One Minute… Please!!

Memorising surahs of the Quran is one of the most satisfying thing I have ever done. Nothing soothes the heart and soul like the repetition of the beautiful words of Allah and to feel them being engraved into the heart… it is almost like hanging a beautiful tapestry on the wall over which you have worked hard… and the satisfaction, happiness and sense of achievement whenever you look at it lovingly from time to time. But the difference is that a tapestry hanging on the wall will stay there whether you look at it or not… it is not alive so it doesn’t matter to it whether you forget it or stop thinking about it…

But not so with the words of Quran which are so alive… they fade away as soon as you stop caring… and even if you skip one day due to some “excuse” and then return to it the next day… the same words feel like strangers and it is with great difficulty that you can re-establish them in the heart.

But even though I understand this fact so well, still it happens that due to illness or some other disturbance in life I fail to be regular in my endeavours… and sometimes the days turn into weeks and weeks into months and I simply don’t “find time” (meaning taufeeq) to get back to the activity which I love so much. And then the biggest drawback… which literally draws me back… is that I have to re-learn all the forgotten chunks and in such a state that my heart is heavy with guilt and regret and so it is not even half as receptive as the first time…
As a result I really don’t succeed in going so much ahead as I keep falling behind and then take so much time getting back in line. Anyway this time I have made an oath to myself that I will not give up the time for Hifz… even if it is one minute!

Now who can say that I don’t even have one minute? So even if I am too distracted to read/memorize or even revise… then I will just open my current surah and look at the verses at least for one minute… so that I can return to it the next day without the guilt of having ignored my beloved Quran… the great book which connects me directly to Allah:)

Strength of Determination…

One of the most common sentences we speak and hear begins with “I wish” and somewhere along the line there is inevitably a “but”…

Like for instance, “I wish” I could shed off 10 kg… “But” I suffer from chronic pains and weakness so it is next to impossible for me to even think of exercise.

“I wish” I could pursue higher education “but” I simply don’t have time to go through all the hassle.

“I wish” I could do some voluntary work “but” my family doesn’t approve of it so I cannot obviously go against their wishes.

We all have a few lines like this going round in our mind or even spoken aloud to others… to prove that we really want to improve “but”…

We would all like to overcome the barriers and open the doors towards a better life “but” we have to stop waiting for miracles! Allah made this world a test and he gave us countless resources to work hard and attain success in both this world and the hereafter. But in order to overcome the difficulties of this life, we need to have a strong determination and patience. And you can only achieve this strength by overcoming the obstacles of your own self… and these are the desires… of comfort and pleasure and to have luxuries and freedom from all worries and responsibilities.

But we have to understand that real freedom is not the freedom OF the self… but it is to be free FROM the self

In other words you have to learn to control your desires instead of YOU being controlled BY your desires. So if you can overcome your inner weaknesses then you can overcome the outer barriers too… by the will of Allah… Subhanahu wa ta’ala

Unconditional Goodness…

The Quran is full of reminders from Allah that the thing which is going to benefit us the most, after having faith in Him, is to become beneficial… not just for people but all the creatures whether animate or inanimate… everything deserves our best treatment.

Although we all understand the benefits and rewards of being good to others but what we fail to realize and/or implement is the concept of unconditional goodness.

When I learnt that by doing a favour to those from whom we don’t expect any reciprocation is highly pleasing to Allah… I started to act on it and really experienced great happiness and satisfaction to think that I have moved beyond my limited vision… but the moment I encounter any injustice from others or feel like someone is taking undue advantage of me because they are so sure I will not forgo my good behaviour then it gives me a pain which is hard to bear… and I think it is not very uncommon to feel like this whenever you feel betrayed by those very people to whom you have been so good… Ya Allah how it hurts!

But apart from the turmoil of emotions that hits me like a storm after any such episode; another far greater misery arises from the fact that I no longer want to be good to these “unfair” culprits who have ruined my peace of heart with their unkind or rude or selfish behaviour.

And so a battle comes into action between my nafs and my faith… and I get so confused between the urge to teach them a lesson (nafs) and the teachings of Allah to be unconditionally good no matter what (faith). The shaitan loves this game because it makes me angry… and non productive even if outwardly I maintain my composure… he loves to see my heart burning… and throws even more logs of self-justification that if I continue to do good to such people then I am responsible for their bad behaviour and so Allah will also not be pleased with me… so why should I not teach them a lesson!

But Alhamdulillah reading the Quran and the warnings about shatitan and how he plays with the emotions of our nafs, I have learnt to recognize this trick so I don’t follow it… but still the heart keeps hurting and burning with the fire of anger and resentment… which makes me feel like so far removed from Allah’s love… so lost and forlorn without his mercy:(

I have longed to discuss this problem with someone for a long time but haven’t been able to do so… and this time when such an episode happened, I got really scared that I am never going to reach anywhere unless I get myself off this roller coaster of harmful emotions… but how am I going to do so? How to get rid of this?

So I really talked it out with Allah and asked him to please cool my heart and give me such a shield of faith and wisdom that I can be unaffected by other people’s behaviour so that I can keep my focus on my own faith and actions instead of punishing myself for the folly of others.

Well I got my answer just now and I am so very excited to have found it that I decided to write it down and never lose sight of it again… in-sha-Allah

I was memorizing Surah “At-Taghabun” and when I reached ayah no-11… I felt like Allah was speaking directly to me:

No disaster strikes except by permission of Allah . And whoever believes in Allah – He will guide his heart. And Allah is Knowing of all things. (64:11)

Allah made me see so clearly that whenever I suffer any pain, whether it is from natural means or through people… then I should remember that Allah allowed it to happen to me for a purpose… and He knows the wisdom behind every event and so if I keep my faith and focus on Him then I can feel secure in His mercy and be at peace.

Reading this lesson directly from Allah, has made me realize my mistake that I have learnt to attach my happiness with people… if they are fair in their dealings then I am happy… if they act otherwise then I get upset… then its like placing my heart on the edge of a cliff… it can fall anytime!!

Because people have their own minds and their own level of justice or lack of it… so they will always keep doing things which will be totally unacceptable to me…

Therefore the only solution is to make Allah’s justice and perfection the nucleus of my focus… and remain peaceful and content that no harm can touch me if He has not decreed it… my destiny is in His hands alone…

As Allah says in the same surah:

Allah (is the One) – there is no deity except Him. And upon Allah let the believers rely…(64:13)

Munajaat… (whispers)

A sister asked the question: How do you “talk” to Allah? This post is in reply to that… so may Allah reward her for asking this question and giving me the motivation to write on this important subject.

Making dua to Allah is the essence of worship and it is a proof that we think of Him as the only one who can help us. The only one who knows everything, the Only One who has the absolute power to do anything and everything. Dua can be formal and informal. But apart from dua there is something called “munajaat” which means whispers… and we do it only to the one who is very near. So just feel that Allah is very near and He is listening to you and just say to him whatever you want to share with Him. Although He already knows everything yet when we “say” those things which have happened to us and for which we want solutions… then we feel like being connected to a Real Protector and Provider of all solutions… this act of Munajaat is totally life changing because the inner lonliness is replaced by a constant assurance of having Allah as your Lord, your ever-living, all-Hearing, all seeing, all-knowing Lord… who is Absolutely in control of your life and knows what to give and what to take away and when to give and when to let you make more duas and make more efforts so that you will really appreciate when you get that thing which you are longing for…

I first came to know about this many years before when our tafseer teacher said that whenever you want to talk and share something then do it with Allah. It sounded quite strange at first that how can I be so informal with Allah… maybe it is against the respect of Allah to “talk” to Him?

But then one day in a lecture on time management, I heard a Hadith of the Prophet (S.A.W) in which He pointed out some actions which every person should make time for in his daily schedule. One of them was “some time in which he talks to Allah”

Talking to Allah has had a very beneficial impact that the problem inside me gets straightened out when I share it with Allah. Because He answers our duas and sometimes this answer is so immediate that it takes you by surprise.

So open up your heart to Him and stop worrying and start livingJ

Remember Allah…

I remember an incident from the time when my daughter was about a year old and I used to sew her clothes myself. One day as I was busy making her frock and was totally absorbed in the activity; she started calling me and wanted me to pick her. So I just looked up from my sewing machine and from there answered her. Again I got back to my work and she started crying that why was I not giving her my attention. I tried to assure her that I will just pick her up… and just let me finish my work but she crawled up to me and began to pull at the cloth. I was so exasperated that I yelled at her to have some patience and give me a minute…at this her crying increased even more. My brother who was in the other part of the room called out to me…what are you doing and why don’t you pick your daughter? I told him that I was trying to finish her frock…and so he asked whose frock is it anyway? Is it more important than the one for whom you are making it?

These words sort of got stuck in my mind and as life moved on I observed several manifestations of this truth. Sometimes parents will have no time for their children because they are too busy in their careers. If you ask them why are they neglecting their children they will readily give the reason that it is for the children that they are working so hard. Although it is true that you cannot pamper a child in your lap the whole day long and leave all the other tasks which are important for the child’s well being and survival but still there has to be some time out from those activities to look towards the people who are so important in your life. Sometimes they just need you to be there with them and no amount of material comfort can substitute your presence, and your love and attention.

It is so ironic that even in religious matters our attitude tends to be the same. We are so focused on the activity itself that we don’t remember who we are doing it for. Like in Salat we are more focused on our physical movements and the words of prayer and often forget the presence of Allah. That is the reason, why we are full of thoughts of the duniya and do not remember which rakah we are reading! Allah’s remembrance is not the top of the list of our activities. We might be doing great acts in His name like studying Quran and teaching it or doing social welfare and giving charity but our focus is more on the activity and less on the one for whom we are supposed to be doing it. That is why we lack the patience in dealing with others or putting up with the tests and trials which come our way. All negative attitudes result from forgetfulness of Allah and so we need to revise our concept and start thinking of “Zikr-e-ilahi” as more than just rolling of beads on a tasbeeh. Allah’s Zikr should be a conscious exercise of the mind through which we should be able to feel His Presence in a formal as well as informal way. The formal way of remembering Allah, apart from the Salat and Quran, is through the masnoon azkaar and duas; while the informal way is to talk to Allah and share with Him our thoughts and problems. This Zikr is so essential for our spiritual and emotional well being that Allah has promised great rewards for it too so that we get a greater incentive to make it an integral part of our life.

And the men and women who engage much in Allah’s remembrance…Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward (33:35)

Spending time with the MOST Beloved…

Today’s post is an echo from the past… written more than 4 years ago… 

A couple of days back I listened to a lecture on the importance of the Night prayer… called Tahajjud. The speaker said that to pray in the hours before dawn is the true indicator of your love for Allah and His love for you. Because no one can leave the comfort of the bed… and the sweetness of the deep sleep at that time… except the one who loves Allah and the one whom Allah loves.

This made me feel so sad that if I don’t get up at that time then does it mean that my claim of loving Allah is false? And does it also mean that Allah doesn’t love me? And if I don’t love Him and He doesn’t love me then what have I gained in life?

And so I spent the whole day thinking and re-thinking whether the excuses I make in not praying Tahajjud are true?

No-1- Excuse:—— I am not well… the celiac disease has damaged my muscles and nerves and my whole body gets stiff when I sit in one position for even half an hour and it’s a struggle to turn my side while in bed. So getting out of bed is a huge and painful struggle… something I cannot do until it is absolutely necessary… like praying the obligatory prayer at fajr.

No-2- Excuse:——- My sleep pattern is not right. Even when I go to bed early, I cannot fall asleep till a couple of hours of tossing and turning… So how can I wake up so early when my sleep has not even touched the minimum limit?

No-3- Excuse:——- I am afraid of the dark and going for wudhu at that time scares me…

But when I made dua to Allah that please remove these obstacles because I want to love you and I want you to love me… I realized that these obstacles had become so “huge” because I had not even tried to solve them…

Even writing these excuses makes me feel ashamed of myself that why haven’t I ever seen them in this light before? It’s because I have never really written them before… never questioned their authenticity before… never analysed them before… Never put them before Allah and asked for solutions… never made dua for Him to make it easy for me. Because I just decided that it was not for “weak” people like me.

And then it makes me think that how many of our ideas, thoughts and decisions do we take as the last word… without writing them, without analysing them and without putting them before Allah in duas?

And the best part is that after praying to Allah when I went out for my daily walk I remembered a time, few years back when a dear friend of mine was living in Canada and we used to talk when she would come back from work… which was around 2 a.m. my time… And it never bothered me to wake up for her because it was a pleasure which I loved so much.

So I almost stopped in my tracks when I realized this and asked myself: “Imagine if someone most dearest to your heart calls you at that hour, will you think of your sleep more important or will you just rush to pick the phone?”

Imagine if the same person tells you the unbelievable news that he/she is standing outside your house!!… Will you not jump out of your bed to open the door? Or will you think “Oh! It is so difficult to straighten my back?

What if each and every moment you spent alone with Allah became as precious to you as your most beloved moments?

Ya Allah please forgive me my ignorance and my weakness and make me of those who “truly” love you and seek your love and those who spend precious moments with you in the hours before dawn… ameen

Tears of Love…

Every Friday afternoon, after the Jumat service at the Central Mosque (and shortly after Al-Usrah program), the  Imam and his eleven year old son would go out into their town and hand out “PATH TO PARADISE” and other  Islamic literature.
 
This particular and fortunate Friday afternoon, as the time came for the Imam and his son to go to the streets with  their booklets, it was very cold outside, as well as pouring rain.
 
The boy bundled up in his warmest and driest clothes and said, ‘OK, dad, I’m ready!’
 
His dad asked, ‘Ready for what’ ‘Dad, it’s time we gather our tracts together and go out.’
 
Dad responds, ‘Son, it’s very cold outside and it’s pouring rain.’
 
The boy gives his dad a surprised look, asking, ‘But Dad, aren’t people still going to hell, even though it’s raining?’
 
Dad answers, ‘Son, I am not going out in this weather.’
 
Despondently, the boy asks, ‘Dad, can I go Please’
 
His father hesitated for a moment then said, ‘Son, you can go. Here are the booklets. Be careful son.’
 
‘Thanks, Dad!’
 
And with that, he was off and out into the rain. This eleven year old boy walked the streets of the town going  door to door and handing everybody he met in the street a pamphlet or a booklet.
 
After two hours of walking in the rain, he was soaking, bone-chilled wet and down to his VERY LAST BOOKLET. He  stopped on a corner and looked for someone to hand a booklet to, but the streets were totally deserted.
 
Then he turned toward the first home he saw and started up the sidewalk to the front door and rang the door bell. He rang  the bell, but nobody answered..
 
He rang it again and again, but still no one answered. He waited but still no answer.
 
Finally, this eleven year old da’wah-expert turned to leave, but something stopped him.

 Again, he turned to the door and rang the bell and knocked loudly on the door with his fist. He waited, something holding him  there on the front porch!
 
He rang again and this time the door slowly opened.
 
Standing in the doorway was a very sad-looking elderly lady. She softly asked, ‘What can I do for you, son?’ With radiant eyes and a  smile that lit up her world, this little boy said, ‘Ma’am, I’m sorry if I disturbed you, but I just  want to tell you that ALLAH REALLY LOVES AND CARES FOR YOU and I came to give you my very last booklet  which will tell you all about God, the  real purpose of creation, and how to achieve His pleasure.’
 
With that, he handed her his last booklet and turned to leave.
 
She called to him as he departed. ‘Thank you, son! And God Bless You!’
 
Well, the following Friday afternoon after Jumat service (during which period they hold a weekly program, Al-Usrah)  the Imam was giving some lectures. As he concludes the lectures, he asked, ‘Does anybody have questions or want to say  anything?’
 
Slowly, in the back row among the ladies, an elderly voice was heard over the speaker. As the voice went on, a hint  of glorious gaiety and  contentment was plainly evident in it even though the wasn’t to be seen, ‘No one in this gathering knows me. I’ve never been  here before.  You see, before last Friday I was not a Muslim, and thought I could be. My husband passed on some  time ago, leaving me totally alone in this world.. Last Friday, being a particularly cold and rainy day, it was  even more so in my heart that I came to the end of the line where I no longer had any hope or will to live.
 
So I took a rope and a chair and ascended the stairway into the attic of my home.. I fastened the rope securely to a  rafter in the roof then stood on the chair and fastened the other end of the rope around my neck. Standing on that chair, so lonely and  broken-hearted I was about to leap off, when suddenly the loud ringing of my doorbell downstairs startled me. I thought, I’ll wait a minute, and whoever it is will go away.
 
I waited and waited, but the ringing doorbell seemed to get louder and more insistent, and then the person ringing also started knocking loudly….
 
I thought to myself again, ‘Who on earth could this be. Nobody ever rings my bell or comes to see me.’ I loosened the rope from my neck  and started for the front door, all the while the bell rang louder and louder.
 
When I opened the door and looked I could hardly believe my eyes, for there on my front porch was the most radiant and  angelic little boy I had ever seen in my life. His SMILE, oh, I could never describe it to you! The words that came from his mouth caused my heart that had long been dead TO LEAP TO LIFE as he exclaimed with a cherub-like voice, ‘Ma’am, I just came to tell you that ALLAH REALLY LOVES AND CARES FOR YOU!’

 Then he gave me this booklet, Path To Paradise that I now hold in my hand.
 
As the little angel disappeared back out into the cold and rain, I closed my door and read slowly every word of this book. Then I  went up to my attic to get my rope and chair. I wouldn’t be needing them any more.
 
You see? I am now a Happy Vicegerent of the One True God. Since the address of your congregation was stamped on the back of this booklet,  I have come here to personally say THANK YOU to God’s little angel who came just in the nick of time and by so doing, spared my soul from an eternity in hell.’
 
There was not a dry eye in the mosque. And as shouts of TAKBIR..ALLAH AKBAR.. rented the air, even among the ladies, despite themselves.
 
Imam-Dad descended from the pulpit to the front row where the little angel was seated….
 
He took his son in his arms and sobbed uncontrollably.
 
Probably no jama’at has had a more glorious moment, and probably this universe has never seen a Papa that was more  filled with love and honor for his son… Except for One. This very one…
 
Blessed are your eyes for reading this message.

What are we doing for the ONE whose mercy shadows every part of our life… it is our duty to spread his message which is for the whole humanity and we will be questioned for it.. do we have an answer ??
 
Don’t let this message die, read it again and pass it to others. Heaven is for His people!
 Remember, God’s message CAN make the difference in the life of someone close to you.
 
Quran 5:3: This day I’ve perfected your religion for you, and completed my favor on you, and chose Islam for you as religion….
 
Qur’an 3:110: You are the best community evolved for mankind; you enjoin the right conduct and forbid indecency, and you believe in God…