He’s got a plan for you.

9 May
Trust Him
Trust in God alone, and lean not on the needs of human help. Be not surprised when friends fail you; it is a failing world. Never reckon upon immutability in man: inconstancy you may reckon upon without fear of disappointment.
– Charles Spurgeon
 
Ever wondered how it feels to completely, utterly, carelessly, let go of yourself without a single worry about whether or not someone will have your back? I saw my friend’s son, barely 2 years old, do that. Yep. It was quite amazing! And I can promise most of you have already witnessed this.
 
He was playing around his mother and when he stood almost a foot away from her, he let himself fall back.. without blinking. As if he knew with unflinching certainty that his mother’s loving arms will be there to catch him. And there they were.. It made me realize how most of us as kids often did that with our parents, but now as grown ups we have completely forgotten or rather discarded that sense of true reliance. We have been told that Allaah’s Love for His creation is many times more than the love of a mother for her child. Yet, why do we so miserably fail to let ourselves go into His tender Love and care? If a mother and child can have that bond of totaly trust, then why can’t we have that with our Lord, our Creator, One who loves us more than anyone in this entire world, One who has control over every single atom that exists, One who Promises us goodness if we only have faith? Surely His Promises hold more value than those of the creation?
 
Alright, try this: Close your eyes (Ofcourse don’t close them yet, wait till ya read the end of this!). Picture yourself by the bank of a lake. All you can hear is the waves of water. All you can smell is the freshness of nature. Let go of every worry, forget every pain caused to you by others, forget that you’re in the middle of a divorce, or that you just had your heart broken by someone you gave your everything to, forget that you just lost your job, or that your doctor just told you you’re suffering cancer. Forget that you had a major fight with your bestfriend, or that your spouse spewed out the most awful words in a fit of anger. Let go.. Let go of everything and anything that attaches you to this world. Clear your mind. Now in the eye of your mind, let yourself fall back into Allaah’s Grace and Protection. This is where you will find safety. Allow that astounding sense of security and solace seep into your heart. This is your safe haven. Be like the 2 year old child.
 
Whenever you find your mind in the middle of a frenzy of thoughts, find a quiet space and repeat the above exercise. Believe me, there is nothing like the feeling of complete submission to Allaah and reliance on Him. You have it in your nature, its a part of you. You’ve just buried it deep inside as years passed you by.  
 
Allaah says in the Qur’aan:
 
“Say: Nothing will happen to us except what Allaah has decreed for us: He is our Protector: And on Allaah let the believers put their trust.” [at-Tawbah; 51]
 
He has been there for you all your life, watching you grow, providing for you.. sheltering you, loving you, protecting you, and above all, giving you the most simplest yet most precious blessing of being able to breathe every second. How can you then doubt that He won’t care for you for the rest of your life? Dig up that wonderful sense of trust and live it. Then only will you really and truly live your life.

Grieving with Ihsan

17 Nov
Writing about loss is always difficult because no matter what words you use, no matter how you wrap it up, no phrase can give voice to your grief. When I recently lost my baby due to a miscarriage, I was shaken to my core. My heart ached in places I never knew existed. I had initially put up a strong front, but when the reality sank in, I didn’t know how to cope. With each passing day, my grief only seemed to grow stronger and I had a constant lump in my throat. I yo-yoed between strength and despair until I crashed completely and let myself grieve fully. 

It was then that I realized how much loss can affect someone. One can fall to either extreme, neither of which have a good ending. You can put up a facade, but only for a while; you’re bound to crash. You can also give in and let yourself wallow in your pain, but that’s also a risk because it often leads to despair, and despair leads to loss of focus and identity; if left unattended, that will further lead to loss of sanity or even life. So how do we find that balance? How do we maintain our sanity and grieve at the same time?Although this matter is very personal and one very close to my heart, I know that just like me, there might be someone out there journeying through a dark period and feeling helpless. Below is a humble attempt at putting a few pointers together that helped me deal with my own pain at a time when the light at the end of the tunnel seemed like a far-off, unreachable thing.

It’s OK to Cry

We tend to think that if we cry, we are seen as weak. But that could not be further from the truth. I believe that when we cry, it’s because we are facing a certain pain, we are addressing an ache deep within us. Crying means we are acknowledging that loss, and acknowledgment is the first step to finding relief. But I personally find that whenever I cry to Allaah, I share my sorrow with someone who understands me like no one else does. Someone who knows my strengths and my weaknesses, someone who has promised that with every pang of pain, there is also relief. Someone who has seen me at my worst and has put up with me regardless. That someone, for me, has always been and always will be Allaah, because with Him I have high expectations and I have never been let down. With people though, that’s certainly different as we are almost always disappointed whenever we attach expectations to them.
So my suggestion would be to get up and pray, even if just two rak’ahs, concentrating on every word you recite, and every bow and prostration, and once you’re done, cry your heart out, but don’t let your tears go to waste. Beg Allaah for Mercy, ask Him to give you strength, ask Him to increase your patience, ask Him to keep you guided and not let you stray, ask Him to make you content with His Decree, ask Him to heal your heart. I promise you, you will feel much, much lighter. 

Renew your Focus
When we get married, most of us start thinking about having children, whether it is soon or somewhere down the road. As Muslim women, our role in society is very crucial for the same reason: We are bearers of a future generation whom we hope will carry on our legacy. And so begins our journey of child bearing. Conceiving requires a dedicated topic of its own, but for the sake of maintaining uniformity, to cut the journey short, it is sometimes an excruciatingly painful process both physically and most importantly mentally. I know of some women who have tried to conceive for years, going through the tedious processes of charting their temperatures, extensive treatments, and more, and in the end have been greeted with a Big Fat Negative pregnancy test. An experience like that is traumatic on its own, but when you finally do conceive only to lose the baby, it can really send you on an emotional roller coaster. When that happens, it is vital to remember that even though we may have spent the past few months focusing on this unborn child, preparing for its arrival, making life-altering decisions, etc., we have to shift our focus back to ourselves. 

We have been created for one and only one purpose in this world: to worship Allaah. 

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [adh-Dhariyat; 56]

Marriage, children and wealth, are only our means to attain Allaah’s Pleasure. They are not to be confused with our goals. Often what happens is we lose focus once we get married, we slack off in our ‘ibadah (worship), and once pregnancy comes into the picture, we tend to put ourselves on the back burner and forget our true goal. If Allaah decreed that for now we are not meant to have children, then that means He is asking us to renew our focus. We need to start thinking of loss not as something or someone we are being deprived of, but rather as an opportunity to secure ourselves a close spot next to the Prophets (may peace and blessings of Allaah be upon them all), their Companions and those closest to Allaah. So although it may be hard right now, push yourself to find something to do that will bring you closer to Allaah. Use your pain to initiate a project or any deed that will benefit your akhirah (afterlife) and the community. 

Nothing belongs to Us
If we considered every single thing that we have as a loan from Allaah, it would be a little easier for us to cope when we suffer a loss. It’s part of our nature as humans to form an attachment to what we have. But remind yourself that in reality, nothing really belongs to us, that everything is from Allaah and He can take them away from us whenever He wishes, out of His Knowledge and Perfect Wisdom. Only He knows how having a certain thing or someone might alter our lives and have a negative impact on us. So if you lost your baby, remember that as impossibly hard as it may be, it was for the best. And understand that loss is temporary. He might have taken it from you right now, but He is reserving it for you in a place far, far better than this transient world. It’s being kept for you in a world where death and sorrow have no place. 

Build a Strong Fortress 

Dhikr (remembrance of Allaah) is our sanctuary. When we slip into depression, we fall into shaytan’s trap. He is, as we know, forever our enemy and is always hard at work against us. But when we keep ourselves occupied with dhikr, we build a spiritual fortress which acts as a shield against shaytan. Make it a habit to recite the morning and evening du’as (invocations) as prescribed in the sunnah and in addition to that, remember to include ones that have been recommended to us during times like these: 

وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,
Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.” [al-Baqarah:155-156]

Umm Salamah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “There is no person who is afflicted with a calamity and says, ‘Verily to Allaah we belong and unto Him is our return. O Allaah, reward me for my affliction and compensate me with something better’ – but Allaah will reward him for his affliction and compensate him with something better.” She said: When Abu Salamah died, I said: Who is better than Abu Salamah, the companion of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? Then Allaah caused me to say it and I said it. She said: Then I married the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). [Saheeh Muslim] 

Remembrance of Allaah also comes in the form of praying and other acts that are done solely for attaining Allaah’s pleasure. One of the stories that has never failed to inspire me during my down moments is that of Ayyub ‘alayhissalaam. Yazid bin Maysarah said: “When Allah tested Ayyub, upon him be peace, with the loss of his family, wealth and children, and he had nothing left, he started to focus upon the remembrance of Allaah, and he said: 

‘I praise You, the Lord of lords, Who bestowed His kindness upon me and gave me wealth and children, and there was no corner of my heart that was not filled with attachment to these worldly things, then You took all of that away from me and You emptied my heart, and there is nothing to stand between me and You. If my enemy Iblees knew of this, he would be jealous of me.’” 

Ayyub ‘alayhissalaam said:
وَأَيُّوبَ إِذْ نَادَىٰ رَبَّهُ أَنِّي مَسَّنِيَ الضُّرُّ وَأَنتَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ
“And (remember) Ayyub, when he cried to his Lord: ‘Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy.’” [al-Anbiya: 83]
Allaah replied:
فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ فَكَشَفْنَا مَا بِهِ مِن ضُرٍّ ۖ وَآتَيْنَاهُ أَهْلَهُ وَمِثْلَهُم مَّعَهُمْ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِنَا وَذِكْرَىٰ لِلْعَابِدِينَ
“So We answered his call, and We removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his family to him, and the like thereof along with them as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all those who worship Us.” [al-Anbiya: 84] 

How beautiful was his patience. Just like Ayyub ‘alayhissalaam, occupy your day with various acts of ‘ibadah, and that in turn will perfect your patience and bring your heart peace and contentment.
No one can tell you to not grieve, no one has the right to minimize your pain, but how you react to your loss does define you and it is what will shape your future, both temporary and eternal. If there’s anything I have learned from my personal experience with miscarriage it is that no matter how difficult it was, I had to force my mind out of a web of defeatism and self-pity. It was a battle I fought every day and continue to fight. I will always feel an ache in my heart but it will always be followed by contentment with His Decree and the hope that Allaah will reunite me with it in a place that is far more precious, that is eternal, where all dreams come true, where pain is non-existent and where joy knows no bounds: Paradise.
6 Jul

Quiet

Sometimes we need
to be solitary
and still
to be alone
with our own
toxicity
Sometimes we need
to not utter
naked phrases
to not fill in
gaps of silence
Sometimes we need
to live
in our own quiet shells
even if for just a while
to learn the magic
that we all have within

Write..

6 Jul

Write, as much as you can, as much as you want to, write. But writing only helps when you’re honest. So write, when you’re prepared to face your fears, when you’re willing to be disturbed by your reality, when you’re ready to be shaken up inside out, when you can face the real you. That’s when your writing can make a difference.

It is not I, it is You.

2 Jul

You think you can
put me in quotes
that seem so
oppressive
You think you can
label me
call me names
You think I’m less
less of a human
because I’m a woman
a woman of color
You think it is I
who needs freedom
well let me free
your noxious little brain
let me free you
from ignorance
that’s smothered you
with hatred
because it is not I
It is you
yes you
How could you
possibly free
a bird soaring high
in the sky?
How could you
possibly not know
pearls are found
hidden deep down
in the sea?
How could you
possibly expect
a rose
grown amidst weeds
change into a weed itself?
No, it is not me
It is you
and your poisoned mind
It is you
and your hate
It is you
and your hopelessness
that needs changing
It’s not me
It’s you

Murdered by Media

24 Jun

She curses her reflection
and howls at her genealogy
for her wide forehead
and her chunky upper lip
she dyes, not just her hair
so shes beyond
recognition
the blackness in her curls
seeping slowly
into her veins
poisoning her mind
her fragile little heart
suffocating
from the burden of ugly
her body mummified
starved
by the latest diet
and her soul
her poor, poor soul
a prisoner of her woes
little did she know
she had died
long before
died the moment she saw
herself in that mirror
she died for beauty
thinking beautiful she will never be

Fussing Over the 15th of Sha‘ban

23 Jun

The Humble "I"

01097_rockface_1680x1050Question: Is marking out the 15th night of Sha‘ban (laylat al-nisf min sha‘ban) for extra prayers and devotion sanctioned by Islam, or is doing so judged to be a reprehensible innovation (bid‘ah)?

Answer: Each year a fair amount of fussing and fighting takes place over the issue. Yet the truth of the matter is that scholars have long held this issue to be one over which there is a valid difference of opinion. The first group considered the night to have no specific virtues over and above any other night of the year, and believed that singling the night out for extra acts of worship is unsanctioned. Another group differed and held that the middle night of Sha‘ban does have special merits and can be earmarked for extra prayers and devotion.

What follows is a discussion about why such a difference has arisen and how each of the two stances has…

View original post 2,037 more words

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