~*~Precious Muslimah's roles for islam in the west~*~

Dear sisters,  
We are indeed privileged to be a part of the community of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) because we have been blessed with such a Prophet who has a profound and sincere love for his Ummah. Everything that the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) did and thought about, are merely for the sake of his Ummah, to the extent that he does not wish for any single one of us to fall into the pits of the Hellfire. 

Allah Subhanahu wa Tala Said  in surah At-Taubah verse 128:

“Indeed, there has come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves: it grieves him that you should perish: ardently anxious is he over you: to the Believers is he most kind and merciful.” 

 Through the above verse (Allah Subhanahu Wa Tala) shows our beloved Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam)'s love for his Ummah.

As ummah we are also responsible for contributing to Islamic work in the west just as brothers. There are a number of things that can be done on a personal, family and community level by our sisters.

1. Remember you are a khalifa on earth
 Both men and women are appointed by Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala) as His khalifa (trustees) on earth (Qur'an 33:72-73). We have been given this amana (trust) from Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala), and it is our responsibility to care for it. We must not forget that we will all be asked on the Day of Judgement

as The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "A servant of God will remain standing on the Day of Judgment until he is questioned about his (time on earth) and how he used it; about his knowledge and how he utilized it; about his wealth and from where he acquired it and in what (activities) he spent it; and about his body and how he used it." - Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 148
How did we spend our time, wealth, health, knowledge and other resources Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala) has entrusted to us as a gift. How have we tried to make our ummah stronger? Will we make the grade?

2. Make your intention for the sake of Allah
 So where does success really come from? It's from Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala). But without the correct intentions and methods, we won't achieve success.

Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said "Actions are but by intentions" - Bukhari and Muslim.

Make your intention to please Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala) first and foremost. This is the first and most important thing no matter what type of activism you get involved in.

Umar bin al-Khattaab relates that: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, saying, “verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended. So the one whose hijra was to Allaah and His Messenger, then his hijrah was to Allaah and His Messenger. And the one whose hijrah was for the world to gain from it, or a woman to marry her, then his hijrah was to what he made hijrah for.” Related by Bukhaaree and Muslim.

And Imaam Bukhaaree commences his Saheeh with this hadeeth and gives it the place of an opening lecture from him thereby indicating that every action that is done not desiring the Face of Allaah is invalid bearing no fruits in this world and in the Hereafter. Therefore be sure of your action and act accordingly and start your action with a beautiful clear intention.

3. Make Du'a (supplication)
Dua is the best gift we can give to ummah. There are dua's to make such as 
 "Allahummaghfirli waliwalidaiyya wali jami'il mu'minina walmu'minati wal-musliminawal-muslimati birahmatika ya arhamurrahimin." - O Allah, forgive me and my parents and all the believing men and women and all Muslim men and women with Your mercy. O Most Merciful of all who have mercy.
 Make dua for the ummah and for yourself and ask Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala) for Guidance, understanding, and a straight intention. Ask Him to accept your efforts for His cause. Then watch as Insha Allah, He helps you throughout your work for His Cause.

4. Seek knowledge, a path to Paradise and power
  You have made your intention clear, now what is next? How do you know what the right method is to contribute to Islam in West? The answer is knowledge. Specifically, knowledge of the Qur'an and Sunnah. 

The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam )said "For him who follows a path for seeking knowledge, (Allah Subhanahu Wa Tala) will ease for him the path to Paradise" - Muslim.

 Read Quran with translation and with tafseer in the language you are most comfortable with. This will make the concept clear and give you better understanding. And giving dawah through Quran will be easy for you Inshallah.

 Read hadith with commentary for better understanding. Remember, It’s hard to memorize all the hadiths about our life aspects. So before explaining a hadith to someone simply say "more or less Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said in hadith....". Otherwise if we want to say a hadith but have changed a word or two while giving dawah, we will be sinful (unless we perfectly memorize them).

Remember that your goal as an ordinary Muslim at this point, is not to "reinterpret" the Qur'an or Hadith. It is simply to expose yourself to Allah's Message in a way that you can understand.

5. Learn about your rights and duties and change who you are accordingly
  Remember that the meaning of knowledge is not something that you learn and store in your brain. 

As The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) also said: "Knowledge from which no benefit is derived is like a treasure out of which nothing is spent in the cause of God." - Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 108

 It is something that you learn and implement in your life.  If we want to work for Islam in the West or anywhere else, we've got to start with ourselves first. We must work from the inside out. We must fix our character first, then work with our families, neighbourhood and further out within the community.

Allah Subhanahu Wa Tala ordained us:
 The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) also said: "Acquire knowledge and impart it to the people." - Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 107
And when we use this knowledge to give dawah The reward from  Allah Subhanahu Wa Tala :

The Prophet Muhammad ((Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam)) said: "God, His angels and all those in Heavens and on Earth, even ants in their hills and fish in the water, call down blessings on those who instruct others in beneficial knowledge." - Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 422

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, God will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge. The inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and (even) the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the learned over the devout is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave (no monetary inheritance), they leave only knowledge, and he who takes it takes an abundant portion. - Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith 1631      

6. Raise good Muslim sons and daughters
 While talking of Muslim women going out to change the world, we tend to forget about the one place where women have the most control: as mothers. Use this super-power. J

It's mothers who can perpetuate notions of what a woman's place is, and they also can perpetuate a lot of the misguided notions about the position of women in Islam. Think through what messages you are giving your children. For example,
- Are the mothers teaching their children the sunnah in dailiy life, insisting them to read Quran or Pray on time? 
- Beating or scolding if the kids do not pray salat at the age of seven onwards or if they are being rude to parents or being un-islamic? 
-Are the mothers teaching kids good manners according to islam?
- How many mothers spoil their sons by not insisting they clean up their own room, put away their own dishes after dinner, help clean up the house or fold the laundry or not to watch TV excessively? 
 Mothers can and should challenge gender stereotypes in their own homes. This may be considered a small step for mums, but it leads to big steps for Muslim ummah. Remember while upbringing children, Just as the children has rights and responsibilities toward parents, parents also have rights and responsibilities to educate children islamicly.

7. Speak out against injustice
 The western societies today are abusing muslims because they do not have proper knowledge of islam, So speak up sisters! Use your knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah to challenge gender-unfriendly spaces and positions in the Muslim community. Just because we muslim women don't speak up, we are letting the wrongdoer do more wrong, more abuse to islam and women. Non-muslim people in the west thinks that muslim women are scared to speak up because of super controlling muslim men, women are scared to open up and show hair or expose themselves because of their controlling men (husband/father/brother). Using your knowledge of Quran and sunnah, speak up and tell them they are wrong. Open up their eyes and beliefs about islam. Let them know whatever we are doing this is merely the order of our God - Almighty Allah!

And don't just speak out against the bad. Ask questions and comment with wisdom as well.

8. Don't underestimate the power of social activities
 Do you think organizing social activities such as dinners for sisters is just a waste of time? Not if you know the reality of the Muslim community here in the West.

While many sisters have families they can easily turn to for company and support, there are many who don't. Our communities have plenty of sisters who are new to Islam, or sisters who are students from abroad, or who recently immigrated here with their families but who are hungry for companionship.
What better companionship than that of Muslim sisters for the sake of Allah?

Organizing weekly dinners, teas, Halaqas are all small practical steps that Muslim sisters can take to help each other not only cope with loneliness, but more importantly become closer to Allah, if He wills. This creates a much-needed social network.

9. Go into professions that are needed in the community
 Often, we encourage our children to go into professions that are seen as prestigious or that will ensure them financial security. These may not, however, be professions that are most needed by the Muslim community. Identify what the needs are and encourage young women to pursue careers in these fields.

For example, there is dire need for Muslim community advocates, social workers, therapists, family counsellors, doctors, psychologists and other support resources. The shortage of such professional skills within the community forces Muslims to go to non-Muslims who are often insensitive to our religious values.

Another field where Muslim women are needed is law. Marriage, divorce, custody of children, and inheritance are all issues which directly affect Muslim women, and for which they will rarely find a Muslim advocate. There is a need for sisters who know Islamic law and the local law to help Muslim women deal with issues like these with sincere, sound advice, as well as sympathetic support.

Is there a Muslim woman doctor in the house? For the most part, the answer is no. It is no cliché to say that there is a crying need for women in the medical field. Sisters are especially needed in sensitive fields like obstetrics and gynecology, fertiltiy specialists, etc.

These are among many areas where women, especially Muslim ones, feel most comfortable discussing exclusively with other women who will understand where they are coming from.

10. Teach in Islamic weekend schools
Does getting an education degree sound too far-fetched? If so, consider helping Islam in America by teaching at the local Islamic weekend school. This is where a number of Muslim kids (most of whom attend public school) find their only Islamic environment throughout the whole week.

The presence Muslim sisters as mentioned above, is not just in imparting knowledge but it's also in being a positive role model.
As well, teaching in Islamic weekend schools provides you with the opportunity to clarify the position of women in Islam, to clear it of the cultural baggage so many Muslim parents tend to pass down to their kids.

11. Enjoin the good and forbid the evil

 The Prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: If one of you sees something evil he should change it with his hand. If he cannot, he should speak out against it, and if he cannot do even that he should at least detest it in his heart, this being the weakest form of faith.

It is a responsibility of both men and women to enjoin good and forbid evil. Look for opportunities and build your strength to do this. If you can’t do anything, do detest it in your heart and ask Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala) to refrain them from such sinful act and give them hidayah.

By speaking out against the wrong, not only will you be fulfilling a religious duty, but you will become stronger and Allah willing, gain the strength to speak out against wrong regardless who is doing the wrong.

12. Promote and appreciate sisters doing good work
 How many of us spend time to appreciate the work Muslims sisters do to promote the cause of Islam?

For example in  Facebook /Twitter, sisters has given an inspiring speech, written a useful article, established a fantastic events for sisters to attend, create groups/pages to promote/give dawah of islam. Some sisters also create islamic blogs or forum or websites to give dawah. Appreciate their noble acts.

Promoting and appreciating sisters who are doing good work will not only serve as encouragement for them, it will also pinpoint acceptable role models for young Muslim women. This is important when many or our young girls look up to women who are models, actresses and singers, as opposed to those making a positive contribution to society.

13. Support other sisters in need or difficulty
 Everyone has problems but some hides it better than others, some suffers physical illness, some are mentally depressed, some are distressed, some are in need to food/cloth, some are struggling to pray salat or to read Al-Quran, some are in financial trouble. Do not belittle anyone for whatever trouble they are in. Fear Allah ( subhanahu Wa Tala)’s wrath when you ignore or belittle one person

Remember we have no power to solve anyone’s problems. Problems come from Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala) and He is only Powerful one who can take it away. We can only be the means of one’s relief. All we need to do is to visit them in times of need or make a simple phone call or write an inspiring letter/e-mail to them and console them with your knowledge from Quran and Sunnah.

You must be inspired by this:

Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: If anyone calls on a sick, a caller calls from the Heaven “You are good and also your walking is good. You have built your house in Paradise. – Trimizi, Ibn Maaja

Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said that when a muslim goes to visit on ailing muslim brothers, he is separated from Hell to the distance of seventy year’s journey. – Abu Daud

Are you inspired or motivated? Or you are thinking “ I should do such noble act but I don’t have time to visit the distress, because I am too busy with my kids or with family/friends or with job or with party”?
Don’t worry – here is a simple solution:
Sheikhs said even if you can give them a call, or send them email/sms and say encouraging words/advices, Quranic Ayahs, hadith on patience and hardships etc. your effort will bring you the same reward as above mentioned hadith.

14. Get sympathetic speakers and scholars invited to the community
 Find out who are the top speakers in your community? What is their understanding of Islam and especially the role of women?
Sisters can encourage community leaders to invite speakers to shed light on Muslim women's issues, and who can address problems from an Islamic perspective in a wise and sensitive way. Organize an event either at community centers or at your house for the scholars to give speech and invite sisters.

15. Teach sisters how to deal with discrimination
 How many sisters know how to respond effectively to discrimination and harassment? It seems that most will tend to ignore it. Others may respond with a rude remark of their own. But neither of these approaches is usually appropriate.

Muslim women can help here by developing an effective strategy in consultation with Imams and community leaders. Informing and enabling Muslim women on how to seek legal recourse if they so choose is another needed service.

16. Become journalists and media professionals
 Do you think the ability to write well and communicate effectively has no effect on others?
You're wrong. A knowledgeable, practicing Muslim woman who can write and speak well is a powerful weapon against those who say Islam oppresses women, or that women can't come to the mosque for instance.

The media is an unavoidable tool in the spread of Islam amongst Muslims and non-Muslims and sisters should not avoid this field of study.

17. Use what you have
 If you're already a working Muslim woman, how can you contribute without necessarily changing careers? Use your professional skills for the community.

If you can write well, establish a well-written, organized and attractive community newsletter. If you're in business, establish a community fundraising project for the local mosque's expansion. Use what you've got. It'll take some thinking and planning, but you're almost bound to find a way you can contribute, if Allah wills.

18. Know and teach women's history
 Do you think women's history means learning exclusively about Western feminists? Think again. Muslim women have their own heroes. Aisha, Khadijah, Maryam, Asiya (may Allah be pleased with all of them) are our role models. Remember that Muslim women's history does not start and end with these four righteous women. Muslim history is full of women who have made positive contributions. We also need to recognize and know the efforts of the pioneering Muslim women who came to North America and worked in partnership with men to establish the various Muslim institutions now flourishing in the West.

Know the history of the first generation of Muslim women as well as those who established the Muslim community in the West and the rest of the world.

Read to your daughters the stories of the great female companions of the Prophet in books like Abdul Wahid Hamid's Companions of the Prophet.

19. Understand the issues of the day
 Do you know what your kids are learning in school? Is there a sex education class promoting unIslamic ideas? What are you going to do about it? Do you participate in your child's Earth Day activities at school?

Muslims sisters have to know the issues of the day in order to make an impact. Whether it's sex education, drunk driving or rape these and other issues should be of concern to us as well, and not just non-Muslims. Being vocal, and most importantly, knowing and advocating the Islamic position on issues of the day affords you the opportunity to stand up for justice and to make Da'wah. Don't pass it up.

20. Volunteer!
 There are many organisations and businesses - both Muslim and non-Muslim, which are in need of people who can spare a few hours a day, week or month.
Charities, masjids, and play groups are some to name a few. This is an excellent opportunity for Muslimahs to benefit and aid the community as well as gain the blessings from the Lord of all the Worlds.

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