Hijab Turns Me Into an Introvert.

Bismillaahirrahmaanirraheem…

Assalamualaikum Wr. Wbt.

The title is actually a conversation I had with a dear friend of mine not too long ago. We talked about how we used to be extroverts but after we hijab, we started to tone down.

In this case, I’m using the real meaning of hijab as a noun, i.e cover/screen.

People who know me will know that I could be friends with people easily and that I was just crazy. In my secondary school days my friends called me Shikin Sewel (Crazy Shikin) to differentiate me with another close friend of ours whose name was also Shikin. During college years we had to take several personality tests and my result will always show me being an extrovert. I remembered during a Touch Rugby meeting, I wrapped my President up with tissue paper and my coach had to tell my best friend (who’s also in the team) that I need to learn to control my hyperactiveness and that I need to learn to adapt. Being a camp instructor after college adds on to my outward personality, well, at least I’ve learnt how to adapt by that time.

I started wearing khimar (scarf) full-time when I entered university. Unfortunate for me, even after I hijab my hair and chest, I was still an extrovert. I wore the khimar because I knew it’s an obligation upon me as a Muslimah. I see it as something I need to put on so that I won’t be placed in hellfire. I mean, who wants their head to be dragged on the floor of hellfire? I know I don’t.

Wearing the khimar doesn’t bring much significance to me. I was still a hyper camp instructor after putting on the khimar. Although it is not me to touch the other gender before or after hijab, I still had lots of bros. At least after hijab I don’t have to warn the other gender that I don’t like to be in contact physically. Because you know, punching and high-five, that’s what bros do.

“That a man be speared through the head with an iron needle would be better than for him to touch a woman who is permissible for him.” [Recorded by at-Tabarani, al-Bayhaqi and others. Authenticated by al-Albani]

Being surrounded by male instructors while I was the only female was normal and I didn’t find that Islamically wrong. I thought I knew my limit while intermixing (ikhtilat)… Erm, and I thought I knew my limit when mixing with the same gender too. I guess it’s just something about being an extrovert that makes people attracted.

Along the way, people commended me at how friendly I was and they even asked me how I did it. Even a friend of mine told me that she’s jealous at how easily I can be friends with strangers and go for dates. Sometimes those moments flashed into my mind and I told myself that I need to be an introvert. I want to stop being friendly so that people around me won’t feel pressured to be on par as me. But when I was put into a social setting, then there I go again – an extrovert.

While I was at my former university, my friend jokingly said that I and another friend of ours, need to wear the niqab but I didn’t put much attention on it until one day while I was walking towards the prayer room, my mind went blank and I started thinking “What have I done with my life. What’s the purpose of life? I need to do something about myself. I am always surrounded with people and I’m easily attached to them. I fear rejection.” I felt devastated. I remembered when I was about to open the prayer room door, niqab went into my mind. I said to myself, Yes! I need to wear the niqab! Maybe with the niqab I can tone myself down. Maybe with the niqab I can be more feminine!

I asked for my parent’s permission to wear the niqab. At first they discouraged me from going on with my intention but after explaining to them how the niqab can help me to be a better person, a better Muslimah, and a better slave of Allah SWT, then they agreed. However, only two years after that I managed to wear the niqab; after I quitted at my former university and went on to my current university – International Islamic University of Malaysia.

I started to fully realise the meaning of ‘ibadah. To hijab ourselves is a command from Allah SWT. If you truly sincere in loving Allah SWT, then you will do as what He asks you to. If you verbally announce your love for Allah SWT but you didn’t do what He asks you to, then your love for Him is a big fat lie. I also started dwelling at the wisdoms behind the hijab. I mean, Allah SWT will not ask His slaves to do something that is not beneficial for them!

“Wisdom is not intelligence or comprehension of worldly matters. Wisdom is rather submission to Allah SWT and whatever He has enjoined upon us. Wisdom is surrendering ourselves completely to Allah and trusting in His wisdom and all-encompassing knowledge. It is humbly appreciating that the wisdom we have is only a portion of that possessed by the ultimate possessor of wisdom, and that is was given to us as a blessing.” – Psychology from the Islamic Perspective – Dr Aisha Utz

The more we search for knowledge, the more we realise we know little. A few weeks ago I started reading a book on “A Guide on Male-Female Interactions” and I realised at how much wrong I’ve done in the past. During Rasulullah SAW time, they even built a door in the masjid specially and only for women so that the men won’t have to bump into the women. Look at how stringent they were about ikhtilat.

I would call myself lucky because Allah SWT gave me the Hidayah (guidance) to be better than I thought I already am. For me, even if I’m wearing abaya and jilbab (longer and bigger than khimar) but without a niqab across my face, I will still be as friendly to the opposite gender. But I stepped up and took the extra effort to hijab myself further.

Of cz, I’m not asking everyone to wear the niqab to tone down your outward personality. If you can control it with just a khimar or jilbab, then you may want to stop there. My friend that I mentioned in the beginning, she just needs a khimar and she’s able to tone down her extrovert personality when coming into contact with the other gender. As for me, I needed the niqab to remind me that I have to be extra careful with the way I present myself.

At the end of the day, it is all about improving oneself. Improving ourselves not to please the people around us, but to please the One whom we are accountable to in Judgment Day.

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’an 51:56)

Know the purpose of this life. If you’re feeling comfortable with where you are now, with what you are doing, then maybe there is something wrong somewhere. If this worldly life you’re going after, then know that it will not come to you. But if it’s the hereafter that you’re going after, then know that this life and the hereafter will chase after you, insyaAllah.

“There are two blessings regarding which many people are losers: good health and free time.” [Bukhari]

After the 360 degree change, my life has became less fun and adventurous with the people that were like-minded like me left me. Even my best friend, or I would call her my soul sister, couldn’t accept my change because it would mean that we won’t be able to do camps and crazy things together. We still have some uncheck items in our things-to-do together. However, it’s time for me to show my gratitude towards Allah SWT by following His commandments and leaving what He forbids. Alhamdulillah tho, my soul sister is being more receptive with who I am now and I wish one day she could see from my lens, and that Allah SWT will reunite us again in Jannah, InsyaAllah.

In the past I fear rejection, now I fear Allah SWT. And because I started to fear Allah SWT and wary that He is watching at every action I make, He showered me with His bountiful love and mercy instead by presenting to me a new set of life I never thought I deserve ,- being an extrovert 24/7 with my husband, and an introvert when facing the opposite gender. Alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli haal.

“O you have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly], and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.” (al-Baqarah: 208)

Wallahualam.

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Muslimah Concern: What Can I Do During Period?

Bismillaahirrahmaanirraheem…

Assalaamualaikum Wr. Wbt.

Alhamdulillah this topic was recommended by a Sister who requested me to share on the actions (‘amal) a woman can perform when she’s having her haid (period). I’m not really an expert in this but Alhamdulillah a Malaysian Sister whom I’ve met on Facebook (and after which we became real life friends) gifted me with a book in Malay called “Amalan 24 Jam Wanita Haid” (24 Hours Actions for Women with Haid) by Fahrur Muis. So most, if not all, of the content below are extractions from the book.

 

Before going into what we can do, let’s us first look into what we CANNOT do during haid (period):

1. Solah

“When menstruation starts, leave off Solah”. (Bukhari)

Once a woman has purified herself from haid, she doesn’t have to pay back the solah that she has left during haid.

2. Fasting

Any fasting days missed during Ramadhan, have to be paid back once she has purified herself from haid.

3. Tawaf

Women with haid are not allowed to perform tawaf around the Kaabah whether it is wajib or sunnah. Her tawaf will not be accepted if she still does it.

4. Jima’ [Intercourse]

It is strictly prohibited for a husband to ask his wife who is having haid to have an intercourse session. And the wife shouldn’t create any opportunity for her husband to perform jimak. However, women with haid and her husband can do anything besides jima’, for example, kissing, hugging and touching. Rasulullah encouraged the coverage of the naval until the knees with a cloth.

5. Talak

It is haraam for a husband to talak his wife who is having haid. This is because a woman with haid cannot count her idah while she’s having haid.

**The above five prohibitions are agreeable of its hukum by almost all ulama’ (scholars). The next few prohibitions, ulama’ have different thoughts of its hukum. It has a long explanation, hence I’ll just type down the points.

6. Reading al-Quran

7. Holding al-Quran

8. Iktikaf

 

Activities that are allowed while having haid:

1. Cut fingernails and hair.

2. Attend salah Aidilfitri and Aidiladha. It is highly encouraged for women with haid to witness the salah but not performing the salah.

3. Showing act of love towards her husband.

4. Listening to the Quran and learn it.

5. Recite zikr and any daily prayers.

6. Sujud when she heard ayah Sajadah.

 

Why our Imaan goes down when having haid?

1. Lack of Knowledge

One may feel that her Iman is decreasing due to her limited knowledge of ‘ibadah. She limits the word “‘ibadah” to a specific kind of ‘ibadah like wudhu (ablution), salah, iktikaf, fasting and pilgrimage. However, ‘ibadah is not as narrow as that. According to one of the earliest great scholars of Islam, ibn Taimiyah, ‘ibadah is everything that Allah SWT loves and redha, be it words or actions, zahir (manifest) or batin (hidden).

By understanding the meaning of ‘ibadah, women are not being deprived of the opportunity to perform ‘ibadah while they are having haid. Their bond with Allah SWT will remain and won’t be cut off.

There are so many actions that are considered as ‘ibadah besides salah, zakah, fasting and hajj. Speaking truthfully, performing amanah, dutifulness to parents, reconcile relationships (silaturahim), keeping to promises, send out warnings and prohibitting makruf (evil), doing good toward neighbours, orphans, the poor and musafir (travellers), are all examples of ‘ibadah.

Ultimately, abiding to Allah SWT’s commandments are ‘ibadah and distancing ourselves from what Allah SWT prohibits are also an ‘ibadah. Therefore, haid is not an excuse to leave our ‘ibadah to Allah SWT.

2. Neglecting Zikr

Due to the lack of knowledge, a lot of women who are having haid will keep themselves occupy with matters that will make them go further from Allah SWT. Failing to remember Allah SWT is one of the reasons for the Imaan to fall.

The role of zikr for the heart is as important as water for fishes. What will happen to a fish in the absence of water? The state of the heart that is empty with zikr is like a fish in a place without water. Sooner or later, it will die.

Rasulullah SAW likened a heart that is empty from zikr to a dead person. He said:

“The likeness of the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not remember Him is like that of a living to a dead person.” (Bukhari)

There’s no prohibition for women with haid to zikr to Allah SWT and to mention His names, and also there’s no prohibition to du’a to Allah SWT. And because of that, women need to constantly remember Allah during haid so that their Imaan won’t decrease.

3. Doing Sins

There are two reasons why a sin sparks – leaving what Allah SWT commands and doing what Allah SWT prohibits. Sins will have a bad influence towards our Imaan because Imaan will rise with obedience and will fall with maksiat (vice). The same goes to the Imaan of a woman with haid. Once she stops from zikr to Allah SWT and leaves Allah SWT commandments, her nafs will bring her to evil and sins. A bad nafs will damage her Imaan until it weakens her from doing good deeds.

Due to this, women with haid should avoid from doing any kind of sins. For example, being proud of herself, arrogance, lying, khianah (backstabbing/backbiting), zalim (cruelty), stinginess and consuming wealth that are haram. This is important because being in a state of haid doesn’t permit us from doing sinful acts. What more doing a sin that will drag us to doing more and bigger sins.

“Beware of minor sins. Verily, they gather upon a man until he is destroyed.” [Recorded by Ahmad]

Besides the three factors above, the fall in Iman while haid also comes from external influences such as syaitan’s temptations, busy running after dunya, and also companies with bad akhlak (attitude).

 

Ways to Increase Imaan While Haid

1. Accepting Fate

Women have to accept wholeheartedly this fitrah (innate nature) that Allah SWT has placed in them. Women should not regret or have bad thoughts about Allah SWT. Allah SWT will not purposely decrease women’s Imaan by decreeing haid in them.

There was once Aisyah cried because her haid came during hajj period, Rasulullah SAW asked her “Are you having haid?” And Aisyah asnwered “Yes.” Rasulullah said “This is a matter Allah has decreed for all the daughters of Adam.” [Bukhari]

Haid is a woman’s fitrah just like the other fitrah that He has planned for women like being pregnant (hamil), nifas, and breastfeeding. We need to redha with what Allah SWT has decreed upon us as an ‘ibadah and we need to be sincere towards Him.

2. Correct Understanding

The second way to strengthen Iman is by correcting understanding that haid is a holiday for women from doing all kind of ‘ibadah Allah said:

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Az-Zariyat: 56)

This means that our main task as human being is to perform ‘ibadah to Allah SWT only, and hence there won’t be a moment whereby we are escaped from any kind of ‘ibadah. Women with haid are only free from doing specific ‘ibadah like salah and fasting, but there are many other ‘ibadah that she can practise.

Every ‘ibadah that a Muslimah does with ikhlas (sincerity) will strengthen her Imaan because Iman increases when her faith increases and when she does a lot of ‘amal ‘ibadah.

3. Occupy Oneself with Obedience

Woman with haid especially should devote herself with obedience. This is because, Imaan increases with obedience and decreases with maksiat (vice). A person who occupies herself with obedience will not think of doing maksiat. Likewise, if a person does not occupy herself with ‘amal soleh, she will be occupying herself with thoughts and actions that are negative.

Every person has been planted with nafs ammarah bis suu’ (nafs that encourages towards evil). The nafs will encourage people towards evil except for those who Allah SWT has blessed with rahmah. However, women who devote herself towards obedience, nafs mutmainnah, which is a calm nafs in every person, will prevent from the encouragement of nafs ammarah bis suu’.

 

Prescribed Actions for Women with Haid

‘Ibadah can be categorised into 5 types: Heart, Physical, Wealth, Tongue and Mind.

1. Heart

The main action that can be done by women with haid is actions of the heart (qalbiyyah). Women can perform this ‘ibadah at any point of time without any limitations.

(a) Immerse in Sincerity

It is important to have an intention (niyyah) that is sincere and a sincere niyyah in the heart has a very high placing. A very good deed can be small in value because of niyyah. And likewise, a small good deed can be high in value because of niyyah.

(b) Being Watched by Allah SWT

Knowing that we are always being watched by Allah SWT is a very effective barrier from doing maksiat and sins. This is because when a person feels that she is always under the supervision of Allah SWT, will realise that whatever she does in this dunya, are being watched by Allah SWT. When she wants to perform a sin, automatically she will stop herself from doing it.

“Do they not know that Allah knows what they keep secret and what they make known?” (al-Baqarah : 77)

“Behold, two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings) learn (and noted them), one sitting on the right and one on the left. Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).” (Qaf : 17-18)

(c) Contemplate Own Actions

Many work hard to prepare themselves for old age. But have they prepare themselves for a life with no limitation in akhirah (hereafter)? Have they contemplate on their actions? Only a smart person prepares herself for the eternal life.

Women with haid still have opportunities to perform ‘ibadah like ‘ibadah of the heart, tongue, and any parts of the body. To love Allah, to fear Allah, to hope from Allah, tawakkal to Allah, and knowing that we are always being watched by Allah, these are examples of ‘ibadah of the heart that not only women with haid, but without haid too can practise.

Umar al-Khattab says: “Judge yourselves before you are judged, evaluate yourselves before you are evaluated and be ready for the greatest investigation (the Day of Judgement)”

Ibn Qayyim suggests contemplate on own actions is by evaluating on the consequences first before deciding to do it or leave it.

(d) Mujahadah (Strive to Fight Your Desires)

Mujahadah is a need especially for women with haid. This is because, generally women are lazier when period comes. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani says that mujahadah is the effort in striving to stop the nafs from doing things that have no value, is an ‘ibadah.

(e) Place Niyyah in Daily Affairs

A Muslim who sleeps or eats with the niyyah to increase her obedience for Allah SWT so that she could wake up in the middle of the night and pray tahajjud, will be rewarded for her actions because of her niyyah.

There are many other ‘ibadah of the heart that can be done during haid. For example putting hope in Allah, tawakal, and fearing Allah SWT.

2. Tongue

(a) General Zikr (Zikr Mutlak)

Zikr mutlak can be done without any limitation to time, total, and specific occasions. Anyone can do it at any point of time – day & night, on land, sea & air, while walking or sitting, when poor or rich, when healthy or sick, in seclusion or in the middle of a crowd.

Some of the zikr are:

i. Tasbih: سبحان الله (Subhaanallah)

ii. Tahmid: الحمدلله (Alhamdulillah)

iii. Takbir: الله أكبر (Allahuakbar)

iv. Tahlil: لااله الا الله (Laa ilaha illallah)

It is encouraged for women with haid to read:

سبحان الله ,الحمدلله  ,الله أكبر ,لااله الا الله

“The Most Exalted, The Most Praiseworthy, The Most Mighty, there’s no God except for Allah”

Rasulullah SAW categorises this zikr as charity because this recitation consists of ajr (reward), same goes to charity. Both have the same characteristics and reciting that zikr is charity to the doer herself.

From my own experience, for you to have the habit of zikr, you need to do it every single day. “Scold” yourself when you realised that you’re humming and singing to yourself, and do zikr again.

(b) Situational Zikr (Zikr Muqayyad)

Zikr muqayyad is limited to time, total, and place. This type of zikr is being done after salah fardh,norning and evening zikr, zikr while going to sleep and waking up from sleep, etc. Since there are too many to list down, I’ll just leave you with an app called “Fortress of the Muslim”. It is also available in book form.

(c) Saying Good Things

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said: “By Allah, besides Whom no god exists, nothing deserves a long prison sentence more than my tongue.” He also used to say: “O tongue, say good and you will profit; desist from saying evil things and you will be safe; otherwise you will find only regret.”

“Good words are charity” [Bukhari]

Examples of good words that can be considered as charity are amar maaruf nahi munkar (enjoining good, forbidding evil) and giving salaam towards Muslims.

3. Physical

Women with haid are forbidden from doing physical ‘ibadah like salah and fasting, but they are not prohibitted from doing other physical ‘ibadah. Some of the few:

(a) Smile

“Your smile towards your brother is charity” (Tirmidhi)

Besides smiling being a charitable act, smiling also is an attribute of optimism and hope. Stress can also be avoided if a person loves to smile.

(b) Providing a Helping Hand

Some ways to provide a helping hand that are mentioned by Rasulullah SAW in hadith:

i. Helping someone to board a vehicle

ii. Showing directions to someone who lost her way

iii. Providing drinking water

iv. Give out loan to people in need (easing someone’s burden)

(c) Attending Majlis ‘Ilm

‘Ilm (beneficial knowledge) will bring someone from darkness to light. ‘Ilm is important in achieving happiness in this dunya and akhirah. Besides attaining ajr(reward) when attending majlis ‘ilm, it can also lessen the mood swing of a woman with haid. This is because ‘ilm can balance between rational and emotions.

(d) Obedience to the Husband

“If a woman prays her five (daily prayers), fasts her month (Ramadaan), guards her chastity and obeys her husband, it will be said to her: Enter Paradise by whichever of the gates of Paradise you wish.” [Recorded by Ahmad]

(e) Loving the Husband

“Do all things except jima’ [Muslim]

(f) Avoid doing things that are useless

“Part of the perfection of someone’s Islam is his leaving alone that which does not concern him.” [Recorded by Tirmidhi]

4. Wealth

‘Ibadah with the wealth includes zakah, infak, and donating part of your wealth that you own.

5. Aql (Mind)

‘Ibadah with aql (al-ibadah al-aqliyyah) is an ‘ibadah that makes use of the aql to dwell on the mighty and greatness of Allah SWT. Thinking and contemplating on the proofs that Allah SWT has created like the sky, earth, stars and human beings can increase our Imaan.