Hijab for Men

By Mohamedhussein Kara (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
Image Source: http://thecompanion.in/lets-talk-hijab-men/

Over the course of the years, ‘Hijab’ was given numerous definitions. Although each definition has become a topic of concern, it was always associated with women, while ironically, Allah in the Qur’an commands men to observe Hijab before he does to women. That’s right; Islam places the primary responsibility of Hijab on men and not women:

“Tell the believing men to cast down their looks and guard their private parts; that is purer for them; surely Allah is Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof….” – Quran (24:30-31)

Indeed, before he addresses women to conceal their bodies, he warns men to lower their gaze. For some reason, a lot of men seem to think they can simply force a woman to observe Hijab while the Quran is clear, we aren’t allowed to do that at all, the burden of modesty lies with us.

In today’s hyper sexualized society, many of us would much rather ignore the concept of lowering the gaze and glancing inappropriately at females because there is no harm in “just looking” right? Yet, we are not aware of the disastrous effects it can have on our thinking, because it is the seed of desire that leads to deviant behavior, as reported by Prophet Issa. Many of us might believe in lowering our gaze, but there is no denying that this is an aspect of our Hijab most of us still need to perfect.  Even a few unlawful peeks over time can cause us to abandon our modesty and openly start “checking out” girls.

According to psychology, the things our eyes perceive are stored in our memory. These images then slowly accumulate subconsciously over a period of time and slowly lead a person to physically manifest them, hence the alarming rate of youth today getting addicted to pornography, and then cannot help but channel their desires into unlawful manners. These vile acts can be put to an end by avoiding such thoughts and images in the first place – which can be achieved by the lowering of the gaze.

When Zulaikha tried to seduce Prophet Yusuf, she covered an idol nearby. When Prophet Yusuf inquired why, she replied by saying that she did not wish for it to witness her sin. Prophet Yusuf’s response to her encompasses the true essence and serves as the perfect standard for us to judge the immorality of our actions. He said “if you exhibit shyness before a stone that does not see, it is more befitting for me to exhibit shame and modesty before the all-seeing and the one who is aware of everything that is manifest and concealed within me.”

Hijab is a critical Islamic teaching, but it seems like most men forget to apply it first and then blame women for dressing provocatively. Let’s stop obsessing over women and try to reform ourselves first.

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The Need for Celebrating Diversity

By Mohamedali Habib (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) 

As I saunter at a snail’s pace toward the back of the aircraft where my seat is located, I can’t help
but marvel at the diversity of the passengers aboard. Here we all are, from different races,
cultures and nationalities headed toward the same destination on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Everybody aboard the plane has a story; a story that includes shattered dreams, broken
hearts, tragedies and death. A story that includes love, hope, fulfillment of dreams and life. A
story, that if articulated properly could melt the coldest of hearts.

The truth is blatantly obvious; we all share the same story. But human perception is frightfully
narrow. We have built a society where a particular race, nationality or culture is considered
superior to the other. With the recent global political shift in rhetoric that is xenophobic and
nationalistic, I would like to highlight 3 key points that indicate why diversity should be

First and foremost, we have “the bubble burst”. We all love people who have ideas and beliefs
that are similar to ours, but far too often we find ourselves trapped in a bubble. Our progression
as individuals occurs when we are exposed to ideas and beliefs that challenge our foundational
notions of truth, and that allow us to see the world from a different and holistic perspective.

Hereafter we have ‘the novelty rush’. Imagine Celebrating New Year’s Eve like the Spaniards by
having 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight to symbolize the 12 lucky months ahead. Imagine
calling your brother a brat because you’re learning Russian and it means brother. New research
led by the University of Edinburgh and published in the scientific journal Nature seems to
indicate that novel experiences boost memory formation. Novel experiences also assist us in
combating hedonic adaptation, which is the phenomenon that describes the fading away of
happiness as a result of experiences becoming repetitive.

My third and final point is the “creative conflict”. Conflict is a life force filled with creative
tension and energy. The interaction of different perspectives and personalities fosters out of the
box thinking which leads to innovative solutions to everyday problems. Diversity of thought
allows us to explore new possibilities hereby acting as a hub for business, cultural and
technological innovation.

Embracing diversity means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.

To conclude, when we realize that we all share the same story and we are all headed to the
same destination, we will be able to see past the social constructs of identity and truly embrace
each other for who we are. The words of Mahatma Gandhi over half a century ago applies more
aptly today than ever before: ‘Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of
our civilization.’

(Image Source: http://theapprenticeacademy.co.uk/blog/using-apprenticeship-to-support-diversity-and-inclusion/ )

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Teen Drug Abuse

By Sayyedah Jaffer (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) 

Teen drug abuse is very common amongst today’s youths. Many of the youths of today’s generations have easy access to different types of drugs which is also causing an effect in their daily lives and their academic life.

Drugs do not have a rightful place in society or school where teens are living in their most formative years. Teens who are drug users or abusers can be identified through their academic performance in school or through their athletic performance after school. For example: a teen who is a drug user will usually skip classes, have lower grades, lack of responsibility to that of a teen who is drug free.

Alcohol is one of the most misused drugs of today and almost readily available everywhere. It can be found at every teen part or dance clubs. The consumption of alcohol causes teens to wake up with a hang over the next day not realizing what they have been up to because of the drowsiness of the alcohol and also missing classes and affecting their academic life.

The real question which comes to every person’s mind is what types of drugs do teens use? Well according to NIDA’s monitoring the future survey – which looks at the different drugs that teens are using, alcohol comes at number one – no guesses there! It is then followed by tobacco and marijuana.

There are currently no federal laws regarding school-based drug testing, however, there are two Supreme Court Cases that grant public schools the authority to conduct drug testing in certain circumstances:

  1. In 1995, the Court ruled that it was legal for schools to randomly test student athletes
  2. In 2002, that ruling was expanded to included students who participate in a competitive extracurricular activity such as a marching band or chess club.

The real question comes to every parent’s mind is that how do they control or stop their children from getting in touch or using drugs.

Therefore, the solution to that is that parents should build a friendship relationship with their children and have a day to day update from the school as to how they child is progressing.

Many parents are busy working fulltime and therefore neglect spending time with their children or even being informed as to who the child goes with or where the child goes in their absence.

Most parents rely everything on school but unfortunately by that time it’s too late. Parents should educate their children about drugs and alcohol before the child even enters in their teens. Always be supportive and involved in your child’s life so as to know everything that your child is doing while being at home or at school. Educate yourselves to watch out for signs if your child has been in contact with drugs or alcohol.

  1. Teendrugabuse.us
  2. teens.drugabuse.gov
  3. Centreonaddiction.org
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Friday Khutba from 13.7.2018

Spoken by Syed Adeel Raza
Contributed by KSIJ Dar Media (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

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The Human Matrix

By Mehreen Mushtak (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

We are all so consumed with work in this world, each one of us! It can be studying, playing sports, working in an office, writing, reading, and you name it. One thing in common in this is that people are graded; one is better than another. So we are all on a matrix where we are measured against certain criteria, some, which we know, and others we don’t. For example, while studying, we are assessed against our learning ability. That is still too broad, so, should we be assessed on our remembering ability or on understanding ability. Again this can be broken down, are we assessed on remembering and understanding ability or memorizing ability. Haven’t you noticed that all top scorers in school don’t do so well in their jobs, some may?

Well, we are up for measurement in each and everything that we do. Some people may consider you to be good at a certain aspect; others at a few aspects and some may feel you can’t do anything. So how do we perceive this?  Do you argue back? Do you sulk? Or in anger do you prove them wrong? It is all about perception. How much does someone’s judgment affect you? How much does worldly measurement affect you? How do you value yourself and your talents?

A human being is a complex creation of Allah with the most beautiful aspect being the heart and the mind. Both help you to make decisions and judgment, feel happy and sad or delighted and furious. It is our complex organs that help us function in day-to-day life. Each person is unique and has a different talent. Then why do you aim to measure yourself on matrix that was never meant for you? It could be amazing for your friend or your sister or brother, but that does not mean you will have the exact same matrix as them.

Again an important question that comes up is, what is ‘good enough’ Do you decide that? Or do you let your environment, peers, and family decided that? Or even social media? Competition is a part of humans, however, the best form is when you compete with yourself so that you are better than you were when you attempt to do something. There is no end to growth if you do it with determination, dedication, and hustle, all while being humble. Definitely easy to say and difficult to do, but we have the best role models in history to look up to and learn traits of superiority through work yet humbleness in nature. Let your work and contributions speak for themselves and once you realize that you need no particular matrix to be measured, you will stop looking at others from that lens.


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