Love for Allah SWT

Do not let anyone’s words, or actions, be it an imam, a religious scholar, a psychologist, a lover, a friend; anyone who has any emotional power over you, sway you from your Trust in Allah, your Love for Him and your relationship with Him.
Because nobody and nothing in the world has any right to deceive you about your Lord.

يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ مَا غَرَّكَ بِرَبِّكَ الْكَرِيمِ 

O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Most Generous/Loving (Quran 82:6)

It is love for Him that will take us all the way.

It is His Love which will last for eternity.

It is His Love that will save us from our own selves today and on that Day.

There is an Arab proverb: The lover is not but obedient to his Beloved.

Make this love true and lasting.

And He is waiting to make it last for eternity…

Anas bin Malik Al-Ansari (MayAllah be pleased with him) narrated:
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,
“Verily, Allah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a person who has his camel in a waterless desert carrying his provision of food and drink and it is lost. He, having lost all hopes (to get that back), lies down in shade and is disappointed about his camel; when all of a sudden he finds that camel standing before him. He takes hold of its reins and then out of boundless joy blurts out: ‘O Allah, You are my slave and I am Your Rubb’. He commits this mistake out of extreme joy”.

 

So ecstatic, that he says something that ‘apparently’ is like kufr…

But Allah swt is so pleased when we turn to Him. He is not a distant Lord. He is Self Sufficient, but He is the Best Sustainer. The Best Caretaker. The most Just and Loyal Lord, who is nearer to ourselves than our jugular vein. (50:16)

#LoveAllah #MakeHimYourBestFriend

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Where I Belong

More than a decade ago, I wrote this poem:
Standing on a purple hill,
enraptured eyes gazing
at the scarlet sun, descending,
splitting the sky into
soft alluring colours.
This is where I belong.
Far from the self-centered world,
far from petty issues over-coming the senses
far from observing, time and time again
a frown, an icy gaze,
a smirk, an irksome look,
scathing words veiled with smiles
oh those smiles!
That leave the senses numbed, the tongue locked,
The mind too flustered to contemplate what it sees.
Alas, I realize, it’s only me.
I do not belong
The rest of the world smiles along.
They laugh, they talk. They are full of mirth.
Do they not behold what is so conspicuous to me?
Or is it?
Confusion, anguish,
I wonder at the world,
I wonder at myself.
Baffled, bewildered, my mind cannot rest.
Until,
A smile, of pure innocence
A look, full of concern
A helping hand draws near
Hope returns
Eyes look around, at first, tentative,
then ravening to see more
and not in vain.For now, time and time again my heart rejoices
As it perceives that which it had been craving
Love, warmth, affection
It was all there
It had been there
I just had not paid heed.
Yes now, I laugh, I talk. I am full of mirth
I have learnt to look and overlook
At last, I belong.

copyright@2003

It took some courage to share the whole poem today, for I can see in these words the child within me that exists even today.

I did not belong then. I do not belong now.

I have come to an island where the sun splits the sky into radiant colours. Every single day.

Where the sunrises are as full of splendour as the sunsets.

Where my life had a lot of sunrises, after a lot of sunsets.

And yet I do not belong.

Because I am not ever going to belong to this Earth. I have been made for something far beyond the seas and sands of this planet. I have been made for a time and space far removed from the confined nature of time and space in this Earth.

I will never belong. The people across the globe help me, assist me, and I can connect to them, speak to them, share my joys and pains with them. But, we travel alone. Our connection is only meaningful connection so long as the Real Connection exists between us. When each of us is Connected to Him, our connection with each other means so much more.

And so we travel, not belonging. Strangers. We get along, but we do not belong.

We revel, we cherish, but our hopes lie elsewhere. We are forever grateful, but our hearts ache, saddened by the distance. Afraid of the path still untravelled.

We hold dear to our hearts, the saying of the Prophet (s):

“عَنْ ابْن عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ: أَخَذَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم بِمَنْكِبِي، وَقَالَ: “كُنْ فِي الدُّنْيَا كَأَنَّك غَرِيبٌ أَوْ عَابِرُ سَبِيلٍ

Ibn Umar (r) narrated: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) took me by the shoulder and said, “Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a wayfarer.”

And we remind ourselves, that travellers have it hard. They enjoy the adventure, but they get tired. And at the end of the day, they have to keep going. They cannot stop.

Their destination awaits them.

Reflections – End of 2016

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My Note 4, Samsung, a gift from my father, broke a few months ago, as my three year old ran excitedly to show me a new picture of the moon he had just captured. He fell hands down, with the phone in his palm, screen facing downward. I didn’t even have half the reaction I imagine I could/must have had, if it hadn’t been for the peculiar state i was in.

I had strangely made a very deep dua from a tired, broken heart; just before sunset. When we make such a dua, there is a tranquility that is tangible even before the onset of the prayer being answered itself. I was in that state. When I picked up the phone and saw that the screen was blank, I had a ‘too tired to care anymore’ response. The only thought and feeling that surged through me was perhaps there was some huge khayr in this- perhaps it was an answer to my dua.

That may sound crazy to someone else. But that is how exhausted I was. How tired and confused about where I was going and how to come out of this eccentric phase of adult life that I had never felt before.

It was a strange inexplicable feeling that I should not be connected too much to the outside world at this point in time. I felt as if being in this remote island at the corner of the world (literally!) meant that Allah SWT Had Wanted me to be disconnected. It had been His Plan all along. But for two years, I kept trying to look the other way. I tried hard to not accept this Plan. I tried hard to find other meaning, other hidden Plans of His. But it couldn’t be so simple and cliched as disconnecting myself from the world, right?

But, it was not that I wouldn’t have any connection to the outside world. It wasn’t that type of disconnect He had Planned for me. It was something very deep and something only experience itself can make sense of. It is something which needs another time and space to write about. (inshaAllah, someday)

A few hours later, my husband had taken out the old battered, but still faithful, Samsung that I had been using a year ago and had downloaded whatsapp for me in it, as I tended to the little ones.

Everything was back to normal… I was in touch with the outside world, but virtually, so to speak, except that my camera wasn’t so hi-fi anymore, and that it would take me longer to type on this touchpad. At least 4 times longer.

On the last day of an eventful 2016, we travelled North of Okinawa, to Cape Hedo.

This is a spot where people camp out, on a beach enclosed between two capes. We travelled two hours to get to it. I was not expecting much (and one cannot emphasize enough the beauty and benefit of not expecting much). It is exactly when you are, really not expecting much, but at the same time in a state of ‘hoping’ and ‘believing’ in a lot, that you witness some of life’s most perfect moments. Not expecting much is really hard to do – by nature, we are beings who expect things to happen. But not having a well-defined expected outcome of everything really helps in every step of life. Yet, at the same time, we need to be positive; expecting whatever happens to hold something good and beneficial for us to take home as seekers of God, traveling to meet Him.

My first reflection was about what constitutes a perfect moment. A ‘perfect’ moment, is one in which your heart and mind are viewing it as perfect. My heart and mind, being that of a striving believer, only view a moment as perfect when I am able to remember God therein. And this particular trip, not only made us witness Allah’s Majestic Art, but we were allowed to see it in the most beautiful hour of the day, when the sun shone above the bay as we stood atop cape Hedo. I was able to relish it alhamdulillah. I was able to reflect on the reality of things, alhamdulillah, which is something I love to do. It is something I thrive on, in fact. It is something without which I feel like a fish out of the ocean.

The sunlight shimmered on top of the ripples of water. The clouds enveloped the sun, allowing radiant rays of sunlight to illuminate the green hills in the background of the bay. My camera couldn’t capture the colours, and thus my attempt to describe it in words. Without a camera, I can only imagine the time people spent in taking in such beauty. It is moments spent in absorbing such a canvas that can result in any prose or poetry defining it.

ن ۚ وَالْقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسْطُرُونَ

Nuun. By the Pen and what they inscribe (68:1)

My second reflection was on how experience teaches us. I thought about how we have been ‘inflicted’ by the writings of humans in this world. This blessing of articulation could be a curse at times. Some writings are beautiful, and proclaim the beauties of our Lord. Some ugly and reprehensible, darkening our soul. I have been open to such negative influences on my heart unfortunately, in the past few years, but had I not been, I wouldn’t be here to mention it. Because, only through experience we become wise, and only when we make mistakes, do we become experienced. I would never have been so wary of it as I now am. But I know I may make mistakes again. I have to be ever vigilant.

As we watched the beautiful bay bathed in sunlight, we wished to go there – to see this beauty up close. As we drove towards that beach, I was amazed to find two things: up close it was not really so beautiful as the image we had seen from kilometers away. The golden sand was less golden, the sand less fine and full of pebbles. The children enjoyed the sand, no matter how imperfect it was. The baby was asleep in the car, and I found this a perfect opportunity to take in my surroundings.

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The waves crashed into the bay water at a distance, and then flowed calmly onto the shore of the beach. I walked forward and stood on one of the rocks. As I did so, I let the sounds be recorded in my heart. The water at a distance, that incessantly foamed into white waves was a constant gurgling, gushing roar. There wasn’t a beginning and end to the wave formation, because waves were being formed at three to four different directions as the water was swept inwards into the bay. The sound this produced was amazing. Incessant. Powerful. There was a second sound: calmer, peaceful. The water that flowed onto the beach did so in a calm and composed manner. There was no foam, no waves, just a constant soft ripple of crystal clear water, flowing over rounded rocks and pebbles onto the shore. The sound this produced was like a fountain: water being poured over something at an unceasing, composed pace. The third sound was that of the chilly breeze blowing into my face – into my niqab and onto my face, rather.

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Photo credits: The Husband. Cape Hedo in the background. (P.S. My husband is not a good picture-taker by my high standards, but I simply loved this picture he took!)

So my third reflection was this: It was an imperfect place, but so much beauty would not even be possible in something that was perfect. Isn’t our own beauty exactly in the fact that we are imperfect? Imperfect; striving relentlessly for perfection. It’s almost like ‘limits’ in calculus. It is ironic how much I hated that topic in my undergrad, and how tough that was for me given that I had always loved Mathematics in all forms before this. Yes, it was this concept in real life too, which I found the hardest to fully comprehend. It has to be an unceasing striving, because we will never reach perfection in this world. But if we stop trying, we will never produce anything. We will be stagnant, unchanging, unimproving pieces of matter, flying in space at the speed of the earth. Marvelous in itself, but nearly not marvelous enough if we consider our beings entire universes in themselves in movement, growing and evolving over time.

My fourth reflection was that I have to see the beauty in the moment myself. No one can ever do that for me. This I write in present tense because it is an ongoing learning experience. In every given moment, I have the option to make it or break it. In the haphazardness of real, authentic life happening, we have to accept the chaos and embrace the pieces that are not fitting – because only when we stop fretting do the pieces ever come into place.

Since my phone camera wasn’t something I was banking in, picture taking wasn’t what I was worrying about. I ‘did’ take pictures as you can see. I didn’t abandon this thing altogether. But I think, as a majority of my attention was directed away from capturing everything on camera, I was able to capture it within my being. So yes, that lesson helped me trust my hubby taking the pic- and then I loved it when I saw it back at home. (My phone screen didn’t really allow me to see what the pictures were turning out like then and there :))

And this was an end to an otherwise horrendous 2016. My fifth reflection was that on hope. We need to keep hoping, despite the despairs of this world. Do horrors and fears of this dunya really mean just that? Is injustice going to prevail? Are they just bad happenings and nothing good can come out of it?

My own time on this island has been of a lot of isolation and pain. I grew years older than the three years I have spent here. But as the saying goes, there is no gain with pain. It sounds very very cliched. But herein, a lot of truth lies. We do not grow older and wise without falling and tripping and hurting ourselves.

It is with this hope I end 2016: that with each difficulty comes the ease of gaining. With each difficulty, comes the ease of learning. With each difficulty, comes the ease of beauty. With each difficulty, comes the hope in our meeting with our Lord.

إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا 

Indeed, with hardship, comes ease. (94:6)

And elsewhere, Allah says:

سَيَجْعَلُ اللَّـهُ بَعْدَ عُسْرٍ يُسْرًا

After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief. (65:7)

If only we could remind ourselves during each difficulty, that it is not there to last. That there is a purpose behind it. A reason for it. A way to make it a means of our strength, rather than weakness. If we remember that during the hardship, then we would continue to strive, no matter how hard it seemed to us.I’ve known these verses since a decade, but in my life, I only lived them when I went through hardship, and when I couldn’t see or feel any ease in it. And when I had to beg Allah to help me, I saw how we were fighting a battle within ourselves to reach a state of certainty. It only comes after struggle. ‘Knowing’ a verse is not enough. Living it, is the goal.

يَا أَيُّهَا الْإِنسَانُ إِنَّكَ كَادِحٌ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ كَدْحًا فَمُلَاقِيهِ

O mankind, indeed you are laboring toward your Lord with [great] exertion and will meet Him. (84:6)

And it is this hope of meeting Him, at the end of this long winded road of life, which keeps us going. It is this hope that overcomes the darkness. It is this hope, which dispels the fears. It is this hope that keeps us striving when we so earnestly want to give up.

And with that we begin the new year, with hopes of striving towards our Lord, and becoming better and growing in all the ways that are good. Ameen.