Thanks, Merci, Gracias -Lailatul Qadr Special

As you stand up to pray these ten nights to catch Lailatul Qadr, pick 2-3 things every night to thank Allah for, which He must have written for you last Lailatul Qadr. That is, something that happened since last Ramadan which you are grateful for. Explicitly mention to Him how these gifts benefitted you.

In a tafseer by Nouman Ali Khan, he says that this above verse of gratitude is very powerful. Because Allah does not limit His giving to only those things which we express thanks for. Which means that if you have zero income but you give thanks for health, He will increase you in income as well, inshaAllah (Allah willing).

So these ten nights, gratitude away. The more you show Allah how much you love everything He gives you, the more He will give you, because He loves to make you happy. So show Him how happy and appreciative you are, and then be ready to receive, inshaAllah (Allah willing). After all the prophet (may peace be upon him) did tell us that “actions are determined by their end”, so lets end this year and this month of Allah’s love and kindness with heartfelt gratitude.

As I always say, more often than not, serendipity happens. Alhamdulillah.

Peace out ✌🏻

Please remember me in your duas as well, that Allah fulfills my requests in these blessed nights. I am in a very critical point in my life with all the tests and trials. May He grant you much more than you ask for me, much much sooner.

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Orange (Self-Compassion) Is The New Black (Patience)

In the Quran Allah reminds us around 90 times about the lofty virtues of Sabr (Patience+Steadfastness). Its an attribute highly valued and honored by As Sabur (The Patient One) Himself. So sabr sounds great! We look up to the Prophets for their sabr. We marvel at the “sabrfull” story of how Hajar got up every time she couldn’t help her baby.We commend those with excruciatingly painful trials for their sabr.  We glorify their patience with others or their circumstances.

What about our own selves? What about having sabr with our own shortcomings within our own selves?

The fact that you cant do your 100% no matter how much you try, please be patient with your shortcomings. Be patient with your drawbacks, with the way your circumstances are affecting your worship, with your health, with your emotional and psychological challenges. Be patient with anything and everything that seems to come in the way of you reaching that pinnacle of “spirituality’, where its you, Allah and tears. The idea sounds fantastic but more often than not it might not happen. So to embrace yourself with your own shortcomings, to give yourself that pat on the back for just physically showing up, to become the voice that you want to hear, telling you that you did great- all of these inshaAllah, if Allah wills, will be part of patience. Because you are putting up with your own shortcomings without blaming yourself. Blaming is easy, taking responsibility and accepting yourself regardless requires patience, requires kindness, requires love. Most of all, it requires steadfastness coming from unconditional love and approval of yourself.

That’s what Ramadan teaches us, doesn’t it?

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In the last ten nights, we recite the above prayer, asking for Allah to absolutely ignore and wipe clean our slates of bad deeds. In essence, we are asking Him to embrace us despite our shortcomings. Then why is it so hard to practice that on our own selves?

Food for thought, isn’t it?

As usual, take any good you get and leave the rest to dust.

Also please remember me in your prayers that Allah fulfills all my requests. May He grant you the same and much more.

This Ramadan, Weave Into The Labyrinth of Love

A/N: Few parts of this post has been inspired from Grey’s Anatomy. But this post is ENTIRELY a personal reflection and conveys NO scholarly guidance whatsover. Please take any good that you get and leave the rest to collect dust.

When Ramadan arrives, you will reach out to others to ask for forgiveness, the angels will ask for forgiveness for you, you will worship Allah the whole month to attain His Forgiveness. But there is someone else’s forgiveness you don’t want to miss out on.

Your own self.

This Ramadan,

Forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself for everything you have done.

Forgive yourself for messing up again.

Forgive yourself for losing it despite promising yourself you won’t.

Forgive yourself for seeing it again, for saying it again, for listening to it again.

Forgive yourself not taking good care of yourself.

Forgive yourself for hating yourself.

Forgive yourself for every unkind gestures you have made to yourself.

Forgive yourself for every hateful, hurtful, atrocious incessant chatters of the mind.

Forgive yourself for every unkind, every self deprecating, every self loathing remarks you have said to yourself.

Forgive yourself for not being good enough for yourself.

Forgive yourself for falling short of your own standards.

Forgive yourself for falling short of Allah’s standards, for without the shadow of a doubt, He has (God willing, inshaAllah).

Forgive yourself, not because you are deserving of it, but because you can. Because you have the ability to. Because your virtues are greater than your vices.

Forgive yourself just enough to remind yourself  of what you are missing,

Forgive yourself so you can remind yourself that you are a simple, ordinary human being, created and meant to live in a world of extraordinary difficulties. Forgive yourself because You were created a human, so no one expects you to walk on this earth as an angel.

Forgive yourself, because even though you might have done terrible things, that does NOT in any way, shape or form mean you are a terrible person.

Forgive yourself because the Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) said “By Him in whose hand is my soul, if you did not sin Allah would replace you with people who would sin and they would seek the forgiveness of Allah and He would forgive them.”(Source: Sahih Muslim 2749).

Forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself, so for the first time in your life, you can feel the warmth of your own love. The love which has sustained so many around you, brought sunshine in the darkest of days, radiated hopes and faith right in the middle of despair, let that love consume you. Let your love, your kindness, your compassion for no one but yourself fill every atom of your soul, because you cant expect to receive love if you are incapable of loving your own self first.

Forgive yourself, so you can love yourself, so you can heal yourself. Healing love is powerful, because that’s when you make discoveries, that’s when you bring changes, that’s when Allah opens doors, because that’s when you are ready to receive . Your heart  and soul are aligned and synced, they have moved past the past, ready to receive from His unlimited bounty.

Forgive yourself, and instead show mercy to yourself.

Forgive yourself. Take all that pain, all that agony, all those memories, and  turn them into possibilities. Turn them into strength, into unwavering faith and unfaltering hope. Turn them into courage, courage to get up one more time, and then once more, until the doors finally open.

Forgive yourself, because you matter, because your forgiveness matters. It matters to your heart, to your soul, to your entire being, to your ultimate existence as someone Allah has lovingly created with His own Hands.

Buy yourself that favorite outfit, treat yourself that favorite flavor of coffee, savor yourself that foot massage, make that decision, take that step, whatever you need to do to amend your relationship with yourself, do it. Begin Ramadan on a different note this year. Begin with compassion, with kindness, with gentleness, to no one but to yourself.

Yes you, the one who is in His eyes.

Reflections On La Hawla Wala Quwata and Dua Manifestations

Recently I came across few stories where people who had been in a lot of hot water, waiting for their duas to come to fruition, finally got their wishes fulfilled by Istighfar, Night Prayers and Reciting La Hawla Wala Quwata Illa Billah (There is No Power or Might except Allah). Difficulties ranging anywhere from waiting for decades to be married, to marrital troubles, not being able toget pregnant, financial predicaments or mental wellbeing, all were resolved with the above formulae, by the permission of Allah. The stories are from today’s time, not from the pious precedessors.

Its not surprising though. When we go through difficulties and see no possible way out- it is true. In the realms of our limited perceptions,in the confinements of possibilities of this world, more often than not the doors are closed. More often than not there is no possible solutions to our problems, atleast in the perceptions of our mind. And that is when Allah sends us help from Jannah. He opens the skies by virtue of istighfar (please refer to The Quran’s Surahs Nuh and Hud for details) or makes a key in the heavens and sends down to the earth (ref to the hadith mentioned above on La Hawla). That is when “out of the world” experiences happen, literally and figuratively! When you tap on the treasures of Jannah, the pearls drop on this world. It has always happened, and still happening.

Of Pen And Muses: Story Of Duha Prayer

I was going over my gratitude journal for January…on January 20th out of frustration I prayed duha prayer with the intent that Allah grants me my dd job…I started a duha challenge with myself that daily I will read duha prayer (which is equivalent to doing charity, based on the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him)… On 22nd and 23rd I got 3 interview calls, after trying since November…I also do daily istighfar, Baqarah and qiyam alhamdulillah…I have never had such interviews and yes they are not my dream job, but they definitely will make it easy for me to get that…

We don’tget a lot of stories of duha prayer so I thought I would write one…

It might sound crazy but I think its because I prayer duha, but ALSO because I wrote about this challenge to monitor changes. There is something about writing- goals, challenges, duas, affirmations, gratitude; changes in external affairs happen more significantly when we write. This is something that took me a long time to realise. And it makes sense because Allah has highlighted the power of pen by taking an oath with it. I always felt that no matter how “crappy” my gratitude journal entries are, as long as I wrote them, Allah would see my efforts to be grateful. But once I extended that “experiment” to writing other things like goals and etc, I realised there is something “more” in the “realm of the unseen” about the power of pen.

Disclaimer: The views presented in the post solely are my personal opinion from experience; it is NOT AT ALL any scholarly view. So take the good you get and leave the rest to collect dust.

If you benefitted from this post, albeit as insignificantly as having a good time, please make dua that Allah puts barakah in all my efforts and grants me all the doors I am asking to be opened, quickly and not delayed. I am at a time constraint here. You can just say ameen in your heart and that should suffice too, biidnillah, by the permission of Allah)

Miracle On The 34th Street

The street was pretty deserted at that time of the day when she was walking back home. Its the usual road she takes everyday- the same aroma of cinamon from the bakery nearby, the thickness of cold in the air, the last bit of greenery left in the trees, the buildings, everything just the same. As she was trying to shift her focus from the annoying events transpired earlier in the day while crossing a building, she suddenly heard it, as clear as day. Her heart thudden violently against her chest as she turned pale with fear, knowing exactly what would happen next. She braced herself anticipating the worst, thinking of her little babies at home as she closed her eyes. The window above her from the fourth floor smashed violently into a thousand glittering pieces and fell all around her. No prior signs or warnings, just like that the window smashed and within seconds she was standing in a pool of shimmering glass fragments. Shocked, frightened, trembling with fear, she stood there looking aroung trying to fathom what just happened, and rather how it happened. Even I was shocked when I heard it, because its not everyday that people get greeted by glasses shattering all around them when they are casually strolling on the street.

But thats not it though. What was unbelievable was that merciless way the fragile pieces of glasses came down, without a tiny bit of remorse whatsoever, but left her absolutely untouched and unscathed. The must have fallen under some Divine order, strictly instructed to not “tresspass” the area she was standing on. None of the glass pieces were allowed to fall on her.This is a miracle in and of itself because she was standing directly under the window and there was absolutely no logical, scientific reason for the glasses to fall a inch away from all around her, but not on her. Absolutely no reason why her two small babies would have their mommy return home to them with nothing happening to her, yet so much happened in front of her. Its window from 4th floor for God’s sake!

Except that there was. Not a logical or scientific reason, but one coming from deep faith rooted in Allah. As she recalled the event, she admitted to me that a second before, she decided to stop engaging her mind in the vain, annoying thoughts and focussed on doing istighfar (seek forgiveness of Allah). No sooner than she started her chant that this incident happened. Literally a second after, no more than that. As if istighfar was all these windows were waiting for. Also three days prior to that, she did some charitable donation and we all know charity is a great way to ward off calamities.

As I write this I try to picture the scenerio over and over again, and I wonder how special people of istighfar are to Allah. How Allah turns laws of nature, science and logic, and puts the entire universe at the service of these special people, simply because they sought to do their istighfar. These are not saints or sages, not the particular scholarly or righteous people, these are the most ordinary, everyday believers like you and me. They go out, eat out, have fun. Like you and me they also make mistakes, fall short, dont do everything by the book. But what they do though, is acknowledge that this is who they are, and ask Allah to accept them as well, by overlooking their shortcomings. Thats all. They ask Allah to take the aorta of good they do for Him, and leave the rest to collect dust. And Allah does excactly that. He takes the good, and does whatever is needed to keep them happy, safe and secure. Because Allah is as you expect Him to be. It is not anymore complicated than that.

Sometimes, even for some extremely ordinary people, extraordinary blessings come down. Not because they are special, but because the One who sends them down is.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

She was extremely worried, almost akin to being crippled with the thoughts of all the ‘what ifs’ that could possibly happen for it all to go wrong, for all her efforts to go in vein. The people she was arranging the function with were not the most cooperative, and as happens with all families, the complains, comparisons and the dubious judgements were draining her spirit away with apprehension. The function had to go right, she prayed so much for this occasion, and now it would kill her if it did not go smooth.

Its not easy being in her shoes. Doing so much, so selflessly, for people so close to her yet being unappreciated and rather envied upon, is very demotivating. She was constantly praying for it go well, but still the anxiety was not leaving her. So she took a step back and reassessed everything.

She was doing it all for the wrong reason. She was working so hard, doing it all by herself so everyone around would be pleased, happy and confortable. She was doing it for a noble reason, but the situation demanded that she be nobler. So she geared her intention away and decided to do it all an act of worship, an act of charity to gain pleasure of Allah. She threw away her constant need of people’s approval and started organising the function as if Allah was coming to attend it, as if it was Allah who she needed to impress- be it her dress, her looks, her decorations or the food. Thats it. Allah is the Guest of Honor so thats what she focussed on.

No sooner than she did so, not only did it calm her down and for the first time since the wedding preparations started she started to enjoy herself, but also everything that was causing her to worry started disappearing. Her scarf arrived right when she was about to head out, she was praised remarkably for her looks and the way she carried herself,and the function? Well it couldn’t have gone any better! Literally that’s how simple it was! Suddenly everything around was effortless, it all just fell into place like the missing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. It was a complete wedding. Alhamdulillah, MashaAllah, TabarakAllah.

As she stood there and looked at the bride and the groom, she realised she was watching her prayer being answered. Allah knows how much she wanted and prayed for these two to be married to each other, and that’s probably why she put her heart and soul into organizing this wedding so much, because it was her prayer being answered. And Allah couldn’t have answered it any better, making her the highlight of the entire event. Because only He witnessed every sincere effort and intention she put behind making this wedding happen.

 

Even someone else was telling me the other day, that when she needs her friends and they aren’t there for her, she turns herself away from everything and everyone and starts praying. Literally within 5 mins her phone starts bombarding with calls. Someone wise has said, “if you want to fix your relationships with others, fix your relationship with Allah. He will in turn fix it with people for you.”

These are stories of average people, the everyday heroes or the John/ Jane Doe’s of our daily lives. None are particularly good or worthy, and all are full of mistakes. They are just like you and me- they sometimes forget to pray, say things they shoulnt say, utter white lies in the heat of the moment, get worried, stressed, struggle to hold faith, and fail to “feel grateful”. And yet these stories, their stories,  remind me, time and time again, that :


I hope it reminds you too.