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.

 

 

 

 

 

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/

The Gift of Gratitude

Asalamu alaykum,

today I realized an important lesson. A very valuable lesson about being grateful. There are many instances in our lives, perhaps almost all the time that we forgot to be grateful for all that Allah swt has bestowed us with. We have the gift of our beautiful eyes to be able to see with, our feet to walk with, our hands to use our daily chores- yet we act as if these just came about, as we if we do not owe any shukur (thanks). This is a grave and miserable act on our behalf. What made me realize this? Today as a group of sisters and I went what I like to call, “sadaqah hunting,” we knocked on a door among many others. Children came running towards us with a smile and their older sisters and mother came right behind them. As we explained to them what we needed the donations for a young blind girl came up to us where her grandmother was standing. She shook hands with us and placed a kiss on our hands. The grandmother then asked us to make du’a for her grand-daughter. What’s incredibly shocking is how the girl lost her sight. She is about the age of 8-11 years old. She was able to see before 3 months ago. One night she went to sleep and woke up in the morning with no sight at all. She’s been to many different doctors but they tell her that there’s no hope of her eyesight coming back. My heart felt like it was struck with lightning because the fact that we seem to miss is that this can happen to anyone of us, and perhaps many of us are using our eyesight- a blessing from Allah to watch bad things (movies, pornography, dances, etc. ). Is not Allah capable of taking our eyesight away? Indeed He is. The gifts we have been given are enormous and plenty, but the question is how do we use it and are we grateful to Allah for all the things He has bestowed us with? I pray that Allah forgives us all for our public and private sins and may Allah grant the young girl a bright vision by His will. May Allah make us among the shaakiriin (those who are grateful). Gratitude is an important element and one that we often neglect. Thank Allah for everything He has given you. If Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wasalam) would pray continuously till his feet would swell just to be a grateful servant of Allah, than should we not follow in his beautiful example? should we not emulate these good characteristics? Let’s evaluate ourselves, remove ourselves from sinful acts, and improve on our lives to better our lives in dunya (the world) and in the akhirah (hereafter).

Reported by Anas (RA): I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying, “Allah, the Glorious and Exalted said: “When I afflict my slave in his two dear things (i.e. his eyes), and he endures patiently, I shall compensate him for them with Jannah.”
[Al-Bukhari]

. . then when (Sulaiman (Solomon)) saw it placed before him, he said: “This is by the Grace of my Lord to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his own self, and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his own self). Certainly! My Lord is Rich (Free of all wants), Bountiful” [An-Naml: 40]

“Gratitude helps us focus our minds on Allah, something that has unfortunately become so difficult today on account of life’s distractions and attractions. Gratitude, therefore, corrects our perceptions by reminding us that everything that happens to us doesn’t happen because of its own volition and thus we shouldn’t take matters for “granted”. Allah says in the Quran: “And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah” [al-Nahl 16:53]. He also says, “And He found you poor and made you rich (self?sufficient with self?contentment)” [al-Duha 93:8]. Let’s therefore constantly remind ourselves of Allah’s bounties by expressing our gratitude to Him in prayers and at other times.” -Iqrasense.com

“If Allah took mankind to task by that which they deserve, He would not leave a living creature on the surface of the earth; but He grants them reprieve unto an appointed term, and when their term comes – then verily Allah is Ever All-Seer of His slaves” [Fatir (35):45]

To read more about gratitude or gratefulness click the link below. It’s a very beneficial site.

http://www.iqrasense.com/muslim-character/the-blessings-of-gratitude-and-shukr.html

 

Jazaakumullahu khayran.

 

Dream

Asalamu alaikum,

Many of us dream, and some of us refuse to dream because we have already formed a mentality that we cannot make our dreams come true because they seem “too good to be true.” Well, it’s time to end that mentality. How dare we put an end to our dreams simply because we are not willing to work as hard to make them come true? Allah ‘aza wajal who split the moon in half (see suratul Qamar) is my lord and YOURS. If He has the power to make the moon split in half at the request of some mushrikeen then what do you think of a mu’min (believer) who asks him for something much simpler than that?! Of course He will not deny you and I our dreams. It has been said before, “If you wish Allah to grant you that which you love, then persist in doing that which He loves.” I know some dreams seem IMPOSSIBLE. But they’re not impossible. They’re just hard to reach. However, with effort, hard work, persistence, perseverance, and lots of faith, then Allah SWT will not neglect us in our duas. Sometimes we don’t see our dreams come true because perhaps we don’t see the bad effects it could have in the future and thus Allah swt replaces it with something better for us. So don’t lose hope so easily. If you’d like to start an orphanage, go ahead. Gather all your efforts and skills, put it to use! Start with bismillah, and start out small. If you’d like to feed the poor and start a restraunt, then go ahead!  Dreams are not impossible. With that I end that you all please make dua for me and the rest of the ummah, that Allah make our dreams come true if there is khayr in it. may Allah make us all successful. Now keep on dreaming and work your way towards that special and beautiful dream. Be a firm believer in Allah. Success lies with Him.

 

Hardships- Opportunities in Disguise

On our journey through this world we come across hardships and obstacles. Difficulties are not meant to bar us from enjoying life; rather to learn valuable lessons that will help transform us. The difficulties, hardships, obstacles, and rejections we encounter are preparing us for yawmul qiyamah (hereafter). We can take the hardships provided for us to transform us and help us reflect on the akhirah- the afterlife, rather than sulking in deep sorrow, pouting, losing hope, and becoming immensely depressed over worldly issues. Our Creator (Allah) has prepared two destinations for all of humankind, which we choose by our intentions and actions- Jannah ama Jahanam (paradise or hell fire). We can choose to see difficulties as opportunities in disguise that lead us to our eternal home of paradise, or we can choose to curse life everyday viewing our difficulties as burdens. We can choose to see hardships as a source of attaining reward by persevering and practicing patience, or we can  become doubtful, depressed and impatient, therefore leading us to the pathway of jahanam. 

so you got rejected by the man/woman of your dreams? you were walked out on by your spouse or spouse-to-be? Of what value are they for your world to revolve around them? Of what value do they attain for you to lose your akhirah for him or her?

A beloved one was lost? Yes, it’s painful, atrocious, and deeply wounds us all. But we have got to accept that death is inevitable. We must accept death as a reality, make dua for our lost loved ones and pursue life with patience and gratitude. 

Listen dear sister/brother. Don’t allow the dunyah (world) to drown you, defeat you, or beat you down to a level you can’t get back up from. This world is our temporary abode not our permanent residence. All that you love you shall be granted if you remain patient. 

“oh Allah do not make the world our biggest concern,”