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December 24, 2004
Hanging On A Glance - Part II

by Justoju


This piece is not an auto-biographical story about ME or my experiences. I am not Huda. Huda's personality and strengths are not mine. Huda is a fictitious character, much too perfect to be real, and if her account seems credible it is because that is how many 'religiously motivated' girls feel when they are in the situation described in the story. Whatever the reader's personal feelings towards Huda (regarding her expectations, reactions, etc) please note that they should not be extended to this novice writer who is, ultimately, simply experimenting with fiction.


(Author's Note: This is a continuation of the 'Marriage Considerations' series and is the fifth installment. Earlier installments of the series can be found by clicking on the 'Qalam's Crossing' column link on the left side of the Hidaya homepage.)

All of a sudden, something caught my eye. I saw something that did not seem to belong. Something that stood out. Something that was entirely different from everything and everyone in the hall, and that looked as out of place there as I felt.

A beard.
At least 5 inches.

I was so ecstatic to see some physical reminder, some sign, of the habeeb’s Sunnah, that for a long moment it didn’t even strike me that the beard belonged to a person. The person did not matter. It was the beard that entranced me and held my attention. It was the beard that offered me comfort and companionship. Out of all of the creations in the hall, it was the beard that seemed to be the most familiar object to me. All of a sudden, I wasn’t alone.

All at once, I realized that what I had been staring at was not a freestanding individual beard that had floated into the room. It was attached to a man. As my eyes went from focusing on the specific to the general, I all of a sudden saw the man who owned the beard.

I saw a man in his mid-twenties, tall, broad-shouldered and wearing a shalwar kamiz with a long rectangular ethnic scarf hanging around his neck. I saw a firm and resolved, yet humble walk. I saw a broad forehead that had a dark mark on its center—a mark born of years of sajdah upon hard floors. I saw a gaze that glided across the ground as its possessor moved forward. I saw a face, shining and calm, resolute yet gentle, smiling yet distant. I saw a man who had discovered his fitra.
All this I saw in a single glance;
In a single moment;
In a single breath.

I exhaled.

I could not trust my gaze to look away so I had to lower my entire head. The neck that controlled my head was more disciplined than the eyes that lay within it. My heart was racing. I could not allow myself to look again. The sight was too powerful. The noor was too overwhelming. I had to stay strong…

As the evening wore on I did everything in my power to avoid the young man. I did everything to stay away from him. I felt as if there were only three people in the room: him, myself, and everyone else. I felt very exposed. My feeling was more than mere shyness; it was a feeling of complete inadequacy and lack of preparation. I felt I wasn’t prepared to be in his presence.

I heard a relative talking about the groom’s family and it soon became clear that he was the groom’s younger brother. My mind could not help but think of how strong his character and discipline must be for him to practice his deen within the family he had. From the moment he had walked in he seemed different from everyone else, as if he were a completely different kind of creation. It amazed me that no one else noticed. It amazed me that no one else paid him any attention. It amazed me how to others he was just a minor detail in the scenery, yet to me he seemed to be the most important physical entity present. He was the main, central subject of the painting. How could his family, his friends, the rest of the hall, all the people that had seen him, NOT SEE what I had seen in that one glance?

The rest of the evening was a blur. The loneliness that I had felt prior to his arrival was now replaced with a deep and uneasy sense of being with him.

Near the end, the dance floor was opened up to the crowd. As more and more men and women got up to dance, my feeling of wanting to escape increased. I knew I was sitting in the middle of a collective effort that displeased Allah, Glorious and Exalted.
My Master.
How could I not be angry, not be upset, and not be horrified when my Master was being thus displeased? How could I just sit around as if all was well?
Without a conscious decision to do so, my hands grabbed my smooth misbaha from my purse, my body got up from its chair, and my legs carried me towards the door. I had to get out. I did not want to witness that which displeased Him. I did not want to have to bear witness for all this. I needed to get out.

I had forgotten my coat. The cold December air seemed to be the least of my fears.

As I pushed through the heavy doors, I felt the cool air slam against my face. I felt like I deserved the icy slap. I thanked Allah for it and hoped that it would cleanse me.

It was too dark outside to see anything save the stars.
I loved it when that happened.
I loved the feeling of having my eyes closed, of testing my complete trust of His Will and Protection. I loved letting go of my fear of sensory creation and just forcing myself to rely upon Him. This in-the-dark training in ‘reliance’ imprinted its lessons within me, strengthening my iman and tawakkul for the times when I would be surrounded by physical factors, delusions, that ‘seemed’ like direct causes and effects. I loved the dark and its ability to flood the many shades of gray with a uniform black. To drown out the visual distraction and allow clearer focus of the non-visual. Despite my love and collection of multi-colored abayas, it was my solid black one that always enticed me the most.
Perhaps I wanted to become the night.

As my eyes slowly became accustomed to the dark I noticed another figure near the far right corner of the building. As I squinted my eyes, trying to get a better look, I noticed that he was sitting on something. A mat. The figure was in qa’adah position and seemed to be finishing up his salah.
My breath stuck in my throat.
It was him.

I froze, not knowing what to do. I didn’t want to go inside, yet the prospect of staying outside with him did not inspire me with comfort either. As I deliberated as to what I should do, he suddenly got up, mat in hand, and noticed that he was not alone.

There was eye contact for barely a moment before both of us looked away, feeling embarrassed. Despite the awkwardness and embarrassment of the moment, there was a silent understanding between us. He had seen the misbaha in my hand and I had seen the mat in his. We both knew why the other was outside and what he/she had striven to escape. Refugees. We understood something about each other that defined each of our lives, yet was most often completely overlooked by others.
We understood each other’s purpose.

At practically the same time, we both turned around and hurriedly started walking down opposite directions of the street. I could not go inside and I could not stay near him. I did not care where I was going. I noticed that I had been clutching my misbaha and tried to allow the smooth wooden beads to calm me as they usually did.

The combination of repetition, mental concentration upon some ayah/quality of Allah’s, and my fingers’ slow and rhythmic moving through the beads always managed to soothe me and make the world around me slow down. It would make everything go in slow motion, at the speed of my fingers, at the rate of my heartbeat. I never kept count of my dhikr. I just let it flow, involving my entire body, breath, and soul in the rhythmic release of Remembrance.

But not so this time.

I tried concentrating on different things,
on the kalimah,
on “SubhanAllah”,
on “Alhamdulillah”,
on “AllahuAkbar”,
on “la hawla wa la qoowata illah billah”,
on “hasbunullahu wa ni’mal wakeel”,
trying one thing after another—yet my heart remained shut. I could not focus. I could not taste the sweetness of the dhikr, of the meaning of what I was saying. All of a sudden they were just words, lifeless, meaningless sounds that fell to the ground from my dumbly moving lips. They did not have enough sincerity and focus in them to rise above and carry me beyond the distractions of the duniya.
I could not focus.
I could no longer feel the ever-constant proximity of Allah.
All I could think about was him.

This had not happened in a long time.

Frightened and confused I rushed back towards the hall. I had to ask my parents to take me home. I had to renew my wudu and pray. I had to read some Quran. I had to try to do some damage control before my situation got worse.

My parents, being quite disgusted by the never-ending mixed dancing themselves, had been waiting for me so that they could leave and were more than happy to grab their belongings and rush home with me. I tried to listen to a Quranic recitation tape on my way home and focus on its meaning, but I could not focus.
I could only think of him.

At home, I tried praying, reciting, reading, listening, memorizing, EVERYTHING I could think of, yet I could not focus on anything.
I could only think of him.

My heart, once a living, beating dimension, expansive enough to hold the universe and its signs, now felt like a dense, constricted, heavy burden within my chest, only big enough to hold a single person—him.

I sat on my musallah and tried to make dua for nearness with Allah, Glorious and Exalted. I tried to focus on my purpose, on my reason for existence—but I couldn’t.
I could only think of him.

I sat and wept, confused and miserable. Why was this happening to me? I didn’t know his name, didn’t remember his facial features, yet I couldn’t get him out of my mind.
WHY was this happening?
How do I make his memory go away?
How do I regain my life of solitude and aloneness where the only other entity of consequence was the Gaze of Allah?

“Ya Rabb, make it be like before. I want to go back to when it was just You and me. When it was just You. I don’t want to share my heart with anyone else. I don’t want to share any of it with any creation.
My solitude was better than this.
I was never ‘really’ alone.
I had You.
That’s all I want, that’s all I need. You are enough. You are enough for me Ya Allah, You are enough, You are enough, You are enough Ya Allah, You are enough…You are enough…You are enough…You are…You are…You...You...You…”


To be continued...

of and relating to...
asif said

hahahaha...a beard....hey thats not much far from a trunk!

on December 24, 2004 12:43 AM
gillette said

you know how much i really hate long articles. but, mashallah you're best REALLY, REALLY, LONG post yet.

may allah ta'ala grant us hidaya.

on December 24, 2004 12:56 AM
gillette said

So why haven't you registered? Over 130 people from all over the
continent (yes, continent) have already registered! Here's a sampling of
"excuses" I've heard --

Excuse #1: The New Brunswick area is "too far" from me.
Answer: That's weak. We've had students from all over the country to join us for AlMaghrib classes - California, Texas, Ohio, Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Arizona, Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York and of course, New Jersey! And now, we have students coming even from other countries coming to NJ to take the
class, coming all the way from Canada.

Excuse #2: I don't know who AbdulBary Yahya is?
Answer: Read this - http://www.almaghrib.org/instructors.php

Excuse #3: I've never heard him speak before. How good is he?
Answer: Listen to this - http://durbah.almaghrib.org/audio/hlmhlmn.mp3

Excuse #4: AlMaghrib classes are so serious. I'm not ready yet.
Answer: We've had non-Muslims take the class and take their shahaadah, mashaa' Allah. Besides, this is a fundamental class on Purification and Prayer. If not now, then when will you be ready?

Excuse #5: I don't know that much about AlMaghrib Institute.
Answer: Visit - http://www.almaghrib.org/almaghrib.php
Click on the "What Is AlMaghrib?" Interactive Flash Tour :)

So I repeat, what's your excuse? Send them to me, I dare you! :)

* http://www.almaghrib.org/tpa2.php *

Imam Ahmed said: "It has been narrated in a hadith: 'There will come a time when people will perform the Prayer, but they will not perform
the Prayer.' I fear that that time is our time. If you were to perform the Prayer in 100 mosques, you would not find a single one where the Prayer is performed in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet and his Companions."

* http://www.almaghrib.org/tpa2.php *

Previous AlMaghrib Accredited Seminars sold out in New Jersey and Houston long before the actual event. Students had to be turned back due
to limited space. And if you delay your registration, Shaytaan will have one more chance at preoccupying you so that you are later unable to attend...

Give your excuses a black eye! Enroll Now!

Asalaamu `alaikum,


on December 24, 2004 12:58 AM
gillette said

seriously though, you could've split it much more evenly so yesterday's post wasn't really short, and today's really long.

on December 24, 2004 12:59 AM
Justoju said

Yes, I considered that, but her evening was best divided into periods of "pre-beard" and "post-beard". I had to end it yesterday at the point I did. If I had had one more consecutive day, I would have split todays entry into two (which was what I had originally planned).

I am hesitant to post stories like these with too much of a time lapse in between because it causes one to lose the flow and dynamic. The feeling of 'knowing' what the character is going through is lost.

on December 24, 2004 1:03 AM
Justoju said

and Br. Asif, please do not compare a beard kept for the sake of sunnah to a trunk. We are used to making comparisons like that because most of us dont see most beards as 'sacred'...which is understandable since most of the facial hair on this planet is kept for reasons other than sunnah. The sacredness of it depends upon its intention.

After all, Abu Jahl had a beard too...

Facial hair is just facial hair until the niyyah behind it changes from 'just looking good' to 'sunnah'--then it becomes sacred hair (regardless of its length). We need to be really careful not to joke about something that sacred.

"Grow sacred hair, not facial hair" :)

on December 24, 2004 1:04 AM
gillette said

"Abu Jahl had a beard too..."


i think this is the first time i've genuinely felt offended on hidaya.


on December 24, 2004 2:01 AM
asif said


I am sure Ibtisam or abdullah would have something to add here.

But few comments on this article:
1- A worthy effort, indeed by you Justoju. Masha'Allah.
2- I am rather dissapointed in Huda that a chance encounter with groom's brother had such a profound
effect on her which rendered her paralyzed for most part. I wont expand on this but there is a fundamental issue that Huda is apparently oblivious to in here.
3- Moreover, what kind of desi wedding is this where they have men and women dancing together? Is this for real? Alhamdulillah, I should count my blessing that I havent witnessed such fitnah.
Otherwise, I would be throwing handful of wedding cake on anyone who steps on the floor!
4- Huda pays too much attention to the outward appearance of individuals. She should know that Not all that glitters is Gold!
5- Personally, my recommendation for her would be to do fasting for atleast 3 consecutive days to seek Allah's rada. Insha'Allah this will help her regain her focus in her Ibadahs. (La-haula-wa-la-quw-wa-ta-Ill-la-Bil-Lah!)

Jazak Allah Khair!

on December 24, 2004 2:24 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

Huda said:

"I loved letting go of my fear of sensory creation and just forcing myself to rely upon Him. This in-the-dark training in ‘reliance’ imprinted its lessons within me, strengthening my iman and tawakkul for the times when I would be surrounded by physical factors, delusions, that ‘seemed’ like direct causes and effects."

Sometmes when It was the middle of the night and completely dark outside I used to walk all around my house without turning on any of the lights to train myself to trust in Allah to be protected in while being surrounded in complete darkness. I never particulary enjoyed it...but I did it nonetheless because I knew that perhaps one day (like it was hundreds of years ago) we will have to rely without lights to guide our way. That quote happened to remind me of that. I think I need to, insha Allah, keep on with it.

I also agree with Br. Asif's number 2 comment. Was their a specific lesson to be learned from that particluar issue or was it just something just in the story?

Wasalaam Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on December 24, 2004 2:59 AM
Justoju said

I wrote this piece in its entirety many weeks ago when I first decided I wanted to expand Huda's life beyond her direct marriage considerations. This is why I asked you all for possible 'broad' titles. By the way, I havent forgotton about that. :)

Huda is, ultimately, a human and a struggling Muslim with a long journey ahead of her (like the rest of us). This issue exists to show what happens to those too confident in their 'change'. Also, the level of her islam should not be judged by this 'test' (human hearts are unpredictable), but by how she will recover from it. There is a lot more that lies within this piece that I am not yet ready to talk about and that I want you all to find by yourselves. One thing to keep in mind though is that at no point was it mentioned that this brother was particularly 'handsome' by common standards. Huda doesnt even remember what he looked like.

What should she do?
What should she have done differently?
Why do you think this happened? List some psychological/material/spiritual factors. What can be learned from this?
What, exactly, is she attached to?
Did you find any foreshadowing?
Why it it particularly ironic that this happened to her?
How does a woman's 'falling' for someone differ from a man's and what are some of the differences in root causes? A woman could read this story and come up with some very diff. insights about it than the brothers have been able to come up with thus far.
I invite anyone, male or female, who has ever had strong feelings towards anyone of the opposite gender to tell me, is this really how it is? Is this really how it feels? Tell me about the 'distraction'.

You might need to go back and read the first part in order to answer some of these questions.

The story is not over yet...

on December 24, 2004 3:57 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarkatu,

"What should she do?
What should she have done differently?
Why do you think this happened? List some psychological/material/spiritual factors. What can be learned from this?
What, exactly, is she attached to?
Did you find any foreshadowing?
Why it it particularly ironic that this happened to her?
How does a woman's 'falling' for someone differ from a man's and what are some of the differences in root causes? "

These poor people just finished taking weeks and weeks of finals.

Don't listen to her...go out...have fun...enjoy your winter.


Wasalaam Warahmatllah Wabarakatu

on December 24, 2004 4:12 AM
Justoju said

Br. Rami, keep in mind that you are posting tommorrow. You really want these people outdoors?

on December 24, 2004 4:16 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

Only if it involves Hidaya,

They may print the articles and discuss it.

They may hold Hidaya halaqas.

They must have wi-fi phones and laptops at all times to be able to continually check Hiadya and post their comments.

Wasalaam Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

btw, since I can;t help it....the answer to the first question I would agree with Asif; she should fast.

on December 24, 2004 4:38 AM
Justoju said

I would like a girl to start giving her opinions (without having read those of the brothers) to add more of a 'female' perspective...

Br. Rami, go wake up Amani. Its going to be fajr in an hour anyway. She has enough time to pray tahajjud and post on hidaya.

on December 24, 2004 4:43 AM
Justoju said

Hidaya halaqas? Arent those those things that take place on Thursdays at 7 in Busch?

on December 24, 2004 4:48 AM
Abdullaah said

Female opinion, I dont know, I already gave my opinion of Huda reflective of what my parents(both mom and dad) think about muslim kids brought up here. Reading this piece it is rather unfortunate that she had to go to a wedding where there was this non-sense and no one had the sense to say anything or be slightly conscious of it. I think what is missing is that there are always this perception that there are no "religious" adults that condemn this. Which is not true, my father gives khutbah after khutbah about mixed gatherings, music, taking ribaa, working with alcohol selling businesses, etc. So when they invite my dad and mom, usually the dancing floor is delayed until after my parents have left. Otherwise, my dad sits outside the hall after the gift has been given etc and then leave. Now about this being family, well sorry I cannot relate to it becaue I have not attended any relative's wedding since I grew up here and all my relatives are overseas. I went to my cousin's reception, which was separated. My own wedding was separated with no music, not even nasheeds because they had no system set up there. But even then I can understand how difficult it is to deal with relatives. At my wedding the men were coming into the women's hall, I was complaining and telling my aunt's to tell them to leave and they would just mock them and paternal uncle also was mocked when he asked them to leave. So, I have been through the trouble of putting up with relatives, considering the fact I normally wear hijaab in front of them and I have been wearing hijaab since I was 9, abayah since I was 13. So that was a big deal for me to put up with dumb and retarded relatives that have no sense. And offcourse I was sitting on the stage so I was very visible and unprepared and unexpected for this situation. Hence making me bitter towards everything and everyone in life including this Huda character.
I did not read the whole thing carefully but I skimmed over it. So I gotta read it again.

I dont know if this is "love first sight" perhaps. One person she could relate to that was like her offcourse she is gonna feel good about it. But was there no girl or female cousin she could talk to and who was impressed by her islaamic attire or who she could hangout with instead of checking out our beloved bearded dude.
However there can be a bunch of guys at weddings like these. My own husband has normally a 2 or 3 inch beard and he looks like a very religious imaam and he is a haafidhul kullul qur'aan but still I personally feel he is not extremist enough for me, lol!
Huda is getting reactionary to the environment and society she is subjected to and she wants to move away from it. Kudos to that, I would want the best for her because of that but that would require some sort of understanding and support from the parents and maybe some family members.

on December 24, 2004 9:15 AM
Abdullaah said

Oh and I am posting only now because I have winter break and I have not officially found out whether I failed my midterm, yet.
So after that I am gonna not come on here and I will continue to write on and off.

on December 24, 2004 9:19 AM
asif said


Abdullah...u are back, Great!

I will write my response to Justoju's queries about Huda's predicament later, Insha'Allah.

on December 24, 2004 9:21 AM
asif said

Here are my initial response about Huda:

1-What should she do?
What is encouraging is that she realizes and wants to get off the "Titanic" which will eventually hit the iceberg and sink! To get back on track, she should as I said earlier FAST consecutively and Give in Sadakah something that is very dear and near to her. As Allah says, {Lan-Ta-Na-Lul-Bir-ra-Hath-tha-Tun-fi-Qouh-Mim-ma-Thu-hib-boun).

2-What should she have done differently?
Not much actually. What happened, happenend for for a reason. It was Qadr for her. What is more pertinent, however, is how she recovers from this encounter such that she can still be doing Ahsaan during her salaats...Insha'Allah.

3-Why do you think this happened? List some psychological/material/spiritual factors.
There are many reasons, as a matter of fact:
a)For instance she is still young/immature and not a realist.
b)She has defined her parameters of an ideal companion based on certain tangible or observable traits, and when she sees those noble traits in any eligible bachelor she is smitten.
c) She thinks that she is ready to get married to that ideal person and She wants to get on with her life to achieve Khair together with her husband. Insha'Allah.
d)On the spiritual level, Only Allah knows her status and grade, we cant make that assessment. I think that her heart is in the right place and she gives her full in striving towards her Deen on a daily basis, however, she can get distracted quiet easily.

4-What can be learned from this?
Good question...No actually Great question...this is where all of us should be focusing after having a peek in Huda's life and personality. This particular episode elaborates on the dynamics of how a young muslimah (and a muslim) have to reconcile their genuine feelings about their deen (and for those muslims who uphold it) while living in a very complex, distorted and skewed reality of Islam as practiced by their relatives and friends. We all live this reality here in US, so it is incumbent upon us to NOT relent and keep on doing what is good and forbidding what is evil, and inviting people with Hikmah, Insha'Allah.

5-What, exactly, is she attached to?
Some of this I have listed above. But in a nut-shell, she is looking for an eligible bachelor who personifies and implements RasulAllah's (sal-lal-la-hu-wa-sal-lam) teachings and sunnahs in his life and that they can both raise great muslims together and be successful as a family in this life and in the hereafter...Ameen.

6-Did you find any foreshadowing?
I dont understand this query!

7-Why is it particularly ironic that this happened to her?
First of all its not Ironic that it ONLY happened to her! We are forgetting the grooms' brother (lets name him Abdullah) as he may have noticed Huda as the only Hijaabi among the cattles out there. Obviously, the young man probably went thru the same feelings and he eventually decided to step out and seek salvation in prayers. It is also safe to assume that, after prayers, his heart may be bouncing in his throat when he saw Huda out there alone with misbah in her hand. So, Huda's feelings are not mutually exclusive to her alone. Poor Abdullah, for all I know, could be in the same predicament as Huda.

8-How does a woman's 'falling' for someone differ from a man's and what are some of the differences in root causes?
Ok few general comments...most women seek two things from their husband..One is Love (this includes affection, respect and all that mushy stuff) and the second one is Protection or Support for herself and her family. Look at Huda's view of Abdullah; she later on went to describe him as someone who is young, broad shoulder and other physical traits...this signifies Abdullah's capability of being the "body" guard that all women seek in their potential mates.
Men on the other hand, I am sorry to say, are more primal in their reasons for falling for someone. Thats just how we are wired.
One more thing, men usually prefer a submissive wife...Nobody, and I repeat Nobody wants a Femi-Nazi for a wife! But there are some who want an engaging and challenging companion, someone who they can bounce ideas with and make decisions together with, Insha'Allah.
Furthermore, peeling the next layer of onion will reveal that there are other reasons for liking folks of opposite gender, for instance, having similar views about spirituality and religion, or having a similar backgrounds and education level and so on and so forth.

I hope this helps...Insha'Allah

on December 24, 2004 12:44 PM
Abdullaah said

Abdullaah is in there?
did I miss something?
Abdullaah is too cool.

on December 24, 2004 2:26 PM
Justoju said

Something to keep in mind: The author believes neither in 'love at first sight', nor in 'love before marriage'.

on December 24, 2004 3:02 PM
Sannia said

Assalaamu Alaikum,

SEE.....i told you your articles weren't a waste of time....getting cars out of tight spots isn't the only thing ur good at :)
hey can u email me? i wanna ask u a question about tomorrow....

on December 24, 2004 4:39 PM
plz make Dua 4 me said

as salaamu alaikum

What should she do?

She should turn to Allah and STOP THINKING about HIM! it will be difficult at first ( as shaytaan will continually tempt her by playing the reel of that wedding over and over ) but as time goes by, with Dua for guidance along with tears ( preferably at Tahajjud time ) , she will insha Allah forget about him.If she is serious about marriage, then she could probably get her mahram to make inquiries about him and initiate things.(However not many people are open to this option,).She should make Dua to Allah that, in His infinite knowledge and wisdom , if they are a suitable match then He must make it possible.The trust in Allah.She should fast.

What should she have done differently?
This one's stumps me.Coz she didn't gaze at him on purpose...and she didn't continue after the first glance...the only answer i can think of is that she could've stayed at home and visited the family before the wedding...or alternatively, if that would be a problem with the family - attend the wedding but for a very short duration ( as was suggested a while back by someone commenting here on Hidaya )

Why do you think this happened?
It happened coz she attended a mixed gathering

List some psychological/material/spiritual factors.
- sweetness of ibadah is lost and is replaced by restlessness
-mental anguish at not being able to be receive what she wants instantly( islamically that is )
-guilt ( knowing that she attended a mixed gathering and coz she feels she should've lowered her gaze)
-confusion ( since she's normally not affected with such strong emotions as is able to control her nafs and shaytaan's whisperings )
-lack of sleep ( due to above factors)?
-emptiness in heart

What can be learned from this?
There's no regrets when one lowers the gaze...Not lowering the gaze causes the above negative effects - their are no positive effects. (on that point Id like to share advice that was given to me: It's futile to follow the nafs and whisperings of shaytaan by granting the eyes freedom to gaze at unlawful things/people...for it only causes anguish and in the end - you only end up with one lawful partner, so what was the point in putting yourself through all that grief ?) As far as possible, Stay away from places where you know that you might possibly gaze at ghair mahrams.

What, exactly, is she attached to?
She is initially attracted by the fact that he seems Islamically inclined...However shaytaan will definately not miss this opportunity to play with Huda's mind and whisper to her...Huda watch out!

Did you find any foreshadowing?
Allah might bring them together through the lawful means of Nikah.

Why it it particularly ironic that this happened to her?
Coz she has been striving to change for quite a while( and succeeded alhumdulillah), and here she is in the boiling pot , going through an experience she would not have otherwise thought herself to be in.Lesson: Everyone of us is not infallible- no matter how much effort we make on ourselves...let's take stock all the time..we never know when we might slip up.Alhumdulillah, Huda has the sense to turn to Allah for help...others might not be so intelligent.

How does a woman's 'falling' for someone differ from a man's and what are some of the differences in root causes?

- men generally concentrate on physical apperances while women tend towards aspects in a a man's character.( i'm talking generally here ).Root cause : women are more sensitive than men.

just my opinion,
was salaam

on December 24, 2004 4:43 PM
asif said


Now I know what foreshadowing meant in that query...Jazak ALlah Khair (plz make dua 4 me).

These are good response by the way...Masha'ALlah.

You know I just came from Jummah and I saw something that really made me sad and is now ticking me off.
Masha'Allah we have such a big muslim community here that we have to do 2 Jummahs (back to back) to accomodate everyone.
Anyways, we have this community hall where lunch is available at reasonable price and so I was sitting there (after Jummah) having my tasty biryani....everything was peachy...people were leaving and or coming for the next Jummah and so on...Untill I glanced up and I saw these two ladies....walking from left to right...they probably were there for the 2nd Jummah and SUBHAN'ALLAH...what I saw really blew my mind!

I Have never seen a lady dress like that for Jummah...she was wearing some Tight turtleneck or Tshirt and a very tight pant with sometype of scarf for hijaab???? MAN What a Pathetic Sight!!!
My brain couldn't decipher what I was seeing, I mean she surely cant be parading herself like this and justifying it by just putting a hijab or a head covering on top...and I think its one of those fancy type of scarf...the one like the shower cap or something...But regardless...I immediately lost interest in the food, and everything around there...La-hau-la-wa-la-Qu-wa-ta-Il-lah-Bil-lah)

Why do we have to mold the teachings of Islam so that it suits our personal desires??? Why Couldn't she have just put an Abaya on top for the prayers??? What Kind of a GOOFBALL father or husband or brother would let her daughter, wife, or sister dress like that in a mosque for prayer?

Anyways...I am a bit annoyed at this time...so I will talk to you guys later before I blow my gasket....Masalaama

on December 24, 2004 5:14 PM
Bint Abdul Khaliq said

as Salaamu Alaikum

SubHANALAH excellent article.My sis (plz make dua 4 me ) seems to have summed up the q's very nicely MasHALLAH.

Its funny that at one stage in your life you might feel that THIS is the person 4 me...its him/her or no-one else.and it lasts for a few days or months perhaps until someone else comes along.It all starts with a gaze...the arrow of shaitaan.The pain you experience by lowering that gaze,that suffering of your nafs,will give you sweetness of Imaan InsHALLAH.If I were Huda i'd recite 2 rakaats of Salaatut Tawbah and cry to ALLAH in Sajdah with words like these..

'Oh ALLAH I am wrong to be thinking like this,please forgive me,you know I did not look purposely,I am weak Ya ALLAH..It is only you who can purify me and save me from falling prey to my nafs and shaitaan.Dont let me fail this test."

She should also fast and increase her nafl 'Ibadah InsHALLAH.

Was Salaam

on December 24, 2004 5:43 PM
Justoju said

A reminder to myself first and foremost, and to the readers:

RasoolAllah (May Allah bless him and give him peace) was sent to perfect our akhlaq. Part of good akhlaq is giving benefit of the doubt to fellow Muslims.

If people had ridiculed/shunned/ostracized or made me feel stupid when I was a young (and stupider) hijaabi, I probably would have been discouraged and not tried to take any further steps in my deen.

Some of my most precious moments with Allah, Glorious and Exalted, are when I worry more for my own iman than that of others. We all made mistakes in the past. In fact, many of our current mistakes/indiscretions may seem HUGE to those who have, mashaAllah, freed themselves from them and moved to a higher level. If we wouldnt want them looking down upon us and ridiculing us, how can we act in this manner to those who might be struggling with the same things we ourselves were struggling with years ago.

Who amongst us is qualified to cast the first stone?

on December 24, 2004 6:07 PM
Justoju said

The ones amongst us most quick to judge/criticize are often the ones who have lived the most sheltered of lives.

on December 24, 2004 6:19 PM
Ibtism said

I doubt Br. Asif is looking in a judgemental tone, he is saying what my father always says is that, where are the men that dont teach their women proper clothing or proper hijaab. Whether you do it or dont in outside life, there is something to dress appropriately in the masjid. Just as that Huda girl is judging Uthman for watching movies, so why cant Br. Asif comment on how his lunch got messed up because women had no sense to cover themselves. My first and only ISNA convention, there were so many Muslim women wearing half-hijaabs, guys immersed in American fashion and looked totally un-islaamic and couples holding hands. I was just wondering why there was so much free-mixing and disregard for Islaam. Offcourse shunning the person is not it. Br. Asif left and could not say anyting, and why should he to the woman, other sisters should advise her about hijaab and other things with love and kindness but all brother can do is be disgusted and then talk to men to tell their women to cover up, lol!

on December 24, 2004 6:38 PM
asif said

Salaam Justoju:

You have a very valid point. We are to give each other the benefit of doubt....ragardless of how upsetting the situation may be. Only Allah knows what is in the heart of everyone.

As Ibtisaam said, I couldn't have done anything and so I left.

hahahaha...And I know I am not sheltered, for sure...actually far from it...but that was a good try though.

on December 24, 2004 6:58 PM
Amani said

Ok, first off, I haven't read all the (err...longer) comments but I think this happened to Huda because part of her wanted to. In the first part, she said she was looking for someone in the party like her, someone she could talk to about Allah. She may have meant a girl, but, well, she wasn't specific. :P

The suggestion to fast is good but I think she should also pray to Allah to 1)help her shift her focus off the guy and 2) for istikhara to see if maybe she should marry the dude. :P

Oh and I have been to a desi party where there was mixed dancing. Only one, alhamdulillah, but it was enough to show me that everyone is the same (arabs, desi, whatever) when it comes to co-ed dancing. People act so ridiculous trying to impress the opposite gender. :P

Ok, that be all for now. More later, insha'Allah :)

on December 24, 2004 7:32 PM
Justoju said

Br. Asif and Sr. Ibtisam --

1) I wasnt saying that Asif was being judgemental.
2) My point was in regards to Huda, her feelings, and our feelings towards her.
3) My comments were for everyone, myself first and foremost.
4) I believe that we should be angered by things by the sake of Allah, but when we give people the benefit of the doubt (ie. they dont know any better yet; they are just starting out; they are reverts; they arent around the right people; at least they are coming to pray; etc.) then we still hate the action for the sake of Allah, but we dont walk around letting it ruin our mood and tick us off for the rest of the day. We feel bad for those people and have rahmah for them.

Dont judge me to be judging Asif to be judging that girl. :)

on December 24, 2004 10:17 PM
Justoju said

Huda wasnt judging Usman for watching movies. Go back and read that installment. You cant expect her to marry every guy that comes and then accuse her of 'judging' those who she doesnt accept. She simply didnt feel the values and goals were compatible. She was perfectly honest with him about what she wanted in her life and left it up to him to decide if he thought they were compatible.

If you read the first and second installments you will see that he had been judging her the entire time and making some insulting comments. Did you all really expect her to still believe he was the one for her? She has tons of other proposals (believe it or not, many girls dont have rishta problems in terms of quantity) and doesnt need to be worried that if she lets this one go she might not ever get married...

on December 24, 2004 10:23 PM
asif said


Hey I was upset, till you guys cheered me up with reason and valuable inputs wrapped in humor!...Jazak Allah Khair.

on December 24, 2004 10:29 PM
Ibtisam said

The quantity runs out soon, believe it not. I didnt see him judging her. I saw her arrogance to some extent. If goals are not compatible, there is a respectable way to say so. But she is young, immature, and she will learn soon. soon

on December 24, 2004 11:14 PM
Jannah said

When you talk about foreshadowing J, do you mean what we has already happened or what will happen?

When you asked the question I thought about how Huda is judging this bearded bro she saw, much like how Usman judged her in her former years. Maybe this bro will show up in rishtha form and Huda will be taken by him because of what she saw and later find out it is sadly someone long gone.

I could be wrong but that would definitely add a scary twist to the plot.

Someone quote the hadith about sleeping as a Muslim and waking like a kaafir..

on December 25, 2004 12:04 AM
Justoju said

" I didnt see him judging her. I saw her arrogance to some extent."

Umm you read the article carefully right?

- "I used to be in the MSA when I was in college, but I kind of got over my ‘fanatic’ phase during med school"

What MSA is HE in? I dont really know of any MSA that is all that exceptionally religious ('cept good ole ISRU that is :) ) . If he thinks MSAs are fundoo then he is in no way ready to deal with the kind of life she wants (which most MSA guys prolly wouldnt be cool with).

- "I just didn’t have time for the things I used to have time for and I guess I kind of became more practical and less idealistic"

He is implying that the practice of Islam and quest for ilm is not 'practical'.

- "He had this look on his face as if he had her all figured out"

I would think that implies judgement.

- "I am not a fundamentalist and I think its important to see the spirit of the religion"

Ok, so he is implying that 1) she is a fundamentalist, and 2) thats a bad thing and runs contrary to seeing the spirit of the religion.

- "People don’t change. I know your type. I can handle the real you"

I would think this implies judgement as well.

- "You are young and naive, Huda. You don’t know what the real world is like. You need to stop being so dramatic about everything and start seeing things from more of a rational and realistic perspective"

Dont you see that he is saying that her practice of the deen is naive and unrealistic? Also, his statement is a highly insulting thing to say to a person.

If she was rude or impolite to him, I would like you to quote where. Thoughts are thoughts, everyone has good ones and bad ones, but I want you to tell me what she said/did that was rude.

on December 25, 2004 2:45 AM
Justoju said

Disclaimer: Before anyone says anything, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with anyone on HidayaOnline, living or dead, their life, their feelings, their history, etc.. I dont want anyone to take things personally and feel that a criticism is being made of them and then go on the defensive and rebound. This, as well as the rest of my writing, has nothing to do with any particular person and their personal life in any way. :). My views and the things I write were what they are now before I met any of the writers/commenters on this site and I am in no way judging them or their situation. No one can pass commentary on any individual person because no one knows all the factors that define them except Allah, Glorious and Exalted. I speak broadly in broad terms. If anyone feels they are an exception, then ok, you are an exception.

About quantities of rishtas running out:

Rishtas and marriage are not something to be seen from the 'quantity' perspective. Just cuz a girl might not be getting many rishtay does not mean she sells out. I would rather be 30 and single and then find the man who complements me best than be 21 and choose a guy who doesnt. We look for compatibility, quality, and we dont let the supply-demand equation dictate to us how the person is rated.

The women in my family marry in their mid-20's AND they marry amazing men mashaAllah who meet their and their parent's requirements. A whole bunch of my friends married in their mid-20's and found wonderful spouses. They didnt hit 23 and start fearing that they were getting 'too old' and settle for some guy who obviously did not want the same things in life as they did.

Women and their parents really need to stop freaking out and start having a bit more tawakkul and faith that Allah, Glorious and Exalted, will PROVIDE. At the same time they need to utilize all the measures that have been provided for them by the shariah and use them to hunt down a husband. There is nothing wrong with proposing to a man, checking out matrimonials, or asking people in the community for help. Many women who dont get many rishtay have problems because their families are not 'actively' looking and are just waiting for some guy to come and propose to their daughter.

People need to tone down their unrealistic superficial duniya standards, stand true to their deeni ones, and strive for the best inshaAllah with the yaqin that Allah, Glorious and Exalted, will inshaAllah provide them with success.

on December 25, 2004 3:42 AM
Amani said

"People need to tone down their unrealistic superficial duniya standards, stand true to their deeni ones, and strive for the best inshaAllah with the yaqin that Allah, Glorious and Exalted, will inshaAllah provide them with success."

A lot of times, matrimonial ads contradict your statement:

Wanted: handsome, pakistani doctor for fair, young, beautiful pakistani daughter. Send picture and resume.

And I've heard someone say that before, that she'd rather be single and a successful single woman with a career than "settle" and marry someone just because she has to be married. And I have to agree 100% there.

The only reason I would not seek a rishta and propose to a guy is because I'm too dang shy to (I know you don't ask yourself, but even telling someone to ask for me would be hard), not to mention I would not want to deal with rejection and anyway, would just really want a guy to ask me. :P

Anyway, I'm sure I have some more to say but I can't think any more right now.

on December 25, 2004 7:05 AM
Ibtisam said

I respect that and everything that women would rather marry at 30 than 21 or marry later than earlier and with someone they are compatible with. But you must understand that this is an opinion. Other opinion, that women should marry as soon as possible with a good respectable man taht would treat them well and respectfully is also valid and very islaamic to protect your imaan and chastity. I personally think it is better to marry at 21 with someone who has half-of your goals than to wait to marry someone at 30 with complete compatibility.
Oh, please reply to my email about article posting :)

on December 25, 2004 10:30 AM
Amani said

Sr. Ibtisam: I understand what you are saying but even Islam tells us to marry the best one for us. How would one choose a husband if one is not looking for the best. Wouldn't that mean she could and should marry just anyone who is good?

Marriage is a serious decision, one that is supposed to be made caefully and judiciously. If not, it can lead to many marital problems, including divorce. I'm sure there were a lot of very nice guys I could have married, but either their personalities or their deen did not fit with me, and marriage is ultimately about compatibility . Wa Allahu Aalim. (Anyway, I've gone past the 21 year mark so, ;).

on December 25, 2004 11:44 AM
Ibtisam said

yes, but in America, girls have gone to an extreme in this. This is not the end of the world.Ifyou find a nice guy, you should get married to him. It is no big deal. To find "THE one" does not really exist. It is just qadarallaah and it is written for you. I mean if one is meant to marry a looser that is what happens. All I am saying even if a guy does not exactly marry one's personality but it is a good and kind person, you should go ahead and marry that person and not give your parents such a hard time as girls do in USA. My mother is a community and marriage counselor. She knows these things, she is a lot wiser than young women. It is islaamic to get married early, not late, unless you have no desire in the first place. But if you have desire and you are getting "good proposals" with good "IKHLAAQ" men, then why throw them off. There is a hadeeth taht if a man comes that has character which pleases the father, "THE FATHER SHOULD MARRY HIS DAUGHTER TO HIM" otherwise there will be fasad on earth. This is a very strong hadeeth that many of our most religious pious, islaamically educated girls in wonderful USA chose to not know or ignore and elaborate more so on the hadeeth that it is their deeni right. Offcourse it is to say yes or no, but not no to proposal after proposal that are acceptable. you people never worked so hard to be top of your class or get great grades or win the USA national spelling bee then why set high standards and goals to win Prince charming?

on December 25, 2004 12:20 PM
Amani said

I agree with you on some points.

Some girls DO set high standards. And sometimes it's the parents who set high standards, too. BUT, if a girl has reasonable and valid criteria that she is looking for, she should not throw them away and just accept anyone just because she HAS to get married.

For example, I would not marry anyone who was raised in Egypt and my mother would not want me to either. There's a BIG difference in culture and there have been many failed marriages between men from Egypt with women from here. That is not to say that ALL marriages of this kind would fail, because in fact some do prosper. But for myself, I'd rather just stay away from it

The best thing to do of course is pray istikhara. If the person is good and whatever, and you pray to Allah to guide you and it comes out positive, then there is no reason not to marry the guy. But if you don't and you choose someone because you want to get married as soon as possible, it IS your fate and if it turns out bad it's your fault for not asking Allah for guidance. Everyone has the free will to choose a spouse, Allah does not force us to marry someone who does not fit us.

I have a lot of friends who are VERY anxious to get married because they are afraid of ending up alone. In my opinion, it's dangerous to be TOO anxious and wanting to get married as soon as possible because then you may accept just anybody without looking if he's right for you and then you'll end up in a worse situation than being alone. It's good to want to get married, but you should not be in a rush.

I know there are a lot of good guys out there, but I look more to if they will be compatible with me. The person you marry should have a personality that complements you. If you have a short temper, you should marry someone who is calm and doesn't get mad quickly. If you are a religious person who tries to be the best Muslim you can be, marry someone who is trying to be the Muslim they can be, one who you can grow together in Islam with.

Wa Allahu Aalim. :)

on December 25, 2004 1:00 PM
Ibtisam said

Sr. Justoju, can you please email me back, it is rather urgent. I would like to see your reply and I understand or figure you might be out of home or something.
wasalaamu Alaikum

on December 25, 2004 7:04 PM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

I think Huda is just falling for someone who, it seems, she's been searching for for quite a while. Which is why she had such a shellshocking reaction. The importantr thing is that she follows it up through with halaal channelsand tries to put those feelings and anxiety into a feasible marriage prospectr. I mean Allah has created us with emotions...including love, and anxiety, and hope.

As for her reaction to the inability to concentrate on Allah... in the end if it was meant for her and him to be together than only Allah can guide them together. So if she thinks of that, or the poem which Sr. Justoju recited of Umar (radia Allahu Anhu) than she will spend less time worrying and end up praying to Allah EVEN MORE that he grant her guidance and help her to make the choices that are right and help them to be together if they are right for each other.

Wasalaam Warahmatullah Wabarkatu

on December 25, 2004 11:31 PM
gillette said

one can't help but think that Huda's feelings are based entirely on infatuation, and that, in the future, all good that he does will be further proof of his godliness, and all the evil that he does (haraam, even shirk) will be minor flaws that should be looked over.

on December 26, 2004 12:10 AM
Justoju said

You know what the worst kind of enfatuation is?

When you KNOW and recognize it to be merely infatuation.

Go back, to the beginning of Huda's journal entry in Part one of Hanging on a Glance. Dont you think she is herself a bit skeptical of her feelings and emotions?...

on December 26, 2004 2:37 AM
Justoju said

and man, why do you all hate this poor guy so much. He just wanted to go outside and pray:)

Cmon, if any one of you guys was this guy and found a girl who appreciated you for the sake of your deen with such intensity, you would be knocked out in two seconds flat.

Am I wrong?

on December 26, 2004 2:40 AM
gillette said

"Nobody wants a Femi-Nazi for a wife!"

didn't Ann Coulter use that?

speaking of Ann Coulter...


"found a girl who appreciated you for the sake of your deen with such intensity"

if it didn't seem apparent, I was implying that she didn't appreciate him for his deen.

on December 26, 2004 8:29 AM
Justoju said

'Deen' is one of those things that can only truly be measured by Allah. In the marriage context, humans usually go by what we percieve to be physical effects of deen, and by reputation and mannerisms. Whose sake are we doing this for?

Quoting you from 'The Devil's Deception, Part I' comment area...

I asked: "Did she write her article for the sake of Allah, Glorious and Exalted, or because she liked him and wanted him to fit more evenly into her conception of 'the one'."

You replied: "aren't they one in the same? if she saw potential, and the beard was a sticking point for her (because it says a lot about a man; it's a big step for a muslim man in a non-muslim country to take), isn't it for allah (swt)?"

on December 26, 2004 8:37 AM
gillette said

i'm saying the eyes lie, and the time at which you do your homework (before or after looking at the person) makes a world of difference.

on December 26, 2004 4:21 PM
Justoju said

Interesting sidepoint to keep in mind:
I had said earlier that men and women would see this situation from diff. points of view. The reason for this has to do with the male vs. female response to the attractive.

Men see something attractive and the automatic impulse is sexual response. It is connected to the eyes.

Women see something attractive and the automatic impulse is NOT sexual response. Thus they are more able to appreciate physical 'beauty' for its own sake, and not as a means to gratification. Women need much more than just 'sight' for them to be aroused. It is connected to the mind/heart.

These are two HIGHLY different playing fields.

on December 26, 2004 6:12 PM
gillette said

"These are two HIGHLY different playing fields."



on December 26, 2004 10:36 PM
montgomeryDeer said

BarakAllah fee ukhti:)

on December 26, 2004 10:46 PM
Justoju said


I would like to announce publically that 'montgomery deer' is my special soul friend. Please include her in all your duas. I make special dua for all those that make dua for her.

M.D., We got to go back to that place and find the secret of the montgomery wali that those blessed deer (that were trying to include you in their majlis by staring you down) were protecting...

(and yes. That makes PERFECT sense to me)

on December 26, 2004 10:54 PM
Justoju said

I was thinking about what I had said about the differences in root causes of male-female sexual arousal. What about spiritual arousal? I would think that the causes would be the same and that this would be something that the genders would share. Men and women would therefore be on the same playing field.

The shuyukh often say "a family that prays together, stays together"...

on December 27, 2004 1:12 AM
Justoju said

How 'out of his way' would a 'religious'* guy go to get a sister he was interested in to notice him?

* VERY broadly qualified here as a guy who prays his five prayers.

(and no, I dont think that praying your five fardh prayers qualifies one to be 'religious'. I am just defining it as such for the sake of this question because that is how most people define it...I dont know how anyone would 'truly' know if someone else were 'truly' religious.)

on December 28, 2004 3:14 AM
gillette said

"How 'out of his way' would a 'religious'* guy go to get a sister he was interested in to notice him?"

he'd get involved in ISRU.

on December 28, 2004 9:22 AM
Justoju said

To what extent? For how long? How long does the 'passion' last before he gives up and goes back to his old life?

on December 28, 2004 7:14 PM
gillette said

"To what extent? For how long? How long does the 'passion' last before he gives up..."

he'll pursue her until it's an exhausted possibility (when he finds out there's no chance between the two). since he built his life around her and his infatuation with her, his life crumbles when the possibilities between him and her are exhausted.

"...and goes back to his old life?"

he never does. allahu 'alam

on December 28, 2004 11:02 PM
Justoju said

Is this 'normal' behavior for men?

on December 29, 2004 12:27 AM
gillette said

normal men know not to live life for marriage. uthaymeen said, to paraphrase his explanatory notes on the hadith "innamal 'amaalu bin-niyyaat..." that good deeds done for marriage are rejected, while good deeds done for allah ta'ala and his rasool are accepted.

on December 29, 2004 12:30 AM
Justoju said

I am not asking if this kind of behavior is normal for religious men who understand the concept of ikhlaas. Beyond the MSA scene, I am asking if this kind of relentless pursuit (and the time/effort commitments that go with it) is something that is normal for the male species.

on December 29, 2004 12:48 AM
gillette said

"I am not asking if this kind of behavior is normal for religious men who understand the concept of ikhlaas. Beyond the MSA scene, I am asking if this kind of relentless pursuit (and the time/effort commitments that go with it) is something that is normal for the male species."

It is. Their goal is sex. Our goal is marriage.

on December 29, 2004 12:52 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarkatu,

I think perhaps it would be easy to generalize it in other categories.

If a person is a very (truly) religious male and he CAN afford to marry then he probably won;t be wasting all his time on getting the girl to notice him from across the room and wearing shnazzy clothes etc. etc. etc. He would just have his sister or some form of contact first try to find out if he/she thinks that the girl would like him then probably try to do things in the halaal way by trying to have a meeting or some other sort.

If a person is very (truly) religious but cannot afford to marry he might just get a little depressed and down but ultimately just take comfort in knowing that if Allah (subhanna wa taala) truly destined for them to be together then they will surely be together. He might use this time to gather information on her or to evaluate if they would be compatible together...and he may still like her...but he would not interfere if another suitor came forth who could afford to get married.
Also, I have heard of some who rather than just waiting till they can truly afford to get married (such as when they are still in college) live off their parents for a while (if their parents agree with it and can afford to support them) until they become self-sufficient.

If the man is just normal religious it still depends on the person. If he is the type to be infatuated with a girl then he will do exactly as Br. Hassan described. If he has read "That Hottie Sister" then he will probably be able to make the separation between just liking a sister (thinking she's hot or attracted t opersonality whatever) and between falling in 'love' (infatuation). I don;t know how to tell you who is more succeptible to be the first kind or the second as I really have not studied this...but perhaps in this situation people only just learn from mistakes, or the mistakes they have seen in others. It's not easy for a person with little or no experience in dealing with the opposite gender to make this kind of 'wise decision'. Perhaps just like the guys in "Sister, Sister, can't resist her" they'll just learn from past misjudgments and mistakes and be able to diferrentiate the next time- aka, their instanicts wil say "Oooh!" and there brain wil say "NO!"

Wasalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarkatu

on December 29, 2004 1:38 AM
Justoju said

So what you are saying is that "That Hottie Sister" could save generations from heartbreak.

Considering the importance of the physical for a man and the reasons why he decides to get married in the first place, is it possible for a man to fall for a personality alone (even IF he is not especially attracted to her looks)?

on December 29, 2004 2:16 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

I think for the vast majority of people (men and women alike), a combination of the two is desired.

But as for your question, yes of course it is possible. But there is still a need for husband and wife to find each other attractive, I think that is a given. (Even Huda was checking out Tariq's looks to make sure it met requirements.)

Wasalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on December 29, 2004 2:31 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

"So what you are saying is that "That Hottie Sister" could save generations from heartbreak."


Wasalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on December 29, 2004 2:36 AM
Justoju said

Yes but what I am wondering is...

If a man is not physically attracted to a woman, can his attraction to her personality be 'enough' for him to want to pursue marriage with her?

Because what I notice with women is that, for some of us, a man's nonphysical attributes are enough to make him physically attractive in our eyes. It isnt that we start to see 'beyond' his physical weaknesses, but that the weaknesses themselves become more beautiful.

on December 29, 2004 2:38 AM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu,

"If a man is not physically attracted to a woman, can his attraction to her personality be 'enough' for him to want to pursue marriage with her?"

This would probably be the true test of whether one marries for the her piety or for her looks...and it would indeed be the case of the nafs vs. the love for Allah and the desire to become closer to him. Whichever wins determines the answer to your question. Rasul Allah (peace and blesiing be upon him) told us that of all the reasons to marry you should marry for piety. Insha Allah help us to do just that.

But I guess your answer would be yes, righteousness and piety do make a person more attractive just as shrewdnes, bad character, and impiety make a physically attractive woman less attractive. Indeed it would be his reason for loving her, as goodness and piety are really the only foundations for love.

The only case I can think of off the top of my head is that of Mother of the believers Umm Salamah (radia Allahu Anha), and Rasul Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). The Messenger (peace and blessing be upon him) married her for her piety not her looks.

Wasalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on December 29, 2004 3:18 AM
Ibtisam said

An overgrown thread indeed.
What I would like to disagaree is the statment that the two genders see physical attributes differently. Not true :)
For a guy, beauty is important. For our beloved Prophe SAW, beauty was liked as well.
Women are generally beautiful, men are not. So wise women dont pay too much attention after physical attributes, wise men might and do.

My great grandfather was very intelligent, educated, wise, yet he married an average or simple women who was very beautiful because he was lacking in that. Thank Allaah all his daugthers and son turned out to be smart.

on December 29, 2004 5:02 AM
gillette said

"If a man is not physically attracted to a woman, can his attraction to her personality be 'enough' for him to want to pursue marriage with her?"

through regular interaction, yes. that's why we don't differentiate with beautiful and not-so-beautiful women. the not-so-beautiful woman stops being not-so-beautiful.

on December 29, 2004 8:59 AM
Justoju said

What about when the 'honeymoon period' ends? Would husbands still consider their not-so-beautiful wives to be beautiful even though the marriage has stopped being fresh and exciting, and they have started to once again notice the beauty in other women?

on December 29, 2004 12:52 PM
gillette said

lack of physical attraction can be substituted with an emotional attachment to the person. there will be a point where beauty doesn't matter to the masculine half of the couple, because he's connected with his significant other on other levels. by the time the "honeymoon" period ends, he loves and appreciates her for reasons other than beauty.

on December 29, 2004 1:11 PM
gillette said

this is coming from a guy who's not married, of course.

on December 29, 2004 1:12 PM
asif said

Salaam Bro. Gillette:

Actually, you are quiet close...Insha'Allah.

The attraction part (on a limited level) should be sorted prior to marriage, as the time after marriage is more for developing, enhancing and sustaining spiritual, emotional and intellectual aspects of the relationship, without loosing the physical attraction in marriage.

An amalgamation of all the above leads to a sound and stable companionship...Insha'Allah

on December 29, 2004 1:44 PM
Justoju said

How do you not lose the physical attraction part though? I mean even if you marry the most awesomest person on the planet who goes beyond your expectations of deen, personality, looks, etc...wouldnt you just get bored of seeing the same person (with all their awesome qualities that you used to find interesting and exciting) day in and day out? How do people NOT get bored?

This is a problem I hear married women complaining about as well as married men. In equal proportions actually. If you go on to islamic Q&A sites you will see tons of accounts of women getting bored and losing interest...its pretty scary...especially since they cant just go out and get a second husband...

on December 29, 2004 11:22 PM
asif said

Regarding Physical Attraction, the first significant dip probably occurs when the couples have their 1st set of kids (this is not for all couples though)...Having kids is a very tasking time for new parents and it usually causes a paradigm shift in their mentality. Everything now revolves around kids and not each other anymore.

BUT generally speaking, for couples to remain physically attracted there has to be healthy sustainable intimacy in their marriage.

Now why wouldn't that happen between couples?
1- Sometimes due to family or career reasons one of the spouse is tired at the end of the day while the other is not. Expecting intimacy under those circumstances could be a huge turnoff.
2- Its no secret that being selfish during intimacy can also be detrimental to a healthy physical attraction.
3- Moreover, husbands need to be more creative in bringing about conditions, atmosphere and situations to nurture intimacy. Wives also like unexpected surprises.
4- Also, a spouse cannot be physically attracted(any longer) if the integrity of their husband/wife is in question. Deminishing respect between spouses can lead to a loss in physical attraction, among other things.
5- Obviously, any hint of force or abuse will jeaopardize any kind of intimacy. A spouse cannot be physically attracted if they are under constant fear of their mates.

on December 30, 2004 12:52 AM
Justoju said



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on December 30, 2004 1:00 AM
Justoju said

"...especially since they cant just go out and get a second husband... "

I just thought of something.

Allah (SWT) put a LOT more responsibility on the shoulders of the husband because, think about it, a wife can share the responsibility of keeping a man happy with other women (there is the option of polygamy for men), but a man cant share that responsibility with ANYONE. He is the only one for her and he is solely responsible for keeping her happy and well-protected. This has tons of implications...

...but I have guests coming in the morning and have a dirty house to clean and a lasagna to assemble and freeze so you all can figure them out by yourselves...


on December 30, 2004 1:18 AM
asif said

Salaam Justoju:

Hey dont be like Huda (cause she doesn't represent you as you have mentioned numerous times) and dont be too hard on the fellow...hahahaha.

Anyways, May Allah bring Khair for you in the form of a suitable companion, Insha'Allah...Ameen

Allah Ma'ak

on December 30, 2004 1:32 AM
asif said

Salaam Justoju San:

This is really interesting indeed!

"Allah (SWT) put a LOT more responsibility on the shoulders of the husband because, think about it, a wife can share the responsibility of keeping a man happy with other women (there is the option of polygamy for men), but a man cant share that responsibility with ANYONE. He is the only one for her and he is solely responsible for keeping her happy and well-protected. This has tons of implications..."

Your comment, Masha'Allah, gives an insight to the ayat in Quraan "Alrrijalu qawwamoona AAala alnnisai..."

Except for the hardcore Feminist (muslim or non muslim) everyone will probably agree with your take on the role of a husband/wife in a marriage in the preceding comments.

And dont mind my blurting(about Huda)...I must have been tired and did not fully grasp the intent of your comments.

on December 30, 2004 8:39 AM
Justoju said

Its ok, I dont take comments regarding Huda personally. She belongs to Hidaya, not to me.

on December 31, 2004 2:29 AM
curious outsider said

as salaam ualaikum,
wondering when we'll hear from huda or tariq and sophie?

on January 4, 2005 1:02 AM
Justoju said

InshaAllah you will be hearing from/about Huda this Friday.

on January 4, 2005 3:31 AM
Justoju said

btw, no one is an outsider on Hidaya :)

except the spammer...he really needs to understand that he doesnt belong.

on January 4, 2005 5:19 AM
curious said

jezak allah khair ukhti, i said outsider because i'm not from the area, but you all do a wonderful job of making everyone feel welcome
ma aasha allah

on January 4, 2005 10:32 AM
asif said


Are you guys all back for Spring Session?
Or you still enjoying the winter break?

By the way, Does Rutgers have a MSA and an ISRU? or they are the same?


on January 4, 2005 4:43 PM
informer said

rutgers is still on winter break, and no they dont have both MSA and ISRU, they have ISRU

on January 4, 2005 5:51 PM
asif said

Ok...Cool...You guys are still enjoying the break!

Stanford also has an ISSU and not MSA. Yet Temple and UPenn have MSA...Back when I was in college, there was only MSA.

Is MSA evolving into Islamic Societies (ISRU, ISSU) on various campuses, or they are two separate umbrella group?

If they are separate, whats the reason for creating a new Islamic student group on campuses? Is the Charter and mandate different between the two student group?

I really dispise any kind of split in muslim brotherhood, on any level..thats why I am anxiously curious.


on January 4, 2005 6:05 PM
Ibtisam said

I dont know about MSA stuff, I am back in school and still have not found out abuot my failed err, I dont know midterm.
Thank you for the advice to married couples, brother. For a married person, they are very valuable and insightful, but maybe not for single folks. Once again thanks for sharing the wisdom.

on January 4, 2005 8:17 PM
Justoju said

Actually the value of advice and appreciation of its insights are not diminished by the audience being primarily single. The reason for this is that good advice helps 'prepare' people for married life and answers many of their questions.

Sr. Ibtisam, InshaAllah your midterm will have been successful.

on January 4, 2005 8:23 PM
asif said

Salaam Ibtisam San = Ibti-san

Nice to hear from you sister. I hope you and your family is doing well, Insha'Allah.

What year are you in Medical school?...DO you find it difficult in completing your studies, especially after marriage. Its amazing, how dynamic our sisters can be...Masha'Allah.

I know of this sister in FL, who was married to the Imam of the mosque and had one son. Then she started her Medical school and even got pregnant with her 2nd child during her studies...Her husband and her family were very supportive, and I think she may have finished her medical school by now...I mean this is plain amazing!

Wonderful things happen and no barrier is too great if a couple and their family can come together to achieve their desired goals, insha'Allah!

Take good care of yourself Ibtisan. And by the way, when can we get the pleasure of hearing some words of wisdom from your esteemed husband.

May Allah Bless you both, your family and your loved ones, today and always...Ameen!


on January 4, 2005 8:55 PM
Ibtisam is Sensei said

"yes, but in America, girls have gone to an extreme in this. This is not the end of the world.Ifyou find a nice guy, you should get married to him. It is no big deal. To find "THE one" does not really exist. It is just qadarallaah and it is written for you. I mean if one is meant to marry a looser that is what happens. All I am saying even if a guy does not exactly marry one's personality but it is a good and kind person, you should go ahead and marry that person and not give your parents such a hard time as girls do in USA. My mother is a community and marriage counselor. She knows these things, she is a lot wiser than young women. It is islaamic to get married early, not late, unless you have no desire in the first place. But if you have desire and you are getting "good proposals" with good "IKHLAAQ" men, then why throw them off. There is a hadeeth taht if a man comes that has character which pleases the father, "THE FATHER SHOULD MARRY HIS DAUGHTER TO HIM" otherwise there will be fasad on earth. This is a very strong hadeeth that many of our most religious pious, islaamically educated girls in wonderful USA chose to not know or ignore and elaborate more so on the hadeeth that it is their deeni right. Offcourse it is to say yes or no, but not no to proposal after proposal that are acceptable. you people never worked so hard to be top of your class or get great grades or win the USA national spelling bee then why set high standards and goals to win Prince charming?"

This is advice for singles(the women at least ;) )
The advice brother gave was more beneficial for married couples.
My esteemed husband is too busy with responsibilities unlike myself. it is difficult I must say but it was so for me first year and every year. Time mangement is the key actually. Mashaa Allaah to the story about the sister, that is indeed truly amazing how she did that. If I married a imaam, I think I would have just gone into shiekha career.

on January 4, 2005 10:03 PM
Ibtisam said

Religious girls in America have unfortunately abandoned the sunnah and please brother dont call me san, I am nobody's student here.

Sister Amani's post:
"Sr. Ibtisam: I understand what you are saying but even Islam tells us to marry the best one for us. How would one choose a husband if one is not looking for the best. Wouldn't that mean she could and should marry just anyone who is good? "

That is the thing a girl will not and should not choose. The choice is with the father of the girl, who she should let him know her preferences(dare I use that word and a long scroll comes up in single girls mind
Let me try Br. Hasan style, define best?
if you(generally speaking) tried to be the best in terms of other areas: education, religion,then I can understand search for the best, but otherwise, why? Secondly,
Best=angels(they dont marry), Prophets(sorry none here, dont know when Eesa AS is coming), Siddiqoon(maybe?), Sahabah(not possible, none here ), shuhada(hmmm, no way to tell).
Good person is good not bad and who knows, Allaah will make it best for you.
Best is not necessarily best but what is best for the individual, because only Allaah knows what is best for each person.

You do istikhaara and tawaakul
your parents do tawakkul: search, talk, pray, interview, let the father of Huda
play hardball(this is sunnah). The aqd an nikaah contract is with the father and the groom
not bride and groom. The father and brothers of the bride do an interview, American sisters have abandoned the sunnah.
If such a marriage fails, the blame comes on the father and the man himself, not necessarily the bride. The father is obligated to care for his daughter and to give away for marriage.
The above does not hold entirely true if the father is a mushrik or munaafiq, means does not believe in shareeah and according to many ulema does not pray.

on January 4, 2005 10:24 PM
Ibtisam said

Thanks for the dua', may Allaah do the same for you. Sorry to sound harsh about the "san", but I did not really like the title and did not mean for the words to come out so rudely online, sorry.

on January 4, 2005 10:29 PM
asif said


Hahahaha...Just read all your messages.
You are really a Noisemaker...I tell ya :)

Ok first of all, San is in respect, has got nothing to do with being a student or otherwise. Now I cannot say Chan to you because you are not my fast friend, and Sama is generally for older folks in respect...and I know you are not old!

Regardless, I will respect your decision and not call you san anymore....And No you did not sound harsh or rude to me at all!

on January 5, 2005 12:21 AM
hidayareader said

Asalaam ualaykum,
The following was taken from the Al-Maghrib forums,


The question was: Meeting up for the first time...


Assalamu Alaykum wr wb

okay - a sister wants to know how much can she "dress up" when she has a meeting with a brother for the sake of marriage? Her wali will be present is the first such meeting, the brother doesn't know what the sister looks like can she wear a "dressy" jilbab and make-up for example? is that ok?

wasalamu Alaykum wr wb

And the following is the answer
Shaykh Yasir (Abu Ammar) gave...

Salaam Alaikum

I apologize for the delay in responding...I was traveling back to Madinah and was (and still am) extremely busy.

It is absolutely permissible for a sister to beautify herself in front of a possible suitor when he comes to visit her in the presence of her wali.

The evidence for this is qiyas awla (a priori anology) - if he is allowed to look at her without her knowledge, and in fact might even see her in situations/ scenarios in which more than what is normally exposed will be shown, then of course he may look at her in a beautiful garment or with make up on. (NOTE: Please, brothers, don't abuse this privilige, and don't play games with the Sharee'ah: yes, a brother may spy on a sister if he is interested in marrying her, but as Ibn Qudamah and al-Mawardi and an-Nawawi and many scholars state, this is ONLY allowed if he is dead serious, and if he presumes that the sister's wali will allow him to marry her. Otherwise, if he knows that his proposal will be rejected or if he's not in a situaiton to propose, then such looking is merely zina of the eyes).

In fact, for her to look beautiful and (to put it blunty) be a fitnah for him is something which she should do if she's really interested in him. Now, the factor of 'looking her normal self so as not to deceive him' might be true, but at the same time she is allowed to make herself appealing to him. That is precisely what the Prophet (SAW) said when he told the man to go look at the woman, "...for it is liable to establish love between you."

As for the restrcition by some scholars that he can only look once, this has no basis. When the woman came and offered herself to the Prophet (SAW), the narrator says that the Prophet (SAW) looked at her '...up and down,' meaning that he took his time and decided whether he wanted to marry her or not.

As for the other restriction that some mad-habs place that he cannot look at her with any pleasure (shahwah), then frankly I just have to state that I don't understand how they can make such a statement. How is it possible for a man to look at a woman whom he's interested in marrying and NOT look at her in that way??? That is why Ibn Qudamah and al-Mawardi both refute that opinion and say that it is completely permissible to look at one's proposed wife with pleasure, and more than once, but only until he makes up his mind that he will propose, after which he should propose.

It is allowed for a man to see '...what normally appears' of a woman, such as her hair, arms, face, etc. If she's wearing a scarf, he may request her to take it off and see her hair. HOWEVER, it is her right to refuse (but that might not be a good idea if she wants him as a husband!!). In other words, this is not something that he can demand of her, but it is his right to know what her hair is like. Additionaly, he may look at her body beneath her clothes (sorry for being so explicit, but this is an issue which everyone should know about). Ibn Qudamah cleary states that he may see '...her places of flesh,' meaning from behind her clothes. Since physical beauty does play an important role in marriage, and each man has certain features which appeal to him in a woman, then he is allowed such leniencies which are otherwise not allowed.

Similarly, she may look at him with pleasure, and see what normally appears of his body.

Hope that answers the question.

BTW, this is my conclusion on this issue after studying the evidences and reading a number of fiqh books, including al-Mughni and al-Muqni and ash-Sharh al-Kabeer and al-Insaaf. However, just to make sure and add some weight, today I called up Sh. Ahmad (one of Sh. Shanqiti's main students), and he also confirmed these opinions.

And Allah knows best...

Wa Salaam


on January 5, 2005 12:22 AM
Justoju said

Wow, it seems there are some very interesting differences of opinion within scholars...


Giving Hijab-less Photos for Purposes of Marriage

Answered by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani

Q: For marriage purposes can one give the other person a picture without a head scarf on, they live in different continents, therefore they have not met one another in person, but, the second party is waiting for a picture, and is requesting one without a headscarf, is it important to see ones hair?? is it a sin? also, what if the sister has some make-up on in that picture? does this fall under zina?

Walaikum assalam,

1. According to the Hanafi school, and the overwhelming majority of the Sunni scholars, including the Malikis and Shafi`is, it not permitted to take off one’s hijab for a potential suitor, even in more final stages of the decision-making process. As such, it would be sinful to take off one’s hijab for such a reason, and unbefitting the shyness (haya’)expected of a Muslim. The Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “Shyness (haya’) is from faith.”

2. If one decides to marry someone, it is for the man permitted to look at the woman’s face and hands only. This is permitted even if there is desire (shahwa), though only if one’s intention is to fulfill the the sunna, not in to fulfill one’s physical desires. [As explained in Haskafi’s Durr al-Mukhtar, and Ibn Abidin’s Radd al-Muhtar, ‘Bab al-Mass wa’l Nadhar fi Kitab al-Hadhr wa’l Ibaha, and other authoritative works of Hanafi fiqh]

3. This is the position of:

The Hanafi school: Durr al-Mukhtar;
The Maliki school: Sharh al-Saghir; and
The Shafi`I school: Tuhfat al-Muhtaj fi Sharh al-Minhaj]

4. Most of the fuqaha conditioned the permissibility of looking even to this extent with being: after one has otherwise made the determination to marry the person, and believes it is possible that one would in fact be able to get married to her. This is not a permission to “shop around.”

And Allah alone gives success.

Walaikum assalam,
Faraz Rabbani.

on January 5, 2005 12:36 AM
Justoju said

Personally, I would feel bad for a guy who saw me with makeup. I started wearing makeup when I was 11 and gave it up when I was 19. I mastered the art in those 7 years and can make myself look like a different person with the use of colors, diff. brushes, textures, shading, contouring etc... I think if I came before a suitor with makeup on, he would be thoroughly shocked and disappointed after marriage.

I would much rather have him be thoroughly shocked and disappointed before marriage than trap him and then spring my real ogress self on him later :)

on January 5, 2005 12:42 AM
asif said


Personally, If I was getting married to a lady then I would rather prefer to see her in hijaab, dressed nicely, Insha'Allah...and any light makeup is solely up to her.

Allah Knows Best!

on January 5, 2005 12:55 AM
Justoju said

Can someone tell me what is meant by a 'previous agreememt' ?


Looking at other than the face and hands of the woman he wishes to propose to

*Please appropriately reference this fatwa to: www.fatwa-online.com, thankyou!*

Question: Is it permissible for a man to look at other than the face and hands of the woman he wishes to propose to, such as looking at her hair and her neck?

Response: That which is apparent to me, and Allaah knows best, is that this is permissible without a previous agreement. He (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said that which means:

((If anyone’s heart settles on proposing to a woman, then he can look at that which will lead him to marry her)), [Translators note: This is the hadeeth of Jaabir ibn ‘Abdillaah (radhi-yallaahu 'anhu) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:

((If any of you has proposed to a woman, and if he is able to look at that which will lead him to marry her, then he should do so))]

As regards a previous agreement, then it is not permissible to look at more than the face and hands.

Shaykh al-Albaanee

on January 5, 2005 1:01 AM
Justoju said

I am still searching for fatwas...its funny how hidayaonline.com came up in my search results :)

Talk about going in circles....

on January 5, 2005 1:14 AM
Ibtisam said

Hey, how come my posts are ignored, a little harsh?
I did not say anything about meeting up with a suitor for the first time. I said about considering suitors. Well anyways, I think Br. Yasir Abu Ammar is talking about when the agreement is made and it is definite.

I have to get makeup tips from you Justoju, lol!

on January 5, 2005 9:06 AM
asif said


About Makeup (which I know very little off), If my wife was wearing those "mask" or thick crust of "something" on her face then that will be so repulsive to me...forget about her looking pretty or beguiling to me. Most probably I wont even approach her-if I can help it-till she has washed her face and become more natural and normal again. Insha'Allah.

So a hint of touch up here and there and some matching lipsticks will be more than sufficent for my wife, as far as my pleasure in seeing her is concerned, but ultimately, its up to her how much of makeup she wants to do.

And yes Ibtisam it seems Br. Yasir Ammar is definitely refering to the showing of hair and so on during the final stages before marriage between the soon-to-be Bride and Groom.
And NOT like the 1st or 2nd meeting with potential mates.

on January 5, 2005 11:18 AM
Justoju said

I dont see where it says that it only applies to meetings in the later stage. From what I can see the fatwa seems to be saying that it is applicable from the start.

And when I talk about the wonders of makeup, I am not talking about cakey thick makeup. You could significantly change your 'look' with some very light touches with the right shades in the right places. Too many layers make you look older and should be avoided.

on January 5, 2005 1:02 PM
asif said

Salaam Justoju San:

I will take your word in regards to makeup (as you are the expert).
So, I guess, I prefer makeup on my wife so long as she still looks the same (mostly) when I look at her while she is sleeping and while she is awake....Insha'Allah.

on January 5, 2005 3:12 PM
Justoju (An AWESOME silver lining) said


In Angry Waves, the Devout See an Angry God

By Edward Cody

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia, Jan. 4 -- Aceh's highly influential Islamic clerics have explained the giant wave that devastated this overwhelmingly Muslim region as a warning to the faithful that they must more strictly observe their religion, including a ban on Muslims killing Muslims.

The infusion of religious meaning into the tragedy, in a province already known as Indonesia's most fervently Muslim area, suggested the consequences of the Dec. 26 tsunami could extend well beyond the death toll. The sweeping destruction has torn apart the infrastructure on the northern part of Sumatra island.

The idea that the killing on both sides of a years-old conflict between secessionist rebels and Indonesia's military helped bring divine wrath could affect the way Aceh's 4.7 million residents view the central government in Jakarta. At the same time, the devout people of this region, who seem to have embraced their clerics' views, could demand even tighter strictures in Aceh, which is already governed by Islamic law, or sharia.

The extent of Islamic influence across Aceh has been on display from the moment the wave swept in from the Indian Ocean and flattened an uncounted number of towns, villages and neighborhoods. Down almost every road, beside almost every street, mosques immediately took in refugees, setting up tents and organizing food distribution before the provincial government or international aid agencies got relief operations up and running.

Azhari Banta Ali, a provincial official, said village and neighborhood imams across Aceh province have traditionally acted in tandem with local administrators in matters affecting their followers. The Islamic clerics here have little sense of hierarchy, he added, meaning the imam of each mosque wields strong moral authority within his own area.

"Wherever you go in Aceh, you will see the village leader and the imam working together," Banta Ali said. "One is the religious leader, the other is the government leader at the lowest level of the administration."

In this atmosphere, the swift care provided around mosques and the interpretation handed down in sermons and individual counseling by local imams seemed likely to be decisive for years to come in how the people of Aceh understand the tragedy that has befallen them.

"God is angry with Aceh people, because most of them do not do what is written in the Koran and the Hadith," the collected sayings and actions of the prophet Muhammad, explained Cut Bukhaini, 35, an imam. "I hope this will lead all Muslims in Aceh to do what is in the Koran and its teachings. If we do so, God will be merciful and compassionate."

Bukhaini, surrounded by refugees camping on the grounds of his Baitush Shakhir Mosque in Banda Aceh's Ulee Kareng district, said people here were guilty of forgetting their obligation to pray five times a day and of concentrating too much on earning money rather than living according to their religion. Moreover, he explained, they offended the Almighty by entering into a conflict in which "Muslims killed Muslims" in contravention of Koranic strictures.

The provincial rebellion, by a group known as the Free Aceh Movement, began as an effort to split the region from Jakarta's rule. Although the movement has Islamic overtones, its goals are primarily separatist, and the conflict has never revolved around religion.

The soldiers dispatched here to put it down are Muslims, as are the rebels, and the central government has always voiced pride in Indonesia's role as the world's most populous Muslim nation. In that light, Bukhaini said, the conflict was unlawful under Islam, with guilt shared by both sides and the people of Aceh paying a terrible price.

In last Friday's sermon and in statements since then, imams have said the disaster should be a lesson to Muslims to more closely observe Islamic laws, including those governing consumption of alcohol and relations between the sexes, according to Aceh residents who attended weekly services in their mosques.

Unlike most of Indonesia, this province enforces sharia, including a ban on public sales of liquor. But the atmosphere has never been as austere nor the enforcement as complete as in other sharia jurisdictions such as Saudi Arabia.

"I think people were making love before marriage, doing bad things, forgetting to pray to God," said Jack Solong, 25, a waiter and dishwasher at a popular Banda Aceh coffee shop. "God punished us. I believe that."

The cafe owner, Haji Nawawi, 45, who pulls down his shutters three times a day for prayers, agreed. He suggested that the disaster could persuade people to intensify their observance of the faith that, except for some Chinese Buddhists and central Sumatran Christians, nearly all of them share.

"Before the tsunami, all the people were full of bad conduct," he said. "Boys were sitting close to the girls. There was corruption in the government. This was God's punishment."

A number of people interviewed Tuesday in Banda Aceh shared Nawawi's convictions.

"We have to make a lot of changes in our lives, and this is God's way of letting us know," said Hetty Meutia Dewy, an agriculture student at Bogor University and a member of the Islamic Association of Students. "The imams have said it was a warning. They said God loves the Aceh people, but the tsunami was a warning to be better people.

Neva Zarlinda, an 18-year-old high school student camped beside Baitush Shakhir Mosque, said she also viewed the disaster as a warning from God and, as a result, planned to be more observant.

"I hope that I will pray more now, because I have done a lot of wrong things," she said, hanging around the government-provided tent where she, her mother, her father and her five siblings have taken up residence. "I seldom prayed. God willing, I will pray more."

Despite her resolution, Zarlinda did not bother with the head scarf worn by many Aceh women.

The Islamic Defender Front, a militant group that flew volunteers in from Jakarta to help in the relief effort, said its members were the first to clear bodies and debris from the gleaming white Baiturhahman Mosque, the main symbol of Islam in Aceh, which rises from a broad esplanade in Banda Aceh's city center.

"The mosques are central for Muslims," said Mohammed Maksouni, 36, a leader of the group, explaining why refugees instinctively flowed into mosques after they fled the wave. "And also, the houses were destroyed but the mosques were left standing."

Ansufri Sabow, 34, another member and college lecturer on mathematics and Islamic studies, said the tsunami could "cleanse the sins of the people" as well as caution them.

"God has warned us," he said. "Wake up. Wake up. Wake up."

The Islamic Defender Front has made a name for itself in Jakarta by trashing bars during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. Although it has no known links to Indonesia's underground Islamic terrorist movement, the group has criticized U.S. and other Western influence in the country.

Sabow specified, however, that he welcomed the U.S. Navy helicopters working out of Banda Aceh to deliver food and relief supplies to isolated refugees. "If they come here to give food, give aid, no problem," he said. "Aid, not AIDS."

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on January 6, 2005 8:36 AM
Justoju said

NJ Muslims and their efforts in raising $ for tsunami aid:


on January 6, 2005 3:16 PM
asif said


Justoju san, Masha'Allah thats a great news report on Bande Aceh.

Gillette San your story about necklace was very engaging...Jazak Allah Khair for sharing that as well.

on January 6, 2005 5:21 PM
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