[Reflections] Why I Wear the Hijab

hijab                                                    Image Courtesy www. eislaminfo.blogspot.com

 

I start with His praise for it is Allah (swt) who guides me each day, and His infinite mercy sustains me for my every breath.

Recently, I was asked by somebody to write a piece for Hijab Day about my journey and my experience wearing Hijab. I was thrown into a bit of a dilemma- as this was a case of, “Well I don’t really celebrate any days as such!”; and not wanting to be offensive, as I knew he in his own right was being sincere. I wrote this over night as I decided to go with how I feel. I didn’t think that this is what was wanted out of me, but I have found that I can only find words when I speak from the heart, or I can’t say anything at all. This is what I wrote, but I didn’t give it in as I felt there could not be a competition for what each of us feels.

I don’t need a day to define the Muslimah that lives inside of me.  Every day for me is a Hijab day. Although, we go through our trials, and are in the various stages of life, but I do not call my Hijab a struggle. For me- it is a source of comfort of beauty,  peace, love, and an integral part of Deen. I don’t need days and I don’t need symbols- but I do need Him, His guidance, His mercy, and even, the people He sends as friends, as teachers, and as fellow travellers throughout this journey.

Years ago, somebody told me during that tough phase when I first wore the Hijab- that this is just a sip of the ocean. Truly, I have found that Deen is so much more than that sip. It is the ocean of life; holding onto Deen, and trying not to deviate- is the real challenge.

I come from a secular back ground, where after several years, the smallest insult to my face is that I am insane. I hear stories about my past as if there was never a time of repentance. I am told by near and dear ones that I may not be forgiven. After all, I came into it so late. After all, wasn’t I so terrible? And yes, I was; and yes, I have repented; and yes, it still goes round and round in my head. Could I have been better? Could I not have done more? For me- the depth of my madness is a normal conversation; for me- this is a normal day.

I don’t ask for sympathy for what is the point in asking for it when I look at His mercy, and I know that He chose me- the lowest of all the repentant sinners to be on His path; the one who forgot Him, but was not forgotten by Him. What I do ask for is forgiveness; and that He makes it easy for all of us. This is not a rant nor this is a complaint- this is plainly the lives of many. I am just the same story in another book which can go into volumes. But each of our stories does matter to our own selves.

When Allah (swt) wants to purify a soul, he tests it through trial and tribulation. Every soul goes through this in its own different ways.

So, here we are after each insult that broke us down; you see it only broke us to re-shape us. If you felt torn apart, it was only to weave you into something stronger.

This madness has made me weep; it has made me cry; and it has made me love. If this is what it is, and the end leads to something far better than what my human mind can fathom, then let me live in my madness.

Those who know me have known my story of “love”. So, this is not a speech of grief. This is truly a story of wanting more of that ocean. I turn everything around as this is the way I will fight. You see I love my Rabb.

And I do it for His love. I love my Prophet (sa) and I love my Deen. I find no embarrassment in secular groups to say it.  And because of this love, I also love my sisters for the sake of Allah (swt).

I cannot compare my stories to any struggling Muslimah- as sometimes when I hear others relate their lives- I am humbled by the strength of the women in this Ummah. But our stories don’t end here, do they? We will go back home. and we will struggle, and we will live some more, and that is how we will move each day.

We do what we do with love for the sake of Him; that love for which there are not enough words in the human language to describe.

When you think of who you’re doing it for, it becomes easy to close chapters and lay certain pages of life to rest- knowing deep in your heart- He has other stories for you. Better plans than we can possibly imagine. I am not just speaking about the Hijab. I speak about our way of life. Imagine, the Mercy upon us when we could have been of those unaware.

From the Creator who has written millions of beautiful journeys, you should be assured, He has got yours covered every step of the way.

After all, “Wa Huwa Ala Kulli Shai in Qadeer”.  He is powerful over everything. So, engrave this belief into your soul.

Yes, I know there are days; but just believe each day will be a good day. For even if you have slept with a face soaked in tears, wake up knowing He is still with you.  For He is As-Sami (The All-Hearer); and He does listen to your Dua- the one you made when you felt there was nobody there. And, He is Al-Wadud (The Ever Loving) – the one who loves you the most. He has all the beautiful names that belong to Him.

And, this great entity, Al-Azeem (The Magnificent) chose us to be on His path; always watching over us, protecting us, loving us, guiding His slaves to Jannah; guiding us back to Him.

When you think of all the things you are hit with; when it seems you are flooded; just then, right at that moment, find that knowledge within you; the knowledge that He will never leave you, and it is then you can truly feel this beautiful realization; that feeling which comes from within; when you utter from the depth of your soul, when you cry out and truly mean the words, Alhumdulillahi Rabb il Aalameen. When you know and understand in that moment of relief that all praise truly belongs to Him.

Repentent sinner

Struggling Muslimah

Human.

HijabCanary

In Service to the Book of Allah – Sheikh Muhammad Ayub

QuranPage

By Ejaz Taj

It was at Fajr time this morning; I received the sad news about the passing of our beloved Sheikh Muhammad Ayub from his son in Madinah. He was a man whose life was in service to the Book of Allah (swt) and its teaching – from his earliest days to his final moments before returning to his Lord. He was born in a poor Burmese migrant family living in Makkah, in 1952. His family had fled oppression against Muslims in their native Burma. His childhood was difficult. Being the eldest of his siblings, he had to work to provide for his family (as his father was imprisoned in Burma). At the same time, he attended his daily Hifz classes in Makkah.

At that time, there were very few roads developed, and no tunnels were constructed through the mountains that we see today. The Sheikh mentioned in a rare interview that his daily journey used to be on foot to the Masjid where he studied; his route involved ascending and descending two steep hills, between which were wild dogs and other desert creatures. This is a testament to his dedication from a young age in this era of Skype classes from the comfort of our bedrooms.

As he grew older, he showed a great aptitude for the recitation of the Quran – impressing his teacher Sheikh Khaleel-ur-Rahman, who held in a high standard. The Sheikh accompanied his teacher wherever he went, practising and perfecting his recitation.

In the year 1410 AH (1990), the Sheikh had just been given the position of Imam in Masjid Quba. The head Imam of Masjid Nabawi at that time, Sheikh Abdul Aziz As-Salih, was informed of a new Imam by the name of Muhammad Ayub in Masjid Quba who was known for his beautiful voice and excellent skill in recitation. Sheikh Abdul Aziz, towards the end of Shaban, summoned Muhammad Ayub to a gathering. In the end, he called him to sit next to him in front of everyone and asked him to recite. The Sheikh, unsure of what exactly was happening, proceeded to recite, something that was as natural to him as breathing; he managed to impress everyone in the gathering by his eloquent recitation. Sheikh Abdul Aziz, taken aback, immediately said to him (with only a few days notice before the start of Ramadan) “You will be leading Taraweeh in the Masjid of the Messenger of Allah (sa).” Dazed and unable to believe what had just happened, he prepared himself for the great moment.

He said about his first night in the Mihrab of the Prophet’s (sa) Masjid: “My heart was racing and my ears were buzzing. My hands were shaking uncontrollably from the greatness of where I stood and in remembrance of those who stood here before me. I sought refuge with Allah (swt) and proceeded.” He also said: “Every single time I stood at the Mihrab of the Messenger of Allah (sa), I was filled with intense awe and a deep fear; fear that I would not be able to do justice to this great position, nor fulfil this heavy responsibility on my shoulders.”

In his first year as Imam, he led all twenty Rakahs of Taraweeh alone for the entire Ramadan apart from three days. This feat was matched only by one other Imam of the Haram Sheikh Ali Jabir in Masjid Haram (who was a close friend of his and over whom he led the Janazah). His teacher Sheikh Khaleel-ur-Rahman was away when Sheikh Muhammad Ayub got appointed as an Imam and only found out when he heard his student on the live radio broadcast from Masjid Nabawi. He would then call him every day, pray for him, and remind him of the importance of sincerity.

The Sheikh continued to lead the Taraweeh and Tahajjud in the Haram till 1417 after which he was removed. He spent a few years leading at Masjid Quba and various other Masajid. He moved on to teaching Tafseer at the Islamic University until his retirement in 2014. The Sheikh travelled extensively delivering lectures and study programmes on Arabic Language, Quran, Aqeedah, and Fiqh in places such as Pakistan, Malaysia, India, Senegal, and Turkey. Green Lane Masjid in Birmingham hosted him in the 90s where the Sheikh led the Taraweeh prayers.

After his retirement, the Sheikh took on a handful of dedicated Huffadh, who he would listen to in order to give them Ijazah, daily in Masjid Nabawi, until he passed away. Despite his ill health, he did this daily and never failed to show up, often listening to four students simultaneously while stopping and correcting each one. This is something that I witnessed personally. He would then head back to his Masjid where he led Isha and Fajr every day.

He holds a very unique position in the world of Quran reciters; respected widely by the Qurra from all backgrounds and nationalities. He had a massive impact on reciters in Saudi Arabia in general being a master of the Hijazi style which, by his aptitude and position at Masjid Nabawi, became very popular. Mishary Rashid, in a show about the biographies of modern day Qurra, said about the Sheikh: “He was the Mustafa Ismail of the Arabian Peninsula; he was far more influential in shaping the recitation of many reciters, and Imam of Masajid in that region than anyone else.” Today, he is widely imitated, even in the Haramain with Imam, such as:

Abdullah Johani, Bandar Baleela, Ahmad Talib Hameed and Khalid Al-Ghamidi, in both Makkah and Madinah, demonstrating deep influence by him, as they studied the Quran themselves.

He maintained a sadness that remained with him after no longer being appointed to lead at Masjid Nabawi in 1417 AH. The Sheikh mentioned in an interview when asked about his wishes for the future that he hoped he would be given the opportunity to lead in the Prophet’s (sa) Masjid one last time before he returns to Allah (swt). His Dua was answered as he was appointed one last time to lead the Taraweeh in the final Ramadan of his life in 1436 AH (2015) before returning to His Lord at Fajr 9th Rajab 1437 AH (16th April 2016).

I was blessed to meet the Sheikh a number of times. I felt honoured praying behind him in Ramadan 2015, and again just two weeks ago before his passing, in Masjid Nabawi as he sat and listened to his students. His final words to me were:

“The Arabic language is not difficult. Had it been as such, we would not have been able to memorise and learn the Book of Allah (swt), as it has been today from East to West.”

The Janazah was held on the 16th of April 2016 after Dhuhr in Masjid Nabawi. The Sheikh had thirteen children: five sons and eight daughters. The men are all Huffadh and well-accomplished within their fields; and a handful of the women are Huffadh, some still memorising, and also well studied in their respective fields.

May Allah (swt) raise him in rank in the hereafter; and may He allow the Book to which he dedicated his life to intercede for him in the grave and on Qiyamah. May Allah (swt) join him with the Messenger of Allah (sa), Abu Bakr (rta), Umar (rta), Uthman (rta), Ali (rta), and all those of the righteous with whom he shared the Imamat of that blessed Masjid throughout history, in the Akhirah. Ameen.

New Lease on Life

bridge

My Quran Reflections Journal
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 23 Reflection
Takmeel Surah Al-Baqarah

My world came tumbling upside down,
Yet on my forehead, there wasn’t a frown!

‘Several arteries and the left main blocked!’
The news left my husband and me, awestruck and shocked!

Indeed towards Allah (swt) we all will return,’ is what I said,
‘Indeed Allah (swt) is with the patient,’ to him I declared!

‘It’s a heart bypass!’ He said worried and scared,
‘Will I make it?’ His next question he shared!

‘Insha’Allah, Allah (swt) will give you Shifa completely,’
I consoled him- ‘Soon you will be well and with your family!’

I saw fear of death on his face, which went pale and white!
I couldn’t glare at him for long, I thought to myself, ‘What if he died? ‘

I remembered Allah’s (swt) favours and countless bounties
We hadn’t asked Him for anything, Yet He granted us with His infinite mercy.

I shrugged my shoulders, and got rid of the negative thought,
Saying ‘Audhubillah’ – I sought refuge in Him and did what is taught.

I spread the prayer mat, and in Sajdah I fell,
Saying ‘Istaghfar’ – I shared with Allah (swt) the thoughts that dwell.

I recalled His kindness and mercy, and that He tests those He loves
I renewed my faith, made Dua to emerge successful and rise above!

I didn’t want my husband or myself to wallow in self-pity,
I reminded him of Allah’s (swt) promise that, He will always be…

…With those who are patient and those who find strength in Salah,
I smiled at him and helped him do Wudhu to run towards Falah!

Together we prayed, we cried, we spoke to Allah (swt) and we found peace,
My husband was now ready for the surgery, and to get a new life’s lease!

The strength that Allah’s (swt) words gave us in this trial is unreal!
It cannot be expressed, just felt – because no words are substantial!

Before he left for the operation, he held my hand and said,
“I am now tension-free and to Allah (swt) I have pledged.

If I am given another life, it will be spent in His obedience,
His worship will be my motto, and I will bear everything with patience!”

“Alhumdulillah,” I said, while wiping the tears in his eyes and mine,
“Do not stress yourself, Insha’Allah you will be back, healthy and fine!”

He hugged me one last time, before he lay on the stretcher,
“I have made Dua for you sincerely,” he whispered in my ear!

I couldn’t stop my tears; I was very scared and didn’t want him to go,
I asked him to be brave, although he was being braver than me though!

He said, “Won’t you ask what I asked Allah (swt) for you? Shouldn’t I recount?”
I kept quiet, he said, “Oh Allah (swt) grant her Jannah without any account!”

He left me dumb-founded and courageously went for the surgery,
“Ameen. Oh Allah (swt), and, please, in Jannah make him accompany me!”

I burst into tears, and remembered Allah’s (swt) promises in Al-Baqarah,
I waited patiently, prayed sincerely and found solace in Salah!

Alhumdulillah, Allah (swt) has mercifully granted a new life to my husband,
And as a result of this test, He has made our love for each other exuberant!

Prayer: Is it a one-way communication?

Picture courtesy: www.productivemuslim.com

Picture courtesy: www.productivemuslim.com

My Quran Reflections Journal
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 21 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:186)

Sometimes, the inner ‘me’ screams. It screams to be set free! Free of guilt, pain and misery.

Sometimes, I feel like shouting out loud and crying to Allah (swt) to let Him know that I cannot take it anymore – that I have had enough and am losing the courage to remain steadfast; that I have to drag myself to the prayer mat, and that sometimes I don’t even want to pray.

Then I realize: who is it that needs my prayers? Allah (swt) doesn’t for sure. It is a one way communication anyways. I would cry to Him and tell Him what I am feeling, but He won’t answer me.

Really? Is prayer just a one-way communication? No! Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “My Lord is Near (to all by His Knowledge), Responsive.” (Hud 11:61)

“My Lord is Near (to all by His Knowledge), Responsive.” (Hud 11:61)

I may not be able to stop my shouts, screams and complaints. I may not be able to pray regularly or with as much zeal as I do pray on particular days; yet, I shouldn’t give up! I must drag myself to the prayer mat and pray. There’s no way out! If I don’t let out my inner feelings to Allah (swt), how else would I feel relieved? How else would I find peace?

After all, I am human. I need an outlet. So prayer is not a one-way communication. Allah (swt) is the All Hearing and the All Knowing. It is my need that He hears what I wish to speak to Him. It is my body’s limitation that it has to fall in Sujud to rise in the state of Iman. It is my mind’s manipulation that it has to feel that it is being responded to, to feel loved. It is my heart’s desire to be consoled, to be able to feel cared for.

So there’s no harm in shouting, crying and screaming in pain to Him. But, there’s greater peace and everlasting bliss in knowing that indeed He hears even our silence. He understands our sobbing and aching, even if we were to weep silently in our solitude, Subhan’Allah!

And according to His promise, He will respond too in His way. In the way, He sees it best for us. We need to have complete trust in Him!

“And when My slaves ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me, then (answer them) – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls upon Me…” (Al-Baqarah 2:186)

So, the next time I feel I don’t want to pray, I would drag myself to my praying spot and perform all actions as I should, believing that the Turner of the hearts knows best, how hurt my heart is at that point in time! Insha’Allah!

Do you sometimes feel the same, too?

The Mercy of Allah

allah_caligMy Quran Reflections Journal
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

 Day 20 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:152)

I looked above at the beautiful sky today, while travelling to Toronto from Mississauga. As far as I could see, there were thick grey and white clouds, and in between those, I could see patches of the clear blue sky, Subhan’Allah!

I thought to myself, whenever we look up at the sky, aren’t we reminded that just like the sky envelops the entire world, no matter where we go or which phase of life we are at, Allah’s (swt) mercy encompasses us?

Whether it is the blue sky, reflecting the height of sheer contentment and pure joy one experiences in life, the greys denoting the deep troubles, intense fears and agonizing pains that one is tested with, or the balanced whites representing the daily stressful and happy moments; Alhumdulillah, we are blessed to be never left alone by Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) promises in the Quran, in His most beautiful speech: “Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.” (Al-Baqarah 2:152)

How soothing and reassuring is this promise! What a solace it brings to one’s heart, knowing that our Creator is not going to leave us alone, but only, if we remember to ask Him, beg Him, plead Him and be grateful to Him!

Stone-Hearted Humans

heartMy Quran Reflections Journal – 8
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 14 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:74-82)

“Then, after that, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness. And indeed, there are stones, out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which split asunder so that water flows from them, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which fall down for fear of Allah.” (2:74)

Time has changed us into stone-hearted, rock-hard individuals. We have become desensitized to our surroundings: at a collective level – to the calamities that Ummah is afflicted with; at an individual level – to sufferings of the individuals around us.

This verse got me thinking: who are we to judge other people with hard hearts, when we ourselves are undergoing the same transformation, off and on? The hardness, which has overshadowed the goodness within them, can be removed, if we try to drip on them with our patience, compassion and perseverance, slowly but surely, as water dripping on hard rocks and ultimately making its way.

If somebody behaves badly with us, we shouldn’t respond with the same demeanor. We must try to win hearts by forgiving people, being nice to them and not judging them for their one act; in fact, even for their repeated acts of disappointing us. Because we are not in position to judge! We don’t know, which of our own acts are accepted by Allah (swt) and which not. Allah (swt) can change any heart, whether it is an ailing one or a sick one. He can turn it into a heart, from which water gushes forth and benefits others.

May Allah (swt) make us from those, who worship Him in solitude and fear Him to the extent that we weep in solitude. May Allah (swt) fill our hearts with his Khashiah (genuine fear out of love and respect). May He enable us to make Dua for all those individuals around us, who are struck by stone-hard hearts. This is definitely a sign of our genuine well-wishing and soft-heartedness. And may Allah (swt) protect us from becoming stone-hearted humans ourselves! Ameen.

Upgrade Your Akhirah

ladderofsuccessMy Quran Reflections Journal – 7
Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 13 Reflection
(Al-Baqarah 2:63-73)

Today we studied in depth meaning of the beautiful, short and concise Dua of prophet Musa (as), which reached us through verse 67 of this Surah: “Aoodhu billahi an akoona min al-jahileen” (“I take Allah’s refuge from being among Al-Jahilin (the ignorant or the foolish”).

This Dua gave me goose bumps, Subhan’Allah! How Jahil was I thus far? And how ignorant can one act even after acquiring all the knowledge that is in the Quran!

One needs to look beyond the dire need of reciting the Quran, reading its translation, understanding its explanation, beautifying one’s recitation of it and finally implementing its teachings in one’s life, Bi Izn Allah (by Allah’s permission), only because one is born a Muslim. In fact, this Quran will be a source of our upgrading in the Akhirah, Insha’Allah.

Let’s resolve to provide ourselves with the spiritual nourishment, which is absolutely vital to our existence and essential for the contentment and health of our heart, soul and our bodies as well.

May Allah (swt) make us from the people of the Book and protect us from being Jahilin (the ignorant ones). Ameen.

The Window to our Hearts

My Quran Reflections Journal – 2

Gems from Taleem ul-Quran 2015

Day 3 Reflection

The Larger Picture

Image courtesy http://www.windowintotheheart.com/

Image courtesy http://www.windowintotheheart.com/

Surah Al Baqarah (1 – 5)

Today in class, I met a girl, who gave up her entire crucial year of college for coming all the way from Michigan to study Quran with us. Away from her family, and obviously from the comforts that she was enjoying at her parents’ home, she’s here just to quench the thirst of knowledge. What took me 38 years to reach, she has aimed for and achieved at the young age of 18, SubhanAllah!

Today’s lesson got me thinking about this exact point! Muflihoon (Al-Baqarah 2:5) – those, who are successful in the real sense. Allah (swt) sees them as ‘successful’; the ones, on whom His favours are bestowed upon (Al-Fatihah 1:7). Look at the connection between the two, SubhanAllah!

A serious shift of perception is required here. As opposed to people striving to attain more of Dunya, truly successful are those, who focus on the Akhirah (the unseen). Those, who establish prayers, as opposed to those, who rush through it thinking it’s an obligation. Those, who let go of their wealth, as opposed to being stingy about it. Those, who spend in the path of Allah (swt), as opposed to accumulating mountains of wealth. Truly successful are those ,who believe in the Book that Allah (swt) has revealed to our Prophet (sa) and the Haq (truth) from all the previous revelations, rather than being arrogantly biased about their religion (Islam), SubhanAllah!

May Allah (swt) make us of those, who are truly successful in front of Him, in this world and the hereafter. From those, who can give up a university degree or a few years of college or high school, keeping the larger picture in view; for attaining Khair and not sacrifice the Khair, the true knowledge for the success in this Dunya. Aameen!

Day 4 Reflection

Windows to our Heart

Surah Al Baqarah (Ayahs 6 & 7)

Today’s lesson covered the characteristics of the Al Maghdoob – those, who earned Allah’s (swt) wrath (refer to Surah Fatihah). Allah (swt) has sealed their hearts and hearing and has covered their sight. Such are the people, for whom is Azaab Un Azeem.

Another teacher of ours shared the reflection that if the two faculties of hearing and sight can be controlled, which are like the two windows of your heart, the chances of your heart staying on the right path increase. I thought to myself: “How true is that!” Most of the sins that we commit, or become part of – such as gossip, back biting etc. – all enter our heart, because we listen to such talk or we watch things that have been forbidden in Islam.

What truly struck me was that prophet Musa also needed a Dua for expanding his chest and removing the knot from his tongue, SubhanAllah! Who then are we? Shouldn’t we ask Allah (swt) not to seal our heart and make it receptive for understanding the knowledge that is poured upon us through the Quran, Sunnah, lectures and Dawah posts? Don’t we need wisdom of speech and selection of words, which can enable others to understand the message that we are trying to convey?

I pledge that from today onwards, Insha’Allah, before I utter a word concerning Deen, I would ask Allah (swt) to “expand my chest and ease for me my task, and untie the knot on my tongue, so that they may understand my speech”. I don’t want my near and dear ones not to understand the knowledge, the Kalaam Allah (swt) that may reach them through me. Above all, I do not want myself to become complacent after being guided, lest Allah (swt) puts a seal on my heart, after being guided, so I must continuously ask for Allah’s (swt) help to keep me on the straight path – Ihdinas Sirat Al Mustaqeem.

Oh, Allah (swt), make us from amongst the Mutaqeen (conscious of Allah (swt)) and the Muflihoon (Aakhira oriented). Make us from those, who continuously seek Allah’s (swt) help – You Alone we worship and You alone we ask for help! Aameen!

An Incident to Reflect

Opened_Qur'anIt is impossible to praise the Quran the way it deserves. The excellence, that the Quran portrays, makes all the words written about it seem very minute. When you keep reading and understanding the Quran, a strong relation is developed between you and the Quran. It becomes the mind with which you analyze things. It becomes the eyes with which you see the world. It becomes the heart with which you understand the world around you. You face a situation and all of a sudden you remember a verse. Sometimes a situation makes you understand the true meaning of a verse, which is not fully understood by reading the tafseer alone.

For example, Allah (swt) says that on the Day of Judgement, if a person would wish to give the whole world in ransom to free himself from the hellfire, it will not be accepted from him.

“Verily, those who disbelieve, if they had all that is in the earth, and as much again therewith to ransom themselves thereby from the torment on the Day of Resurrection, it would never be accepted of them, and theirs would be a painful torment.” (Al-Maida -36)

Moreover, that day will be so fearful that a person would want to give away his son, his wife and his close friend in ransom for himself but all of this would be in vain.

“That Day shall a man flee from his brother,And from his mother and his father And from his wife and his children. Everyman, that Day, will have enough to make him careless of others.” (Abasa 34-37)

 We however tend to forget that  we are performing at the center of the stage; every word that we speak with our tongues and every gesture that our body makes is being recorded.

Recently, we came back from a very long journey by road. We were exhausted and needed immediate rest. However, our lives are a test and most tests from Allah (swt) come at a time when we are emotionally venerable.

Arriving home we found out that there was some major fault with the electricity. This meant no fans! No fans meant no sleep. Alhumdulillah, we cannot thank Allah (swt) for all the blessings that He has bestowed over us. My brother went to start up the generator. Forlornly, he came and informed us that it was out of fuel.  Every one of us faces such drastic situations. We however tend to forget that  we are performing at the center of the stage; every word that we speak with our tongues and every gesture that our body makes is being recorded.

My mother at that time did not have enough cash for the fuel. At that moment I made an offer I would have never made in normal circumstances. I said, irritated, that I will give the money. I offered money from the precious treasure that I had earned on Eid: of course, the grand Eidi. I had made so many plans of spending my Eidi, but at that moment, all I wanted was the fan to start. I would have given every single penny I owned just for me to get relaxed.

I had made so many plans of spending my Eidi, but at that moment, all I wanted was the fan to start. I would have given every single penny I owned just for me to get relaxed.

There and then this verse came to my mind, that on the Day of Resurrection, a person would be ready to give every single possession he owned to save himself from the terrible heat of hellfire. As the thought revolved in my mind, I shivered and was shocked. I looked around. I was in my home. If there was no electricity, at least there was a cool breeze. I had cold water to drink and my stomach was well-fed. I was not standing bare-foot on a scorching ground. I understood the depth of the verse and got a small picture of the circumstances we have to face on the Day of Qiyamah.

May Allah (swt) enable us to inculate the Quran in our daily lives and understand the depth of its meaning as they apply to us.

Achieving a Peaceful Smile

Vol 7 - Issue 1 Achieving a peaceful adviceBy Aisha Siddiqua

I looked up at the mirror staring at the glowing face, recently pampered and serviced by the best parlour in town in exchange of a hefty bundle of notes. A wave of pride and excitement ran down my spinal cord, causing my lips to curve in a delicate smile, as I imagined the expression on everyone’s faces when they will see me in my new HSY dress at the party tonight.

The bubble of full-of-myself thoughts suddenly burst with a knock on the door. It opened to welcome not just my maid but my mom too, scolding her over anything and everything. As she silently proceeded to place the coffee mug on my side table, I could not help but notice the way she smiled. So calm and so content. Suddenly my smile seemed too shallow and my glowing face too dull in front of her dark, worn-out features.

“What’s so funny?” I snapped at her.

“Nothing,” she replied, still wearing that peaceful smile on her tired face.

“Amma is scolding you like crazy out there! Are you deaf? Or too stubborn to ignore the mistakes you make to bug her day and night?”

“Why were you smiling when I entered the room?” She suddenly challenged me. “If you could skip your Salah for your parlor appointment and go out in front of all those men without covering your head, knowing how much it will enrage Allah (swt), and still sit here peacefully and smile, why couldn’t I? Yes, the constant scolding I have to undergo everyday pains me, yet I smile. I know that if I forgive your mother today, He (swt) will forgive me on the Last Day.”

As she left the room, I quickly gathered my thoughts. There had to be something about what that 16-year-old uneducated, under-nourished and underprivileged girl felt. How could she be so content, when she did not even know whether she would even be able to feed her paralyzed and widowed mother for the day or when all her life was about this mundane routine of cleaning people’s houses and being mercilessly reprimanded?

It had to be something beyond this world. My Islamic Studies teacher had once told me that the Sahabah (rta) loved Allah (swt) so much that they could taste the sweetness on their tongues when they took His name. Did she feel the same way? Is it even possible?

I had once heard a story about Fatimah (rta). One winter night, after offering her Isha prayers, she made the Niyyah to offer two Rakahs of Nafal. The Tilawat, the Ruku and the Sujood gave her so much pleasure that when she finished, the time of Sahoor was at its peak. She started to cry thinking that Allah (swt) had decreased the length of the night so much that she could just say two Rakahs of Nafal the whole night! What did she ever feel in those Sajood?

Yes, she is the same Fatimah (rta) who settled happily on reciting the Tasbeehs, when her beloved father turned down her request to provide her with a slave who could take care of some of her chores. What made her work the whole day and worship the whole night?

It was all too disturbing. Suddenly I felt even more degraded than Abu Talib and Abu Jahl. The reason they did not accept Islam was because they actually knew what it was about. They knew what it took to be a Muslim and they weren’t ready to submit to Islam. Am I not worse? I am a Muslim, yet I live in ignorance about my identity.

I got up to take out the brand new untouched Quran from the shelf and witnessed in the reflection of the mirror the same glowing face but with a completely different smile this time. A few steps from the bed to the shelf – that’s all it took!

The Hidden Message

Vol 6 - Issue 4 The Hidden MessageBy Nida Fareed

I look up at the stars. I am amazed. The dark blanket of the sky, which scares most of us when it is a velvet black makes for an enchanting gaze for the eyes when jewelled by the glittering stars.

But it is not the beautiful sight that captivates me. I am overwhelmed by something else. The stars continue to twinkle even when no one is looking or praising them. The stars continue to sparkle even when the clouds blanket them. The stars continue to shine even when the rays of the sun overtake their meager shimmer. They don’t stop doing what they are created for. They are fulfilling their purpose and submitting to the will of Allah (swt) everlastingly.

In performing that purpose of sparkling, they not only beautify the darkness of the night, but also provide way to the lost travellers and drive away the Shaitan.

I remember the verse of the Quran, in which Allah (swt) says: “And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps, and We have made such lamps (as) missiles to drive away the Shayatin (devils), and have prepared for them the torment of the blazing Fire.” (Al-Mulk 67:5)

Also, in another place, it is said: “And landmarks (signposts, etc., during the day) and by the stars (during the night), they (mankind) guide themselves.” (An-Nahl 16:16)

I think of how purposeful is everything created by Allah (swt). Then, I think about the purpose of my creation. What am I created for? What am I supposed to do? Why did Allah (swt) choose to bring me into this world?

And then I remember: “And I (Allah) created not the Jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

If I am created for the purpose of submitting to the will of Allah (swt) and worshipping Him, and if I do it with all my heart, then the stars have a message for me.

The stars, while submitting to the will of Allah (swt), not only add value to themselves by becoming the jewel of the sky, but also make their unpleasant, dark surroundings spectacular. If I submit to the will of Allah (swt), I can be not only a gem myself, but I can turn my surroundings into beauty.

The stars, while submitting to the will of Allah (swt), are a source of help for the travellers lost on the obscure and path. I can also be a source of guidance and comfort for those on the wrong path, who are lost in the obscurity of the evils of the world, if I submit to the will of Allah (swt).

The stars, while submitting to the will of Allah (swt), drive away the Shayateen for the benefit of the mankind. If I submit to the will of Allah (swt), I can also counter the enemies of Islam for the benefit of the Ummah.

Allah (swt) has hidden messages for us not only in the stars that He has created, but in everything that He has shaped – the Sun, the moon, ants, bees, roads, trees, seas, mountains… everything. But it is for the eyes to search and not just to look, for the ears to listen and not just hear, and for the mind to ponder and not just accept unknowingly. Only then we will find the true path to success in this world and the Hereafter.