aware of this bias. Be kind and chivalrous to women (even if chivalry seems dead in the people around you). Do not hesitate to offer help to a woman. But, if she declines your help, then respect that also and don't assume that all females are in need of rescuing. Some of the strongest, most intelligent, most inspiring people you will meet in your life will be women. Look to history for some examples of great women. Study the great women of our ummah, Fatima az Zahrah and the Mothers of the Believers (may God be pleased with them). Look around you in the present time to see and learn from great women. The first person who ever taught me the ahkam of tajweed (rules for Quranic recitation) was a learned woman. Many of your teachers and professors will be women. And of course, reflect on the rank of your own mother, and ponder why the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that Paradise is at her feet.

Understand that the Prophetic tradition demands love, honor, and respect for women. The Prophet (peace be upon him) valued the contribution of women to society, and he valued their presence, their opinions, and their beauty.

Keep in mind that every person has something beautiful about them. Treat everyone with respect and acknowledge their beauty. They are the children of Adam and Eve and were all ennobled by God… even if they may not know it or may have forgotten it. Because of this reality, all women are beautiful. Whether they are your classmates during your school years, or your professional colleagues later in life, you should remember that each and every female you encounter is a beautiful person.

You will start to notice, early on (even in grade school), that some girls are treated "better," some are ignored, and some are treated quite badly all based on other people's opinions of what is "pretty" or what is "ugly." Don't fall into this shallow way of thinking. Each and every girl you interact with deserves your respect and should be treated with kindness. Don't ever make fun of someone for having certain characteristics or traits. You will be faced with a lot of social pressure to conform to these judgments of people's outward characteristics. Other guys will try to convince you of this.. even some of the women will play along with these notions of defining beauty through a limited and superficial lens. You must defend anyone who is ridiculed for these reasons, and never participate in hurting someone's feelings. 

Remember that there are some people who outwardly seem "pretty" but inwardly are horrible. Likewise, there are people who maybe don't have all the stereotypical features that are deemed "beautiful" by others, but inwardly they have personalities that will cause your heart to shake in awe of the grace and beauty God can put in a human being. Most people have a mixture of attractive and unattractive qualities, inwardly and outwardly… and we are all imperfect beings with a breath of the Divine in our lives. While remembering this, it is your job to keep an open mind and heart when dealing with others.

If you can do this, you will start to see beauty where you may not have expected it. You will be amazed by the number of beautiful women and girls (and more generally, beautiful people) that God has placed on this Earth. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

"M" For Mercy

Religion 'holds' our integrity and gives us a distant 'hope' that one day we will be held accountable for our actions to ourselves and others and thus be awarded for our deeds. We stay in orbit like planets as Religion becomes our force of gravitation providing us the balance and forward motion.

I've seen people confess that they feel better and at ease when they don't bring God into their lives. I wonder when that short-term bubble will burst and their buoyant structures will go down for God gives us strength. There should be 'belief' in something in order to focus and move on. 
For a civilized society to exist, the observance of rules plays an extremely important role. The fear of punishment for ill-deeds and the thought of getting rewarded for good makes a person decide intently on (his) next move. Divine rules are necessary for the grooming of an individual.

I'm a strong proponent of God's Mercy. We humans are created intentionally imperfect by God so that we turn to Him and seek fulfillment from Him. The only perfect being is God. Once one understands this notion, life becomes tolerable with its imperfections. Hope pervades and a vision is created. God's Love and Mercy is abundant and it is greater than our mistakes. If God's Mercy was short, then all His beings would end up in Hell for the numerous misdeeds that are committed. Gandhi once said, "An eye for an eye will soon leave the whole world blind....."

Always remember "Your sin is not greater than God's Mercy." You can and should seek God's forgiveness and no doubt God in His mercy will grant it to you.

**Quote and picture by Nouman A Khan

"L" for Lust and Love

An Indian girl was gang raped on Dec 16th 2012 on a moving bus. Her male companion and the girl were then beaten with rods and thrown off the bus. The news made headlines because the Indian nation protested for several days and weeks. The girl eventually died.

One wonders, what is the difference between Men and Animals? Shouldn't Men have the ability "to control" those horny emotions? Men from the East and Middle East are brainwashed into believing that they can and should have sex whenever they desire it, that they have the born right to take a woman (any time) who was solely created for the pleasure of man.

Whether it is lust or love, men whom cannot keep it in their pants and control their strong urges are no different than animals...