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    • By Bint e Aisha
      Concluding Ramadan with Istighfar (Seeking Forgiveness)
       
      Hafiz Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) said:
      Istighfar (seeking forgiveness) is the conclusion of all good actions, thus salah, hajj, standing in salah at night (qiyam al-layl) are all concluded with it. 
      Gatherings are also concluded with it. If they are gatherings of knowledge, it serves as a seal for them, and if they are futile gatherings, it serves as a compensation. 
      Likewise, the fasts of Ramadan should be concluded with Istighfar. 
      Umar Ibn Abd al-Azeez (rahimahullah) sent a message to different cities, ordering the people to end Ramadan with Istighfar and charity, i.e., sadaqat al-fitr, because sadaqat al-fitr is a purification for the fasting person from vain and obscene talk.
      Furthermore, Istighfar repairs the damage caused to the fast through vain and obscene talk. 
      This is why some of the previous scholars said sadaqat al-fitr for the one fasting is like sajdat al-sahw for salah."
      Lataa'if al-Ma'arif (pg. 383)
      May Allah Ta'ala forgive all our shortcomings during the month of Ramadan and accept all our good actions, through His grace and mercy. Aameen.
      @ShkhAbdulRaheem
    • By Bint e Aisha
      (click on picture to enlarge) 
    • By Acacia
      The following is an article written by Bint Assalaam and posted on Jamiatul Ulema (KZN) website:
       
      Is sisterhood dying?
       

       
      We hear it often, “By nature women are nurturers.” Just not always with each other.
       
      We easily speak about how men hate on women, but let’s talk about our propensity as women to hate on each other. And we do it frequently. Almost habitually, that unbeknownst to us, sizing each other up has become a skill we can perform in a matter of seconds.
       
      Women are often harder on each other than men. At home, at work, even at play, appraising and judging each other constantly. We have entered each other in a competition where the only prize on offer is an unfounded feeling of short-lived self satisfaction. In a never-ending pageant, we are contesting with and judging each other on our dress, marital status, occupation, smarts, social disposition, walk and talk.
       
      No matter how much girl power we profess to have over men we’re still insecure about it. We are strangely threatened by another woman possibly “stealing” our power that it drives us to wield that so called power over each other.
       
      A lot of women will tell you that they have either survived the torment served by at least one mean girl in their past, that girl who dismissed, belittled, or socially tortured them.  There might be some who will tell you they are going through it right now.  And chances are you’re actually the bully.
       
      Take for example that most mother and daughter – in – law relationships are based on mutual dislike or worse. The line between letting go and grabbing on too tightly is thin.  Mother – in – laws are more often the ones abusing what’s meant to be a respectable seniority in these cases, to such an extent it results in the failure of some marriages.
       
      Most times these mothers – in – law suffered under the iron fist of their husband’s mother but instead of breaking the vicious cycle, they continue the “tradition”. One would think rearing one’s own kids would incline one to be more accepting of another’s. But instead power play has pushed some mothers – in – law to take out a hit on their new daughters. Because of this young women enter marriage with their guards up thinning the chances of a mother-daughter bond from forming. Sisterhood is dying.
       
      A recent study has found that two women are less likely to co-operate than two men when one is more powerful than the other. This contradicts the accepted notion that a woman’s nurturing nature makes it normal for them to help each other. Aside from this asphyxiation of one woman’s growth by another, the female newbie at a company undergoes all types of tests by those already there.
       
      If you’re too quiet, you’re labelled a snob. Speak up and you’re a big mouth. Take the initiative or push boundaries and you’re a suck up. Disagree with others views and you’re outcast and given the silent treatment. This happens with women in the same profession, of different professions and generally outside the workplace also.
       
      This strong arm tactic of mocking or shunning other women, and denying them a social connection works because according to experts, relationships are a source of solace and power to women and girls.
       
      But female bullying is not restricted to the real world only. Twitter and Facebook have opened up new arenas for it, with complete strangers slinging verbal vitriol at each other. Never mind that woman make silent deductions about other women based on their dress within seconds of meeting women across seas are openly typecasting each other.
       
      Social media has allowed women to betray, backstab and trash-talk each other without face-to-face conflict, to the amusement and glee of their friends and followers. It sets apart the real friends from the pseudo ones. Disagree with a woman on her status or tweet and you might earn the cold shoulder at work or even worse be unfriended.
       
      Constantly images of what the perfect woman should look like bombard us. It isn’t a surprise that the reason for women hating on women is self hate. Not being able to identify with this ridiculous slim, flawless, cellulite-free, and perfect image of beauty has created angry women.
       
      Envy, insecurity and feelings of intimidation drive women to knock other women down. More often than not these unhealthy feelings develop because of this visual assault, rather than a deep rooted psychological problem. Women with a strong sense of self and high self-esteem are less likely to hurt others, if they aren’t prone to making judgments about women of other cultures and religion.
       
      Sisterhood is drawing its last breaths. Unfortunately even amongst Muslim girls and women. We are choosing the wrong examples to direct our identities and so weaving flimsy friendships and relationships based on the superficial.
       
      If sisterhood in Islam transcended the surface levels of friendship, Muslim women could enjoy a very special bond with each other. As Muslim women we share a gift more special than any other, we share the belief in the Oneness of Allah SWT. This shared belief and testimony of faith should go beyond our differences of race, nationality, culture or language. Being a sister in Islam is one of many blessings but it also comes with a responsibility to each other.
       
      As Muslim women we are taught that there is great reward in loving each other for the sake of Allah SWT, that we should be trustworthy and show a cheerful face towards one another, that we should not abandon each other, that we should be faithful, forgiving, kind and tolerant to each other, that we should conceal each others flaws, and that we should love for each other what we love for ourselves.
       
      It’s fair to say the opposite is happening. We place each other in boxes of too religious, too modern, too pious,too quiet, too intelligent or too homely. The list goes on. We choose our friends based on the superficial and fail to make lasting friendships with other women because of our increasing envy, self-hate, insecurity and feelings of intimidation. If we are failing to build a strong sisterhood in Islam how do we expect that sisterhood to extend to women of all faiths to build a sisterhood in humanity.
    • By Acacia
      Travelling without a Mahram: Why do Muslim women do it
      New means of communication have rapidly turned the world into a global village. A village easily accessed by advanced modes of transport increasing the number of people who travel to a scale never witnessed before.
       
      Today many Muslims are “wandering” the world for various reasons, work, leisure, discovery or necessity. With the emergence of women in the workforce, Muslim women have also begun to travel by themselves within their countries and abroad.
       
      Cii Radio asked its Facebook followers what they thought the reasons were for women disregarding the Islamic guideline that is impermissible for women to travel on her own over the specified distance of 88,864km.
       
      “1) Some women haven’t got a mahram, 2) some mahram’s are not playing their role and taking up the responsibility, 3) the woman doesn’t want to ask her mahram especially if he sees her as ‘burden’,” wrote Fatima.
       
      Another Facebook commenter coined the issue as the concept of “Womandla”. She said statistics of kids growing up in SA without a father in the home was “shocking”, “Many women have become sole breadwinners of the household and unfortunately have to travel and do many daily tasks on her own for herself and the family.”
       
      Aadila shared the same sentiment writing, “instead of ‘Muslim women today are not adhering to this guideline’ ask ‘why are Muslim [men] not taking care of Muslim women today so Muslim women can adhere to this guideline’.”
       
      Others simply wrote the reasons were because: women did not have any mahrams, a “western influence”, the “destruction of Islam”, a yearning for freedom, “no other choice” and imperfect Muslims living a perfect Islam.
       
      A male commenter wrote, “1. Many are not aware of that [ruling]. 2. Those who are aware of think that this is medieval safety system and it has lost its relevance now in this post-modern period. 3. Men-women equalitistic sense clouds their sense.”
       
      While the practice has become commonplace and questioning why it has become “normal” seems unusual and “backward” the ruling remains.
       
      According to Islamic law, a woman cannot travel without a Mahram if she is going to traverse beyond the Safar – specified distance – of 88,864km – the distance of three days and nights.
       
      In his book Injunctions Pertaining to the Traveller – edited by Mufti Afzal Hoosen Elias – Maulana Mufti Inam Haq Qasmi writes that in addition to a women’s physical nature, “The Islamic system of values attaches paramount importance to the safety and chastity of women.”
       
      It is for these reasons that Shari’ah has stipulated special guidelines for every situation in which the chastity and honour of a woman may be jeopardised. There are many clear narrations of Nabi Muhammad SAW in this regard.
       
      Sayyiduna Abu Said al-Khudri RA narrates that the Messenger of Allah SAW said, “Let no woman travel for more than three days unless her husband or a Mahram is with her.” (Sahih Muslim).
       
      Sayyiduna Abd Allah ibn Umar RA narrates that Nabi Muhammad SAW said, “A woman must not travel for three days except with a Mahram.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 1036 & Sahih Muslim).
       
      Sayyiduna Abu Huraira RA narrates that the Nabi Muhammad SAW said, “It is unlawful for a woman who believes in Allah and the last day that she travels the distance of one day and one night without a Mahram accompanying her.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no. 1038).
       
      The Shari’ah has allowed women to travel a distance less than the Safar without a Mahram as there is little danger involved. However, Ulama have discouraged it in today’s time as her honour is greatly jeopardised given the widespread immorality and corruption present.
       
      The four main schools of thought all agree on this matter except with women travelling for Hajj with a group of trustworthy ladies, which the Shafi and Maliki madhabs say is permissible.
       
      The basis for this ruling is not an evil assumption about women and their manners, as some people unreasonably think, but it is to take care of her reputation, dignity and safety. It is to protect her from the desires of those who have diseased hearts, from the assault of an immoral person.
       
      Today people argue that forms of travel have changed from how it was in the time of Rasulullah SAW. Since various modes of transportation such as planes, buses and ships gather large amounts of people at a time this provides plenty of confidence and reliability, removing feelings of fear for women, because she will not be by herself in any place.
       
      Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam from the UK based Darul Iftaa explains, “This deduction is incorrect and the permissibility of women travelling without a Mahram can not be justified on its basis.” Neither can the justification that we live in a different era where women need to “move with the times in order to improve” carry any weight.
       
      Rulings that are based upon clear texts of the Quran and Sunnah can never change. The wisdom behind this ruling is to save women from the dangers that can be encountered on a journey. However, this is not the legal reason. Whether the journey is safe, in a plane or on foot, it will remain impermissible.
       
      This is very similar to the ruling of shortening of prayers for a Musaafir. The wisdom behind the ruling is undue hardship; however, this is not the reason. The reason is the travelling distance of three days and three nights. Even if one was in a perfectly comfortable journey, all the Hanafi scholars (classic and contemporary) have declared that it is incumbent upon a traveller to shorten the Fard prayers. We don’t see people suggesting that prayers must not be shortened due to the modern day means of transport.
       
      (source: Jamiatul Ulama - KZN)
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