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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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 🙂

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.

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)

Confessions Of A Duaholic: Dua Yunus

A/N: Dua=Prayer

As part of a very major project that I am working on, yesterday I needed to deliever a very significant message to a stakeholder. I have been working tirelessly to get all the success from this assignment, and consequently I was so excited at getting this opportunity that I just jumped in, without really preparing adequately. I did not work on the presentations or my communications skills. I just randomly conveyed without much courtesy.

Upon getting no reply back, I got really worried this morning. As much as I denied to myself in an effort to keep my chin up, deep down I knew I could do a much better job, and a damage was done which definitely would cost me time, and I cant afford that right now. I made this same mistake once before too and I was supposed to already learn from it.

I had an important meeting later in the day and it would be really helpful to get a reply before that; the success of the meeting depends a lot on that. So I asked a friend to pray for me, that Allah sorts it out and fixes my mistake. The stakeholder takes the message as it was intended, not as I presented. However, I was still feeling a bit restless, so I started reciting The Prayer of Prophet Yunus (also called Dua Yunus. It was recited by Prophet Yunus or Jonah, when he made a mistake, only to be trapped in the belly of a whale, and turned to Allah for help) This is what I recited and in Italics are what I implied:

La Ilaha Illa Anta (There is No God But You)

Allah only you can help me

Subhanaka (You are free from imperfections)

You dont make mistakes.In fact You fix mistakes of others, so fix mine

Inni Kuntu Minaz Zwalimin (I am the one who has wronged myself)

I am human, so I am bound to make mistakes.

Basically what I mean was “Oh Allah, I intended to do good but I made mistakes because I am a human. But You never make any mistakes and You can actually fix this, only You can. So fix this“.

I recited this dua about 50times roughly. (Note: There is NO prescribed numbers to recite it. I randomly recited 50times.) Then after a while (about am hour later) I decided to contact the stakeholder myself and find out whats going on, if everything was okay, because I didnt hear anything back after I left the message yesterday. To my immense delight, I immediately heard back from him. He mentioned that he actually did send a reply before, but it never got delivered to me. It was sitting in his “compose” section still. He forgot to press “send”. He apologised and said everything was fine. Alhamdulillah.

SubhanAllah. I asked Allah to rectify my mistake, but He made it such that a mistake was NOT MADE AT ALL in the first place! (I am skipping the details due to irrelevancy.)

How Absolute Is He!(Subhanak)

And How Silly I Am (to worry so much unnecessarily and wrong my health in the process).🙈

I learnt about the detailed meaning and translation of this dua about a month ago, and I am really glad I did because it helped me today. And I hope and pray it will help you too, if (I pray not!) you find yourself ever in need for it.

em>Please take only the good that you get from this story, and leave the rest to collect dust.<<<<<<<<<<
r this project of mine in your prayers please, that Allah grants it an easy success beyond measure, much much before the deadline. Its success will bring an abundance of goodness for me, in both this life and the next. Amen 🤲🏻

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

She was extremely worried, almost akin to being crippled with the thoughts of all the ‘what ifs’ that could possibly happen for it all to go wrong, for all her efforts to go in vein. The people she was arranging the function with were not the most cooperative, and as happens with all families, the complains, comparisons and the dubious judgements were draining her spirit away with apprehension. The function had to go right, she prayed so much for this occasion, and now it would kill her if it did not go smooth.

Its not easy being in her shoes. Doing so much, so selflessly, for people so close to her yet being unappreciated and rather envied upon, is very demotivating. She was constantly praying for it go well, but still the anxiety was not leaving her. So she took a step back and reassessed everything.

She was doing it all for the wrong reason. She was working so hard, doing it all by herself so everyone around would be pleased, happy and confortable. She was doing it for a noble reason, but the situation demanded that she be nobler. So she geared her intention away and decided to do it all an act of worship, an act of charity to gain pleasure of Allah. She threw away her constant need of people’s approval and started organising the function as if Allah was coming to attend it, as if it was Allah who she needed to impress- be it her dress, her looks, her decorations or the food. Thats it. Allah is the Guest of Honor so thats what she focussed on.

No sooner than she did so, not only did it calm her down and for the first time since the wedding preparations started she started to enjoy herself, but also everything that was causing her to worry started disappearing. Her scarf arrived right when she was about to head out, she was praised remarkably for her looks and the way she carried herself,and the function? Well it couldn’t have gone any better! Literally that’s how simple it was! Suddenly everything around was effortless, it all just fell into place like the missing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. It was a complete wedding. Alhamdulillah, MashaAllah, TabarakAllah.

As she stood there and looked at the bride and the groom, she realised she was watching her prayer being answered. Allah knows how much she wanted and prayed for these two to be married to each other, and that’s probably why she put her heart and soul into organizing this wedding so much, because it was her prayer being answered. And Allah couldn’t have answered it any better, making her the highlight of the entire event. Because only He witnessed every sincere effort and intention she put behind making this wedding happen.

 

Even someone else was telling me the other day, that when she needs her friends and they aren’t there for her, she turns herself away from everything and everyone and starts praying. Literally within 5 mins her phone starts bombarding with calls. Someone wise has said, “if you want to fix your relationships with others, fix your relationship with Allah. He will in turn fix it with people for you.”

These are stories of average people, the everyday heroes or the John/ Jane Doe’s of our daily lives. None are particularly good or worthy, and all are full of mistakes. They are just like you and me- they sometimes forget to pray, say things they shoulnt say, utter white lies in the heat of the moment, get worried, stressed, struggle to hold faith, and fail to “feel grateful”. And yet these stories, their stories,  remind me, time and time again, that :


I hope it reminds you too. 

Sweet Nothings, Just Because! 

My co-worker is an elderly Jewish Rabbi. He is very friendly and nice, though I hardly run into him. Today out of nowhere he apprared in my room in the morning, offering me resources from his years of hard work, so it would ease up my workload. I could just use his files instead of making my own. Then later in the day, he got lunch for himself, but because it was too much for him to eat alone he brought them to my room again to share with me. I didnt have my lunch with me, because I already ate it at breakfast, so I could use his food. 

Right before I heading home, there were some treats left downstairs by the reception area, “just because”. I grabbed a doughnut as I punched out the clock.

As I walked towards the bus stop, I couldnt help but think how Allah has been doing so much extra for me through this hardship that recently came up on me last week. I have seen parents bring home favorite food when children are sick or upset. But The Lord Of The Skies And The Earth employed people from all walks of life, all different religions into doing these little things for me which He didnt need to, just because. The food or files didnt bring much difference in my day or my mood, I wasnt particularly elated. I kept getting worried and upset about the troubles and problems. But yes, for 2 seconds, just for 2 seconds, they helped shift my focus away and towards the grandeur with which Allah arranged these little somethings to care for me, to look after me. For two seconds it helped me appreciate and contemplate on Allah’s concern and touch. And then the two seconds increased to few more minutes as I decided to pen them down here. This is probably called increase from gratitude. Or may be not. But for whatever its worth, its few minutes worth of sweet nothings, just because! 

And that’s something.