Light Up Your Life With Islam

Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

The Old Man and the Woman

As I was walking towards the runway from the boarding lounge, I couldn’t help but notice the very aged couple in front of me. Hardly being able to walk yet supporting each other, the husband quietly adjusted the warm stole on his wife’s shoulders. I smiled to myself and moved on towards the gate, not seeing them again until our plane landed at the destined airport.

After going through the usual procedure, I was standing next to my bags, waiting for the luggage when I saw a worker pushing two wheelchairs across the slippery floor. He stopped right in front of me and I saw the same old man and woman in a wheelchair each. The worker helped the old man out of his seat and went to get his bag leaving him standing there. The old man walked slowly over to the other wheelchair and bending his already bent back some more, gave his wrinkled feeble hand to his wife and tried to pull her up unsuccessfully. By that time, the worker returned and helped his wife out of the wheelchair. The husband told her respectfully to “go sit down”. She responded with equal respect and said “it’s okay, don’t worry about me”.

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In the meantime, my luggage had arrived and after collecting my bags, I left the airport. But my heart was touched by what I had seen. I wondered to myself, what had kept the spark alive for this old couple? Why is it that today young spouses can’t bear the other’s face just a couple of years into marriage? I remembered their respectful looks and tones towards each other and I knew I had found my answer.

Indeed, it is respect that we lack today. We wait for love in the form of a missed heartbeat, tingly feelings, sentimental songs and rainbows and butterflies. But it never happens, and even if it would, it would get tiresome after a while. We forget that love is not a temporary phase of excitement rather long-term solace and loyalty built by giving respect and compassion. Unless we lay the foundations of this very basic family unit correctly, how can we expect to construct a building on it free of cracks and flaws?

May Allah grant us wisdom to deal with our spouses and families in the best possible manner and may He make them the coolness of our eyes. Ameen.

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Supplicate; Be Satisfied!

Bismillah.

It’s amazing how comprehensive the supplications are that are in the Quran or are of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wassalam). Look at this one:

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

“Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” (Al-Baqarah 201)

I was just pondering over this and wondering, what does it not cover? Nothing! Think about it, whatever you could want possibly, it’s been asked for in this dua.  The three portions of this dua tell us how our lives are basically divided into three things or the three things that we worry about. 

First is this world. We want good in this world. A good life consisting of a good home, a good income, a good family, a good career, a good education, good friends, good food, good clothes, good character… and the list goes on. Even though this world is temporary but we still want the goodness in it and ask for it, which is not only natural but also recommended. Why live in misery?

Second is the hereafter. That is our eternal home. We’ll live there forever so obviously we want it to be good. We want that we not be called for questioning, we want that our bad deeds be overlooked and that our good scales become heavy. We get to drink from the fountain of Kauthar, we be in the company of the prophets and their companions. Also, that we get a place under the shade of the Throne…. and finally that we get into Paradise and that too the best one.

Third is the Fire. Now technically when we ask for good in the hereafter, it also includes that we be saved from the Fire as the Fire is bad, of course. But this kind of emphasizes that hereafter is the bigger concern as one part of this dua is dedicated to this world and the other two to the hereafter. Also, if I think about it, it makes me feel good to ask for being saved from the Fire. It sort of satisfies you, makes you feel you’ve asked for the whole thing because the Fire is so scary that it’ll be on your mind even if you ask for the good of the hereafter. And that is human nature. When we’re scared of something badly, we don’t just talk about the situation that is free of those fears but also about the fear itself. It’s like a catharsis.

So this third portion of the dua consoles me that I’m asking for being saved from the Fire, be it in the grave where it’ll be all dark and I’ll be alone or be it on and after the Day of Judgement i.e. the Fire in hell.

Now that you’ve asked Allah for these three things, don’t you get a feeling of completion? :)

good dunya and hereafter

Wassalam,
Hajrah.

O Followers of Islam!

Bismillah.

I picked up my pen and put it down yet again. The thought had passed by in its raw form, not lingering long enough to be captured and put into words…
This happened to me many times in the past few months and I felt sad. Had my writing power been taken away? The satisfaction that I used to feel after putting my thoughts into words was no longer there. Was I uninspired forever? Sometimes I craved for inspiration to write, as writing my reflections helps me connect with my own self, but that connection seemed faded in the background, buried somewhere under the plethora of routine tasks.

As I was busy in my selfish musings related to my personal satisfaction, I came across an article or two that made me come out of my own shell. The authors of those articles were obviously lost in the sea of ignorance yet believed themselves to be steering and leading others in the right direction.
I said to myself, “Won’t I be held accountable for not conveying the limited knowledge that I have through whatever means I could? Isn’t the message of my Creator, of telling people why they need to obey Him and how they can obey Him good enough to write about? Isn’t it time that we defeated our own hesitations and procrastinations and stop waiting for the perfect opportunity to convey what we know?”

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Let’s wake up, really! Those people out there are moving towards a terrible ending and it is up to us to stop them. We keep waiting for the right time, for our skills to be polished, for a little more free time before we call others to the Truth. But if someone was going to run into the fire, would you really wait for the right words and the perfect environment to tell them there’s fire ahead? No! You’d scream and try to grab them and tell them in every possible way you could that “don’t go there, there’s a fire, you’d burn yourself”. You would really want to save that person. And that sincerity would emanate from your eyes and expression more than your words which would be jumbled up due to the urgency anyway. And that person would definitely stop and give your message a thought. And that is pretty much what you were actually supposed to do: make him reflect. Mission successful!

That is all we need to do. All sorts of -isms and -schisms are seeping into our societies today, concepts are getting distorted, beliefs are getting weirder by the day. The so-called ‘intellectualism’ is eating the hearts and minds of our people like termite and yet we’re waiting for dunno what?!
This is the time to do dawah. Call people to the Truth in whatever shape or form you can. Call your family, your friends, people you meet randomly. Tell them about Allah. Make them see how beautiful is this deen and how corrupted are other ways of life. They’re disillusioned. They think it’s okay to have the easy way out but they don’t know there isn’t one, only difficulty in the right direction will have its reward. Don’t let them go towards the terrible end.

Look at how the prophets and their companions desperately wanted to save people from the Fire. They propagated whatever they knew. They pitied those who didn’t know the reality.

Yes, do hone your skills, polish your talents but let passion take the lead! Let sincerity be your light!

comfort zone

Wassalam,
Hajrah.

Case of the Strange Smell

Bismillah.

As I entered my room one afternoon to get something from the cupboard, it was filled with a strange smell. I got the thing I wanted and went out of the room, forgetting all about it. By night the smell had increased and in the morning had increased even more. When the obnoxious odour got unbearable by next afternoon, a ‘search party’ was called for to see what the cause of the problem was. After about a couple of hours, the source was discovered to be a dead mynah bird in the water bowl outside the window. The poor bird had probably died there a day or so ago…

Mynah bird

I thought to myself, the smell of a rotting body, even of a small bird, is so dreadful. What about the stench of millions and millions of rotting and burning bodies in the fire of hell? Even the thought of that awful dead bird smell still makes me cringe, what about that? We often think about the punishment of feeling the extreme heat or seeing fire all around in that great pit of hell but we hardly ever think about the appalling smells there. Imagine not being able to breathe the clean fresh air ever! Imagine the worst smell that your nose ever came across and the suffocation you felt as a result, that suffocation will be worse than that. There will be every possible torture, punishment upon punishment! How do people say, “we’ll bear the punishment of hell for a while, we have to go into heaven eventually anyway”? Will you really be able to bear it, even for a moment?

Wassalam,
Hajrah.

Sleep Away the Weep

Bismillah.

Have you ever noticed what a blessing sleep is? Imagine your life without it. Being always on the go, working, playing, talking, doing nothing but never sleeping.
Imagine you got so tired that you’d rather drop down dead but you still couldn’t sleep. Oh what a refreshed, brand new person you are after a good sleep.
It covers all pains. Whether you have a headache, aching bones or just plain tiredness; or whether you’re a person who’s sad, depressed, angry, frustrated, lonely, tense, nervous or in any distressing situation, sleep is a blessing! You let go of everything, your mind relaxes and your body rests. The perfect tonic!

And then, it’s completely free! Even the poorest of people can enjoy sleep to the fullest. In fact, even more than the rich sometimes (or often). It doesn’t even matter where you are, it can be as beautiful on a roadside as on a bed of silk.
There comes a time when you just nod off. I mean you might go sleepless for a day, two days, three days but how much longer can you stretch it? You can’t. For eating, you need food, but sleep just comes, no matter what.

Even during war, the companions of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wassalam) were given sleep as a gift and means of relaxing.

Have you ever really thanked Allah for this great gift? Tonight just before dropping off, think about it and say thank you to Him from the core of your heart. And make dua for those who have difficulty enjoying this gift.
These blessings make life beautiful, it’s only a matter of noticing and being grateful for them.

P.S. sleep management is important, don’t overdo it. Try following the sunnah. Share in the comments section below, what you know about the sunnah of sleeping.

Wassalam,
Hajrah. :)

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Allah says in the Quran:

اللَّـهُ يَتَوَفَّى الْأَنفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا وَالَّتِي لَمْ تَمُتْ فِي مَنَامِهَا ۖ فَيُمْسِكُ الَّتِي قَضَىٰ عَلَيْهَا الْمَوْتَ وَيُرْسِلُ الْأُخْرَىٰ إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Translation: Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those that do not die [He takes] during their sleep. Then He keeps those for which He has decreed death and releases the others for a specified term. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought. [Az-Zumar 42]

Youth-Certified, eh?

Bismillah.

Today, while visiting people for Eid, we went to neighbors of my grandmother’s. There on the bed, supported by pillows and her head lolling on one side, sat the aunty who we once knew to be quite active and cheerful. Bedridden for ten years, she had a dark shadow on her face. She looked at us as if she was seeing someone distant and hardly spoke while we sat there. Her family told us that she scarcely says or eats anything now. How would she eat with her food devoid of salt (on account of blood pressure) and sugar (on account of diabetes)?

My mind went back a few years and I remembered the time when I was a little child and when the world’s greatest superheroes are one’s parents and grandparents. They’re big and they can do everything. I remember that aunty chatting merrily with my grandmother over the terrace wall, sending us dishes of food, greeting us on Eid with delicacies. But what was her Eid like today? How would it feel to be dependent on others for things as little as having to sit up or turn your head on the pillow? The only thing she said clearly was when my mother bade her goodbye, she took her hand and said, ‘I don’t feel well’…

We all have someone ill, weak or old in our family or acquaintances. Yet do they serve as a reminder to us that we’re heading the same way? In our youth and health, we think we’re the masters of our life, but are we? Can anyone stop this ageing and weakening process? Or reverse it? Do we have any power over ourselves? What guarantee do we have that we’re going to live or be young and cool and healthy forever?

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Allah says in the Quran,

“O People, if you should be in doubt about the Resurrection, then [consider that] indeed, We created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then from a clinging clot, and then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed – that We may show you. And We settle in the wombs whom We will for a specified term, then We bring you out as a child, and then [We develop you] that you may reach your [time of] maturity. And among you is he who is taken in [early] death, and among you is he who is returned to the most decrepit [old] age so that he knows, after [once having] knowledge, nothing…” [Al-Hajj 5]

Allah shows us these signs yet we’re heedless of them. We think we’re here forever. The time to act is definitely now. Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wassalam said, “Take benefit of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death”. (Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)

May Allah give us the taufeeq to make best use of our time and to engage ourselves productively and may He have mercy on all old, weak and ill people, ease their difficulties and give them the best in both worlds.

We should try to take care of such people, visit them, help ease their pain and depression and supplicate for them. After all, we face the same some day!

An-Nisa 28:
“and mankind was created weak.”

dua for old age

Wassalam,
Hajrah.

Delusional Prospects

Salam,
Bismillah.

A few weeks ago I attended The News Education Conference 13. The bureaucrats and elite of the nation were the major participants. Policies and education plans of massive scale were argued and negotiated upon. Other than leaders of political parties and officials of government, professors and senior teachers of some of the best institutes of Pakistan were present there. Teachers; those people who prune and shape the youth and thus play a major part in the progress of nations.

After a panel discussion or two, there was lunch break. As that was the only break during the course of the conference, I headed towards the reception while everyone else went towards the dining hall. I asked them where the prayer hall was and finally found an usher who pointed the way. I went up the stairs and found myself in a deserted corridor. On the left was the prayer hall for women and on the right was the men’s. I went into the still more deserted prayer area. I was the only one there and I felt my heart sinking… I had a shrewd idea about the number of men in the men’s praying hall as the same corridor led to both praying areas.

This was the reality. This is the reality of our people, of Muslims today. We talk big, we give ideas as if we’re the most intelligent beings on earth, we think educating (secular education only) the masses is the only solution… My foot! Who’re we trying to fool, really? If we can’t even bow in front of the Creator five times a day then this ‘change’ will never come. Almost 700 times the invitation to prayer has been given in the Quran. Yet we ignore it and then we wonder what’s wrong with us.

Allah says in the Quran, “And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind.” (Taha 124)

Aren’t we living depressed lives today? If we had heeded the Quran, we would have been compelled to pray. And these depressions and anxieties that are being talked about are for this life, whereas in the hereafter when the righteous will ask the criminals, “”What put you into Saqar (hellfire)?” They will say, “We were not of those who prayed,” (Al-Muddathir 42-43)

The only end that we’re heading towards as a nation, if this situation continues, is loss! “But there came after them successors who neglected prayer and pursued desires; so they are going to meet evil –” (Maryam 59)

Period.

Wassalam,
Hajrah.

*Disclaimer: This post in no way is intended to pinpoint a certain person/party/institute or segment of the society. 

education conference

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