Life in the little seeds

My friend this morning was talking about the quote we were often taught as a life lesson growing up; “As you sow, so shall you reap’. But she had another perspective to it this time. However, while I let her explain, I was thinking more about sowing. What do we sow and what do we reap. What a huge life lesson did they think they accomplished in teaching us at such a young age? They thought they did but they didn’t.

I sit by my window, hearing the birds chirp while I read to my son. I’m just reading physically, but in my mind, I’m in another world; thinking about the exam I missed this week, the painting order I failed to deliver on time even though its almost complete, and all the ‘failures’ of my life.
Suddenly it starts pouring and my son who was engrossed in what I was reading, gets distracted by the sound of life and the sound of rain by our window. He climbs over my window sill quickly and watches our neem tree enjoying itself in the coolness of the rain. Plants in our terrace all welcoming the much awaited arrival of nature’s water soaking themselves into it; to bloom back to life again. To revive.

‘Its all connected.’ my mind says.

Every moment of our lives, we are sowing seeds. Sometimes, we think we are sowing a particular seed, we know what it will bloom into and aim for it. But it just won’t grow. Its climate, its environment; doesn’t suit it. We try so hard. And then we think we’ve failed. But we haven’t. We are so lost in those little seeds that we forget the rest of the forest we may have nurtured.

Everyday I used to think of how I used to be able to do so much back in the days but time and situations just strangle me and I’m so incapable now to do even the littlest and easiest of things!
But right now, I just sat back and zoomed out of my seed. Out of ‘that which I tried so hard to plant’ and saw instead a beautiful little garden of blooms.

When I was lost in those seeds I thought I failed to grow, there did come a bloom in another part of my garden; Of a little boy loving to read, of a healthy home, of love in the eyes of my spouse and family, of a community of old and young that learnt so much in a few classes, of little girls trying to learn some of my talents, and much more. All these blooms didnt just happen out of no where. They took my time, my effort, my energy, a lot of careful nurturing, and also a lot of external factors. They didn’t just happen.
I just had to zoom out.

When you have so many things on your mental load, sometimes you feel so stressed of underachieving. Again and again you give in, thinking you’ll do it next time. But here’s to those moments you gave up something close to your heart to attend to the needs of your child/near ones. Here’s to all those moments when you had to get something done but was the exact time no one else could handle your child for you and he needed only YOU. Here’s to you- YOU. DIDN’T.FAIL. You just zoomed out of your little seed and made another little garden bloom.

And when you slowly learn to zoom out; what about those seeds that you thought you failed to grow? Trust me; they will will bloom too, just in the right time and phase. Just like that little garden around you RIGHT NOW that you actually toiled so hard for.

There is life in those little seeds. Sow them. Water them. Toil. But take out moments to relax in your little garden of blooms too. :’)

 

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Maryam’s AS silence.

How do you feel when someone blames you and mocks you for something you didn’t even do? Don’t you feel like screaming out as much as you can to prove yourself right; to prove yourself innocent? What then, if the entire society around you talks about you, slanders upon slanders and noone is ready to believe you? How far would you try and fight for your innocence?
Maryam AS (Mary) comes back to her society holding a baby in her hands. And everyone asks her what a dishonor she brought to her family! Imagine how would it be for her when her Lord and your Lord commands her to fast from talking! What? I can’t even speak up now in my defense? But she did fast. She obeyed. And Allah swt caused a miracle to happen; Prophet Isa AS speaks in the cradle. She didn’t falter even a little in her faith and her obedience to Him, and He didn’t disappoint her.

Sometimes, in silence and true reliance of Allah lies our greatest defense. Sometimes, to be silent is our greatest test.

Sigh. How words of some people just stick to you forever ❤ While listening to Surah AleImran today, the part where Maryam AS is blessed with a son came. It took me to 5 or 6 years ago when Aunty Rifath, a dear one, had reflected on this great test of Maryams AS and her amazing patience to be able BE QUIET. She said this so wonderfully that its stuck to me until now.

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My Little steps for this not-so-great Ramadan..

This Ramadan hasn’t been quite great from the lens of all those articles screaming how to make the best of Ramadan, how to have the most productive Ramadan ever and what not. This Ramadan, I have not been at my best, for some reasons beyond my control (like health) and some reasons that ARE in my control (like phone addiction and poor time management).

I appreciate those who say ‘This is how you should feel, so it’ll motivate you to work harder’ or ‘Intentions are what matters! Make the best through them inshaAllah’. But honestly, after having Ramadans much better than this, times when a connection with Allah and Qur’an were much better than now, I am honestly unable to accept the way things are now; even if I have a million reasons for it, even if i have concession from fasting, even if Allah knows my heart and intentions; even if everyone says so.

I cannot explain the sorrow that lingers in my heart to not be able to do all that I used to be able to do in the Ramadans of the past. Is it something somewhere I went wrong? Is it just circumstances of life I’m yet to learn to adjust to? Did I lose a chance I was given before because I took my blessings for granted? Questions keep lingering in my mind with one thing constant – sadness of missing the best of me, my health,  spiritual and physical, during this best month of the year. 😥

So in my own way, this is the best I have tried so far with Ramadan and what can I DO to improve on my Salah, connection with Allah and the Qur’an. So far, its going o-k-a-y, but maybe its the best I can honestly, honestly give.

Here are some quick tips kinda thing for the people who’s Ramadan ain’t going so well yet, for those unwell and exempted from fasting and still yearning for the ramadan spirit:

1) One STRONG prayer:

Make ONE strong sinceeeere dua for connecting back to Allah and the quran. Make it one strong one even if it takes a lot of time. Do it sincerely. With istighfar and all. All it takes is an act of sincerity for our merciful Lord.

Choose ONE prayer where nothing is going to distract you, and focus on your relationship with Allah SWT. Focus on every ‘Allahu Akbar’ that Allah is greater than everything else, and here you are, standing before Him, sincerely pleading Him to get you back to Him.

This must inlcude lots and lots of repentance; for definitely, it is our sins that block us from His bountiful mercy, its our sins that are blocking us now from perhaps feeling the best in Ramadan; so lots and lots of sincere istighfar. 😥

2) Not fasting, so Keep tongue moist….err….with Dhikr!

If you’re unable to fast, then increase in dhikr (remembrance of Allah) whilst doing your chores. Look for the most beautiful of beautiful ways to glorify Allah swt. These couple of days, I am in love with glorifying Allah SWT by the dhikr:

‘سبوحٌ قدوسٌ ربُ الملائکهِ و الرُّوح’  and maybe in a couple of days it would be….. hmm Hamdan Katheeran Mubarakan Feeh or Allahumma innaka  afuwwun tuhibbul afwa fa’fu anni.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “What you mention of glory of Allah, of at-Tabsih (Subhan-Allah), at-Tahlil (Allahu-Akbar) and at-Tahmid (Al-Hamdu lillah), revolves around the Arsh of Allah, buzzing like bees, reminding of the one who said it. Wouldn’t any one of you like to have, or continue to have, something that reminds of him (in the presence of Allah)?'”  [Sahih]
SubhanAllah! (Say it now!)
Just imagine your name being buzzed like a bee around the Arsh of Allah SWT! Scholars agree that the Prophet SAW used the terms Tahmeed, Tahleel and Tasbeeh in the form at-Tahmeed, at-tahleel, and At-tasbeeh, meaning it includes not just SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah And la ilaaha illAllah, but also every possible adhkar or glorification that praises the perfectness of Allah SWT! SubhanAllah!
[Source: Sweetness of Salah: Rukuh, by br.Farhan Abdul Aziz]

Keep your tongue moist with anyyyy glorification of Allah SWT often. Play it in your mind like a tape recorder on repeat; whilst washing dishes or folding clothes or cooking etc. Include conscious repeated istighfar here too.

3) Recite just 10 verses!

Manage a mininum of 10 verses in the night. Just 10 minnnimum. To gain something thats better than the world and more!  Yes!

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever recites ten verses in the night, a heap of reward will be recorded for him, and that is better for him than the world and whatever that is in it.” [Saheeh at-Targheeb w at-Tarheeb: 638]

 

 This is for any night, imagine then the nights of Ramadan, the month that is not like any other month, where rewards are only magnified to an extent only Allah SWT knows!
For those who can do more than 10 verses, by all means must. This tip is for those whose toddler/babies demand their attention while they are reciting and they’d have to stop for a while or so, or those who are too sick or tired such that reciting get them tired.

4) Listen to some eman inducing lectures

 

We have plenty available online. Right now, with an aim to improve on my Salah, I followed a lecture series on the sweetness of Salah, and Alhamdulillah its been an amazing one so far, slowly helping me refocus on my iman. There are plenty more. Just do this for the sake of learning more, improving on your own self by practicing what you learn, even if little by little.
My teacher Taiymiyyah Zubair said something I really needed! – ‘Do you know that Qiyam al-Layl is not restricted to ‘Standing in prayer’ during the night? It actually includes any act of worship that a person performs in the night, whether it is Salah, recitation of the Qur’an or listening to it, Du’a, Dhikr, and even listening to good speech!

And the Prophet (s) said that whoever ‘qaama’ in the nights of Ramadan with faith and expectation of reward will be forgiven for all his sins. So if you are not able to pray Salah (such as Tarawih or Tahajjud) in the nights of Ramadan, spend at least some time in the worship of Allah, even if it is just making Dhikr and Du’a. And if you can recite the Qur’an that is even better. Check this out:On the Day of Judgment, the Qur’an will say, “I am the one who kept you awake at night, and made you thirsty in the day” [as-Silsilah as-Saheehah: 2829] ‘

5) Stick to this reminder whenever you forget:

 

Whenever I feel like ‘it’s ok to slack once in a while’; this article I read last year, and this hadeeth in particular, is what makes me realise ‘No its not ok! Get up and do something about it!’ –

The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ascended the pulpit and said, “Ameen, Ameen, Ameen.”We asked him, “O Messenger of Allah, you ascended the pulpit and said Ameen, Ameen, Ameen?” The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Verily, Jibreel came to me and he said: Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and he is not forgiven, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say Ameen. I said Ameen.

Whoever sees his parents in their old age, one or both of them, and he does not honor them and he dies, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say Ameen. I said Ameen.

Whoever has your name mentioned in his presence and he does not send blessings upon you and he dies, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say Ameen. I said Ameen.” [Sahih Ibn Hibban]

May Allah SWT save us from being amongst those prayed against by the Prophet SAW and Angel Jibreel AS! Ameen.

Take little steps towards Allah SWT, no matter how weak you are now; He will take HUUUGE steps towards you without fail.

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4 simple ways you can etch the Quran in your heart iA

My husband comes one afternoon from the Masjid, and says to me “Today, I re-memorized such and such part from the Qur’an”. Normally I’d then take the mushaf and ask him to recite to me while I check. This time I decided to do otherwise. It was a part I was meant to revise after ages myself; from the list of long Surahs I had memorized and then forgotten without reciting in prayer or often.

So I started with the first verse and asked him if that was the beginning of the surah. I tried to mumble the second verse and I almost made it. Then with a lot of forceful pushing of memory I made it to the next and also remembered how the process mentioned in the second verse repeated in the next verse so the verse itself repeated. Then… I found something interesting in the pattern of  how i remembered the verse.

I kept describing the scenario that comes in the next verse to him in english and with a lot of effort slowly slowly remembered, word by word, the verse.

Just like you try to remember an old movie you watched a long time ago, it felt like I was trying to recollect a scene I had pictured when I learnt it before and that helped me so much I actually made it to the end of the Surah without looking at the Mushaf! Alhamdulillah.

I was able to tell him ‘this is the message behind the next verse right?’ Even before I was able to recollect the exact verse. ‘Then this happens to the man, right…?’ and thats how before I knew, I was able to recollect an entire Surah that I had not touched for a long long time and had really forgotten it so much so that when I tried in prayer just a few days before this incident, I couldn’t remember anything at all!

Here are some action points I’ve been able to take from this incident:

  1. Let the Qur’an speak:

    See what message each verse is telling you. And don’t move ahead until you connect with each word of each verse.  Don’t just memorize. Take time to internalise. This could be in the form of understanding whats being said, or connecting the dots. And most importantly, applying it in life. Also, reading it in prayer.While in tafsir class, I realized how beautifully the Qur’an is intricate with rich imagery, meanings and themes that flow into one another. In some places, I noticed how beautifully the chosen words of Allah are, when they keep rhyming at the end of the verse, until the scenario changes! Even letters are chosen so carefully, some surahs end with bouncing letters entirely (for example) or until a particular description is done. Why has Allah SWT used this word and not that? Why does this verse end with this name of Allah and not that? Why did Allah SWT mention this here when the same word is used in an antonymous context in another verse? Ask. Keep asking questions, find answers. Until you can envision an entire Surah in your head, and not forget a single verse as you revise/memorize. This not only helps to quench our souls thirst for Allah’s magnificent words, but also deeply etches what we memorize into our hearts, like a carving on stone. (ofcourse revision included, revision gets easier bi ithnillah)

    Take notes of your thoughts and lessons, as you do this. Because when or if those days come when your connection with the Qur’an is weak, these notes will help like gold!

  2. A few chunks a day:

    I had memorized the above, in parts of 5 verses per day during Ramadan nights. Its rare when you remember the exact time you memorized something long ago right? Focusing on those 5 verses, what they were saying and then repeating them again and again till they got solidified, helped me now! Without making me totally blank.When we do a little everyday, we tend to never give up, and it also get more clearly etched. Getting little done but very well done is always better than getting much done, to be forgotten or confusing soon. A few consistent chunks, is also more rewarding as Allah SWT loves those deeds that are few, but consistent. [Hadith]
  3. The Qur’an requires your attention:

    And dedication, In every way. From your constant discipline in learning it, respect to it and in your commitment to it. Humility in receiving it, to sincerity in learning it. Every time an evil thought like backbiting, or not fixing my hijab coz ‘meh…just a worker’ comes to my mind, I feel afraid that I might lose a part of the Quran in me. This fear of losing the Quran helps to remain steadfast during the day, and vice versa!! Meaning to say, it requires our attention every single minute of the day, and not just when the time you’ve alloted or your hifdh/tafsir/tajwid class time comes.

    One thing I have practically learnt in life, is that even if we aren’t Qur’an students, even if we don’t excel in Quranic Arabic, when we are constant every single day in connecting to the Quran; be it just reciting it even, it aids in developing a deeper connection to it. Slowly it opens its secrets to us, and our understanding deepens, and our thirst for understanding more increases, bi ithnillah.

    So if you’re at the beginners stage, wondering how do people do it? Take the Mushaf now, keep your sincerity intact, and make yourself an oath or something to connect to the Quran in your own way, every single day. 🙂 It will make a world’s difference!

  4. Help of Allah:

    Needless to say, nothing is possible without the help of Allah, and nothing is impossible with his help, and indeed, His help is always near. 🙂 Dua. Dua. Dua. And I cannot stress enough on this point.

    May Allah SWT make us all… Living examples of the Qur’an. Ameen.

    heart-on-quran

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Changes

Life is unpredictable. And having a baby teaches you so much! I had almost forgotten how life was all about change, until Baby Ahmed came into my life. We often take control of our lives and make decisions such that we are able to adjust and cope with changes. Normally this is the case.

But when there is a baby, right when you feel you have settled with a new and good schedule for the days, the baby hits another milestone and you’re confused about how to go about with life (or even days) again!

But that’s the nature of life, and we perhaps forgot it somewhere. While I beg Allah that I get a full night’s sleep just this once (everyday 😀 ) and ask Him to make Ahmed sleep through the night, I realize how every moment in our lives has been about change, and all of it has been under His control.

We sometimes think ‘I am happy in my zone, I don’t want to get married. I am feeling perfect in this position, I’m not gonna leave this job’ etc. etc, don’t we?

Firstly, how much of our lives has been in our control anyway? No matter who our dream spouse is, dream house or place, dream job, dream course, dream business, nothing is possible except if He wills. Secondly, life is ALL about change, all about growth. If we remain in one place, we will only feel lost sooner or later.

They say we get attached to people or things or dreams. But we do get attached to phases of life as well. Attachments; to moments in life. Makes us struggle to embrace changes and makes life harder instead.

Human beings, by nature fear change. Allah swt mentions it so beautifully saying that in Jannah, we will be given provisions that look alike and we would even exclaim ‘This is what we were provided with before!’ However, it will actually not be the same, and we would be pleasantly surprised. And just as we are so comfortable with something we are familiar with, we will enjoy it comfortably inshaAllah! 🙂  [Interestingly enough, learnt this in my tafsir class, and related to it today]

وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۖ كُلَّمَا رُزِقُوا مِنْهَا مِن ثَمَرَةٍ رِّزْقًا ۙ قَالُوا هَٰذَا الَّذِي رُزِقْنَا مِن قَبْلُ ۖ وَأُتُوا بِهِ مُتَشَابِهًا ۖ وَلَهُمْ فِيهَا أَزْوَاجٌ مُّطَهَّرَةٌ ۖ وَهُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ

And give good tidings to those who believe and do righteous deeds that they will have gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, “This is what we were provided with before.” And it is given to them in likeness. And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein eternally. [The Holy Qur’an, 2:25]

Embrace change today, with confidence and faith. For as they say ‘change is the only constant of life’ . It gets adventurous, trust me.

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Fix your end now.

Death.
It shakes every being inside you . Atleast for me it did this time.
I’ve never seen anyone approach death. I’ve never seen anyone dead in front of me. Except for the janazah boxes that I’ve seen in Makkah or Madinah. And one little girl’s wrapped body in a janazah prayer offered in my University.
I clearly remember seeing a bird die in front of me when my school van driver hit it accidently. The Bird was too fast and unable to change its course and the driver too was driving too fast and could do nothing about it. They crashed. He went on. But when I turned behind, I saw the bird fall off on the road. This death of a little bird affected me so much, for days I remember being in a state I cannot explain.

Today, I saw the death of a very near one. A very inspiring, a very beautiful soul, whom noone had even a single complaint about, but all had so many beautiful stories to share. A soul who suffered in bed for a couple of years and finally, passed away last night. She tried so hard and kept moaning the shahada yesterday. Her arms and legs swollen, her lips dry, her eyes closed.

I’m not sure how to describe how I feel. I feel like puking. Every part of me is shaken with the understanding of what reality is. What certainty is. Death. Death is certain. Inevitable.

I stood there gazing at her, unable to hold my tears. Wondering what of the unseen has she finally seen now. Looking at all the people she secretly did so much good for, now appear at our house. Reminded me of how when Khadidja RA died, all the poor became apparent, coz until then she used to provide for them secretly.

Ya rabb.. I pray and hope that she is happier now. She is at peace now. Without anymore worldly pain. And for all her sins to be forgiven.

I come back to see my baby who has no idea of what his mother is feeling and wants me to play with him. I try to make funny faces, I burst into tears instead. I can’t. He cries and I cry. We cry for different reasons. He cries coz he wants to play. I cry coz I’ve played all my life!

I just saw something that I am certain is going to be mine soon, but I’m not at all ready.

Its so easy..SO EASY to talk a lot about Islam, to live this life the way we want…but its really really hard. When you imagine your lonely LONELY self being carried away to be burried under the soil. I have hated loneliness all my life but that’s exactly how I’m going to leave. Alone.

No husband to back me. No daddy mummy to support me. No sisters to help me. No friends to accompany me. Noone.

A bunch of people (hopefully) sitting around me only helpless about my hereafter.

Dark. Sand upon sand been covered upon me. No more chance of repenting. No more chance of doing even a speck of good without riya. No more chance for forgiving. No more opportunity to ask someone’s forgiveness. No more time for paying back my debts. No more space to pray my missed prayers. No more anything. Except…

The sands. The depth. And the lonely darkness upon darkness.

Will it be a good end. Or a bad one.

Which one? I’ll never know. But I’m not even near the end of the good. I know that for sure.

Life has deluded us. This advanced life has deluded us to think so high of ourselves with a few righteous status updates, a few praises from people who loved what we do, a few good stuff here and there and only Allah knows how much of it was consumed off in showing off and how much of it was sincere sinceeere. This world..this life.. has deluded us. Fooled us into believing our fake virtual lives and profiles to be real.
While in reality, even the khulafa e rashideen, those PROMISED paradise were afraid of their ends. We are so certain of our apparent goodness. 😦

We are reminded of the day of judgement every single day when we recite مالك يوم الدين.
17 times atleaaaast in a day we say this. But how much do we actually think about it?
Every night our souls are taken away. But how much do we live each day like its our last?

#shaken

This is for me.. for I don’t want to forget what i feel right now. I don’t want this to go forgotten in a few days weeks or years. I don’t care how unedited a draft it looks like.

O heedless heart, when will you pay heed? Your time is near and you’ll regret it when you’ll be unable to do anything anyyything that time to fix yourself.

Fix your future now. Fix your end now. 😥

Because…”Every soul shall taste death.” (The True Quran, 3:186)

كل نفس ذائقة الموت

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To those who want to do big things in life.. :)

First, let me tell you how it feels to LIVE your dream. To follow your passion and live  a purposeful life you’ve always dreamed of. It’s overwhelming . It’s exhilarating. It’s scary. Yes, you’ll be scared. You’ll be afraid to be having a full plate all the time. You’ll be afraid to fail even. But you’ll experience a sense of joy in your heart with all that energy and tiredness and enthusiasm. You’ll  feel alive, a different sort of alive. You’ll have a full day, but you can’t wait to fulfill every bit of the tasks that fill your schedule. And you’ll consciously plan your breaks  and your free times to recharge yourself. Your heart will pump desire for excellence and nothing less. Your soul will remind you of  priority. Imagine how overwhelmingly  wonderful and ideal it feels. I tell you what? It’s not impossible.

I don’t know if you’d want such a life. Or your rather prefer to be on a standstill..taking life as it comes..instead of taking  charge of it. Well, a lofe lived purposefully every single day, is a life lived soulfully.

Nevertheless, I’ve come across 8 out of 10 people who really want to do something in their lives. Their statement and even my own statement,”I want to be a part of something big. Something purposeful” resonates in my ears.

Growing up, I’ve always told my sister, ‘Hussainaa!!I wanna do something big in life! I just don’t know what!’

And this has been a long term dream from the time I can remember.

So this is for those, who want to do something great for this world, who want to contribute, who want to bring change. Wisdom from a little 24 year old who feels like she’s living her little dreams Alhamdulillah, summa Alhamdulillah.

  1. ‘Allah doesn’t bring about change until we change ourselves’

    Change doesn’t come to us while we sit in that cozy sofa talking about changing the world. Change is something we need to work for, consciously, every single moment of every single day. No, I don’t mean religiously posting up Islamic articles and status updates or even tweets. I’m talking about seeing how much of a change has that brought in you, yourself. Reading the Qur’an everyday and watching carefully if there is any change in our habits. Watching our hours consciously, meticulously.
    Analyzing what is our purpose in life? What is it that we are passionate about that we would do no matter what the circumstance, dream of it even, think about it at all times, LIVE IT! What is it that we want to strive for? Zoom out from what the world dictates to do – career, family etc. All that will fall in place, but if its not part of your passion, I’d say you’re not living your life to the fullest. Passion is something you’d wish you didn’t have the weekends for! And would take your own productive breaks in your own way. Look for it; we all have it in ourselves. As each one of us has been created with a purpose to serve our Lord, and surely we all have this unique signature in ourselves that we have to figure out.Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. [The Holy Qur’an, 13:11]
  2. Take time to accept where you are now.

    We all think we need the perfect study table to learn, we need the perfect place to do things, the perfect institution to study in, we wait for the perfect job or islamic degree to start with our passion, we wait for a lot of things and do not focus on the million gifts and opportunities we have around us.I find Yusuf’s AS story so inspiring. We all dream big, we all want to do great things in life. But look at the life of Yusuf AS. Did he grow up all (apparently) successful in every walk of life, hence becoming the best minister of Misr? No. He went through a lot of different happenings in his life and wouldn’t have even imagined he was growing up to be a legacy.Looking clearly at each stage if his life, we learn that while he was with his brothers who didn’t like him much, he had a quality in him that they envied. While he was thrown at the well, he was actually ‘good news!’ for the ones who took him out of the well. When he was bought/adopted, the Aziz was happy to have someone useful in his hands. Oh oh! He was then sent to prison. What then?  Even THEN, he was a source of goodness for his prisonmates; through him, and by Allah’s will, they accepted Islam and accepted guidance. They enjoyed his company and trusted him in what he said and also believed him so much that  they entrusted their dreams with him.

    What do you see in common here?  In every phase of life, no matter how apparently insignificant it seemed, that Yusuf AS was in, he made the world around him a better place. See a lesson there?

    ‘Between where you are and who you are becoming, you are where exactly you are meant to be. Find comfort in the quiet corners of your dreams. Even if u don’t change the entire world, you would change your part of it. N affect the people you share it with.’  – [A paraphrased quote I really like]

  3. So, even if you don’t change the entire world, change your part of it!
    You may be a fresh jobless graduate, but you can do a lot of community service in the form of teaching, preaching, working online, helping your family at home, organizing small family circle meetings for the sake of Allah, meeting people of the community to discuss dawah events for your place, even do something as simple yet humongous, as teach someone to read the Quran correctly. You may be a busy college student but you might find your passion in art, or in social service, or in public speaking, etc. You might not always need to be teaching or giving alone, but most importantly, Read and learn yourself. (Point to be emphasized on, later). You might be a busy wife handling toddlers and babies, but then reading to them, making them love reading, listening to the Quran together, reciting it even, and what not, there’s a gazillion opportunities in doing things to gain rewards bringing up children!! You might be that busy daughter-in-law of a house who needs to fulfill expectations, but then you can steal time to do that which you really desire to- Study your dream course, teach what you know and love, spread love for Allah and build a connection with Allah simply with everyone you meet. Oh you are already having a job of your own, a family to take care of and a full time perfect schedule? Perfect! Being busy is an excellent attribute of a Muslim! By being the best of yourself consciously (point no.1), you are already doing a lot of good to this world!If you really aren’t yet happy with that job, then perhaps tweaking it to your likes, teaching the students good manners and Islamic ethics, or spreading good words among colleagues in office, bringing everyone to pray in congregation, writing up one or two articles of your reflections to share with the world are some of the things you can easily chip in in withing your daily work.

    You might be none of the above or simply just graduated from high school wondering what path to choose. You might even be very contented with the job you are at now, so you’re not interested in any of these. But you might be surprised at your own speaking skills such that with a little description of Islam from you, someone might accept Islam!

    In all these and more possible scenarios, one thing is the most achievable by each and every one of us- making the world around us a better place. By the being the best of ourselves. Giving the best of ourselves. And remember this. No, BELIEVE in this-

    We all have something to give. We definitely do. Don’t let shaytan convince you otherwise.

  4. Ripple effect:

    But I’ll you what? Ripple effect. Every action will continue to spread, continue to grow. When you don’t even realize, you’ll hear from someone you never met say from maybe even another part of the world,  that they’ve heard something you said or did or they read something you wrote or painted,etc and it changed their lives! So continue focusing on the here and now, on how to make the present a better place to live. Focusing in self, brings change to family, which in turn brings change to society, then the community and so on. Even brings about a revolution bi idhnillah.

  5. Learn, Learn and LEARN

    When you keep learning, you keep growing. You might not even realize your passion until you start learning a lot; sometimes even learning is your passion! Be it reading current affairs, or actually studying a course, or simply gaining a lot of knowledge on a field of interest. Contact people who can teach yo u to become better in it, search online for resources. And by ‘learn’ I never meant those petty little videos on facebook or whatsapp you watch all day and consider knowledge. The only way we can bring change to our ownselves and not remain stagnant is to keep learning.The ocean of knowledge in every field Islamic or not, is vast and staying merely in one spot well immersed will only drown us and not take us far!

  6. My fav line always: Little by little one travels far.

    I cannot emphasize enough on the significance of focusing on the littles. Have a huge goal to reach? Break it down to smaller short term goals. Then break them into everyday tasks to accomplish. And find happiness in being able to live that huge dream in the little hours of everyday life! Trust me, When we start wherever we are with whatever we have, in all excellence of it, and sincere intentions of it, we WILL feel that sense of peace and happiness our heart yearns for and we WILL keep going until we reach that goal and we WILL find doors keep opening for us to get there, inshaAllah.When we say ‘oh but for that, i need this thing which will take years and its not possible now,’ trust me, we are going nowhere. Enjoy the journey to your goal. Coz the end doesn’t matter as much as the feeling of narrating your journey to someone of how you reached there! And what if you never reached there? Allah SWT promises to reward you with it as you’ve been striving for it already.‘When a slave falls ill or travels, then he will get reward similar to that he gets for good deeds practiced at home when in good health.” [Bukhari]
    That’s how much the journey matters. 🙂

Things that I assume are known and so didn’t mention : the power of dua, in asking Allah to show us the path, to even guide us to our goals, the significance of having big dreams and that its not only the little things but that if you really dream big nothing is impossible. Today your halaqa has 20 people, there is no harm in aiming for it to be 2000 in a matter of a few months! To grow should definitely be a pattern in our lives. And if we don’t measure what we achieve, we can’t calculate what requires us to takeus to our road to our destination. Calculation tho, has to be done correctly. Quality over quantity always.

May Allah bless us with humongous dreams to accomplish, with opportunities to grab and bring change to the world. Ameen.

Why are you still here? Go start now! Bismillah!

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