There is no ‘station’ in this world

There is a concept of stations or states of a believer in this world. I believe it stems from Sufism or tasawwuf. Having different states, such as being patient at certain times, feeling gratefulness at others, is a very acceptable concept.

However, when the word ‘station’ is used, it implies that you have reached a destination. So, for example, I’m not making this up, it is written in some books that: you reach a point of no return. Excuse me? A point of no return from wilayah? A point of no return to sin?

I am not negating the science of tasawwuf, rather pointing out some issues with some of the concepts that people who are in tasawwuf may face. Tasawwuf is part and parcel of Deen. The knowledge of the inner state of believers has been preserved over the generations and it is presented in a nutshell. However, the pitfalls of the system need to be pointed out if we are to reap maximum benefits from it.

Is there such a concept, really, in Deen? And if there is not, how can very educated people, in both Deen and dunya, be ok with reading something like that in a book?

For someone who wishes to believe that, he or she is most welcome, but it makes me very concerned for them. There are consequences of believing in this notion.

There are no ‘stations’ for believers in this world. Do you know how dangerous that concept is? It is the concept that leads to saints falling into sin. It is the concept that makes believers wait for that ‘station’ to arrive in this world. A person to have reached a maqam or station of sabr (patience) means he or she will have sabr always. This is humanly impossible.

We are meant to keep striving in this world. We do not reach any station at all at any point on this path. Point of no return is death… unless you’re following a different Qur’an than me.

We go through different states, yes. We may feel extremely charitable at a point in time, we may be immersed in the love of Allah at another time, we may striving to do dawah at another time, and sometimes we just may serve others as a means of reward. We may be going through a stage of extreme gratefulness, we may experience sabr on a calamity that befalls us. But how can one even suggest that so and so has reached a station of shukr such that they will never feel ungrateful ever again? Or that a person has reached a level of nafs e mutmainna that they have no ‘desires’ left in them?

You may be the greatest saint in the world, and shaytan will come to you and say everything is made permissible to you.

And Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jillani said to such a shaytan: Begone you dog!

We have never arrived anywhere in this world. There is no station. No rest. There is a constant battle. Against our nafs.

May God give everyone of us a beautiful death, such that our last breath is one with Iman and the kalima on our lips. Ameen

 

The Sunnah of Empathy

The Prophet (s) was empathetic, not sympathetic.

Here is the difference:

Empathy vs. Sympathy

Once we have provided that empathy to the person in need, trust them to have gratitude themselves.

That is the difference.

The gratitude will come from within. You can remind them of the verse of the Quran after you find they have climbed out of the abyss somewhat.

Telling them to have patience and gratitude will not cause them to feel it… they may just fake it… Remind them of the benefits, after you have been empathetic. Then see the difference bi iznillah.

Whoever is granted wisdom has indeed been granted something tremendously beneficial; but none reflect except people of insight. [Quran 2:269]

May Allah SWT make us people of wisdom and action. Ameen.

 

Back to the Basics

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When you are experiencing a burnout- go back to the basics.

Whether it’s the workplace, motherhood, or even your Deen, there will be times when you will you have gone overboard, emotionally. When you have been stretched to your limits.

Don’t let shaytan play with that moment of weakness.

If you are a student of knowledge, there is so much to help you heal. But there is so much shaytan can play with.

So the best thing for us to do is to go back to the very basics

Very very very basics.

What are the basics? In my experience, they are:

  1. The knowledge that: no one is perfect in this world. Neither are we. If we were putting up a mask of perfection and fooling ourselves, now is the time to take it off. Presenting ourselves to Allah with no masks on (there weren’t any masks ever, anyway) is beautiful because that is when we realize how Close He really is to us. We may be fooling ourselves or others, but with Him, we can be ourselves… We realize there is nothing to hide. Nothing we can hide. And that there is nowhere to go but to Him.
  2. The knowledge that: We are nearing the end of times. All the signs mentioned by our Prophet (s) have taken place. Things are going to get worse for the Muslims, and then we will await Imam Mahdi. So what should we do then? We need to pull our act together right? The force of evil is too strong i feel. The times of fitan (trials) is defined as such- when right and wrong will be mixed up… So we need to unite. We need to applaud all forms of good. We need to encourage goodness, righteousness. We need to keep striving. Allah Accept us…
  3. Remember His Love. Remember our iradah. Remember that intention we have to make it to Jannah. And then keep swimming.
  4. His Words. His Kalaam. Connect to the Qur’an. Because there is no doubt therein. See my post

May He Save us from the trials of this dunya, the trials of Dajjal, the trials of the grave, and the punishment of the akhirah. May He include us amongst His Righteous Servants. Ameen.

Pain, Crying and our need for Empathy

Sometimes, it is hard to relate to people who have not faced grief and sorrow in their lives. It is easy for them to think or believe that you can and should get over it.

A year or two ago, someone who had been through a couple of traumas in her life asked me if it was ok for her to cry. Yes, traumas. Not just one.

She asked me if it was ok for her to cry.

She said i know Allah SWT Loves me. I dont understand these things but I accept them. But there are times when i keep crying. I cry a lot… I look at another’s pain and i cry.

i told her what i could, but the reality was, i didnt have an answer. I didnt know if it was ok. The attitude i had always gotten was that its not REALLY ok To be doing that for so long… For you to have gotten over it meant you wouldnt cry over it right? But i found i couldnt say that to her. It didnt seem right. I couldnt even find anyhting in the Quran or Hadith that i had learnt, to tell me that it was wrong to cry.

The Prophet (s) actually calls tears a Rahmah.

“What is in the hearts and eyes comes from Allah.”

It is a mercy. Not a sign of weakness.

Then why did i have that feeling or that understanding?
And it was deep-rooted for sure. I couldnt understand it.
I’m not sure where or how I learnt that in my life… Probably when i was very young.

Fast foward to today and Allah SWT led me through some experiences… He let me have experiential knowledge of how withholding tears and not addressing feelings could harm us. He let me feel that so I could believe it with certainty. With Yaqeen.

I can say for certain now. Let them flow. Let the tears flow. It’s ok to keep crying. It’s ok to ask questions. It’s ok to not know and be afraid and to hope but still be afraid.

We have the story of Yaqub alaihissalam (peace be upon him) who cried years for Prophet Yusuf alaihissalam. Yet society forgets that when they tell someone ‘don’t cry’. They forget that the pain needs to come out. It needs to be addressed. It needs to manifest.

They forget tears are compassion.

It was narrated that Abu ‘Uthman said:
“Usamah bin Zaid told me: ‘The daughter of the Prophet sent word to him telling him: A son of mine is dying, come to us. He sent word to her, conveying his greeting of salam and saying: “To Allahbelongs that which He takes and that which He gives, and everything has an appointed time with Allah. Let her be patient and seek reward.” She sent word to him adjuring him to go to her. So he got up and went, accompanied by Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah, Muadh bin Jabal, Ubayy bin Kab Zaid bin Thabit and some other men. The boy was lifted up to the Messenger of Allah, with the death rattle sounding in him, and his eyes filled with tears. Sa’d said: “O Messenger of Allah, what is this?” he said: “This is compassion which Allah has created in the hearts of His slaves. Allah has mercy on His compassionate slaves.”

Some people say that those who recite durud abundantly feel no sadness. Perhaps, someone, who recited a lot of durud may have felt easy in their pain. I am not denying that truth. Indeed, there is a lot of barakah in reciting durud. But talk about the benefits of it to someone who is not hurting. Did the Prophet (s) ever say to someone who was hurting, ‘recite durud on me’? Is that really what we want to diminish the durud into? It is meant to be a prayer for the Prophet (s). It is meant to be said out of love of the Prophet (s). If only we could just show the compassion that the Prophet (s) used to show his companions when someone we know is hurting. They would automatically remember the beloved (s). Their yaqeen would increase. Their love would increase.

Why do we forget who we are supposed to be? Why do we forget the mercy that our Prophet brought? The compassion that He taught. The Rahmah that he was… sallAllahu alaihi wasallam.

I felt heartache, I felt confusion, I revisited everything I knew and believed about pain.

Sometimes i think, how much Allah SWT must Love her, for Him to clarify and let me witness whatever was in my mind… So i could love her even more confidently. So i could talk and write about it with more conviction. So this knowledge for me would not just be intellectual, but experiential. I feel so strongly for this now.

 

Sometimes i think, if only we loved more, truly loved more, what a true ummah we could be.

A Lost Love

I was always so confident of His Love for me.

I knew I had faults. I knew I had weaknesses. But i knew He Loved me despite all of those… Because i was human. And to human is to err. I knew He Loved me because I Loved Him.

But then along came a being who was so jealous. So jealous of this love. I kept falling in love… But along the way, my attention got diverted. I began to take this love for granted. Gradually, mixed up in that love was love for other things… Loves t hat are hard for me to describe because I thought they were all love for Him, but i was wrong… The Jealous One whispered and whispered to me. My Love Watched, and He Planned.

I had gone a long way before I realized I needed to take a U-turn. Somewhere along the way i had taken a wrong turn. And i had become dependant on something other than Him. What it was, i still dont know… Was it love for a particular ideology? Was it love for a few of his creation which i thought would take me closer to Him? Was it love for an ideal self? Whatever it was, it became a veil. My Love for Him became tainted. I was heartbroken. I was disappointed in myself. How did I ever let this happen? I asked myself. But it was meant to happen. Perhaps it was meant to happen so i could depend on Him with an even greater dependance; Love Him with a greater love; hold on to His Rope for dear life… It was meant to happen because only He is Perfect. Because nothing, when it comes between our love for Him, can actually be beneficial for us. All it does is harm us, break us, disappoint us.

We need to pull away. No matter how glittery it seems, no matter how unworldly it seems, it is disguised. Everything is glittery and shiny in this world. Do not be fooled by it. It will lower your self esteem. It will make you feel less that you are. Because you were meant to be God’s. Made for Him, by Him. No other identity will bring you peace. You are His beloved. So whatever you allow to come in between, it will destroy you. And it will make you forget who you are.

And so today, when I cry as I realize I’ve lost that love, I tell myself, fa firru ilAllah

ففروا الى الله

(so flee to Allah) (84:50)

Go back to Him. You have nowhere else to go. Don’t listen to the jealous one. Go back to Him.

He is still Yours.

Grief – One Week Jam-Packed with it

With everything going on in the world, in Syria and particularly Aleppo’s misery, one cannot but feel despair at not being able to do anything.

I need to admit, I am not a ‘doer’ anyway. Perhaps the only thing I ‘can’ do is write.

And so here I am.

At a loss for words.

At a loss now, even for feelings.

I feel numb. I miss the time I cried for Junaid Jamshed few days ago. That tragedy had a sweetness to it. A beloved had returned to the Beloved. And he left behind millions who remembered his love for the Beloved. It was a sign that Allah SWT puts love in the hearts of people when He Himself Loves somebody on this earth.

It was a sign, that a person who strove to spread the message of peace and love, was accepted by the Lord of the Worlds. It was a sign that our striving goes not in vain. It was a beautiful reminder that change brings about more and more change – a domino effect – love spreads love from one heart to another.

But Syria is devastating.

It is horrendous.

It reminds, not of beauty and love, but of destruction, hatred and malice.

Whereas, some days ago, even something as tragic as a plane crash reminded us of Allah’s Jamal,  His Beauty, And that He is Lateef (Subtle and Gentle) and so Kareem (generous, Caring) the scene in Syria on the opposite end reminds us of His Jalal – His Majesty and Might and Glory; it necessarily reminds us of His Adal and that He is Saree’ul Hisaab– His Justice which only He can do to both the oppressors and the oppressed, and that He will be Swift to take Account.

It reminds us what humans can become. What they have the ability to become if they do not work on their hearts. If they let in and give in to the evil of the whisperer.

It is a reminder of the works of Shaytan.

But it is also a reminder that Allah SWT Reigns Supreme over this Shaytaan.

It reminds us, that He is Ever Watchful of the atrocities being committed. And that on the Day of Judgment, He will Judge with Justice.

Limanil Mulk al-Yaum (To Whom Belongs Dominion This day?)

Lillahi Wahid ul Qahhar (To Allah, the One, the Subduer.)

In that Day, therefore, we turn. In the hopes of that day. In the hopes that we can become someone who can rejoice that Day. In the hopes that that will be the best day of our lives.

Ya Allah Forgive us for our shortcomings. Forgive me for not being able to do much for our Muslims brothers and sisters. Forgive me for my despair. Indeed, I turn to You now ya Allah, to heal my hurt heart. I turn to You to Provide the balm – Your Remembrance and Soothe the pulsing, throbbing pain of this heart. Accept us ya Allah, and Grant us Everlasting Felicity. Ameen

 

 

Choosing your Battles

There should be a disclaimer when there are bayans/talks/lectures on Islam, that the audience is meant to be for single people. Perhaps that is a bit too far-fetched and not possible. But let me explain what I mean.

As an unmarried person, you are independent and able to work much more on your spirituality than a married person especially when you also have children. Spirituality, as a mother, is a completely different picture from what you would typically hear in lectures.

And if you have friends that also portray and hail that perfect image of a mother – emphasizing perhaps on the most futile of details, IMO – then perhaps you need to find yourself new friends. Because motherhood needs support…

Let’s say your child will not let you wear a ‘dubatta‘ on your head. Mine didn’t. For two years of his life. He just did not… I wish now I had not fretted over it. I certainly will not for my other children in shaa Allah. This notion of the dubatta on your head typically has come across through generations in the subcontinent. You will not find any source for it in any of the Islamic literature. Your head need not be covered at home, amongst your mahrams.

But if you hear a friend say to you “if he is not letting you wear it in front of other women, you should get him used to it even when you are at home.” In other words, your failure to do this at home is why you are not able to do it in front of others, or not able to make your child used to it. First of all, this ‘it’ is not even a farz or a wajib. Perhaps it falls under mustahab (preferred). Do i need to choose this battle with my toddler over a hundred other battles that may even fall under fardh? Do I need to choose it over praying a salah with ihsan despite having my kids around me or while they sleep when a thousand chores and thoughts are running through my mind? Do I need to choose that battle over the battle of not letting my temper go lose? Do I need to choose this battle over the battle of connecting more with the Qur’an? Practicing patience itself is a daily battle once you have kids. Do I honestly need to add to this elaborate list of exhausting to-dos of motherhood?

Especially when you are wishing to draw near to your Lord, you certainly need to draw away from people or even friends who are introducing self-doubt in your life. Who, even though they may be doing it to help you, are subconsciously doing the opposite of what ‘help’ would mean. They will still be getting reward if their intention was to help you, so don’t hold it against them or think lowly of them- but in truth if you are not really being helped, then seek that help elsewhere. You will find it.

You need to do this because it is you who knows what battles you need to choose and which ones you need to avoid.

The first ahadith, in any hadith book that your ever study under a hadith teacher, will begin with the topic of “intention”. It is sad then, that as we grow in our knowledge, we forget the most basic of ahadith in our practical life. As a mother, I remind myself and you of this hadith:

Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, related from his Lord the Blessed and Exalted, “Verily, Allah has recorded good and bad deeds and he made them clear. Whoever intends to perform a good deed but does not do it, then Allah will record it as a complete good deed. If he intends to do it and does so, then Allah the Exalted will record it as ten good deeds up to seven hundred times as much or even more. If he intends to do a bad deed and does not do it, then Allah will record for him one complete good deed. If he does it, then Allah will record for him a single bad deed.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6126, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 131

10847912_10154899539865722_4677162262313005984_nMay Allah SWT Grant us Wisdom to cherish each good deed, to cherish friends who encourage us in a variety of good deeds, to change the things that are in our control, and to let go of those that we are unable to change. May we take positive steps in our lives, and put the rest on the side table to be picked up when we have the ability to do so. May we know the more important from the less important, if there is any hierarchy to it; and may we cherish each and every little thing to the dot if there is no such hierarchy – or even if there is- because at the end of the day, the littlest thing will count in our book of deeds.

So, without getting lost in the little things which seem to be out of your control atm, pick up those you can pick up. Pick up those that will help you navigate the murky waters of isolation and struggle that is motherhood… Pick up those that will leave you feeling love for your Lord, who loves you more than 70 times the love you have for your bundle of joy.

Think about the atoms. The tiny things. It is too hard to think of mountains when everyday life is becoming a mountain for you to climb… And remind yourself:

So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it (99:7)