Filipino nurse embraces Islam

Updated 14 May 2012
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Filipino nurse embraces Islam

When 55-year-old Duris Newels, head nurse at Abdulkarim Bakr Medical Center, Jeddah, embraced Islam last week, it was a proud moment for the clinic and its staff.
Newels, now Dania Newels, was a Catholic Christian working at the center for the past five years.
"It is a proud moment for us. We are delighted to announce that our head nurse accepted Islam on her own wish and we wish her success. I also thank our Muslim staff members who helped Dania in understanding Islam in its right perspective," said Dr. Tawfik M.N. Rahaimy, CEO and executive director of the medical center.
"We at the center are not just staff members but are a small family," he added, thanking Mohammed Bakr, chairman of the board of trustees, and Dr. Zakiya Baker Muhandis for their "continued support to the clinic and staff".
Speaking to Arab News, new Muslim Dania said that although she had been a Catholic for a long time, she wasn't a practicing Catholic. She went to a Catholic school because her "parents told her to do so".
"My family and relatives call themselves Catholic Christians. So when you are born in such an environment, you have to accept whatever is around you, without ever knowing what religion exactly is," Dania said.
"In the Philippines, when I was young, we had a very negative conception of Muslims; we believed that they are bad people, traitors, and are always against us. We never dealt with or studied about faith; it was only in our mind," she added.
When Dania came to Saudi Arabia in 1990 to work, it was the first time she met many Muslims.
"I was shocked to know about Muslims, their religion and practices because I had never seen anything like that in the Philippines. I had never seen a mosque or heard the Salah. I gained all this basic information here," she said.
Dania describes her life as a 'roller coaster" with many ups and downs. She has hopped from one religion to another but none satisfied her, she said.
"When you are despaired in life, you always look for someone who can help you. I have been to the church but nothing satisfied me," she said.
Dania befriended several Muslims here but the thought of embracing Islam never crossed her mind until an incident that she says changed her perspective about life.
"Five years ago, I never thought that such a moment will come in my life. Life is very difficult. I started to ponder on what being a Muslim is like. I asked my Muslim friends about it and what they had to say, such as about the Day of Judgement, hell fire and life in the Hereafter, interested me. They told me that Allah SWT is the only Creator, Nourisher and Sustainer and there is none besides Him and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the last Prophet. Belief in these principles makes one a Muslim; it is so simple," Dania said.
She further read books on Islam, watched videos on the life of the Prophet (pbuh). She read about the difference between the Bible and the Qur'an and compared the two religions.
"Though I understood many things, I still had doubts in my mind. One day we received a patient who was about to die. She was hospitalized for a long time due to a back fracture. I asked for a sign from God. I said to God that I will accept Islam if the patient, Sultana, is cured," she said.
Dania said she was not quite expecting Sultana to recover. "The same day Dr. Tariq informed me that Sultana had recovered and was doing well. I didn't know what was going on. I was sweating and didn't know what to say. I told Dr. Tariq about the sign I had asked God to give. That very moment I realized that I must keep my words and accept His true religion, the path He showed me," Dania recalled.
Dania went to Makkah to perform Umrah after she accepted Islam last Friday. "I only pray that Allah SWT will guide me on the right path and will be there for me always. I hope I am not late in discovering the light of truth," she said.
"Islam is a complete religion, which not only belongs to Saudi Arabia and the Arabs but it is the religion of the universe. In Islam, you are directly dealing with your Creator. It is not only for your present life but also for your life in the hereafter," said Chairman Bakr, congratulating Dania and praying for her guidance.


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016
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The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.