LOOKING AT POTENTIAL SPOUSES by Karimah bint Dawoud, Muslim Chaplain & Bell Being Writer
I have sugested through my own expereince to look at how a potential spouse prays, should you get the opportunity or get your mahram to see how a brother who is a potential husband prays. This suggestion was met with the usual ignorant objections to I decided to revise some of the books I study to find the appropriate hadith to back up my opinion.I also got feedback from sistars who said they had asked their dad to look at how a potential husband prays over time.
In his book “the Quest for Love and Mercy ” by Muhammad Mustapha al Jibaly , he says referring to looking at the person who is being courted, he speaks with reference to men looking at woman but obviously in Islam the opposite women looking at men for the purpose of marriage is also permissible, although I am sure there would be some who would disagree.
It is prohibitive to stare at the opposite sex if the person is not mahram to you(father brother, paternal maternal uncle not uncle in law). Looking at a person with the purpose of marrying them is an exception, now at this stage I would have to add, after being taught by Dr Jamal and Imam Raza ,at the Muslim college in Ealing and the Shariah Council, that “the purpose of seeking to marrying someone” and ” definitely going to marry them ” are different.
Having meetings for the purpose of getting to know someone is not the same as a proposal being offered and the proposal being accepted, this is called khitbah/engagement. After this offered and acceptance then the two people should speak exclusively to each other ,another brother cannot propose to this sister after she has accepted a proposal until that proposal may not go through. A sister cannot accept another proposal once she has accepted one proposal.
Back to looking at potential spouses, this doesn’t mean just looking at men or women thinking “Oh I fancy him or fancy her, maybe I will go and talk to her one day.” This is idle gazing a the opposite sex.
The concept of courting has been lost to the last few generations but a thing familiar to my parents, anyone over 60 knows about “courting” it is also an Islamic habit though some cultures frown on it, it is mentioned in the Haddith and a Quest for Love and Mercy.
“Courting” is a form of dating without physical contact, meeting in public places that are witness by other, getting to know each other with a view to finding out more about a person you may or may not want to marry.
The haddith mention courting
Abu Humayd As Sa’idi reported that prophet Muhammad said” when one of you courts a woman, it is permissible to look at her if he only looks because he seeks to marry her…even if she doesn’t know her is watching her “
Recorded by Ahmad and At-Tabarani in Al Kabir, verified authentic by sheikh Albani (as sahihah 97)
Many people put on a good face the first few times especially if the meeting is in the sheikhs office in teh masjid, but put them in a restaurant or lecture theatre and thing maybe different, you can see if they lower their gaze, is the brother chivalrous; opening doors, being attentive ,etc, but that is story for another day.
“Queen Victoria’s Handsome Indian Muslim Connection” by Karimah bint Dawoud, muslim chaplain & well being writer.
I am a big fan of queen Victoria and the good things she did all over the Empire, one of them included providing free education to working class boys and girls and was a major part of what has helped us, by the grace of Allah, as Muslim women and working class boys to read, much to the dismay of some men.
I love period dramas, I love the costumes, the modesty of the Victorians had to have an Islamic influence.
After spending a whole year at Leighton House Museum ,as the first muslim artist in residence, the fusion and similarities I saw , while I was there between the Victorians and Islam was undeniable, I even to this day feel that Lord Leighton could have converted to Islam though no one there would say that just yet, just as the story of Abdul and Victoria had been kept a secret from the public for many years. Queen Victoria married her sweetheart Prince Albert who died relatively young, however for most of her mature life her closest confidante was a handsome Mulsim man called Abdul Karim from the Agra area of India, where the famous wonder of the worlds , the Taj Mahal stands majestically.
There is a book called “Victoria and Abdul” which has only just recently been released which I will inshallah buy and review, so watch this space closely, until such time here is a brief synopsis from Surefire Hubpages, which i have tweaked slightly to get it inline with a bit more of an middle way perspective.
Her very name is synonymous with the empire which has no parallel in history for grandeur and power.
While the British Empire had been growing steadily since long, it was during the time of Victoria that it reached its zenith, spreading over all the corners of the world with the sun never setting on its possessions.
And it was during Queen Victoria’s reign of nearly 64 years, that Britain saw an unprecedented advance in arts, science and industry, making theVictorian Era, the golden period of Britain.
While the center of this super power lay in London, its heart was in India, the Crown Jewel of the British Empire.
Though India had come under the British Influence as long back as the 18th Century, it was under an English trading company, the East India Company.
It was by the famous 1857declaration of Victoria that India came under the direct rule of the Crown, taking the British Empire to its zenith of might and glory and making Victoria, the Queen Empress of India.
The Indian Mystique
All through the known history, India has attracted outsiders. If India’s vast natural resources and strategic importance lured empire-builders and adventurers, India’s rich heritage of art, science, literature and learning fascinated the West which looked upon this ancient land as the embodiment of the mysterious East.
It was perhaps this mystique of India or because it had made her an empress in the true sense of the word that Queen Victoria had an affinity with India and all things Indian.
This was probably why she took an instant liking to an Indian manservantAbdul Karim.
Abdul Karim was from the Taj Mahal city Agra and had come to Victoria as a gift on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of her reign in 1887. He was to serve the queen as a waiter but soon this personable young man of 24. with suave manners became her special favorite.
The Queen’s Master
Meteoric Rise of Abdul Karim
The Queen liked Abdul Karim so much that in no time he had progressed from the Queen’s dining table to her parlor where he gave her lessons in Urduand taught her Indian customs and manners.
That the Queen was very much taken up with her Indian tutor is apparent from what she has written about him: “He is a very strict master and a perfect gentleman.”
Recognizing her favorite’s clerical skills, she made Abdul Karim theQueen’s Munshi (Clerk). He was to become the first Personal Indian Clerk to the Queen, and later herpersonal Indian Secretary. As her confidant, Munshi Abdul Karim was privy to her official correspondence regarding Indian affairs on which the Queen is believed to have sought his advice.
As a favored companion, Abdul Karim was always at the Queen’s side. And much to the annoyance of the Queen’s English staff, Victoria and Abdul Karim often talked in Urdu, foiling the attempts of those who would very much have liked to eavesdrop on what was going on between them.
With the change in his status, came the change in Abdul Karim’s residence. The Queen moved him from the servants quarters, giving him cottages in the ground of royal palaces at Balmoral, Windsor and Osborne House. She assisted him in bringing his family to Britain where they lived at the royal expense.
The Taj Mahal
Attempt to Topple Abdul Karim
Such an unprecedented rise in power of a mere servant and that too from a non-white colony was bound to raise hackles of the Queen’s English staff. At one time they threatened to resign in protest. Victoria ignored them. Other courtiers also were not happy with this state of affairs and attempts were made to discredit Abdul Karim with the Queen.
As the Queen’s secretary and adviser about Indian affairs Abdul Karim was acquainted with confidential official information. He was also friendly with an Indian living in Britain who was connected with the home rule movement in India. So Abdul Karim’s detractors alleged that he could be passing on such information to his Indian friend. However, the Queen refused to believe this, saying that she had full confidence in Abdul Karim’s loyalty.
Later events were to prove that Queen’s trust in Abdul Karim was not misplaced:
Abdul Karim never talked or wrote about his association with the Queen even after her death. And he surrendered or burned all the letters the Queen wrote to him – something which she did almost daily, signing them as Your loving Mother or, Your Affectionate Mother.
In another attempt to pull down Abdul Karim from grace, an official said to the Queen that her favorite was lying about his origins when he said that his father was a doctor in India. But the Queen refused to believe him.
While the Queens dismissal of the accusation may have been because of her faith in her protege, what Abdul Karim said was essentially true.
Actually what Abdul Karim said was that his father was a Hakim, a practitioner of traditional system of medicine. And this was a fact. Abdul Karim’s father indeed was such a physician for a jail in Agra, India. Abdul Karim’s adversary either ignored or didn’t know the fact that traditional systems of healing have been part of the Indian culture since ancient times.
Order of the Indian Empire
Rare Royal Favors
Unconcerned with what was said to her by everybody from her kitchen staff to courtiers, Victoria continued to shower favors upon Abdul Karim till the last moment of her life.
When Victoria commissioned the Austrian painter Rudolf Swoboda to paint her favorites, naturally Abdul Karim was one of them. Swoboda painted him two times – in 1888 and 1889.
If that was not enough Victoria conferred upon Abdul Karim a rare honor.
She made him the Companion of the Order of Indian Empire (CIE).
In 1878 Victoria had founded theOrder of Indian Empire to honor people of outstanding merit who had served in India.
These orders were not lightly bestowed. Only persons of outstanding merit in their field of endeavor were chosen for this attention which carried high prestige in the British Empire.
By making Abdul Karim a CIE, Victoria had made him stand at par with persons way above him in caliber and stature. For instance, the eminent Indian scientist Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose was a CIE. So was Munshi Abdul Karim.
To say that such inordinate favors incensed the court and the palace circles would be an understatement. All wanted to get rid of Abdul Karim but were helpless as long as Victoria was there. And the queen knew this.
That is why she wanted to make arrangements to provide for her favorite while she was around. For this, Victoria instructed Lord Cross,the Secretary of State for India, to give a piece of land in Agra to Abdul Karim. This could only be done through Lansdowne, the Indian viceroy, who was not too eager to carry out the Queen’s wishes. He tried to delay the matter as long as he could but had to bow down to the wishes of the Queen Empress at last, though with ill grace.
The End of an Era
It was not long after this that Queen Victoria died at the age of 82, on 22 January 1901.
An era had ended and with it had ended the tenure of Abdul Karim in Britain.
As expected, Abdul Karim got his marching orders for which he must have been prepared. However before leaving he had a wish: He wanted to view the body of the Queen before the casket was closed and to be part of the funeral procession (see video). Both wishes were granted by Edward VII who had become the new king after his mother’s death.
Abdul Karim returned to Agra. But his end was not too far off. He died 8 year later in 1909 at the age of 46, taking with him the memories of the time he spent with queen Victoria.
Personally I think that they were married, I do not belive a practicing Christian like Queen Victoria would spend do much time with practicing Muslim man and not be married, they were inseparable, but that my dears is another story inshallah.
Changes in Lifestyle are Needed, by Karimah bint Dawoud, Muslim Chaplain & Well Being Writer.
There comes a point in most, if not all our lives, where we realize that we are going to have to take a good hard look at our lifestyle, as we approach the big 40, it is sometimes hard to acknowledge that life begins at 40, that’s what they say.
I had fantasies of running along the beach in a pink tracksuit like Angela Basset in the beginning of the film “When Stella Got Her Groove Back”, that’s her on the left and remember I said fantasy, but the culture of Muslim women, by and large, born Muslim women is not about getting your groove back at 40, it’s about settling down into fatness , middle age spread and being a granny. Many colonialised women, migrants to Europe and the UK have got their husband and have given up on looking good, using the abaya, the large full length garment we wear as an excuse to cover up a multitude of sins of over eating. There are sometimes emotional and mental health factors like depression,comfort eating as well as laziness and complacency that are the reasons for this big issues.
Yes brothers and sistars , over eating is a sin, it’s not part of Islam.
In the Quran Allah says in chapter 7 Al Araf, The Heights, verse 31,
“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.”
About three years ago I went to have hijaama , the wet cupping therapy and at the same time had a nutritional blood test that basically revealed that I am celiac , allergic to wheat and have leaky gut syndrome. I was given a very elaborate diet sheets that said I should eat quail, pheasant and venison…..oh I must be related to royalty or Napoleon at least, with that diet!
I made a few changes but nothing significant, started eating a bit more fish and now I had great excuse to stop eating that rubbish called khubz at Arabic celebrations.
Let me back up my frankness with this wonderful hadith that our beloved prophet , salah al alaihi wa salem never ate white flour.
HADITH WHITE FLOUR
Narrated Abu Hazim: I asked Sahl bin Sad, “Did Allah’s Apostle ever eat white flour?” Sahl said, “Allah’s Apostle never saw white flour since Allah sent him as an Apostle till He took him unto Him.” I asked, “Did the people have (use) sieves during the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle?” Sahl said, “Allah’s Apostle never saw (used) a sieve since Allah sent him as an Apostle until He took him unto Him,” I said, “How could you eat barley unsifted?” he said, “We used to grind it and then blow off its husk, and after the husk flew away, we used to prepare the dough (bake) and eat it.” Sahih Bukhari and Tirmidhi
At this point I need to tell you a great reason why academic education is important or at least having the confidence to read , question and cross reference. This means to do your own research on things and compare the sources of the information you find to see what the common thread of thought is.
On my diet sheet I am not supposed to eat red meat or even chicken but I was , as I said I made these little changes but over the last few years little changes have brought me to the realization that I need to make big changes in my diet, for the benefit of my own soul.
Being unhealthy, in pain, however ill health, manifest itself in our life, causes us to underperform in whatever we do, whether it’s doing our prayers, good deeds, playing with our children or being sexually active with our marital partner….ill health affects all these things.
I suffer with arthritis in many forms which is related to gout, I was watching Channels 4 TV , a wonderful new program called Food Hospital and saw that a food remedy for gout was to cut out meat and some sea food products, here we go another reminder.
Islamically the prophet, salah l alaihi wa salem did not eat meat every day, not just because of poverty but also because of health. According to Islamic medicine, beef , should not be eaten except by people who intend to active manual work, but that another story not going into that today.
In an effort to rectify my health I am now forcing myself to be much more disciplined about what I eat.
I start with warm water and honey and some sort herb, then I do some exercises to stretch, then fruit and vegetable juice with aloe vera.
I am currently taking slippery elm powder and milk.
I am not saying that my way is the right way or the only way, but I am saying that we cannot keep making the same mistakes us our forefathers by eating diets that are colonized by the eating habits of cultures that are not Islamic.
White bread for example, is from the Romans who invented the refining of flour, white flour is not a traditional Arabic or Islamic thing, if you go into the mountains the people still eat whole meal, it does make it any more authentic that the cheap white flour pancakes and hoobs are made by hand, it’s still unhealthy and unIslamic.
Since I cut out bread and a lot of flour products I have actually lost 1 and 1/2 stone since January of this year, Alhamdulillah. I am not an angel or a saint , I have a bit of cake every so often but rather than buy cheap shop cakes I get together with a friend and we make nice homemade cakes, eat a few then make sure we share the rest, give away to neighbors etc.
And speaking of knowing your neighbours……..lets save that for another day.
Slippery Elm Powder by Karimah bint Dawoud, muslim chaplain & well being writer.
This powdery herb is a little miracle for delicate stomachs, there has been a bug going round that I cant ignore, and for the body to heal it self sometimee you need to take the stress off it but stopping animal products and also giving it a hand, sliperly elm is a food and a healer, it is what is know as a mucilage which menas it produce a sort of healthy slime that travels through the gut healing and removing anything not very good.
There are diffrent qualites of slippery elm and for wheat intolerant folks like myself avoid the ones that are thinned down with flour, chick the ingredients or buy from a health shop that sells it pure.
Add 1 table spoon of the powder to a cup with cold milk, I use soya and make into a paste, while boiling 3/4 cup of milk, add hot milk to the paste, slowly stirring in and then add a spoon of good honey.
Personally I add things like tumeric and ginger for added anti inflammatory purposes.
Slippery Elm Bark is a herb derived from the Elm (Ulmus) family. Native to Canada and the US, it can be found growing in the Appalachian Mountains. The inner bark is collected from trees which are at least 10 years old, and is mainly powdered for therapeutic use.
So what is slippery elm used for?
Soothing Slippery Elm was traditionally powdered and one of its main uses for Native Americans was as a poultice for boils, ulcers and for wounds in general. Other common uses included being used for colds or fevers and to soothe an irritated digestive system – one of its main purposes today.
I have a very delicate stomach, not in a bourgeois colonialised way, but in an I’m allergic to wheat kind of way, bit of a sickly kid kind of way and fasting always scares me.My doctor’s has even said that because of my weak stomach, that they have wanted to shove a camera down there for years, that I dont have to fast.
That’s not an option for me, I would feel left out, its not the same; fasting your eyes, ears, tongue, I enjoy going through the hardship, etc and feeling the sense of achievement by Allah’s grace at the end of the day…..its like spiritual mountain climbing.
slippery elm tree
I have found a solution in this wonderful natural herb called ” SLIPPERY ELM”
I have a mug of this at suhour pre fast time with hot soya milk , cinnamon, ginger and honey , then I eat my swiss bircheur muelsi. You can buy it in health shops , its a bit pricey£49 per kilo but a little goes a long way and you can buy it in 10 gramme packets.
Not many in the western world are aware of the medicinal herb slippery elm but it is one of the most powerful herbal medicines in the world.
Famed naturopath and herbalist Dr. John R. Christopher wrote, “Slippery Elm is one of the most valuable medicines in the herbal world.” While I am not a trained herbalist, I’ve been studying herbal medicine and have been a user of Slippery Elm for over 25 years. I can testify of its effectiveness from personal experience.
So, what are the health benefits of Slippery Elm? Well, before I go over some of its benefits, let’s give some basic botanical information that you may find useful.
For millenia, the herb known as Slippery Elm has been used as both food and medicine in many civilizations including Native American, Ayurvedic, traditional Chinese and even in Western medicine. Its botanical name is Ulmus fulva and is a member of the ulmaceae elm family.
Some of its common names are Slippery Elm, red elm, elm bark, moose elm, American elm, sweet elm, and rock elm. Its most common name is, of course, Slippery Elm.
Its identifying characteristics are it comes from a large tree, 50 to 65 feet high that is one to four feet thick. The bark is reddish-brown with the bark deeply furrowed in a strait perpendicular manner that is very rough.
The innermost layer that is next to the wood is white with a fibrous texture. The powder is very light brown in color (see the image below). Its taste is plain, distinctive and mucilaginous.
Its therapeutic action is highly diversified including, but not limited to, nutritive, emollient, demulcent, tonic and expectorant. Slippery Elm is truly one of the most valuable herbal medicines, …no not just “herbal medicines” but one of the most valuable medicines in the world. Period.
Slippery Elm Health Benefits
Slippery Elm is one of nature’s best demulcent (soothing) herbs. This humble but remarkable herb can soothe, disperse and help the rapid healing of a host of ailments. It is especially helpful to irritated and inflamed flesh, like ulcers. It helps heal stomach ulcers and does so with a remarkable soothing, unlike cayenne pepper. I love cayenne pepper and its health benefits are nothing short of astonishing but cayenne will never be accused of as being a “soothing” herb. Paradoxically, cayenne helps heal ulcers as well but not to the smooth soothing of Slippery Elm.
Slippery Elm can help soothe sun burn as well as simultaneously heal. It is soothing and healing to mucous memgbranes internally or externally with wounds, chapped skin, or as mentioned burns.
When taken internally, it is highly nutritive and healing for all inflammatory conditions of the stomach, intestines, colon, and urinary organs. When combined with psyllium seed, it is a very potent drink that helps to evacuate the bowels and thus helps in relieving even the most persistent constipation.
As it is teeming with nutrients, it can be taken as a beverage or gruel for babies, the elderly or those suffering from stomach problems. The Slippery Elm gruel, while not delicious to the taste (it’s very bland tasting) is a valuable remedy for lung hemorrhage and other pulmonary complaints.
The demulcent and mucilaginous nature is so gentle that the powder can be retained and assimilated by even the most sick or delicate stomachs — even in babies.
For those with a weak stomach and can’t hold anything down, Slippery Elm will be well received and not ejected out. In such an instance, it should be taken as a gruel with the powder mixed with water (the more purified the water, the better).
Here is a list of some of its multi-faceted medicinal uses:
Gangrenous wounds or sores
Skin eruptions like boils, carbuncles, abscesses
Poison ivy (will relieve and heal when used as a poultice)
Burns, e.g., sunburn, regular burns, any kind of burns really
FOODS OF THE NOBEL QURAN AND SUNNAH-CELERY- (karafs)
by Karimah bint Dawoud, muslim chaplain & well being writer
There is a haddith, though not authentic but still mentioned by Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah in Medicine of the Prophet, the haddith says that the Messenger of Allah, salah al alahi wa salem said” whoever eats karafs and sleeps upon it, sleeps with good breathe and is safe from the pain of molars and toothache”.
However the truth is that the garden variety of celery does sweetness the breathe and if the stems are wound around the neck it is beneficial for toothache…hmmmm interesting.
it is in Ayurvedic and Islamic medicine hot and dry , though some say moist, it opens the liver and the spleen, it is a diuretic and breaks stones in the body,
Celery juice helps the body reduce its toxin level and is thus responsible for reducing the occurrence of kidney stones and gallbladder stones. These stones inhibit the functioning of the organ and may cause infections or diseases to develop within these organs The benefits of celery juice are associated with its varied nutritional content. Celery contains Vitamins B2, B6, C and K among others. There are also many other nutrients apart from vitamins. Iron, folic acid, potassium and calcium are found in celery. Celery juice has been used as a natural remedy for many years. Because it is a natural product, an individual can consume it without having any adverse health reactions.
The calming effect of celery has been linked to the fact that it helps to reduce stress hormones which are responsible for causing stress. The nervous system is said to be benefited by consuming celery. Celery juice is known to help with cleaning the body of toxins. Toxins often accumulate in the gall bladder and the kidneys causing stones to develop in these areas. The presence of these toxins may also harm the liver which is a vital organ of the body..
Celery is used for its strong stimulating and beneficial effect on a weak sexual system, but as is usual with plant therapies the normally active person does not have to fear an uncontrollable upsurge. Plant therapy tends to make the system normal. Like beet there is also a general health tonic effect.
A tablespoonful of honey in celery juice, sipped slowly, will very effectively reduce the appetite if taken before a meal, and makes a delightful drink. You can take the same mixture as a nightcap when it will help you to relax into a soothing and restful sleep.
Those who take the juice who have in the past suffered from a tendency towards stones in the gall bladder or the kidneys usually find that these painful deposits do not form again. It seems likely that this effect is related to the anti-arthritic properties of the juice.
“Heavenly Bites, the best of muslim home cooking.”
by Karimah bint Dawoud, muslim chaplain & well being writer
Alhamdulilah, all sold out on Amazon and its their number 1 halal food book internationally MASHALLAH!
“Heavenly Bites” is the first multinational Muslim cookbook that features the best of Muslim cooking to be found from Morocco to Bangladesh, served up by Karimah Bint Dawood, the TV presenter and cook and convert to Islam. With the ever-growing popularity of “Eastern” cooking in the Western world, this book assembles together some of the best-loved dishes, featuring 50 recipes for soups, salads, snacks and starters, smoothies, main courses and sweets.
If you want to expand your cooking skills or learn some new dishes from your Muslim neighbours or you simply want to learn more about the international tastes of the Muslim world, then this is the ideal cookbook for you.
About the Author
With an eclectic Asian, African, Scottish and English heritage, Karimah is widely travelled and well-versed in global cuisines and cultures. She has worked as a make-up artist for Gucci, Revlon and Bride magazine, and has travelled and worked as a fashion model around the world, during which she developed her interest in world cooking. After converting to Islam, Karimah put down her brushes and white stilettos for a while and picked up the henna cone and the Qur’an. She is now a well-known veil-wearing cook who has presented her cooking on Islam Channel’s “Ramadan Bites” and in her forthcoming “Heavenly Bites” on Ramadan TV, both on Sky.
by Karimah bint Dawoud, muslim chaplain & well being writer.
Sabir(arabic) or aloe vera.
Abu Dawoud related in Kitab Al Marasil, from hadith of Qays bin Rafi Al Qaysi,that the Messenger of Allah, salah l a alahi wa salem, said, ” in two bitter things there is healing, aloe and thuffa”.
And in the Sunan of Abu Dawud from the hadith of Umm Salma, the Prophet Muhammad , salah la alaihi wa salem, entered my house and asked me ” what is this , Umm Salma?” I replied “It is aloes, oh Messenger of Allah,there is no scent in it.”He said, “It lights up the face, so do not put it on except at night”, and he forbid it to be used on the face during the day. Abu Dawud, in book of Talaq 46.
It can be used as an ointment with rosewater and applied on the forehead and temples for headache, its also good for the brain and optic nerve.
It restores appetite, good for ulcers of nose and mouth, sharpens the intellect strengthens the heart and purges black bile and melancholy.
After drinking honey and water I leave it to go down for about 15 minutes then make juice, today I had celery, pineapple and kiwi with a splash (30ml) of organic aloe vera juice)