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?

img_2707

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.

Advertisements

Shades of Love: An Ordinary Tale of Extraordinary Miracles

He left without saying anything, yet again. She kept calling him, but it went to voicemail. She tried and tried, for days, but no avail.

For someone who has suffered years of psychological issues and abandonment issues, untreated PTSD, severe anxiety and depression you name it, this was excruciating. To not know what happened, to fear that perhaps her past has come back to haunt her, that gripping, paralytic fear, she couldn’t help but contemplate the idea of…

…at least it would help her escape this pain wouldn’t it? This fear of not knowing, this fear of “what if”, the fear of being chased by those haunted dreams? Therapy wasn’t really much of an option under the circumstances. She needed an immediate fix, at least some relief, just enough to be able to take the next breath, just enough to wake up the next day. Just enough to not give up.

Not knowing what to do, she felt her legs drag her to the local mosque. She had never really been in a mosque before, she didn’t know the proper etiquette,the norms, didn’t even have a head scarf with her. She just went there. Something told her the mosque might give her some peace, some refuge from those horrific “what ifs”, just enough to clear her mind. It took her hours just to get out of bed to make it to the mosque right outside her house, but she made it. Taking a deep breath, she stepped in.

She sat on the prayer rug and stared at the white wall in front of her. No words were coming out of her mouth, suddenly she didn’t know what to tell Allah. All her strength and energy seemed to have been exhausted in the 5 minutes journey from home to the moqsue, albeit it seemed like an eternity. The agonizing pain was eating her heart away and she was just too tired to ask Allah to bring him back, yet again. It was too painful to even think of it.

What started as pearls of tears soon turned into violent sobs with incessant hiccups. She tried hard to stifle them but the pain was too excruciating to really care if anyone was watching her or listening. The more she let it out the more the fear gripped her, until she couldn’t cry anymore. So she just asked Allah the only thing she could master to ask,”What do I have to do so he comes back? Just tell me because I ran out of ideas. I just don’t know what else to do anymore. Just tell me what do I have to do.”

Having calmed down a bit, she slowly walked out of the mosque. Lost in her own world, she walked past two men talking outside by the men’s hall. As she was standing at the intersection waiting for the lights to turn red, she was approached by a man, who she realised was talking outside the mosque when she came out. He told her that he is a refugee from Syria, who migrated here, but his family  was stuck in Mexico. His daughter was my age. He lost all his money, and his landlord threatened to evict him in seven days. But he didn’t ask me for money . He asked if I knew of any mosque who would let him have Iftar (meal to end the fast), since he was fasting. Then He would spend his night in the public bus, just sitting in the backseat, hoping the driver would not kick him out.

Her mind immediately ran back to the events in the mosque, when she begged Allah to tell her what should she do. It didn’t take her much to realise that Allah is giving her a chance, He is telling her what to do.  This was her chance, this was her answer. SubhanAllah.

She asked the man how much money would he require to meet his immediate crisis, and that answer sent shivers down her spine. If she would help him with the money, she would not have much left for herself. This was way over her Ramadan budget, way way more for her. She debated with the idea of walking away, perhaps even tried, because she felt her legs were stuck. Even they seemed to not cooperate with the idea, even they seemed to believe that she needed to help him because she needed to be helped. If she would walk away, she would forever be wondering if she caused her own dismay, if she was responsible for her own tragedy. Suddenly it all became about her, about her being able to help him so Allah would help her, about the answer to her call to Allah, about him coming back to her, about their marriage, about them. She knew Allah didn’t need her to help the man, if He wanted He would send someone much richer who could give him everything he needs. The man specifically came to her for a reason. This was all part of a much bigger play. It was more of a test for her. Because it was NO coincidence that minutes after asking Allah what to do, this man came out of nowhere and started telling her his story.

Without giving herself much time to second guess her decision, she stacked the money in the hands of the man, asked for him for his prayers and walked away.

At around 1 o clock in the morning, she got a text. It was from him. Guess what? He just escaped a near death experience 5 mins ago. He was speeding on the highway and didn’t see a truck coming. He said he didn’t know how he was able to press the brakes on time because his reaction time was delayed due to all the stress. But he didn’t really care, he knew it was her prayers. He knew it was Allah who saved him through her prayers. He knew it because this is the blessing of their marriage.

Did she agree with him? Somewhat yes. But she knew, right there, right then, it was the charity she did for the poor man outside the mosque which saved him. He was alive because Allah had his brakes pressed right on time, because she listened to Him and did what she was asked to do, because his life was way more precious than any money she was hoarding which is why she had to give them away. He was alive because of the following hadith:

MashaAllah, may Allah protect them and their blessings.

Their marriage is still a struggle, still an uphill battle. They still do not live together, still get into fights, still are facing roadblocks, despite their being so much love and longing for each other. As she shares this story with all of you, she requests that you please remember them in your prayers, that Allah blesses their marriage with tranquility and love which brings them closer to Him in devotion, the marriage which leads them to Paradise.

As for me, this Ramadan, I have launched my own project to build 2 mosques and water wells, only for 1500 Dollars. I will personally oversee the project the ensure the proceeds are directed to the right cause. Please show me your support by  contributing generously and spreading the word. Its a small amount of money that could change lives of so many people, for who knows who will pray in those mosques and have their lives completely transformed for the better, and knowing that you somehow contributed to that! (Even if you do not contribute, please click on the link to read a really nice story of how charity increases wealth. Please make sure you log in again if the link doesn’t appear the first time upon signing in/up.)

https://www.launchgood.com/project/join_us_in_this_midsummer_nights_dream#!/

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.

Angry Birds

img_0904

I recently heard from a woman that she used to feed birds when she was going through a tough time, and Allah fulfilled her desires through her kindness to birds. As I reflected more on on her story and the above corresponding saying of our beloved Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), I couldn’t help but wonder, how honorable it is to be part of this Tawaqqul (Reliance on Allah) journey of these birds?

Food is one of the, if not the ultimate, primitive needs of creations. Any creature is biologically created to need and want food, this is no news. But for birds, their whole lives rely on absolute Tawaqqul on Allah to provide them with food. Allah does not need you and me to feed those birds, that is not our responsibility, its His. But if we could voluntarily contribute to this “Tawaqqul-ful” journey of the birds by everyday feeding them some left overs from our kitchen, we might just have included ourselves among those who made their journey of Tawaqqul a bit easier. If everyday, we can set up a time when we will have their foods ready, we just made their “uncertain” life a tad bit “certain”. They know they can count on us to have their food ready on time. May be some angry bird will return home happily because its day went easy, especially on the days when the weather is harsh. Unlike us, they do not have the luxury to take a day off or snuggle up under the duvet till late on a Sunday morning.

In our lives when we are surmounted by predicaments of nothing but uncertainty, resorting to nothing but Tawaqqul to Allah, I cant help wonder that may be by feeding these birds, easing their journey of Tawaqqul a little bit, we might end up getting some ease and relief from Allah as well. After all its not easy to be in a journey of absolute Tawaqqul, and most definitely its nothing but an honor in my book if we can ease someone’s journey a little bit, even if that is s a bird. Perhaps that is why we still marvel at the story of how a prostitute was granted paradise just because she quenched a dog’s thirst. From a difficult worldly life, she was granted the best afterlife with absolute ease simply because she contributed to the “Tawaqqul-ful” journey of another creation.

Sounds a pretty good investment to me! Just a food for thought.

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.

Meant To Be

A lot of times I hear people say “if its meant to be, it will happen”. From where I see things, honestly this statement doesnt make sense to me. “If it is meant to be then it will be happen” just read the statement! It sounds as if the entire carousel is in the hands of a machine which just follows a set of commands, or you can also think of it like a gambling machine where you have no control on the outcome. In either case, it sounds as if we have no control over what happens and “Allah is not objectified as The One Who orchestrates all events”. Its almost akin to an atheistical point of view, where there isnt the notion of a being called God or Allah.

The Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings be upon him) said “Nothing can change your destiny except dua”. This hadtih itself begs the question, if everything is meant to be, then why would Allah reveal to us through His messenger (may peace be upon him) that “what is meant to be, can be changed by dua”? Afterall isnt “meant to be” a synonym for “destiny”?

I recently heard a story. A woman during the time of Prophet Moses (may peace be upon him) prayed to Allah for a child for many years, with zero results. So one day Moses asked Allah why isnt He granting her a child. Allah replied that it is not in her destiny to have children. After a while, one day Moses saw her with a baby in her arms. Curious, he asked her, only to be greeted with a reply,” I didnt give up even though Allah declined my request. I know He can do anything, He can give me a baby.” And Allah did. SubhanAllah (all glory and perfection is to Allah).

Sometimes possibilities and impossibilities are mere limitations of the mind. The prophet saw said to not use the word “if” during calamities for a reason. Because the word “if” is full of uncertainties, and where there are uncertainties there is always doubt. Dua(prayer) and uncertainties therefore dont bring an answer (which is also something the Prophet said). So its vital to clear up the “if meant to be” mindset in order to bring the conviction and faith in the prayers that we make. (I am NOT referring to istikhara. Sometimes we give up on basics of life like job, wealth, marriage or children because we think we arent meant to have them.)

This is something I wrote a while ago to help combat the negative doubts that creep in:

Acknowledge the thought. Realise the negative thought is a part of your mind thats trying to protect you from heartache by telling you beforehand what it “thinks” will happen.

However its only a thought, and it has no more power than a good thought. So acknowledge the thought, thank it for trying to protect you, and then tell it “while I appreciate your care, I now let you go. I choose to believe it will work, because its the promise of my messenger (peace be upon him), and I choose to believe him. It was nice knowing you, thought, but now I am going to choose a thought that makes me happy and look forward to manifestation of my duas”..

It might sound crazy but if you can be persistent eventually your subconscious will accept this new thought, inshaAllah…

A/N: Nothing mentioned here are a scholarly opinion and are intended to be taken only as reflections to strengthen faith. As always, take any good you get and leave the rest to collect dust ❤️

And please do remember me in your duas, that Allah opens my doors that I am asking Him to open. Thank you for reading ❤️❤️

Hit the “follow” button so to make sure you never miss a post. You will get an email everytime there is a new post 🙂

It Never Happened: Ordinary Miracles

img_0770-3

I felt horrible about it as soon as I got off the phone, because I realised what had I done. I should have been careful, I should have double checked my work before submitting. I cant possibly afford to make another hefty mistake after coming this far. Why is it so hard ? Why do I always have to check my work? Why am I not allowed any mercy for any humanly mistake I make? It was one of those overwhelming moments, one where you are suddenly infused with uncontrollable grief, pain and sadness. Emotions bottled up, frustrations pent up- all came out at once as I stifled my sobs behind closed doors, bracing myself for yet another sleepless night.

I tried to pray, but nothing came out. Tried to have a little compassionate pep talk with myself, sending the frightened child inside me some love and companionship, convincing it yet again that Allah and us are a team, and that we are going to be okay. I just have to bite my teeth and let this pain pass through this moment, and because this pain is excruciating, the guilt is overwhelming, I am allowed to do whatever I want to make this as easy as it could get. I tossed away my notebooks and everything that I was working on. It all seemed futile now. I asked a friend to pray for me though!

After a few minutes, I mastered the strength to pick up my Quran to finish my daily Baqarah. (Read here for my daily Baqarah challenge).  I really could do nothing right now. Nothing and noone could help me. I remembered a conversation I had earlier in the day about healing from the Quran, and started reading the Baqarah as if my last lifeline depended on it. After 4-5 minutes of reading, I started to feel the emotions subside. I cant explain or pinpoint the feeling, I guess its one akin to the Ecstasy drug they take to feel so. But neverthless atleast the pain wasn’t as much, which is still something. I even walked out of my room and faked a smile as I passed through the lounge, noone could tell anything. So the calmness was working.

Something in me spoke up. I realised that I made mistake yes, but I coulnd’t let myself wallow in self pity because there is nothing I could do. I had to do whatever I could, and if that means just plain Istighfar (i.e ask for forgiveness from Allah), then so be it. Since when did Allah need my efforts to fix up messes that I create? After all  He created me a human, so by nature I am supposed to make mistakes. He is the One who is perfect, so He is supposed to fix what I goof up. (This is something I learnt previously, here ),

So I freshened up from my disheavelled state, and sat down on my bed with my tally counter, to ask for forgiveness to Allah and for Him to rectify the issue. I was no longer feeling the tightness in the chest. I felt numb, which was much better than the pain of reprimanding myself for messing up such an important project I have been working on so diligently.

img_1274

Just as I sat down ( I just made the intention, hadn’t started istighfar yet), my phone vibrated with an incoming phone call. The client called and said the meeting is still in place tomorrow. By the end of the conversation I realised that the client HAD NO IDEA of the mistake I had made, because NO MISTAKE was made at all. SubhanALLAH! Allah manoeuvred and orchestrated everything within an hour such that He literally hit the UNDO button, no mistake was actually made at all. I have no idea how it happened, because my sent messages clearly show that I did. It is unexplainable and doesn’t make sense. I don’t know if it is because of the loving pep talk I had with myself about self compassion (afterall Allah says to be kind with His creations), the Baqarah reciting with tears streaming down my eyes,  the intent to do istighfar as the last resort (based on the saying of the Messenger, may peace and blessings be upon him, that actions are but by their intentions), the dua made by others (which is guaranteed to be answered), or perhaps none (perhaps it was Allah’s love and mercy which is not conditioned on us doing anything to be eligible for). I do not know. But at a time when everyday is an uphill battle, putting one foot in front of the other, these little things (at that overwhelming moment it was not little at all. That was all I could think of that moment) get us going. They make us realise that Allah is always speaking to us, sending messages and signs, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more. Little miracles like this want us to believe that somewhere out there, there is still magic! If you cant find it, it will come find you.

fb_img_1487012024664

Please remember me in your prayers that Allah opens the doors I am asking Him to open. Thanks

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.