When you ask for directions :)

Ah! There’s something I’ve been so amazed about and been wanting to share with everyone I know, just don’t know how to put it!

You know how we get used to making the dua ‘May Allah grant them hidayah’. Ever thought what hidaya meant? Guidance, yes. But subhanAllah I haven’t been able to bring my head around its actual and true meaning, after my tafseer teacher taught it!

So, Hidayah هداية comes from the root word ه د ي (haa daal yaa), and hidayah means ‘to guide someone in such a way that you make them reach their destination. To show the way, make them walk the path and make sure they reach the destination

Imagine this scenario: You drive along the streets looking for a famous restaurant you’ve heard of. But you’re lost at the streets and you’ve been going round the same corner, it’s so close you know, but you can’t find it. You stop someone walking in the streets and ask them to guide you. They could tell you ‘Oh go straight, take a turn to your left on the second left and you’ll see it to your right’ and let you go. You’d sure go forth with their points and yes sometimes you’ll find the way, or else, you’d have to stop someone else and  ask for the directions again. Now this person tells you, ‘Ohhh! thats my fav restaurant as well. I have some time, come follow me, I’ll show you the way’ and takes you there making sure you’ve reached the restaurant. See the difference here?

In surah Fatihah, we learn that we need to seek help from Allah SWT (iyyaka nasta’een)…And that we do that in the form of asking dua. Wait for it…

What is the first dua we are made to ask?  ‘اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ’! “Guide us to the straight path” [اهْدِنَا , is a type of verb (Fi’l amr)  coming from haa daal ya, masdr: hidayah]

And we pray asking this, for every single rakah of every single prayer of every single day of our lives (because otherwise our prayers aren’t valid). Just imagine!

Every situation we face, every moment of our lives, we are constantly, making a decision, doing a deed, consciously or subconsciously. In every hour of our lives, we need His guidance, to make it through in the right path, the path without branches, the only straight path…to eternal success. And for this, we continuously ask Allah SWT for guidance. I hope this part of the Surah stops you in prayer, after you’ve read this, and make you think about what a huge thing you’ve been asking for all this while, and that it is HE who made you ask thus. Then pray.  🙂

Because when you ask for this, during your prayer, Allah SWT says ‘This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asks for’ [Sahih Muslim – MUST read this hadith!!!]

For then, He’ll continue to take us through the path,  thru all that we go thru and all that we encounter, thru the straight path,  to our final destination, to Jannah.

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You Are Powerful.. NOT.

You Are Powerfulyou_are_powerful_beyond_measure_by_espador-d4j3ski

Its the time where one in every five person shares a feel good quote on social media and one of it being “You are powerful. More than you know it”. Even muslims, sadly don’t realize what they’re saying when they share this.

So let me tell you this harsh n beautiful simple reality – We.Are.Not.Powerful.

Because when we sleep, we cannot even control what happens nearby us. When we put our children to sleep, or leave them alone for a while even if for a few minutes, we cannot control what happens to them. When we fear the future or feel anxious about it, we do not have the power to see it. When we regret the past, we do not have the power to undo it. When we feel nostalgic of the dearest of memories, we cannot relive it the same and exact same way again. We think about death less and we know it will come but we don’t even know when, we can’t even control it! We are not powerful because we cannot even that small cut on our fingers let alone a broken arm, ourselves! We are even clueless of what will happen the next moment, the next few seconds for sure. Aren’t we?

But I’ll tell you what. We are not powerful, but we are strong..and our strength comes from the One who is the Most Powerful.

From when we were in the stage of a helpless baby to now, He has been the One powerful, who has been giving us the strength to grow..protecting us every single time we met with potential danger. He has been protecting us while we sleep, our babies when we have to leave them alone. Our future that we are anxious about. Recording our beautiful past while ‘undo-ing’ (clearing) our deeds (sins) from our books when we regret them.

And then we wake up and grow up having so much trust in our selves, in our own plans and our own desires, because we think we know better. Somehow we think we have enough trust in Him, but we don’t. Instead of brutally just being honest to our innermost selves, we go closer to Him for the things WE WANT Him to do for us. The things we want to happen.

Yes, without Him, we are weak. But I’ll tell you what being strong is-
Strength is to face what you don’t expect, that comes your way, with a steadfast heart that stays calm saying ‘He knows’. Strength is to surrender whole heartedly and really whole heartedly that you have no power to change the future but He does. Yet still strength is what He gives you when all the tides are against you but you go forth with all that trust and faith. Strength is to not give up in Him ever and do all you can in your own way.

And when you surrender to being content after doing all you can, trust me, there is a world of difference in the way you see life. Suddenly everything changes. Your heart blooms with the sort of peace you’ve always striven for. Your life changes its course in miraculous ways. You see life, differently. You open ways to many possibilities in whats come your way because now, you truly believe that its His decision. Because you work so hard in all that you desire for. You give yourself to life. All of yourself. Completely relying on Him for the results. And He rewards you with that simple thought of yours. Your life changes. In a different sort of never-possible-on-your-own- sort of way. All because of that one moment of surrendering.

And if you really one day have sense and, understand this power: then know you are of those lucky ones on earth who live a differently beautiful life making the best of everything. You are of the ones who leave a trail behind. A trail to follow.

And after all this, if you believe this or not, it doesn’t alter His power at all. And He being the Most Merciful, the Most Giving, The Giver of Beautiful gifts, He’ll still give and give you. No matter what. Which is why we sometimes get deluded thinking it is “we” who know better for ourselves. It is “we”  who are powerful.

When we are not.

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[Things I think when I put my baby to sleep, constantly  waking up scared about anything happening to him and then finding peace in putting my trust in Him ❤]

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All of yourself..

Be that little pebble if you must
Drown yourself
Get those ripples about
Bring those waves aloud
So be that pebble if you must 
Sow those seeds wherever you go
Even If you don’t get to watch those trees grow
Sow them. Water them. Let them grow. 
Be that flower if you must.
Scent the hand that got you crushed.
Be that flower if you must
Beautify the ground, fallen or plucked. 
For pebbles can cause big ripples,
flowers beautify the barren ground,
and only seeds buried deep down
grow bringing new life…
What then, if you weren’t you? 
Be all of yourself.
Fight for it, if you must. 
But Don’t you cause a tornado
make it instead a lovely storm
And don’t you grow a poisoned weed
cause ripples could work either ways
And gardens must be revived day by day
So be all of  yourself.
But be the best of yourself. 
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The town that was ‘by the sea’..

Sometimes our dreams and aspirations will be so close to us, tempt us even, yet won’t be ours unless Allah SWT wills.

The people of the sabbath story. [Surah Al Araf verses 163 to 166]

وَاسْأَلْهُمْ عَنِ الْقَرْيَةِ الَّتِي كَانَتْ حَاضِرَةَ الْبَحْرِ إِذْ يَعْدُونَ فِي السَّبْتِ إِذْ تَأْتِيهِمْ حِيتَانُهُمْ يَوْمَ سَبْتِهِمْ شُرَّعًا وَيَوْمَ لَا يَسْبِتُونَ ۙ لَا تَأْتِيهِمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نَبْلُوهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ

وَإِذْ قَالَتْ أُمَّةٌ مِّنْهُمْ لِمَ تَعِظُونَ قَوْمًا ۙ اللَّهُ مُهْلِكُهُمْ أَوْ مُعَذِّبُهُمْ عَذَابًا شَدِيدًا ۖ قَالُوا مَعْذِرَةً إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ

فَلَمَّا نَسُوا مَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ أَنجَيْنَا الَّذِينَ يَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ السُّوءِ وَأَخَذْنَا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا بِعَذَابٍ بَئِيسٍ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْسُقُونَ

And ask them about the town that was by the sea – when they transgressed in [the matter of] the sabbath – when their fish came to them openly on their sabbath day, and the day they had no sabbath they did not come to them. Thus did We give them trial because they were defiantly disobedient.
And when a community among them said, “Why do you advise [or warn] a people whom Allah is [about] to destroy or to punish with a severe punishment?” they [the advisors] said, “To be excused before your Lord and perhaps they may fear Him.”
And when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We saved those who had forbidden evil and seized those who wronged, with a wretched punishment, because they were defiantly disobeying.
So when they were insolent about that which they had been forbidden, We said to them, “Be apes, despised.”

Allah swt mentions “the town by the sea”. At first it sounded nice n picturesque. But then i wondered why did He mention that the town was BY THE SEA?
Those away from the ocean and desiring fresh fish would know the struggle.
Allah swt ordered the fish to come near the shore only on saturdays , during their days of sabbath (the days they weren’t allowed to work or fish etc), such that they coudn’t catch the fish. It was a trial for them.

Imagine their temptation to cheat?

And so some of them cheated. They’d drop their nets on Friday nights and collect them on Sunday so it would seem like they hadn’t gone fishing on Saturdays.

However Allah knew what was in their hiding and their disobedience. He punished them by making them turn into apes, despised!

Here, there were two other groups of people as well. A group that advised them against it, and Allah swt honors them by mentioning their response in the Qur’an. And a group that didn’t cheat but didn’t advise the wrongdoers either. They were simply spectators and also went to the advisors and asked them, saying “why advise when Allah has doomed them punishment?”

Allah punished the wrong doers as well as those spectators who didn’t bother or care for their wellbeing with a humiliating punishment (Be apes!).

● Something may be so close to us (the sea n its fishes) , it may seem absolutely possible in its happening, yet it won’t, unless Allah swt grants it to us. Even the fishes were under His control, what then was in our hands? Understand His wisdom with patience and Don’t cheat when it comes to His commands. He would know.

● Don’t be of those spectators who simply judge others. Instead call them to good, “perhaps they may fear Him”…perhaps they may come around. :’)

In either case, Do your part and leave the rest to Him.

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My brilliant companions and their brilliant ways ;)

This post is a dedication for all the amazing women doing SO much out there. My heart is brimming with love for the sake of Allah for them, making me feel so active and helping me take steps closer to Allah; inspiring me that  no matter what, I can do all that I aspire for. Actually there are many more women out there whom I haven’t mentioned as well. 🙂 *My Special prayers for them!*

Don’t let any excuse come in the way of your relationship with the Qur’an 🙂
Nope, not motherhood, not grandmotherhood, not studentship or office workership. Nothing. The Qur’an requires its time and place in each of our lives. Every single day (bi ithnillah <3) 

I don’t even know some of these ladies personally SubhanAllah, Perhaps such is the Love in the shade of Allah SWT!.  To name a few, here are some-

LOOOOVED this Qur’an journal-ling idea I found from Gilded_Dunya’s page, linked to Iman Illustrated.  Why do we take notes so tiny, and fit all that information in a page, such that we don’t even look at it again.

I am enjoying writing my reflections and lessons as I go about learning Alhamdulillah, And I even want to keep looking at the pages (makes such an awesome revision of thoughts!)

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Learning Qur’an is a therapy for the soul. Qur’an Journal-ing is a therapy for the mind.

The time it takes to do this, helps me internalize the verse and also acts soooooo therapeutic for this chaotic mind. :’)  Perfect for my me-times.

AND then Madiyah Rana‘s AWESOOMEE Learning idea (which I am yet to try, but I lovvvveee)-

“It’s known as ‘Rasm.’ I actually thought he meant ‘Rasm’ meaning, tradition or ceremony (in the Desi culture lol) However, in Arabic, the word Rasm means to draw or sketch. It’s also used in a famous Arabic proverb where it is reported:

الحفظ في الصغر كالنقش على الحجر والحفظ في الكبر كالرسم على الماء

““Memorizing something in youth is like engraving on stone; memorizing something in old age is like drawing/engraving on water.”

So what exactly does each letter stand for?

R – Read. Whether your watching a lecture or reading an article, the first step is to simply read or listen. No writing detailed notes. Just immersing yourself in the text or lecture. If possible, the first time read without highlighting or jotting down notes. The second time, get out the pen and paper. 🙂

A – Answer. If you’re an IOU student, you will have a module test at the end of each module. If you’re an A-level students you may have to answer a few questions in your text books. This second part is for you to review and answer any unanswered questions you have in mind.

S – Summarise. At the end of each module or days study, summarise all the notes a page or and a half. Not complex but to the point.

M – Memorise. This is something I never have done. I’ve revised and made notes but never sat and memorised what’s on the page so it remains solid in my head. Knowledge must be sought but when it’s memorised it’s like engraving on stone.

I’m excited to try out this new study technique. And to those who have there own method, I’d be great to hear what works for you.” – Madiyah

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I have never done this before, but perhaps they mean so much to me, and I pray they continue to inspire other’s lives as well, hence this post. Much Love and respect for ALL others as well 🙂

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Oh What’s that! ‘Too sinful to be forgiven. Too bad to do good’ ?

Emails are filling up my inbox with information on the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah; Whatsapp is buzzing with numerous reminders and forwarded messages and images on it; Shuyookh’s audio and video recordings on it are being circulated; facebook is brimming with feeds by friends writing all about it… and here I am.

Dazed Awestruck perhaps. No, I don’t know the right word yet.

With an overwhelming feeling of a myriad of emotions. I yearn to be there among the crowd, chanting the praises of My Lord. I long for it so much, I get lost in thoughts of my last visit to the place. And then the heart turns to being grateful; so grateful for having been given the much undeserving honor before, the chance to face the house of the Almighty.

And then again, when my thoughts come back to my room, I look at the amount of opportunities He has continued to bestow us with. While Hajj is in itself a purification of the self, HE has given us the opportunity to be forgiven for the past and coming year, simply by observing a day of fast on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah. When the hujjaaj are standing on mount arafah seeking His forgiveness, here we are given the opportunity to do likely.

So we have been repeatedly reading about these days being blessed, sworn upon by Allah SWT himself, and there are no better days than these. Although my immediate thoughts are about making the best of these days, I’m more lost in the Mercy of Allah SWT in our lives.

How many times a year do we get reminders like these? Time and again HE grants us various opportunities throughout the year- to repent, to go back to Him, to do good (actually that too for ourselves and those around us) and be forgiven, and forgiven again. Even if we knowingly sinned, we have the chance to repent until we face the angel of death or even then, until death actually reaches our throat!

We know it’s in the fitra (nature) of human beings to err. HE knows it better. And opens so many doors for us throughout the year for being forgiven. No really, I cannot fathom this.

From forgiveness for the year, to weeks (between fridays), to days, to even hours and minutes. We have so many opportunities; and how many do we grab?

Imagine being a sinner throughout the year and then just fasting a day out of sincere faith and ALL those sins are just erased off your book. That’s all! THAT easy! THAT Merciful!

Forgiveness for two years-
It was narrated from Abu Qatadah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Fasting on the Day of ‘Arafah, I hope from Allah, expiates for the sins of the year before and the year after.” [Ibn Majah]

Forgiveness for the year-
Abu Qatadah narrated that :The Prophet said: “Fast the Day of Ashura, for indeed I anticipate that Allah will forgive (the sins of) the year before it.” [Tirmidhi]

Forgiveness for ALLL PAST SINS!-
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Bukhari]

Forgiveness between weeks-
Allah’s Messenger said: “Whoever performs Wudu, performing his Wudu well, then he comes to the Friday (prayer), and he gets close, listens and is silent, then whatever (sin) was between that and (the last) Friday are forgiven for him, in addition to three days. And whoever touches the pebbles, he has committed Lagha (useless activity).” [Tirmidhi]

Forgiveness during the day-
It was narrated that ‘Amr bin ‘Abasah said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘When a person performs ablution and washes his hands, his sins exit through his hands. When he washes his face, his sins exit through his face. When he washes his forearms and wipes his head, his sins exit though his forearms and head. When he washes his feet, his sins exit through his feet.'” [Ibn Majah]

Forgiveness between the hours-
‘Uthman said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: ‘There is no man who performs Wudu’ and does it well, then prays, but when he prays it, he will be forgiven whatever (sins he commits) between that and the next prayer.” [An-nasai]

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Say Amin when the Imam says Amin, for it anyone’s utterance of Amin synchronises with that of the angels, he will be forgiven his past sins. [Muslim]

And even if there are some major sins to be forgiven, Allah SWT has provided easy ways of kaffarah for them. He hasn’t asked you to beat yourself to death or tie yourselves to be stoned, to be forgiven.

These few ahadith are just a drop in the vastest ocean..There’s so much more! Angel Gibrael says he feared that Allah swt would’ve even forgiven Phiraun, out of His mercy, had Phiraun repented.

Dear soul, what then makes you despair from the Mercy of Allah SWT?’

 

So When we say, ‘Who am I to seek His help, when I sin a lot’, Allah the Most High says-

‘Allah says: Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Sûrah al-Zumar: 53] 

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Reach the end of the tunnel, for there definitely IS light. :’)

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The journey..

Like a healer, like a guardian.

A healer for the broken heart; a comfort for their brokenness to come together. Like a spring of happiness for the sad and depressed. A source of healing for the bodily sick, and for the ill soul. Guides you when lost, guides you when unlost.

Like a savior, like a guide.

It makes your perspective of life change; more focused, more conscious; diligent. When its natural to be faced with dilemmas in life, it clears your mind to focus on that which is your priority first; that for which you will be held accountable for first. Also a clear proof for the misguided.

Like a lover, like a friend.

Makes you get addicted to it once you make a connection with it. No matter what, if it opens up to you, you will make time for it every day. And it will open up its treasure chest of reminders, its ocean depth knowledge and wisdom, to guide you through life. Like a light; a lantern that guides through darkness..

A solution; a remedy– for everything, every problem of the world. Every challenge of the soul.

The Qur’an; The truth. The words of Allah SWT; protected and preserved for centuries till today, being what it is for every single being: A companion. 

Although a lot of articles talk about ways of establishing a connection with the Qur’an, I believe its a very unique process for every individual for connecting to it in their own ways. And basically for some, it may not go beyond their beautiful recitation so they need to spend more time with it.  For some, it may not go beyond their knowledge in understanding it unless they humble themselves before it, and for some, even a little of it stirs belief and increases them in obedient worship…

The journey.

Many strive to bring the Qur’an into their lives; via recitation, via memorization, or by just reading its translation. How beautiful is it, that what matters to Allah SWT is each of our journey to it.

Aishah (رضي الله عنها) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Qur’an will be with the honourable and obedient scribes (angels) and he who recites the Qur’an and finds it difficult to recite, doing his best to recite it in the best way possible, will have a double reward.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

If He showers us with this much mercy just for the one striving to recite,  then what about the one striving to contemplate and the one striving to live it?  :’)

And when the thought of giving up paves an obstacle in your path, when you feel overwhelmed that everyone else knows much more about it while it is hard for you to understand and make it part of your life, Don’t give up yet. And hold on to it even with that weak rope, because it is only bound to become stronger slowly. For Allah سبحانه وتعالى has promised that He has made ‘the Qur’an easy to remember’ repeatedly in Surah Qamar. And He will fulfill His promise.

‘And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?’ [Surah Qamar, verses 17]

Increases humility…

When we get to it, one cannot fathom being blessed by Allah سبحانه وتعالى, being granted His permission to memorize His Noble verses. The fear that even a little pride in it or telling anyone about it would make us lose it all, increases our  humility and gratefulness to Him.

Organizes a messy life..

Making sure one dedicates a specific time for the Qur’an and their Qur’anic goals will help to learn how to prioritize the important things in life, and push them to try not to be lazy and messy, and instead be organized and clear.

When we slack..

Sometimes, the momentum will go down, and we will slack off. But then the heart which was getting its food, will remind us of its hunger and thirst. It will remind us with guilt that its alright to slack one or two days, and to use those days instead for all the revision (in case of memorizing students), or reflection (for the reciting students)  and then COME BACK! Don’t go away. The honest desire and aim to be from the people of the Qu’ran, will push us back again.

I Paste this in my Qur’an bookmark and it serves as a reminder and motivates me  when I slack – “Recite and Rise

‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr رضي الله عنه narrated that the Prophet of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “It will be said to the companion of the Quran: Recite and rise in status, recite as you used to recite in the world, for your status will be at the last verse that you recite.” [Tirmidhi/Abu Dawud]

When in contemplation…

It is not how much you know that matters, but it is the journey to knowing. It is in ‘how much you want to learn’ that you will keep learning.  The Qur’an treasures an ocean depth of knowledge and actually even deeper. Every time you put your feet in it, you will come out with a few drops of light from it. And never will it leave you without something, for as long as you go to it with a yearning humble heart.

I say this often, and it has been a mantra for life –‘Little by little one travels far’. Even when you haven’t memorized much (for example), it will feel like you’ve come much farther in the past few days than you would have if you started in bulk with a mindset to finish it all in one go.. And it will also feel like you have miles and miles to go, yet you won’t give up, bi ithnillah. Few verses per day, every day, will be more beneficial than a bulk of verses per week. And will also automatically open your heart to its gems, and make you contemplate on the verses; only constant touch with it will get it to trust you enough to reveal to you its secrets. It will only speak to an intent listener.

Sheikh ʿAbdur-Raḥmān as-Saʿdī  was asked, “How do I reach a point where I can do tadabbur of the Qurʾan (reflect on the Qurʾan)?” He simply said, ‘You continue to read and read and read… until Allah opens your heart to tadabbur.’

It will overwhelm you..

It definitely will. The Qur’an will also make us feel overwhelmed with its place in our hearts; with the way it impacts our days and the happenings of our days. Because honestly, it is lost somewhere today and when it really is impacting our lives, we will find a difference, a different sort of peace. A different sort of feeling in the heart, a sense of possessiveness that you’ll want to keep for yourself. A different sort of beautiful. It’ll make you fall in love with it, yet fear the loss of it…

When the heart is in a  constant struggle learning to settle with the Qur’an, is when the heart is ready to fill its vessels with its jewels, and the Qur’an also would know if it.

Hold on to it tightly, coz again, its the journey that matters; and its always going to be a journey.

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