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#!/

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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.

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!

But I Have Promises To Keep, And Miles To Go Before I Sleep: Reflections On Ramadan 2017


Despite my phobia of Ramadan, despite dreading its arrival, despite not being mentally ready to walk down that same time of the year that took everything away from me, it happened. Ramadan happened, it came and it left. 

It was a roller coaster ride, perhaps with more lows than highs.The lows were brutal, much akin to the monstrous events of last year. I was hurt, bruised, torn, yet again. Most of the Ramadan I did very little worship, because my health couldnt take the difficulties than kept coming, the bruises kept hurting and the heartache kept consuming me like a fire burning everything inside of me. Guilty as charged, at my lowest, I even pondered if death would rid me of this pain (may Allah forgive me).

Sounds like a total replica of last year horrific Ramadan memories, doesnt it?

But it wasnt so. This Ramadan was anything but that of last year. The good things Allah sent to me this Ramadan, most definitely never happened to me ever. From being saved from a near death experience absolutely untouched, to some of the most beautiful serendipities- ones I never knew existed, happened. And I finally did what I could never do- accept the mistakes I made last Ramadan in terms of worship. Accept that even though I thought I did all I could, I was not doing them the right way. My mindset wasnt right, and perhaps my maturity wasnt upto the level of being able to have the things I wanted out of last year’s Ramadan. Allah knows best. 

I wont forget how this year Allah let me carry on with my low energy, low enthusiastic,D graded worship for the first 20 days. I wasnt doing physically well, so alhamdulillah Allah gave me lots of leeways. But He knew better that in order for me to NOT have the Ramadan like last hear,I needed to do things that I did NOT do last year. Allah always knows better. So in ways I still cant comprehend, I literally felt Allah gently holding my hand and guiding me through the last ten nights to worship Him, regardless of the external circumstances- however much I could.He sent me support and assistance I needed in terms of spiritual motivation, through some very special people. People who were not there last year. He ordained for me to witness some of miraculous ways He saves us, as I witnessed it in my own life as well as in the life of my friend- the miraculous and unimaginable ways He helps against every odds, bending every rules, every laws. Against everything that always goes wrong, when we ask Allah, He doesnt hesitate to go the unusual way. One of the verses that I witnessed this month was: 


Despite everything, as Ramadan is leaving I feel little unsafe. I feel little unprotected. I feel like no matter what I was being protected under the shade of Ramadan. And this is when I remind myself that I worship Allah, not Ramadan. Its the same Allah with His Unimaginable Mercy and Power that will always be there, because unlike Ramadan, He is not seasonal. That the doors to duas remain open throughout the year as long as I live, because Allah will continue to come down in the last one third of everynight to ask me what I want, regardless of the time of the year.

Because Allah protects me, not Ramadan. 

Thank you Allah. 

Alhamdulillah.


Reflections On Istighfar (To Have Duas Answered)

We have all pretty much heard about the above saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). A lot of us engage in daily dhikr (counting beads) through istighfar to have our duas answered. Even the Quran has numerous verses which talk about the benefits of asking for forgiveness- both worldly and for the hereafter.Benefits of istighfar are widespread all over the internet, alhamdulillah, in case you want to know more about it.
The idea is basically to have our sins forgiven. Most definitely the first way to do so is to do istighfar, verbally asking Allah to overlook our shortcomings. But thats not the only way. There are plenty of other deeds which forgive our sins as well. For eg, dua after eating, doing wudu, dua after leaving washroom, saying subhanAllah, alhamdulillah and allahu akbar 33 times each followed by la ilala illallahu…shayin qadeer once. ( I am skipping details because this post is really not about knowledge, please refer to more scholarly platforms for in depth knowledge of duas and dhikrs with their virtues.) 

So when we are tying our intention to do as much istighfar as possible so to have our doors opened, we should focus on all those things which forgive our sins, along with doing the istighfar per se. We will notice so many mundane things we do already contain the virtue of having sins forgiven, we just need to have the intention and presence of mind. Every good that we do, we can make the intention to have some of our sins forgiven for that. 

Therefore, if you are looking to do lots of istighfar, look out for all the deeds which have the reward of having sins forgiven. You should get them in the books of hadith or other scholarly resources, inshaAllah.

This post is actually inspired from a lecture of Mufti Menk. 

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

Day 16: Ramadan Reflections- A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Disclaimer: Contains tiny bit of poignant hues

I was really hoping I would be catching some sleep that night. I didnt want the night to turn out like this. I wished I didnt know about it, I wished I could unhear what I heard. I honestly wished I could travel to the world above the skies for couple days, perhaps the weekend, and come back on Monday morning. Take the weekend off- because in my world, taking the weekend off is pretty analogous to that.

After I hung up on the phone, I sat on my bed, trying to make sense of what or how am i supposed to feel. Nowadays it doesnt even hurt anymore, I guess the sensations in the nerves have wilted out over the years. It hurts so bad it doesnt hurt anymore. I still needed to know what am I supposed to feel- because the darkness seemed to trump the faint light that was struggling to peek. And I wanted that light, albeit small, its much better than the mostrous darkness. The darkness is like a canine, a hound may be- just the presence of it sometimes is ominous.

As much as my sinister lower self tried to let itself fall prey on the sadistic, merciless predator, my corresponding meek, vulnerable, still wanting to live and not leave part saw something. Something that no matter how much my ego tried to dismiss saying the tragedy is greater- failed.

The Moon. The moon and I have come pretty close since last winter. I like it. When I am alone among the 6bn people in the world, the moon joins me and we silently glorify our Creator everynight. 

In the Quran, Allah says He is 

Everything that is illuminating- sun, moon, star- all are from Allah’s Light.Even in that dark, ruthless night, the Moon was there with me, and through it, Light of My Creator. Even in that turmoil of emotions, amidst the chaos of my raging heart, I noticed how beautiful the Light was. Soft, subtle, silently illuminating the very area where I pray. For a moment my thoughts drifted to the moon, that Light, those memories. I remembered my dream dua- that of my dream home, where I pray to Allah in the depths of the night, with the moonlight filling up my entire bedroom, falling right on my bed. The very bed where I was sitting that time and thinking about it all.

So I got up, gently pulled the blanket aside, and joined the moon. Together we silently glorified Our Creator, and as I prayed for my dream life, I hope it joined me too.

Perhaps thats why the night was so dark, thats why I had to hear what I hear, went through the incidents of that night. So I could see that the only pretty thing that night was the moon.

And my dream duas.

Day 15: Ramadan DUAries (DUA+Stories)-No Strings Attached

Disclaimer: The title does NOT refer to the literal meaning of having no strings attached. I have attempted to use it in a different context.


About 10mins ago I was making dua after Asr prayer for someone- she wants to come close to Allah and His book, and wants to know Allah better by His names. Again, it wasnt one of those bawling or crying my eyes out dua- but yes I knew what I was asking for her and the importance of that. 

Just as I finished my prayer, she texted me. Goes without saying, I told her that I was just making dua for her about 10mins back. Her reply? “About 10 mins ago I was reading the Quran, and came across this verse that really touched my heart”.

SubhanAllah, Glory is to The Lord of the Skies and the Earth. When I was making dua for her, I wasnt even thinking about her- in the sense what is she doing now, is she eating, basically at that moment she only existed in my “dua world” to Allah. At the same time, she was reading the Book of Allah, listening to what He has to say, not remembering (that exact moment) that she asked someone to make dua for her Quran journey. We both were vested in our own relationship with Allah that moment, and Allah was busy using one of us to benefit the other. 

I dont know if I could explain the chorewheel as simply as I hoped I would. Because its not simple. I sometimes really cant fathom the multitude of strings Allah pulls to make an event, as mundane as this to happen. Somehow He connects people He wants to connect, without attaching any visible strings. You know there is a string but you cant put your fingers on it. And that baffles me, because countless of such things happen to us everyday, and we let go of them without contemplating about the scenes in the background.