The Stranger Across Me

As I opened my sandwich to eat, my eyes randomly fell on the man sitting across. He was also preparing to eat. In fact, as I looked closer, I caught him murmuring something under his breathe before he started munching. I quickly realized that amidst the rumbling of my tummy , I forgot to recite take Allah’s name (i.e say Bismillah).

I never knew if that man was a Muslim  or not. But watching him whisper his prayers reminded me to say mine. He doesn’t even know but he became the reason I ate my food saying blessings of Allah.

Never underestimate the good that you do.

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One Year Ago, I Made A Choice

Exactly one year ago, I made a choice.

I chose faith, I chose hope, and by leaving the retreating hand I want to grip so much, I chose to hold the One that was extended out to me. The never fail, never go wrong, the Most Trustworthy Handhold as He Himself testifies to – The Invisible Hand of God.

In the days and months that followed I was introduced to the atrocities and viciousness of life, the cruelty of pain, the constant butchering of my heart and eventual demise of every living atom of my body. So much for clinging onto my faith against every odds, hoping that the sun will rise soon.

Instead it set deeper, further abyss into the dark. And with it, it took away the last bit of faith and hope that I had. Or at least I thought I did. With it left every last atom my emotional existence. It left behind a heart void of any human emotions or feelings. Somedays it would hurt so bad that it felt like my heart was being ripped into shreds, and grounded into pulp of flesh by a pack of merciless, preying wolves hungry for a feast. Slowly, in the camouflage of protecting whatever last bit remained of my tender, bruised heart, I resorted to teaching myself to expect the worse. Against every possibility of a good, to expect ten worse outcomes. At least that would save the pain of disappointment.

And thus began my journey of despair. It was cold, vicious, cruel and ruthless. But it was also safe.  Despair is like a cancer. It spreads to every fiber of your being before it  takes over matters of your mind, soul and eventually, the body. It dictates your inner self and feasts off your self-destructive and self-critical thoughts. Its brutality makes it akin to the devil himself. It talks to you pretending to be God, only if I knew better.

Having stumbled into some signs from My Almighty Lord I slowly have started to recover after what seems like eternity. I have started to heal and to take baby steps towards slowly rising again – rising in hope, in love, and perhaps little bit in faith. Daring myself to expect, and expect grand. Expect like nobody’s business.

It sometimes comes easily – good expectations. Certainty that He is sending my sunrise soon. But more often that not, it doesn’t. The level of unwavering faith and certainty doesn’t always come to the point that governs my actions, as opposed to the certainty in negative expectations and hence their dictating of my actions. So I make the choice, continuously and relentlessly, as if my life depends on it. In fact in the ultimate sense of the word, it does. I choose to expect, albeit I fail to do so. I choose to do hope, despite my inability to so. Yes,  I choose to, not because I have to, but because I want to. Because I choose to want to.

Because one year ago, I made a choice.

And I still make it every single day.

Expedited Shipping :Quickly, Not Delayed

 

Allah is Al-Muqaddim (The Expeditor).

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He speeds up matters and accelerates their pace. So not everything has to be delayed. Allah not only can, but in fact, does speed up matters that are usually delayed otherwise. Remember the time when you got something so “surprisingly” quickly and easily even though “usually” it takes so long? Perhaps a visa, a job, marriage or something else?

Yup. The “Surprising” part is what Al Muqaddim is there for.

The messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) once prayed for rain, and said”…quickly,and not delayed…”(Ibn Majah)

So you can ask Allah to answer your prayer quickly,contrary to the popular misconception that arises from another hadith that says your dua will be answered as long as you are not hasty (that is, if you are hasty it will not be answered).This happens if one makes dua and seeing it unanswered,s/he stops asking.

The prohibition is from the hastiness that causes one to leave dua altogether getting disappointed. Otherwise, it is actually a sunnah to ask for a quick response from Allah.

Reference: https://www.kalamullah.com/Books/Dua%20The%20Weapon%20Of%20The%20Believer.pdf  (pg 63)

 

 

 

Easy, Not Hard, Please!

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them…”(Bukhari).

Once a non muslim came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said that he was willing to embrace Islam but he could only pray twice a day, instead of five. Our Prophet (peace be upon him) agreed and the man took shahadah. Once he was gone, his companions asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) why he allowed him so. He (peace be upon him) said once the man would enjoy the sweetness of prayer, he himself would willingly pray all five.

Often while trying to help people to come closer to Islam, especially new muslims or those who are trying to just take step through the door, we overwhelm them by introducing a bunch of instructions they might not be ready to undertake at that point of time. Our job is to help them do what they can and make things easy. As far as ensuring their guidance is concerned, Allah already made it clear that He provides guidance. He is Al-Hadi (The One Who Guides). 

We just need to be companions. Often times we make Islam harder than it actually is, and portray Allah to be more strict than He really is.

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Choose To Believe…Dare Yourself

The way we think have tremendous power over us- sometimes more than we realize. The most dangerous form of paralysis is that of the mind, of the thoughts, of expectations. More often than not, we feed off off our thoughts, and if they are self-critical or despairing, let them prey on us, albeit subconsciously.  Consequently, our own preconceived notions turn out to be real, as psychologists use the  term “self-fulfilling prophecy”. Every odd that you can think of, actually start happening.

Self fulfilling prophecy is true, and Islam does vouch for its truth. Because Messenger of Allah (pbuh) quotes Allah saying :

I am as my servant assumes I am. So s/he can think of me how s/he wishes.

Goes without saying, our hidden fears  coming to be real is nothing but manifestation of our poor expectations of the love and generosity of Allah.

Thoughts will always overpower us, and render us helpless. This is the reality and has always been so,  since the beginning of mankind. We can’t hush the voices inside our head. But we can definitely dare to dream big and silence them with actions towards pursuing those dreams. Because our strength comes from having a guarantee from Allah that He will help us, an absolute, unwavering, unfaltering trust in Him that He is on our side.

So don’t stop thinking. But change them. Dream big, think good, expect better, because you have a Creator who loves you more than a mother loves her child.

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Grief And Judgement

(Written By: Maryam Amir)

People tell you that your belief is weak if you keep crying. That if you prayed more, if you read Quran more, if you were a better believer, you wouldn’t be sad and wouldn’t have these problems. That you should get over it.
Here’s something you can share with them:
Prophet Jacob (p) cried so much at the loss of his son Joseph. He wasn’t sad for a day. Or a month. Or a year. He was distraught for decades. His tears flowed so intensely that his eyesight was depleted. And despite his tears, despite his very human sadness, he was amongst the best of believers God placed on earth. His tears did not mean his belief in God was weak or his trust in Him wavered.
And the Prophet Muhammad (p) had the Quran revealed directly to him. He prayed the longest, with the most intense concentration and with the strongest relationship with God ever possible. And yet he still missed Khadija 10 years after her death.
He didn’t “get over her.” He moved forward with life, but he missed her intensely. And it’s okay that it hurts.
He cried at his mother’s grave decades after her passing. It didn’t diminish the strength of his belief. He wept as he held his dying son, and it didn’t decrease his trust in God’s wisdom.
His having a strong relationship with God didn’t mean his life didn’t have issues and heartaches. If the most spiritually connected person- who knew the most Quran and did the most worship- could suffer from such intense emotional loss and pain- then what about us?!
Salah and the Quran are a lifevest to keep us afloat when we’re drowning. It doesn’t mean we won’t be thrust in an ocean. It doesn’t mean we won’t sometimes feel like we can’t breathe and like we’re being dragged under. But even when facing the highest wave, even if at times we’re swallowing water and gasping for air, it’s knowing we have Someone Who will bring us back and keep us afloat and help us get back to the safety of the land again.
Go to therapy (SO important). Seek social support. Invest in self-care. And don’t let anyone take your safe space- your intimate relationship with God- away from you.
He is the One to Whom we can be vulnerable. Where we can shatter. Where we can show every insecurity and know that we are still worthy.
And when people say, “Hasn’t it been long enough?” Let them know: For the Prophets, sometimes it was longer. And yet the Prophets- may God send His peace upon them- have shown us that with God, we can.

Duas That Have Worked For Me (I)

I have been saying this dua when stressed with work. Alhamdulillah it works.

Somehow the work becomes easy.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said to recite this dua if one’s affairs become difficult.