Re: Dr. Ingrid Mattson’s “A Muslim Woman and her Dog”

I do love dogs, as much as I love every other of Allah’s creatures. I respect them and value them for what they provide to humans because of Allah’s will; protection of property and family, in hunting for food, and protection of livestock and crops.

Without criticizing Dr. Mattson, who has inspired so many with her leadership and Islamic values (May Allah reward her, Ameen), I just wonder where the Islamic concerns go when you bring a dog into the home.

Ibn Taymiyah said the most correct view was that their hair is taahir (pure), but their saliva is impure. Many sahih hadith from Muslim that say if the saliva of a dog touches the vessel of a human, it must be washed seven times with water and an eighth time with soil (Muslim, 279 & 280). Al Nawawi says that keeping dogs is permissible only if it is for three reasons:

  1. Protection of houses
  2. Guarding livestock
  3. Hunting.

Sheikh Uthaymeen says this only applies to villages and not in the city (city dwellers can’t keep dogs, but those in rural or countryside can, as long as its for those three reasons). Abu Hurayrah said that unless its for the three reasons mentioned, Muslims who keep dogs lose a quantity of their reward each day. Ibn Majah says that the malaika (angels) do not enter a home that has a dog or an image. Allahu Allam.

After looking into it, I don’t wonder why there is so much confusion on keeping dogs. But one thing is quite clear. No where does it say that Muslims should hate, kill, or avoid dogs. All it says is to have them for a purpose, keep them out of your dwelling, and don’t let them eat or drink from what you eat or drink out of.

Harsh or fair? My understanding is that Allah did not create anything without purpose. Dogs, cats, rabbits, or other animals are not created to sit in homes and look cute. Cats are clean and have their own benefits, verified by many Hadith (and science, which shows that cats have antibacterial enzymes in their saliva, but beware here too, cat FECES are the number one transmitters of toxoplasma gondii, which can cause birth and neurological defects, so be careful with that litter!).

Dogs are not as clean as cats but they have served a greater purpose than other animals throughout history in the protection of property, families, livestock, land, and crops. It has certain traits such as loyalty and submissiveness, so that it can be trained to do certain things that are useful to humans and gives the dog a sense of purpose and belonging. But in the end, it’s a dog. Studies have shown that the following bacteria live in a dog’s mouth: Porphyromonas gulae, Tannerella forsythia, toxocara, salmonella, giardia, hookworm, tapeworm and Campylobacter rectus. Alhamduliillah, the wisdom of not sharing your utensils with your dog makes sense.

From volunteering at animal shelters, I know first hand the habits of dogs, particularly where they put their mouth and nose. From my Epidemiology class, i know full well the dangers of salmonella, giardia, and campylobacter. Definitely not something you want coming into your home, regularly, in the mouth and nose of a dog you love but whose habits you can’t control or monitor. Dogs might have resistance to some of those things because of their ecology, but you don’t, and neither do your children.

Allah draws lines in all relationships, between human & human, human & animal, and human & material. In the case of confusion, consider everything said by the Messengers of Allah and the scholars who give their respects to the essence of Qur’an and defer to Allah, not to emotions and longings. Again, many people mistake Islam’s reservations on keeping animals within the home as hatred towards animals. This is ridiculous. Animals are gifts and signs of Allah. Being conscious of the cleanliness and safety of where we pray and from what we eat is not animal hate. It’s just caution.

This is no way an attack on Dr. Ingrid Mattson, but an expression of my views on a matter that is unclear to many.

And الله اعلم

Allah knows best.

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Wudu Wisdom

“Will you not listen? Will you not listen? Will you not listen? Verily simplicity is a part of Imaan. Verily simplicity is a part of Imaan. Verily simplicity is a part of Imaan” ~RASULULLAH SAW~ Abu Dawood

Ever get struck by some wisdom by the grace of Allah during an activity?

Sometimes, this happens to me during wudu (Alhamdulillah).

But, in this case, the wisdom I received by Allah’s grace came from a mistake I made during wudu.

After washing one foot, I brought my other foot underneath the water stream and I realized even before I did that that I made a mistake. I didn’t turn the water off before switching to the other foot, and for a good 2 seconds or so the water ran freely, almost at full pressure, down the drain. 

OK, so maybe it’s not a big deal to most people but it got me thinking how luxuries like running water, which only 20% of the world has according to theworldwater.org, create the space for sin.

In Indonesia, I’d be making wudu by scooping water from a ladle and only using what I needed. On the flip-side, I’d mostly likely need to buy my drinking water. Here, I can drink from the same tap I make wudu from, and consequently waste about a quart of it in about 2 seconds if I’m not careful.

SubhanAllah, the little things that we’re accountable for when we have so much.

“A Life Changing Reminder” – Mejed Mahmoud

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lKVYxlksCk

“Allahumma innaka Afuwwun, tuhibbul Afwa, fa’fu ‘annee.”

*rough* translation (the meaning of Afuw (pardon) is complex and has great depth, Allahu Akbar):

“O’ Allah, You are The Pardoner, You love to pardon, so pardon me.”

May Allah have afuw on us all, May Allah have afuw on us all, May Allah have afuw on us all, Ameen.

And May Allah reward my mother for sharing this video with me, Ameen.

WUDU. The right (and only) way.

I want to talk to my Sunday school teachers and ask them why they didn’t teach us to make wudu like this, but it would be wrong to blame anyone except myself.

I found this a year or more ago and then somehow could not find it again. Today I stumbled across it on Facebook, Alhamdulillah.

Seriously, as Muslims we make wudu at least 4 times a day, more if we need to. We forget that without it, salah (prayer) is not accepted. Not only that, we forget, as one of the brothers in the video point out, that wudu is PART of Salah. It IS ibadah (worship).

So instead of splashing around in the sink and snorting and gargling…take a look, man!

SubhanAllah. Look how Shaykh Khatri slows down. Pours his water from a pitcher (controlling how much you use and decreasing the waste of water). Look how much attention he pays to each step subhanAllah, and even patiently answers and demonstrates questions regarding women’s wudu (it’s not different, except for how we wash our hair).

Listen to his dhikr and watch his determination, subhanAllah. I think he used maybe 1/4th of the water I would normally use and took 5 times the amount of time I would normally take during my wudu, authubillah.

So here it is, Allahu Allam, it says this Sheikh is following an unbroken chain leading back to the Prophet (SAW), (This Sheikh learned from his Sheikh, who learned from his Sheikh, who learned from his Sheikh, etc, until reaching the Prophet (SAW).

May Allah guide us to the purest knowledge and the straightest path and never lead us astray. Ameen

Stubborn and Irrational

‘Child’, she said,

Her index finger turning into a spear of generations,

with which she shook, both threateningly and with love

‘Your heart has made you a fool, now look how you suffer!

It is time to wake and shake off your dreams, and bid goodbye

to those irrational romances you hold so close.’

Outside, the sun poured light and a wind shook the

branches of the trees.

And the Child felt a peculiar sensation,

as though the ground fell away,

and she shut her eyes and imagined

opening them, and finding herself

in the arms of her love.

 

Nesha Usmani

As I Try to Describe Happiness

Assalamu Alaikum

Bismillahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim

You’ve probably noticed by now that a lot of the content on my blog is a bit melancholy. Whether that turns you off or not isn’t the point; it’s just that this blog picked up speed during a time in my life where…well…due to a lot of circumstances, I guess I lost the meaning of the emotion.

I’m not emo! Please, don’t think that. I’m just one of those people who thinks too much, over-analyzes, and then analyzes the analyzations (why does this word look weird).

Happiness.

Sometimes, I think that there really isn’t such a feeling. I suppose, I feel that that it’s sort of a morsel, something tasty, tied at the end of a fishing pole and attached to our heads. We follow it, chase it, like one of those cartoons of dogs who are forever chasing a bone, but never actually getting it.

Or like this cat.

Poor cat. What happens to her moment of thrill when she tackles the thing, yanks it away from her human’s hand? The process starts all over again. The chasing and the endless jumping and snatching. Bloody flipping hell. Is that happiness?

Setting our sights on what we like … be it a career or status or cheeseburger, and then once we have it…what then? What happens next?

When I was younger, it was so much easier to be “happy”. I was so carefree back then, you could have put a smiley face on a french fry and I would have made it into something to laugh about.

But now, everything seems so devoid of meaning. I don’t want to say “pointless”, because that makes it sound like I’m two minutes away from jumping off a cliff (thankfully, not the case).

When I think of happiness now, true, real, honest-to-Allah happiness…well, I think of Allah.

And I think of children, having a family. I think of a time in the not so distant future (inshAllah) when I’ll most likely still be struggling, but I’ll have someone to struggle with. Someone who will wipe my eyes and kiss them, and I’ll do the same for them. Someone to share my beliefs and my hopes.

Happiness, now, is not instant gratification, anymore. For me, I think it used to be. It’s not getting what you want when you want it. It’s not an elevated level of emotion or excitement. It’s not bright, sunny days or cold glasses of lemonade. A day off or a good movie.

While I might still like those things…none of then mean anything to me, anymore.

No. I can’t even describe my definition of happiness to you.

Or, maybe I can.  Your mind doesn’t just store memories of events. It also stores memories of emotions and sensations. Things you felt, tasted. SubhanAllah.

Somewhere along in my life, my definition of happiness went from instant gratification to remembering a sunrise from years ago.

It was 2005. My family and I were on vacation in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. We had rented a little house on the beach during spring break.

I think I was 16 at the time, but I could be wrong. The days were cloudy, just the way I like it (no joke). In the afternoons, dark thunder clouds would roll in and the ocean and the space between it and the sky would melt together, forming this ethereal gray-blue-black-white of impending stormy weather. Combined with the hot smell of sand and the caress of gentle, sea-infused humidity, it was intoxicating.

Lightening would strike in the distance and it was all I could do not to run out onto the beach and just stare.

One morning, my mother woke me up to watch the sunrise. I remember the sheer, exploding whiteness of it.

It was like the entire ocean had turned to silver, or gold, or some weird combination of both. My brain couldn’t really comprehend it. I took pictures, but I’ve lost them.

They wouldn’t have done it justice, anyway.

The edges of my vision seemed to darken; blotting out all but the sun. It rose like it has done in all of the memories of the earth, but, witnessing it from the beach was like watching some once-in-a-lifetime cosmic event. The entire sky seemed to be the sun, the ocean as well. Everything became one and the same. I actually started to worry I might go blind. My eyes were watering even though I kept them in a tight squint, blinking away the tears, or shielding my eyes from it altogether in intervals, like a panicky vampire.

I remember it now and I feel a rising in my heart. But, I don’t really remember the actual sunrise when I think of being “happy”. I just see a explosion of bright, white light over a molten ocean of silver. There’s a lump in my throat.Tears come to my eyes and I don’t feel excitement or thrill. I just feel content, at peace. Some mixture of longing and love threaded through with a ribbon of sadness, fear, and awe. 

Is that my definition of happiness? A perfect balance of emotion?

Could be.

Happiness.

Once something all about instant gratification, turned into what I feel when I see something so much bigger than I could ever be.

My mother likes to say this one thing a lot. I don’t remember it verbatim, but the gist of it goes something like:

“Human beings are so arrogant. We’re surrounded by things so much bigger than ourselves, so much more powerful and out of our controls, and yet, we are the most arrogant of beings.”

She’s right. In our arrogance we’ve taken granted of so many things, including each other. Chased after meaningless, fruitless things thinking we’ll find satisfaction, when all we ever find is more temptation, more emptiness, and a hunger for “more” (whatever that is).

I’m reminded of the simple lifestyle of our beloved Prophet (SAW). Who lived and died a simple man, and yet the greatest who has ever lived subhanAllah.

I am reminded of the hadith, according to Bukhari & Tirmidhi, in which the Prophet (SAW) held the shoulder of Abdullah Ibn Umar and said 

Live in this world as (if you are) a wayfarer or a stranger.

Travel light. Don’t live in excess. Don’t chase worldly things. All it will get you, as it’s only ever gotten me, is greed and suffering. Don’t plant roots in the dunya, for the dunya will not keep you. Inna lillahi wa inna illaihi raji’oon! From Allah we came, and to Allah is our return.

I just finished a book (which I enjoyed a lot) and in it, the author makes a lot of references to the Dicken’s character Jacob Marley (from A Christmas Carol). One line in particular, in which Marley supposedly said:

“I wear the chain I forged in life.”

::Shudder:: Isn’t that the damn truth? Doesn’t what we do in our lives bind us or free us in the next, depending on Allah’s mercy? SubhanAllah.

Well, I’ve done my best, describing happiness. Happiness according to a 24-yr old Muslim romantic. anyway.

If you decide to comment, which I hope you do, what’s happiness to you?

Sources

http://dailyreminders.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/live-in-this-world-as-a-traveller-or-a-stranger/

At 24

Bismilliahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim.

Assalamu Alaikum

At 24 years, my heart has beat, according to my last calculation, over 988,303,680 times since my birth. The number is higher than this, since…you know…it’s still beating as I type this, alhamdulillah.

1 billion times.

Allah has brought me to my 24th year, through 1 billion heartbeats. SubhanAllah.

(insert “if I had a dollar for every time my heart beat” joke here)

It’s okay, you can laugh!

So, a billion beats through every moment of sadness, elation, guilt, happiness, terror, depression, hope, fury, dread, awe, humiliation, suspicion, curiosity, worry, frustration, pain, anguish, regret, and love.

Beating through all of my thoughts and dreams. While I slept, ate, worked, cried, prayed, studied, and laughed, my heart has never stopped, alhamdulillah. 

Recently, very recently, in the dark moments when I thought my heart would surely stop, could not take anymore pain or heartache. Could not suffer one more loss…it kept going. Pushing me along in my life with only the will of Allah to guide it.

A billion heartbeats, averaging 78 per minute.

Then which of the blessings will you deny? (Qur’an 55:13)

When my heart stops, my chance for repentance goes with it.

As long as it beats, every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year…it’s another gift from Allah, another chance, another opportunity to turn to Allah and seek refuge and guidance and repentance in Him.

Don’t despair. If you’re alive, take advantage of it.

Rasulullah (SAW) is reported to have said:

“Take advantage of 5 things before 5 things overcome you:
Take advantage of your youth before your old age.
Take advantage of your health before your sickness.
Take advantage of of your life before your death.
Take advantage of your wealth before your poverty, and
Take advantage of your free time before becoming preoccupied.

[Narrated by al-Haakim on the authority of Ibn Abbaas]

Don’t lose sight of what Allah has given you. Everything within you and around you is there because of Allah’s will; use everything to get close to Allah!

May Allah increase us in Ilm and give us steadfastness and Ihsaan. May Allah correct our affairs for us and forgive our sins, and keep our hearts beating long enough to earn His pleasure and a home near Him in Jannah . Ameen.

Sources:

http://audio-islam.com/2012/10/02/take-care-of-five-things-before-five-things-umar-bryant-mp3en/