what upsets you and why?

I often wonder at the tactics of the mind and the tricks of the devil with which he puts the heart in such distress… and I fail to understand why does the heart fall into the same trap again and again…

Like for example the shaitan will whisper into your heart some negative thought about someone and you get upset… after the initial turmoil you think over the situation and after some effort you finally succeed in convincing yourself that the negative thought is not is not entirely true because if there is one bad thing about any situation then there are also a hundred things good about it too… so you should be grateful for the white page and ignore the black dots…

And then you feel ok and gradually begin to look at life with positivity and get busy in good things…but then again something happens to trigger the same pattern of negative thinking… which you again have to diffuse…

While it is certainly true that life is a test so maybe these ups and downs of the heart is one of those tests which have to be endured along this journey of life but still I am sure that there must be something to be done if you are slipping on the same ground again and again… is there something wrong with the floor or with the shoes you are wearing… or maybe you are not walking carefully… the reason must be diagnosed and treated once and for all…But How?

One of the reasons for these emotional pains is to have a lot of time at your disposal with not enough goals or targets to focus on… because most of the time our emotional state depends on our focus…

So if you are focused on some positive goal in your life then you won’t have time to brood on what others are doing to you… but if you don’t busy yourself with positive thoughts and ideas and activities then surely you will notice a lot of things to get upset about…

Therefore use your mind in good things… make a list of your goals and get busy… work hard… make a positive change in the lives of others and this will reflect back in your own life as well…

And all along this journey of improvement seek the help and mercy of Allah without which we cannot achieve anything… so make lots of duas for the strength and peace of your heart… and work hard!!

The Ultimate cure for Anxiety…

Today I read a story about a Muslim shopkeeper who showed kindness to a Jewish child… so much that the child began to deeply trust him and would share his worries and problems with him… the way this old man would counsel this child was strange… he would take out a book from a drawer and would read out two or three pages from it and eventually some solution would become evident from that reading… Many years later this man eventually passed away he left that book as a gift for the child who had now grown into a bright young man… but he couldn’t understand the book because it was in a strange language… so he found someone who could explain it to him and when he learned that it was the sacred book called the Quran he finally accepted islam and not only that but he also helped convert hundreds of people to the true religion…

When I finished reading this wonderful story I began to understand why we as born muslims are not quite fascinated with the book of Allah… why we are not in love with salah… why we find zikr so monotonous and why we are not concerned about our status with Allah… or our final abode in the hereafter… why do these things seem so irrelevant to us? Why?

The reason is that we do not think of religion as a way of building a relationship with Allah… we have never seen our elders open the Quran to find comfort or guidance from it… all we have known is that they read a portion of it daily as a drill which has no impact on how they think or behave… or even how they set their goals and priorities in life…

And if something has apparently nothing to do with your life then it is rather boring and burdensome to hold on to it…

So we as the learned people of the 21st century… the people of information and access to the whole world of knowledge… must make it a goal of our life to understand Quran as the speech of Allah… and we must remind ourselves that every time we read any portion of this great book… it is like Allah sending his messages to us right at that very moment… and who can know better than Allah what we need to hear at any given time… and what we need to think or do in order to relieve ourselves from the uncertainty and confusion of our big and small problems…

So the moment you suffer from any painful experience just make dua to Allah to guide your heart… and open the Quran… within a couple of pages you will find such precious counselling that all your pain will evaporate leaving you calm and satisfied…

Imagine how much attached we would be to the Quran if daily we had this kind of experience with it… but if we are running after other things to give us comfort then we can never really appreciate the treasure that Allah has given us…

The other day I read a quote which touched me deeply…

“if your heart feels empty and thirsty for some fulfillment

Then don’t fill it with anything other than Quran

And if you feel lonely then don’t seek anything other than the words of Allah to give you company”

Its just like if you feed a hungry child with candies and chocolates then he will lose the taste for real nutritious food…

And the more he eats junk the more he loses his health and temperament…

Similarly when we feed our hungry souls with all sorts of entertainment then the soul gets weaker and weaker… and never gets satiated… and also it will lose its taste for Quran which is the food it really needs to get healthy and satisfied…

So stop running after illusions and come close to Allah through his Book… the glorious Quran… and put an end to your anxieties and dissatisfaction… by the sweetness of these miraculous words…

How awesome!!

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud: “Allah has not created in the heavens nor in the earth what is more magnificent than Ayat AlKursi.” Sufyan said: “Because Ayat Al-Kursi is the Speech of Allah, and Allah’s Speech is greater than Allah’s creation of the heavens and the earth.”

(Tirmidhi Vol. 5, Book 42, Hadith 2884) 

Emotional wisdom… 12th Juz

Faith in Allah is increased by reading the Quran, praying salah, doing tasbeeh and making dua etc… but there is also another way to increase Allah consciousness and that is to ponder and reflect upon the things that Allah created… it doesn’t need to be something big or extraordinary but even a small insect or a bird can make you think of how great Allah is that He created this small little thing… with complete biological details… and then He doesn’t forget anything… rather the movement of each and every human being, every animal, bird and fish is in His direct knowledge… where they live, what they had for food today… where they spent their time… everything is recorded… and this thought leads you to an increased awareness that surely there is no one greater than Allah… no one can possess such power and knowledge… it is only Allah… the all-knowing and the all-powerful…

And then we must also think about the purpose of the creation of such a vast universe which we cannot encompass with our eyes or our imagination…

All of this is for us… so that we recognize Allah and worship Him wholeheartedly… And it is also the test of our observation and our intellect… do we remain ignorant of all that He created? Or do we just attain knowledge of the created objects to serve our worldly interests? Or do we use this knowledge to connect to the Creator?

But most of us are just concerned with the fulfillment of our needs and desires… it has become the only objective of our life. That is why we get so stressed out when anything bad happens to us…

Sometimes Allah takes away something from us, as a test… but we become so ungrateful that it seems like we have nothing good in our lives anymore… and if we get something good then we give the whole credit to our own abilities… totally ignoring the One who blessed us… boasting and looking down on those who don’t have it…

This is nothing but a reflection of how ignorant we are about the true purpose of life… but this purpose can only be understood by having true faith in Allah. That is why Allah sent Prophets to make people aware of the reality of life… but they didn’t want to change their lifestyles, and so they made fun of the Prophets and called them foolish…

But they didn’t realize that they could not change the reality by making fun of it…

And so they became victims of their own stubbornness and foolishness… when they were simply wiped out from the face of the earth after suffering unimaginable forms of punishment…

This surah is full of these stories one after the other… and I was thinking that what does it have to do with us? If we think about it there is a great lesson for us in all these stories… and that is to make us wake up from our wishful dreams and understand the fact that if we treat the guidance of our Prophet (s.a.w) in the same way like those nations of the past did… then we cannot hope for anything better than what they suffered in the end…

The question is: How much importance are we giving to the teachings of our Prophet (s.a.w)? Do we believe that our success and salvation depends on following His footsteps…?

Next comes Surah Yusuf… and this is the only example where Allah is telling us about the complete story of a Prophet in one continuous form… without repeating any of it in any other part of the Quran…

Allah himself calls it the most beautiful tale… which is awesome in itself!!

The first and foremost lesson to learn from this surah is of emotional intelligence… Prophet Yaqub (a.s.) teaches his youngest son Yusuf not to tell the extraordinary dream he saw… to anyone… specially to his own brothers as they might get jealous…

In this is a great lesson for us that whenever we are overly affected by some emotion like sadness or happiness, we should still not lose control over our senses… and should constantly be alert and conscious of other people’s emotions… so that we can save unnecessary conflicts…

The other thing is that when we get some amazing blessing then we should not be showing off to the whole world just because it makes us happy to let the whole world know what we have got… rather we should be intelligent enough to realize what other people will feel… and if they feel deprived then it’s not going to generate any positive feelings from their end… therefore share your good news with only those about whom you are absolutely sure that they will be happy for you…

The next moment of intense emotions came when the father Yaqub (a.s.) was told by his sons the false news that Yusuf (a.s.) had been killed by a wolf… But He reacted with the most beautiful example of patience… No negative reaction… no angry outburst… no accusations… no blame… This is what the Quran calls Sabrun Jameel… a most beautiful way of keeping your emotions in control… and of course this cannot be possible except for having an absolute trust in Allah that His authority is above every other thing… so nothing can go wrong if Allah doesn’t allow it… and Allah’s decisions are always the best…

The emotion of insecurity came to Yusuf (a.s.) too when he was all alone in the darkness of the well… when he was bought as a slave… But he also remained calm and composed, taking everything as the will of Allah… serving his master in the best way and making it into a positive experience by learning things in that environment… and becoming so mature and wise…

And then came the emotional test of temptation when the lady of the house seduces him… again he remains in control and escapes the temptation with the help of Allah…

The thing is that Allah has guided us too… we know very well how to behave in all these situations… Allah has given us the light of Quran and Hadith… we can see the right way… but still most of us behave like ignorant people… always so full of heated arguments and negative reactions… why? why is there such a lack of wisdom among us… why? The reason is that knowing is not enough…

Just claiming to believe is also not enough…

The ultimate key is to do what we know… to act on what we learn… to show from our reactions that we know what sabrun jameel means… just to memorize its definition is not going to make us wise… maturity comes by following the right way… at the right time…

May Allah make us wise and truly knowledgeable… ameen

 

Re-defining Faith… Juz-11

The beginning of the 11th Juz is all about the Hypocrites in Madinah who did not accept the call of the Prophet (s.a.w) to join in the Tabuk expedition and were now making excuses to hide their true reason… which was lack of faith…

This has an amazing similarity to the attitude of a vast majority of Muslims today… whenever we are not willing to make any kind of sacrifice, then we hide behind all sorts of excuses… and we just don’t want to accept the fact that our basic reason for not following the will of Allah is that we just don’t think it’s that important…

One more thing that has made me re-think about the definition of faith is that before this Ramadan I used to think that faith means to believe in something… to not have any doubts about it… But when I saw the difference in my attitude towards worship before and during Ramadan, I began to realize that faith doesn’t just mean to believe in Allah and His Messenger (s.a.w) rather it means that you give utmost significance to your beliefs… because you can only act on something which is important to you…

Because even before Ramadan we didn’t have any doubts about Allah or His right to be worshipped… rather we had complete conviction beyond any doubt… yet this conviction was not enough to make us worship like we are all doing in Ramadan… so what is it, that has changed?

It’s the significance of this month that moves our hearts… and also because the barakah of fasting in this month makes it easier for us to conquer ourselves… and the shaitan is chained up… so there are lesser obstacles in the way…

But still the benefits of this month are achieved only by those who believe it to be an important opportunity that cannot be ignored or taken lightly…

We might please people and look good in their eyes by making claims of faith and by saying that the pleasure of Allah is the most important goal of our life… but this claim is tested five times a day when we stand in prayer… how eager we are to run towards Allah… how much importance do we give to it over every other activity… or is it the other way round?

And then there are other times too when we can see our level of faith… and that is when we get hurt by people… when they abandon us or ignore us or mistreat us… in those moments of pain and misery where do we turn to? Who do we think can heal our wounds? Whose comfort do we yearn for? Allah has revealed a most powerful and reassuring dua in the final ayah of surah Taubah:

 فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَقُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ ۖ وَهُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ {129}

Then if the people turn away… then say: Allah is sufficient for me. There is no one worthy of worship except Him. In Him have I put my trust, and He is Lord of the Tremendous Throne.

I used to think how can we attain true faith… So Alhamdulillah this Ramadan Allah has taught me that it can only be achieved my reading, understanding and thinking about Quran… Because the transformation of our hearts requires nothing less than a miracle… and we have a living miracle in our homes, in our hands but we don’t appreciate it as such… and that’s why Allah revealed such a beautiful ayah in surah Yunus which seems like waking us up from our ignorance…

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُمْ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَشِفَاءٌ لِمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ {57}

O mankind! there hath come to you a direction from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts,- and for those who believe, a guidance and a Mercy.

قُلْ بِفَضْلِ اللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِ فَبِذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا هُوَ خَيْرٌ مِمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ {58}

Say: In the grace of Allah and in His mercy– in that they should rejoice; it is better than that which they gather.
I love this ayah because it seems to me like a miraculous cure from depression and negative thinking from which there seems to be no other way out…

Therefore we must read Quran with the intention of getting cured… not just for getting rewards…

The story of Prophet Yunus (a.s.) is something that used to captivate me whenever I read about it… but today when I was trying to visualize his horror at being thrown into the sea and then being swallowed by a fish… I understood something that I hadn’t thought of before… I realized that even though being swallowed by a fish would have been such a devastating experience for Prophet Yunus (a.s.)… but if it hadn’t been for the fish, He would have drowned… so sometimes in our lives too Allah makes us get trapped in the belly of a fish in the form of some difficulty which seems so awful… but we should remember that this is saving us from getting drowned in the ocean of a much bigger trouble… so we should keep our faith in the love and mercy of Allah no matter how desperate our situation might be… because Allah has promised to save the believers…

ثُمَّ نُنَجِّي رُسُلَنَا وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ حَقًّا عَلَيْنَا نُنْجِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ {103}

In the end We deliver Our messengers and those who believe: Thus it is a right upon us that We should save those who believe!

Getting rid of sadness… Juz-10

The 10th Juz starts with the mention of the battle of Badr in which the Muslims came out with a great victory… despite being far less in number and power… Now this was not a planned event on the part of the believers… rather Allah Himself created a situation that they had to come face to face with the enemy…

Sometimes it happens in our life too that we have to come across situations that seem literally impossible to endure… but Allah makes us go through those tests to show us that He can give us victory over the most difficult obstacles…

So whenever you have to deal with things against your choice then have faith in Allah that this test is for your own good even though it does not appear to have any benefit at the moment… but you never know how much Allah is going to bless you through it… so keep your faith and do your best!!

The key to success lies in the 45th and 46th ayah of surah al-anfaal in which Allah tells us that when you come across some adversity then remain steadfast and remember Allah a lot so you will become successful…

Remembering Allah is so important because this will keep your focus on your true goal… thus you will remain free from pride and other distractions…

The other thing which Allah emphasized for success is to have unity and brotherhood… the love for your fellow beings is something that cannot be bought even if you pay the entire treasures of the earth… still you cannot have it unless Allah gives it to you from his own bounty… So we should take care of this blessing and be very careful not to spoil the love which Allah put in our hearts for one another…

And then we must also remember that the biggest blessing of all is to love Allah above every other thing… in fact it is so important that it is a condition for true faith… so if we want to be counted as true believers then we must ensure that nothing should come above Allah… He must be our top most priority…

This is the kind of love that brings extraordinary strength and determination in the heart of a believer… real courage cannot be achieved without it…

Just imagine how brave and courageous was our beloved Prophet (s.a.w) When He was migrating to Madinah with His companion Abu Bakr (r.a.) they had taken refuge in a cave… and the enemy came so close that Abu Bakr (r.a.) became anxious… at that time the Prophet (s,a,w) assured Him: “ Do not grieve… Allah is with us!”

Who can say it except the one with the utmost conviction in Allah’s support… and this conviction can only be built with love… and trust…

Form this I learned that just as love of Allah strengthens the heart… similarly sadness and despair makes it weak…

So when we get these negative emotions then we should not let ourselves get drowned in our weakness… so keep this dua in front of you, which was prescribed by the Prophet (s.a.w) himself:

O Allah I seek your protection from worries and sadness, and weakness and laziness, and stinginess and cowardliness, and from debts and the oppression of people…

True faith is expressed by optimism and hope… because if you truly believe that Allah is the owner of everything and that He is your provider then how can any worry touch your heart… therefore sadness and anxiety shows that you need to work on your relationship with Allah… the stronger it gets, the happier you will be…

May Allah help us to become strong believers so that we can cross this test of life with enthusiasm and hope… ameen

 

Messages of Hope…from Juz-9

This Ramadan,  I have realized that if Allah can make me survive without water in these long summer days; then He can give me energy to give up my bad habits too… if only I can make the same kind of commitment to Him the way I do in fasting… This makes me so excited when I think of the endless possibilities of detoxifying my heart and my life from all the things which otherwise seemed so impossible to overcome…

The journey through the 9th Juz of Quran was so awesome… as it made me aware of a lot of flaws which creep into our hearts but we assume like we don’t have them… one of them is pride…

Analyze yourself…e.g. watch your reaction when someone points out some fault of yours… or when other people are being given importance… especially whom you don’t approve of… are you able to accept both these situations calmly? Or does it raise your temperature?

If the signs are not good then pray to Allah for genuine humbleness for yourself and open heartedness for others…

The other thing I learned was about Sabr… it was the story of the group of magicians who accepted Islam after witnessing the miracles given to Prophet Musa (a.s.)…

It was a time of great trial for them as the Pharaoh threatened to kill them for changing their beliefs… so at that point they made this dua:

Rabbana afrigh Alaina sabran wa tawaffana muslimin…

Our Master pour Sabr over us and let us die as muslims

This was a great lesson that sabr is not just to control your emotions after you are afflicted with some calamity… rather it is also an energy that gives you strength when you are in terrible fear of something that’s going to hit you… so we should ask Allah for sabr whenever we feel threatened…

Another thing is that even though we should always ask Allah for safety and protection against all harmful things… but we should also remember that this life is a test and so Allah will make us go through tough situations so that we might become better and stronger… therefore when there is some difficulty in life then remind yourself that it is a test from Allah and He wants good for you… so don’t waste this time in blaming others… rather we should analyze and correct our own flaws… Because the best lessons we learn are not through books and lectures… but they are learnt through the painful experiences of life…

But there are some people who don’t learn anything because their focus remains on other people’s mistakes… they will keep blaming this and that and so their hearts remain untouched and unaware… Allah calls such people as animals or even worse than animals… because if we don’t use our intellect then we will lose the very asset that elevates our status above other creatures… and if we don’t think and pursue our purpose of existence then our lives will be nothing but a cycle of eating, drinking and sleeping…

The biggest harm in following a lifestyle based on the fulfillment of desires, is that it makes us selfish… and dissatisfied… such a person cannot have healthy relationships… and thus cannot find happiness and tranquility…

Sometimes it can also happen that you are doing your part with hundred percent sincerity but still other people don’t appreciate you… Or you call them towards the path of success… the path of Allah’s obedience… but they reject you… ignore you… or even start hating you…

For such painful times Allah has given us a most precious at the end… with which we can attain reassurance and satisfaction…

وَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۚ نِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ

And If they turn away, be sure that Allah is your Protecting Friend – the best to protect and the best to help.(8:40)