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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Productive Muslim: Be A Good Daughter!




~Aku Insan Hina Dina...mengharap Kasih sayang-Nya & Redha -Nya ~





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At ProductiveMuslimah, we realise sisters have a difficult time trying to live up to their expectations in all the different roles in our lives – whether it is as a mother, wife, worker and a worshipper. Being a good daughter has been on my mind for a long time as I often meet sisters who feel they are failing in this role. I have myself struggled to find the balance at times in serving my parents and other demands of life. Recently I have adopted a few hacks to help me in this pursuit to be a better daughter, and note I chose the word ‘better’, because none of us are perfect!



Firstly, we should acknowledge that as a Muslimah, our first and foremost role is to worship Allah but then immediately after fulfilling these obligations, serving our parents is the best honour we can have. Allah says in the Qur’an:

“And We have enjoined upon man goodness to parents. But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them. To Me is your return, and I will inform you about what you used to do” [Qur'an Chapter 29: Verse 8].

Allah has endowed upon women so many challenging yet rewarding roles, but we often overlook that being a good daughter is one of the best ways in which we can worship Allah – whether you are a married woman with demands from your in-laws or a single Muslimah who is looking to get married – remember that you can live your life’s true purpose by looking after your parents.

As a working Muslimah, I have been fortunate and blessed to have parents who have always supported me in my work endeavours; however, I realise that some of us can take our parents for granted and this can lead to us neglecting our duties towards our parents even though we may not have intended to do this. So, here are a few hacks I have adopted to fulfil my obligations towards my parents:

1. Prioritise your parents over other tasks

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt as a Muslimah is that despite the demands on our time from work, personal goals and other aspirations – we must do our best to prioritise our parents over other less important tasks. It isn’t easy! However, making sure you are flexible and checking in with your parents before making other commitments outside of work life can really help you manage your family tasks and fulfil your duties to your parents. I often block out time in the weekend to see if my parents need anything and follow up on any outstanding tasks. It also helps to have an understanding employer who will be able to understand that your family comes first so there may be times where you need to prioritise them over work.

2. Communicate regularly

I find that there’s nothing better than a cup of tea with my Mum or chat with my Dad on a quiet Sunday to build a positive relationship with your parents. It’s very important to have open and honest communication with your parents, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to have a very close relationship with both of my parents. Even small chats and giving your parents time can help them to realise that they are not taken for granted – as parents get older all they want is your attention just as you wanted all of theirs as a child! Something as simple as going for a walk in the park or sitting in the living room talking about life in general regularly can remind them that they are still the most important people in your life as you get older and preoccupied with other commitments in life.


3. Be patient and good to them

I’ve met many sisters who have challenging family circumstances, some have hopes and dreams of accomplishing certain goals or careers in life which their parents do not support whilst others find themselves constantly battling the expectations their parents have of them whilst trying to practice Islam (trust me I know it’s a long battle!). We may fall into the trap of shaytan – talking back to our parents, arguing with them when we disagree on a matter or even saying hurtful things to them. But we must remember that Allah says in the Qur’an that even when our parents do not not necessarily see things the way we do, it is important to still be kind and good to them. Sometimes I have found that all it takes is a kind word to acknowledge that your parents want what is best for you so we should strive to obey and please them unless their orders go against a command of Allah . Ultimately, none of us can be perfect daughters (as much as we may try to be!) because perfection belongs to Allah alone. We can however do our best to please our parents with good words and kind treatment.


4. Give them quality time

One hack that has helped me recently to have better work life balance is to schedule outings and quality time with my parents. This could be something simple and low-budget by taking your parents to the mosque, having brunch in your favourite cafe or scheduling a shopping trip to treat them. This should be time where you give them your undivided attention and make them feel like they are worthy of your time no matter how busy you may get in life. After all, your parents most likely spent most of their lives sacrificing and giving up their own time and desires to care and provide for you. Spending time with your parents, especially if you don’t live with them, is something you try to do even if it means a regular phone call to let your parents know that you are thinking of them and that you are there if they ever need you. This is a huge positive booster in being a good daughter.
5. Shower them with gifts and du’a

There is a profound hadith which highlights how we will never be able to be truly grateful for everything our parents have done for us especially when we were younger. To this day, my father will ensure all my siblings are given an equal share in anything he buys. It is then only befitting that we do our best to attempt repaying them by gifting them with things they like – cooking them dinner, buying clothes, flowers (I love to buy unique roses for my mother) or spending on them by taking them on a trip to ‘Umrah or to Hajj – a journey of a lifetime.

Finally, the best thing you can give them is your prayers, as Allah says we should always recite: “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small” [Qur'an Chapter 17: Verse 24]. We must remind ourselves that making du’a for our parents is one of the best actions we can do for them whether our parents are still with us today or have departed from this world as the Prophet Muhammad said: “When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing sadaqah (charity), knowledge from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes du’a for him.” [Muslim]

So those are my 5 simple hacks to incorporate into our daily lives, that I hope will help us all strive to be better daughters and ultimately be more productive Muslimahs in our lives, I’d love to hear your tips and advice as well as your thoughts on this article below!

About the Author:

Productive Muslimah is a Muslimah who is striving for the highest station in Jannah by making the best of all the resources around her. Sister Lotifa Begum serves as Head of Productive Muslimah at ProductiveMuslim.com. She has gained a huge insight into a wide range of productivity-related issues and has delivered workshops for sisters on issues relating to time management, personal development and productivity. She is passionate about sisters excelling in their pursuit of productivity.
P.S. Found this article useful? Share the khair! I'd suggest emailing this article 5 Hacks To Be a Better Daughter! to at least 1 person (relative, friend or colleague) who you think could benefit from it. Better yet, ask them to signup at http://ProductiveMuslim.com/Newsletter and get Abu Productive's exclusive newsletter (sent only via email) with a productivity tip of the week sent every blessed Friday. :)




Admin: I'm A Daughter. You?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Productive Muslim: Going Hajj



~Aku Insan Hina Dina...mengharap Kasih sayang-Nya & Redha -Nya ~




Become an active member of the ProductiveMuslim community and enrich it with your thoughts. Leave a comment on this article and with it, your presence. We look forward to reading your comments.



Photo by Marwa Hamad

Most people who have been to Hajj can attest to the fact that it is one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime! And provided that they have the means to perform Hajj again, they would undoubtedly do so.



If you are fortunate to be honored with the opportunity of performing Hajj, it is important to make the most out of this blessed experience. Here are some tips on how you can take your Hajj experience to the next level, In sha Allah.
1. ‘Taqwa’ is the most important thing to bring on your trip

If there is one thing you can bank on during your trip, it is that you will be tested, over and over. It doesn’t matter if you have a 5-star package and access to amenities that most others don’t, you cannot escape the tests that Allah will place before you.

You may experience long delays in getting from point A to point B. You may get ill. You may get stuck with a fellow Muslim in your group that annoys you. You may lose your luggage or your passport. You may get lost from your group. Something may happen that throws your whole Hajj in jeopardy. The bottom line is: you will face challenges along the way. This has always been the case, right from when Hajj was first instituted until now.

Our Master and Creator has provided us with some advice in the Qur’an on how we can respond to the tests that He will send.

“… And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah. And fear Me, O people of understanding” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 197].

Allah teaches us how we can prepare for those tests. It is taqwa that you should carry with you every step of the way because it will give you the strength to bear the tests that Allah will place upon you to test your faith and strengthen your imaan and maybe even, raise your status with Him .

Taqwa here means to have an elevated consciousness of Allah , to be constantly aware that He is watching over you at every moment. With this awareness comes a desire to please Allah even in moments of distress. When your buttons are pushed, you control your emotions and act rationally with patience.


2. Internalize your dua

Many people who plan on going for Hajj spend a lot of time focusing on what belongings they should take with them on the trip. They try to prepare themselves for the situations they expect to face.

What gets neglected often, however, is preparing for the moments in which you have the opportunity to make lots of dua and adhkar. There will be no shortage of these situations, because they will present themselves throughout the trip. For example, tawaf and sa’ee are times of making lots of dua and lots of dhikr of Allah . There will be idle moments you have in between the fardh (obligatory) prayers. Even while traveling between locations, sitting on a bus or waiting at the airport, there are idle times that can be utilized.

As part of your Hajj preparations, factor in these precious moments that you will have. Try to memorize as much of the dua you want to recite as possible and thoroughly understand its meaning. So, when you are in front of the Ka’bah doing tawaf, or performing sa’ee or even in your nawafil prayer, the dua will come from the heart. The words you recite will reflect the emotions in your heart. When you are calling upon your Master, your heart calls out too. You won’t get this level of spiritual connection by reading from a book of adhkar that you don’t know the meaning of. However, it’s certainly recommended to repeat the supplications which the Prophet taught us.

Practice and rehearse your dua in the weeks leading up to your trip. So when it’s time to perform on the big stage, you are able to maximize the opportunity In sha Allah.

3. Make a master dua list for the day of Arafat

Arafat is Hajj. This is the pinnacle of your pilgrimage. This is why you spent thousands of dollars on this trip and exhausted your vacation days for the year. This is the day in which you come to Allah humbled in the simplest of dress, standing in a barren desert, disheveled, with your hands outstretched, pleading with all your emotions hanging out.

Between Dhuhr/Asr (because you will combine these prayers) and Maghrib, is time for you and Allah . Find your own comfortable spot, away from any distractions that might disrupt your dua. This is where you want to make dua for all the things you desire for yourself and your loved ones, both in this dunya and in the akhirah. This is the time where you want to make istighfar, like you’ve never done so before. And this is the time where you want to feel connected to Allah .

To make the most out of Arafat, start planning for it while you are making your other preparations for Hajj. Sit down and brainstorm an exhaustive master list of all the dua you want to make. If there are Prophetic duas or Qur’anic duas related to what you’re asking for, include those on the list. Categorize and group your master list so that it flows following the etiquette of dua. Review and revise this list until you’re satisfied.

If you can memorize all of these duas, all the better. If not, having a list to prompt and guide you will certainly be helpful in this situation.
4. Relive the stories of Prophet Ibrahim

Performing Hajj and Umrah is a commemoration and remembrance of the great sacrifices made by Prophet Ibrahim and his family. These sacrifices were so important, that Allah chose to preserve them until the Day of Judgment through the Qur’an and through these rites of worship. When performing your Hajj and Umrah obligations, try to develop a deep connection to Prophet Ibrahim’s story. It will give greater purpose to the ritual actions.

For example, when you are doing sa’ee, reflect upon when Prophet Ibrahim left his wife Hajar and son Isma’il alone in a barren, uninhabited desert without sufficient food. Isma’il began crying out of hunger, forcing Hajar to seek out water in the desert. She ran frantically back and forth between Mount Safa and Marwa desperately in search of water. And then suddenly by the will of Allah , the water of the Zam Zam well sprouted out from the ground, and an abundance of water became available. Eventually, the city of Makkah was gradually established around this water source.

As you are performing sa’ee, try to recreate the desperation that Hajar had when she was moving between Safa and Marwa. Call out to Allah with the sincerity, humility and desperation that Hajar showed.

When you are performing tawaf, remember the great efforts Ibrahim and his son Isma’il went through in raising the foundations and building the Ka’bah. When they had completed building this house of worship for Allah , Prophet Ibrahim didn’t have any complacency. He turned and called out in dua:

“Oh my Lord, accept this effort from us. Most certainly, You Hear everything and You Know everything”[Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 127].

Just like Prophet Ibrahim did, we should ask Allah to accept the efforts we are putting in for our Hajj and Umrah.

During the days of Mina, ponder over the story of Prophet Ibrahim’s dream where Allah instructed him of the mighty task of slaughtering his son Isma’il as a sacrifice. Without any hesitation, he proceeded to honor the command of Allah . On his way, shaytan tried his utmost best to influence him to not carry out the command.

When you proceed to perform the stoning rituals during Hajj, reflect upon Prophet Ibrahim’s situation as he was about to slaughter his son, and how he fought off the influence of shaytan.

Reflecting upon these incidents and what it might have been like for Prophet Ibrahim and his family during those times, will bring an added sweetness to performing these rituals.

5. Days of Tashreeq are days for remembrance

The days following Eid-ul Adha are known as the Days of Tashreeq (the 11th, 12th and 13th days ofDhul Hijjah).

Allah says “And remember Allah during the [specific] numbered days” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 203].

According to many interpretations of this ayah, the days referenced here are the Days of Tashreeq. These are days designated for celebration and worship, days in which we can enjoy eating, drinking, and relaxing. However, don’t lose sight of the instruction in the ayah: to remember Allah .

When coming out of the state of ihram for Hajj, it is a joyous occasion. The preceding days were strenuous and tiring, so it’s a relief to come out of the state of ihram and be in your comfortable clothes again. It’s key to balance the time during your remaining days in Mina with the remembrance of Allah . The people around you may get caught up in a lot of relaxation and merriment. Remain patient and have taqwa of Allah during these days, and try to dedicate long periods of the day for remembering Allah .

May Allah bless your Hajj journey and may you have an accepted Hajj (Hajj Mabroor). Ameen!

Now please share with us your tips, reflections and/or your thoughts on the best way to prepare for the blessed hajj journey.

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For whom will perform Hajj..Hope have a small benefit reading this article..^_^..