Time has wings- The wise, don’t let it fly!

Time Flies

We all know that we live a limited time, and we all have 24-twenty four hours in a day to do our chores. But, we need to ask ourselves, whether we are doing justice with our time. Are we doing something productive on daily basis?

We need to reflect on how we are utilizing time. Unfortunately, nowadays, our minds are focused on material things, and we have worries about this world. The things we plan for these 24-twenty four hours that have nothing to do with our souls and internal self. For instance- most of us are preoccupied with shopping and upgrading our possessions. If we have a car, we need to get a better car. If we have a shelter, we think about getting a better home. These material riches have occupied our mind so intensely that we do not have time to think about own selves, and participate in real good (which will benefit us in this life and hereafter).

Spending hours on entertainment and playing video games on weekends, is actually a waste of our time. In week days, students are obsessed with grades and their homework. Working men have worries for promotions and salary raise. House wives are excessively indulged in their household works. Obviously, we all have duties and responsibilities in different roles, and we can’t ignore them. But, the point here is that we need to adopt a moderate way of doing things, rather than obsessing ourselves with worldly tasks. Even while doing physical work- we need to redirect our hearts towards Allah (swt) believing that He is the best disposer of affairs (Al-Wakeel).

Allah (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us).” (Al-Imran 3:173)

We must spare 10-20 minutes daily and think about our possessions and blessings. Instead of thinking that we have less, or we need to upgrade our possessions, we need to thank Allah (swt) for what we have. We should also realize that material things do not give eternal happiness to anyone. So, we should stop running after them. We should also spend time with our families and good friends; and indulge ourselves in positive discussions with them. We should remind ourselves and internalize that we have limited time. So, we must add to our cart of deeds rather than the shopping cart. Helping a poor or an elder person is a productive thing. We need to take out time for prayers and charity- even at work. Speaking up to Allah (swt), and doing good deeds, will not only facilitate us in managing our time effectively, but it will also lead to peace of mind that we all are searching and struggling for.

“Those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28)

Surah Asr gives solution to our time management in following words,

“By Al-‘Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss.” (Asr 103:1-2)

This article serves as a reminder for us to rethink about what we are doing, and what will be the consequences in this life and hereafter. It’s really time to make positive changes in our lives.

My life saviour was an angel

Picture courtesy: arabianbusiness.com

Picture courtesy: arabianbusiness.com

The piercing sound of minions struck my eardrums. Without putting a glance I stopped my alarm. I jumped out from my bed at 6:30 a.m. It was Sunday morning; I quickly finished my routine work, wore a black gown known as Abaya, and fixed my scarf along with the Niqab. I took my bag which was a bit heavy, and rushed towards the door where I could see my driver rubbing his eyes and trying to get back to his life again. I had a great sympathy for him, as I knew how difficult it was to wake up in the morning- when nothing looks beautiful except your bed and pillow. But, I flushed out my thoughts and got back into my state.

I recited all the Duas that happened to be the most important act for me. I felt safe then. Suddenly, a drop of water fell on my cheeks and cold breeze touched my skin. I began to think how beautiful my Allah (swt) is, and at that moment my car started and took away my concentration. Forgetting about the driver and few people around me, I visualized myself around the spell-binding weather, cold mizzle and freed birds. I felt so content. The satisfaction led me to some flashbacks.

Rosy pink cheeks with attractive eyes- which were more prominent with well-blended eyeliner and lips were covered with Maybelline colour whisper; and shiny, thick hair flying out the window. Her beauty was attention seeking and she was already well-aware of it. She really wanted to be the perfectionist. Her beauty was enough to beat her plump body. She…I waited a second- why am I calling this girl (I pointed myself) as a third person. Then returning back, I continued- I was appreciated and people used to ignore the fact that I wasn’t a zero figure, I was fat then. Again, I corrected, actually “I am still a fat girl.” I was so much into this world that I forgot about the reality and went astray.

Temporary world’s beautification used to attract me, and it grabbed me so tightly that I was blind; I couldn’t distinguish between falsehood and truth, but what thing changed me? Yes Allah (swt) sent an angel for me who corrected me and made me realize that I went on a wrong path. That angel came into my life and I did come up with the devilish ideas to get that angel out of my life, but that angel didn’t leave me and stood by my side at every moment and situation.

Then one day, the people who used to appreciate my beauty- mocked me and pointed out on my character; they pointed out such things that I had never done, nor did I intend to do. But still, without saying a word, I went out of that place and rushed towards my room and cried as much as I could. Those false allegations on my character weren’t going out of my mind, I couldn’t sleep. My self-confidence, my poise was all gone. I didn’t know why, even though I knew I was pure but nobody believed. I was broken and I couldn’t enable myself to face those accusing faces- I died inside. I was unable to stand in front of my Allah (swt) because I regretted for ignoring Him.

But once I  realized, I was scared and embarrassed to face my Only Creator, my Only Supporter. An angel whispered in my ears to open the Quran. And after a war within myself, I opened the Holy Quran with shivering hands, and removed the dust that fully prevailed on its cover. I randomly opened it and wind blew, and the most shocking part of my life occurred, I called it a miracle and it totally changed my life.

I read the bold lines, “Verily, proofs have come to you from your Lord, so whosoever sees, will do so for (the good of) his own self, and whosoever blinds himself, will do so to his own harm, and I (Muhammad (sa)) am not a watcher over you.” (Al-Anam 6:104)

I stood on my prayer mat without any fear and when I went in Sujood, I cried and I got my life back again. Now, I have saved my beauty for my Allah (swt) and for that man whom Allah (swt) has chosen for me. People do call me with offensive names, call me extremist, but I don’t react, nor does it affect me because Allah (swt) has said, “And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous good deeds, that for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise).

Every time they will be provided with a fruit there from, they will say: “This is what we were provided with before,” and they will be given things in resemblance (i.e. in the same form but different in taste) and they shall have therein Azwajun Mutahharatun (purified mates or wives), (having no menses, stools, urine, etc.) and they will abide therein forever.” (Al-Baqarah 2:25)


Be positive – Put your hope in Allah

Path.Woods_“Think positively!” is the most common phrase. I used to hear this every single day. I was a girl who used to curse fate and life for everything that went wrong. I was depressed, spiritually weak, and distressed; I used to blame myself for my ill-fate and for every mishap. I was always a good student, but soon the turmoil deepened its root, and I started to lose my grades. The good girl turned into a bad irritable girl, but soon found peace within herself.

The peace-hunt

It sounds so easy to get close to Allah (swt), but actually, it is the most difficult journey. All you have to face is total guilt. I faced myself going back to my past- it seemed like I started living in hell having vicious flash backs. My heart sank, my brain struck with pain. I wanted to get rid of my past, and still, I am trying to get rid of it. But trust me- it’s more peaceful than before. I feel I am half washed and half pure because I am trying.

Maybe my story is not that strong, but all I believe is that trying and getting close to Allah (swt) will not just enlighten your heart, but it will also stabilize your soul.

I am the luckiest person living on earth, and I am sure you will be the next.
Hold on to Allah (swt), this is all we need for success…

“Some found Allah (swt) in the depth of their sin.” This is what I love to relate with myself.

People often get too depressed for what they had been doing in the past, and they lose hope in nurturing their self and soul for better.

I personally advise people to let it off and try to start a new chapter- A pure chapter of your life. Insha’Allah.

Beyond Good Grades

Good_GradeI was astonished to hear what she had just said. My mind was spinning, as her words kept echoing in my ears.

‘My mother, she hit me with a belt; she was not happy with my grades.’

This was her reply to the inquiry I made about the marks near her elbow. A reply that till this day sends shivers down my spine.

We were in sixth grade at that time, and everyone knew we were inseparable. She was like my sister. And, being very fond of each other, we didn’t hide things from one another. But, that was the first time she confided in me about the horrific beatings she had to go through.  I clearly remember her warm, hazel eyes become teary as she explained everything.

It was the dream of her parents to see her as a successful doctor. And, to make it come true, they expected her to bring back home nothing less than outstanding grades, forgetting that slowly and gradually, she was becoming a slave to all that they desired.

Of course, parents have dreams for us; and at times, we have goals for ourselves. We are brought up amongst people who tell us that we need to become ‘something’ when we grow up. Grades, careers, schools and universities become fragments of our thoughts without which we feel incomplete. Surrounded by chaotic competition, we often forget the real purpose of our lives. Pre-occupied with temporary gains, we begin to lose precious days chasing after endless enticements that eventually lead nowhere. We become prisoners of our dreams and wishes; we feel trapped, suffocated and helpless when we fail to achieve what we wanted to. We feel afraid when life throws at us trials that our degrees didn’t train us for.

However, what we should have realized was- that the race for the best grades, reputable jobs and most expensive cars, was one that had no finish- line. We were deceived into believing that progress in material gains and promotions to higher ranks were the only ways to find happiness.

There will be no end to our desires, our wants, our plans and our dreams if we don’t limit them. At times, it is important to break away, to disconnect yourself from your surroundings, and remember that your story has already been written; you are merely on the journey to uncover it.

Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (ra) is reported to have said: “No amount of guilt can change the past; and no amount of worrying can change the future. Go easy on yourself, for the outcome of all affairs is determined by Allah’s (swt) Decree. If something is meant to go elsewhere, it will never come your way, but if it is yours by destiny, from it you cannot flee.”

He knows whether you will become an engineer or a doctor; He has written down how much it is that you will earn; He knows what is best for you, and it is He who we fail to turn to.

We may have a hundred plans for our lives; a thousand ways in which we have pictured our future. But, suddenly, our life takes an unexpected turn, and we reach a path we never even thought about, and that path is Allah’s (swt) plan for you.

And (remember) when the disbelievers plotted against you (O Muhammad (sa)) to imprison you, or to kill you, or to get you out (from your home, i.e. Makkah); they were plotting and Allah too was planning, and Allah is the Best of the planners.” (Al-Anfal 8:30)

All messed up: There’s more to the picture

lightIt was early in the morning when X looked out of the large wooden window she was sitting in front of. The night that had just passed was something she feared would come again. Her room had already started to illuminate with the light of the rising sun, but she thought it was something she wouldn’t be able to experience in life. Things quite dark had happened to her, and she thought there was no one to help her stand up again. All this made her wonder if she could choose not to live.

What if in the midst of what X was going through, something could convince her not to do so? What if there was something more to the picture? What if there was something that could overpower her worries to finally leave her? If you think you had been having the same thoughts as X lately, for sure you need to know how the religion of Allah (swt) answers all such questions.

1. Why did it happen to me?

This life is a test, so we must always be ready to receive tribulations. True happiness will be granted to us, Insha’Allah, if we get past these tests with good grades; and we’ll be motivated to do that only if we desire for Jannah. In short, these trials are our chances to reach Jannah. Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) has already told why Allah (swt) afflicts His servants with trials.

It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta) that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “If Allah (swt) wants to do good to somebody, He afflicts him with trials.” (Bukhari)

2. Khayr is there, look for it.

Each event that happens in our lives leaves us with some understanding which we couldn’t have acquired if it didn’t happen the way it did. Especially, the bad ones when pass, strengthen us to face bigger challenges. The finest steel does become what it is, after going through the hottest fire! A bird does learn to fly when its mother pushes it out of the nest. Until this doesn’t happen, it never knows it can fly. At the time of hardship, we can’t exactly see where the Khayr is. But, we all know our knowledge is limited, while indeed nothing is hidden from Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) says in the Quran,

“…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” (Al-Baqarah 2:216)

3. You have the cure, use it!

What you have been given as a test by Allah (swt) is something that you can bear. This is Allah’s (swt) blessing on each one of us, which we should always be thankful for. You just have to gather yourself again by keeping in mind what Allah (swt) says in the Quran,

“Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us (Jews and Christians); our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us Forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Maula (Patron, Supporter and Protector, etc.) and give us victory over the disbelieving people.” (Al-Baqarah 2:286)


4. Realized? Time to repent!

Many a times, people feel stuck because they know they’ve done wrong, and that it is the reason why they feel devastated. But, what they forget is that their Lord is Ar-Rahman. His forgiveness is beyond our imagination. Keeping this in mind, there remains no need to try to shut doors which have already been kept open!

Abu Sa’id ibn Sa’d ibn Malik ibn Sinan al-Khudri (rta) reported that the Prophet of Allah (sa) said: “Among those before you there was a man who killed ninety-nine people. He asked who was the most knowledgeable man in the world and was directed to a monk. He went to him and said that he had killed ninety-nine people and was repentance possible for him? The monk said, ‘No,’ so he killed him and made it a hundred. Then, he again asked who was the most knowledgeable man on earth and was directed to a man of knowledge. He said that he had killed a hundred people, so was repentance possible for him? The man said, ‘Yes, who can come between you and repentance? Go to such-and-such a land where there are some people worshipping Allah (swt, the Almighty. Worship Allah (swt) with them and do not return to your own country. It is an evil place.’ So he went and then, when he was half way there, he died. The angels of mercy and angels of punishment started to argue about him. The angels of mercy said, ‘He came in repentance, turning with his heart to Allah (swt) Almighty.’ The angels of punishment said, ‘He has not done a single good action.’ An angel came in a human form and they appointed him arbitrator between them. He said, ‘Measure the distance between the two countries and whichever one he is nearer to, that is the one he belongs to.’ They measured and found he was nearer to the land to which he was going, so the angels of mercy took him.” (Riyad As-Salihin)

5. Call Him, He is never engaged!

It takes us little time to realize how merciful our Lord is. Even though, He tests us with trials throughout our lives, He has blessed us with various ways to call Him for help. One may call on Him at any part of the day, but to call is what must be done!

6. Please Him, not them!

Many problems arise when an individual is unable to live up to other people’s expectations. Each one of us comes across numerous people in life each of whom has different likes and dislikes. No matter how hard a person tries, at the end of the day criticism still remains. This happens when one forgets what he was born for. To be precise, pleasing people was never our duty, but to only obey Allah (swt). This doesn’t mean we have to do nothing with people. But, whatever dealing that has to be with them is only what Allah (swt) has ordered us to do.

7. No pill, no kill- just chill!

Many may think committing suicide means putting an end to problems, but in reality it doesn’t.  Rather it creates problems even in the afterlife-the life which one will live forever.

It was narrated by Abu Hurairah (ra) that the Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, will be in the (Hell) Fire falling down into it, and abiding therein perpetually forever; and whoever drinks poison and kills himself with it, he will be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever; and whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, will be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the (Hell) Fire wherein he will abide eternally forever.” (Bukhari)

Light at the end of the tunnel

light at the end of the tunnelDarkness had prevailed in her life; she wanted to get out of it, but it was complicated. As she tried to stand up, her surrounding didn’t let her do it. It discouraged her until she lost hope and her brain filled with complexity. She couldn’t blame anyone, as she was afraid of revealing her emotions to those who were busy in their lives; and they never noticed what her heart wanted to say.

“Neglect it! Neglect it!” it wasn’t a spoon-feeding job. Everyone has his own personality that possesses a packet of talent- which neither a teacher, nor the parents are aware of. It can only be obtained by trusting upon an individual.

Her talent was ordinary for others, but totally opposite in her perspective. As she believed that the greatest achievement of all is to do more than peoples’ expectations.

Taking this theory in her mind, she tried to expose that: ”Yes!! Something inside me brightens me up”, but she failed as she forgot that people couldn’t comprehend her feelings and thoughts correctly.

On the other hand, the fake friendships and then the deceitful people stabbing her back grabbed her attention. And, the talk which led her to lose her self-confidence made her life pathetic and miserable. She thought to be the worst terrestrial creature.

But, one day she saw a door through which she saw the rays of sun forming a circle around her and those rays were the message from Allah (swt) which made her realize what she really was. Then a reality struck her mind that this world is temporary, and the testing period will make her way easy to the Paradise. Hence, she welcomed those down phases, removed all the negativity, left behind everything and worked upon endurance and tolerance inside her. She bowed down to Allah (swt) who is omnipotent and omniscient. Still people think of her as an ordinary person, but she knows that Allah (swt) has endowed her with loads of qualities on which she is working, and preventing it from rusting by showing gratitude towards Allah (swt) Almighty Who is her light…the Brightest Light.

People who know a lot, but don’t understand each other

social-networkingWe are living in an age of instantaneous communication, where the whole world is connected to each other. It is very easy to find out what’s going on in a country thousands of miles away. From a natural disaster to a festival, from politicians’ speeches to countries about to bankrupt; the information is within our reach in a matter of seconds. And, this constant flow of information takes most of our time with us being none the wiser. Everyone complains that the time is passing by so fast, and that, 24-twenty four hours are not enough for them; but the interesting thing is that most people spend this amount of time with unnecessary occupations and procrastination.

Television and internet may prove to be traps that push people to waste their time on useless things. Today, the situation has gotten so much out of control that many people choose to focus more on their telephones, computers or tablets rather than paying attention to their families, friends or loved ones. Actually, this thought-provoking situation is the source of an important problem- it prevents people from communicating with each other, although they are constantly connected to the whole world. Some call this ‘unhealthy relationship with time’, while others call it ‘twitter-ized or facebook-aholic private lives’.

These people might learn about millions of unimportant things, but they don’t take out time to take care of themselves or the people around them. The passage of time keeps some people away from thinking, improving themselves, and working to build better personalities for themselves. The situation has became so serious that many of these people now consider taking out time for their families, complimenting each other, having a pleasant conversation and sharing blessings  with others as ‘unnecessary occupations’. Their followers on social media, who might be on the other side of the world, know about all their troubles, tastes and favourite foods, while their families are ignored.

What is even more thought provoking is the fact that these people don’t take out time for themselves; they quit thinking, and as a result, they begin to experience the effects of this in their morality, and then in their social lives as a whole.

For people, who don’t know about themselves, and the weakness of their lower selves- selfishness, hurting others, sudden bursts of anger, fits of jealousy and other evil acts- become ordinary parts of life. They begin to see these acts not as vices that should be refrained from with great care, but things that should be gotten off one’s chest. However, this is against the very reason behind the presence of people in this world.

Humans are sent into this world to attain moral maturity, in other words, to train the ‘me’ inside them. Just like we weren’t consulted about our birth, we aren’t consulted about our death either. We stay in this world for the duration that God has set for us, and with death, we will part with this world and begin our eternal life. We came to this world to learn about love, sharing, brotherhood and sublime morality. Every moment in this world is created independently for each person, and we make our choices between what is wrong and what is right. The things we choose, either make our personality better, and strengthen us spiritually, or leave us in darkness if we make bad choices.

To better understand the importance of this point, let’s ponder over some questions to see what lack of love, altruism and spirituality causes:

–                    Will your children be able to look around and learn what having ‘lofty morals and virtue’ means?

–                    Will they believe that they can be successful if they are honest and hardworking and avoid lies?

–                    Will they know that abundance can increase with goodness?

–                    Will they be aware that they can gain more by protecting the rights of innocent, poor, needy, refugees, orphans and not by cheating, lying or sacrificing the needs of others?

–                    While there are people who lose their lives as a result of obesity, there is widespread hunger in some other countries. Will they be able to see that?

–                    Will they pass by a poor person on the street without looking, or will they want to share with them what they have?

We have to tell our kids about these facts and that they are in this world ‘to be trained and to achieve good morality’.

Love, forgiveness, generosity and altruism are the essential characteristics of religion and help people gain peace and happiness. For this reason, it is imperative that we teach our children that they will find happiness only when religion is a part of every aspect of their lives. We have to show them the ease and plain nature of religion by living it ourselves.

We have to explain to our kids that everything they have is created by God for them, and how to love God every minute with passion; and that, only when people love God with sincerity can they find happiness in their hearts and blessings in their lives.

Living without love, compassion, friendship and kindness is not living. Accepting such a life is horrible. That’s why we need to help our children know themselves, and make them understand that they can defeat the evil in their lower selves with faith and closeness to God; and that everything they have should be used for goodness.

We have, but a single life in this world, and we don’t know how long it will last. That’s why we need to benefit from every single moment we have.

Knowing God, loving God and being aware of the purpose of our lives is crucial. Otherwise, depression, nervous breakdowns and troubles will end up as your grim companions. If you want a good life for yourself, your family and your children, and if, you want wars to come to an end and the world to find peace- the only thing you have to do is to have superior morals and encourage the same for everyone.

The spirit-changing bomb blast

blastThe tricky thing they call: happily ever after!

The blast shook my house to its very core, but by the Grace of Allah (swt), none was harmed- neither my family nor me in any physical sense. It left not a single scratch on our skins. Yet, it wreaked havoc with my previous attitude towards life, and left me plagued with question that clamoured incessantly in my head. If only I had known then that the answer had been a mere arm’s length away, I simply had to reach out.

The thunderous sound and simultaneous reverberation of the windows in their sills and the door on their hinges had all our hearts and breaths accelerating at alarming rates. For a moment we were mute, staring wide eyed at one another, disbelieving- disbelieving that something like that could actually occur so close to home… that something like that could happen to us… that something which clearly belonged to the TV channels could jump out at us into the real world, OUR world, from its usual, harmless enough dwelling place below the “breaking news” caption.

A bomb had gone off a few kilometres from my house. My friends were texting hysterically. My relatives were queuing in for phone calls. An unfortunate acquaintance was recovering from the shock of witnessing all windows of her house being shattered into a fine spray of glittering ash. “What world were we living in?” I wondered. Sadly, I knew the answer too well.

This world is not the ideal place to set up a camp. It is not some retreat where we could drop our bags, hurl our bodies into comfortable sofas, kick up our feet on coffee tables and fix a “home sweet home” banner above our heads. This world is dark and dangerous, unforgiving and unfair, cruel and cold. This world is not our home. What is sad, as I previously stated, is that My Beautiful Lord, Allah (swt) reminded me of this very message every time I bothered to unbind the thick, dust coated covers of The Holy Quran. In bold, simple and direct words, Allah (swt) delivers the clear verses,

“O my people! Truly, this life of the world is nothing but a (quick passing) enjoyment, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever.” (Ghafir 40:39)

“Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and (there is) Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.” (Al-Hadid 57:20)

This world is dark and dangerous, unforgiving and unfair, cruel and cold. This world is not our home.

“Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).” (Al-Imran 3:185)

“Allah increases the provision for whom He wills, and straitens (it for whom He wills), and they rejoice in the life of the world, whereas the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter is but a brief passing enjoyment.” (Ar-Rad 13:26)

“And the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement. But far better is the house in the Hereafter for those who are Al-Muttaqun. Will you not then understand?” (Al-Anam 6:32)

“And this life of the world is only amusement and play! Verily, the home of the Hereafter, that is the life indeed (i.e. the eternal life that will never end), if they but knew.” (Al-Ankabut 29:64)

“And put forward to them the example of the life of this world, it is like the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is Able to do everything.”  (Al-Kahf 18:45)

The Book had always been, exhaustive in its emphasis on the treacherous, deceptive, transient nature of life. How heedless I must have become to skim over these dire reminders that should have flashed like scarlet neon warning exclamation marks in my head, but I acted as if I were reading the weather report. My heart had become fossilized under an impenetrable layer of complacency, apathy and laziness.

Within seconds of hearing the blast, I realized with rising incredulity, the insignificance of not only the things I cared most for, but also how I spent my days, in fact my entire life

I hang my head in shame when I think of the person I had been before that life affirming experience, lounging with carefree ease on my bed, cradling my smart phone and my laptop as if I couldn’t bear to part with those “prized possessions”. Within seconds of hearing the blast, I realized with rising incredulity, the insignificance of not only the things I cared most for, but also how I spent my days, in fact my entire life, till that moment. It was one complete, wasted blur of struggles for attaining meaningless aims and undeserved merriment at reaching useless endeavours. What use were college applications or friends or fictional plots or fashion or food or gossip when I could, without a second’s warning, become buried six feet under a bed of debris and rubble?

Two questions kept me awake, tossing and turning in feverish restlessness, that night.

The first:  ‘Was my life truly meaningless?’

And the second:   ‘Where/when/how will I ever obtain the tricky thing they call as happily ever after?’

Allah (swt), the Most Generous, Loving and Kind, finally manifested the answer I sought. Who knows, perhaps, it is the very same answer that every one of us, was unconsciously searching for. We all may be phrasing it differently; looking in different directions, pegging our hopes on different people, but the answer to our life’s struggle is one and the same.

We are born. Then we live. And then we die. But after that Allah (swt) will raise us all back to life, in a world where our souls will be immortal and our dwelling, eternal. Hence, “No” was the answer to my first question- my life was not worthless. On the contrary, it had the same significance an examination has prior to an important result- ‘The Akhirah’. As for the second question- it was obvious that, if I made the ultimate effort to shatter the fossilized coating around my heart and burst free; ready to engulf, wholeheartedly, my Lord’s message, I, as well as, any of my brothers and sisters, could and Insha’Allah will, discover the where, when and how to reach our elusive happily ever after.


Confide in Who? Him or You?

fireworksLife is unpredictably weird. We don’t understand what it wants from us. It shows us its bright side- full of colors and happiness, but we tend to end up in the shades of darkness. If certain things are not meant for us, then why do we even get a glimpse of them? When some people share their achievement with the people around them, especially their family; they all get so excited for them. Excitement is just a gesture to portray that they are happy. But, here in our lives everything goes in an opposite direction.

Whenever we convey any good news to some people- they do get happy for a few moments, but then they are back to sort out their problems, regardless of the fact that someone has shared something with them. In such a situation, we must try our best cope up with everyone in the best possible manner.

Maybe, we are seeking our ultimate happiness in the wrong direction. Maybe, these achievements are not the only happiness for us; or the people with whom we are sharing the news are not the right ones who could bring cherish moments to us. And, we might have relied on wrong sources for wrong reasons. Well, we cannot wholly blame it on the people around us- after all they all are human beings. They will make mistakes, they will let you down, and they will not react the way you want them to. Hence, we are wrong from the very beginning. But, if we are wrong, then what is the right solution?

Who to confide into?

Okay, the simple solution is to share your news or achievements first and foremost with your Lord, who actually granted you that opportunity. Thank Him, praise Him, and value His power; take out everything in front of him, like- how you did it, what hurdles you faced or how you tackled the drift, even share that how you feel about it after achieving such a big thing in your life. Share it like you are sharing something with someone most important, who will surely understand you and will utterly be happy for you. And on a serious note- yes He will be happy for you; and secondly, He will actually listen to you (Who in today’s world is ready to give you time and listen to your struggle story?). He will regard you; He will make you feel better and positive. And, while sharing your precious news with your Lord, you will face no criticism or “the comments”.

“Expect from others, and expect to be disappointed. Expect from the Almighty, and He will provide. He will also pave the way for greater things.”
-Mufti Ismail Menk

How to confide in your Lord?

How should we deliver our thanks and praise to Him. One very simple way is to pray two Rakat extra prayer in order to say “Thank You” to your Lord. This way you will be thankful to your Lord’s blessing that He had bestowed upon you. You are able to share your news with Someone very special; and doing this you will be getting a reward as well. Moreover, it doesn’t mean, that you stop sharing your news or achievements with your family or people. You should share it with them, but after the above process for you will not be disappointed Insha’Allah. In the end, life is unpredictable but it is not weird at all; our approach, understanding and our reasoning makes our life weird. We need to change our approach towards life and life will turn out to be beautiful, Insha’Allah!

“The secret of happiness is accepting where you are in life, making the most out of every day, and always looking to Allah (swt) for what’s ahead.”
–Dr. Bilal Philips

How to see the Silver Lining in your Situation?

silverliningAn individual’s perception is central in shaping a person’s behaviour and attitude. If we have a positive approach towards life, everything about ourselves- our conduct and behaviour becomes positively geared with respect to our perception. Likewise, if we have a negative outlook, everything in us becomes attuned to that only.

Everyone encounters ups and downs in his/her life. At times, it becomes hard to maintain a positive outlook; but it is crucial, since it not only affects us, our health, but also those around us.

Here are some tips that will, Insha’Allah, help us see the silver lining in a tough situation:

Human capacity is limited

Remember- no matter how much you try to avert a situation, your power is limited. Human agency is limited, and you are not held accountable and responsible for what is beyond your control. Be content with the knowledge that you did your best, and some things are beyond your control.

Count your blessings

Whether you are dealing with troublesome relatives or experienced the loss of a job- instead of viewing your losses with a sense of despair- breathe. Relax, sit back for a moment, and count the blessings that you have and express thankfulness for them. Allah (swt) says, “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.” (Ibrahim 14:7)

Stop ‘comparing’ yourselves with others

A common pitfall nearly everyone falls prey to is that of ‘comparison’. Distance yourself from social media. Stop pursuing photos of immaculately dressed people, scrumptious food and expensive furniture. Comparing yourself and your situation to people who seem to ‘have it all’ is just going to end up making you feel worse about yourself. It won’t achieve anything. It’s unhealthy. The best comparison one can make is with one’s own self. Not everyone has the same rescores, opportunities or abilities.

Rephrase and reframe your situation

As mentioned earlier, perspective matters a lot. Rephrase, and reframe your worries in such a way that they do not remain worries, but mere challenges and obstacle to overcome. An ‘awful’ day becomes ‘challenging’, a ‘difficult’ person becomes a litmus ‘test’ for your patience.

Life is a test

Lastly, just remember that we have been sent in this world to get tested, so we can prove our mettle, our worth. Allah (swt) says in the Quran, “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)” (Al-Baqarah 2:155)

Donot look upon your trials as a source of discomfort, but resolve to emerge through- stronger than before! You will encounter trials and tribulations every step of the way, but how you deal with them is what matters. View a hardship simply as a means of getting closer to Allah (swt) and strengthening your Iman.

May Allah (swt) guide us to success, in this world and the hereafter. Ameen.

10 Reasons to Be Positive in Life

optimismIt has become a very common thing in our lives that if we face discouragement, disappointment or a set-back, we simply move towards the “negative zone”- that is towards the dark side of our existence. We tend to believe that it is the last stop of our life, and no good will ever happen to us again. But, we forget that life is a road of opportunities- one goes, other comes. Moreover, while being in the zone of negativity, we overlook the good things that have or had happened to us in our lives. This negative zone lead us to the path where we start to believe that “We are good for nothing”, and nothing good will happen to us again. It is the height of negative thinking.

Instead, after a disappointment or a set-back, people should remain positive. It will help them remain calm and composed emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Also, it will bring a new outlook of life which will be based on optimism.

Here are the ten incredibly motivating reasons to acquire a positive approach towards life.

1. Feel Better

One of the peaceful reasons of being positive is to feel better.  During a set-back or hard time, you usually feel down and powerless, because negativity is all around you- making feel like nothing will ever change. But, if you remain calm and take that set-back or hardship as a phase which will fade away. Then, this thought would surely make you feel better.

2. Ability to cope up

Well, hardships are a part of life. They will never go away. But, with positive attitude, you can cope up with the hard times which will help you to remain strong, calm and compose during tough times.

3. Motivation

Your positive approach will help you stay motivated towards your goal or aim in life, and no obstacle or hardship will ever de-motivate you.

4. Regain self-esteem

With positive attitude- you believe in yourself; you value yourself; you do not underestimate your potential or strengths, and you trust your decisions.

5. Attain Good Health

Positive approach keeps you away from tension, depression, and many mental illnesses. It gifts you a good health.

6. Happiness all around

Optimism is one of the charms that even during hardship, it keeps you happy and content with your life.

7. Gratitude

Positive perspective makes you grateful, thankful and pleased with all the blessings and gifts you have. It creates a huge distance between you and negativity or ungratefulness.

8. Gift of Courage

While acquiring this beautiful approach in life, it grants you one of the tremendous tendencies such as courage. It helps you to remain strong against every obstacle; it gives stamina to keep on fighting and eliminates our fears.

9. Make impossible, possible

Whether it is a test, exam, interview or an assignment, sometimes we feel it is impossible to accomplish. But, with positivity we can make impossible, possible.

10. Farewell to Stress

Usually, we feel stressful during important tasks or difficult times, which disables us to remain focus and determined. But, with optimistic attitude, we can say farewell to stress and welcome a happy life!

Let the Quran do the Miracle

Park-Bench-SA-087-Last month, her life turned into a complete mess. Sitting on a bench in a park, she went into reminiscence of her past; she was a happy girl, leading a happy, prosperous life. She had a beautiful family comprising of her loving parents and siblings; a home, a good job with a successful career and many good friends. One day, while coming back from a family picnic, her car got into a terrible accident. Her parents and siblings died on the spot, while she got badly injured and lost her arm that made her handicapped. Due to her incapacitation, she was fired from her job; moreover, to pay for her medical expenses, she had to sell her house and move into her aunt’s home.

“Life has treated me cruelly!” she thought, while sitting on the bench, and tears started rolling down her cheeks. She felt worthless and purposeless, and found no reason to live anymore. She’d even tried committing suicide, but that too failed. The ghastly circumstances she’d seen in the last one month had made her miserable and depressed; all she wanted was some peace.
Some days later, she started working at a place, which accommodated people with disabilities. Since she was a hardworking and talented woman, she was able to buy a house soon with her earnings. She got a little stable with a decent job; yet, she did not get the peace and satisfaction that her heart yearned for.

She decided to get involved in various activities to divert her mind, hoping to get over her depression and emptiness in her heart. She started clubbing and partying, regularly attended social gatherings and visited friends. That company made her feel better, but she still did not get the peace she longed for.

Then, she joined a musical band and started listening to songs frequently on a friend’s advice, who told her that music is food for the soul; hence, it’d give her peace. She gave it a try and it felt good for some time, but then again, she felt that music gave her nothing but headache.
Afterwards, she decided to get into shopping spree; she’d spend all her time roaming in the markets. She made herself aware of the latest brands as well as the trends in fashion and shopped accordingly, stuffing her wardrobe with branded dresses, bags, shoes, jewellery and makeup. Consequently, spending all her time shopping made her forget about the sadness in her life; but, after about a week, all that felt useless. Her wardrobe, bloating with branded stuff, could not give her peace of mind and heart. It could not fill the emptiness in her heart.

Then, she started watching movies all the time. She got so absorbed in them that she’d forget all her worries; however, as soon as the movie was over, she’d start feeling restless and depressed again.

After that, she took up another job to keep herself as busy as possible, hoping it would help her get over her depression; but it was not much of a help either.

Next, she decided to go on a world tour. She had gathered enough money from her jobs, so she made a list of all the countries that she wanted to visit. Excited about the tour, she thought that it would certainly give her contentment, as she had wanted to have that tour since forever. So, she visited all the countries one by one, but to her disappointment, it couldn’t give her peace and satisfaction; her heart still felt vacant and peace less.

Her depression was gradually increasing; she even went on medication, but it did little good.Then, she got into drugs, expecting to get relief from her depression. But, it made the situation even worse! She had tried one thing after the other, but all in vain. All she wanted was peace and satisfaction of heart, mind and soul.

Then one day, she decided to visit an old friend, not knowing how this visit would change her entire life. Just as she entered her home, she heard something that captured her attention at once. It was somebody reciting the Quran. She stood there still, unable to take any step further, and listened to the words of the Quran – it was so beautiful and pleasing that it touched her heart, and she could feel the warmth of tears on her cheeks. She left the house that very moment, and felt ashamed realizing how long had it been since she had last read the Quran. All these years, she had been neglecting the Book sent by the One, Who created her!

Through Quran, she found guidance for every aspect of her existence; she implemented it in her life, found true peace and lived happily ever after.

She went home immediately, opened a cabinet that had not been opened since ages, and took out the Holy Quran, which was covered with dust. She wiped off the dust with trembling hands and watery eyes, her heart heavy with sheer embarrassment. She quickly performed ablution and sat down with the Quran in her hand. She randomly opened a page in the Quran, and the first Ayah on the page that caught her eyes was,

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah, do hearts find peace.” (Ar-Rad 13:28)

Reading this, she could not stop crying. It was as if these words were written exactly for her. All her life, she had been trying to find peace through materialistic desires, and that was the moment she felt utmost peace. In her flight for the search for peace and satisfaction, how beautifully Allah (swt) had landed her on the amazing Ayah!

She started reciting the Quran along with translation, and started obeying all of Allah’s (swt) commands in the Quran; it gave her so much peace and gratification that she could have never imagined to have. It felt as if the emptiness in her heart had finally been filled. She found contentment and satisfaction of heart, mind and soul that she had been longing for since a very long time.

Through the Quran, she realized that the death of her family, loss of job and all the other calamities were trials for her; challenges through which Allah (swt) tests His people, so that they bear patience on them and He raises their standards. The calamities and hardships of life are nothing but a blessing for us, which washes away our sins.

“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).” (Al-Baqarah 2:155)

Through Quran, she found guidance for every aspect of her existence; she implemented it in her life, found true peace and lived happily ever after.

A Meaningful Life – Is it Really an Option?

1 meaningful life“A time will come when your life will flash in front of you. Make sure it is worth watching.” For a man, this might happen thrice. Once, when he is ripening in age and occasionally going down the memory lane. Secondly, when he is on the death bed, and his entire past reels before his eyes. Lastly, it will be on the day of standing, when he will account for his worldly life before his Lord (swt). Fifty thousand years of standing and waiting will turn a child into an old man.

How many of us even think about this amidst the frenzy of undertaken tasks or, conversely, when having nothing to do? Quite amusingly, we find people ranging from those for whom twenty-four hours are not enough, as they are madly dashing from one finished business to the next unfinished one, to those who have ample time at hand to waste and still the day is not done. Both categories have one trait in common. They will stand before Allah (swt) and account for every second they spent.

It all begins with the need to lead a meaningful life. What is it? A meaningful life is a life with purpose. Suleman Ahmer of “Timelenders” explains that it has the following four elements:

  1. Vision
  2. Time management
  3. Leadership
  4. Additional required competencies

To read the rest of this article and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine

Important or Urgent – The Forked Road

2 important or urgentShould I finish my report first or take care of my emails at the office? Should I attend to my sick mother-in-law or go to my child’s parent-teacher meeting? Is it more urgent to do the laundry or to cook the lunch? Life tosses at us choices to be made round the clock, and we find ourselves continuously deciding what to do. Some of us prioritize in terms of value, while others arrange items to do in terms of time. Nevertheless, all of us would benefit from learning what we need to do first, what we need to do next, and what we do not need to do at all.

It is helpful to understand that most of our daily prioritization springs to action from our discretionary mental routines (DMRs). We develop our DMRs over a lifetime, depending upon our education and experiences. Hence, our choices are automatic, unless we consciously reflect before coming to a decision. For instance, you may know three people who either live with you or work with you. One day you notice that all three make the same mistake, and you decide to help them out by offering sincere advice.

You approach ‘A’ and correct him gently. He not only listens to you carefully but also seriously assesses his mistake, and eventually thanks you for helping him grow. Next, you offer the same piece of advice to ‘B’. He immediately becomes defensive, and starts explaining himself, without listening to you. At the end, he thanks you ceremoniously, and you feel highly uncomfortable following this incident. Lastly, you talk to ‘C’, who blows up in your face. He reacts bitterly to your counsel, and you regret bringing it to his attention to begin with.

To read the rest of this article and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine

But Why Arrive on Time?

3 why arrive on timeSome people do not give any importance to arriving on time. And we are not referring only to Pakistani weddings (we will address that later)! It applies to any event, be it a business meeting, an appointment, a casual get-together, or a formal dinner. It is a principle for such individuals to walk in late, regardless of the inconvenience caused to their host, friend, or business associate. They disregard it with the flick of a fly.

Such individuals offer three common arguments to defend their practice:

  1. What will happen if I arrive early or on time, and everyone else is late? What will I do with my spare time? I will be wasting it anyway! So I cautiously delay my arrival to save my own time.
  2. What is the big deal if I was detained and have arrived late? It’s not the end of the world. Everyone is alive and kicking. Why does everybody have to make such a hue and cry about being punctual all the time?
  3. I am worthy of being waited for. Of course, all dignitaries and luminaries never make timely arrivals to grace any occasion. If the best showman will arrive on time, perform and then leave, how will concerts last until the wee hours of the morning?

To read the rest of this article and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine

Planning Ahead to Save Time

4 planning ahead to save timeAyesha was running late. She had set her alarm for 7:00 am, and actually gotten up without pressing the snooze button even once. She had estimated that she needed around half an hour for breakfast and for getting ready, and would be at the convention centre (half an hour’s drive away) by 8:00 am sharp, where she was volunteering at a seminar that day.

However, things did not go as she had planned. She hadn’t ironed her Abaya the night before. She still had a few things to put in her bag. And making and eating breakfast took longer than she had imagined. When she finally set out of the house, it was 7:45 am. Traffic signals, a bottleneck at one intersection, and a flat tyre on the way delayed her further. When she finally reached her destination, it was almost 8:45 am.

One can say that Ayesha planned ahead of time but still managed to get her timings wrong. How?

To read the rest of this article and more, subscribe to Hiba Magazine