My Blog

Following Truth

People often ask us why we moved to Yemen over ten years ago now. The answer was simple. Having found the truth, we wanted to follow it, and in order to follow it, we had to gain knowledge. Yemen, with its many strong scholars and teachers and its low cost of living and strong agricultural tradition, had been a long term goal for us from the early days of our marriage. I well remember the tattered Lonely Planet Guide to Yemen that we bought in Colorado and carried with us as we travelled from state to state and city to city searching for someone to teach us while our dream of Yemen remained just a dream.

Gays Mills, my childhood home

Gays Mills, my childhood home

We began in Wisconsin, where I grew up, and in the first ten years of our marriage managed to live in Virginia, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. Our criteria for moving was simple: was there someone there who could help us learn our religion, face to face, as the people had learned it since its early days? Even within a single state or city we would move if we thought we could be closer to a student of knowledge. It was difficult for me, having grown up in the same house for most of my life, but because of it I learned about what was truly important. Not a fancy house or a state of the art kitchen. Not attachments to people who didn’t support and affirm our beliefs and our determination to live according to them. Not a high wage or big car. Truth. Simply that and nothing more.

We made mistakes along the way, but we never dug ourselves into a hole that was too large or too deep to climb out of, and this was by the mercy of Allaah alone. People we thought were people of sound belief and understanding turned out to be misguided or mistaken. Communities we thought were growing and moving forward in positive ways turned out to be pipedreams of one or two people, never to be realized. But through it all we remained steady, making our family and our home into a place of security, light and knowledge as best as we could, so that with this firm foundation based upon our love of our religion we were able to weather the storms, pack up our belongings, and move on.

Ma'bar, our mountain stronghold in more ways than one

Ma’bar, our mountain stronghold in more ways than one

We had hoped that moving to Yemen would put an end to that, but we found out that there, too, were trials and tribulations to be had. Being forced to leave our mountain home in Ma’bar because of the government. Later, having to change all of our plans and leave our home of three years when the true nature of someone we had loved for the sake of Allaah and learned from became crystal clear, and my health became too precarious to ignore. Finding that nowhere on this Earth is perfect, as that is true only for what lies ahead after this life is gone.

Upon the death of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allaah’s praise and salutations be upon him, Abu Bakr, his dear friend and successor, said to those gathered steeped in sadness and denial,

“Oh People! If anyone among you worshipped Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead. But as for those who worship Allaah, let them know that He lives and will never die. Let all of us recall the words of the Qur’an. It says:

‘Muhammad is only a Messenger of Allaah, there have been Messengers before him. What then, will you turn back from Islaam if he dies or is killed?’ “

This is what keeps one strong, and always moving forward, seeking knowledge and striving to implement it. Hoping to find others who are striving for the same goals, but not depending upon them.

Allaah lives and will never die. The truth is here, and will never disappear. The rope, the strong handhold that will never break, is stretched taut before us until the end of time.

We just have to be courageous enough to grab hold, strong enough to hold on tight, and willing to work until we reach the end. And the success, is always, always, with Allaah alone.


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Abdullah ibn Abbas on April 19, 2013 8:40 am

Beautiful reminder, Jazaka’Allaahukhair wa Barak’Allaahu feekum

Khadijah on April 19, 2013 11:54 am

Wa Jazak, and feekum BarakAllaah. And with Allaah is the success!

UmmSaleem on April 19, 2013 1:48 pm

AsSalamu Alaikum wa Rahmantullahi wa Barakatu;

Umm Mujahid, as always mash Allah beautiful reminder. This remind me of the hadith of Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be please with him) that the prophet (peace and blessing of Allah upon him)said, “Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a wayfarer.”And ibn Umar (may Allah be please with him) used to say, “In the evening do not expect [to live until ] the morning, and in the morning do not expect [to live until] the evening. Take [advantage of] your health before times of sickness , and [take advantage of] your life before your death.” Alhadullillah this is a great reminder for my self first and Inshallaah for those who would read this…May Allah keep us strong and benefit from your reminders Ameen.

Jazakallah khair Barakallahu feeke

Khadijah on April 19, 2013 4:32 pm

Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu
A beautiful and beneficial reminder, Umm Saleem. BarakAllaahufeekee!

Mai on April 19, 2013 5:40 pm

As salaamu alaykum.

I was once called an “orphan” by a scholar, maashaa Allah. He said that because I came to Islam and had no Muslim parents or family. However, I have realized that we who seek the truth and yearn for knowledge are really the orphans. We desperately look for someone qualified and capable to “raise” us…not as our Rabb – Allah – does, but in the true path of Allah subhaana wa ta’ala. We yearn to be taught in the traditional way in order to gain not only ‘ilm but etiquette and manners that can only be internalized through physical presence and interaction. The opportunities for such learning are limited and have to be sought out and often struggled for. However, every second of the search is blessed and valuable in itself, alhamdul’Illah.

I was told a beautiful story this morning. Some young men went to a well known shaykh in Masjid al Haraam during Ramadhaan. They asked him what was better, attending Taraweeh prayer or going out and giving da’wah to the people on the streets around, where many were on misguidance and sin. The shaykh told them to come back to him the next day at the same time. The following day they returned, early and keen to receive their answer. The shaykh met them and told them to go with him. He went with them to the streets and went into a shop where music was being sold, and gave the man da’wah. The man was in tears and corrected his error by the following day. The shaykh didn’t just tell them to go and give da’wah, he took them and showed them HOW to give da’wah. Subhaan Allah, makes my heart ache for such a learning situation!

May Allah make us successful in our efforts to pursue such learning and provide it for others – ameen.

Khadijah on April 22, 2013 2:00 pm

Alhamdulillah, I love the image of the orphan…I can relate to that as well, mash’Allaah. I feel now like the scholars are like my fathers and grandfathers in so many ways, in the way they love and care for the people of this Ummah, and strive to help and guide them.
What you said about the scholar showing the people how to give da’wah was so beautiful, mash’Allaah. I know that studying with Umm ‘AbdurRahman, Umm Salamah and Umm ‘Abdullah (and others of my teachers, may Allaah preserve them all) affected me profoundly- not just what they said, but how they acted when dealing with different people in different situations. I miss them, and being immersed in the knowledge like I was in Yemen, terribly sometimes, mash’Allaah.
Ameen to your dua!

Sadiah on November 22, 2013 6:53 pm

I heart ache to for such a learning situation so I can properly attain knowledge and then become a teacher. Ya Rabbi may our prayers be answered till now time management has been my only way of striving for ilm but I would love to be in a real learning environment like what you said Khadijah about how you studied in Yemen taking the ilm with manners and contact with the teacher. It really is such a blessing! May Allah t’ala adorn us with ilm and bless us with good company. ameen

Khadijah on November 22, 2013 11:14 pm

Ameen! My heart too, my sister, insh’Allaah some day!

UmmHurairah on April 23, 2013 2:57 am

Salaamu alaykum,

Very inspiring and reaffirming. From Midwest America to Middle East. Allaah is Most Great indeed.
You can’t escape death and once Allaah has decided good for you it will reach you in spite of yourself.

Umm Khadeeja on May 7, 2013 9:34 am

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله

جميلة! وفّقنا الله في الدنيا والآخرة

Lina on July 24, 2013 12:41 pm

As salam aleyki wa rahmatullah Khadijah,
Found your writings more or less without searching them… But now feel like i needed them.
May Allah reward you for the emotions you set free in hearts.
I know only few things about you, read only few posts but it’s a pleasure to feel connected even for 20 lines…
I am planning, bi idhniAllah, to go to ma’bar in order to study in the merkez dar-ul-hadith.
Do you have knews from ma’bar ? How is the situation there?
Hope to read you again.
And I apologize for my “incertain” english… I’m from a country where foreign languages are not easily learned…

Khadijah on August 18, 2013 11:24 pm

Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu
May Allaah make it easy for you to travel and study at a center of knowledge like Ma’bar, insh’Allaah! As far as I am aware, the situation is much as it has been, alhamdulillah. I would suggest that you contact the markaz directly, and they will give you advice and answer your questions directly, insh’Allaah.
I miss it very much, mash’Allaah. Insh’Allaah perhaps someday we will meet there!
Your English is fine, mash’Allaah, barakAllaahufeekee for writing!

Amatullaah on August 9, 2013 11:03 pm

Assalaamu aleykum dear sister,
I wa t to learn my deen correctly and act by it. I have seen do you have classes for sister and how can i join the classes and what is the condition?
Jazakallaahi khayr!

Khadijah on August 18, 2013 11:22 pm

Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah
Yes, we do have classes for sisters online. Insh’Allaah register at the taalib site, and if possible at WizIQ, and you will receive notifications when they begin. Each class has different conditions set for it accordingly. We will also announce the classes at Taalib as well, insh’Allaah
Wa Jazak!

abu ismail ibraheem al kooree on November 22, 2013 10:43 pm

salaamu alaikum. This is abu ismail. You should know my wife from shihr umm ismail ayisha. She gives you salaams. She is now in darul hadeeth fuyuush. Make dua for her for indeed she needs it with the fact that she makes dua for you. May allah continue to make you a benefit for the muslims as you were to her in your short period of time in hadramawt.

Khadijah on November 22, 2013 11:06 pm

Wa aleikum assalam Abu Ismail. I love your wife so much for the sake of Allaah, alhamdulillah, Allaah placed her firmly in my heart. Insh’Allaah please give her my salaams and let her know that I keep her and your family in my du’a. BarakAllaahufeek for reminding me of her, and for your du’a!