Look Closer

I was waiting for the bus for a while, but as soon as I made dua it came. Alhamdulillah. My feet were sore so I made another quick dua to Allah to find me a seat inside, so I wont have to stand. When I got in, by force of habit my eyes scanned the single seats and found them occupied, so I resorted to standing with everyone else. But as the bus started moving, I turned and saw one empty seat at the back, staring back at me. Had I looked closer beyond my usual preferred seats, I would have found that Allah did infact answer my dua, I was the one who carelessly jumped into the conclusion that He didnt. I didnt look hard enough.

I started to wonder as I sat down, how many times do we do this with our duas? How many times we are quick enough to jump into the conclusion that our duas didnt get answered just by scanning the surface, carelessly overlooking the details? How much effort do we actually put into looking for our “answered duas”? Do we look enough? Should we search harder? Are we heedlessly dismissing our “already answered duas” just because we havent expanded our intellectual horizons to the possibility of the different ways they can be delivered?Are we really looking meticulously for the delivery of our wishes, wants and needs which we pray for?

Are we truely, sincerely, genuinely looking hard enough?

Something I ask myself first and foremost as I think of this verse from the Quran (3:191).

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A Late Summer Night’s Dream

I remember that Midsummer Night’s Dream. That devastating night, how I struggled to look for a meaning and purpose for it. How it took me so long to even begin to heal. The only good thing in that night was the moon. Other than that, I hated summer, I hated those trees, I hated the greenery. They trees shed their leaves and regained their greeery all within less than a year, while I stood there watching my life only shed everything, not gain. Hated them. The trees gained back leaves faster than mine. They had definite seasons planned, after 6 months they will get their leaves back. They had a calender to look forward to, I didnt. I didnt know when I would also get foliages in my life, and I detested the trees for knowing theirs. The greenery seemed to mock me, my stagnant, poignant story. It was Ramadan, sometime around the last ten nights, the best nights of the year.

I also remember the evening, right after sunset, of one of the best days of the year, towards the end of summer. There was the same moon and those same lush green leaves, about to turn yellow. There was even the same me. But that was it. Nothing else was the same. What I lost that midsummer night turned its way to come back on this late summer night. The tables were turning,  and as they did, I sat under those trees and made dua. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the trees started swaying in a breeze so beautiful, so serene, so peaceful, that I couldnt help but fall in love. The air was thick with freshness, dense with purity, an oxygen I never breathed before. A summer I knew before. I never knew the greenery could be good. I never knew Allah brought those greeneries back, nurtured and watered them all summer so when my time comes towards the end, they would join me to thank Allah before they hinernate for the season. So yes, I fell in love.

Fall in love with the subtlety yet the gravity Allah’s grandeur. I was sitting in front of the school playgroung which for some reason I stared at everytime I would cry. I never knew why but for years I had been drawn to the sight of that playground from my window. Now I knew why. Because Allah wanted that location to be the spot when it happens, so He made sure I had a connection with the place from before. My hatred for the summer and trees melted when those very trees joined me to glorify Allah that night. As they started to sway and dance the moment I started making dua, I just knew it wasnt random. It was much more. It was the trees joining me to glorify Allah, just how the birds joined Prophet David, just how Allah says in the Quran that everything in the skies and the earth does tasbih of Allah. Everything has their own way of worship, but it was a different experience when those very trees that bore the brunt of my replusion for years joined me to praise and thank Allah that night.

Allah keeps an account of everything, and incorporates even the minutest insignificant details into our story, because nothing is excess or random, should we pay attention.  SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, MashaAllah!

Did I mention that just as I was about to publish this post, I looked outside and saw the moon gazing right back at me? 

Alhamdulillah!

Struggle For Gratitude Continues

Gratitude is hard! Sometimes I wonder if there was a pill I could swallow so I could feel grateful all the time, like how those life coaches and positive psychologists say preach about. But I cant, it just doesnt come all the time. More often than not, I find it incredibly hard to “feel grateful”. Thats how I have realised and learnt that I can’t control how I feel. I am not always in charge of feeling certain emotions. Sometimes they just ARE. 

So I do whatever is in my control, which is to grab the pen and the notebook, and list the things that “under normal circumstances” I should have been grateful for. Things that are highlights of the day. Anything that stands out for that day- from being able to make that pasta perfectly to the moondlight peeking through my window during my night prayers and falling right on the prayer mat, I write them down. They dont cheer me up, they dont do anything to my mood or emotions, they are nothing more than a bunch of words on a piece of paper tossed away at a corner every morning.

But, to Allah, they are something. 


Even my “fake it till you make it” gratitude counts to Allah, for I do see things increase by His permission, alhamdulillah. Because Allah knows I struggle to feel grateful, I try so hard to push myself to feel so, but I fail. And in the light of all these struggles, just my physical effort of being grateful is all I can do. And thats all Allah takes, then He increases it to things which actually genuinely make me happy and grateful. 


Allah knows how hard it is to be grateful sometimes, so He just asks for that infenitisimal, insignificant amount of gratitude, you can squeeze out. He even swears to increase, even though His promise is true, just to convince and assure us, because looking at the quality and quantity of gratitude, sometimes its hard to believe Allah will even accept it. But He swears to convince you and me that He will increase, not once, but perpetually. Increase in whatever you need, want, desire.

Thats what helps me sleep. That as long as I am writing down my list of things I am supposed to feel grateful for, regardless of what I truly feel, Allah sees it. He sees that I am trying to be grateful. And thats what matters, thats what is important. He overlooks my emotional limitations and sees the physical effort, and keeps His promise. Not because I am anything, but because He is Something. 

In fact, He is Everything!

Alhamdulillah!

Need For Speed -Day Of Arafah

Think about the last Eid ul Adha, how was it? How was that time? That phase of your life? Mine was horrible!
Now think of the time that followed since then. All the times you cried, yelled, questioned, doubted, despaired, lost hope, YET kept begging for your duas (prayers). Think of the times when you prayers have been answered- how was the feeling? How relieving was it to know that none of those pleas fell in deaf ears? Reminisce your dua journey- the roller coaster ride of faith and doubts, hope and despair, courage and fear.


Out of ALL the days that you made your duas, tomorrow will be THE BEST day to do so, and this message has been broadcasted to you From The Answerer Himself, by none other than His trusted messenger (may peace be upon Him). So there is NO loophole in it. NONE whatsoever. 

So that means every single second of tomorrow from dawn to dusk counts, for your present and for your future. If your duas have been answered so far, then tomorrow’s duas will be answered much better inshaAllah. If they are still in queue, then you need to make use of tomorrow. Ask tomorrow like never before, like nobody’s business, like nobody is watching. Just remember in the upcoming one year, a day like tomorrow is not coming again. So whatever you want and need till next Eid ul Adha, you better start making a list and ask them tomorrow. 

I remember last year my biggest tragedy hit me during Ramadan, so I couldnt do anything during Lailtul Qadr. However, I did better on Arafah day. I wonder if the eventual orchestration of events towards light and ease came from that, because whatever good happened, didnt happen before that day. Alhamdulillah, MashaAllah.

So go ahead, prepare a list and ask away all day tomorrow. And then the days that follow, keep expecting their answers.

I came across this video I really liked and highly recommend:

Quick Dua Answered On Day Of Arafah

Marvel: The Series- Al Lateef, Al Qawee, Al Azeez

Stumbling upon this verse, something really struck a cord with me. I paused and reflected on the contrasting names of Allah; He is The Subtle One (Al Lateef), but He is also The Powerful One (Al Qawee), The All Mighty (Al Azeez). 

When life moves very very slowly, or seemingly slowly, almost akin to snail speed, we sometimes even have to pinch ourselves to believe that things are actually happening, albeit in the realm of the unseen reality. As “make believe” as that feels, because Allah is so Subtle, it is also equally true that He is the Dominant one. Allah has not left our affairs in autopilot.  We are not in a position where we have to sort of feel like He is not giving us enough attention (sounds horrible, may Allah forgive us, but we all go through those spiritual lows because we are humans and we were created with our sinister lower selves that is always full of trash talks). Even though the subtlety with which He orchestrates the nuances are sometimes so ordinary, that we almost feel like nothing is happening at all, His Might and Power is constantly doing things, planning in our favor, laying foundations for the good that is to follow. There is constant work in progress being done in the background, in the veil of the Unseen. 

When I was going through the worst phase of my life, circumstances dictated me to do certain things that time, make certain moves, take certain steps which at that time felt absolutely “unneeded” and didnt make sense at all. I wanted to run away from everything, even from life from a brief period of time. But today, I am living off of the fruits of those painful yet much needed decisions. Looking back I realise that the things that are happening right now,both good and bad,need the resources I gathered that time from those troublesome decisions. So basically Allah was planning it all since then. I just couldnt see and didnt know.

Just because things are subtle doesnt mean they arent powerful enough, impactful enough. When disaster strikes, the impact is a right knock out punch that makes you throw up blood from the guy, but for relief and joy, its slow and gentle. However, that does NOT by anyway mean the latter are not strong or powerful enough to change our lives with joy and bliss. Both have equal power to change the course of history, our lives, our stories.

Something to think about eh?

What To Expect When You Are Expecting 

Disclaimer: This post is NOT about pregnancy. I just borrowed the title.

Allah gives us what we want, sometimes even word for word, but not necessarily the way we want it. 

Think of this little incident that happened today. Since I am not praying this week, I was feeling little restless. The best days of the year are here, and not feeling tranquil enough to devotedly remember Allah when every good deed is most beloved to Him was something that was really bothering me. So I requested a friend to pray for me, that I am able to peacefully do my dhikrs and duas. I dont start praying till another two days.

Or atleast I thought. I am never wrong about my days, I always keep a count so I know when I start praying.Just a while after I told her to pray for me, I realised that for some odd reason this month my calculation went wrong. It is actually today I start praying. And as I prayed, I felt that serenity as if I came back home. Alhamdulillah.

When I asked my friend to make dua for me, I was expecting (and thats what she made dua for) to feel calm and settled in my heart and mind, so I can sit in my prayer mat for hours and to my tasbeeh, dhikr and duas. But surprisingly, Allah gave me exactly what I wanted- peacefully pray and worship Him, but now how I wanted. He ordained that I start praying today, and orchestrated the events perfectly that today turned out to be the day when it so happens. I never thought today would be the I start praying, and hence my expectations were based on what I knew, not what I didnt know.

This is something I have been reflecting on for a while. Sometimes we become so obstinate, so headstrong in the things that we ask for, that we focus more on the HOWs than the WHATs. Our job is to pray for the WHATs, we are in no position to tell Allah HOW to give those WHATs to us. We cant tell Him how to do His job, we cant dictate the terms as to how we want our prayers delivered to us. For when we do so, more often than not, we stand in the way of getting our prayers answered. 

Be very specific about WHAT you want, just not HOW you want it. Reminder to myself first, because I sometimes obsess too much on the process rather than the goal.

Take to good and leave the rest to collect dust.

The Express Shipping News: Al Muqaddim (The Expeditor)

When we try so hard to have our prayers answered, wake up in the middle of the night, fast for days, spend hours in prostration to Allah, watch out for rain, perform charities- we often think of “what else” to do.


Helping out someone in need is a great way to have your doors opens, those doors you have been incessantly knocking for so long. Anything, infinitesimally small, as mundane as helping a heavily pregnant woman lift up a jar of water to doing the dishes at home when its not your turn, setting up the plate for your parents with food or simply take out the slippers for them from the closet when they are heading out, all are pleasing to Allah. You never know who is going to make a secret dua for you behind your back, or whose relief would be so pleasing to Allah that He will express deliver your duas to you. Especially lifting off a hardship for someone- helping an elderly cross the road or give up your seats for them, allow someone in need to stand in the queue in front of you even though its your turn- sincere, genuine kindness is always pleasing to Allah. Afterall that is His attribute, for He is Al Rauf (The Kind One).



When we say Allah is Al Muqaddim (The Expediter), it does NOT mean Allah can open your doors or answer your prayers quickly, for we already know that when we call him by the name Al Qadeer (The All Able). Al Muqaddim means Allah DOES expedite.He does ship your requests with express delivery.


Let me say it again- Allah not only CAN expedite, in fact, He DOES expedite. Al Muqaddim is the One who DOES expedite your prayers, because He can, because He is Al Qadeer. Its one thing for someone to be able to do something, but its another thing for them to actually do it. That is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) once prayed for the rain, and said “quickly, and not delayed”. (Ref Dua: Weapon of a believer by Sh Yasir Qadhi)