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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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#!/

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.

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 ❤️❤️

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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)

The Painted Veil: Story Of A Prayer Answered

Dear Readers,

I recently had a conversation with a very dear friend of mine, who had been battling tremendous amount of hardship for a long time.  She got married very early for her age, and mashaAllah have very beautiful children. But her marriage had been a turmoil since as long as she can remember. She has been married for 8 years and the journey has been anything but a turmoil, akin to riding in Noah’s ark. There were times when she was tested to the limits with her marriage such that I would never want anyone to be tested with. She tried a lot of duas, with sincerity and honesty, but the results came out zilch.
Recently, finding no other way, she asked others to pray for her, to get a clarity of things, to get a direction of what she should do, because it was becoming unbearable for her. And soon after that, within just a few months, her matters started resolving on their own, flowing smoothly mashaAllah, may Allah always protect her happiness. So I reached out to her and wanted to know what is it she did because of which her years of trials and tests came to an end. I am posting our conversations here, with the hope and intention that it might reach out to a soul yearning for direction and clarity in life. Even though the context is marriage, I am sure the advice can be used generally for other situations as well. As I always say, take the good that you get, and leave the rest to collect dust.

Q: Can I ask you something? Apart from asking others to make dua for you, did you do any specific act of worship because of which your matters sorted out so smoothly and quickly, mashaAllah may Allah always protect you ?

A:I prayed 2 rakah nafl after praying fard n sunnah during Isha. My niyah for the 2 rakah nafl was Allah to take away my confusion, set things straight for me, ease my difficulties, give my heart some peace. (I didnt specifically ask to be or not to be with my husband. I left that on Allah. )

Q:So you prayed 2 nawafil after Isha sunnah before witr right?

A: Yes


Q:Ooh also did you make any specific dua in that extra 2 rakah or your intention was clear so you didnt make any specific dua for those 2 rakah?

A:I didn’t make specific dua. TBH I prayed for peace of mind and peace of heart and love. I often make nafl prayer when I’m lil uneasy, if committed minor sins or something. And through it I ask Allah to forgive me.Like if I’ve sinned ( talked behind someone’s back, or didn’t treat my kids right). When I stand in prayer for those 2 rakahs I humble my self and put all of my focus in it. And hope for Allah’s forgiveness.I pray properly, with my mind and body, and I also pray slower than usual.

Q: Hmmm so you tied forgiveness to your intention as well thats very smart mashaAllah cuz forgiveness of Allah opens doors.

A:Yeah, basically it’s very rare that I pray nafl just for the heck of it. I usually have an intent, a reason, behind it.Allah may or may not look at he quantity of our prayers but He will for sure look at the quality. I need to practice this more my self…. but yeah.

Q:If you dont mind, do you think there was any reason for things to remain unchanged for so many years for you and suddenly to change? Like was it only destiny (qadr) or may be some changes in your worship was the reason things were slugging?

A:I don’t have an answer really. The only thing that I did until few months ago was that I blamed everyone for my life, and I had reasons to. But I don’t do that anymore, because I can’t really picture my life with anyone else 😐.And I only saw negative in my husband, and I see more positive than negative now and it’s not like he changed drastically or anything but yeah my mind focuses on the positive.😊 

The only thing that’s different in life right now is that I have clarity. It’s not a perfect life nor is it a perfect marriage and in fact I think none of those “perfect” marriages/ lives, exist. It’s how you perceive your situation that matters. Sometimes your have to see it through someone else’s point of view to appreciate what you’ve got and I believe that’s what I’ve done and that’s where I benefited.

She recently celebrated her 8th marriage anniversary, and I must say she is a totally different person now. Alhamdulillah, mashaAllah, tabarakAllah. May Allah always protect her and keep her like this. She has outgrown herself from the helpless, despairing damsel in distress, and I sincerely request that you join me to say “ Ameen” (Amen) as I pray that Allah blesses her (and everyone reading this post seeking to gain some help) with a lifetime’s worth of joy, love, peace, health, ease and prosperity with all the loved ones, from this life to the next. Ameen.

We dont need to be particularly good or worthy to be deserving of relief from Allah. Most of us are ordinary people- some of us do or dont do our hijabs, some of us do nor dont spend time shopping online all day, some of us do or dont expose ourselves do unpleasant things to TV ( Of course we should try to be better than how we are now, there is always room for improvement.) But the fact lies that at the end of the day, we all have hopes to have our duas answered. In fact, hope is weak, we need to have full faith. Someone very wise once said to me, “when you want something, tell youself- I want it and Allah will give it to me. It doesnt matter how things look like, you just need to know this and have full faith that Allah will give you. Any other thoughts, just block them”. As difficult as it is to do, its not anymore complicated than that.

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