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Updated: 2018-04-10T08:04:05.707-04:00

 



Oblivious Indulgences

2017-05-10T22:24:22.437-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم It is as much wonderment as it is frustration that inspires me to pen these thoughts. I think I've always found it peculiar that people critique the taste of food, or while in the midst of savouring a meal, they feel the need to mention the different ways that make it even more personally delectable. I'm surely and regrettably guilty of the same, and I must ask myself why.Why is it necessary to dedicate thoughts, words, and conversations to achieving optimal personal tastes which are not really going to change the meal before us? I suppose optimal tastes makes people happy, despite the limited ability in reaching it after the meal is prepared. Can't the range of what is "really tasty" be broader? I suppose everyone has different tastes and people aren't hungry enough to simply enjoy meals without a word about how it missed the 100% mark -- because 99% is still not 100%.I think, though, that it is a lost virtue to eat without critiquing food, honestly. We live in a world, at least one side of the world, where critiquing food is part of our entertainment spectrum wherein contestants will win if their culinary conquests meet the approval of judges. We live in a world where it is commonplace to deliberately leave food in our plates knowing very well that it is destined for the garbage. We live in a world where we don't know how to tolerate the things we don't like or can't seem to appreciate. It smells like a foul type of world to live in.And yet in other parts of the world, children pick up breadcrumbs covered in rubble from fallen buildings and parents know not what to do as their children cry in hunger. For some, the hunger is unbearable, and for others, patience is their constant companion.We live in a world where it is fashionable to eat "healthy foods" but it pushes us to be intensely selective in what we eat such that we may just miss the point of food itself.Food, as I see it, is not a life purpose. It's not a goal, an ambition, nor an end. It just keeps the body ticking. I'm all for wholesome food, but I oppose hyper-selectivity that allows us to turn away good food because it doesn't meet our standards of "optimally healthy." Each their own. I suppose my opinions on the extremes in food preferences and eating are negligible. So I ask myself, what of the Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and his eating habits? What of the sahabas? What does divine guidance tell us about approaching and managing food and eating?These questions need answers and actions that follow accordingly, bi ithni Allah. May Allah guide us all to what is most pleasing to Him and beneficial, ameen.***حَدَّثَنَا هِشَامُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْمَلِكِ الْحِمْصِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ حَرْبٍ، حَدَّثَتْنِي أُمِّي، عَنْ أُمِّهَا، أَنَّهَا سَمِعَتِ الْمِقْدَامَ بْنَ مَعْدِيكَرِبَ، يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ يَقُولُ ‏ "‏ مَا مَلأَ آدَمِيٌّ وِعَاءً شَرًّا مِنْ بَطْنٍ حَسْبُ الآدَمِيِّ لُقَيْمَاتٌ يُقِمْنَ صُلْبَهُ فَإِنْ غَلَبَتِ الآدَمِيَّ نَفْسُهُ فَثُلُثٌ لِلطَّعَامِ وَثُلُثٌ لِلشَّرَابِ وَثُلُثٌ لِلنَّفَسِ ‏"‏ ‏.‏Miqdam bin Ma'dikarib said:“I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: ‘A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third of food, one third for drink, and one third for air.’”    [Ibn Majah] Riyadh Al Saliheen: The Book of the Etiquette of Eating*** allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dkaioBw2wh0" width="560">[...]



Naturally Skewed

2016-10-25T14:45:37.007-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Absolute stillness applauds the intensity of the wind. How veracious it is, through and through. It demands worthiness. The fickle fail to comprehend.

How many masks can you bear to wear? But it's the nature of the world and the times.

Times are such that we justify 101% indulgence of ourselves, ambitions, dreams, whilst simultaneously neglecting how ridiculous our expectations are of the world around us. Somehow we'll accept the two-faced nature of a person, but we won't fight the injustices that define every other aspect of the world. We live for ourselves, not for the goodness of the world nor for the purpose for which we were created. 

We accept the inwardly-ugly nice guy. He who talks the talk of grace when it suits, walks the walk of chivalry when it suits, but when the game wanes and he tires, his selfishness shines through. What a shame. I respect more the hateful enemy than the deceptive friend. Save the drama. Life is too short to play around. Why do we accept him? Because to some, he, and maybe even his character, looks good. Time eventually reveals the ugliness that lies beneath.

If the superficial is your lead, then follow. There's no time left to mess around. Time is at its end. Embrace the decisions you've made for they are now that within which you shall find your comfort.

Written some months ago.



Common Ground

2017-07-29T12:13:43.365-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمSalafis and sufis, labels thrown around to define and divide, but really just a spectacular fitna in which Iblis is surely revelling. Those who claim to be following the righteous predecessors of the first three generations after the passing of our beloved Messenger, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam, must recognize that the four established schools of judicial law that remain today are from that era, the earlier part of it for that matter with Imam Abu Hanifa returning to His Lord in 150 AH, Imam Malik in 179 AH, Imam Al Shafi' in 204 AH, and Imam Ahmed in 241 AH - may Allah be well pleased with them all and have mercy on all our deceased, ameen. None follow the scholars, but they follow legal judgments of the Quran and sunnah based on the understanding of the scholars who had the high level of knowledge required to derive these judgments. The rest of us only have our perception of "what makes sense" within our frame of ignorance - a careless way to live the deen.I suspect that most who ascribe to the this way do not necessarily know what is said by the scholars they claim to follow, and instead adopt broad and hollow ways of thinking that really only serve in satisfying the notion that he is right and another is wrong.What we require from the deen, for us to draw closer to our Lord and fulfill that which He commands of us, is agreed upon by all the scholars. The knowledge of it is definitive, qati', and yet some segments of the ummah want to find faults in their brethren by justifying an ill opinion of their religious practices in matters that are speculative or zhanni.To all who are essentially seeking to divide the ummah, all I can say is get over yourselves and turn to Allah. How dare we continue in our ignorant ways as if it is for His pleasure and His sake.For those who think that attending zhikr sessions and singing qasaid while neglecting the Quran and authentic sunnah is the way of righteousness, I say your priorities need sorting, but that's between you and your Lord and if you think yourself better than another because of it, then again we're of opposing views.Alas, the nafs goes wild as people hang tightly to groups and idealogies. All of us say we want the pleasure of our Lord and we want to be attached to the legacy of our beloved Prophet and Messenger, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa salam. If that is truly what we seek, then we need to follow guidance that doesn't turn the permissible into haram and vice versa, and we need to seek the rarity of true scholarship combined with righteous practice. For me, an indication of righteousness is good character. If one should speak ill of another, for the sake of arguing, I would be weary. The scholars of the past disagreed with each other, but with authentic proofs and with adab. Manners.Don't misunderstand me. There are a lot of commonplace acts that are blatant acts of kufr or shirk and we need to recognize them based on the Quran and authentic sunnah and correct them. But who is actually studying the Quran and authentic sunnah?We are living in the end of times. Allah only knows how much longer it is until the Final Day, the Day of Accounting, will arrive. Nonetheless, we all know that death is our shadow and we must prepare for it. It's not our place nor our right to make judgments about people's personal practice of the deen in speculative matters, nor is it our place to discuss fiqh rulings when we haven't the knowledge to do so. It is only our place to check ourselves and to seek knowledge for the sake of improving our spiritual and religious practice. Allah, Transcendent is He, revealed in the Quran:وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ إِلاَّ رِجَالاً نُّوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ فَاسْأَلُواْ أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَAnd We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message]. So ask the people of the message if you do not know. [Al Nahl:43]Let's conne[...]



Polished Virtues

2016-08-28T01:53:35.386-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمIt's late, but sleep escapes me as memories, sentiments, and flavours of lovely times gone past remain active on my cerebral palate. I can hardly contain a smile. Unlike my time in Yemen - Allahumma farij 'alayhim wa 'ala jami' al muslimeen, ameen ya Kareem - I did not record events in a journal. I carry my memories in heart and mind, but little good will it do to recollect them here or at all for that matter.Instead, I shall try to let the favourable sentiments diffuse into something more palatable for anyone who may dare have a read .It seems that some have sweeping ideas of what "Arabs" do or how they are as a people. I can't say I know much more about the way of Arabs, in general, than any other people, but I will say that it's especially ignorant to apply stereotypes of a whole ethnic group that spans the Arabian peninsula, the Levant, and North Africa. This absurdity is ever-more obvious when I recall nationals speaking about differences they have with their fellow countrymen. Nonetheless, from my minimal exposure, I can say that many of the Arabs whom I've had personal interactions with overseas share the common virtue of karam - generosity and hospitality. It's a virtue that the world so desperately needs now, especially those of us living in metropolitan cities in the West.Related by Al Bukhari and Muslim:On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:"Let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day speak good or keep silent; and let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day be generous to his neighbour; and let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day be generous to his guest."It sounds straightforward enough, but at the heart of it is that these acts are directly related to our belief, our iman.Perhaps these three themes of choosing silence over ill speech, honouring our neighbours, and honouring our guests are part of the solution to our spiritual dysfunction. As our teachers advise, "fake it until you make it."As a reference point, I shall mention the incident in which I went to drop something off at friend's home. Despite my excuses for not being able to stay, she insisted that I take a fruit or canned drink. Then there's the incident when I went to the airport trying to get a seat on a plane to the remote city that I lived in. There, I bumped into my friend/co-worker/neighbour's husband who took it upon himself to ensure my easy journey by bus to the main bus station that we were both headed towards. He paid for my bus ticket, carried my bag as we crossed the street, pointed out the restaurant at the station, asked if I needed any money, and then went on his way. Shortly thereafter, another friend/co-worker/neighbour came to the bus station. When we finally boarded the bus, we sat beside each other, and I held her sick baby who slept in my arms for the duration of the 6+ hour ride. She told her brother to pay for my bus ticket, but I told her I'd pay. "عيب يا فرزين" she said and then she went on to explain that it's common in Egypt for neighbours to pay for each other's bus tickets. So I told her, "well I'm your neighbour, let me pay." She would hear nothing of it. The bus ride was followed by another 2 hour ferry ride. Suffice to say, we arrived home two hours after sunset. Shortly after settling in, my doorbell rang and standing at the door was my friend's daughter holding a hot dish of rice and half a grilled chicken ordered from a nearby restaurant. I'm still speechless. I pray that I meet them all again inshaAllah. May Allah increase them all and grant them all the best of this world and the next, ameen!While these memories continue to touch my heart, I ask myself: What of us? What of me? Beautiful manners make for beautiful people.[...]



The Time Is Now

2016-07-10T20:08:01.338-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمThe real work needs to be done, and it is always done outside the classroom. It is the time when knowledge must be internalized, realized, and implemented, but when I ask myself what I know now, I can hardly find two words in response. For me, the knowledge is still contained in books and I have to discipline myself to take a share of it. I do, however, feel an internal change where I'm less agitated by my ignorance. I now know a bit more about myself and the world that I didn't know before. I know where I need to go, though I'm still figuring out the details of how, and I know that the road will be that much more challenging without proper companionship to transverse it. But companionship is a gift and can't be expected. Nonetheless, we hope for it.From those souls who walked with me, I noted and hope to learn:- "life is too short to feign chemistry"- "closed mouths don't get fed"- to display an outward agreement in terms of respecting the other's opinion even if I don't necessarily agree - to share food, specifically- to at least attempt to understand significant historical and political happenings- to joke with truthfulness- to take the time to find the wise way of doing something..and so much more.The work must now begin. May Allah guide us to live our lives for His sake, to strive for His sake, to work and improve ourselves for His sake, to live the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad - peace be upon him - for His sake, to nurture the young with food for the heart and soul, to be merciful in our dealings, and to constantly connect ourselves with the Quran and the blessed Prophetic Sunnah, ameen.[...]



Ambition?

2016-05-29T19:18:40.848-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمWhat have you learned Farzeen? In all these months and even years, I should at least be able to muster a respectable answer, but it's blank. My mind is blank. There's some strange phenomenon occurring wherein I seem not to be living in the many moments that make up my days, weeks, and life. If I am not living my days fully in the here and now, then where am I?What have you learned Farzeen? Straight faced and glazed eyed, I can say that I've lost count of the times when I've been overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude for the parents and family with which Allah has graciously favoured  me. Perhaps many of my days are still lived with them despite the physical distance. A tear escapes. What have you learned Farzeen? Nothing of this world is real. Ideas, dreams, stories, relationships, hopes, fears, and all the rest of this world are mere decorative features of this journey we call life. The reality of it is hidden beneath, but I've yet to see beyond these illusions. I'm trying to turn them away. I want nothing of them. Nothing. What have you learned Farzeen? Self-constructed ideas are one of our greatest enemies, and worst is when we justify their presence in our lives as if the meaning of ambition is choosing or carving a future for ourselves. Kalla. Ambition is the realization that we are active in making decisions about our immediate reality -  that is, our reactions to whatever Allah puts in front of us. Ambition is consciously striving to use any goodness in ourselves for the betterment of humanity - past, present, and future. Ambition is not putting a desired objective on a pedestal and chasing it, but it is promising ourselves to utilize every situation to draw closer to Allah, for His sake alone. In that is not only worthwhile ambition but it is self-liberation. Servitude.I seek freedom from the intensity of my nafs and its pathetic weaknesses. I seek freedom from my laziness that fails to utilize the infinite blessings that are weaved in my life. I seek a better me who won't justify her weaknesses but will be honest about them and consciously stand in opposition to them. Allah continuously sends so many beautiful people in my life. I never understand why they open their hearts to me, and yet by Allah's grace, some do, and I should be a better person because of it. I should, could, would, but I'm not. Why?March 13, 2016 12:18 amAbu al-‘Abbas ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas(ra) reports:“One day I was riding (a horse/camel) behind the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, when he said, ‘Young man, I will teach you some words. Be mindful of God, and He will take care of you. Be mindful of Him, and you shall find Him at your side. If you ask, ask of God. If you need help, seek it from God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together in order to help you, they would not be able to help you except if God had written so. And if the whole world were to gather together in order to harm you, they would not harm you except if God had written so. The pens have been lifted, and the pages are dry.’ ”Related by TirmidhiTranslation from 40hadithnawawi.com[...]



Perspective

2016-10-18T22:09:58.078-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمDaylight savings is in effect. Shortly after noting the clock change from 2 AM to 3 AM, I noticed that the birds had already started whistling their morning tunes. I suppose their songs marked the last third of the night.Spring is in effect here, and it gives me a savoury feeling of renewal and rejuvenation. I dreamt last night that I was back in the last city that I called home, surprising myself with my return there. The dream, as usual, had strange aspects, but it also allowed me to meet one dear sister with whom I spent the entirety of my working hours. Memories of it almost feels like a lifetime away, and so too will be my life here when it becomes a part of my history, and so will life in general when we all leave it and meet the world of destined eternity. Life is a collection of historical moments, their worth being encapsulated by both the insights that reflections bring forth from them and the effects that immediately reflect back onto us in our lives. Am I a better me because of the last menial choice that I made? Declaring vs. concealing, sharing vs. hoarding, acknowledging vs. denying, praising vs. chastising, waiting vs. advancing, thanking vs. whining? Yet each possibility is more excellent when the situation demands it. I suppose that's the meaning of wisdom حكمة: putting things in their proper place. I have decisions to make about what I might want to do or should do. I think I've stopped chasing most of my created illusions, and yet I can't be certain that I don't continue to conjure up new nafsi falsehoods. I struggle to put things in their proper place these days. The Farzeen I see today is one who I would have swiftly rejected six months ago. Does it mean I was less tolerant or does it mean I am now too liberal? The difference between them can only be determined by the Quran and authentic sunnah. It is our exclusive guide, and it is only from there that confusion becomes clarity, and clarity becomes the reality for which we start striving.Shaykh Muhammad An-Ninowy (الله يحفظه) has started teaching the Hikam of Ibn 'Ata Illah - one of my most favoured books because it helps us put reality back into perspective. There is much to be taken from each aphorism and its explanation, but I'll close with this one as a straightforward reminder for myself, inshaAllah."الأعمال: صور قائمة، وأرواحها: وجود سر الإخلاص فيها""Actions are but external forms, only given life by having true sincerity in them."اللهم لك كل الحمد والشكر. اغفرل لنا و ارحمنا و تب علينا. يا حميد يا مجيد يا ودود يا كريم اهدنا إليك وإلى ما تحب ويرضاك. اللهم اجعلنا من المخلصين والمتوكليلن والتوابين وعبادك الصالحين برحمتك يا أرحم الراحيم وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وآله وصبحه وسلم والحمد لله رب العالمين، آمين يا رب.[...]



Heart's Form

2015-12-12T16:46:26.302-05:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

(image) Imagine iron molded into a heart`s form. From the external, one can easily see a jewel embedded in the heart`s case. Its location is unique as it fills a hole allowing it dual access with its radiance shining brightly outward to the onlooker while simultaneously illuminating the inward with intimate light. There is, however, an even more fascinating jewel hidden in the hollow of the mold. It is embedded firmly within a protective casing of the metal and thus its radiance is confined to the inward alone. In its secret and humble abode, it dazzles and enlightens the heart chambers with impressive grace. Rare is it for the inward jewel to displays its charms, but its luminous existence is never forgotten. Jewels of the heart are rare to find.



Aug.21, 2013



Beauty

2015-11-28T23:32:33.223-05:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In a frame of ambiguity, I cannot prevent my heart from a smile at the sight of what it cannot behold. Guilty are my indulgences, the flavour of tastelessness savoured. How can something be so beautiful and yet warn of lethal consequences? It cannot be as such because beauty, as I see it, is not a physical sight but a soulful gesture. Sometimes I think my imagination writes the master script, and yet I have the evidence of rough drafts and the culmination of fateful serendipity. There is no such thing as random, inconsequential, and purposeless. 

So in all that, I only really want to say thank you. To the One whose all-encompassing knowledge garnishes my heart with aromatic fumes that continue to linger. How bountiful an experience. How precious a memory. How grateful I remain, forever indebted to Him who knows that some smiles are shaped from tears and some tears are formed by smiles. Beautiful either way. It is beautiful either way.



الشكر والشوق

2017-08-14T12:49:11.406-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمقلتُ: أشكر اللهَ أنه وضعني في هذا المكان معكُنّ الطيبات. الحمد الله قالتْ صديقتي: كل طيبات (قصدتْ في تلك المدينة الصغيرة)قلتُ: لا... لسن كل الطيباتضحكت صديقتيAs odd as it may be, I am sometimes reluctant to try new dishes with the logic that if I really like any, then there is the possibility that I may want it again later on. I suppose seeking anything of the ephemeral world that is not in front of me only serves to complicate life. Yet, despite my general thought to not get attached, I do. In the world of insignificance, I would quite thoroughly enjoy a plate of mahshi malfoof and kusa - made with Egyptian rice - followed by a serving of konafa. But worst still is trying to get my heart and head around that which and those whom I miss.I miss the athan, the scenery, and the serenity. I miss the sights and sounds of children playing on the street - barefoot and kicking around a ball, the honking horn of the bread man's van around 'asr time, (a sound that was once a nuisance), the morning greetings, the smiles, the language - both the Egyptian dialect and the attempts at fus7a, the du'as, and the general mirth that develops over time once understandings have developed. I miss the simplicity. I miss the sincerity. I do, however, recognize that because I was an outsider, I was spared the internal drama that close communities and families sometimes experience, and I'm grateful for the peace that that offered.But to say that I miss a part of my life which I was blessed to experience does not negate the fact that my time there had come to an end and that this side of the ocean, too, contains intangibles and people to miss. I suppose it's the same as tasting a delicious dish or beverage. Who can forget a sweet drink that once quenched a deep thirst? The fine difference here lies between two phenomena: the natural disposition to remember good that we experience, and to desire the return of the goodness which is no longer a part of our immediate reality. The first, I imagine, is rooted in gratitude while the second is embedded and maintained in long and quite often false hopes.والله أعلمAug. 28, 2015"I shouldn't miss you this much, but I do." (12/08/09)[...]



Wholesome Ways

2015-07-28T12:38:39.825-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمA superior once asked my co-teacher for her thoughts about something. She responded with a less favourable response and when asked why, she said, "because Farzeen doesn't like it." She meant it when she said that as we worked closely in the same space we would be a unified team, reflecting each other in whatever we did. Initially, I thought it an ambitious vision for a work environment, but our relationship has blossomed into a friendship and inevitably has, mostly, taken on this characteristic. It should be said that we never started off this way. While the basics of politeness always existed, there, too, were doubts and misunderstandings which I imagine were rooted in previous negative experiences. Alhamdulillah, we have since reached a plateau of mutual consideration and trust. How? By Allah's grace alone, but if words were used to describe efforts that have been invested in this relationship - and any good relationship - they might be: 1) Have high intentions2) Be sincere3) Have a good opinion4) Forgive5) Seek all that is good 6) Be tolerant7) Be patient8) Laugh together9) Make sacrifices10) Share i.e. thoughts, ideas, opinions, concerns, belongings, food,  etc.11) Be loyal12) Apologize and appreciate13) Be flexible 14) Compromise15) Be dependable16) Respect the other's perspective on life17) Make it for Allah's sake***We recently discussed the shari'ah perspective on a woman's earnings. "A woman doesn't need to give them to her husband for household expenses if she doesn't wish," I said to her. She said, "Spouses are one unit. If my husband allows me to go and work, should I not be grateful and ease his responsibilities as well? There is no such thing as "mine and his." We breathe as one, and we are one." I smiled, recalling a similar approach in my parents. "You're right," I told her. "When marriage becomes a matter of demanding rights, it's doomed." We were saying the same thing, in essence. Despite the legal flexibility for a woman to do with her earnings as she wishes, a woman who perceives those earnings in a considerate or a selfish way will likely see the fruits of that choice respectively.Two days ago, I asked a co-worker when she started wearing niqab. She told me that her  husband asked her to wear it upon his return from hajj.  أمرني زوجي بلباس النقاب I hesitate in translating the word أمرني because as "modern" (for lack of a better word, as it is not a phenomenon exclusive to the west) women, we are standoffish with the idea that anyone, especially a man, will tell us what we must do. A woman of insight, however, will acknowledge and accept wholeheartedly the role that a husband (and father), by divine wisdom, has in the family.It takes two to tango, and the boorish type of husband who demands of his family as he wills, without engaging their emotional, intellectual, and psychological states or simply being polite, can expect to be met by a fight from his wife, however implicit it may be. As I've seen, it may well lead to some level of deception, disrespect, and a general aura of dislike. Harsh? Yes, but a wise man knows that the way he approaches his loved ones will be how they - at their best - respond to him.I honestly don't think everything has to be so complicated. Respect. That's all it is. Keep the nafs in check and respect one another, and sometimes respecting the other means being patient and understanding that we all make mistakes. Sometimes it takes time before we realize these mistakes and attempt to remedy them. But alas, all is entirely in vain if done for the sake of each other. It will only prosper and flourish when done for Allah's sake. May Allah protect us from doing anything except that it is done for His sake a[...]



All Is Good الحمد لله

2015-08-09T00:08:26.492-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمRamadhan has come and passed. May Allah forgive us for our negligence in it and accept our efforts for His sake, ameen. Thoughts have thundered and passed. Memories linger and leave me with questions but no answers. I suppose it's another lesson to learn. All anxieties have indeed come to fruition, almost to the point of wondering about the worth of my decision, but I know it had to be made and I am content with where I am despite the challenges of a transition. I remind myself that gratitude (shukr) must surpass any feelings of sadness (huzn). This is undoubtedly the best for it is as the Almighty wills. Alhamdulillah for all.***My 5-year-old niece gave me a moment's pause this morning."Farzeen Khala, why don't you get married?" she asked."Uhh...Because nobody asked me," I said. That wasn't entirely true, so I said, "Well someone asked me, but some things about him irritated me."She then said something about her brothers and how they bother her but she still likes them. "Yes, that's true, but I don't think I could have lived nicely with him," I said."I believe in Allah," she said. Unsure of where she was going with her words, I waited for her to continue. "I really believe in Allah. Do you remember when I was four years old? There was a swing (glider) at the park that I was really scared of.. do you remember?"Uh huh" I said, not quite sure which "swing" she meant since I had left before she turned four."Well, now it's easy and I'm not scared anymore.""I see. It seems you're trying to teach me a lesson here Fatimah. What should I learn from your story?""Well, if you really believe in Allah, then maybe he, i.e. that guy, won't bother you so much."I said, "Well that's why I ask Allah guide to me to what is best for me and to open my heart to what is best because I don't know."She said, "Why don't you just pick someone and ask?""Do you mean I should ask someone to marry me?" I asked."Yah.""Well, I can't just go and talk to brothers like that. It's not appropriate.""I can do it for you," she offered."You'll go to a brother and say "hey brother, do you want to marry my Farzeen Khala?""Yah" she said with barely a moment's hesitation.I smiled at the thought. "That's very kind of you. I think it's better we leave it with Allah. He will take care of it and give us what is best for us."***May we always find ourselves firmly connected to a good opinion of our Gracious Lord, upon Whom we depend and Whose guidance we seek and need. Ameen[...]



Hidden

2015-07-03T15:45:13.888-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمTonight, inshaAllah, marks the beginning of the three white nights of Sha'baan. I can hardly believe that we are at the halfway mark of this glorious month - the gateway to Ramadhan. Allahumma baarika lana fi Sha'baan wa balighna Ramadhan, ameen.This afternoon, as I felt the aftereffects of hot oil splashing onto my hand, I remembered the story of a beautiful and blessed woman. During the ascension - Al Isra wal Mi'raj, the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, smelled a lovely smell and asked about it. He was told it was the place where a woman was buried. Who was this woman? As I recall, the story goes something like this. One day, as this woman brushed the hair of Fir'awn's daughter, she dropped the brush and upon picking it up she mentioned the name of Allah. Because of the suspected belief that this woman did not accept Fir'awn as a deity, Fir'awn's daughter reported this lady to her father. When asked if she believed in Allah and His Oneness, she affirmed this truth, rejecting any self-attributed claims that Fir'awn had to lordship. Fir'awn then ordered that this woman's children be thrown into a cauldron of hot oil, and after watching her children be killed in such horrendous and painful manner, she too met the same end. But how short-sighted it is to consider that the end. That was the end of the beginning and only Allah knows her state with Him now.  نسألك يا ربنا الكريم رضاك و الجنة و نعوذ بك من سخطك و النار آمينI have not listened to any lessons in a very long time, neither in recent days about Al Isra wal Mi'raj nor about Sha'baan and its merits. I do, however, recall that advice is often given in Sha'baan to increase in salawaat or sending blessings on the Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam. However, this year, a respected teacher and shaykh advised that we recite the following in abundance:I find this such profound and fitting advice in that we not merely read it but that we especially reflect on it. I'm not sure I know how to, but by Allah's grace, there are lessons in front of me if I choose to learn from them.A friend recently complained to me about someone who was honestly quite unjust towards her. It was an ongoing tension and she unfortunately sought some counsel from me, but my words did not sit well with her. She said that that night she prayed and instead of seeing herself as a recipient of injustice, she prayed for the goodness of the one who had wronged her. While she wept before her Lord, in her sincerest prayers, she acknowledged herself as the wrongdoer - saying this very same du'a. The next day she came to tell me about her prayer and that it was answered that day through the means of an apology from the one who had done her wrong.Unfortunately, I recognize that my retelling of this incident is weak, but I write it as a reminder for myself that sometimes when we feel wronged, it may well just be a reminder of our own wrongdoings and we owe it to ourselves to return to Our Lord, beseech His forgiveness and to recognize and acknowledge our wrongs - however well we may hide them from ourselves. This process of seeing the wrongs within ourselves is weighty as it is not as apparent as we would like to think. I've most certainly wronged myself in my "counsel" to her, and the hardest part about it is that I believed - at least superficially - that I did not say anything wrong. The issue, however, is that I did not say anything right.I'm learning now that saying and doing what is right must necessarily be connected to the life of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Had I reflected on his life and his way, I might have told her something o[...]



Silver Crowns

2015-07-29T05:10:52.362-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمرَبِّ أَوۡزِعۡنِىٓ أَنۡ أَشۡكُرَ نِعۡمَتَكَ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَىَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَٲلِدَىَّ وَأَنۡ أَعۡمَلَ صَـٰلِحًا تَرۡضَٮٰهُ وَأَدۡخِلۡنِى بِرَحۡمَتِكَ فِى عِبَادِكَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ My Lord, arouse me to be thankful for Thy favour wherewith Thou hast favoured me and my parents, and to do good that shall be pleasing unto Thee, and include me in (the number of) Thy righteous slaves. (Surah An Naml - 27, Ayah 19)***It's my mother's birthday today and incidentally my father's birthday in a week inshaAllah. May Allah continue to bless them and grant them His good pleasure. May He have mercy on their parents filling their graves with His nur, and grant them and all their loved ones a good ending, ameen.We long stopped acknowledging birthdays with gifts or anything more than a few words - if that. I suppose none in the family care for it as a celebration, but I do believe it is an important day to some extent. It is a reminder of life and an opportunity to reflect on where we have been and towards that which we're heading.Celebrating our own lives seems to feed a culture of "me, myself, and I." Instead, I consider birthdays as a day of gratitude. It is a day when we must make a point of turning to our Lord and thanking Him for His continuous graces. It is only by His command and will that we continue to breathe and that life remains in us. How absurd it is that we exalt ourselves on a day when humility should be at its peak.Secondary to gratitude to our Lord is at least a word of thanks to our parents. Raising a child is a 24-hour-a-day labour of love. It is rifled with challenges and heartache and adorned with patience and selflessness. And it ends only at death. It is at the hands of our parents that many of us build foundations that steady us throughout our lives.  Let us not neglect and undermine a great service because it seems all too common. I suspect a lifetime of gratitude would not recompense our parents for even their preparations for our births. In the least, it would do us well to acknowledge their sacrifices and service if not to return their efforts by serving them well in their lives too.February 2, 2015***Must Read: A Supplication of Courtesy to Parentsوَٱخۡفِضۡ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ ٱلذُّلِّ مِنَ ٱلرَّحۡمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ٱرۡحَمۡهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِى صَغِيرً۬ا And lower unto them the wing of submission through mercy, and say: My Lord! Have mercy on them both as they did care for me when I was little. (Surah Al Isra -17, Ayah 24)رَبَّنَا ٱغۡفِرۡ لِى وَلِوَٲلِدَىَّ وَلِلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ يَوۡمَ يَقُومُ ٱلۡحِسَابُOur Lord! Forgive me and my parents and believers on the day when the account is cast.(Surah Ibrahim - 14 - Ayah 41) [...]



A Return

2015-04-22T11:34:07.817-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمO ye who believe! Turn unto Allah in sincere repentance! It may be that your Lord will remit from you your evil deeds and bring you into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, on the day when Allah will not abase the Prophet and those who believe with him. Their light will run before them and on their right hands; they will say: Our Lord! Perfect our light for us, and forgive us! Lo! Thou art Able to do all things.(Ayah 8, Surah 66) I'm moved to speechlessness as I recognize that I, like you, have been granted the honour and an explicit invitation to come back to my Gracious Creator. How far we sometimes go, and yet He calls us back again and again, opening the doors of renewal constantly. With every prayer and good deed, during every third part of the night, during every Thursday night, on every Friday, throughout each day of this blessed month of Rajab, among many more times in the year, we are called to rectify our hearts and ways.I find Rajab particularly touching in its meaning. Being the "month of Allah," we are reminded of our outstanding debt of repentance and we are granted promises of finding a way to return to our Lord specifically in these days and nights. We can never hide from our Lord, despite the shame of our lowliness, but why should we ever want to? He is the only One who deserves all praises and servitude and there are no secrets with Him. He calls us to Him despite our insincerity, arrogance, laziness, and weaknesses. Ya Rabb, laka kullu al hamd wa kullu ash shukr. O Lord, all praises and gratitude belong to You alone.In these days when most of the world is enduring extreme challenges and human rights are violated to the worst degree and in the ugliest of ways, few of us can sleep well at night. I think about my Arabic teacher who is now in Iraq with her husband and young children. I wonder about their states, if they have food to eat and what they possibly witness in their days and hear into their nights. I listen to my neighbour telling me about her parents and adult children in Syria. I admire her parents' wisdom and faith and their restful states with their Lord and His decree. I am at a loss for comforting words as my friend, her husband, and their young son are faced with a forced return to Yemen where people are killing and being killed without just cause making daily life a struggle. Have a good opinion of Allah. To Him we entrust all our affairs. I shed a tear or more for all those who are persecuted, who watch helplessly as their children starve to death or who spend their days demanding that the world come together for the rights of their family members - men and women - who are wrongly imprisoned, tortured, and killed. I admire their strength and I pray for ease in all their affairs and peace in all their hearts.And yet each day, I am faced with the meaning of potential as I spend my hours with 5-year-old children. I wonder what type of adults they might grow into and what they might need to figure out this insane world and be of benefit to it. I hate many things I see in myself, and I pray that despite my pathetic offerings, Allah will accept my attempts to be a better servant of Him. May Allah the Almighty and Merciful guide us all and let the miracles of the Quran manifest themselves to us inwardly and outwardly. May He protect us all from the evils of ourselves, mankind, and jinn. May He unite families in all that is beautiful and may He heal our hearts. May He make us from the people of the Quran, inwardly and outwardly. May He make us, all our loved ones, and our descendants from among those who receive His good pleasure and a sweet return to Him. O Alla[...]



Lost In Translation

2015-04-23T15:57:07.694-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمI can't help but feel the way that I do. With a pitted feeling in my gut and some nervousness too. It's as though I have something big in life to face, but no, this is nothing new. I've left before and returned too. It wasn't fun. Neither here nor there. Then why leave in the first place? This was and is my fate. But with almost two years building, it's a lot for me to taste.Previously it was a year, 11.5 months to be exact. I had few reservations and no potential worries of the impact. Perhaps I was ignorant and expected that maybe nothing would have changed. How overly self-concerned to think that anyone's affairs would stop for me. But it's not that. It is beautiful for experiences to be free. Lord knows how pleasing it is to see. But again, it remains that I am still me, and I cannot see, even now, anything but a decline. I am not trying to whine but only trying to find something much deeper and greater, and to feel assured that all was not in vain. How much of life will be the same? How much worse will I be? Is there a chance that I can be a better me?So gracious is my Lord, constantly. But specifically, in those days long past, Who sent an unexpected friend, a golden pearl, to whom some details were passed. But even greater, with whom the meanings and essences were clarified. Intensified. Partially realized. I have lived with those words by my side, inspired I'm sure by the One who guides. And I try to remember the clarity of that brief encounter and the confusion that followed, but perhaps I have lost more than I know. The ability to decipher. The ability to grow. No, I do not accept. There is nothing to regret. There is nothing lost, but only another beautiful bridge that is nearly crossed. I'm still struggling to prepare the inward to meet the outward. I have weak answers to the big questions. All attempts failed at an introspection. Expectant are the tears, for they are my glue. Always offering me a subtle clue. Ways of the heart are built, as you know, in parts. Insights and experiences are weaved together as brilliant art. It is what we need, the process. And by it, we can truly reflect on life and attempt to assess. Are we nearing our personal best?I have changed, but meanings are often lost in translation and perhaps I will not be understood, by myself or others. I must learn to translate the essence of the meanings and not so much the words. The strength of my intentions and not so much the weakness of my actions. I must learn to forgive what I do not understand. To respond with a helping hand. I must learn to close my eyes and hold my tongue. To speak with thoughtfulness and to think without emotion. I must learn to unhear what I cannot handle and let patient gratitude be my candle. I must want for myself nothing from the hand of another. For truly, I seek only my Lord's good pleasure.اللهم إني أسألك رضاك والجنة وأعوذ بك من سخطك والنارآمين[...]



Quiet Sentiments

2015-03-27T15:14:11.253-04:00

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم

Change forces one to learn. Solitude forces one to think. But what inspires one to blossom or simply improve?
March 27, 2015
 ***

Sometimes a feeling momentarily hits me of being alone. I realize then that the lengthy conversation I'm having is actually just my own thoughts and my physical world is entirely silent. I don't dwell on the realization too long as it is quite a sad notion in its own right, but there is really nothing to be sad about in my life. There's only much for which to be grateful.
March 19, 2015
 ***

Things of great beauty all seem to have an element of motion and yet somehow, absolute stillness is awesome.
Jan. 25, 2015
 ***

While they, 'alayhim as-salaatu wa as-salaam, complained to Allah of the people and sought comfort in Allah's good pleasure, the culture of "today's liberation" complains of Allah's commands and seeks comfort in society's approval.
Dec. 14, 2014




Come Back

2015-03-23T16:41:44.362-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمSilence is the best keeper of secretsBut it's an unjust punishmentForcing the world into freezing temperaturesFew opening their doorsMany in denial Of the intenseTerrifying Horrors That so many must endureDespite their potentialTo join the family of humanityThat liberates man From destructive shacklesBy whichHe chooses evilWhen goodIn all her gloryRemains waitingFor his return.Come back.LeaveYour worst.Come back.And beYour best.[...]



Challenges

2017-12-03T00:36:06.207-05:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمA couple of years ago, one of my teenage, weekend school students suggested that I watch a documentary about homosexual Muslims so that we could discuss it. Apart from my student's invitation, I have no direct use for making sense of the perspectives, challenges, ideas, and ways of this segment of the community. None of my acquaintances have ever mentioned it. Nonetheless, I ask myself, should one of my friends or loved ones identify with this challenge, how would I respond?My response is what follows.~~~Its challenge, at least initially, is that the person wonders why he has such inclinations when in fact acting on them is forbidden in Islam and all monotheistic traditions.The journey for said person progresses so that he contacts Islamic scholars and asks them about the legal ruling regarding homosexuality. He is told that it is haram (forbidden). Not surprised, he either accepts and continues the struggle with or without guilty feelings or he continues to search for some "loophole" in the texts to accommodate these inclinations that he would rather not have himself as it complicates his life tremendously. One person, a graduate of a reputed Islamic studies course, ventures to argue that the scholars are misinterpreting the verses that are primarily used to reach the legal ruling of haram. Others may follow his lead, but I would advise strict caution in this area. Why? Because textual interpretations and legal rulings in Islam are a deeply scholarly endeavour. It is not the work of the layman, and thus the scholars bear the responsibility for it. The layman need only ask qualified scholars. Each person has a place in society and we need to know and respect them.For those who consider themselves among the scholars, scholarly discussions should be pursued but with the prominent and skilled Islamic jurists of the day, knowing well that there is a process for reaching Islamic rulings and when reached, they need to be acknowledged. It's a dangerous tactic trying to say "But I think Allah meant this and not that" when we speak of the words of God. Better err on the side of caution I would advise. My friend wisely accepts the advice of trusted scholars, but is still not reconciled between his feelings and shari'ah boundaries. It is a time when he has to decide on what will he do, much like a married man who wants to commit adultery or an unmarried couple who is inclined to having illicit relations. All are haram. All are based on feelings. All may not intend harm for any party (however unavoidable it is with adultery).Islam is guidance and not a game. For the one who says she will tell God on the Day of Judgment that all she did was love someone, I say she is playing a game. Love is not the issue, but even still love does not need physical interactions. For the one who said he married but could not make his marriage work because he is "different," he missed the point.I hate to be crude about it, but the whole issue is about sexual tendencies and we do not require them to survive nor do we need to indulge them because we have them. There are boundaries. The issue is not that people have atypical sexual/emotional/psychological inclinations fancying intimate and closer interactions with people of the same gender, but the issue is three-fold:1) Denying its Islamic legal ruling and scholarly consensus,2) Acting on one's inclinations, and3) Publicizing 1 and 2For those who are practicing Muslims and are faced with this difficulty, if you find yourself weak, then do yourself a favour b[...]



Another Year Gone

2015-05-16T09:10:01.130-04:00

A Lossبسم الله الرحمن الرحيمIf you asked me what I've learned, I'd be hard pressed to answer. The lessons are in me, in some form, but such lessons tend to emerge in their own time and their own way.One of my greatest insights only struck me long after I articulated it to a good friend. Allah sent a most unexpected confidant my way in those days, one who appreciated the challenge of knowing that who we are is not necessarily a reflection of where we have been or what we have experienced. A friend who didn't let me accept my weakness as my sole reality and who shared thoughts and a character worthy of the word precious. Good friends are rare to find and tough to lose.اسأل الله أن يبارك لك في كل وقت و حين آمينDecember 3, 2014Tahooran inshaAllahبسم الله الرحمن الرحيمIllness is really something to be grateful for because it is not in vain. It reminds us of our neediness before our Lord and of His great mercy, compassion, and care. How spectacular it is that He cures us of our maladies and purifies us of our sins for the hardships that we endure through them. Every situation that He allows to reach us is loaded with opportunities to reach Him.November 28, 2014Social Prosperityبسم الله الرحمن الرحيمWe are social beings not necessarily in needing others to survive but rather in needing to know how to serve others with sincerity so we can all prosper, inshaAllah.November 22, 2014Loveبسم الله الرحمن الرحيمLove for our own sake constrains and makes us vulnerable, but love for the sake of Allah liberates and sets us free.November 16, 2014Futileبسم الله الرحمن الرحيمI will do that which most might advise against. I will not transcend my state, nor fight it. I shall wait. Confident that only the best will be. I will wait until the best for me becomes me.September 6, 2014Beautifulبسم الله الرحمن الرحيمHow beautiful it is to be alive in these blessed days. How overwhelmingly beautiful it is to want to be close to one's Lord. How beautiful, generous, and loving is our Lord. Words do not suffice such sentiments, so I shall cease this attempt and move on to other matters. July 3, 2014Settling The Unsettledبسم الله الرحمن الرحيمMany of us attempt to find ourselves, but I realize now that searching is a misdirected strategy. We can only search for that which is lost, but often times all we need to do is let the dust settle enough for truth to manifest.May 30, 2014Live...بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمLive and love with mercy, patience, and gratitude for Allah's sake alone.April 28, 2014Cheeseبسم الله الرحمن الرحيمI love the written word. It can be likened to cheese. Yes, cheese. It is very versatile and when used with the right combination, it's delicious. The written word has one overwhelming quality - for better or worse - and that is that it can be relived potentially infinite times either in the exact same way or morphed into a renewed flavour.February 27, 2014Countingبسم الله الرحمن الرحيمMy sister tells me not to count, but it's been five months since I've been with my loved ones. I haven't seen my brother in one year more than that and I miss them all. I do find my family particularly special. We have our share of dysfunction, but a thousand times over, they are precious and I'm ever grateful to have such a family. I often think of writing about them and the few others who claim a high rank in my heart, bu[...]



Every Moment

2017-08-14T12:51:47.072-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمThe lifeline of every relationship, as I see it now, is to have a good opinion of each other. Quite expectantly, it is a difficult task, but it is essential. Relationships, it seems, mark every moment of our lives. We cannot free ourselves of them. In the higher realm, we have an eternal relationship with our Creator, whether or not we acknowledge, honour, or live by it. Secondary to that, we are born into this world with, in the least, a connection to our mothers who have each endured the challenges of our prenatal growth and our births.Relationships mark every moment, and it will serve us well to understand how best to approach and manage them. With respect to our Lord, it is ever-so natural to submit to Him and to have a good opinion of Him. We know Him from His revelations and His signs and thus there is no room for doubting His guidance and His will. The difficultly, I find, is always having a good opinion of fellow humans.None of us (with an active nafs) like to feel like a fool, so it makes good sense not to trust everyone we meet and all that we hear. It seems only wise, but there has to be exceptions or else we would become cynical maniacs without restful hearts. The exceptions are those that earn titles, so to speak, in our lives. Where we can say "This is my so-and-so" i.e. mother, father, grandparent, sibling, spouse, child, aunt, uncle, cousin, neighbour, elder, friend, leader, student, teacher, etc., we must know that there is an equation of rights and responsibilities and an array of expectations and protocol. But within these defined roles and interchanges of give and take, there is also the great possibility of failing to deliver or one merely perceiving the failure to deliver - both of which result in tense relationships.Is there a preventative measure? Perhaps we simply need to give our relations the benefit of the doubt by having a good opinion of them even if they've disappointed us in some ways or they have wronged us. If nothing more, it will at least allow us to appreciate that we sometimes interpret people's actions negatively without just cause. I don't, however, believe that having a good opinion of a person is meant to excuse explicit harm - abuse and bullying. But where we can swallow our pride and consider the reasons for all that seems amiss, we probably should. Will we lose out? Perhaps. That all depends on why we do what we do. If the relationship itself and our management of it is for Allah's sake, then we have nothing to lose regardless of the tough times.As Muslims, we live for the next world and for the pleasure of our Lord, so let not the pettiness and sneaky behaviours of others harm our relationship with our gracious Creator. In essence, it's the only one worth preserving and we can only preserve it truthfully by honouring His creations to the best of our abilities as He has commanded of us - that is, with an open heart and a flexible mind. We must also recognize that our sworn enemy, Shaytan, feeds ill thoughts of and feelings towards others and we only support his cause by failing to challenge it. Relationships mark every moment, and the decision to be better and see the best is others is ours alone. We will all surely reap what we sow. Allah knows best. والله أعلم~~~Excerpts from a lesson with Al Habib Umar bin Hafiz on having a good opinion of others."Do not see yourself as superior to any Muslims. Reflect upon how your ending would be. Don't be pr[...]



Time Travel

2014-11-08T15:07:55.742-05:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمI took a walk today. Though my destination was futile, I savoured every moment of the stroll and thought to myself, "It's like walking through a postcard." Last night I wrote a potential blog post that I expect will not be published here. It built on the idea of experiencing beauty and knowing that I must leave it.Perhaps life is a succession of postcards. The wise from among us know that postcards are snapshots of beautiful experiences that serve only as a reminder and perhaps a meager testimony of those times.It seems we spend a great deal of energy trying to record moments. With cameras and recording devices at our fingertips, moments are constantly captured. For what purpose though? To relive them? To enjoy them? I certainly do. I watch a couple of video clips of my kids repeatedly, smiling no less the fifth time than the first. I miss them - the children and the moments. And while I am unable to witness and share in the newest moments of their lives, it's a comfort having a few seconds from times long past.Do you ever re-read old letters or e-mails? I do, and again I smile no less the fifth time than I did the first, though sometimes with sadness. And this is life. Live and love and keep living and loving, the old and the new, but let it not be in vain. Let reminders of the past be invitations to ponder and reflect and to thank the One who bestowed them on us and continues to favour us with His graces. Let moments worth recording, words worth re-reading, smiles worth adorning, and tears worth shedding have a greater purpose. To thank, praise, and glorify our Lord. To ponder, discover, and appreciate our relationships, endeavours, and purpose.May every postcard have a story that feeds the heart and nurtures the soul, and may every departure be followed by a gracious arrival. May we never imprison our futures with experiences of the past. May Allah guide us to Him and His good pleasure and to submit to that which He wants for us. Truly, we want not except what He wills, inshaAllah wa ameen.[...]



A Flicker

2017-08-14T13:00:13.308-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمالحمد لله رب العالمين العالم الخبير العزيز الحكيم والف الصلاة  والسلام على الحبيب المصطفى المحمود  وآله الكرام وصحبه وسلم أجمعينAll praises and gratitude are forever due to our Sustainer and Creator, He who is so gentle yet firm with us. Rabbuna al 'azheem, laka kullu al hamd wa ash shukr.I'm learning that the power of the mind is extraordinary as defeat begins there and ends in the heart. Despite the potential fickleness of the heart, it can be ruthless. It is a characteristic from which I tire but appreciate. There is such an intricate balance between the two that I don't know how to retaliate in the face of an attack. Do I start with the heart or the mind? Regardless, I get a fine beating from them both and have failed to gain the upper hand thus far. No surprise there.I'm learning that I'm odd. This descriptor has been mine for as long as I can remember, but I didn't know how or why, and I'm still not sure if it is to my advantage or not. Nonetheless, there is no escaping it.I'm learning that people's opinions of me are overwhelmingly inaccurate. But I guess that's a secret between me and my Lord, so I chastise myself only for my failure to even attempt to be who I like to think I am. A tangled web of denial.I'm learning that loyalty is as much my weakness as it is a strength. So I try to be loyal to what is true, but many times I can't separate fact from fiction. A shame really.I'm learning, quite happily alhamdulillah, that I don't let people bully me for long. Actually, I think I intimidate some people, but that is an old realization because some perceive my silence as deep thinking when in fact there is an absence of thought. Misinterpretations make for false impressions.I'm learning that it's okay to have a sensitive nature because it is my nature and there is little I can do about it. I'm a sensitive soul that has to learn to wed my sensitivities to knowledge of what is ahsan or most pleasing in the sight of Allah. Again, tall tales of ambitions. But it is better to hope for something great than to resign myself to nothing. The latter, unfortunately, adorns most of my outfits, except when speaking of anything other than myself. Hypocritical I'm sure.I'm learning that I have a connection to Arabs in general. And perhaps that is simply because the Arabs I know are some of the best examples I've seen of generosity, kindness, hospitality, and care, and I love them for it. That is part of the legacy of our beloved Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam. It is beautiful.I'm learning that Allah's generosity with us is so vast that we cannot even pretend to grasp it. One of its greatest manifestations is in my parents. Allahu yuziduhuma fi kulli al khayr, ameen. Allah decreed that they are the means by which I learn to respect my existence and the existence of others. Respect is essential for me. Where it fails to exist, so does the relationship.I'm learning that I am selfish, greedy, and self-indulgent in ways I don't fully understand. A sad and burdensome reality. Allahumma ishfi qulubana, ameen.I'm learning that I have much to learn, but I know I cannot teach myself. Perhaps if I can empty my heart of its thorns, Allah will fill it with His jewels. Allahu al Musta'aan.[...]



ِ A Breath

2014-10-11T03:39:12.813-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمI'm grateful for all that I am, have been, but most importantly want to be. I'm grateful for my mistakes and the successes bestowed on me as they are both essential parts in building my character and my sense of me.I'm grateful for the health that carries me throughout my days and nights, but most importantly that allow me to even dream of a better me, to attempt to do the work that my heart needs done. I'm grateful for my family and loved ones who I carry with me wherever I go, but most importantly I'm grateful for the character, personalities, insights, and ambitions that distinguish them in my life and thereby honour my existence.I'm grateful for the glorious sun and moon whose alterations bring us blessed hours and days but most importantly, I'm grateful that they remind me that my time is passing all too quickly. May I be blessed to use it wisely, ameen.I'm grateful for all the things that bring tears to my eyes the mention of which I am undeserving but the existence of which I am much obliged. But most importantly, I'm grateful that from them I have the hope of being with them.I am grateful that Allah allows me to write this. I am grateful, and I pray that my words and emotions can be better realized in actions.اللهم لك كل الحمد و كل الشكر. نشكرك  يا رب العظيم الغفور الرحيم على كل حال. اهدنا الصراط المستقيم يا رب العالمين، آمين.[...]



Human Concern

2014-08-29T10:04:59.009-04:00

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمI am not politically-minded by any means. I long stopped reading and listening to the news as my heart and mind have a hard time handling it. Nonetheless, I was recently sent a video about the situation in Iraq, so I ask myself, "Are the people in a better or worse state with this new leadership?" "Are injustices, such as wrongful imprisonment, being rectified?"I have heard snippets of news wherein terms such as "dangerous" and "vile" are being used to describe this Islamic leadership. I definitely agree that it is a powerful leadership (and thus frightening to anyone hoping to rule the world), but it seems that the people are faring much better. It has been far too long since that land has seen leaders who are concerned about the people and their welfare. Ironic as it may be since that, by my definition, is the entire point of a leader.News reports from the west come with ever-repeated undertones that Islam and anything to do with serious Islamic practice is to be feared, so terms that all relate to "fear" are now being used. But I am entirely committed to Islamic practice because it secures all people from injustices and atrocities. Islamic law is ethical and just to its core, and those who beg to differ have likely not studied it with any intensity or with any sense of understanding of communal good and spiritual excellence.By Islamic law, blood cannot be shed unjustly. Women, children, and non-combatants are to be protected. Natural resources and animals are to be respected, cared for, and preserved. But who ever writes about that? It was said that the best of leaders, Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam, wept profusely at the demise of a Jewish boy who was accidentally killed in crossfire. When asked by his companions why he wept, he responded with (something to the effect), "Was he not innocent?"This world needs a serious change wherein people begin to look at each other with the gaze of compassion and human concern. We desperately need to see the human race as unified such that we won't accept the murder, torture, and harassment of another human being. The bullies of the world need to give it a rest, and the leaders of the world need to maintain ethical standards.The code of justice, human compassion, and care was exemplified for us by the one (peace and blessings be upon him) who sacrificed his every comfort for the sake of ensuring that we knew what God wanted us to know about living on this earth in peaceful coexistence in servitude of Him and not of our lower, selfish, and aggressive selves. We can be better. We must affirm that the human condition should be better. In my ignorance of political happenings, I can only say that I pray for a better world, and I pray that success is granted to those who are sincerely striving to bring good to all people - whoever they may and wherever they may be.Aug. 23, 2014 - Update:It seems the video that I was sent was severely skewed and deceitful. The situation of the people now involves an array of gross human violations. May Allah grant them relief of such horrors and grant them leadership that serves its true purpose - serving the people and ensuring their rights and welfare are being preserved. Ameen.[...]