Monday, April 16, 2012

Learning to love.

Don't get all mushy on me. This isn't about a guy. Well, not exactly. The post title refers to some advice our teacher gave us in class over the weekend which was that you cannot love the Prophet (salli Allahu alayhi wa sallam) unless you learn about his life and get to know him. He's not just any guy though, he's the most beloved of all human beings ever. So I will be pursuing a deeper understanding of his life to feel this true love everyone's always talking about.

I thought about how this could relate to exercise and it dawned on me that I am really starting to like it. I won't go so far as to say I love it yet. I still have my moments of "Do I HAVE to???" every day, but I am finding that the consistency is helping a lot and I don't dread it as much as before.

Sign me up for this class!

More on ways to get your feelings on after the jump.

Nothing cures the "My foot hurts from exerting myself this weekend and I am tired and maybe I can just skip blogging today" blues like a good 22-minute dose of Arrested Development. To administer this remedy, I fired up my phone's Netflix app and worked through half of The Best Episode of Any Show Ever on my elliptical machine. I couldn't finish on the elliptical because my foot hurts (it's not just a lame excuse!) so I spent the rest of the time walking around my apartment and did some "lifting" with the resistance band. It is possible to work the biceps of your left arm while holding the phone with your right. You will also work your abdominals while dying laughing as Gob tries to throw a letter into the ocean. 

I know that it's a little hypocritical to post about watching a sitcom in the same blog where I talk about learning more about my religion and my effort to be a better Muslim. However we all have our ways to relieve stress and I am not about to let you think I am some kind of machine that doesn't need comedy every once in a while. However I do try to limit or cut out completely shows with profanity, gratuitous music or sex, and other impermissible elements to them. And I watch a LOT less TV than I used to when I had a TV at home. There's plenty to watch online but it's not the same on a little MacBook at all and I have been able to curb it quite a bit because of that.

Health Tip of the Day: Kill Your TV (or put it in a coma). Turn it off for a week (especially if you have kids) and just see what else you can do. Like standing up. Or walking. Baby steps, now. Don't worry—it will be there when you come back. And that's okay.

For the fakey-altruistic-hipster-art-school poseur in your life.


I don't know how I got to almost one month gone in this blog project without sharing Sh. Hatem al-Haj's book Fiqh of Worship with you. Big bummer! But it's not too late. Our dedicated Midweek Halaqa teacher spent years putting together this beautiful commentary in English on the esteemed 'Umdat al-Fiqh, an abridged book of fiqh according to the Hanbali madh-hab.

Click for Amazon listing

The original work was written by Imam Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi (may Allah bestow mercy on him), who died in 620 A.H. If you don't know what any of that means, it's ok. Basically, it's a book on the rulings of prayer from one of the four main opinions in Islam. It's a fantastic guide for anyone with basic and complex questions about how to pray and I am very honored to have been a teeny, tiny part of its publication.

Today I was paging through it and came across the section on extra prayers, outside of the 5 daily obligatory prayers. One such prayer is the one offered when an eclipse is observed. Now this may seem a little random since this is such a rare occurrence, but this prayer was given special emphasis by the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him).

The story goes like this [paraphrased]: There was a solar eclipse following the death of the Prophet's young son Ibrahim. The Prophet went to the masjid and lined everyone up for prayer, and prayed four long rakat (units of prayer) before the sun appeared again. Afterward, he stood and said "The sun and moon are two signs from among the signs of Allah, and there is no eclipse due to someone's death or life. If you see it occurring, hurry to pray."

The people thought the sun had eclipsed because of the death of his son. An imposter would have taken advantage of this misunderstanding and would not have refuted it. The character and honesty of our Prophet are among the greatest proofs of the truthfulness of his prophethood (p. 172).

What an amazing man. Even the best among us might be weak enough to exploit the people for our benefit during a time of extreme grief. I'm making it my personal mission to read the Seerah of the Prophet and post about it regularly from now on. If anyone has recommendations on authentic sources of the Seerah, please do share!


  1. Have you read the Sealed Nectar?

    You know what? I never understood the eclipse salat. Astaghfirallah but it seemed jahiliyyah-esque to me. I couldn't understand the purpose even after reading about it in a couple different books (both of which the author neglected the hadith you shared). Makes sense now. :)

  2. Fiqh of Worship/'Umdat Al-fiqh would be a good companion to Ibn Taymiyyah's Al-Aqidah Al-Wasitiyyah by Shaykh Uthaymeen (may Allah be pleased with him) available in English now, too.