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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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)

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!

Marvel: The Series- Al Lateef, Al Qawee, Al Azeez

Stumbling upon this verse, something really struck a cord with me. I paused and reflected on the contrasting names of Allah; He is The Subtle One (Al Lateef), but He is also The Powerful One (Al Qawee), The All Mighty (Al Azeez). 

When life moves very very slowly, or seemingly slowly, almost akin to snail speed, we sometimes even have to pinch ourselves to believe that things are actually happening, albeit in the realm of the unseen reality. As “make believe” as that feels, because Allah is so Subtle, it is also equally true that He is the Dominant one. Allah has not left our affairs in autopilot.  We are not in a position where we have to sort of feel like He is not giving us enough attention (sounds horrible, may Allah forgive us, but we all go through those spiritual lows because we are humans and we were created with our sinister lower selves that is always full of trash talks). Even though the subtlety with which He orchestrates the nuances are sometimes so ordinary, that we almost feel like nothing is happening at all, His Might and Power is constantly doing things, planning in our favor, laying foundations for the good that is to follow. There is constant work in progress being done in the background, in the veil of the Unseen. 

When I was going through the worst phase of my life, circumstances dictated me to do certain things that time, make certain moves, take certain steps which at that time felt absolutely “unneeded” and didnt make sense at all. I wanted to run away from everything, even from life from a brief period of time. But today, I am living off of the fruits of those painful yet much needed decisions. Looking back I realise that the things that are happening right now,both good and bad,need the resources I gathered that time from those troublesome decisions. So basically Allah was planning it all since then. I just couldnt see and didnt know.

Just because things are subtle doesnt mean they arent powerful enough, impactful enough. When disaster strikes, the impact is a right knock out punch that makes you throw up blood from the guy, but for relief and joy, its slow and gentle. However, that does NOT by anyway mean the latter are not strong or powerful enough to change our lives with joy and bliss. Both have equal power to change the course of history, our lives, our stories.

Something to think about eh?

Where’s The Party Tonight? 

When I started my gratitude journey about six months back, for me it primarily meant to journal the good things that happened that day, and to observe the increases as I kept being grateful. The months that followed brought about a lot of goodness in my life, both in terms of state of mind as well as in physical manifestation of blessings. All of these are nothing but promise of Allah. Alhamdulillah.


The last few months also have had some excruciatingly challenging times, times when I got knock punched at the pit of my stomach,times when doubted, stood at the verge of breaking down and giving up, and so on. But if there is one thing I have learnt was yes, I had to cling onto my journals like a lifeline, yes I had to thank Allah in my prayers for the good things He showered, but what I also realised was that I had to celebrate with Allah.

Yes celebrate! Allah gives us joy so we can be grateful. However, genuine, true gratitude goes above and beyond ritualistic confinements of worship prayer, fasting, charities etc. Of course you do them, but the underlying attitude TO ALLAH is what sometimes we miss out. How many times have you taken one extra slice of that mud cake, poured one extra scoop of icecreme, or binge ate till your stomach bloated, just because you wanted to show Allah how happy you are? Sure we all do these perhaps to show some self love, I am no exception either. But when doing them out of love for Allah, to spoil yourself to show Allah how happy you are, to know that Allah is watching you being so glee with joy, crashing at your couch and not open your eyes till its noon the next day because you feel so good, how happy is Allah feeling to see His favorite slave so happy YET remembering to include Him in the party? He loves you more than your mother, so if mother would have tears in her eyes just to see you so drunk with happiness, imagine how Allah must feel, when He knows EXACTLY the type of feeling you are getting? He created those feelings of glee inside of you, He is the only One who knows how amazing those happy feelings are, other might understand but only Allah knows the degree. SubhanAllah.

So next time you do a self love party, include Allah as your friend. Ask Him which flavor of icecreme, if the mocha would be fat or non fat, or if you should finally get that Chanel you have been thinking of for a long time, and if what you are wearing is making you look 10lbs more or less. Ask Him, Celebrate with Him, Include Him, Remember Him. Because He said:

Serendipity Happens, A Lot Like Love

Sometimes its just a thought

Sometimes its a feeling 

But sometimes, you just know it. Its unexplainable, but you just do. There isnt any other way to say it. Hold onto those.

The Light of Allah is unlike any other light, neither of the East or the West (ref Surah Nur), and so is this feeling. Lights are there to remove darkness of confusions and doubts, to bring in clarity, direction and brightness.So dont try to disturb the magic with worldly shackles of practicality, reality, possibility or logic. 

Wheather you are Sleepless in Seattle, or living At The Lakehouse, taking A Walk In The Clouds or waiting for Sweet November, just for tonight, i need you to forget every Definitely, Maybe, and just Remember This:

Serendipity Happens, A Lot Like Love…