No Ordinary Shephard:Al Waasi (The All Encompassing)

The very special people we hear about, the sainty, holy, who have the special gifts of Allah, who receive special privileges from Allah, who Allah chose among many? Who are praised in the Quran like Moses’ mother or are held akin to the highest of the Sahabahs (companions of the Prophet, may peace be upon them all) like Abu Bakr and Umar? They are not only ordinary, Jane/John Doe believers, they are also flawed, just like you and me. They skip prayers, they lie, they do improper acts, show ingratitude, lets just say pretty flawed people. But still Allah gives them gifts which sometimes the very righteous worshippers dont get.


I used to think for Allah to send His Divine inspiration in the heart of a “mumin”(true believer” like mother of Moses ( her name is Yokabeth in the Hebrew Scriptures, which means tough hearted), the person has to have the higest of piety and extreme level of spirituality. I was wrong. I saw it happen exact same way , but to someone who was anything but that when it happened. In fact even long after Allah inspired her to do something like throwing her baby in the water, she had no idea what happened. Because she cant remember.(Details of the story are withheld for the sake of privacy). This person was nowhere close to a believer, committed lots of crimes her whole life, I cant even say she had a clean heart. None. But Allah turned her whole life upside down with just that Ilham.

In another case, someone who was battling a rough time in her life attempted to take her life. The exact moment when she attempted, one person’s thought came to her mind so her hand stopped. That very moment, that person, just knew it, felt that she was in danger. Yet, none of them were any pious. “We just knew it in our heart, felt it”- they say.

Another person I know, pretty much similar. “Sinner” as she describes herself. But has a gift where she can feel certain things in her heart, about people. People she doesnt know too well, but Allah tells her that they need help, or that something is happening to them, even when she is battling her own crisis. Sahabas like Abu Bakr and Ali, along with some of the supreme scholars of Islam had these abilities.

Another person, struggling to hold onto basic faith, every other day her faith trumps down (just like most of us), yet she says Allah gave her “Inner Vision” (Bassirah) so she gets intuition about people. She uses them to avoid risky dealings with people.

Then you have people who have dreams of the Prophets- someone who is struggling to hold onto basic belief in Allah, yet gets such dreams wheras people practicing all their lives dont get them sometimes.

Allah chooses special people in many ways- ways which are above and beyond praying 5times a day, doing hijab, having the right belief. We think the blessed, righteous lived during the times of the prophets and in today’s time, we probably wont meet any because such saintly people wont ever come in the gatherings where we go. You see its never about us being particularly good or worthy. In Surah Kahf Allah says Quran is timeless, so in a way that means these miraculous legacies that Allah gives people, are also timeless. Just because today’s world is corrupted does not mean Allah stops sending His Wonders among us. Allah is Extraordinary, and will always be; we are not and we will never be.

So just because you and I are not a good believers, does NOT mean we are exempted from special treatment from Allah. Sometimes we toss away our blessings because its too good to be true. Because we are NOT good enough for Allah’s special attention.

Allah is Al Waasi (The All Encompassing). He encompasses our limitations with His Greatness. 

Its not about how imperfect we are.

Its about how Absolute Allah is.

It always is, has been, and will be.

Beauty And The Beast: Reflections On Ar Rahman

When I wanted to buy those gifts for our neighbors, I was very hesitant. Firstly I have never done anything like this plus when bought the items, including the gift wraps, I just didnt like them. The whole time that I was running around with my cart to find the matching sticker with the marching gift wrap while keeping a tab on my budget, I kept telling Allah that “You know I am not a crafty person. I have never done these in my life please accept whatever I can do. You created me so you know I am not good with crafts.” 

I got home with the supplies, half heartedly, knowing that I did not buy them upto my taste. But I just didnt know where else to go because I was running out of time. I had to have them ready before the next morning and it was already evening. Anyway so I started to wrap the gifts with the “crappy” stickers and other supplies that I bought. When I finished making those packages, I was stunned. I have no idea how they looked so pretty. The sticker and the wraps were just so not pretty, nor were the items. They didnt look good per se. They didnt look happy or bubbly, they didnt look pink or smiley. But subhanAllah the final package looked much better than I ever imagined. The whole time that I had been busy asking Allah to accept, I didnt realise that when Allah wants, He can make even the most lamest of our offerings into something much prettier. How He does it, thats the Divine Department. I dont know if He actually changed my view, or guided my hands to decorate them such that I would be satisfied with my performance, I do not know.


About a month later my neighbor came by to wish me (it was a national occasion), telling me she still has the card I sent with the gift. She liked it so much she kept it with her. She was tired from being in church all day, bur she still wanted to come by and leave her wishes.  It was the first time in the last 2 years that we have been living here that this ever happened.

None of this happened because I or my neighbor are particularly good or worthy. It happened because it was a very personal thing for me, and because I thought I failed, Allah intervened to make it nice such that I would satisfied. Isnt that what mothers do when their children leave a blob of colors on a paper and gift their moms, who in turn make it prettier by outlining the edges so the child becomes happier at his/her accomplishments?

A Million Ways To Live: Al Muhyi (The One Who Gives Life)


The dreams that you have sketched in your duas, the visuals that you have created in your mind about how that “moment” would look like, the imaginary rehearsal sessions in your washroom where you prepare for the “feeling” lest you dont feel silly- we all have these dreams. Getting that degree or that job, that dream marriage, that dream family, driving your dream car or unpacking at your dream home; all of us have so many things we want, wish for, ask for. 
The wishes and duas we voice out to Allah are like the statues made of clay. In our limited capacities, thats the closest we can be to the reality we want to have. So we need Al Muhyi to give life to those statue like dreams, by making them real in flesh and blood. So ask Al Muhyi to give life to your duas by manifesting them in reality.

What else? 

That moment when you see something good happening, either a little flicker of hope or a huge milestone altogether.You finally have some light, some good is happening in your life may be? Even if nothing changes externally, you just feel motivated, you feel grateful, you feel lighter, may be from pouring your heart out to Allah. That feeling is also Al Muhyi giving life to your dead heart. You thought your heart will never feel anything except for the stress, the despair, the gloom and doom. You thought your heart was just a flesh of muscles which pumps blood, it has no other jobs as far feeling is concerned, because thats how dead you feel. Al Muhyi gives life to that dead heart by making it alive again. You suddenly want to live not survive,  feel like you are alive, not only be alive- thats all Al Muhyi.

Elbow Room Inside The Whale

We feel like we arent doing them pretty- our prayers and worship. Especially when things go south and things are hard- we cant focus. Physical wellbeing, confidence in our relation with Allah, mental state (brain fog among others)- it feels like the tides are against us in everyway.  We google and ask around for special prayers or acts of worship, try out best to do everything so to keep to stones unturned as far as our part is concerned- but deep down we feel unsatiated because they are not good enough. The words are broken just like us, and since our thoughts are clouded by the seemingly insurmountable problems, we cant even focus on what we are asking of Allah.

But isnt that what happened with Prophet Yunus as well? Inside the very acidic belly of the whale, deep under the ocean in that stormy night- I bet his duas were anything but pretty. Just because he was a prophet doesnt mean he was a superhuman. He had flesh and blood like you and me. He must have been scared to death, worried sick, claustrophic may be, among so many other things. Its humanly not possible for him to make pretty duas with utmost concentration and focus the whole time. Because as we know from the story that he was very sick by the time he came out, the acids from the whale severly affected his health. So as his health kept getting worse, I wonder if there were some times when he even lost conciousness inside there. But he did whatever he could- he didnt worry or fret about how his duas were. Because his dua already acknowledged the fact that Allah is the One who is Perfect, devoid of flaws,not us. His Divine Perfection is more than enough to envelop of lack of perfection. Allah loves us more than our mother- so which mother cares if her child used the best way to address her or call her when h/she is just hanging by a thread of survive? We have been created with a brain whose job is to think, and worry when things look worrisome. Its natual and part of the way Allah created us. So yes your prayers, rituals, concentrations wont be pretty. And shaitaan will take full advantage of this into demotivating you because whats the point, your concentration isnt there. Shaitaan cant make you give up altogether so it will trick you into your own game. It will keep whispering till you are tired and demotivated enough at your own “worthlessness” to the point that you start believing it too. You keep focussing so much on the fact that dua made without focus isnt answered, that you forget that the Allah who will answer you is also the same Being who made you with these limitations in the first place; so He isnt expecting you to act like a superhuman. And then there are the youtube videos of scholars condemning you for lack of concentration which further sits on your head. I wish I had someone to teach me this as I write them, I would have been saved of a lot of self sabotaging self talks.

Allah doesnt need our prayers to help us, let alone them being pretty or not. We pray so we feel like we did something. So please give yourself some elbow room. Allah asks us to be gentle to His creations which by the way begins with you- your state of mind. Your youtube or google teacher or even your so called “sense of sincerity” sometimes actually works against you. Trying to be too good or too perfect isnt healthy either, especially when its unnatural to be so. Allah will answer your dua even when you are incapable of making it, inshaAllah.

Prophet Yunus understood this. You should too.

Everyday Reflections: Forgiveness-A Silver Linings Playbook

I would get this dream an aweful lot of times. The dream where there is thing in front of me- sometimes a purse, sometimes a pillow, sometimes a phone, blocking my view. No matter how much I tried to move it away so I could see whats beyond, I couldnt. It just just wouldnt move, because I wouldnt be able to exactly locate it. I mean its in front of me, but I just couldnt reach my hand to grab it and get it out of my way. Almost as if I was having neurological issues where my brain cant communicate the instruction to my hand to grab it. I struggled and it was frustrating- till I woke up. It was a very recurring dream and affected me a lot because I would wake up very angry and confused-it was so easy to grab the object yet everytime no matter how hard I tried I couldnt grab it to toss it out of my way so I could get a better look of whats beyond. I wanted to see whats beyond, because I could feel a vast open land was there on the other side and this was the only thing that was blocking my way. 

Several people including trained professionals interpreted the dream for me but none of then resonated with me. My heart didnt agree with what they said and I never go against my heart. But then one day I got to speak to someone who is a psychologist by profession, and she told me that the dream was because I had baggages that I needed to let go of. I needed to heal, I needed to just talk about everything that happened, accept they happened, come to terms with it…

…and forgive…

No one knows me better than I know myself. Everyone says it but I know it. I trauma bonded with myself when everyone else failed me. Deciding to do it alone meant I did the best that I knew how to, with whatever much I had. So basically I just plastered my heart with tapes and bandages, and lived on borrowed time hoping I would heal.Eventually those tapes became real and I forgot to heal. Better still, I didnt even know that healing is a process,forgiveness is a work in progress, not at all what we see in movies where you just declare it and everything goes back to normal. I got back and started climbing but not closing the chapter where I was hurt and needed to be healed from the scars.

Forgivevess was scary. It scared me to death because my self righteous ego kept me safe. I tried many different things to forgive- i did courses and therapies, tried to forget what happened (wrong approach), tried to reason with the wrong that was being done. But everything was falling short. Till I actually prayed for it. 

Yes, I prayed to want to forgive, because I didnt want to. I prayed to be able to forgive, because I wasnt able to. I prayed to look forward to forgive, because I wanted to run away from it. I prayed to heal, because that meant being exposed to the pain again and I would do anythint but that. I prayed for my heart to mend, because I remember that is one prayer I never made. I burnt in that fire of being wronged so I could make the most powerful of duas for the wrongs that I felt was done to me. I wanted fair price for what I went through.

When it happened in reality, when all those prayers started (they are still in process I hope they get answered soonish) being answered little bit, I rejoiced them. I felt that I was heard, that Allah knew I was wronged. But not for long. Eventually I realised I wasnt at peace. There was so much bitterness inside of me, so much resentment for all that happened, that I couldnt  see beyond my payback. I couldnt see that may be it gave me a sense of victory, but most certainly it didnt give me joy or happiness. Even though i prayed day and night for it, it almost felt like this is not what I prayed for- because what I “thought” I prayed for shouldnt look like this. It shoule give me relief. Till a point where I actually wished I could rephrase my prayers a different way. Instead of asking for things I didnt want, I should have asked for things I rather want. The bitterness of thinking of what happened and asking for all that to go away only added to the venom, to the brutality in my prayers, and because I am just a human, a sense of self righteousness or worthiness as well. As I kept getting signs of it happening, I eventually started to hate making those duas for things I did not want.

Because by that time, the other prayer I made for forgivess had started to be answered. I was healing. I was letting go. I was in the process of being able to accept what happened and move past it. I was able to forgive- everyone for everything. Yes I was starting to forgive, and that bitter pill of revenge was getting harder to swallow. Thats why I didnt want to think about it or ask for it to go away. I felt I was wasting my energy, there is so much more I want than what I dont want. Till I have reached a point now where I hardly pray for it go away. 

I still want it gone with just as much hatred as I did before, but I usually dont ask for it as much as before. Because now I pray more for things to come, not go away. Because Allah already knows in order for certain things to come, certain things need to go. Because white and black cant coexist, neither do light and darkness. And I choose to be the Light, because I willingly, voluntarily have submitted myself to the One who is the Light of the skies and the earth, The One besides whom there is no one to worship.

Don’t you want to know what happened to the dream? Yes you guessed it right. I dont get it anymore. Never got it since the day I prayed to Allah to mend me heart, allow me to accept what happened, let go and move forward. The psychologist was right, it was the baggage that kept coming in between me and that vast area of land where I could breathe. It still hurts like hell, but its not eating away my insides like a slow poison.

Its easy to let go when you dont care- either for what happened or the people who caused it. The real deal breaker is when you care about what happened, about the people who caused it, because no matter what you love them and despite everything want in your life.

I also feel there is a time for everything. Forgiveness becomes easier when you want to forgive. People say you forgive for yourself,perhaps they are right. But I forgave because I loved way too much to harbour the venom inside of me. Because no matter what, it will always be a truth that had happened, that had transpired,and the only way to overpower that would be to accept it. I did not embrace it nor will I ever do, but I accept it happened. So if you have anything or anyone you want to forgive, start off with asking Allah for truely wanting it. Think of why you want to want it, and then take it from there. Spouses,siblings, parents, friends, loved ones- dont keep resentment in heart IF IT IS POSSIBLE to let go. Afterall Allah wants us to forgive. 

Its a journey, and thus is a muscle building process. Starts and ends with prayer. Just like every other thing.

Psychology Of Gratitude In Journey Of Faith: Newton’s Inertia


Its natural and human to feel numb when the much awaited breakthrough happens, after what seemed like a never ending period of slump- full of doubts, confusion, fear and despairing depression. You think that okay when this thing happens I will be so motivated and I will kick the blanket the next day and get to being postitive, working hard for my pursuit, etc. Sometimes it happens, you become so elated you jump out of seat with glee, but other times, you just feel numb. And numb not out of shock, but you just dont feel anything. Of course you feel the relief, it trickles down those same veins through which the beads of perspiration of the fear of the numerous “what if’s” ran down just a moment ago. But thats about it. You dont feel the instant dancing with joy feeling. It has happened to me and to many around me. I would like to think its natural.

Newton has a law of inertia. In easy English, it says that an object will continue to stay the way it is long after an external force is applied to change its course. So if you twirl around for 15 circles, and suddenly stop, you feel everything around you still spinning, albeit you stopped moving a minute ago. You feel like that because your body needs time to adjust from the sudden cease in twirls.

Similarly the human psychology, after being exposed to prolonged abyss of despair, doubts, negative self talks, all the  worst possible outcomes that we talk ourselves INTO, just to prepare ourselves “in case”- puts our mind at an inertia. From experience, inertia of negativity is unfathomably more rigid that that of positivity. Needless to say, it takes our mind a bit of time to fully get used to the goodness. As I always say, everything is a muscle. Gratitude- acknowledging, accepting, embracing and letting it to be part of your life, being able to rise above the fear- takes time to build. One incident might be powerful enough to leapfrog through the process; or sometimes it goes the traditional way of taking time to fuse into this new change. Even then, there will be gravity- pulling you down to the slump of despair by creating doubts inside you, which are nothing but white noise. So just like a missile you have to work against the force and keep the chin up, till your muscles are strong enough so you can sit back and turn the autopilot on.


Either way, the reaction is okay. As long as you are not declining what has been given to you, as long as you are taking small, subtle steps to increase those muscles- you are a work on progress. You are not stuck in slump anymore. Thats the beginning.

The Devil’s Advocate

Many of us when a misfortune happens attribute to evil eye. In common English it basically means something that was good before got jinxed- health, wealth, relationships, happiness, achievement etc. And it is true- evil eye and black magic are real and we get affected by it a lot. Even our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was affected by it and Allah sent some Qurannic revelations to cure him (and hence us to seek protection from) of it.

But I would like to argue with a certain way of thoughts, whereby EVERYTHING that goes wrong is because either you are bewitched (someone did a black magic to you) or cast evil eye to your goodness. In fact I would like to believe that more often than not, the unfortunate things that happen to us are from Allah- and they were meant to happen to us for reasons we can or cant explain. Attributing every misfortunes and claiming to be a victim of evil eye even when one so much as sneezes, according to me (no fatwa here, just a personal muse) is sort of shirk (associating partners to Allah).Because one of the core fundamentals of our faith is to believe in the Divine Predestination (Qadr)- both good and bad. In the Quran Allah talks about misfortunes as “musibaah”-and praises those who actually acknowledge that it is from Allah, targeted specifically to happen to them. As a result they say,”To Allah we belong and to Him is our return”- thereby declaring that we (i.e our lives- the things that happen to us) come from Allah and only He can take them back; they begin from Him and end back to Him. So living in a glass house by attributing our difficulties to being bewitched or casted evil eye upon,  sometimes we are denying that perhaps it happened because Allah willed it to happen, not some black magic whatsoever.

We give the devil too much recognition for its evils.  Afterall thats what it always does-pretending to be God, disguising as the so called “conscience”, whereas more often than not, its that self doubt/ lack of understanding talking. The conscience needs to know better to be able to distinguish between the two. We need to know better.

Take any good you might find, and leave the rest to collect dust.