Saturday, November 5, 2016

What Will I Leave Behind? - A Tribute to Linda

" O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, and you will meet (the results of your deeds which you did)." 
(Surah Inshiqaq: 6)


For awhile now I was suffering from emaan lows and heedlessness. Even before I moved back to Canada I felt like my problems were heavily weighing me down. My problems felt like burdens upon burdens that just gave me excuses to drown myself with things that wouldn't increase my emaan and would just cause more heedlessness . I struggled a lot with my emaan during the past year and a half from the time I was living in merikuhhh up until now. I can't explain what it was exactly that made me lazy. I blame it mainly on myself and my own deficiencies because in the end even though shaytan plays a role in our demise, it is ourselves who allow him to get to us in the first place, and even use him as our main excuse. I do not deny that my passion for the deen is anywhere near where it used to be or where I wish it to be. I guess I just got caught in the life of this dunya and worrying so much on my dunya problems that I kind of just put aside my akhirah goals.

The reason why I am bringing this up is because a week ago I had received tragic news regarding two families. Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ileyhi Rajioon. A friend of mine who's beloved mother returned to Allah after battling stomach cancer ( May Allah accept her as a shaheedah ameen!) and another sister (who I was not close with, and who to me was just an online personality) passed away 3 months after delivering her second child from cancer ( May Allah forgive her and grant her Jannah ameen!). She was only in her early 30's who had a very loving husband who she would talk about often. Both these incidents happened a day after each other Subhana'Allah and it really made me reflect upon my own life. Alhamdulillah I was able to see my friend's mother the day before she returned to Allah and it really opened my eyes. I had only met Linda, my friend's mother once and even though it was only one time, I fell in love with her immediately. I remember the first time I met her she sat up and had her eyes glued on the television where the Qur'an was playing and the K'aaba showed. She talked about how nice it would be to go there. Despite her illness, she had a loving energy that really touched my heart. She was sweet, she was kind and I truly felt like she was a loving mother to her children (May Allah have mercy on her and grant her the highest level of Jannah ameen.) It only took me one meeting and I already felt such an affinity for her. She was a revert as well Alhamdulillah! The second time I saw Linda was indeed the last (May Allah reunite me with her in Jannah ameen!) La Hawla wala quwatta illah billah. There is no Might or Power except Allah. Linda's health had deteriorated significantly and when I saw her on that hospital bed, I could not help but break down and cry. A plethora of emotions overwhelmed me as I reflected upon the first day I met her to the final moments of her life. Knowing that she was going to return to Allah any given moment that day really struck me. The memories still keep playing in my head and the feelings are as raw as ever. I was touched to see the amount of support my friend had received (and continues to receive) and how there was a sister sitting beside Linda reading Qur'an during her final moments in the hospital. So many sisters wanted to visit Linda and support my friend because they knew what a special woman she was. Though the room was filled with quiet sobbing there was an unexplained feeling of comfort and hope. Comfort because we knew that she would return to her Lord and hope that He will be pleased with her. The fact that she had stomach cancer was a mercy from Allah as it is considered one of the ways of a Shaheed.

{Abu Hurairah that Allah's Messenger (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) asked: "Who do you consider to be a martyr?" They said: "O Allah's Prophet, he who is killed fighting for the cause of Allah." The Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "(If this is the definition of a martyr) then very few in my Ummah will be martyrs!” They asked: "Who else are they, O Allah's Messenger?" He said: "He who is killed fighting for Allah's cause is a martyr, he who dies in the cause of Allah is a martyr, he who dies in an epidemic is a martyr, he who dies from a stomach disease is a martyr, and the one who dies of drowning is (also) a martyr."  (Muslim, no: 891}

 My friend told me she felt very at peace and calm when her mom returned to Allah. Close friends and family surrounded the bed and made duaa for her and at that moment they knew that Linda was in a better place. Alhamdulillah.  May Allah be pleased with her and make her grave spacious and full of noor! Please make duaa for her as you are reading this!

It made me reflect upon just how weak the human being truly is ! We walk around the earth with our head up high and our noses in the air, but once we are struck with calamities and illnesses we lower our heads with shame and humility. Sometimes we call upon Allah only when we need something or when we are suffering or dying yet all the other times when we are perfectly fine we are heedless and forget that our lives and hearts are in the Hands of Allah !

"And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy, they rejoice therein, but when some evil afflicts them because of (evil deed and sins) that their (own) hands have sent forth, lo! They are in despair!" (Surah Rum: 36)

"And when We show favour to man, he withdraws and turns away, but when evil touches him, then he has recourse to long supplications" 
(surah Fussilat: 51)

And when harm touches man, he invokes Us, lying down on his side, or sitting or standing. But when We have removed his harm from him, he passes on his way as if he had never invoked Us for a harm that touched him! Thus it seems fair to the Musrifun that which they used to do (Surah Yunus: 12)

...O mankind! Your rebellion (disobedience to Allah) is only against your ownselves, - a brief enjoyment of this worldly life, then (in the end) unto Us is your return, and We shall inform you that which you used to do. (Yunus: 23)

All these verses I shared really open my eyes and make we think about myself. Not only am I heedless sometimes but I often forget that during these hardships and tests, they are meant to expiate some of my many sins and also to give me a chance to earn as much rewards as I can so that I can bring them to Allah on the day I meet Him! Sometimes I get so caught up in all my life's problems that I forget to say "Alhamdulillah" for all the other blessings that I overlook. Duaa is and always will be a form of worship and even when things are good and we are smooth sailing through life (which that in itself is a big fitnah and you should be worried), we should always make duaa that Allah protects our health and gives us well being as well as always asking for guidance and for good in the akhirah! I often think about life since Linda's return to Allah and I think how she has left her children to continue fulfilling her legacy which she left behind. She was able to raise children who will insha'Allah be sadiqah jariyyah for her and insha'Allah her grave will be filled with ease and noor because of her children continuing to do good deeds in her name for the sake of Allah. That is something really amazing when I think about it...and then it also makes me ponder...What will happen when I am in that grave....what legacy will I leave behind? As soon as my soul exits my body, that is it. I won't be able to do any more good deeds, I can't repent any more and I won't be able to go back and erase all the wrongs I did. What will I bring to Allah? 

Honestly, since that day, every time I just picture in my head the image of a grave and how two people I once knew is in there right now and how the first stages of their Hereafter has begun, I can't help but shiver . Sometimes it takes something as real as death to bring us back to reality and to put us in our place. We often think that we have life all figured out and that we continue to be heedless and commit haram even while knowing that we are disobeying Allah. Yes, the human being is weak and we are made to sin but how many times have we actually prayed to Allah and asked Him for forgiveness? Too many frightening stories out there about instant deaths, dying upon kufr, and dying upon great evil acts which we hear and see every day. May Allah protect me and you and all the Muslims ameen. We always think "oh, it wont be me" or " oh i plan to do Hajj or make ummrah soon , I know Allah will not take my life before then!" Oh sons and daughters of Adam! How naive we are to think that we will not be next! One minute I was sitting with Linda and having a conversation with her and the next, she returned to Allah (May Allah have mercy on her soul ameen!) One minute that sister just gave birth to her daughter and the next her family and friends are mourning over her loss ! She had great plans for the future and she believed that she was going to fulfil them all! But how death does not wait! How death does not wait! I know that many of you who read this will think "ya but still, I won't be next, not me" and then there will be some of you who will take heed and this post will send chills up your entire body. I pray that you will be the latter for you really will never know when it is your turn.

May this post be a reminder to me and to you and may we always take heed and build our bank of good deeds so we have at least some to bring with us in the grave. It really is time to start taking our life seriously and push and strive for the ultimate goal. Meeting Allah while He is pleased with us. 

It was narrated that Haani’ the freed slave of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan said: when ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan stood by a grave he would weep until his beard became wet. It was said to him, “You remember Paradise and Hell and you do not weep, but you weep because of this?” He said, “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The grave is the first of the stages of the Hereafter; whoever is saved from it, whatever comes afterwards will be easier  for him, but if he is not saved from it, what comes afterwards will be worse for him.’” And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have never seen any scene but the grave is more frightening than it.” 
(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2308; Ibn Maajah, 4567; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1684)

It was narrated that al-Bara’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: We went out with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) for the funeral of a man from among the Ansaar. We came to the grave and when (the deceased) was placed in the lahd, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sat down and we sat around him, as if there were birds on our heads (i.e., quiet and still). In his hand he had a stick with which he was scratching the ground. Then he raised his head and said, “Seek refuge with Allaah from the torment of the grave”, two or three times. Then he said, “When the believing slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with white faces like the sun, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. They bring with them shrouds from Paradise and perfumes from Paradise. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O good soul, come forth to forgiveness from Allaah and His pleasure.’ Then it comes out easily like a drop of water from the the mouth of a waterskin. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that shroud with that perfume, and there comes from it a fragrance like the finest musk on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this good soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the best names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is opened, and (the soul) is welcomed and accompanied to the next heaven by those who are closest to Allaah, until they reach the seventh heaven. Then Allaah says: ‘Record the book of My slave in ‘Illiyoon in the seventh heaven, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it I will bring them forth once again.’ So his soul is returned to his body and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Allaah.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘My religion is Islam.’ They say, ‘Who is this man who was sent among you?’ He says, ‘He is the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ They say, ‘What did you do?’ He says, ‘I read the Book of Allaah and I believed in it.’ Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘My slave has spoken the truth, so prepare for him a bed from Paradise and clothe him from Paradise, and open for him a gate to Paradise.’ Then there comes to him some of its fragrance, and his grave is made wide, as far as he can see. Then there comes to him a man with a handsome face and handsome clothes, and a good fragrance, who says, ‘Receive the glad tidings that will bring you joy this day.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which brings glad tidings.’ He says, ‘I am your righteous deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, hasten the Hour so that I may return to my family and my wealth.’ But when the disbelieving slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with black faces, bringing sackcloth, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O evil soul, come forth to the wrath of Allaah and His anger.’ Then his soul disperses inside his body, then comes out cutting the veins and nerves, like a skewer passing through wet wool. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that sackcloth, and there comes from it a stench like the foulest stench of a dead body on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this evil soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the worst names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is not opened.” Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited (interpretation of the meaning): 
“for them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle”  [al-A’raaf 7:40] 
He said: “Then Allaah says, ‘Record the book of My slave in Sijjeen in the lowest earth, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it I will bring them forth once again.’ So his soul is cast down.”  Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited the verse (interpretation of the meaning): 
“and whoever assigns partners to Allaah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place” [al-Hajj 22:31] 
He said: “Then his soul is returned to his body, and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘Prepare for him a bed from Hell and clothe him from Hell, and open for him a gate to Hell.’ Then there comes to him some of its heat and hot winds, and his grave is constricted and compresses him until his ribs interlock. Then there comes to him a man with an ugly face and ugly clothes, and a foul stench, who says, ‘Receive the bad news, this is the day that you were promised.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which forebodes evil.’ He says, ‘I am your evil deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, do not let the Hour come, do not let the Hour come.’” 
Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4753; Ahmad, 18063 – this version was narrated by him. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1676. 

It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say, ‘Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-kasali wa’l-haram wa’l-maghram wa’l-ma’tham. Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min ‘adhaab al-naar wa fitnat il-naar, wa fitnat il-qabri, wa ‘adhaab il-qabri, wa sharri fitnat il-ghina wa sharri fitnat il-faqair wa min sharri fitnat il-maseeh il-Dajjaal. Allaahumma ighsil khataayaaya bi ma’ al-thalji wa’l-baradi wa naqqi qalbi min al-khataaya kama yunaqqa al-thawb al-abyad min al-danas, wa baa’id bayni wa bayna khataayaaya kama baa’adta bayna al-mashriqi wa’l-maghrib (O Allah! I seek refuge with You from laziness and old age, and from debts and sins; from the torment of the Fire and from the tribulation of the Fire, and from the tribulation of the grave and the torment of the grave, and from the evil of the tribulation of wealth, and from the evil of the tribulation of poverty, and from the evil of the tribulation of the Dajjaal (Antichrist). O Allah! Wash away my sins with the water of snow and hail, and cleanse my heart from sin as a white garment is cleansed from filth, and put a great distance between me and my sins, as great as the distance You have made between the East and the West).” 
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6014). 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Why aren't you married yet? When are you going to have kids??

"Part of the perfection of one's Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him." (Tirmidhi)


I know I go through  phases where I blog some and then I go quiet some and then blog some and then go quiet some... I guess I could say that I haven't had much inspiration or motivation and I have been trying to work on my own emaan and trying to advise myself with the advice I would normally give others. Therefore, I don't really feel entitled to be writing about how to be this or that while I'm currently trying to figure out things for myself.

BUT that being said, there is definitely something that I really wanted to talk about. It has to do with being considerate of others and watching our manners.  I wanted to bring up an anecdote of my own so you all can know what kind of impact it may leave on an individual. It hopefully will make us all mindful about our manners and to leave that which does not concern us.

A few months ago I was introduced to this sister who I had never met in person nor had I ever spoken to on the phone. I was introduced to her because a mutual friend thought that she could help me out with an issue concerning my personal life. I texted with her some and then I ended up speaking to her on the phone. I had noticed already a judgemental tone but I chose to brush it off and reminded myself that she was a sister who had good intentions. So that was that and a week later she texted me saying she was in town and she wanted to visit me. So she came to visit me and my mother. Keep in mind this was the FIRST time I ever met her but she made herself so comfortable in my home that it almost seemed like she was a relative of my mother's! Perhaps it was her culture that she put before Islam, but she began to undermine my husband's authority and speaking out of line with matters that did not concern her. She began pressuring me into things that were out of my control and she was being extremely judgemental with my personal affairs and private life. She talked with what seemed like a very condescending tone. I was SHOCKED and APPALLED to say the least ! Who did this woman think she was? I couldn't believe my eyes. I have never met someone so oblivious and so acrid ! I was so taken aback that I just sat there acquiescently because my mother was there and I just was too shocked to respond. Her opinions were arbitrary and had nothing to do with Islam and to this day I still shake my head at the thought of the whole encounter. HasbiAllah ! I have already been going through ups and downs this year and I have been constantly trying to fight through my emaan lows. I remember I had a great weekend the day before she came and I told myself I would try to stay positive despite all my life's events but that very same day she visited my home I felt nothing but chagrined! Chagrined is the perfect word to describe how I felt and still feel whenever I think about that incident! She even overstayed her visit and my mother even was feeling restless. Yes, she had mentioned a handful of things about the hijab that I found actually relevant to her existing in my home but other than that, I was ready to ask her to leave and never come back! Finally, she left and that was the last of her. I never contacted her after that and she never contacted me either so I think she must have gotten the hint insha'Allah. As soon as she left I could not help but feel negative, sad and back to zero with all that I had worked on to keep myself up. My emotions, my spirits and my outlook became very low. I was felt absolute dismal !

Sisters, I want you to please learn from this experience.
This experience has given me insight to know that I never want to make a sister feel the way this sister had made me feel. It really opened up my eyes to why it is important to have good akhlaq and why having good character and manners is so beloved to Allah! Making your fellow sister feel more sad or depressed than she already is, is something that is extremely frowned upon. Even if that sister did not know what I was going through, she should still take into mind that whatever my current situation was, she should have been mindful with her words and especially she was a GUEST! I only met her that one time and already she thought she was entitled to spewing her unwelcomed opinions and advice. I never even asked her for advice or opinion on ANY matter so I really wasn't sure why she was sharing them. She should have been encouraging rather than negative. She should have been positive instead of putting salt on my open deep wounds!

Whenever we speak to a sister who we are not familiar with or who we are extremely close with, we should always remember to understand where they are coming from. Asking a sister, "When will you get married??" or,  "You guys have been married for how long now? When are the babies coming?" is not only inconsiderate but it shows a lack of thoughtfulness and deficiency in one's manners. Do you not think that the sister wants to be married? Do you not think that sister wants to have children like you? What if she has not found the right spouse after several attempts with different brothers? Or what if she is unable to have children? Have we ever thought of these things before asking such questions that do not even concern us in the first place? What is it our business to ask when is someone getting married or when are they having children? Unless you are willing to pay for their wedding or pay for their hospital fees, please leave that which does not concern you. It is not an excuse to use that these are "conversation starters" ! They will not bring any benefit to you nor will they increase love between you and someone. These are PERSONAL, PRIVATE matters and if they wanted to tell you, they would tell you without you even having to ask.

Please sisters, I have seen this happen to myself and to my friends WAY too many times. This is not from Islam to cause dismal to our sisters or make them feel chagrined! We are supposed to encourage and always speak good words to them and give them hope! We should let them know that Allah is always with the patient and His reward and promises are true! We should be uplifting them instead of making them feel helpless and hopeless! This is one reason why I have only a handful ( if even) of sisters who I can confide in because in all honesty, and it is sad to admit this, I cannot trust many sisters to give me positive reinforcements or happy encouragements.

Another thing I wanted to bring up was those sisters who are so entrapped in their own happiness they are completely oblivious to other's around them who are struggling with trials. Some newly wedded sisters and new mothers are drowning in their own happiness they forget that their zealousness isn't something that everyone wants to hear about or care about. Many sisters forget that not everyone wants to hear about what you and your husband do on weekends or what your husband does with your new baby when you are out with friends. Not everyone cares about what you made your husband for dinner or what things you bought your new baby! Unless you are with another sister who has the similar lifestyle that you have (new husband, new baby, kids etc.) then yes that would be a beautiful topic to talk about with each other! But if you are talking to a sister who is single, or who is married but with no child, or divorced then shouldn't you be mindful of the conversation topics you chose to talk about? Let us try to be more considerate of others and to be more thoughtful. We wouldn't want us to feel left out, troubled, or feeling low about ourselves now would we? So why should we make others feel that way?

Next time you meet your friend, new or old, please remember to think before you speak. Even if you do not know their whole lifestory doesnt mean you need to pry into their personal life. If they bring it up then that is fine but if they do not talk about it, then leave it and do not ask things that do not add value to your life whether you knew about it or not! Be mindful of what that sister could be going through. Perhaps she doesnt talk about wanting kids or being married because she is divorced, in a long distance relationship, financially unstable, infertile or whatever the reason may be! It is not your business unless she makes it your businsess.

Let us reflect upon these aHadith and try our best to have the best manners and character whenever we meet and speak to our sisters in Islam. May Allah guide us all to good and forgive us and make us of those with beautiful character and manners ameen!
(DISLCAIMER: my thoughts and experience expressed in this post is merely for educating and though I really frowned upon the actions of the sister, I do not dislike her as a sister in Islam and I ask Allah to guide her and give her what is best for her in this life and the next ameen. I just found it very beneficial to share from my own experience because it is more raw and real which may help us to reflect upon our own actions) 

“Much silence and a good disposition, there are no two things better than these.” (Bukhari)
 “Shall I tell you of him who will be shut out from the fire (of hell)? Every quiet, good-natured fellowman.” ( Tirmidthi)
 “The most beloved of people according to Allah is he who brings most benefit to people, and the most beloved of deeds according to Allah the Mighty, the Magnificent, is that you bring happiness to a fellow Muslim, or relieve him of distress, or pay off his debt or stave away hunger from him. It is more beloved to me that I walk with my brother Muslim in his time of need than I stay secluded in the mosque for a month.”( Tabarani – Hasan, Silsilah Saheeha, Al-AlBani)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

And then it was gone...

Ramadan came and went in the blink of an eye. The first week started off really slowly for me and then after that I don't know what happened!
My Ramadan this year was not like any other. I didn't get a chance to pray taraweeh in the masjid but since my husband is not with me (just like all the times when I am home for Ramadan in Toronto), I had no problem praying it in the comfort of my own home . I was able to attend my first iftar at the masjid I usually attend and I was able to attend iftar gatherings with many of my good friends Alhamdulillah.  But of course, Ramadan is not just about having iftar gatherings, actually it is far from that. Ramadan should be about getting closer to Allah and rectifying our own selves and holding ourselves accountable for our actions and our character. Even though I didn't do loads of ibaadah, I tried my best to be consistent and I think I moved at a steady pace alhamdulillah. I always found the prior years whenever I would try to make a plan I would fail miserably. Just something about writing down a plan makes me feel stressed and forced. So this year, I decided to go at my own pace and do what I thought was best for me and what was within my capacity. I tried my best to be consistent and worked on things gradually and tried not to dive head first into the deep end, which is something I always end up doing, resulting in me becoming burnt out in the end. It is really important that we always pace ourselves not just in Ramadan but during our lifetime as a Muslim. If Allah does not burden us with more than we can bear, then we should not do that to ourselves!
What made my Ramadan different this year was that I was able to reflect a lot. Day and night, I was reflecting and thinking about my own self and my many flaws which really needed to be rectified. I almost felt like I went through an emotional boot camp because I experienced so many different emotions all in one month. I went from being happy and excited to feeling sad and depressed! I then realised the negative feelings I was experiencing was due to my lack of yaqeen (absolute certainty) and tawakkul (reliance upon Allah) in Allah. I also kept focusing on all the negative aspects of my life when in fact I should have been trying to focus on the positive things ! I know it is so hard to be grateful when we are going through trials. It is so easy to forget that we have so much to be thankful for during our times of hardships. For example, we should feel happy that we have either our health, our wealth or loved ones around us when we are suffering from something that is testing us. We should always be thankful and grateful no matter what because then Allah will increase us with more.

"And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: "If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe."" (14:7)

even though this is such a challenge most of the time, every time we feel ungrateful we should immediately stop ourselves and think of all the blessings that Allah HAS given us! Even if we think there are none, if we truly reflect , we will find many ! I always ended up comparing myself to others and then I would feel lonely and sad but then I tried to remember the story of Yusuf (aleyhi salam) and Ayyub (aleyhi salam) and I compared myself to them and then I thought, wow, I have no right to complain because look at what they went through and how patient they were?! And they did not even complain for one second! It is amazing how Allah gives us examples in the Qur'an and uses His righteous slaves to help us get through our hardships! How great Allah is! Whenever we feel sad, ungrateful or hopeless, let us look at the example of the prophets (May Allah's peace be upon them all) and reflect upon ourselves and remind ourselves that they were the best of people and yet they were struck with many difficult hardships yet they were patient and never complained and exercised full tawakkul 'ala Allah! A great reminder to myself first and foremost.

I hope that I can continue to strive daily to always be grateful because now that Ramadan has passed us by almost a month now, I am finding myself starting to become heedless and impatient. The struggle is real! The best way to stay on track is to always surround yourself with those who remind you of Allah and to always surround yourself with people who have less than you so that you will always remember your blessings that Allah has sent upon you and I ! May Allah keep us steadfast and firm with Islam and upon the correct understanding of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Ameen!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ramadan Reflection : Food For Thought

{Eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance).} [Quran 7:31]

So I meant to write this post earlier in the month but I have just been distracted with trying to figure out what to do with myself during this blessed month. I usually stay up until fajr because I really don't like that groggy feeling if I sleep like a short hour before suhoor (since the night is so short) you can't really get a good nights rest. I feel more productive during the night but at the same time I get too tired to write. But I am taking another attempt and hopefully bidhniAllah, this post will make sense and I will get my point across clearly insha'Allah ! 

We are now pretty much half way through this blessed month and to be honest with you, I have been struggling to be productive and trying to stay focused. A lot has been on my mind lately and I am just trying to deal with my emotions concerning a bunch of things and really trying hard to not fall into any kind of sadness or depression. I know this dunya is a test and the whole point of these challenging tasks is to come out with more sabr and resilience. The struggle is real! I always find myself going in strong at the beginning of the month but then I tend to go in too strong and too fast resulting in a final burn out during the last 10 nights! So I have really been trying to gradually pace myself and try my best to do what is within my capacity and to not overburden myself or to stress myself out too much if I don't complete task a, b, or c. On top of that I am trying to deal with dunya issues so I am trying to go easy on myself (but obviously not too easy.) I hope everyone else's Ramadan is going well and you are all getting your ibadaah in and making use of this blessed month! 

I know this month is where we are supposed to strive harder than usual and increase in good deeds. We are supposed to try our best to kick old habits and work hard to improve ourselves and to get closer to Allah. One pressing issue that I find within our community is something that really makes me sad and upset; that is the issue of wasting food. I was blessed this year to finally attend my local masjid for a few iftaars and though it was a lovely experience, I was absolutely shocked by the amount of food being wasted! I couldn't believe my eyes. I saw half of the rice box being thrown away and it really broke my heart. I couldn't believe that this is the very food that Allah has blessed us with to break our fast, the very food that many all around the world are wishing to eat and to fill their stomach's with and yet some individuals are just throwing it away like a piece of garbage astughfurAllah!!!!! 

Sisters, please realise The prophet ordered us not to leave anything in the plate and he said: "You do not know in which portion of your food Allah has put the Barakah "(Blessing). [Muslim]  you all are doing a great job in fasting and fulfilling one of the pillars of Islam but when your eyes are bigger than your stomachs and you cannot finish your food, please do not throw it away. Think about all the hungry children around the world. Think about those suffering in all the third world countries, all the war torn countries, and all the countries where even water is scarce! Yet look at the food that Allah has blessed us with and showered us with His Mercy. Can you imagine yourself for one second in their shoes (or lack thereof) of these poor Muslims who do not even know when they can have the chance to break their fast in and outside of Ramadan! Alhamdulillah for donations and we can feed them during Ramadan but even so, not every country has the luxury of being fed biryani or rice with meat . Think about how blessed you are to be able to eat that! 

Sisters, it is a duty upon you to set an example for your household and especically your children and to show them the importance of not wasting and the importance of not taking more than what you can eat. If you cannot finish your rice box, please, save it for suhoor or worse case scenario, feed it to the birds on your porch! But do NOT throw that blessed food away. This is a gift from Allah! Can you imagine not being able to have any food and Allah tests you with a loss of wealth? Throwing away food is like throwing away blessings. Allah can easily test you with hunger and starvation and it doesn't even have to be in the month of Ramadan! Please be mindful and really realise that what you have is a gift and that it is a big bounty and favour from Allah. If you throw away the food, you are throwing away Allah's bounties and His favours upon you! Of course I am not encouraging you to stuff your face until you can't breath resulting in you standing and burping while praying taraweeh or being so full you can't even stand at all audhubillah!In reality, we should really remember this hadith"The child of Adam has not filled any receptacle worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the child of Adam to eat small bits of food that keep him healthy. Now if he wants to eat much any way, he should give a third to the food, a third to the drink and a third (of his stomach) to let him breathe comfortably." [Ahmad] and next time, before you think about throwing away that food, just for one second remember the children who are suffering from malnutrition or the children and adults dying from starvation and then remember the gift of food in your hands that you are about to throw up. Remember that the food you are about to throw out could actually be the part with the most blessings in it! IF YOU CAN'T FINISH IT, PACK IT UP TO GO and have it for suhoor. Do not be picky, if you don't like to eat the same thing twice, just think for a second and tell yourself "wait! There could be great blessings in this and Allah can reward me for not wasting !" and you will get an easy reward just by doing that! Or you can even feed it to some bird or raccoons or a stray cat! Just don't throw it away please! 

If you are just as passionate about this issue as me, please do take steps to bring it up to the masjid and to maybe put up signs as a reminder to NOT WASTE ANY LEFTOVERS! Leftovers are awesome and they usually taste better the next day anyway! You can even get creative and do some mix and match and make some awesome new dish or recipe with your leftovers!

This is the month to kick bad habits and if you are used to throwing away food, let this month be the month to change your old ways. Food is a blessing, a bounty from Allah. You did not earn it nor do you deserve it except that Allah gave it to you from His Mercy! Always remember, you are nothing but a weak human being who can have all this wealth, health, life taken away in a matter of seconds. Because you wasted food so freely, Allah could easily test you by making you starve for all those times you threw away food! Just as easily as Allah provided us food, He can so easily take it away (May Allah protect us from such trials, ameen.) Always remember that. Do not go to the extreme of gluttony  and overeating your share and do not go to the extreme of wasting. Being a believer is all about moderation and balance. May Allah give us the tawfeeq to remember always His blessings and to be grateful for everything and may this be a reminder to myself first and foremost and may He bless us with success for the remainder of this month and that which follows ameen! 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Ramadan 2016

Ramadan Mubarak all ! 

So I just realised the most recent post I just shared was the very first post of 2016 and we are already in June! Subhana'Allah how time flies. I moved back to Toronto on Dec 30th of 2015 and at the blink of an eye, it is already June 2016 ! Insha'Allah I will try my best to keep blogging regularly since things have settled down now alhamdulillah. 
Allah has blessed me and you with His Mercy by witnessing yet another Ramadan. I remember the first time I spent Ramadan alone here in Canada without my husband and I made it such a big deal and I was really upset and just wasn't feelin' it ! But now that this is my 6th Ramadan (only by the Permission of Allah) and my 4th one alone, I finally feel more comfortable and in fact, grateful that I can witness yet another Ramadan and by myself! I admit, it would be really nice to experience Ramadan with a big family but I feel like when I fly solo, things are just a lot easier for me. Making iftaar and sahoor for one body is awesome and eating by yourself while playing a lecture or chatting with your friends online is pretty sweet. Also, you are on your own schedule and you can do whatever you need whenever you need. So, Alhamdulillah for the solo Ramadans! As well, I really don't want to complain because compared to many, most of us have it real good. Just being able to fast in your own home or having food to break your fast and feed yourself with for sahoor is more than a blessing! If we just look around the world and see how the Muslims suffer and bloodshed going on everywhere, we should realize just how blessed we are and how we should thank Allah each and every day for the things we have. I often think about my revert sisters who's family don't know they are Muslim because they would disown them, or the revert sister's who's families hate Islam and do not let them freely practise in the home and it makes me really feel sad for them. I know that it is really difficult because I live with my parents and certain things can really be a big struggle and a big test! A message to those sisters, you are NOT alone! Allah is with you always and continue to strive hard and stay strong and always remember that we will not say that we believe in Allah and the Messenger (peace be upon him) and then not be tested and tried ! Always remember that the glad tidings and big rewards are with Allah and He does not forget any small thing we do for His Sake. Alhamdulillah! What a good reminder to myself. Whenever we think that we are a stuck in a situation, let us always remember that Allah has always relieved the prophets (peace be upon them all) and they came out strong and always successful therefore Allah will never leave us hanging unless we forget Him and leave ourselves hanging without Him ! 

I want to make this month a month of reflection. I want to be able to pick the smallest of situations and be able to reflect upon it. I feel like sometimes I am so caught up with my problems and my tests that I forget to look at the big picture and realise that whatever happens, it is something good and it will help me with the present and the future. 
 “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” (Narrated by Muslim, 2999).  

Today we should reflect upon the fact that we are here today to witness another Ramadan, may Allah allow us to complete it successfully and may He forgive us and allow us to witness many more ameen. I feel like sometimes I take my life and my time for granted. Many times I just expect that I will be alive tomorrow. When I really sit and think about how short life really is, it is really ignorant for me to think that I can take my time with my life and doing good deeds. I remember when I first became Muslim and all the blog posts I wrote, were always so reflective and passionate! I remember that I was always so focused about the akhirah and racing to do good deeds! Somewhere down the road, I got a little side tracked and began to worry more about dunya things. Subhana'Allah how easy it is to just get so caught up with the life of this world and forget the true purpose of life as a Muslim. Even as I sit here writing I am overthinking and worrying about my personal affairs. I hope that I can increase in tawakkul and always remind myself that Allah is the Best of Planners and I can only make duaa that I will have a good ending and that Allah will have mercy on me. Death is such a scary thing. It is like the elephant in the room, nobody wants to talk about it but we know it's there and close by. I hope that my passion for the deen will be ignited like once before and that I will be able to write with firm hope and enthusiasm. I know that I can't expect everything to happen overnight and I am definitely a work in progress. I know, though, Allah is most Merciful and He only cares to see that we have tried and we continue to try and we continue to call upon Him and Him alone. 

What are your goals for this Ramadan? If you are reading this , please share in the comments below.