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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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

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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.

Great Expectations: Istighfar

(A/N:Istighfar=Asking for forgiveness from Allah)

When I started my daily Istighfar challenge in November with 2 other friends, Alhamdulillah I did see things happen in life. As usual they start with little miracles and progressively increase, of course by will of Allah. HOWEVER, as months passed, I felt that my Istighfars were not really working as well, in terms of manifestations, or at least as I would expect. I have heard stories of so many people having mountains moved in days or weeks just by doing Istighfar, so my expectations were similar to that level. So at the end of 3 months I actually sat down and reflected over the Istighfars that I was doing.

I realised that when I started doing Istighfar, I took it up as one of the many things I was already doing as a challenge, for eg Gratitude Journal ( G Journal), Tahajjud (Night Vigil Prayer) etc. If I can be honest with myself, my hidden mentality was ” I am already doing so many things,  might as well add Istighfar to it. Doesn’t harm to try it out.”  I was doing my Istighfars half-heartedly, and as a result I felt my life was also moving half-heartedly.

Now, ‘half- heartedly’ doesnt mean I wasn’t focussed. I was paying complete attention to my Istighfars as much as I could, I would think of the mistakes I would make throughout the day and ask forgiveness for those. “Asking for forgiveness” isn’t what I was making the mistake in. My mistake was in my “half-hearted intention”. I wasn’t putting the absolute intention, having absolute conviction, absolute expectations of things changing from my Istighfars. I was not putting as much care in my intentions as I was putting in the physical efforts of counting the beads to do Istighfars. It was more like a chore. I was doing it as one of the “many things” that help with answering of dua. In fact, I wasn’t really putting as much expectations from my Istighfars as I was perhaps putting from Baqarah or G Journal. (That’s what happens when we take too many things in our plate and then crash with them altogether, net final result being zilch. That’s why the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him said Allah loves deeds which are regular, albeit small.)

So my take away from all of this is that, for getting solid results from Istighfar, we need to be mindful of the intention behind doing them, and the results that we are expecting, along with being genuine in our repentance. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, because Allah Himself has “bribed” us with so many incentives to do Istighfars (you can read up here for details prescribed in the Quran as Istighfar benefits). If He didn’t want us to have them, why would He promise?

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I personally felt that we need to realise that sometimes years of  delay wash away our motivation and strength to “get up one more time and try this one more time, when all else has failed”, and that’s why we often miss the results. Its incredibly easier said than done, I know! But that’s also why I usually try to give myself shorter deadlines. For eg, set a certain number of days to focus on Istighfar, and then write down all the changes that happen. (Writing is always more powerful that keeping tabs in mind, the latter is what most of us do unfortunately, including myself.) That helps establish the faith in extending that challenge to more number of days ( I have done that with G Journal, Baqarah and currently on Istighfar).

Read the verse above. Allah will not change out condition until WE change whats inside of us. So not only is the pre-requisite for external change is a shift in our inner mindset, but also that inner change has to be brought about by us. YOU need to change your insides for Allah to change whats on your outside. Its simple but not always easy, and thats why we take baby steps. Allah appreciates those baby steps and rewards us, giving us the strength and courage to take the bigger, “adult” steps. You become happy, give Him thanks, and He gives you more.

And the cycle continues.

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 ❤️❤️

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It Never Happened: Ordinary Miracles

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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.

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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.

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

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)

My Version of Ayatul Qursi

Somehow, Ayatul Qursi speaks to me. I thought I would share how, perhaps it will speak to someone else as well. For whatever its worth, its a little effort I make to be little more optimistic about the future.

Allah, There is no God but He

The Ever Living, The Self Sufficient

Allah is the One who is looking after me, in the subtle most ways. Sure He is taking time to give me what I am asking for, but I am not going to deny every other little duas He is answering for me throughout the day. From his self sufficiency,He is making sure that I am more than self sufficient in every other areas of my life, that I do not have to ask anyone for any help.

Neither drowsiness nor sleep overtakes Him

He does not get tired doing this for me without fail, every day, every night. I fall asleep but He stays up the whole night making sure that I am sleeping well enough, that I am waking up in time for Tahajjud, that the shrill cries of the ugly musical band playing outside is not hampering my sleep, despite me being a light sleeper. And most of all, He is giving me signs throughout the day, tirelessly, with full vigor, that He has NOT abandoned me at all.

To Him belong the skies and the earth

Who can interfere without His permission?

I have my own fears and apprehensions of uncertainties of the future. No matter how much I try to hold onto faith, in the end I am just a mortal. But the truth still remains that when Allah is protecting what is mine, who is going to snatch it away? (I still need to master this one though)

He knows what is before them (people) and what is after them

My words sometimes fail me when I start counting how many ways I have been wronged, harmed, put through things for no fault of mine. But thats okay even if I have lost count, because Allah knows what has happened. More than me, He knows.

And they (humans) do not know anything unless He allows it

He also knows what happens next. I have my own worries that sometimes rob the living out of me, but I wonder if Allah laughs seeing my state, at my craziness. What if Allah is smiling, thinking ” she is so worried about things she doesnt even know about, and here I have prepared so much for her. She knows what happened in her past, but she has no idea how much of a lifetime’s worth of happiness I have kept for her, right after this instance

And His control extends from the skies to the earth

And protecting them does not make Him tired

And no matter how much reality messes itself up, I am the one who guards my slaves’ share of happiness. I am in charge of it, in this world and the next. So what is reality, when I am the ONE who is guarding their affairs?

And He is The Most High, Most Great

 

Hope it helps. 

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