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. 

Of Wisdom and Knowledge

People with the least knowledge often turn out to be the wisest. Plenty of people have lives full of examples and remarkable stories, but devoid of any wisdom. The greatest treasure you can steal from any circumstance is wisdom. You will meet a lot of people who are very knowledgeable but will still feel like you are not getting the exact help from them that will “click” with you. That “click” is basically wisdom; you are looking for wisdom my friend. And off the record, wisdom does not really have much to do with age.

“…whoever had been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. And none will remember except those of understanding”(Quran 2:269).

Then Serendipity Happens

Allah does not limit gratitude in this verse. In His infallible wisdom He does not say if you are grateful for something He will increase you only in that and not others.

Alhamdulillah I have seen this manifest in my life lately. In my gratitude journal I express my gratitude to Allah for things which don’t even really play a role in my everyday life. But I still have been noting them down as part of my healing. What is remarkable is that out of nowhere Allah tied those blessings to my dreams and aspirations, to my goals and where I want to be.

What I am trying to say is, if you want A and B, and X is absolutely unrelated to them, still be grateful for X. If you are sincere and persistant in gratitude even when you don’t feel like, Allah might tie X with A and B, making it a means to achieve those two.

In His immense wisdom Allah knows that when we go through catastrophic situations its sometimes difficult to find goodness in that. More oftwn that not, we are unable to be grateful because our lower self becomes stubborn. That is why Allah, The Most Wise, has opened up other gates. If we can be grateful for other things He can always tie them to our particular situation.How? That is His department 🙂

He truely appreciates your effort in being grateful, albeit you might struggle to do so.He is Al Shakur. So do not underestimate the power of gratitude even for the mundane things.

Then Serendipity Happens.

Stop And Smell The Roses

When the road ahead looks too long, when destination seems like a mirage, then look back.When uncertainty of the future worries you and stillness of the present tires you, look at the past.See how far Allah has brought you. You thought you couldn’t do it, but the days that went by testifies to a different story. You thought you were wading aimlessly in the dark, but He was guiding you at every step.

wp-1485834440043.jpg

He is Al Lateef (The Subtle One). He takes care of you in a manner you don’t even have the ability to fathom. 

When you wander aimlessly in the street, not even aware of dodging a bullet or a car running you over, He is guiding every step that you take. Your guardian angels are always alert at your service, at the commands of your Creator to ensure your safety.Even when you do not care, He does.

Amidst the chaos of life, stop and smell your roses. Breathe into their scent, gaze at their beauty and recall how Allah created them out of nothing,then colored them into beautiful shades of red, blue and black- only for you.Thorns and petals- a rose comes with both.

Your roses.Your blessings.

…and if you were to count the blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Quran (14:34)

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.