Embrace the social teachings of Islam by rethinking modern individualism.

Embrace the social teachings of Islam by rethinking modern individualism.

Believing Women & Allah

How can I become closer to Allah? What is the deeper meaning behind the events in my life? Who can I consult for advice? Join us during this Q&R session with Ustadha Umm Sahl, an experienced and knowledgeable female scholar, to get insight and answers to your personal questions.

Questions Answered:

  1. How can one improve their relationship with Allah SWT and create a balance with work and children?
  2. What do you do if you are in a spiritual rut?
  3. How can I put salah first in my life? I tend to put dunya first when I’m busy and sometimes miss my salah.
  4. I struggle with keeping up with family ties and balancing that with protecting my deen and my children’s deen (since at times you cannot control the environment [when visiting family] etc. ) And my family often gets frustrated with what I can and cannot participate in.
  5. Please explain what you can say in sujud. I get confused as to whether you can use your own words, etc.
  6. How can one balance having zuhd and having Allah solely in one’s heart, but at the same time having love for one’s family and friends?
  7. Tahajjud time moves 3 hrs within the year, at the latitude where we live. What practical advice do you give, so I don’t miss it even when Fajr begin as early as 2:00 am?
  8. I am currently learning arabic and studying seerah, fiqh with teachers. I notice myself ignoring my children sometimes and get irritated with them if I have to do other things with them. It feels terrible to do anything but study. I realize this is not right but I struggle with it.
  9. Is there an opinion that allows shaking hands with non-mahram men? It seems to help with community cohesion… Is it haram by consensus?
  10. How does one manifest tawakkul in a practical sense?
  11. A lot of us who were born and grew up in the west learned a lot of feminist rhetoric in school. How do we improve our relationships with our husbands and be more “wife-like” and what nasiha do you have for us western-born Muslimahs?
  12. My husband and I are considering moving to a Muslim country so that we can raise our children in an Islamic environment and become better Muslims ourselves (we’re both American converts). Is this a practical solution to improving one’s deen and safeguarding your children from negative influences?
  13. Why are the “layalin ashr” in Surah al-Fajr taken to be these ten days of Dhul-hijjah and not the last ten nights of Ramadan? Is there specific reward mentioned for these days? What are the best things in these days to do if we are time pressured?
  14. How do we find the wisdom in our experiences—the kind that leads to contentment or [knowledge of] what we need to correct in ourselves?
  15. As a wife and mother Alhamdulillah the day is filled with enough things to do without leaving any time to get bored. How does one explain this to friends who have a more active social life and cannot understand why you can’t meet up more often?
  16. Umm Sahl, one of the precious moments I saw in my interaction with you was when you were asked by a young lady on how she could get out of her difficult personal situation. This young lady was wearing a hijab with heavy make up. You told her to take one haraam out of her life, and that doing that would help her in getting other haram out of her life, which might help her out of her situation. You said this without an atom of judgmental tone in your statement. I was humbled. How do we strive to be like that: being non-judgmental to others without sacrificing our own position? (our position in terms of our own striving to be following the fiqh, etc).
  17. How should a wife manage when a gap seems to grow between husband and wife in religious practice, [such as] if one of them starts turning more to the dunya?
  18. I was told that it was ok to say you are sick with a cold to avoid a handshake. What do you recommend?
  19. An addition to the question on tawakkul: as far as doing what we can, how hard should we try? Some people put a lot of effort in trying to cover all contingencies.
  20. How can one stop themselves from becoming jealous of people that have the dunya and how can one refrain from being judgmental?


Ustadha Umm Sahl

Born and raised in New Zealand, and of Albanian descent, Ustadha Umm Sahl left with her family to live in Turkey in 1982, where she met her first sheikh in tasawwuf, Ihsan Effendi of Zeytinburnu, Istanbul, whose student she remained until his death in 1991. In 1983, she traveled to Egypt to study Arabic, where she lived for three years. In 1986, she married her husband Nuh Ha Mim Keller and moved to Amman, Jordan. She studied Hanafi Fiqh and hadith terminology with Sheikh Shuayb Arnaut; Hanafi Fiqh and ‘Aqida with Sheikh Ahmad al-Jammal; Tajwid with Sheikh Ibrahim Rumana; and for the last 10 years, she has been studying Tafsir, Arabic grammar, Balagha, and Islamic Inheritance with Sheikh ‘Ali Hani. In 1992, she joined the Shadhili tariqa of Sheikh Abdur-Rahman ash-Shaghouri, and was his student until his death in 2004. At present, she studies and teaches, helps her husband in his translation projects, and the running of the Zawiya of Abul Hasan ash-Shadhili in Amman.