keep striving

Asalamu ‘alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu.

Dear readers, this is a message to you from me. I know there are many people out there in the world- all across the globe- who are struggling in life, albeit all our circumstances are different from one another. The obstacles we face are numerous and range from being ill to being financially unstable to having absolutely nothing to eat or drink for days on end. Everyone is faced with a hardship or obstacle in life that is unique in its own respect. Everyone has different experiences and different methods of coping with their hardships. From my own personal experience, I suffer from chronic pain. Some days, it becomes too difficult to do the simple tasks in life such as: small chores at home, eating, getting dressed, going to work, going to school, going to the madarasa, and sometimes just being able to physically get up from where I am sitting. I am a strong believer in hardships being a “blessing in disguise.” I cannot imagine my life without pain and aches. It can be unbearable somedays, however, I think there is a beautiful lesson in all of our hardships. If you are suffering from infertility, know that you are no less than those whom Allah blessed with children. If you are struggling with school/education and feel like you’re behind on your studies and are seeing many of your peers graduating “on time,”- know that it is okay to take your time. The circumstances in life that allowed them to finish “on time” are not your circumstances. Their circumstances are designed to teach them a lesson. Perhaps to be grateful and useful in whatever field they’ve achieved. Your circumstances are also teaching you many beautiful lessons: perhaps it is preparing you for something greater, therefore, Allah swt is teaching you a beautiful lesson about patience and its fruits.  The possibilities are endless, but we cannot solely focus on the negative perceptions we create for ourselves. Continue striving, continue struggling, continue begging and praying to Allah- perhaps that’s why Allah is testing you, to hear the beauty of your voice as it begs its Creator. 

عَنْ أبي هرَيرَةَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ قَالَ 

يَقُولُ اللهُ تَعَالَى : مَا لِعَبْدِي المُؤْمِنِ عِنْدِي جَزَاءٌ، إِذا قَبَضْتُ صَفِيَّهُ، مِنْ أَهلِ الدُّنْيَا، ثُمَّ احْتَسبَهُ، إِلَّا الجَنَّةَ
رواه البخاري

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
Allah (mighty and sublime be He) says: My faithful servant’s reward from Me, if I have taken to Me his best friend from amongst the inhabitants of the world and he has then borne it patiently for My sake, shall be nothing less than Paradise. It was related by al-Bukhari.
Advertisements

The Last utterance…

It can be deceiving. That’s what hurts the most. This life is deceiving and we fall for its deception. We fall for the glimmering moments and the fading memories of a life not meant to be eternal. We live our whole lives working towards the most costly of homes, the highest paying careers, the highest degrees in education- we live for life, and we feel entitled to life. We carry on with our lives as if death can be put on hold. Too often, we forget that the moment we are living could be our last in this life, and soon we may be a part of another world, entirely built on the seeds we planted (good/bad deeds). We assure ourselves that it’ll be the last time we listen to the new song, or the new movie that came out. We have a sense of guarantee that we will travel some day to hajj and that all of our sins will be atoned. Our minds can imagine others being lifeless but our own selves. We forget that the next person to lie on the table of the deceased, being shrouded and prepared for the burial, being supplicated for to be forgiven of their sins could be US. Picture for a moment lying on that cold metal table made of silver. Picture yourself unable to move, your hands no longer washing your own body, but others hands washing your body- from head to toe. Picture yourself for a moment lying on that table with musk being prepared to wash you, and your family crying unconsolably for y our loss. Picture for a moment when the shrouds cover your very being- your face covered, your nostrils and ears being stuffed with cotton, your stomach pressed upon to clear the fluids from your body, your arms and legs being lifted by others so as to assure themselves they’ve bathed you right. PICTURE for a moment the reality of you being carried to the grave, to be left there alone and only your deeds remaining with you. What choices would you have made if given the opportunity to live life over again? What decisions would you have altered if brought back to life again? what deeds would you eliminate and which deeds would you increase? What home would you build and what bank account would you allow to overflow?- This life or the akhirah? Now, feel your heart. It’s beating. You’re alive. You have an opportunity the deceased can no longer obtain. What would you want your last utterance to be?- The lyrics to a song, or the verses of the Quran? Now’s an opportunity you are not guaranteed to see again, let your choices allow you to build a beautiful home in paradise. Let your dream be the eternal comfort of the akhirah- Jannah (paradise).

My Hajj Memoir

Asalamu ‘alaykum dear readers. It has been a couple of weeks since I have returned from my journey to the most  blessed of places- Al Haramain (the two blessed sights of Makkah and Madinah). I won’t exaggerate in my words with regards to this place, and in shaa Allah, I hope that this will inspire my readers to go and live the experience of hajj themselves.

Before I left, I had glamorized what Makkah and Madinah would be like. I fantasized in my head of the stories I had heard earlier about this blessed land. I promised myself to enjoy myself whilst my time there, and that I would focus on my ‘ibadah as much as I possibly can. Another goal I had in  mind was that, since this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and since the prayers prayed in Makkah are worth plentiful rewards, that I would in fact try as much as I can to pray in the Haram. Abu Ad-Dardaa’  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  himreported on the authority of the Prophet , that the reward for praying at the Sacred Mosque (in Makkah) is equal to the reward for one hundred thousand regular prayers; the reward for praying at the Prophet’s Mosque (in Madeenah) is equal to the reward for one thousand regular prayers; and the reward for praying at the Al-’Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) is equal to the reward for five hundred regular prayers. [Al-Bazzaar] This is an authentic narration.

I knew for sure that I did not want to waste my time sitting in a hotel room occupied with gossip, as I had heard was the case with many women who had gone to hajj. Armed with all of my fanciful thoughts about the blessed land of the Prophet peace be upon him, I stepped foot first into Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The airport was a hassle, as is with many travels across the globe. Fortunately, for myself and my loved ones who were going to this pilgrimage with me, we only spent about three hours waiting to get out of the first part of the airport, and a few more hours once we passed the immigration services desk. All in all, it wasn’t as horrible for us as it had been for many others. I kept in mind that this journey required patience, and that anger and frustration would not aid me in any way, shape or form. With that reality check, we walked out of the inside of the airport to the waiting area of the buses. If you have heard of the term, “scorching hot,”- this was nothing short of the truth in this place. It was hot and humid, and the heat of the sun was of the type that helped produce headaches. Our clothes were wet from the sweat, but again, patience was a key to this journey and complaining would be of no use. As we traveled to Makkah, I began to be filled with disappointment as I had started to see vast areas of land of which nothing lay but sand. It truly represented a barren desert. I scolded myself for the disappointment, as I had known from history that this blessed land was once a complete desert with no oasis. I overcame my disappointment once we landed in our hotel. Before we could make it to the hotel, our bus trip from the airport of Jeddah to the hotel of Makkah was filled with stops, in which the Ministry of Hajj in Saudi Arabia as well as other religious organizations were handing us well packed boxes of food to eat along the way. Organizers themselves came inside the bus to serve us water and other sweets. My heart filled with joy from the acts of kindness that were present in these people.

After settling in  our hotel, and unpacking our belongings, we washed up and took long naps because we were to complete our ‘umrah that night. We were all excited about the upcoming ‘umrah and prepared ourselves to see the beautiful Haram. Night time came, and ready we were. We boarded the bus to the Haram, and went with our agency. I wasn’t mesmerized at first whilst walking towards the masjid; to be frankly honest, I hadn’t felt much at all because I was feeling numb at heart. Was it the fact that it had been a long tiring trip, or was it simply that my eman was deficient? I couldn’t really tell. However, all of that had changed when we passed the gravel and sand on the road. As soon as I had stepped foot into the haram, as soon as my foot touched the cold tiled floor of the Haram, and as soon as the sweet breeze surrounding the Haram touched my skin, I felt like crumbling from the peace and joy I felt at heart. This sweet feeling, this calming breeze was unlike anything I had experienced. Everywhere else outside of the Haram, even as much as five feet was hot and humid, and this feeling of peace and the sweet breeze became a common factor that I had enjoyed every day that I had spent time in that beautiful place (Haram). My heart felt as though it was expanding, and at times I had thought, how much more can my heart expand? This feeling of expansion and peace filled my heart so much, that if at all possible, my heart would have exploded from this over expansion. When the days of hajj began, we had scholars, both male and female come and speak to us. we spent sometime in ‘Arafat, Muzdalifa and Mina. Out of the three, Mina was the hardest. Bathroom lines were long, and people were impatient. Mina however had some faces I would never forget. On one of the nights we returned from the Jamaraat (throwing stones), I met a young boy- approximately 14 or 15 years old. He had this glow on his face and I felt in my heart that he was a young pious boy. As I walked by, he offered me rice and chicken, and I felt so touched by this kind act. We had a bit of an exchange, and for the offer he made, I in return gave him a gift. He asked me where I was from and I asked him where he was from (He was from Burma). He was grateful for the gift and raised his hands to make dua for me, as I also made dua for him. I have a feeling he may one day end up as a scholar of Islam, and I pray that he remembers that encounter as I remember it and that he mentions me to Allah.

Kindness and giving came hand in hand. If you wanted an opportunity to donate, there were so many in need you could give to. If you wanted to earn some rewards, the opportunities were endless. During one of the days we were leaving the Haram to go home, a woman gently called out to a few of us passer-byers. All I could tell was that she was a Muslim woman from one of the Muslim European countries -Bosnia perhaps, or Tajikistan- I was not sure. She stood under the hot sun with scarves to give out. Not having a common language to communicate, I thought it was for sale and wanted to buy one from her out of respect. She however said only one word which we both understand, “hadiyah”- gift, gift she kept repeating. I was overwhelmed by her act of kindness, and her determination to stand under the hot sun in order to earn reward from Allah. Another day, as we made tawaf around the ka’bah, I noticed folks reaching out for a kleenex box that was being waved in the air. A simple tool, yet a much needed one that day for many of us who were sick and constantly coughing with runny noises. For those who truly wanted to earn reward, they found it in giving the most simple of things. Subhaanallah. The zamzam water in tanks nearly everywhere in the Haram was something else I found to be amazing. Those serving the pilgrims- the cleaners of the Haram, both men and women, worked hard to keep everything in order.

After our beautiful and heart lifting stay at Mecca, we headed to madinah- the beautiful city of the Prophet. I fell more in love with madinah than I could ever imagine. The atmosphere was calmer, the people were all very kind, and the masjid nabawi became a symbol etched into my heart. I entered from the gate of Uthman, as was the name of one of the gates. Uthman being one of my favorite from the companions of the Prophet peace be upon him, it warmed my heart. Zamzam water again was in every row that people prayed in. I was in awe of the women workers at the masjid. Although I am not one to believe the lies of the media, I never knew of women working at the masjids in Makkah and Madinah. They were phenomenal and inspirational. They became my instant role models, as I too love charity work and volunteering. I asked the sisters that worked there how many hours of the day they spent working daily. One of the sisters (in Madinah) said they worked six hours and then someone else would come and take their shift. How amazing must it be to work on a daily basis in the Haramain and to drink as you wish from the blessed water? How magnificent must it feel to be walking in the same footsteps of the Prophet? We lived very close to the Masjid, in a hotel named, “Al Madinah Harmony.”I silently prayed that Allah grant me many more chances to either live or return to this beautiful place because I developed a love for it that words cannot explain.  My hajj memoir is not complete. There are many details I left out so as to keep this post simple, but know that to go there is worth all the money and difficulties you may face along the way. It is a blessing in disguise. Words and images can never do it justice. Go! look for the opportunity and hasten towards it. Let the love of this place settle in your hearts.

And Sanctify My House.

 

 

 

 

 

The Star that Lit the Sky

I opened the door with the brightest smile a seven year old could muster. As my father approached the door to our home, I ran towards him and opened the door, and he patted my head gently. Proud of my achievements, I relayed to my father that I had made his bed. He laughed and smiled with a hearty laugh, and said, “you’re a smart girl.” Every time the adhan would go off, he’d go to the masjid to pray- a habit he never grew out of. He spent his life in dedication to his Lord, and he embedded the love of the deen in our hearts, of course with the help and permission of Allah. People speak of legends and heroes, but he was my legend and my heroe. He is my inspiration today, and will forever remain so. People speak of fallen stars, and extraordinary human beings. However, he was an ordinary human being, with exra-ordinary characteristics. I have never come across a man of his age who was as dedicated and as assured of Allah accepting his duas as my father was. Without exaggeration, he would stand in prayer most of the night, except for two or three hours. He would constantly make wudu, and pray two ra’kats no matter the time of day.He constantly made dua for the ummah at large, and for family members individually. He would name us one by one to assure himself that he had made du’a for us. He was a gem amidst the pebbles, but I failed to realize this till he had died because I was used to seeing my father indulge in ‘ibadah on a daily basis. My father had an addiction and his addiction was the Quran. He would read and read but never tire of it. He read the Quran day and night except for when he was napping between the asr and maghrib prayer and when eating meals. I asked him one day, “Dad, don’t you get bored of just sitting and reading all day?” and he responded beautifully with, “who can get bored when they’re reading the Quran?”- I could never fathom the strength he had in terms of worshipping Allah. He was physically ill, weak due to his illnesses and his age- a combination that can make anyone feel as if they shouldn’t get out of bed. But he was never weakened by such excuses. He would stand in prayer when he had the excuse to sit. It was a devastating blow and a painful thing to watch him lay in the hospital bed. His eyes would look towards my direction as if to say he was going – for good this time. It saddened me when his eyes looked at me that way. I kept wondering what thoughts were running through his head. I regretted all the moments that I had desired in my heart to say ‘I love you’ but hadn’t said so.. I regretted all the moments I may have been undutiful to him. I regretted the many missed opportunities that I could have seized but hadn’t seized. He raised us, travelled across cities and countries to ensure that we didn’t go by hungry for a day. The soles of his feet hardened, the edges of his feet rough- every mark a print of his journey for his children and wife. Without him, the lights in our home are dimmed but the love in our heart grows for him. At times it feels as though I am dreaming, but deep down I know all of it is real. Death is a reality we must face- it’s inevitable, and my father is indelible. HIs jokes and the way he laughed will be missed. His face that glowed like the moon will be missed. And we ask Allah to forgive him and grant him the highest ranks of paradise. Indeed he was the best father a girl could ever ask for. He was and will always be the shining star amidst the dark night sky, the gem amidst the pebbles, the pearl in the sea, the diamond beneath the ground, and best of all, the servant of Allah whom we hope Allah was pleased with and loved.

Allah yarxamhu (May Allah have mercy upon him).

note: he passed away in December of 2014

#Lift the Siege

We’ve all seen, or have yet to see the images bombarded on facebook, twitter, and other social media sites that show the gruesome and brutal photographs of innocent Palestinian civilians in pieces. I know that for many, it may feel like this is just a night mare and not reality, but we are wrong, so gravely wrong. What we are seeing is the reality of an entire population who was first denied their homes, and only allowed 10% of their land (Gaza strip and West Bank). Over the years, we have witnessed the brutal massacres of the Palestinian people (ethnic cleansing). For many years we have ignored the cries and pleas of children. We’ve watched so many children squirm in pain as white phosphorus landed on  their beautiful healthy skin. We’ve watched mothers and children being held at gun point by IDF soldiers. We’ve witnessed through the media and live reports of journalists who’ve gone their the gruesome reality of mothers giving birth to dead babies because they were denied entry into certain places. We’ve heard of the Rafah gates being closed in on Palestinians looking to cross the boarder to Egypt. Just recently we’ve witnessed the Al Badsh family massacred in large numbers. Eighteen of their family members were bombarded and left for dead, and that’s exactly what happened- they were killed- murdered. It was agonizing to see the photos of the remaining children of the Al Badsh family crying in agony, leaning against a car with their head up to the sky- with tears rolling down their cheeks. The pain of those children was so evident on their faces that reality could not be denied any more. The world is slowly waking up, and many demonstrations have taken place, but Palestinians cannot wait any longer. They are not given the time to wait. As their enemy brutally bombs them, and claims of giving them a warning by bombing them with smaller bombs, as their enemy allows them only three minutes to escape- and to escape what?- a missile that is designed to out run them, to hover over them and suck the life out of them, and end the life of a child enjoying himself at a beach as he kicks around a ball. This my friends is inhumane, it’s belligerence at its best. It’s murder at its highest stage. It’s intentional ethnic cleansing at such an astonishing level. It’s DISGUSTING, DISTURBING, AND INHUMANE. This issue deserves our attention. It is no longer a Palestinian/Israeli conflict as it is referred to. It is not a conflict at all, because in a conflict it means that both sides are fighting at equal level of power. This is MURDER- GENOCIDE. It is a movement meant to kill Palestinians. If we choose to ignore this reality then know that tomorrow it will be our turn, and humanity won’t side with us then when we are the ones being bombarded, murdered, and ethnically cleansed. Let’s be law abiding citizens and lift the siege from Palestine. Let’s lift the siege from Gaza. Let’s lift this state of misery from the shoulders of the innocent who are bombarded. Let’s stop giving excuses as to why Israel can continue doing what it’s doing. Obama was mistaken, and so are his colleagues. Israel does not have the right to defend itself- it’s the Palestinians who ought to be given the right to defend themselves because they are the ones being occupied, oppressed, bombarded left and right, and not being given a day to sit and relax because they constantly have to wonder when their house will be bombed. It’s people like Dr. Khamees- a paramedic who tries to save lives, only to find out they’re too late. What’s worse, that the family they were called to were his own. Let’s bring back humanity. Let’s lift this siege- TOGETHER

to help the hospitals there, donate to this campaign: http://www.justgiving.com/1pound4gaza

falasteenpalestine

Different Lenses

Life is not all roses, and diamonds. It comes with hardships. You will face both good days,and what many call, “bad days.” But I beg to differ. There is no “bad day.” It is our negative, paranoid minds that like to label a day full of struggles as “bad.” How about we look at life with different lenses. In a sense, when we insult days, and times, we are insulting the Creator. We can turn use the hardships in our lives to look at life in a positive manner. Few days ago, I had a conversation with a co-worker. He asked me, “how come you didn’t show up for work?”- and I responded, “I was sick.” He then went on to explain that I should say instead of sick, “I was not feeling well.” His argument was that since God is perfect, and since God doesn’t want harm for his “daughters” ( the co-worker and I do not share the same faith) – that it would be wrong to say that I was sick as opposed to I was unwell, because in my statement, “I was sick” he felt as though I was blaming God. I then said to him, “but being sick is not a bad thing. It’s actually a positive.” He was more than boggled by this statement, and was curious enough to ask what I meant. I said, “Well, in our faith, we try to look at things from a positive angle. My being sick wipes out my sins. Therefore, every time I feel pain,I am in a sense rewarded.” He was astonished by this, and thought about it for a while. He walked away reflecting upon it, and seeing a new perspective. The point of this anecdote is to have people think positively about all situations in life. Sometimes, we are so tired and in so much pain, that we just can’t be patient at all. However, we have to continuously remind ourselves that there are positive means in what we perceived to be negative. So next time you are going through a hardship, be sure to reflect and smile, because your illness/struggle/hardship does not go to waste. Don’t waste the opportunity by cursing the days and nights in your life, and by complaining about your hardships. Keep on smiling- it’s absolutely a sunnah! =)

 

Charity (one solid ummah)

Asalamu ‘alaykum. Charity is an important aspect of our deen (way of life). As the ummah of Muhammad peace be upon him, we are ONE in all aspects. We pray to ONE God- Allah, we have ONE book (the Quran), and we face ONE direction when praying. Therefore, our brothers and sisters dilemmas are OURS as well. We are ONE body – brothers and sisters of one another.

Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

“The believers are nothing else than brothers. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy.” [Al-Hujjurat, 49:10]

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also said about brotherhood (translation): “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم described the Ummah as one body; if one member becomes sick then the other members of this one body will take care of the sick one (translation):

“The Believers, in their mutual love, mercy and compassion, are like one body: if one organ complained, the rest of the body develops a fever.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

It is important that we take into consideration today’s events in our world. The ummah is facing obstacles from every corner, and we are, much of the time, bystanders. We need to stop being bystanders and contribute in anyway we can. One way you can make a difference is to donate to causes that truly deliver the aid to the people in need. We have a great group of founders who have founded an organization that has truly, truly delivered the aid beyond believe. One such organization is OneSolidUmmah –> https://www.facebook.com/onesolidummah

http://www.onesolidummah.com

What have they done?- they’ve done so much, here are just a few things they’ve done:

-opened up a bakery to feed the families

-bought two buildings, one as apartments for the orphan families to live in and the widows, and the other as a building for learning the Quran

-bought backpacks for the children and clothes

-bought food for the families

-carpets for the buildings

-made orphan sponsorship readily available for those who’d like to sponsor orphans

-bought a van to transport children and their families to needed destinations

-made it possible with the permission of Allah to restore hope in the hearts of families (widows and orphans)

Don’t you want to be a part and a cause of the happiness of those orphans and widows? Don’t you want to be a neighbor with Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasalam?

Sahl ibn Sa’d reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The one who cares for an orphan and myself will be together in Paradise like this,” and he held his two fingers together.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5659

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Bukhari

سَهْلَ بْنَ سَعْدٍ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ أَنَا وَكَافِلُ الْيَتِيمِ فِي الْجَنَّةِ هَكَذَا وَقَالَ بِإِصْبَعَيْهِ السَّبَّابَةِ وَالْوُسْطَى

5659 صحيح البخاري كِتَاب الْأَدَبِ بَاب فَضْلِ مَنْ يَعُولُ يَتِيمًا

Here’s your chance! Donate to the above links in shaa Allah!

https:www.igiveonline.com/campaigns/helping-syrian-orphans/