Peace Be With You

السلام عليكم

Be Like A Tree
At the break of Fajr bil Jumu’ah, a Hijabi friend received devastating news at work just as she ended her shift. The news was dropped like a bomb in a form of a Discontinuance Letter. With her teary eyes staring at oblivion, she found herself lost and dumbfounded. She consulted several people in the company with the hope of being enlightened. All the more, the buck passing left more questions than brought answers.

She cried on her way home clueless of what else she’s supposed to do. Pieces of advice encouraging her to pursue filing for appeal almost convinced her that it may give her the answers she needs. Until reaching the comforts of her home where her Muslim husband awaits, she heard an advice that was completely on the contrary to what everybody else had said.

After a couple of ours of contemplating, she found the best advice that calmed her: take it as it is. Since no one from the departments involved claimed accountability for the decision and no one influential enough stepped forward to stand as her advocate, maybe it was the best advice. But more than that, I saw the Islamic rationale behind it.

When I was reading through Islamic books and leaflets before I embraced Islam, I was touched by the gentleness of Islamic teachings. This story of a friend drove a throwback. In the name of Ar Rahman Ar Raheem I may not be able to remember and relate exact words that had touched me. But In Shaa Allah, this enlightens us all.

I remember passages that described the Islamic way of responding to aggression. I learned that instead of simply retaliating even in the midst of humiliation and insult, the best way through it is to remember Allah taala and that everything in this world and beyond it already has his fate written out for him. We are just living our destiny. Everything that may happen along our journey must humble us to remember Allah (SWT). Another friend who heard this from me raised a concern citing the unjust decision over my Hijabi friend’s plight needs to be resolved by appealing to be granted due process. I got her point. But I cited passages from the Qur’an to show another way to look at the situation.

Since it was a Friday, the closest that I related the situation to is teachings that I learned from Surat Al Kahf (The Cave).  When Moses came across a Servant of Allah taala, he asked him to teach him the “sound judgement” that he was Granted with. And the servant  said that:

And how can you have patience for what you do not encompass in knowledge?” (Surah Al Kahf 18:68)

I learned that clearly from my friend’s incident. At this point, we would all think that perhaps it is for this reason that we gather more information about something by researching about it. However, clearly on the issue, passing the buck was the name of the game. What answers do you think you could gather from the higher ups? My other friend says that at least, a strong appeal would leave an impact that will drive popular clamor to advocate due process. I continued by citing another passage still about Moses and Al Khidr that on their journey:

[Moses] said, “You will find me, if Allah wills, patient, and I will not disobey you in [any] order.” He said, “Then if you follow me, do not ask me about anything until I make to you about it mention.” So they set out, until when they had embarked on the ship, al-Khidhr tore it open. [Moses] said, “Have you torn it open to drown its people? You have certainly done a grave thing.” [Al-Khidh r] said, “Did I not say that with me you would never be able to have patience?” [Moses] said, “Do not blame me for what I forgot and do not cover me in my matter with difficulty.” So they set out, until when they met a boy, al-Khidh r killed him. [Moses] said, “Have you killed a pure soul for other than [having killed] a soul? You have certainly done a deplorable thing.” [Al-Khidh r] said, “Did I not tell you that with me you would never be able to have patience?” [Moses] said, “If I should ask you about anything after this, then do not keep me as a companion. You have obtained from me an excuse.” So they set out, until when they came to the people of a town, they asked its people for food, but they refused to offer them hospitality. And they found therein a wall about to collapse, so al-Khidh r restored it. [Moses] said, “If you wished, you could have taken for it a payment.” [Al-Khidh r] said, “This is parting between me and you. I will inform you of the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience. A for the ship, it belonged to poor people working at sea. So I intended to cause defect in it as there was after them a king who seized every [good] ship by force. And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared that he would overburden them by transgression and disbelief. So we intended that their Lord should substitute for them one better than him in purity and nearer to mercy.And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure for them, and their father had been righteous. So your Lord intended that they reach maturity and extract their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience.” [Surah Al Kahf 18:69-82]

Having mentioned this, I further explained that for whatever things that may happen that I do not have control of and for other things that have greatly affected me, I have a Bigger God than all the things that I could not completely understand and that I could not seem to bear.  So why should I dwell in despair? There is a nobler reason for things that Only Allah Knows. Allah Knows Best.

This time, my friend who was firm on avenging for my other friend asked why it was so easy for me to just say this and look at things this way when I myself have gone through more difficult times. I simply replied that when you have found The Truth, it brings this unexplainable peace in your heart. Being a Muslim means submission to Allah taala. So if you do submit to Allah, then what else should you worry about? As humans, we could only do so much to avenge ourselves against what oppresses us. But Allah [Subhanallah Wa Taala] can do unimaginable things more than what we can actually do for ourselves.  Besides, He is the reason why and how things happen.

That was one of the most beautiful Fridays that has passed. In shaa Allah, my friends will be enlightened and guided to the Straight Path. This is the essence of the greetings of Peace – As Salamu Alaikum. Peace be with you in your hearts In Shaa Allah.

bow for prayer

The one who can bow down in prayer can stand up to anything.

Prophet Muhammad, The Great Messenger SAWS

The Last Prophet   [click highlighted link to view movie]

The Last Prophet

The Last Prophet

Since birth, I had no knowledge of Islam, the Qur’an, much less the Prophet Muhammad SAWS. I have only read about all of these in books that I find lying around my workplace lobby. But I heard that this man SAWS is no ordinary man. He SAWS (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Salam) was not born as how special the Prophet Esau (Jesus) AS (Alaihi Salam) was. But this man SAWS had a very special role from Allah SWT (Subhana Wa Ta’allah). In fact, this man SAWS had a very special place in Allah’s SWT heart.

Just like how the innocence of children are attracted to anything colorful and animated, I was similarly attracted to the animated movie about the Prophet SAWS. There may be a lot of reading materials about him SAWS. But this full length high density quality movie brought me to tears. Should anyone not love the Prophet SAWS more after watching this must have a heart of stone.

I run out of better words to honor this man SAWS. But his greatness in his humility made me respect and understand the essence of Makkah. Inshallah I will tread that path to Makkah. May Allah SWT make me worthy to set foot on the place of the Kabah.

Ya Allah Ya Rabb, may I not die without being forgiven. And may I not die without at least once having had said my prayers at Makkah. Ameen Ya Rabb.

[The author is subscribed to the account of finalreligioncom on YOUTUBE.]

 

The Philippines is a Muslim Country

In my quest for the Truth, I read articles, pamphlets and anything my hands could get a hold on to regarding Islam.  Though limited to what may be available at the time, and with my difficulty with reading and understanding texts on my own language, I still occupied myself in learning what I can about this religion that I was never taught of.

Just like reading a new pocket book or an article in the newspaper, I read on and on about The True Religion, “Sino Ang Dapat Samabahin” (Who Must Be Worshipped), Mohammad (SAWS) etc..  Not like any fan of a romantic love story or a favorite pastime book though, I took more effort on what I was reading because I found something very interesting.  I found excerpts of Philippine History which was never taught in school, in books, in newspapers, magazines and everything else that I had grabbed as a wide reader.  Islam was never mentioned.  So I took down notes on my readings about my country’s Islamic history.

First, there were the animists.  These were the the people who worshiped every piece of creation before all those religions were introduced to them.. They worshiped the sun, the sky, the trees, the stars, fire, etc.  But when Islam came to the islands, their beliefs changed and so did their lives.  Islam became the established religion until Spanish conquerors came and imposed Christianity on the natives.

According to what I read, Islam was first introduced in 1380 by an Arab, Sharif Maktuom.  He built the first Masjid in the South of the Philippines in Tabig Indangan, Sumunul, Tawitawi.  But according to a comment on an article I just read, Islam already exists in the Philippines as early as 900CE.

After Sharif Maktuom’s death, Rajah Bajinda came to the islands in 1450 and continued on the former’s quest.  Another muslim Abu Bakr set foot on Jolo and married the daughter of Rajah Bajinda, Princess Parmisuli.  With a growing strong Muslim family, he established the Sultanate in Sulu becoming the first Sultan and his wife the first Sultana.  After successfully ordaining in Sulu, Muslims moved on towards mindanao under Sharif Kabungsuwan.  They landed in Maguindanao (now Cotabato) on 1475.  Soon he married Princess Tunina.  They built the Sultanate in Maguindanao.

Years followed and various Datus from Borneo came toe the islands when they learned the warm reception of the natives.  Ten Borneo Datus set foot in Panay.  They were Datu Puti, Datu Sumakwel, Bangkaya, Sumangsol, Paiburong, Paduhinog, Ubay, Dumangsil, Dumalugdog, and Balensula (now Valenzuela).  Datu Puti who was an expert at rural travel led this troop.  They landed in Sirawagan (now San Joaquin, Iloilo).  He bought the lowlands of Iloilo from Marikudo, the leader of Itas (pygmies) and were the victors of Islam in the area.  Moving on, Datu Puti’s troop’s next stop was Batangas.  Datu Puti and Datu Dumangsil established the Islamic community in Batangas.  Thereafter, Datu Puti sailed back to Borneos to bring the news of the Islamic spread.  This inspired the influx of Borneos to the islands.

Image

Courtesy of filipinofreethinkers.org

The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan at exactly 491 years ago from today found the archipelago as a Muslim country for already 144 years at least.  When Miguel Lopez de Legaspi came after the death of Magellan, more muslim communities were established at the South of Luzon: Batangas, Pampanga, Mindanao, Panay, Catanduanes, Cabu, Samar, Manila, Palawan, Mindoro, and Sulu.  The first Muslim to defend the Islam faith was Gat Lapulapu.  (He was the only well known Muslim Filipino accounted for.  And I don’t even remember learning about him as a Muslim but more of a Filipino hero.)

On June 3, 1571, the Spaniards mobilized a war against Muslims led by Raja Soliman.  Raja Soliman mightily defended Manila and Islam at Bangkusay at Tondo.  After the capture of the Raja, young and old Muslims who only had bolos and sibat then were slain while defending Islam against tyrants equipped with more superior canons and guns.  Muslim survivors retreated to now called Morong, Rizal.  Muslims who fled to the riverbanks were called Tagalog (Cavite, Laguna, etc); while fighting continued in a nearby town now known as Binangonan, Rizal.  This time, the Spaniards established headquarters in Manila and continued conquering the Visayas.  Some Muslims chose to die fighting off the Spaniards while others were forced to embrace Christianity by the threat of the sword.

The Spaniards thought they could win the whole archipelago inestablishing Christianism. But Muslims down South mightily defended the Islam faith and their freedom.  Hence up to this day we find Manaraos, Maguindanaos, Yahans, Sanal, and Sangril enjoying the Islamic Faith.

My notes on several sheets from our physician’s prescription pad missed accounting for the exact authors and title of the literature where from I gathered all these information.  I just had in mind that I wanted to share these to my daughters who like me are deprived of learning the real score on Philippine Islamic History.

Reading about the war history of my country as a Roman Catholic then, I felt sorry that these stories were never intended to be popularized, or so I thought.  I asked myself why were these historical accounts played down?  Thus, the highlight of my spiritual sense was falsely led to believe in the dogma of colonial Christianity.  It is not for Muslims to downplay Christians on their faith.  Bismillah, it is never the intention of this blog  because the Prophet Esau or Jesus (SAS) is a very special Prophet of Allah (SWT) and the Prophet’s (SAS) teachings on their proper context were also from Allah (SWT).  But as a former Catholic, I wished that I was taught these information long ago.

Image

Courtesy of reuters.com

Masha’allah, the information I saved and shared here was originally for the intention of telling my daughters about Islamic history which I was never taught.  And these may not even be propagated by any media as easily as anyone else would have access to Justin Bieber’s videos.

Inshallah, there will be more literature printed and circulated about the Islamic history of the Philippines so that more people will find the Truth.  Salamu’alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh!

A Faith Founded in Prayer

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem.

I have been wanting to write about a lot of things lately.  But I thought I just never had enought time or mood to do so.  But when I came across this article welcoming new Muslims, I was motivated enough to share my experience.

Before I took on my shahada during Ramadan last year, I have been secretly praying for a year or so. I was struggling to perform the Salah in all its five prayer times but I usually failed to complete the five because I couldn’t find a decent place where I could perform it without being seen.

It was enough for me that Allah finds me in prayer in my heart. For me, I didn’t need to be acknowledged by anybody.  So I struggled to learn the prayers.  And not just learn it but to remember it by heart – in its Arabic form. I had my prayer books that my friend gave me.  I had it all spread right in front of me while keeping my focus on prostration.  The first time that I think I prayed in the most correct way, tears just poured out from my eyes down to my sujada. The feeling was elating. The moment was priceless. And at that very moment, without anyone saying, I know I am Muslim because Allah brought me back home.  It was a very tearful moment alone. I couldn’t explain what exactly I felt. But I would not trade that moment for anything else in my life.

I enriched my faith in every way I can by reading about Islam and by praying more.  I always ask Allah (swt) to make me a servant worthy to praise Him. For it is only in my prayers that I felt I could serve Allah best since I knew nothing about Islam.  With every chance that I get to read about Islam, I found myself in the Right Path. I realize how I have been lost all this time with questions that exceeded the number of my age in days.  And with every prayer, I was led to more answers.  Maybe not all of my questions were specifically answered.  But I only needed to know that indeed Allah is The One,

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
قُلۡ هُوَ ٱللَّهُ أَحَدٌ (١) ٱللَّهُ ٱلصَّمَدُ (٢) لَمۡ يَلِدۡ وَلَمۡ يُولَدۡ (٣) وَلَمۡ يَكُن لَّهُ ۥ ڪُفُوًا أَحَدٌ (٤)

“Qul wallahu ahad.  Allahus samad.  Lam yalid wa lam yulad.  Wa lam yakullahu kufuwan ahad.”

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Say: He is Allah, the One! (1) Allah, the eternally Besought of all! (2) He begetteth not nor was begotten. (3) And there is none comparable unto Him. (4)

(Qur’an 112 1-4)

And everything else fell into place.  In my bedroom that I shared with two others, I prayed during my quiet times after work when I was alone.  In several occasions, unexpectedly, my Muslim friends would come to my room to find me prostrating.  Since then, I got as a present a prayer dress.  She was the one who gave me the sujada I use.  After that, I was all the more inspired to pray.  And then several other times after that, I was given literatures to teach me how to pray the correct way.  And then other blessings came pouring forth.

As I read today through the article, I felt more humbled learning the importance of prayer.

“The importance of prayer is demonstrated in the many of the Prophet’s statement. For example, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.” [Recorded by al-Tabarani. According to al-Albani, it is sahih. Al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami, vol.1, p. 503.]”

For a moment I became ashamed for myself.  For the times that I fail to pray on time whether by postponement because of a busy schedule or for convenience, I felt that I should be more vigilant in prayer all the more.  I should not rest my laurels on being forgiven because truly Allah is Most Forgiving.  But I want to be in Jannah.  I have travelled this far.  I have been given this chance at life that others remain blind to see.  I don’t want to waste it.  I want to deserve Allah’s love and forgiveness.  For without Allah, I am nothing.

As such I always feel incomplete in a day without prayer.  And so I pray to be a better Muslim every time.  And until I reach my goal, only Allah can say that I am a better Muslim when my worth will be measured on the Day of Judgement.  Inshallah my destiny ends with being with Allah.  There is nothing I want more.

La illaha ilallah.  Muhammad rasulullah.

new-muslims.info

Loving The Muslim Way

I was watching this prime time soap opera the other night that starred this young actress and budding actor vis a vis singer.  What struck me on that particular episode was how they relished their brief kissing scene.  Since I don’t know when, I do not enjoy watching kissing scenes, torrid or otherwise, or those segments that drive your senses crazy.  I just felt that they are all too mushy.  Pretentiously mushy.

Until a few minutes after, I had a moment with  an old Muslim friend.  I noticed how she has bloomed since a week ago when kohl was applied to make her eyes look lovelier.   I asked her what her husband’s reaction was when he saw her.  And yes, those shutters looked so beautiful to her husband too.  He loved her new look.  And because of that she was all the more excited to run home to him after work.  There’s this expression in the native Tagalog language of how suggestive these simple caprices are to ignite an “action-packed” night.  No malice intended but it was a natural girl thingy.. No.  Woman thingy.  It was a natural woman thingy how wives would love to please their husbands.  This particular moment with her became an eye (and a heart) opener.

Since my separation for almost a decade ago, my interest in attracting men have declined.  Not that I have to make so much effort in attracting the opposite sex, but that I never intentionally sought a boyfriend who would spend days and nights chatting over the phone or the net with me.  Or someone I would be going on romantic dates with.  No-uh!  I felt that men have no place in my life since I drive my wheels.  I fix my plumbing.  I troubleshoot my engine.  Name it.  I was raised doing a man’s job.  My Dad and my two brothers were enough men in my life for me.  And since I already have two darling teeners, I would not need someone else.

And then, the last meeting I had with my Da’i (a person who does Daw’ah or who talks about Islam) friend came to mind.  She told me about my options on marriage inshallah.  She described rather vividly the role that a Muslim wife plays in a marriage.  And what captured me most was that she mentioned that the taking care of each other’s needs as partners In The Name of Allah is significantly reciprocated.  She said that while the husband takes care of the aesthetic, nutritional, health, and childbearing needs of the wife, it is the responsibility of the wife to satisfy her husband bismillah in every single way you can and cannot imagine.  And then, my creative senses started doodling in my mental drawing board everything that I have avoided about a relationship after a very traumatizing marriage.

Subhanallah, after I saw the twinkling eyes of my excited friend plus that mushy kissing scene that I saw on TV, I felt this creeping excitement of being in love again.  It struck me how the look in the eyes of this woman and how loving a  couple is married for and in Allah’s love, I begin to realize something.  I realized that there is so much security and happiness in a relationship that Allah SWT has ordained.

With all this said, I still don’t like advertising myself.  I am not the usual female who would dress to impress.  Instead, I beautify myself from the inside.  I don’t care if no dashing hunk notices that.  But what matters more is that Allah SWT  knows what’s in my heart.  And Allah SWT sees how I have bloomed inside because of Allah SWT.

Qadarullahi wa maa shaa’a fa’al.  (It is the destiny of Allah and He does whatever He wishes.)

Inspired all the more by this photo I viewed from an Islamic site on Facebook, inshallah if it pleases Allah may I be the right woman for my man.  

The Right Muslim Woman

Shared from the photos of STUNNING HIJABS on Facebook.

A Jihad With My Hijab

I was trying on tarhas or the head cover that I bought lately. I don’t usually buy things for myself but specifically for these items that I found cheap and really nice, I decided to get a bundle.

I am not the “feminine” type who would enjoy looking at herself in the mirror sporting all those aesthetics, but just a few minutes ago I found myself in front of the mirror on my crumpled metallic gray hijab. And then I imagined going home to Manila in that…. and meeting my friends in that…. and meeting my family with that too…. and imagining what all their reaction would be.

Everyone who knows me must know that I am not the fancy type of the female species. I don’t care much how I look. What is most important to me is that I can carry myself comfortably with what I wear, with how I look. I don’t mind being in heels, or in my favorite open Skechers, or in the native brown flip flops that I miss. I don’t dress to impress. But this time, it would really feel different to be in a hijab in Manila…. in my place where there are no fellow Muslims around that I know of.

And then the smiling reflection that I see in the mirror turned out teary-eyed. I have never been this emotional my whole entire life!  But these were tears of joy should they have rolled on my cheeks.  I am happy to be a Muslimah. I would have settled for nothing less. But the emotions came from the feeling, which I may be preempting, of being alone in my place.

I am the FIRST MUSLIM in my family. And by my ancestors, I trace my roots from Spanish origins. Meaning not one drop of blood from among my genealogy was ever raised Muslim. In fact historically, they are the Muslims’ worst enemies. Inshallaah, that I described myself as the first, there will come a second, third, fourth. Now how I wish I had a brood of a football team so that instantly, I would have a lot on my side.

Fortunately still, I got two. Two beautiful, intelligent and strong young Muslimah’s. Remembering that I got them on my side no less, I must be confident enough that I will not be alone.  Allah SWT bless me too.  And Allah SWT bless my Amatullah and Jannah. So that we three can stand proud, respectable, honorable, and admirable in the midst of the community wherein we will surely spell a difference.

I have to cut short this narration and get back to that mirror to return to my Hijab Rehearsals. I was never good at this I know. I won’t just give it a try, but for Allaah, everything is worth doing.  Bismillah Ar Rahmanir Raheem.

Ya Rabb, make me worthy.

The Muslim Was A Communist

I believed in three principles:

1. Everything has a basis.
2. Everything is connected.
3. Everything changes.

This was my Marxist-Leninist following. I have practically lived with those tenets believing that these were all the be-all end-all of things. This is the Communist line of thinking.

I was not with the armed group. I belonged to the “negotiating arm” struggling around parliamentary rules of reasoning. Educating the masses. Empowering the workforce. Serving the people. I was not one of those in the mountains. I was in the urban system entwined with the regular peeps. But I can take arms if I had to.  I was trained to hold guns before I was a teenager. Guns were not a threat to me. It was a normal accessory of living. Being a granddaughter of Don Fabian and Donya Conchita, I lived a life of guns, goons, and gold. My family was part of the landowners’ class.

Before I was identified as one, I was thought to be a sophisticated socialite. I come from a Spanish school since preschool up to high school. Hence, I struggled to belong to the movement that defended the middle class. Simply, my nuclear family belongs to the Middle Class. That’s how my Dad chose to lead his life. That’s my upbringing.  But unlike the common notion on communists, I had a God-centered life. I feared less though knowing that I can hold arms and I was not afraid to shoot if I had to. Lives are cheap. Always priced at what they were worth. Very mundane.

Until I found my answers to questions I had and never had.

Now I understand my life’s purpose. Now I understand why we are living. Now I understand who I must serve. And now I understand that there is only ONE. The Alpha and The Omega. The All-Knowing. The One Who Knows. The Architect of our destiny.

I thought being a communist humbled me enough.  I was wrong.  Being a Muslim, I was not only taken down to my feet. I do not only kneel. But I prostrate to submit myself to glorify The Great One.  Allahu Akbar.

Ya Allaah! Ya Rabb!

Alhamdulillah!