I’m Looking for a Man…

Part of a ‘spoken word’ poem, written by Poetic Pilgrimage, enjoy…

Hi, excuse me, Assalamu alaikum, I wonder if any of you in here can help me?

My name is Sakina Abdul Noor. I’m a pilgrim and

I’ve travelled here from Abyssinian lands with a caravan

And I’m looking for a man

I’ve walked over

Mountains and valleys passed rivers and streams

I’ve walked barefooted through pagan lands

On the back of camels I rode through desert sands

To catch a glimpse of this illuminous man

They say Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth and this man is His lamp

Shining the light of mercy throughout the land

I heard once water flowed forth from his hands

So tell me please where can I find this man

I wanna pledge my allegience with my right hand and

Live my life according to Allah’s command

I’m not sure if you understand

I’m looking for the Prophet Muhammad sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam

Have you seen him?

I travelled lightly

Butterflies, eagles and angels were my companions on this here journey

I had only the moon’s light to guide me

I saw signs manifesting at night as stars were shimmering

Listening to winds whispering

Rising to pray whenever I heard the birds singing

See I’m a pilgrim

And I decided to make this journey one night when I was sleeping

See I was dreaming

And a man appeared, his body was a pure light and he was gleaming

He had a beard and he was dressed in green and he wore a turban

He asked me if I’d heard of him

Each of his words was a gem and then

He told me to come follow him

Forget material belongings

I didn’t know before how much my soul was longing

He said come to the blessed city of Medina and ask for him

So now I’m asking

Where can I find the Prophet Muhammad sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam

Everybody I asked on my journey had heard of him

When I mentioned his name every bird started chirping, I saw

Children’s eyes widen and grown men start crying

Each tear representing the love they have had inside for him

So that’s why I’m trying to find him

I heard throughout the land

Him and his companions can be heard reciting words of light and magnificent imagery

Fitting into the highest literary category

I heard even his enemies were astounded by their sheer beauty

And took their oaths of Shahada, forgetting about war booty

What’s even more amazing to me

Is that these words, as nourishing as an ocean breeze, words that light up the narrow Arabian streets,

Descended from Allah directly

I’m told they have a healing affect

Making many men introspect and fall on their knees begging for mercy

Apparently, they are as nourishing as summer rain

Every time Allah had a revelation an angel came, Jibraeel is his name

You must know this man who I’m trying to meet

He walks with this man called Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq

So named because he never questioned a word the Prophet speaks

Imagine he, feasts upon the light of Islam daily, how

Nourishingly sweet

Can’t you see? This is a great man I have to greet

I heard this blessed Prophet ascended up through the seven heavens

And was welcomed by all the Prophets from Isa to Adam

Alayhis salaam,

My mind can’t fathom the sights he beheld, Imagine

Seeing thousands upon thousands of angels, wings flattened

Prostrating to Allah without even a hand’s width between them

Picture seeing a

tree with multi-coloured sparkling lights

Reflecting the Nour of Allah that’s never ending, my hearts ascending but it seems like my quest is never ending

Seriously, have you seen him?

His name is Muhammad, sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam

I met this woman who had the opportunity to meet him

He placed his hand upon her withered goat, said Bismillah, then milk started overflowing

Feeding her first, then his companions

So if I give you her description of him, maybe you’ll know him

She said

His face was luminous like a full moon, his expression was serene

When he is quiet there is a strange dignity about him

When he speaks his words are like sprinkled pearls

His friends obey his every wish and listen to his every word

SallAllahu alaihi wa sallam

I even heard that if he touched a child a perfume could be smelt on them for days

A tree even wept when he went away

I heard a young boy cried when his sparrow died so the Prophet stayed all day and played with this young boy till his grief martyred away

Listen, all I want from you today is to show me the right way

So I can find a mosque to pray

To catch a glimpse of this man, you must know, his name is Muhammad

sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam

From Allah we come and to Him we must return

Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, thank you for listening

But it seems like I just missed him

Last night the beloved Prophet of Allah returned to Allah’s kingdom

That means on this earth I’ll never get the chance to meet him

Allah knows best, seems like I wasn’t meant to greet him

I travelled seven and a half years to get here

But I will endeavour to learn from his teachings

They say that if I look into the eyes of his Ummah I should be able to see him

So I’m seeking

People whose faces ignite whenever they speak of him

Do you know where I can find those blessed people who look after travelling pilgrims?

I’ve come so far and I’m not leaving

In fact I’m staying, right here in Medina to learn the ways of Rasulullah and learn the secrets of Allah

I wanna spend starlit nights praying

I wanna walk the ground he walked and pray in mosques that he taught

From this day, I vow to live my life this way

Writing down all I learn and any obstacles I face I’ll pray

And try to learn the Prophet Muhammad’s way

sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam

so that I can pass them down to future pilgrims down generations and generations and generations….

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Open Letter to Mona ElTahawy

Open Letter to Mona Eltahawy | From A Very Visible Niqaabi to Her Self-Appointed Champion

By Zainab bint Younus

Disclaimer: Though the message is sincere and heartfelt, the details are not meant to identify one specific individual (i.e. the author) but rather to represent real niqaabis around the world.

Dear Mona,

As much as you no doubt think that you are doing great good by appointing yourself as a champion for (or against? You’re a bit confusing on that point) Muslim women who wear niqaab, I’d appreciate if you stopped and listened to me first.

I am a Muslim woman who wears niqaab, and I neither believe that I am the paragon of virtue nor live in fear of Hell should an inch of my skin be seen in public. I am neither oppressed nor invisible. I do not consider myself so beautiful that I must cover myself to save men from temptation; nor do I believe that men are sex machines who will be turned on by the tip of my nose or the curve of my ear. I am not ignorant or brainwashed. I am not Salafi or Wahhabi.

I am a Muslim woman.

You say that niqaab has been made into the pinnacle of piety. There may be some people out there who say that, but I don’t believe God says that. In fact, God says that none of us are safe from Hell just by doing one specific action or another. Earning Paradise and protecting ourselves from Hell is an ongoing process, a constant struggle 24/7. I don’t feel that wearing niqaab has earned me a ticket to Eden… but I do believe that it’ll help me get that little bit closer.

You say that Muslim women are forced to wear the niqaab in Saudi Arabia. While I don’t agree with anyone being forced to wear niqaab against their will, I don’t see how that has anything to do with me. I don’t live in Saudi Arabia and never have. I live in America and I chose to wear the niqaab despite my parents’ opposition to it and my husband’s unease with it. He was worried that I’d be considered “extreme” and targeted for my beliefs. Turns out he’s right, but just because people like you want to take away my freedom of belief, it doesn’t mean I’m just going to roll over and let you dictate what I should and shouldn’t do or believe.

You say that niqaab makes Muslim women invisible. I have no idea where you got that from, although invisibility has always been the one superpower I’d love to have. As it happens, people can see me pretty well. It’s just that they can’t see every single bit of my skin or physical features. If you mean that I’m “invisible” in that niqaab reduces my role in society and the public sphere, you’re wrong.

I’m a successful businesswoman, who left a thriving career to become an entrepreneur. The company I founded has blossomed and we’re becoming quite well-known in our field. My best friend, who started wearing niqaab after me, is a high school teacher. She’s been recognized by the school as one of the best teachers they’ve had for several years running. The local Imam’s wife is getting her PhD and volunteers at the women’s shelter – and gets a kick out of going horseback riding on the beach where people’s eyes bug out when they see a veiled Muslim women galloping across the sand.

We Muslim women who wear the niqaab come in all shapes and sizes, of every ethnic, religious, social, and educational background. We are businesswomen and artists; writers and community activists; teachers and stay-at-home mothers; philosophers, intellectuals, and housewives. You have no right to gloss over our places in society, the roles that we have and will continue to fulfill. You have no right to tell me or others that I am invisible when I very much know that I am not.

You say that niqaab objectifies women as sex objects. So does the mini-skirt and tube top. Are we going to ban those too? I don’t deny that some men obsess over women’s bodies – but those men are non-Muslim as well as Muslim. Just as there are men who would prefer that I covered my body completely, there are men who wish I’d walk around half-naked. I don’t wear the niqaab for, or because of, either of them. I wear it for myself. I am not repressing my sexuality nor exacerbating it. I am demanding that you mind your own business about my sexuality, and deal with my ideas, my words, and my actions instead.

You say that niqaab has been the reason that Muslim women have been oppressed in countries like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. It’s not. Poverty, illiteracy, government corruption, backwards misogynistic mentalities that have nothing to do with Islam… THEY are the reason that Muslim women have been oppressed. Hijaab, niqaab, and whatever else is used only as a tool to enforce Islamically incorrect ideologies. It is not the root of the problem.

Furthermore, what of countries like South Africa, Mexico, and Britain where the daily statistics of rape, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, peer pressure, and so much more are all forms of crime and oppression against women? Oppression of women isn’t limited to race or religion. Unfortunately, it extends throughout the entire world, across every racial, social and economic spectrum.

You imply that it is only “extremist Salafis and Wahhabis” who wear niqaab or demand it of their women. That’s kinda funny, because I have a Sufi aunt who wears niqaab; and the nice Indian aunty at the mosque is a Deobandi, and she wears it too. The Nigerian convert who campaigns for women’s space at the mosque and demands that Muslim men stop acting like caveman and behave like gentlemen has been wearing niqaab for several years.

I’m sorry that you have had bad experiences with the niqaab. I’m sorry that you’ve had bad experiences with Muslims who insult you.

Sister Hebah Ahmad – the one you debated on CNN – said something really beautiful that I agree with completely: “Mona is my sister in Islam and even though I must disagree when she misrepresents Islam and Muslims, she still should be protected from the tongue of her fellow Muslims.”

That’s how I feel about you. I strongly disagree with what you say about the niqaab and much about what you say about Islam and Muslims in general. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to threaten to kill you, or swear at you, or condemn you to Hell. What I will do is invite you over for coffee at my place, with open arms and a warm smile that you can detect even beneath my niqaab.

Your sister in Islam,

A Muslim Woman Who Wears Niqaab

A Woman’s Reflection on Leading the Prayer

A Woman’s Reflection on Leading the Prayer by Yasmin Mogahed.

Freedom Under the Veil

There can be Freedom Under the Veil.

Women in Islam – Habib Ali

This is taken from an article in the Washington Post.

What are the rights of women in Islam? How does Islam’s view of male and female equality differ from the Western view?

Fairness takes precedence over token forms of equality.

The mistreatment and abuse – mental, physical, and social – of women takes on multifarious forms. Some of those forms are based on a misunderstanding and misuse of religious teachings; while it should be known that any person who mistreats a woman or girl in any way is not called anything but a criminal in our Shariah legal framework.

However, there is a conflation that takes place between the oppression of women versus the philosophy of radical equality on the one hand and the detailed differentiation between a mono-onesize- fits-all gender equalization along with a complete disregard for the immense role that women play in society as mother, educator, caregiver, and homemaker on the other. Real equality is to pay the same due respect to the roles that only a woman can play in society that is granted to other sociopolitical roles; roles that she very often maintains the capacity to perform also if provided the same opportunities. It remains one of the injustices of our age that the criteria for “success” and “worth” have been centered on everything except the qualities and accomplishments of our mothers and those who care for us, imbue us with our identities, and raise our children. We must however, not eglect the situation of many, many women worldwide who have no choice except to play the role of both mother & father, nurturer & provider because of the extreme difficulty of their circumstances. For these reasons I find myself in need of emphasizing that it should be mutual completion of one-another that should be the foundation of the relationship between genders; rather than the cacophony of wrestling voices that we hear today in the talk of gender rights.

Women in Islam – Hamza Yusuf

The first part gives a good general overview of Shariah law.

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