Women Scholars and the forbidding of being sad :)

Assalamu alaikum (peace be with you) dear readers,

Tonight I have been doing some joyful (not sure this is a right way to use this favourite word of mine, I mean that I have been enjoying the task very much, and surely that can be said to be ‘joyful’) research on modern day influential Muslim women, in order to respond to a request by ‘genometalk’ commenting on the post about famous Muslim women I shared. Genometalk – Thank you for spurring me to do this!

Now I have a lot to say about this and inshaAllah (=God willing) tomorrow I will complete the post, but for tonight I want to highlight one woman. A ‘shaykha’ in her own right. BTW ‘sheikh’ literally means ‘old man’ and sheykha is the feminine form of that word. It is often given to a scholar as a title to convey the fact that they are learned. But if you walk on the streets in an Arab land, you will find people addressing the elderly as ‘ya sheikh’ (= O’ sheikh ) or ‘ya sheikha’ as a term of respect. And such is Arab colloquial custom that some times kids are called the same way as a term of endearment. [Having said that I can’t but help point out that it is strange idiom or language usage customs like these, that lead to so much confusion and error when translations are undertaken by those not familiar with ‘the other’. The orientalist movement contributed its fair share to this misunderstanding of the Muslim world due to this. Unfortunately the same types of misunderstanding are still prevalent].

Anse Tamara Grey (with thanks to W.B Abdullah, wbabdullah.wordpress.com, ‘Anse’ is an affectionate title given to sister Tamara. It is used in Syria and means sometime like Shaykha, but as in an educational-nurturer) is a highly respected scholar. Here is a bio from her website. Do read more about her. For now, what I will share is something she wrote about what the Quran says about being sad. She is actually bringing to light a teaching by one of Islam’s best known scholars of yore, Ibn al-Qayyum al-Jawziya a polymath, who wrote vast amounts in many fields of religious sciences, especially to do with the heart, and in other sciences such as astronomy and medicine. I have one of his books on medicine actually, some remedies there I have used as well and they’ve been very effective keeping the sick-bugs away. Allah have mercy on him!

Taken from ‘The Sandal’ blog at this post – Journeying to places: the secret of joy and rest (II). [According to what I have understood from the share buttons there, I do not believe it is wrong to post it here with the above citation] –

“The word joy is one of my favorite words.  We can use it to say things like, “She cried tears of joy.” Or “At the moment she was soaking in the joy of being alive.” In its verb form we say, “Rejoice!” As an adjective, “She uttered a joyful noise!” and as an adverb, “The children giggled joyfully.”
 Sometimes I think we come to Islam thinking it is better to be miserable. We carry around a ‘martyr’s attitude.’ This is not the martyr who struggles and fights, and is killed in the way of God. No, this is the whining and complaining ‘poor-me’ martyr.  Poor me I have to live in a small apartment; poor me I have to live in (and clean) a big house; poor me I’m not married; poor me I’m married; poor me I have only one child; poor me I don’t have any children; poor me I have to do the dishes every day; poor me I have to work; poor me I can’t work… and it goes on and on and on.
Every life in essence is the same. All have great and wonderful moments and all have trials.  The only difference is in our ‘rida’ (N.B – my translation rida=contentment, being pleased with a the state one finds oneself in) of this life, this stage of life, this moment.
Ibn al-Qayyim tells us that there is no mention of huzn (grief/ sadness/ sorrow) in the Qur’an except in two places. It is forbidden in the verse: {Do not weaken and do not grieve} (3:139), and it is rejected in the verse, {No fear shall afflict them, nor shall they grieve} (2:274). The secret behind this is that ‘huzn’ (grief/ sorrow) is of no benefit to the heart. It is most beloved to Shaitan (N.B my translation = satan) that the believer suffers in grief and depression so that it throws him off course and stops him in his tracks.
Indeed, the Prophet (s) sought refuge from grief, saying, “O Allah, I seek refuge in you from worry and grief.”
It is thus that Ibn al-Qayyim says, “Depression/grief weakens the heart, dampens one’s resolve and erodes one’s will, and there is nothing more pleasing to Shaitan than the sorrow of a believer. So rejoice! Spread cheer! Be positive and think good of Allah (z).  Trust in Him and rely on Him. Indeed you will find happiness and deep contentment in all circumstances.”
This is an awesome, joyful faith. Every day should have a joy jot – or something that brings you enough joy that it needs to be written down.  Bring joy to others, rejoice, spread joy. You are a Muslim. That is a joyful word in and of itself.  Let it be your first joy jot. “I am a Muslim… alhamdulilah!” 😀


To my dear Anse Tamara Grey, if you do ever read this, please know I send my salam to you and to all your students and that I am delighted joy is one of your favourite words, it is mine too! Allah have mercy on my dear grandfather who named me. May he be in the highest heaven and we be there to greet him!

This is my ‘joy jot’ for today! And what a great big joy jot it is. Hey, I love that phrase – “joy jot”! Thank you Sr. Tamara and thank you to W.B Abdullah, the author of ‘The Sandal‘ for sharing this with a global audience.





6 thoughts on “Women Scholars and the forbidding of being sad :)

  1. As Salaamu Alaikum, My joy jot is that a dear life coach and friend informed me that she is coming to our country to visit and she may need my help. This will be the first time I have ever met her. Just because our brethren over seas were blessed with the Prophet and the Holy Qur’an being originated from their doesn’t mean they fully understand what they had but I pray that one day they do.


    1. Thank you for sharing this my dear sister Martha. It is very true, what you have observed. Ameen to your du’a! And I am very happy at your joy jot 🙂 MashaAllahu ta’ala!
      Alaikum salam warahmatullahi ta’ala wabarakatuh


    1. Yes, ‘anse’ means something like ‘miss/madam’, commonly used to address a female teacher as students in a class would address a teacher. It’s a term more common in Syria. Other words are ‘shaykha’ or ‘ustadha’ which mean the same thing


    2. Yes, ‘anse’ means something like ‘miss/madam’, commonly used to address a female teacher as students in a class would address a teacher. It’s a term more common in Syria. Other words are ‘shaykha’ or ‘ustadha’ which mean the
      same thing


  2. Assalamu aleikum sister. How is your mom’s health? You’re in my duas. Subhanallah I started reaffirming this book this hijri year Alhamdullilah. Kind duas and love for you and your family, ameen. Wassalam.


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