Dressing For Prayer

I wanted to focus on the first part of this ayah…about dressing well for prayer.

When I was a little girl, I used to watch mum change into her ‘prayer clothes’ after wudhu. When I became of age she had a set of prayer clothes stitched for me and advised me to change into them for every salah. I remember doing just that but as I became older and rebellious (and lazy) I stopped doing it.

A few years ago I decided to invest in a dedicated prayer jilbab because it was simpler to wear it over whatever I had on. But wasn’t until I came across this ayah that I put much more thought into it.

“It will please Allah if I dress well for prayer!”

I reflected with guilt how I put great thought and care into dressing for an outing/special event but not for the most important meeting of all: with my Lord.

After reflecting on this ayah I happened to be travelling for Umrah. Whilst there I took my time in selecting two prayer outfits and it has helped me achieve a little more khushu alhamdulillah.

The act of performing wudhu then changing into beautiful perfumed clothes calms me, helps me to disconnect from the frenzy of life and makes me happier as I take a moment to breathe deep and think: ‘I’m about to pray to Allah.’

Just like my mother, I will be encouraging my children to dress well for salah -in shaa Allah.



[Little girl reading Qur’an illustrated by Amir Al Zubi, taken from my book Good Deeds: Just To Please Allah]

I am a MUSLIM

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was born a Muslim, and like so many of my generation and background, I was taught by elders and blindly followed. Didn’t stop to question or dig deeper. The only thing that seemed untouched and unaffected by what others said, the thing that was unshakeable, was my sense that there was a God.

9/11 marks a horror. And the opening up of my mind. What exactly IS Islam? What is a Muslim? Like so many, I began questioning. Apprehensively at first. I could read the Qur’an but had only been taught to read in Arabic, not to understand the meaning. Accessing the Qur’an and Hadith in the English language was the key to my search for answers. One sentence led to another.
My journey isn’t over but the more I learn, the more I feel that this religion is right for me.

I was born this way and I made a CHOICE to remain this way.

My name is Rabia and I am a Muslim.

A Year In Hijab

I knew I embraced the hijab early last year because I remember my first ‘holiday in hijab’ – Abu Dhabi, March 2013. But, I wasn’t sure exactly when I began to wear the hijab. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I got an email reminder yesterday telling me that today was to be the anniversary of performing Umrah and deciding – this is it – I want to wear a hijab. My past self must have sensed this was a momentous decision and worth recording for the benefit of her future self. I’m glad she did this for me. Continue reading “A Year In Hijab”

God Is Everywhere

I’ve always imagined Allah (swt – the Exalted) as a huge figure up beyond the clouds somewhere – a shift in my perspective happened this morning.

I was recalling a very touching scene from an Iranian movie ‘The Colour of Paradise’ I watched last night. Mohammed, a blind boy, had said:

Our teacher says that God loves the blind more because they can’t see…but I told him, if it was so, He would not make us blind so that we can’t see Him. He answered, “God is not visible. He is everywhere. You can feel him. You see him through your fingertips.”

Now I reach out everywhere for God till the day my hands touch Him and tell Him everything, even the secrets in my heart.

The scene was memorable and keeps repeating in my head. The philosophy (albeit, an English translation) was thought provoking and developed my understanding of how God may be. For me, this explanation goes a long way to explain why Allah (swt) uses the pronoun ‘we’ a lot in the Qur’an, as opposed to ‘I’.

If Allah (swt) was to be EVERYWHERE in order to watch over EVERYTHING, as is my understanding, then imagining Allah’s presence as many particles rather than a whole being makes more sense. I know it’s not in our human capacity to grapple with the image of God, but wondering about Him comes naturally doesn’t it? I wait for a time when I no longer guess what form Allah (swt) exists in – a time beyond this fleeting life.

© Rabia Bashir 24th November 2013 All Rights Reserved

Image: Scene from ‘The Colour of Paradise’ written & directed by Majid Majidi

Divine Intervention

Sceptics can scoff but here’s another experience that makes me think – wow, there is a God and I’m being looked after…

My phone goes on silent but is set on a daily alarm to wake me up for fajar (dawn) prayer. I’m holidaying in London for a few days and completely forgot that the clocks went back last night. I fell asleep quite late only to wake up a few hours later of my own accord – no alarm. I checked my phone; it was 5am. I’ve got another hour till prayers, I thought but then noticed a notification from my ‘Athan’ app that fajr prayer was at 4.55am. I lay there a little disorientated and confused. Had I been praying an hour late every day since I arrived in the UK? Then it dawned on me and I smiled saying Alhamdhulillah (Praise & thanks to God) as I sat up in bed. However He did it, I was woken up at the right hour to perform my prayer with my husband.

It made me believe that no matter how much we rely on ourselves and our technology to get things done, divine intervention underpins everything.

© Rabia Bashir 27th October 2013 All Rights Reserved

The Niqab Debate

“Big debates recently over whether Muslim nurses should be allowed to wear Niqab in work when working with patients. What are your thoughts?” (@MonsterMikester)

The above tweet caught my attention yesterday.  My answer, in short, was:

“Yes. It’s a way to increase tolerance & understanding of people’s differences. Niqabs aren’t problem-racist patients are.” (@RabiaBashir1979)

There was so much more I wanted to say but the nature of Twitter forces you to cut down your response to the bare minimum.  What I wanted to say in full was:  I found the question to be interesting and thought provoking – that I didn’t reach my answer straight away even though I’m a Muslim woman myself. Continue reading “The Niqab Debate”

It’s My Hijab – It’s My Choice

I recently began practicing hijab (wearing a headscarf, dressing and behaving more modestly).

Women wear the hijab for many different reasons: to show devotion to Allah (swt – the exhalted), to be identifiable as a Muslim, to make a fashion statement, to hide their hair/skin problem, to keep others happy, to show obedience to their husband/parents/government, to fit in with their friends/family/culture/community, or to …… (the list can go on). Continue reading “It’s My Hijab – It’s My Choice”