“We all have hardships.”

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

I just returned from a short trip abroad and whilst there, my sister and I were casually conversing with a Bulgarian hotel waitress. She asked about our visit and we somehow went on to the topic of my mother’s poor health. At that point, she put her hand on my sister’s shoulder and began giving such comforting words to us. Then she took out something from her uniform pocket. It was a picture of a young girl with pigtails. She said, “This is my daughter, she is only 2 years old, and she’s been taken away from me.” She then gave us a comforting smile and a look of understanding and simply said, “We all have hardships.”  

Reality. Subhan’Allah, there are some things that can easily bring together Humanity simply because they are a true reality faced by all.

Blessings are literally poured over you during testing times. But your heart and mind are so fixated on the whirlwind that you don’t see the goodness around you. And even if your eyes see it, your preoccupied mind might not acknowledge it. So take a deep breath, watch the sun rise over a new day, listen to the birds chirp, watch your beloved ones walk and talk around you, go to work or school and struggle through the day – because even in your struggle, there is peculiar and wondrous beauty.

It was never about the actual test that you went through, because tests approach every living thing; though they come wearing different masks. But it was about the turbulence during your plight and it was about the aftermath that you had to deal with; your reaction or composure, your words or your silence. See, it’s rarely ever about the test alone, but almost always just all about you.

Sometimes, a door might close upon you and you really feel its impact because it was a door that you were looking at. But as Ibn al-Qayyim said, no door closes except that Allah opens up at least 2 other doors out of Mercy. We just have to hearken to the Signs of Allah around us, and look for which doors have been opened and are now ajar. You may be in for a pleasant surprise.

Life will teach you if you allow it to teach you, and it will bring you its benefits if you allow it to bring you benefit, and it will coach you if you allow it to coach you. The key is to become its student, and remain as its student through the thick and thin.

Keep striving.
Gates usually open upon the last fatigued knock.

“Perhaps the delay in you attaining your wish lies in a benefit which Allah wants for you. So be patient. Do not hasten. And be optimistic. For indeed, what awaits you of blessing is far greater than what you wished for, and there is no-one more generous than Allah.” – Unknown

“When a person we love falls ill, we say it is a test, but when a person we dislike falls ill, we say it is a punishment. When a person we love is afflicted with hardship, we say it is because he is a good person, but when a person we dislike is afflicted with hardship, we say it is because he has wronged others. Be very careful of handing out the wisdom of Allah behind His Decree based on your desire.” - Unknown

“If you are tested, then be patient. It will soon go.
And if you are broken, don’t worry. Allah mends all hearts.
Whoever puts Allah in his heart, then none will ever harm him.”

- Unknown poet

If you fall down, never stay down.

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

~ Fajr Reflections 3 ~

The world will sometimes create so much noise so as to distract us, but we have to hearken and listen carefully in life, otherwise the silence we meet in our graves – a time when we expect to meet our deeds – will be truly deafening. Don’t get distracted.

We should be very careful not to seek worldly things in order to ‘complete’ us. One of the aims of the spiritual journey that Islam takes a person through, is for them to become ‘completed’ by Allah `azza wa jall. Be complete, nourished, and stand on your own feet. That way, if you gain something from the world, it only increases you. And if you lose something of this world, it would not diminish you in the least because you are already fulfilled and complete.

‘If you always give, you will always have.’

I thought about this, and found it to be so true. The more you give away, the more you are given by Allah. See, He wants to see you give; to give in charity, to give help to others, to give of your time and goodness. So He keeps spending on you because you keep spending in His Way, and on His creation.

Good friends are such a joy to be with. Alhamdulillah for those who make us laugh, who we can share reminders with, and who we can talk and listen with. Some of the scholars of the past used to say, “Prepare for the difficult days by gathering good righteous companions.”

When our work is based on inspiration or we aspire towards something, we usually go above and beyond our goals, building an amazing momentum and passion behind our efforts/deeds. The secret is finding inspiration in even the mundane aspects of your life.

Say ‘alhamdulillah’ for what you have, and say ‘alhamdulillah’ for what everyone else has. If you love the Provider, then you will love what He has provided, regardless of whether it falls into your hands or someone else’s. This is why jealousy and envy should never exist in the heart of the one who claims to love Allah, the true Provider.

I love the fact that patience is repeated so much in the Qur’an. It’s like it’s repeated because the events that call for it in our lives repeat so much. So even if you keep falling apart in every test, the Qur’an encourages you to still be patient and keep going strong.

This builds an amazing attitude in the believer; that even if you are knocked down, make sure you never stay down. Whatever comes your way, you will insha’Allah repeatedly face it with patience just like patience is repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an.

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.”
- Alexandra K. Trenfor

“Everyone wants a perfect ending. But over the years I’ve learned that some of the best poems don’t rhyme, and many great stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, or end. Life is about not knowing, embracing change, and taking a moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next.”
- Unknown

Don’t let calamities stifle you

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

Wow, how incredible masha’Allah! This book of du’as that you see above, was gifted to a friend of mine. Please read the story behind it:

“…I stumbled across this selection of Duas that had been gifted to my husband and me when we lived in Istanbul. When the brother gave it I thought it was a beautiful gesture in itself, to guide us and give us a reminder to ask Allah by way of these Prophetic Duas. I folded it away and put it to the side, the brother then said to us “That’s hand written.” I was amazed and re-opened it, Subhan Allah, so perfect! Could it really be written by hand? I looked for any slight error, slight bump in the smoothness of the each line and curve. Mashallah, there were none to be found. “That’s not all”, he said, “this was written by a sister who had learned and received ijazah in the art of calligraphy. She then tragically lost her right arm in a terrible accident. She felt such sadness without her ability to write that she decided to go back and learn again with her left hand. She strove and worked hard and that there in your hands is what she achieved with her left hand.”

Allahu Akbar! It is one of the most inspiring stories and most treasured item I have. That great things can be achieved, that loss is only as stifling as we allow it to be, that work and learning in the path of Allah is made easy and facilitated by Him so always aim high. I never met this sister, I don’t even know her name but this sheet of paper with her hand written Duas lifts me every time I cross paths with it alhamdulilah.”

Yes, you can all wipe that tear away now and make a special du’a for this inspiring sister (and also my friend who shared the picture and story).

~ Fajr Reflections #2 ~

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

My penned thoughts…

Do good deeds not because you are righteous, but because you want righteousness to enter your heart. Give in charity not because you are rich, but because you are truly poor (in the Sight of Allah). Love others and seek the good in them not because they treat you well, but because it’s your nature to love and not hate. Live & do things because you want to be a greater person not because you currently are.

Leave a trace of your kindness wherever you go.
Leave a mark of goodness wherever you traverse.
Leave a legacy behind and keep walking on.

It’s incredible to know how much Allah loves us despite our shortcomings, how much He guides us despite our stubbornness, how much He forgives and overlooks despite our persistence, but most of all, it’s amazing to know how much He protects us from all different kinds of evil and crises because He knows just how weak and powerless we are. Without Him, we would’ve been destroyed a long time ago by our very surroundings.

Surah al-Hajj is the only Surah where there are 2 points/verses of sujud (prostration). This is interesting because the sujud is a significant mark of submission, and the entire story of Ibrahim (as) and the rites of Hajj that we perform today are all about submission and submitting to a Command of Allah.

May Allah accept the Hajj of the Hujjaj, and accept our acts of worship and submission although we are not in the sacred vicinity.

“And proclaim to Mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel. They will come from every deep and distant mountain highway.” [al-Hajj: 27]

“When his Lord said to him (i.e. Ibrahim), “Submit”, he said “I have submitted to the Lord of the Worlds.”” [al-Baqarah: 131]

“Do not accompany three: the arrogant, the ignorant, and the one who betrays you. Give people three: love, fulfillment (of promise), and sincerity. Strive for three: to love, to laugh, and to forgive. And avoid three: that you should hurt, that you should hate, and that you should betray.”

- Unknown

“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”

- Emily Dickinson

~ Fajr Reflections ~

As-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah

Some personal reflections that I posted on FB, sharing them on here in clusters insha’Allah:-

Allah `azza wa jall will sometimes redirect the routes we take in life, so that He grants us blessings in *His* own way and not necessarily in the way we want them. So when things shuffle underneath your feet, smile and realise that they are being shuffled and re-routed by He Who has the greatest power.

One of the greatest feelings that the human being can experience is FREEDOM. To be truly free in every possible way; to have a heart that is free from being chained or burdened, a mind that is free from being boxed and limited, a body that can roam and be free. A life that is lived for a higher purpose. To walk down the street in complete peace and happiness. Freedom to be who you are at heart once that heart is free.

But ironically, this freedom can only be once we enter willingly into a bond of servitude as slaves: servitude to He Who created us and can set us free in this world of slavery.

“Some eyes are awake while others are asleep,
Over matters that might or might not be.
Indeed, the Lord Who sufficed you of what was yesterday,
Will surely suffice you of what’s to come tomorrow.”

- Poet

Ibn al-Qayyim said, “These are some of the results of sinning: suffering from a lack of tawfiq (success), having erroneous opinions, hiding the truth, corruption of the heart, not being remembered, time wasting, people becoming averse to you, alienation between a slave and his Lord, supplications not being answered, hardening of the heart, no blessing in one’s provisions or life, you’re prevented from knowledge, and you will be made to wear the garments of humiliation.”

[al-Fawa'id]

“If your heart is beautiful, you will love others.
If your tongue is beautiful, others will love you.”

- Unknown

There is something very intriguing about life, especially when it gives you the unexpected. When this happens, you can either embrace it and make an adventure out of it, or you can create some negativity and let that lead you to unhappiness and idleness. What’s it going to be?