When You’re Gay and Muslim – Finding Allah’s Meaning in All of It

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/altmuslim/2017/07/when-youre-gay-and-muslim-finding-allahs-meaning-in-it-all/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaignFBCP-MU&utm_content=altmuslim

Waheed Jensen is a Muslim male in his mid 20’s, struggling in this world with being young, open-minded and gay, trapped in a global community of Muslims who claim to follow Islam but lack the application of its most basic tenets. Working to make the world a better place for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. A version of this article appeared on Altmuslimah and VirtualMosque.com.

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Ever since I began trying to understand life, one of the crippling realizations about the Muslim communities I reached was this: We tend to bury our problems in a dark hole, dismiss them and hope they will never come back to haunt us. But they often do. We overlook many of our familial, social and cultural issues until they multiply and are about to explode in our faces; at that point, we are notorious for pointing fingers and crying over spilt milk.

Our room is filled with elephants that we barely have an inch to stand, yet we remain oblivious and hope things will get better.

Allow me today to describe one of those elephants. A strange elephant. Allow me to dissect it and hand it over to you, that you may ponder and hopefully open your heart and mind.

Let me start off by saying these three words: I am gay.

Even though you do not know who I am, and maybe the mere fact that I just came out to you right this instant may offend you, confuse you or drive you away from reading the remainder of this article. Let me assure you, this is not one of those articles that tries to promote homosexuality or deliver an airbrushed and Islam-oriented version of all those pro-homosexuality arguments.

Yes, I am gay and I am Muslim, and I am here to offer you a small glimpse into a journey of struggles, passions and hopes. I do not intend to delve into the story of Prophet Lut and his people, talk about the evolution and progression of the LGBT community during the past century, present arguments for or against same-sex relations, or even try to prove my own opinion. I really hope you can read and reflect, and I pray that this small effort of bringing the picture a little closer to you might make the slightest bit of difference in raising awareness, and hopefully open healthy discussions on the topic.

I wholeheartedly believe, in concordance with Islam and its teachings, that sodomy is a major sin. I am against same-sex marriage and intercourse, and I am not in favour of any progressive movements that attempt to explain Quranic verses about People of Lut or sodomy from a modernist or post-modernist approach – in other words, arguments that try to find a leeway and claim that that is a legitimate Islamic perspective.

I hope that this will not drive away readers who are excited about the topic but may be uncomfortable with my statements. I have adopted this position after years of introspection, research, counselling and personal prayer, and I am coming forth today to share with you some of those experiences.

Why Am I Different?

Homosexuality has been present in humanity for centuries, and for as long as it has been there, homosexuals have been struggling with themselves, their families and society at large. To me personally, there was always something different. I could feel it in me from a very young age. Something that I could not explain to others because I thought they would not understand, let alone accept, or maybe because I was too young and immature at the time that I was not entirely sure what ‘it’ was.

It crystallized around puberty; when all the raging hormones started kicking in, those tendencies became obvious. And then the real struggle began.

The struggle led to an explosion of questions. “Why am I different? Why am I not like the rest of my friends or family members? Is this even normal? Am I sick?” Not finding the proper answers, I kept on putting these questions aside. “Maybe it’ll go away. Maybe it’s just a phase.” In my case, it never went away and it was not a phase.

With time I learned that this is something abhorred religiously, culturally and socially. So I tried to adapt. “How do I balance between the feelings and tendencies I have with what my religion, culture and social norms dictate?” So I began a journey of self-exploration and interacting with others, learning from religion, media as well as prominent persons, like religious scholars and major social figures. My schemas kept changing, and I kept on adapting.

Many of us may be brave enough to rebel against what others seem to ‘dictate’ on us, while others suppress their urges, often hiding their identities from those closest to them, generally out of fear, or maybe because they are not just ready to come out yet. I belong to the latter group.

To this date, I have never had the courage to tell my parents or close family members, but I have come out to a close friend of mine a few months ago, and he was extremely supportive Alhamdulillah (all praises to Allah).

One of the most dangerous pitfalls I have personally experienced was thinking that God hated me. He was mad at me. “I must have done something wrong in my life to deserve this ‘punishment’… If God does not accept homosexuality, then why am I a homosexual?” Whether Muslim or not, people struggling in silence can be more prone to deviating to dangerous paths.

So, you find many struggling homosexuals also dealing with bullying, drinking problems, substance abuse, domestic violence, poor academic performance, career problems, pornography or sex addictions, sexually-transmitted diseases, mood disorders like depression and anxiety, and many other issues. (1) I had my own share of bullying, academic problems and mood disorders. Our struggles multiply with time, and many even contemplate suicide.

This is especially true in cases where the individual tries to discuss the issue – often it is just those desires or thoughts that are tackled, not the actual act – with his/her parents or family members who are not receptive to those ideas. If not shown sympathy, care and love, he/she is often shunned, harassed, scorned and sometimes even tortured.

A lot of gay men and women are forced into arranged marriages, taken to local Imams to ‘heal them from their calamity and wrath of God’, or even killed. (2) Some of them take their own lives by themselves. Others live in constant torment while some flee their homes and families in search for a more welcoming environment. That and many have not even yet engaged in any sexual acts whatsoever.

Why We Have Difficulty with Other Muslims

This is why I, along with many fellow homosexual Muslims, find the Western alternative very striking: It offers acceptance and understanding. Things that we dearly miss in our communities, even though we may realize deep down that there is something terribly wrong, the fact that there is someone who accepts us and fights for us and not against us is incredibly more appealing. When we try to talk to other Muslim seemingly-pious and God-conscious brothers and sisters about our sexuality and are shunned by their lack of empathy, respect and understanding, would you find it surprising that we take comfort in talking to non-religious people about our struggles in hopes to find an open mind and a loving heart?

Ironically, the spirit of Islam is all about empathy, tolerance and understanding, yet the practice of Islam carried out by many Muslims shows the opposite.

Trust me, I understand that it is a difficult topic to open up with others, especially people coming from conservative backgrounds. It is difficult news for you to receive, just as it is difficult for me to handle, let alone share with others. However, the fact that I choose to come out to specific people means that those people are exceptionally special to me. To us.

It takes a lot of courage, incredible determination and a full dose of anxiety and fear to even think about coming out to someone, that you can imagine the damage we have to endure when the other person dismisses us or shows no empathy or mercy. It seems like a lot to handle if you ask me.

I remember the first time I decided to come out to someone, I was going through an overwhelming period in my life, yet Alhamdulillah I had some seeds of piety and religiosity inside me. I was around 18, and he was a non-religious psychologist and counsellor. I went to an appointment with him, tried to beat around the bush but ultimately came out to him. And, he was accepting. Later on, I found out that many struggling homosexuals came to him for advice and counselling.

I was hoping that, with the aid of therapy, my orientation would change – this is scientifically known as reparative or conversion therapy; while many studies have been conducted on it and some patients have reported success, a great number of psychiatrists and counsellors have reported failure and more harm done to the patients than good. The progress of my visits culminated in him putting forward the idea of accepting who I am and going all the way with it – in other words, experience my entire sexuality without restraints.

At that point I was really uncomfortable with his proposal, as it was against my Islamic beliefs and my own virtues.

During that same period, I was doing my own reading and researching, trying to find a proper Islamic “solution,” crying for help and praying that I am guided to what Allah pleases. One of the most heartwarming responses was given by a psychiatrist who also has a profound knowledge of Islamic shariah (legal rulings). He was hosted on a TV show, and he was speaking so graciously, so open-mindedly, that his words hit the right chord and I was immediately awe-struck. I cried after finally having found an answer with which my heartfelt ease.

That was pure bliss, Alhamdulillah.

Why Am I Homosexual?

The gist of the talk is the following: Homosexuality as an orientation is a disorder in one’s fitrah (human nature and disposition). “Treatment” of such a disorder involves therapy, familial and social support, personal discipline and a whole lot of other things. However, this therapy, which is tailored on a case-by-case basis, may or may not work. The mode of therapy is different between individuals, just like every case of homosexuality is different between people.

Mind you, the term “therapy” here is used loosely to mean dealing with the issue from different aspects rather than reverting one’s sexual orientation.

If many of us, homosexuals, dive deeper into our childhood and upbringing, we can pinpoint certain events that have taken their toll on us one way or another. Many of us have experienced child abuse, be it sexual, physical or intense emotional abuse that was brutally damaging to our body and soul, or lived in dysfunctional families that ultimately caused a lot of psychological damage. (3)

I, for one, had my own share of psychological and sexual abuse as a child from people closest to me and witnessed intense domestic violence that crippled my mind for a decent period of time. Such events were so incredibly powerful that they became ingrained in my psyche and took their toll on my thinking and behaviour.

Others have been desensitized to issues related to sexuality and gender roles from a young age, that their perception of masculinity and femininity is quite erroneous. I can recall several stories of struggling homosexuals I know who grew up in homes where one parent was more dominant in their life (e.g. present most of the time while the other was absent, provided greater emotional, psychological and social support while the other did the exact the opposite), such that either parent’s gender became more dominant on their lives and personas, and hence their perception of gender and sexuality deviated from the normal.

It is worth noting, however, that many people grow up in normal environments with no such issues during childhood, yet end up finding themselves attracted to the same gender. So there is no discrete thumb rule or cause as to whether someone will end up identifying as a homosexual or a heterosexual. It is not a simple black or white situation.

In addition to the above, it has been asserted that there are other acquired causes – we are bombarded on a daily basis with sensual and sexually-explicit material, from billboards, magazines and newspaper articles, to online material on social media websites. Sex and sexuality are heavily emphasized in TV shows, readings and discussions, whether openly or not. We have become accustomed to seeing semi-naked and naked bodies, our concepts of beauty, femininity and masculinity have radically evolved over time and we have become desensitized to these matters. (4)

There is an unbelievable amount of time and resources spent on creating better bodies: muscular, dreamy and good-looking men, and gorgeous women with “perfect” facial and body features. In addition, many of the inter- and intra-gender boundaries have drastically changed over time. Taken together, these matters overwhelm the human mind, and the effects are undoubtedly palpable.

Again, these and countless other events affect people’s heart, mind, body and spirit differently. People struggle to cope in different ways. Some people, like myself and countless others, may eventually find themselves with a specific worldview, having had a culmination of experiences, as well as a specific orientation that may or may not be modifiable. Just like these examples are struggling in and of themselves, homosexual thoughts and tendencies are no less than struggles as well.

Will I Have a Partner in Life?

When I see married men and women sharing affection, enjoying companionship and raising children, it hurts. A lot. Not the jealous I-hope-they-lose-all-that kind, but the painful realization that this is not something I can ever attain. Because of my situation, my ibtila’ (struggle in life), the idea of marrying someone from the opposite sex is not practical at all or even fair for me or my potential spouse. Many shuyukh advice homosexuals to get married for their tendencies to dissolve; while this may work with a handful of people, a large number of us does not find it physically or mentally plausible.

Many of the things other people, including those shuyukh themselves, take for granted – like relationships, marriage and having children – are the exact things we struggle with day in and day out. Personally, and unlike Muslim heterosexuals, I do not have safe and lawful options through which I can channel and fulfil those desires. Therefore, I try my best to remain steadfast and struggle for the sake of Allah. If that is not incredible Jihad, I do not know what counts as such.

While it may seem unfair and even preposterous to some people to keep struggling and not fulfil our desires, especially in this time and age, that is where the beauty lies. Within Islam, we are not held accountable for our thoughts, feelings, desires and tendencies as long as we do not act upon them. There are three ideas worth mentioning here.

First, Allah has promised in the Quran that He “does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity” [2:286]. Taken in line with Islamic teachings, this means that Allah knows how painful my struggle is and knows that I can handle it. Every time I ponder upon this idea, I am overwhelmed with incredible awe and gratitude. Of all people across centuries, He has chosen specific people for this particular test. Indeed, life is nothing but a few years and the True Life is in the Hereafter, so no matter how agonizing the struggle is, there will be an end to it.

Second, there is an immense reward and unimaginable blessings, both in this life and the Hereafter, by staying true to God’s decree and struggling for His sake. The greater the struggle, the more the rewards in sha Allah (God willing).

Third, and just like the popular saying goes, “when God closes one door, He opens another.” So, if issues like intimacy and procreation may seem like dead ends for Muslim homosexuals, we find openings in other aspects of life. Many homosexuals across history have been known for incredible gifts in writing, public speaking, music, cinema, scientific discoveries, literature and art. (5) Studies have reported that homosexuals exhibit high levels of empathy and compassion compared to heterosexuals. (6)

Because we have suffered and are constantly struggling, we have big hearts that know no boundaries. If we utilize our God-given gifts wisely and for the greater good, we can do wonders inshaAllah.

We All are Trying to Find Answers

Of course, there are Muslim homosexuals and pro-gay rights advocates who adopt a completely different perspective. Some try to balance between their religious duties while keeping in line with their orientation; in other words, they carry out their desires yet remain true to their duties. Others denounce Islamic rules altogether arguing that in modern times, such rules do not apply, hence they call for a reformation in Islamic laws taken for granted as solid foundations of religion.

Others are still struggling between balancing Islamic law and their own sexuality, searching for answers that provide them with ultimate satisfaction.

I am in no way trying to prove myself right and others wrong. This article is solely intended to highlight some of the struggles I go through as a Muslim homosexual, and I have taken the liberty at some points to speak on behalf of fellow struggling homosexuals because of our shared tribulations. Whatever your position is on this matter, I respect you and love you as a human being, your desires are legitimate and in no way make you less of a human being.

However, based on my beliefs, I do not accept specific actions that you may do which go against Islamic law. And there again, you are no less of a human being, and I still respect you as an individual. This falls at the heart of Islam – if someone like me who is struggling with his/her own desires can adopt such a stance, then so can everyone else. Maybe if we focus less on demonizing other people and concentrate more on helping one another, things would start to change for the best.

If you are a homosexual reading this, please know that my heart is with you. I of all people understand the daily struggles you are going through, and I salute your bravery and high spirit. Please remember that Allah is Merciful and Forgiving, no matter how much people tell you otherwise. Stay strong, and if you ever fall into the traps of Shaytan (the devil), repent to the Almighty with a pure heart and know that He accepts and welcomes the sincere. Pray to remain steadfast. Fasting is a powerful weapon so try your best to fast regularly.

Also, try to do sports and channel your energy in healthy ways. Surround yourself with the good company of pious people, and keep daily companionship of His Book. Pursue a higher purpose in life, for you are already on a high track. Trust me, I understand that the struggles may reach excruciating levels – it is at those moments that our inner cores are tested.

Make your struggles entirely for His sake, and they will be worth it. You will come out stronger and braver than before. With today’s explosion of sexuality and acceptance of same-sex relations, do not swallow the bait. Keep yourself in the company of Him for that is all that ultimately matters.

If you are a heterosexual reading this and assuming you may be uncomfortable with such a topic, I understand that this may be overwhelming for you at first glance. Take it easy on yourself, and certainly take it easy on others. We all have our own struggles, so let us make this journey we call life a little bit less difficult for one another. Let us shift our focus from pointing out each other’s faults and instead work together for more empathy, compassion and love.

There is a difference between respecting someone and accepting his/her actions; the former must be there at all times. If we disagree or have different lifestyles, and certainly if we make mistakes, please do not judge us. Bear with us. Listen to us, be there for us, for if you ever need us we will be there for you.

Even though we may not get the chance to experience what it means to have a spouse, be intimate or even raise a family in this life, I pray that Allah accepts our struggles for His sake and fulfil our desires in the Hereafter. Yes, I am a gay Muslim, and I am proud – proud that Allah has chosen me and many other brothers and sisters for this particular struggle in this life. And for that, and for all His countless blessings we say, Alhamdulillah.

“I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that, even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you… I love you. With all my heart, I love you.”
(V for Vendetta)

1. Lee, R. (2000). Health care problems of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients. Western Journal of Medicine, 172(6), 403–408.
2. Kesvani, H. (2015, April 18). Meet The Gay Muslims Living In Straight Marriages. http://www.buzzfeed.com/husseinkesvani/gay-muslims-in-straight-marriages
3. Schneeberger, A. R., Dietl, M. F., Muenzenmaier, K. H., Huber, C. G., & Lang, U. E. (2014). Stressful childhood experiences and health outcomes in sexual minority populations: a systematic review. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 49(9), 1427-1445.
4. Qadhi, Y. (2009, April 13). Dealing With Homosexual Urges: Yasir Qadhi to Muslim Student. http://muslimmatters.org/2009/04/13/dealing-with-homosexual-urges/
5. Rictor Norton (compiler), “The Great Queers of History, Part 1: Born before 1800″, 1 May 2004 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/greatgay/greatgay.htm&gt;.
6. Salais, D. A., & Fischer, R. B. (1995). Sexual preference and altruism. Journal of Homosexuality, 28(1-2), 185-196.

Changing Perspective

Bismillah,

We often believe that being tested and going through problems in our life is due to our sins.Makkah Rihaal

Sayyidah Aminah (Allah have mercy on her) lost ‘Abdulllah (Allah have mercy on him) when she was just 18. Our master Muhammad, ﷺ the sinless and pure lost his father, mother and grandfather by 8. Hasan (Allah have mercy on him) and Husayn (Allah have mercy on him) lost Lady Fatima (Allah have mercy on her) when they were 7 and 8; Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (Allah have mercy on him) buried 2 of his wives. Sayyida Khadijah (Allah have mercy on him) lost 3 infant sons her in lifetime. Lady ‘A’isha (Allah have mercy on her) lived off dates and water because there was nothing in the house. Mus’ab ibn ‘Umayr (Allah have mercy on him) was disowned by his parents as a youth. Abu Hurayra (Allah have mercy on him) didn’t owe a single thing, would tie stones to his stomach, and couldn’t sleep at night due to severe hunger. Bilal (Allah have mercy on him) was beaten and abused because of his faith. Prophet Yusuf عليه السلام was wrongly accused by a woman and he was locked up. Prophet Musa عليه السلام was separated from his mother as a baby. Prophet Nuh’s عليه السلام son rejected him. Prophet Lut’s عليه السلام wife denied him. Prophet Ibrahim عليه السلام didn’t have kids until old age. Prophet Ayyub was tested with illness. 

Trust me, your test is just a living proof of how much Allah loves you.

madeenah
You’re not married and people think something is wrong with you. You’re raising a child alone and people totally overlook you. You’ve been divorced and people look down upon you. You’re over 25 and people think you’re too old. You’re a widow and no one ever thinks your good enough. 
Rabi’a al-Adawiyya (Allah have mercy on her) never married and she is considered one of the greatest saints of this Ummah. Lady Maryam (Allah have mercy on her) never got married and she is from the 4 greatest women Allah ever created. Sayyiduna ‘Isa عليه السلام ascended to heaven and he was unmarried, yet he is a Prophet.
Lady Hajar (Allah have mercy upon her) nurtured Prophet Isma’il عليه السلام in Makkah alone whilst it was a barren desert, due to the command of Allāh. Sayyidah Aminah (Allah be pleased with her) lost her husband before our master Muhammad ﷺ was born. The Prophet’s ﷺ wife, Lady Safiyyah (Allah be pleased with her) had been divorced and then widowed before he married her. Lady Khadijah (Allah be pleased with her) had 2 children from previous marriages and was 40 years old when he married her. Lady A’ishah (Allah be pleased with her) had no children. Lady Asiya (Allah be pleased with her) was married to the greatest tyrant, Fir’awn. Our communities looks down upon people and judge, yet it is strange that some of the greatest men and women Allāh ever created and made role models for us had come from such circumstances and situations. Never feel inferior or unimportant. Don’t listen to their opinions and meaningless words. Be content with the Decree of Allāh Azza wa Jallah. Raise your head and be proud.
Shaykh Muhammad Aslam,
Graduate of Fath al-Islami (Damascus) 
Founder of City of Knowledge & Prophet of Change, Isyllabus Tutor & International Speaker.

Enquiries For Lectures: Info@CityofKnowledge.co.uk
Questions For FB Live:Questions@ProphetOfChange.com

A Simple Yet Effective Solution To Our Current Problems

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

In the period before the advent of our beloved Messenger sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, the whole world was engulfed in the darkness of ignorance. Humans were uncivilised, morally decadent and devoid of good character. When Allāh ta‘ālā sent the Leader of all the Ambiyā ‘alayhimus salām and the Seal of the Messengers ‘alayhimus salām, Muhammad Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, the entire world was illuminated. By following his example and teachings people of all backgrounds and creeds, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, have achieved great successes throughout the ensuing fourteen centuries.

The underlying reason behind success in following his example is that Allāh ta‘ālācreated His beloved Rasūl sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam the best in every way. Whenever the Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum described a particular characteristic of his, they would always qualify it with the superlative it deserved. They described him, for example, as the most generous, the most knowledgeable, the most courageous etc. Their descriptions proclaim quite clearly to all who followed his era that in every praiseworthy trait Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam was ‘The Best’.

Even objective non-Muslims, have had no option but to praise the Messenger of Islāmsallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.

George Bernard Shaw writes:

I have studied him – the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Saviour of humanity. (The Genuine Islam, Vol 1 No8, 1936)

Pandit Gyanandra Dev Sharma Shastri, at a meeting in Gurakhpur, India (1928) said:

They (Muhammad’s critics) see fire instead of light, ugliness instead of good. They distort and present every good quality as a great vice. It reflects their own depravity… The critics are blind. They cannot see that the only ‘sword’ Muhammad wielded was the sword of Mercy, Compassion, Friendship, and Forgiveness – the sword that conquers enemies and purifies their hearts. His sword was sharper than the sword of steel. 

Lamartine said:

Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational doctrines, of a religion without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he? (Histoire de la Turquie, Vol II, Paris, 1854)

A critic, David Samuel Margoliouth, an Oxford University Professor of the early 20th century, wrote a biography of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. He writes in his preface:

The biographers of the Prophet Mohammed form a long series which it is impossible to end, but in which it would be honourable to find a place. (Margoliouth, Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, 1905)

When Gandhi read the sīrah of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam in two volumes, he commented:

When I closed the second volume I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life. (Gandhi, Young India, 1924)

The sīrah (life or biography) of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is full of lessons. It is an ocean that has no shore, meaning the sīrah is never-ending when it comes to deriving lessons from it. It is from the miracles of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam that his life has been recorded and preserved in such detail. All credit goes to his beloved Companions radhiyallāhu ‘anhum who recorded this beautiful life with great care and detail to the extent that his humorous statements have also been preserved, and have proven to be an ocean of knowledge. Let us study an example:

Anas ibn Mālik radhiyallāhu ‘anhu narrates how Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallamwould try cheering up his younger brother by saying a little rhyme:

O Father of ‘Umayr! What has happened to the nughayr (a type of bird)? (Al-Bukhārī)

The small child would be delighted at the rhyme and by the fact that Allāh’s Messenger would call him, a mere toddler, Father of ‘Umayr!

This is one small and seemingly insignificant episode from the life of Rasūlullāhsallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, but the ‘Ulamā having pondered over this statement of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam were able to deduce over sixty religious precepts from it. Such is the power and depth of a single humorous statement, what can one say about his formal and serious statements!

The blessed sīrah is truly a light and full of guidance for all circumstances and situations we may encounter in life. Allāh ta‘ālā says:

Indeed, there is a beautiful example for you in the Messenger of Allāh… (33:21)

The life and teachings of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam are truly comprehensive that a day will never come when the Muslims will not be able to find a solution through them to any issue they encounter. Guidance can be found in his teachings on every subject matter. And if we follow these beautiful teachings, we will become successful in both worlds.

So we need to emulate the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam in all aspects of our lives: ‘aqā’id (beliefs), ‘ibādāt (acts of worship), mu‘āmalāt (dealings and transactions), mu‘āsharāt (social conduct) and akhlāq hasanah (good character). It is unfortunate that many of us have confined Dīn to the first two branches, ‘aqā’id and ‘ibādāt, only. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has warned of destruction for such people. Once Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam asked his Sahābah:

‘Who is a poor person?’ They replied, ‘A poor person amongst us is he who has neither dirham nor wealth.’ Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, ‘The poor person in my Ummah will be one who will come on the Day of Judgement with hissalāh, sawm and zakāh; however, he swore at someone, accused someone, unlawfully consumed the wealth of someone, killed someone and hurt someone, then his good deeds will be given to his victims. And if his good deeds are exhausted but the compensation of his victims remain, then their sins will be taken and entered in his account and he will be thrown in the hell-fire.’ (Muslim)

In addition to protecting our good deeds, the practice of mu‘āmalāt, mu‘āsharāt and akhlāq hasanah presents the beauty of our Dīn to the whole of humanity, as they predominantly relate to social interaction. The life of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and of those who followed him to the highest degree, contain numerous episodes of winning the hearts of people, through practically demonstrating these branches of Dīn.

If we strive to make our lives fully in accordance with the teachings of the Prophetsallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and emulate him in every way, then we will become the beloved of Allāh ta‘ālā.

Say [O Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam], ‘If you really love Allāh, then follow me, and Allāh will love you and forgive you your sins. Allāh is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.’ (3:31)

Once we become His beloved, we will automatically become the beloved of His entire creation. The Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said:

When Allāh ta‘ālā makes a servant His beloved, then Allāh ta‘ālā summons Jibra’īl‘alayhis salām and says, ‘Indeed, Allāh ta‘ālā loves such a person; you too love him.’

When Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām hears this command of Allāh ta‘ālā, his heart is infused with love for this person. Such a person is now the beloved of Allāh ta‘ālā and Jibra’īl‘alayhis salām. Then, Allāh ta‘ālā commands Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām to address the dwellers of the heavens and say;

Indeed, Allāh ta‘ālā loves such a person; you too love him.

Upon hearing the command, their hearts too are infused with his love.

Then this person is granted acceptance amongst the people on the earth [resulting in everyone entertaining love for him]. (Al-Bukhārī)

This is a simple solution to the problems that are blighting the entire world at the moment; in fact, this is the only solution. As Muslims, we should endeavour to adopt the way of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam in every facet of our lives. Our ‘aqā’id (beliefs), ‘ibādāt (acts of worship), mu‘āmalāt (dealings and transactions), mu‘āsharāt (social conduct) and akhlāq hasanah (good character) should all be like that of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam.

If we desire that the people of the world look at us with love and respect, then we need to resolve to live our lives according to the way of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam so that we become the beloved of Allāh ta‘ālā and as a result become the beloved of the entire creation.

Let us resolve today, assess/review our lives and rectify any shortcomings. When our actions completely reflect the teachings of the beloved of Allāh ta‘ālā, then spiritual blessings will become apparent which will resolve all our issues of this world and the Hereafter. This is a very pertinent matter at the current time and needs our utmost attention. If we make a firm resolution to learn the way of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and act upon it accordingly – whether the action is fard, wājib, sunnah or mustahabb – then success awaits.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 24 No. 1, Jan 2015)


Muhammad sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam

Our Beloved Nabī

Indeed, there is a beautiful example for you in the Messenger of Allāh… (33:21) 

One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to help them develop love and appreciation for the life of the Messenger of Allāh ta‘ālā. Studying the exemplary sīrah of our beloved Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is a source of many blessings, one of which is the fostering of good morals and character. A sound knowledge of sīrah is also essential to truly understand Islām and to convey it to others.

In this booklet the renowned Islamic scholar and spiritual mentor, Shaykh-ul-Hadīth Shaykh Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh, presents a brief account of the life of our beloved Nabī sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. Primarily aimed at children, it can also serve as an introduction to sīrah for people of all ages.

To order your copy, please email publications@idauk.org for details. 

Madrasahs, schools, Islamic societies etc. wishing to purchase in large quantity, may email publications@idauk.org or call 0116 262 5440.

My Suicide Letter…

And do not kill yourselves. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful. (4:29)

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Recently, I came across an article which made my hair stand and gave me goosebumps, as I live just next door: http://www.blogpreston.co.uk/2016/02/preston-has-highest-suicide-rate-in-the-uk/

A horrifying statistic about Preston has emerged in new figures about suicide. Preston has the highest suicide rate in the UK compared to other towns and cities. There are nearly 19 suicides each year in the city per 100,000 people. The figures, which come from the Office of National Statistics, are based on the period from 2012-2014. It also shows the suicide rate in Preston has been rising sharply in the last few years.

The highest level of suicide in UK towns and cities
Preston – 18.6
Middlesborough – 17.6
Hastings – 17.4
Blackpool – 17
Warwick – 16.6

A few points we all need to consider, as we all go through hardship, pain and suffering:

“Allah burdens not a soul more than its scope.” (2:286)

Allah only gives you what you can handle, in simple terms. If you cannot deal with it Allah will not give it to you. Because as Muslims we believe Allah is al-Hakeem (The Wise), al-Aleem (All-Knowing). Allah knows the past and the future.

So why do we feel we can’t cope anymore?

There are numerous reasons to this, first being our sins weigh us down. Excessive sinning leads one to become despondent. Secondly, we have become ungrateful. Instead of counting our blessings, we as humans tend to count our problems more.

“And He giveth you of all that you ask for. But if you count the favours of Allah, never will you be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.” (14:34)

Suicide is increasing in Britain and in Muslims, but it is a major sin in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stated that the one who commits suicide will be punished with something like that with which he killed himself.

Why do people commit suicide?

They have had enough of life or they have no hope left that they can carry on. Sometimes Muslims lose hope in Allah SWT and in their religion. They pray, they fast, give charity but Allah’s help doesn’t seem to come or is delayed. This happens to every single one of us in life, some more than others. But is suicide the solution? More importantly, is it permissible to end our own life?

At some point or another we all think about suicide, we all have bad days and ‘very’ bad days. Problems and difficulties are temporary but remember suicide is not temporary. Do you want to commit suicide to end your life or end the problems you have?

Suicide is not the solution AT ALL. A person must remain positive at all times, life is not perfect. Allah did not promise us a perfect life, otherwise this world would be Jannah.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The world is a prison for the believer and Paradise for the disbeliever.” (Tirmidhi)

Life is short and temporary, so are the problems and trials and calamities we face in life. Whether you are currently in a state of bliss or depression, “this time will pass.” Nothing lasts forever, not your happiness nor your sadness. This world does not even last forever, it will surely end.

If you think that nobody cares, or is there for you, then you have a loving Lord. Allah SWT loves you.

In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah has one hundred parts of mercy, of which He sent down one between the jinn, mankind, the animals and the insects, by means of which they are compassionate and merciful to one another, and by means of which wild animals are kind to their offspring. And Allah has kept back ninety-nine parts of mercy with which to be merciful to His slaves of the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim, al-Tawbah, 6908)

It was narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and put him to her breast. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to us, ‘Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?’ We said, ‘No, by Allah, not if she is able not to.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.’”  (Agreed upon)

So do not despair in the mercy of Allah, rather turn to him and remember Him. Obey Him and His help will come. If we knew the wisdom behind Allah’s orders and decisions for us, our hearts would burst out of love for Him SWT. We have to understand and accept Allah always does what is best for us.

“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (2:216)

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever throws himself down from a mountain and kills himself will be in the Fire of Hell, throwing himself down therein forever and ever. Whoever takes poison and kills himself, his poison will be in his hand and he will be sipping it in the Fire of Hell forever and ever. Whoever kills himself with a piece of iron, that piece of iron will be in his hand and he will be stabbing himself in the stomach with it in the Fire of Hell, forever and ever.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5442; Muslim, 109.

It was narrated from Thaabit ibn al-Dahhaak (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever kills himself with something in this world will be punished with it on the Day of Resurrection.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 5700; Muslim, 110.

From these Hadith it is apparent that suicide is not permissible in Islam – it is Haram.

Suicide is not kufr that puts a person beyond the pale of Islam as some people think, rather it is a major sin that is subject to the will of Allah on the Day of Resurrection: if He wills, He will forgive it, and if He wills He will punish for it. So do not neglect to make du’aa for them and be sincere in doing so; perhaps that may be the means of Allah forgiving them.

It was narrated that Jundub ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Among those who came before you there was a man who was wounded and he panicked, so he took a knife and cut his hand with it, and the blood did not stop flowing until he died. Allah said: ‘My slave hastened to bring about his demise; I have forbidden Paradise to him.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, 3276; Muslim, 113.

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A FEW MORE FACTS:

Myth: People who are suicidal want to die.

Fact: The majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have. The distinction may seem small but is in fact very important and is why talking through other options at the right time is so vital.

Myth: Talking about suicide is a bad idea as it may give someone the idea to try it. 

Fact: Suicide can be a taboo topic in society. Often, people feeling suicidal don’t want to worry or burden anyone with how they feel and so they don’t discuss it. By asking directly about suicide you give them permission to tell you how they feel. People who have felt suicidal will often say what a huge relief it is to be able to talk about what their experiencing. Once someone starts talking they’ve got a better chance of discovering other options to suicide.

Myth: If a person is serious about killing themselves then there is nothing you can do.

Fact: Often, feeling actively suicidal is temporary, even if someone has been feeling low, anxious or struggling to cope for a long period of time. This is why getting the right kind of support at the right time is so important.

Myth: You have to be mentally ill to think about suicide.

Fact: Most people have thought of suicide from time to time and not all people who die by suicide have mental health problems at the time of death. However, many people who kill themselves do suffer from their mental health, typically to a serious degree. Sometimes it’s known about before the person’s death and sometimes not.

Myth: People who talk about suicide aren’t serious and won’t go through with it.

Fact: People who kill themselves have often told someone that they do not feel life is worth living or that they have no future. Some may have actually said they want to die. While it’s possible that someone might talk about suicide as a way of getting the attention they need, it’s vitally important to take anybody who talks about feeling suicidal seriously.

“The majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have.”

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Ismail Ibn Nazir Satia (one who is in dire need of Allah’s Forgiveness, Mercy and Pleasure).

 

Key facts (2017)

  • In 2017 there were 6,213 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
  • Of these, 5,821 suicides were registered in the UK and 392 occurred in the Republic of Ireland.
  • In the UK, men are three times as likely to take their own lives than women.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, men are four times more likely to take their own lives than women.
  • In the UK, the highest suicide rate was for men aged 45-49.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, the highest suicide rate was for men aged 25–34 (with an almost identical rate for men aged 45–54).
  • In Northern Ireland, suicide rates for both men and women are higher than other UK nations – however, rates are not necessarily directly comparable.

Key trends (2017)

  • In the UK, there has been a significant decrease in male suicide. The male suicide rate is the lowest in over 30 years.
  • In Scotland, the overall suicide rate decreased between 2016 and 2017 – this appears to be driven by a decrease in the female suicide rate.
  • In Scotland, suicide in young men increased for the third consecutive year in 2017.
  • In Northern Ireland, the suicide rate has remained relatively stable between 2016 and 2017. There was an increase in the male suicide rate and a decrease in the female rate.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, suicide has continued to fall in both men and women.
  • In the Republic of Ireland, rates have fluctuated more than in the UK in recent years, but they are currently at their lowest since 1989.