It’s an intriguing idea, Yoshi. Go for it! Just give me a heads up if you can when you get it up and running so I can follow that ish.~
After spending an all-nighter (I heard all the cool kids are doing it), here it is!
*article/post contains terrible humour, be warned
STOP RIGHT THERE!
You’re under arrest for being such a cutie. Oh oops it seems I have forgotten my handcuffs I guess I’ll just have to hold your hand. You have the right to remain silent. Or you can talk. I like it when you talk. Okay now come with me please.
with the way the assassin’s creed games progress, with each protag slowly swimming in more extreme conditions, i better see some swimming through lava in ac unity
Wa alykum as-salaam,
So stop praying.
I’m not saying completely, but it may be useful for you to take a step back, for a moment and to look at what you are doing and why.
Now, it can become very easy, and in fact, when you look at prayer as a chore, you will be inclined to thinking that life is better without prayer, because you are not doing something that you “have to.”
I think it would be useful for you to look at prayer in a different way, and it must be your way, but you must connect to prayer and make prayer relevant to your life in the way that makes the most sense. I’ve actually written a response on that, which I give strategies on how to focus on your prayers, and to make the process of prayer easier for those of us who might have trouble concentrating.
You can read that response, here.
I wrote another response on the issue, which you can read here, but I’d like to point your attention to something specific, from this last link I posted:
First things first, don’t compare yourself to others. I did this when I was younger, when I saw a woman on some documentary, who seemed like she had some super amazing connection during prayer, and I didn’t feel like I had the same connection, and I freaked out.
That’s exactly what you shouldn’t do. You need to figure out what is the best way for you and not for someone else, you need to figure out what that is, not me, because I do not know your mind and what motivates you, how you understand things, only you do.
One of the major changes that I used and found helpful, was to equate prayer with my physical well-being. As some of you know, I am particularly fond of sports, but I really did not like practice or working out, and this would drive my coaches mad.
What made me a better athlete, was with the work that I put in, not only did my performance in games improve, but I felt better about myself. My body felt stronger, leaner, as if it had a purpose. Clothes fit better, too, and that was pretty awesome.
Then, during a two month period, I slacked going to the gym, a lot. I felt like I was useless, I was moody, I did not really do things, and I could not play to my abilities, my movements were more labored, and while my body once felt like a purpose-built machine, it now felt like jello (the pork gelatin-free kind), and it just was easier to not work out, because I felt bad, so I just sat around, I did less productive work, I vegetated, it was an endless cycle. Being lazy was awesome, or so I thought, because of the mental state that I had.
However, that first day back in the gym, which I somehow stumbled into, started me back on the right track. I felt better the next day, that soreness, that burn, it felt amazing.
So why do I tell you all this? Because I thought of my prayer the same way. By praying on time, I gave myself discipline, it was something I did not for myself, but to show to God that I was dedicated and that dedication to prayer provided the same sort of discipline and sharpness to my life that working out did for my body. Once I realized that my physical well-being influenced my emotional state of mind, and that my mental strength would push me to maintain my physical body, I began to see all those things as interconnected.
So, if you only want to pray because you want to do it for your love of God, you have to break down and deconstruct what that love means, and more importantly, how you understand that love.
I gave you my perception of things, and my perception is that by following God I improve myself, and that prayer for me is my way of showing to God that I appreciate all that he has given me, and that prayer helps discipline me.
The central issue is how you want to perceive of things, and you have to make it your own. I used a corny sports analogy and working out, and it might be really stupid, but it really worked for me. I know some people who liken prayer to humbling themselves before their Creator, and think of God as their “King,” and so they humble themselves before God. Honestly, prayer is for us, God doesn’t need our prayers, and so I think we should realize that when praying and attempting to rationalize prayer.
So the best advice I can give you is to figure out what “method” and what “perception” will ensure that you pray and continue to do so, and to understand yourself, rather than comparing what you think prayer “should be” to what others think, and just make it what will benefit you.
Again, I’d suggest taking a look at my article on how to think of what you are saying during prayer, which, again, you can read here.
Thank you for your well-wishes, alhamdulilah, I am in good health; insha Allah, I hope you and your family are in the best of health and Iman.
Insha Allah, I hope this helps you, and that if you, or anyone else, has a question on this, or any other subject, please do not hesitate to ask me.
There are many issues here, because when we discuss the beard today, we discuss it within a very different cultural framework than the one that structured the issue of a man’s beard (and more importantly, a person’s appearance) during the time of The Prophet.
The argument that is constantly bandied about is about “looking Muslim,” and that I should make sure that people know that I’m Muslim. I’ve had a problems with that idea, first-hand. Today, if I grow a beard, no one will look at me and think I’m a Muslim. Trust me, I’ve tried.
The other issue is when people attempt to make some sort of connection between a woman’s hijab and a man’s beard. There are two major differences between these two issues. First, there is tangible evidence within The Qur’an from which someone can argue for hijab, however, there is nothing in The Qur’an that points to men keeping a beard. I’d like to repeat, nothing. This leads me to the second issue, there is a difference between a woman covering her hair and a man growing a beard, for a very simple reason: what if the man cannot grow a beard?
Therefore, we find ourselves in a “Hadith throw-down,” which is, funnily enough, a term coined by Imam Abu Hanifa, in his famous treatise “Nizam Al-Throw-Down fi Usul al-Fiqh.” First, I hope that you realize that was a joke, and second, it becomes abundantly clear that, within the basic structures of Shariah that when attempting to determine whether something is Fard/Wajib (required) of a Muslim, when you do not have Qur’anic support, you must be very conscious of how you address and apply the Hadith in question.
Whenever you look at the various Hadith that discuss this issue, they are set within a context that is different to ours. Contextualization is something that everyone does, whether its arguing that how gender separation is done in Mecca is only okay there (for some reason) or whether it is when I discussed the issue of pants.
First of all, there is the context of the specific time, of The Prophet’s situation, in which, the way that someone dressed or groomed themselves indicated what social class, tribe, and clan they were apart of. The Prophet wanted to destroy those links based on kinship, class, or clan, and he wanted Muslims to distinguish themselves from non-Muslims, because within his context those issues of appearance were far weightier than today.
Allow me to explain that last point, by way of analogy. Have you seen the movie Apocalypto? When they go into the large city, do you see how people’s clothes, head dresses, and various other physical markers were tangible markers of their status, wealth, and importance? This process was not unique to any society, and The Prophet’s corrupt society was no different, and thus, the point of urging Muslims to grow their beards in a certain way, and to wear shorter pants, and so on and so forth, was designed for Muslims to be able to make a conscious differentiation between themselves and non-Muslims, not because this act in of itself is required, but because of the context in question.
So when you read the Hadith from Abu Huraira, in Muslim to “Cut off mustaches, leave beards and do otherwise than the fire worshipers.” Or the Hadith from Anas ibn Malik which says “Trim mustaches, lengthen/leave beards and do not imitate the Jews,” the reality is that the point of this process is to differentiate between people in this context, where one’s appearance directly affected one’s treatment by others.
However, the strongest Hadith collection, in my opinion is Imam Malik’s Al-Muwatta, and it is there that we get this Hadith:
"The Prophet was in the Mosque when a man came in with disheveled hair and beard. The Messenger of God. may God bless him and grant him peace, motioned with his hand that he should be sent out to groom his hair and beard. The man did so and then returned. The Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, said, "Isn’t this better than that one of you should come with his head disheveled, as if he were a shaytan?"
It is clear that The Prophet refers specifically to the man’s head, “الرَّأْسِ" rather than his face or his beard, so we must consider that when deducing importance, but also, we should realize that the central theme of this Hadith was over one’s overall appearance. So, when we look at these injunctions we realize that the point here was to differentiate one’s self, but also, to make sure that one is put together. However, the issue here is not the Hadith, but the intent of the Hadith as it relates to us today.
While I mentioned earlier about how clothes and grooming were used to directly indicate one’s status, the reality is that today that is not the case. Today, people are able to construct their identity, we have “fashion” as an industry in which you can attempt to create a persona for yourself through your clothes. L’Uomo, The Italian Men’s Vogue, releases a seasonal book, “The Red Book,” in which they categorize looks by their aesthetic label. So, there is “intellectual,” or “writer,” or “dandy,” and so on and so forth. People who do not have money can buy clothes to make themselves look rich, while people who are rich create styles that combine some derogatory term with the word “chic.”
We do not live within the same cultural constructs of The Prophet, because, we have a society in which our clothes do not signify the same things. It follows that our grooming is also within this construct. Thus, we must exert our understanding and see whether these contexts actually line up or not. My argument is that I don’t think they do, and we should be very conscious of our appearance, in that we should be put-together and that we should dress modestly, but as far as whether that entails beards, I am not so sure.
I mean, it’s just funny to me that shaving your beard is somehow effeminate to some, yet those same people would argue that growing your hair out long would be effeminate as well. I mean, The Prophet had long hair. In fact, he braided his hair when going into battle.
There is a very strong Hadith, again, from Al-Muwatta, in which Abu Qatada al-Ansari said to The Prophet:
"I have a lot of hair which comes down to my shoulders, shall I comb it?” The Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Yes, and honor it.’ Sometimes Abu Qatada oiled it twice in one day because the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, said to him. ‘Honor it.’"
Why do we not follow this aspect of The Prophet’s actions? The reality is that people perceive of it as “effeminate,” that to have long hair or braids, or to oil one’s hair, is “effeminate.” So, people from across the spectrum of Islamic thought, contextualize actions of The Prophet as they see fit, and emphasize others, because it agrees with their world-view. I personally prefer to attempt to distill The Prophet’s actions into larger lessons, and thus, it is from that perspective that I do not agree with the idea that it is haram to shave.
All that being said, the main issue, in my mind, is that there are many people who cannot grow a beard if their life depended on it. I have people in my family, who can go literally weeks without shaving and will not have so much as a whisker. Are they suddenly bad Muslims because they can’t grow facial hair?
At the end of the day, I just wish I could have a cool Arab guy beard (I’m thinking Sheikh Hamdan), and so, if you’re capable of doing that, and you’re going clean shaven, then we have a problem, because I’m super jealous. I don’t really like looking like the Brawny man when I have facial hair, it’s not a good look, so that’s why I shave.
Insha Allah, I hope that answered your question, and if you, or anyone else, has a question on this, or any other subject, please do not hesitate to ask me.
A Note: Scholars opinion vary widely on this issue, and many times, websites dismiss this, such as Imam Shafi’is position that shaving can be done in certain circumstances or that shaving one’s beard is considered simply to be “Makruh” (detested) rather than “Haram” (impermissible). So, please be mindful of this fact before sending me a message, insha Allah.
Thank you very much, sometimes people misunderstand my tumblr name, and think that, I secretly want to corrupt Muslims, which I don’t understand.
Let me be clear, it is impermissible for anyone to have sex with anyone outside of the confines of marriage.
When I say that, people think I am backward, or that I am somehow in denial of “modernity.” The more insulting responses I have received, run along the lines of “Oh, I thought you’d rationalize pre-marital sex.” I’m not sure what that means, but, I’m a little tired of that assumption.
The reason why I say that it is impermissible, goes beyond the obvious Qur’anic injunction that you are only allowed to have sex within the context of marriage, and please, I’m actually asking, please do not respond to this post by citing The Qur’an, I know what it says, believe me.
The question is “why?”
People always give personal examples for things that they want. When they want to justify their use of marijuana, they say things like “Oh, but, I’m not harming anyone, so why is it impermissible?” And so on, and so forth.
Therein lies the problem, because we constantly believe, quite wrongly, that our individual actions, even within the “privacy” of our own home, do not effect society.
Again, people give me their personal stories, “my girlfriend and I, we love each other, and so, I don’t see what the problem is, give me a good reason why we shouldn’t have sex before marriage?”
The short answer is: watch Teen Mom.
The issue is, we live in such a fundamentally selfish society, that we engage in actions without regard for the effect of our choices upon others within our society. This issue is not simply one that plagues the “non-religious,” but increasingly, and worryingly, those who claim to be devout.
I look at sex as a right, not as some sort of privilege, and I seriously question whether someone who is sixteen has the mental maturity to actually understand what they are doing. A sixteen-year-old, 50 years ago had the maturity of a 40-year-old today, and to me, that’s sad. We pretend that children are adults and that adults are children.
There is a complex and vast literature that highlights how this infantilism of adults, and this “adultification” of children is motivated by commercial interests. I am inclined to agree with this opinion, and I think there is a tremendous amount of evidence to illustrate this point. I mean, when a 25-year-old Rachel McAdams is cast to play a high school teenage girl, that is but a simple example to illustrate the problematic expectations and parameters in which our society fosters a sense of development of the individual.
So what’s the point? We do not give any real responsibility to our children and teenagers, and yet, at the same time, pretend that they have some sense of “adulthood” because they “turn 18” or that they are in college. College, in my opinion, has become nothing more than a glorified summer camp, because of the conditioning of the students who enter into college as a time to be “free from adults,” rather than a time to actually be one.
So when a couple has sex outside of marriage, the issue is that they are not having sex outside of marriage, I’m side-stepping the emotional aspect of someone (either male or female) of being compromised or feeling cheapened by having sex without the dedication of the other partner (because, apparently, that isn’t the issue in your scenario); my issue is that, I feel that sex outside of marriage is done without a conscious acknowledgement of the consequences of one’s actions.
What happens if the girl gets pregnant? Is she ready to be a mother? Is he ready to be a father? Are they ready to raise a child? You see, the second this happens, they no longer matter. There is an innocent soul that has been created within the context of their irresponsibility, and by being unprepared for parenthood, they are no longer just harming themselves, their future, but they are creating the space for a innocent soul to be raised within a context of confusion, uncertainty, and immaturity.
Malcolm X made the distinction between being a father, and having a child. You see, we have denigrated the role of parents and parenthood. We have made being a parent just about having a child, and forgot that it’s about taking care of that child. The word “father” only means that you’re taking care of your children, it doesn’t mean that you are having babies, anyone can have babies, having a baby doesn’t make you a father; anyone can go out and find a woman, it’s very different to be able to take care of that woman: it’s called responsibility.
I realize that I am addressing this from a man’s perspective, but that is the only perspective that I can speak from. I do not suppose to speak for women.
Even when you factor in methods of contraception, and let us not even touch over how a woman would feel should she have to get an abortion (another thing I cannot speak to), this responsibility goes to a far greater level than having an accidental pregnancy. I think it is abundantly clear the tremendous societal impact of children being raised with only one parent, and while I have overwhelming respect for single-parents, I can only imagine that being raised with two parents would be preferable. I am honestly scared to see the social costs towards the generation of children that emerging now from the rampant amount of teenage mothers that are emerging within society.
We do not discuss the emotional toll that having pre-marital sex has upon individuals, the residue that it leaves on people. They will wonder “was so and so better?” Or “did he get an STD from that girl?” Or “they probably liked that other person’s body more than mine.” And so on and so forth.
Watch an episode of Sex and the City. The show literally fascinates me. Honestly, it does. Here you have four women, who are professionals, and supposedly strong women, but they treat their relationships like 14-year-old girls. They rationalize themselves in a way that makes no sense: a ferocious pursuit of marriage, with a conscious acceptance and constant bartering of their self-respect. Their world revolves around men. Literally. It is one of the most degrading things I have ever seen, and that women can look at that and see empowerment, makes no sense to me.
Granted, I am not a woman, and perhaps I do not understand what defines female empowerment. This could be very true, but, as a man, and as the “other half” of relationships, I have an opinion. I do not see how we are fostering stronger, more confident individuals (regardless of gender) through this process of “tasting” other human beings, by lying to them about who we are, and simply gradually letting them into our worlds, before we decide we’ve had enough and seek out something better.
What is so funny to me is that we are so ready to compromise our physical well-being, opening ourselves to the possibility of STDs and pregnancy… We are willing to compromise that level of intimacy, way way before we could even consider telling the same person our deepest fears.
The honest truth is, a woman with self-respect is what is most attractive to a man. What is most attractive to women, I don’t supposed to know, so please do not take this as me enforcing a double-standard, because if you’ve read anything I’ve written, it is that I do not accept or endorse double standards (except in my fantasies about making my future children [insha Allah] do mindless chores out of my laziness, but that’s a different matter)
The point of me bringing up movies and cultural issues is that I firmly believe that there is a joke being played on women. What do I mean? That what is being passed off as “empowering” women, is really just the exploitation of those “empowering” tools towards objectifying and degrading women, so that women can become simplistic “emotional” and “sexual” creatures that are not partners with men, but rather, “challenges” to be conquered. I do not think that this framework is a healthy one for fostering sustainable relationships or for constructing families; how secure can anyone feel in this context?
Of course, your scenario is predicated on “security.” How secure could someone be without marriage? You see, marriage, in the Islamic sense, is not God and angels fluttering down to hug you as you go off into married land. Marriage in the Islamic sense is contracts. It’s not romantic. It’s about rights and responsibilities, it’s about expectations, and it’s about the protection of a woman. The conception of marriage in Islam is extremely conscious of protecting the woman’s well-being, and of the children.
I watch these romantic comedies, and I am baffled, literally baffled, at why a man and woman are together, when they are fully aware that there is no future. This continues into real life, where people start dating, while acknowledging that there is no future, whether that’s some Muslim guy dating the “American” girl in college, or a Korean-American girl who could never bring home her Irish boyfriend, yet they continue, holding onto each other, so that they can have someone to avert some pain from temporary loneliness now, while paying for it with heart-break and far greater pain later. I’m not saying couples from different backgrounds can’t work, not at all, but people who know they don’t want to make those sorts of relationships work, still enter into them.
If your boyfriend wanted to give you security, he’d marry you. I’m not saying that your worth is dependent upon whether a man wants to marry you or not, I’m saying that the only man worthy of you is one who wants to get married. That is security.
I’m genuinely sorry, I do not mean to be insensitive, but, I just don’t understand why women don’t realize how much power they have. You set the rules. I promise you, you really do. If you don’t want to do something, then don’t do it. Oh, he’s going to leave you because you won’t have sex with him? So, why would you want to depend on him for other things? Honestly.
There are multiple reasons as to why someone shouldn’t have sex with their “significant other,” without marriage. There are so many different reasons, and I believe that I have highlighted them throughout this response.
We continuously look at things that The Qur’an says not to do as “infringements” upon our “freedom.” The problem is not with The Qur’an, but in how we are teaching The Qur’an to young Muslims today, and how we look at it ourselves. The Qur’an does not tell the believer to not do something for funzies; there is a tangible benefit towards you for not doing that. Whether that is alcohol, gambling, or pre-marital sex, these things have consequences, and we need to recognize them, and to realize that while Sheikh Abu Weekend Fiqh Conference might simply call things “Haram” and “Bid’ah,” The Qur’an doesn’t do that, and provides reasons why you shouldn’t do something.
The truth is, however, that everything in The Qur’an, and I do mean everything benefits the individual. Irrespective of whether someone is Muslim or not, if you follow The Qur’an, you will benefit.
Again, I’m sorry if I have come off as insensitive or abrasive, that is the last thing I’d ever want to do. I just feel very strongly about these issues, and I hope that young Muslims realize the tangible benefits of avoiding certain behaviors, rather than being concerned over whether they look like a prude or a loser because they won’t cross physical boundaries or drink alcohol.
Insha Allah, I hope I answered your question, and if you or anyone else, has a question on this, or any other topic, please do not hesitate to ask me.
*mr krabs voice* secret formuler
*plankton voice* hand it over krabs
*mr krabs voice* eat a dick plankton
This is, hands down with no exaggeration, one of the most inspiring and heartfelt collections of advice I have read.