Sunday, February 1, 2009

A naseeha no no

I teach 4th grade at the local masjid's Sunday school alhamdulillah. I recently got permission by the administration to sell my halal Skittles and candies there during the kids recess and snack time.

After Dhuhr salah when I put my huge bag of Skittles down to put my boots on a sister in her early 30's comes up to me.

"Sister, I'd think by the way you dress - " *points to my niqaab* " - that you'd know Skittles are haram!! How can you bring those into a Masjid?"

"These are halal Skittles... what does my clothing have to do with candy... " *fake giggle*

"I mean, you dress super religious so from that you should know these things. But Skittles are haram you should check the ingredients, there's pig in them. You know here in the US we have to be very careful of what we eat, there's all types of things in these foods.."

"Yeah, you're right.."
I tell her thinking if she only knew I had a blog dedicated to halal and haram products! haha. "These are halal though, they're gelatin-free," I told her.

"No they don't make them halal!!!!! They all have PORK! You know, PIG! You're not listening!!"

No! YOU'RE not listening! I was getting irritated... mainly because she was getting loud with me and in front of other people, and her own kid! "Actually, the ones made for the US contains BEEF gelatin, not pork. These are made specifically for the Middle East, they don't even have at least halal gelatin in them, they are gelatin free... they use vegetable substitutes."

She looked at me confused, "No I don't think so!"

"... And in the UK their Skittles used to be halal as well, they were Vegan-friendly until they started using E120 in them, a coloring taken from insects..."

She stared at me blankly. "Oh.. well.."

I went into the bag and handed her a pack, "See, read the ingredients..."

She read them and nodded and handed the pack back to me, "Hmm.. well... I'll have to look into that... something's not right."

?!?!?!?!?! Why do people have to ALWAYS be right even when the proof is right in their face! She looked at me as if I created the wrapper myself and filled haram Skittles inside! haha. Why can't people just admit when their wrong?

I just hate when people look at niqaabis or any other Muslimahs and based off the way she dresses assumes the sister is, or at least thinks she is, a perfect Muslim or know it all. Not only that, but they jump at them when they think they see something wrong. It's sad when people get all nasty and think they're so smart and try to make someone look bad in front of others. This isn't Islamic at all.

Allah knows best her intentions, but if she really wanted to give me 'naseeha' regarding the Skittles she wouldn't have told me in such a demeaning manner in front of so many people and kids. Not only that, she wouldn't have been rude when I tried to explain myself either, cutting me off and not listening.

Some people like to right wrongs just to show they're right. Please think twice when you think you see something wrong and try to give someone advice. Be sure to be gentle with them and pull them aside. Don't be harsh and ridicule them in front of others. First investigate the situation before assuming the worst of the person. It doesn't matter how a person is dressed, everyone still has learning to do and everyone is in need of help once in a while.

I don't know the source of this story, if it is true or not, but indeed it holds a good lesson inshaAllah and I just thought of it as I was explaining how we should give naseeha... here's the jist of it...

Once the grandsons of our beloved Prophet salAllahu alayhi wasallam, Hasan and Hussain, radiAllahu anhuma, saw an elderly man making wudu. After watching him they realized that he was making wudu incorrectly.

The two brothers wanted to correct the man, but didn't know how. He was older and they didn't want to offend him, being so young and correcting him. They came up with an idea of how to teach the man proper wudu without being direct.

They went over to him and told him they were in a disagreement over who performed wudu the best and they wanted him to be the judge.

The bedoin watched the two kids perform wudu, and in watching, he himself came to learn his mistake(s). He thanked them and told them that he did not know the proper way to make wudu until the two of them had come over and showed him, subhanAllah.

MashaAllah this is the way to give naseeha. It is not an easy thing to do. As open as we should be to constructive criticism, it is only understandable that a person may take offense to being corrected if it's not done in a gentle manner.

Just imagine how I would have felt if I did have haram Skittles? It already upset me the way she spoke to me even though I wasn't doing anything wrong. I would maybe even be mad and probably close my heart to her naseeha anyway. That of course wouldn't be the right thing to do, but as humans these are tendencies we do unfortunately have.


Haleemah said...

Okay that was so rude! Like she could have said, "Oh are those skittles, are they halal?" You should always say it the positive way, not even "Are they haram?" That's all she needed to do!!

KakChik said...

Oh Sis, I agree with Sis Haleemah, she's indeed very rude.

I think what she really want to say is that although she's not a niqabi, she knows more than you.

And the way she said those things to you in such a way is really embarrassing and not very Islamic.

Anonymous said...

as salam aleykoum

it is just ignorance sometimes u have heard that something is haram then u follow like a sheep
but alhamdoulilah we have knowledge and we must be open to others and hear other points of view and advices

but u should explain her more gently and even offer her the candy and tell her to visit ur blog, maybe u were not that persuasive that's why she left full of doubt even if u were right
but anyway it is very difficult to explain and argue sometimes
take care

Sapphire said...

Yes like someone said, it seems like she wanted to show that she doesn't have to dress like you to be more 'islamic'.
flifla: Be more gentle? Her response was everything but rude and all gentle how much more can you be gentle with someone? I know we should be patient and sweet with people too but sometimes people need a harsher tone esp when they are acting that way because you know what, because she is niqabi they will think she is a pushover. People always think that niqabi sister are more weak than anyone else can they can step all over them. Trust me i know this feeling and while I try and stay calm with people I still show them I am firm. Plus sister Lazeena said she did give her the candy to read the package so what more should she have even done!

Umm Ismail said...
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Umm Ismail said...

Firstly Lol i must say Lol!! because I might have Slapped her. May Allah forgive me. Next Niqab has nothing to do with the Proof in your Eyes. Just because Niqab don't mean your super Religious who made that up. The same Purpose for hijab is for Niqab Duh!! Masha allah your Sale something hard to find. Instead of wondering if they have pork why not Read the Label ,Call the people never go by Hear Say. Investigate!!
Proof can be staring them in the face and they still believe its a lie thats called Ignorance. May Allah help all of us. and you see more and more in the Ummah Today!! Subahana Don't let that put a Dent in yr day. Keep it moving!! insha allah

Sisters Just don't know to Give Naseeha half the time. And well sometime i'm one of them, not that I'm not being caring, it doesn't come out right. lol


Eman said...

great entry and story about giving naseeha!! that is a really wise way to do it, unlike the sister you encountered, oh no that's not nice. we really have to be careful advising people. like you said sometimes people are so stuck of being the right one, then you wonder what kind of naseeha is that

Yasmin said...

OOoo things like this make me made. I hate when people know they are wrong yet they still continue. What also gets on my nerves is when people think niqabis are super duper religious. I wear niqab and Im no better than a regular hijabi, or even muslimah who doesn't wear it. I mean yea we are just trying to be modest and do something to please Allah SWT. Im sorry Im just a bit mad.

Anonymous said...

wa aleykoum
we are not in the head of this sister to assume that she wanted to show that she is more pious
it is bad to think that way
if someone is harsh rude with u then act in the opposite way smile and be nicer
c'est tout (^_^)

Safa said...

Love your post! I can't stand people who are like that! There are even some texts that point to the fact that regular skittles or other products w/ gelatin may not haraam. Sorry in advance for long comment but see below:

Bismillahi wa salaatu wa salaamu 'alaa rasulillah,

(Taken entirely from a dars given by Sh. Muhammad Bazmool, translated by Moosa Richardson and a fatwa given by Sh. al-Albaani)

Istihala is when something becomes pure. It was najis (impure) but it is now taahir (pure). A good example would be maitah (animal carcass): it is najis, but should it be burned and become ashes, or decompose and become earth, then it is taahir, it is no longer najis. This can happen with dung or feces or whatever. Whenever something changes from one property to another, then the ruling likewise changes.

Example: Let us say that someone uses the fat of a dead anima l to make soap. That fat is najis, but the chemical change that it was put through makes it taahir.

Ibn Hazm put it concisely when he said,

"Ruling upon an object is upon what it is named (what it is), if the name (what it is) changes then so does the ruling."

He also mentioned in his book of fiqh, Al-Muhalla: "If the quality of the substance of naturally impure objects changes the name which was given to it so that it is no more applicable to it and it is given a new name which is given to a pure object, so it is no more an impure thing. It becomes a new object, with a new rule."

Meaning that if the natural composition of a substance changes to another substance of a different composition, so much so that you can no longer call the new substance by the name of what it was-- ruling upon that substance changes too.

Proof/Example 1:

The companions (radyallahu anhum) used to eat a cheese that came from the land of the disbelievers. In that cheese was a part of the calf which was slaughtered by the disbelievers in a way that is not in accordance with Islaam. The companions knew this, but they also knew that the prohibition was upon the calf, what is directly from the calf, and what could be properly called part of the calf; the ruling is not upon that which you cannot identify as part of the calf nor is it called any longer such-and-such part of the calf. This is called istihala.

Proof/Example 2:

Another proof from the Sunnah: The Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) forbade making vinegar out of wine, but he said that if you should come across vinegar that has been made from wine then it is halaal.


The ruling is upon what the object is, and not what it was. Wine is haraam; vinegar is not, and before the wine became an intoxicant, it was halaal. Why? Because it was fruit before that.

Proof/Example 3:

Allah says in the Qur'an:

"And surely there is a lesson for you in the cattle we give you to drink of what is in their bellies from between the feces and blood, pure milk, wholesome to those who drink it." (16:66)

Allah is putting forth an example for us of how something pure can come from something impure.

And we can also use as proof something that we've already gone over. The Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said that when the hide of maitah (the carrion) is tanned, then it is taahir. He (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) gave us a method to purify something which was first impure.

Let us examine things we are familiar with: mono and diglycerides, whey, glute n, emulsifiers, gelatin, and whatever else is on the international haraam list. These by-products sometimes come from animals, pigs even, in which case the ruling on the initial substances is that they are haraam. But the initial substances (e.g. fat, marrow, cartilage, etc.) are put through chemical change so that you no longer can even call it "pig fat" or "animal bone" or "skin" or "cartilage", etc. because it is no longer that, hence it is taahir, it is halaal.

What is gelatin? As Oxford dictionary of science defines: "A colorless or pale yellow, water-soluble protein obtained by boiling collagen with water and evaporating the solution. It melts when water is added and dissolves in hot water to form a solution that sets to a gel on cooling." (page 290)

Is this a chemical change or is this not a chemical change? Is it protein any longer? No, it is not.

You are in disbelief so you ask, "But how can it be halaal when it came from something haraam?"

Because of the proofs mentioned above, the ruling is not based upon what it was, the ruling is based upon what it is. A Hanafi scholar, Ibn Abedin gave the example: "the swine which drowns in a salt lake and decomposes and becomes salt itself, is now halaal."

And other Hanafi scholars go on to say: "salt is different from meat and bones. If they become salt, they are salt."

To take the salt example further: salt consists of sodium chloride (NaCl) when together they are the halaal food known as salt, when separated they make up two poisonous substances which are then haraam for consumption.

The ahnaaf (Hanafis) also use as an example the human semen, saying that it is najis, then when it inseminates the egg and becomes a blood clot it is still najis, but when it becomes flesh it is no lon ger najis. And the ahnaaf are not the only ones who take this position.

The examples are numerous and they extend beyond food: Yesterday a man was kaafir and going towards Hell, today he is Muslim, so what is the ruling upon him? It is based upon what he is today.

We must be careful when we call things haraam because it is a form of thulm (oppression). Scholars have said that it is worse that you make something halaal to haraam rather than making something haraam to halaal. This deen Allah has made yusr (easy) let us not make it 'usr (hard). Wallahu 'Alim.

Rasheed Abdullaah

Mona said...

How obnoxious. She probably felt so stupid.

Anonymous said...

Okay Safa what does that have to do with anything lol. Clearly none of them follow this viewpoint, even though it's one some people do follow

Umm Ismail said...
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Umm Ismail said...
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Umm Ismail said...

Safa the Post was informative Masha allah.Jazaallahu khair.

How do you know what Few point People Follow Anonymous lol so Negative
Any way This post is a Red Light!! and we must pay attention.

Nawab said...

Yes the fatwah has nothing to do with this entry lol, nonetheless, what upsets me about this ruling is that majority of people I know who do follow it, do so because it's the easier thing to do or because they just can't part with Skittles and Cheese lolz.

bint alshamsa said...

I think Safa's point is a good one. The gelatin is an entirely different substance, I think. I mean, can you change it from gelatin back into collagen (the material it came from)? Nope.

Of course, if someone's conscience bothers them so much that they can't feel comfortable eating Skittles that are halal, then that's okay. We don't HAVE to eat Skittles. However, the fact that they are uncomfortable with something doesn't give them license to be rude, even if they think that theirs is the better position.

That's just my two pence.

Haleemah said...

I don't see how someone can be comfortable eating something that was once from pig, I just don't see it. That is so nasty, like you can't just give up those few things just to be on the safe side? That is the real matter. This is clearly a doubted issue and what does the prophet say about doubted issues? Avoid it people

Abu Yusuf said...

Yup the narration is true

Naseem said...

lol i would've been so annoyed..

Coffee Catholic said...

It's always interesting to me about how people equate clothing style with religion. "Oh, do you wear that for religious reasons?"

The point I'm trying to get at is, we dress modestly because it's required of *all* women everywhere, not because it's "religious." We're actually doing the "normal" thing while immodest dress is the abnormality. Everything is backwards these days!

The question should be, "Are you dressed immodestly for rebellious reasons?"

Hajar said...

I guess she got paranoid, while having the students' in her best interests. Sure reminds me of a few of my own experiences; one even came from my mum.

"Don't eat that! It's not halal!" - "Mum, it recently became halal!"

*~Ange~* said...

some people just love to shout "HARAM" in your face.

and no offence to niqabies - but i hate how people think that just because a girl wears a bit more material over her face, that somehow she is more knowledgeable and religious than normal hijabies.

one of my best friends doesnt wear hijab at all.. but that girl, mashaAllah, has more islamic knowledge of the sunnah and quran than most people i know.

Anonymous said...

Masha Allah... wonderfull article sis. Exactly what I was needing today. We should help each other be better for the sake of Allah. Nasty attitudes in the mosque are far to normal....grr. Let's be more aware of how we use our mouths!