The Call


My heart was numb, nothing felt right,
I stayed awake all through the night.
My time flew, but I knew,
I am living a life that was not true.

My eyes were shut, my music loud;
I felt alone, even in a crowd.
I searched around, but could not find-
A moment in life to give me pride.

I sat one day staring at the wall;
Till I heard a call, just down the hall
Hayya Al As-Salah ; Hayya Al As-Salah
Hayya Al Al-Falah; Hayya Al Al-Falah

The words were pure, I could not ignore;
I bowed my head, down on the floor.
I found my soul; I thought I had no more.

I knew at once, this was right, my first step into the light
I found solace in my solitude; I made Sujood in gratitude.
Subhana Rabbi Al Aala………Subhana Rabbi Al Aala

Everything will end, let us not pretend;
So come to the Deen, oh my friend.

From Darkness to Light

minaretThe sun shone bright the other day. Birds were chirping, the sea was humming, and the date palm trees were swinging happily. I was standing in my balcony, gazing at the flawless atmosphere with awe. The reflection of the sun on the sea, as if the sun was looking down at a mirror. Creatures of the sea were singing, creatures on land were dancing, and the creatures on sky were flying with such comfort and simplicity, as if they had no worries in this world. Every creature, plant and non-living thing was relaxing, as if they had no troubles. Only I seemed to be the troubled one with all the worries of the world gathered in my heart!

While gazing at the beautiful scene, I saw a man and a woman holding hands, while taking a walk at the beach. They were walking happily, talking, smiling and laughing at each other’s jokes. Their love was glowing, as if an angel had struck them, and their happiness was visible from afar. Soon, they were followed by three little children, who were jumping around them, playing happier than ever! They were such a beautiful family – looking at them made me cry. I also wanted someone to love me! I wanted to be a part of a beautiful family, but it seemed like I would never get a chance. I was the only daughter of my bed-rested parents. Day and night I used to take care of them and manage the house. My dream of studying never came true. I was at home the whole day, tracing marks on the ground, always fulfilling my parent’s wishes and waiting for a miracle to fulfil mine. But that miracle was nowhere to be found. I was literally struggling with life and had nowhere to go. Days were vulnerably busy, nights were restless.

After seeing that beautiful couple, my night was more restless than ever. I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t. There was too much on my mind. I kept questioning myself: “Why can’t I be happy? Why was my life supposed to be so rigid? Why was I sent to this world, when the only thing I have to do is work and worry? Why me? Why did God create me? If He made me a living creature on this Earth, why doesn’t He help me?” And every question came with a shower of tears. I had no answers to my questions! It was past midnight, close to sunrise, and I hadn’t slept for even a millisecond. I stepped out to the balcony to taste the cool morning breeze, thinking it might make me feel better.

As I was lost in my own thoughts, suddenly I heard something. It was like a song, as if someone was calling people for something. I used to hear this call every morning, but never felt the way I felt that special day. It was the call for prayer (Adhan) coming from a Masjid nearby. It was such a beautiful call that soothed my heart and lifted my worries. I felt as if that call was a sign, as if it was calling me for something new that would change my life.

The next day I planned to visit that mosque. I had just reached, when the Maghrib Adhan started, and my glance fell over that beautiful building. My mouth froze open and my eyes fled from my body. For a few minutes, I stood there startled, gazing at what beauty was before me. The funny thing is that I had seen that mosque many times before, but had never felt that way! As I entered the female section of the mosque, many women just like me – except with happy faces – were offering their Salah. They were following the Imam’s voice and praying in unity, doing the same motions at the same time. They were all bowing to one God – Allah (swt). How great He must be, I thought at that moment, there was so much harmony! I felt that I belonged in that very unique place with those glowing ladies.

Just as they were finished with their Salah, I went up to them and shared my feelings and thoughts. They at once guided me to meet the Imam of the mosque. I went to meet him and he greeted me with a glowing smile on his face. He started to talk to me, asked me about my life and introduced me to Islam. It was all so interesting and beautiful that I wanted to keep on listening, but the Imam had to leave – so he called me to come to the mosque the next day.

For a week, he kept calling me, told me a lot about Allah (swt), read verses from the Holy Quran and, Subhan’Allah, how I would start crying, when I heard them. Just the voice would start to heal my heart. It had been a week, when I told him that I was ready to convert to Islam and worship one true God – Allah (swt), the Greatest and the Most Powerful. I got converted, and the change I felt in my life was amazing! Praying five daily prayers had brought me into routine. Knowing that Allah (swt) was with me, I felt safe and peaceful while sleeping at night. All worries seemed to disappear. I had lived in darkness and ignorance my entire life – now, I had stepped into light and found my true love: Allah (swt).

It was happily ever after with me and my Allah (swt)!

The Dua that changed my World

dua(This was one of the entries received as part of the story writing competition 2014)

Making Duas was never important to me. I always used to think that since Allah (swt) knows what is in my heart, He will listen to me. Consequently, there was no conscious effort in my Salah or otherwise to make Dua during rain, or between Adhan and Iqamah, in prostration, after reciting Quran, after Fard Salah, on Friday, while travelling, before opening a fast or at the time of Tahajjud. However, my thinking and understanding of the Deen changed considerably after my new homecoming to Deen.

It was something magical and surreal. There was something divine about this change. It made me happy and satisfied. It completed me. It gave me an identity and put my aching heart, wandering mind and unrest soul at peace!

My life took 360 degrees turn four years ago. A lecture at a friend’s house, followed by a few lectures at Markaz Al-Huda in Sharjah, and my heart gradually attached to the Deen.

It happened immediately after I realised that I had been wasting my life. I had surrounded myself only with things that would drift me away from the Deen, rather than bring closer. This realization was painful but satisfying. It put me to shame, but I was grateful to Allah (swt) that He opened up my mind to this reality.

The next big challenge was to remain steadfast upon the change. Guess what helped me to continuously come closer to Allah (swt), seek His pleasure, and increase the knowledge of Deen? The Duas, of course! My favourite Dua at that time and even today is: “Ya Muqqalib Al-Quloobi, Thabbit Qalbi, ‘Alaa Deenik.” (“O, turner of the hearts, make my heart steadfast upon your Deen.”) (Muslim)

I learnt some very meaningful Duas and started reciting them regularly, Alhamdulillah. Each one of it sounds more beautiful and meaningful, since now I make a conscious effort of learning the meaning in English and reciting the Dua in Arabic. Slowly and gradually, my misconception of the fact that Duas are not answered faded away, as I saw, in front of my eyes, my Duas being answered, irrespective of the language… one by one, Alhamdulillah!

Just like many of my sisters and brothers in Islam must have discovered the power of Dua, I too am discovering and enjoying it. In fact, sometimes a Dua that I have asked for is answered beautifully, and it leaves me awe struck and amazed. Sometimes the Duas are answered as I have asked, while at other times my Duas are in fact replaced by something better than I could never have imagined. I have been experiencing the miraculous beauty of the bond between the Creator and His servant getting stronger, Subhan’Allah!

To think of any single Dua that was answered is difficult for me at this point in time, because like I said, Allah (swt) has been so Merciful, Masha’Allah, that when He guided me to His Deen, He made ways of bringing me closer to Him, day by day. The recent Dua that I made, was answered in a manner I could have never imagined – I will share with you this beautiful incident.

My seventy-three years old mother was sick in Pakistan. I had seen her in 2011, and in 2014 she fell really sick. I told my family back home that I was coming from Canada, because I wanted to meet her. This was in February, this year. I went and spent 12 days with her, Alhamdulillah. During this time, she recovered from her illness and seemed to recuperate day by day. What happened to her? Well, a mix of multiple problems. She had angina, breast cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, hernia, and in February she developed severe bronchitis, due to which she used to have breathing problems, as water would fill up in her lungs. To top it all, old age itself is a big problem. When I came back and saw her for the last time on the 8th of March, my heart was aching and my tears wouldn’t stop. I didn’t want to come back to Canada, but I had to!

After coming here, I got busy with various chores. We were moving from Toronto to Mississauga. The kids were starting Hifz program here. Then I slipped from the stairs of my new house. There was too much on my plate at that time. I used to call mummy on Sundays and speak to her for a while. I used to make a lot of Dua for her health.

I remember vividly the Sunday before she passed away – I couldn’t call her, as we were going somewhere. In the car, while it was raining outside, and we were travelling to a relative’s house, I made a sincere Dua to Allah (swt). I begged him to relieve my mother of all the pain and never make her dependant on anyone. I prayed to Allah (swt) to ease her of all her sufferings and trials. I prayed for her to die peacefully, as a Shaheed, whenever her time came. I was deeply saddened by the fact that I wasn’t close to her and I couldn’t serve her or do anything for her, except make Dua.

That night in the bed and all the nights that followed, I repeated the same Dua. I didn’t want my mother to suffer any more, as I had always seen her sick. She had always been a fighter. The following Thursday, on the 12th of June, 2014, she passed away – peacefully – in her bed, Alhamdulillah!

I don’t know what to say. I wasn’t happy about the fact that I didn’t speak to her on the last Sunday that she was alive, but I was grateful to Allah (swt) that she died in her own bed, not in the hospital. She went away without giving trouble to any of my siblings. I sincerely hope and pray that she had recited the Kalimah, when she passed away. I beg all the readers of this insignificant note to recite this Dua for my mother with me:

“O Allah (swt), forgive and have mercy upon her, excuse her and pardon her, and make an honourable reception for her. Expand her entry and cleanse her with water, snow and ice, and purify her of sin, as a white robe is purified of filth. Exchange her home for a better home, and her family for a better family, and her spouse for a better spouse. Admit her into the Gardens, protect her from the punishment of the grave and the torment of the Fire.” Ameen. (Muslim)

Him (swt)


I am looking outside the window, remembering my life without Him,

Him, The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

I am looking outside the window, remembering when I was blind,

I couldn’t see life as it is,

Full of His Greatness.

I am looking outside the window, remembering when I was deaf.

I couldn’t hear the adhan,

The perfect call to success.

I am looking outside the window, remembering when I was thirsty,

Thirsty of knowledge.

All this time without Him.

La illaha illa Allah

Him, Al-Khaliq

I thank Him,

I can see, I can hear and I know.

Now I know He is here, whenever I think of Him.

I make Dua to keep me on His Path.

The path He called me to follow.

Who is He?


Allah Subhanahu Wa Tala

You made me a Muslim


Bilal bin Rabah (rta)

Hafsa Ahsan recounts the arduous life and the strong faith of the noble companion

Bilal (rta), was the first Muadh-dhin (the one who gives the Adhan) of Islam. In pre-Islamic Arabia, Bilal (rta), tall, thin and slightly hump-backed, was a slave of Umayyah bin Khalaf.

Bilal’s (rta) first encounters with Islam came when he began overhearing conversations between Umayyah and his guests, discussing the negative aspects of the new religion. But instead of being warded off, he felt drawn to Islam. After that, he would often hear Abu Bakr (rta) when he called people to Islam. Finally, he went to Prophet Muhammad (sa) along with Abu Bakr (rta) and embraced Islam.

Since he was a slave and did not have any strong tribe to defend him, Umayyah tortured him heavily. He made him lie face down on the scorching sand, wearing a suit of armour, when the sun was at its peak. Then he would have heavy rocks placed upon Bilal’s (rta) chest and would say: “You will stay here until you die or deny Muhammad (sa) and worship Al-Laat and Al-Uzzah.” Bilal (rta) only uttered: “One, One,” referring to Allah.

On one such day, Abu Bakr (rta) admonished Umayyah: “Have you no fear of Allah that you treat this poor man like this?”

“You are the one who corrupted him; so save him from his plight,” Umayyah hit back.

Abu Bakr (rta) replied: “Then sell him to me, you can state your price.”

Umayyah set a very high price, which Abu Bakr (rta) agreed to pay. In a derogatory way, Umayyah then said: “I would have sold him to you even if you had offered me but an ounce of gold.”

Abu Bakr (rta) who was not to be deterred, said: “I would have bought him even if you had asked for a hundred ounces.”

Once the deal was finalized, Abu Bakr (rta) took Bilal (rta) with him to Prophet Muhammad (sa) and set him free.

In the post-Hijrah period in Madinah, the issue arose of how to summon people to the mosque for prayers. One day, Abdullah bin Zaid (rta) recounted a dream to the Prophet Muhammad (sa) in which a man taught Zaid (rta) the words for the Adhan. “It is a true vision Insha’Allah,” said Prophet Muhammad (sa). “Go and teach it to Bilal for he has a more beautiful and far reaching voice.” Hence, Bilal (rta) earned the unique honor of being the first ever Muadh-dhin of Islam.

Bilal (rta) added to his list of honors when Prophet Muhammad (sa) ordered him to resound the Adhan from the rooftop of the Kabah after the victory at Makkah. He remained the Muadh-dhin during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (sa).

After the death of Prophet Muhammad (sa) Bilal (rta) was asked to make Adhan before his burial. He started, but when he came to the name of Prophet Muhammad (sa) he was crying so hard, he had to discontinue saying the Adhan. “By Allah I will not say the Adhan anymore,” he declared.

During the Caliphate of Abu Bakr (rta), he requested to be sent to Sham for Jihad, and spent the rest of his life fighting in the way of Allah. He made Adhan only twice: once when Umar (rta) visited Sham and second, when he visited the tomb of Prophet Muhammad (sa).

Bilal died in Aleppo at 64. His last words were, “Tomorrow you will meet your loved ones, Muhammad (sa) and his Companions.”

Bilal occupies a distinguished position in Islam. Umar (rta) would say: “Abu Bakr is our master and he freed our master (Bilal).”

To this Bilal would say: “I am only a man who used to be a slave.”