Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Life Update

I have almost been living in Toronto for two whole years now. By the end of this December, it will have been two years. I decided to finally surface since my last written post was in November.

A lot has happened as well as a whole lot of nothing. A whole lot of nothing in terms of I am still living here stuck with my non-Muslim parents and a lot has happened in terms of self-growth and self-realizations. I continue to struggle each and every day with learning about how to live a life as a Muslimah going through trials and hardships. I thought the hardships would subside a little once I got back to Toronto but let me tell you! It has been even harder since I moved back. My faith, trust, and hope in Allah have been tested every single day up until this point as I write. I have fallen into depression, despair, and disappointments over and over. So often that I find myself asking when, when will the help of Allah be near?

Sigh. 

 I know I am not the only one out there who is struggling to keep their head above the waters of the deep Dunya and this is why I am writing. I know somewhere out there, whoever (especially the converts) is reading this, is also going through tests with their faith and are struggling to get through each day. Somewhere out there is someone who is fighting to stay positive and even fulfilling their daily obligations feels heavy. I know I am not the only one. Even though it may seem that everyone I know around me is living happily with their lives and going on their days with ease, deep down they are struggling just as I am. I have learned through these hardships that NOTHING ever goes the way you want it to. Life never goes the way we imagine it to go. I realized how HARD it is to live as a Muslim with non-Muslim parents, especially if you are an only child who has been physically and psychologically abused by their parents at a young age (and still continue to undergo a mild form of psychological abuse).

For as long as I have been here, I have felt nothing but a prisoner who is emotionally and mentally oppressed. Living here has been nothing but exhausting. Subhana'Allah . There have been sporadic months where I have been able to come out of my depressive hole only to find myself going right back into it shortly after. To my convert brothers and sisters, I FEEL YA! I really really feel ya. Especially the dreaded day of Eid. Spending it alone and realizing just how depressing your life really is when you see posts of your friends with their big families enjoying big feasts for days. I know exactly how you feel. Of course, I have had many memorable moments while living here and they mostly happened OUTSIDE of the home. I have been able to truly enjoy my beautiful city with beautiful company but once I go back home, I am back to reality. Anything that happens inside the home is just always accompanied by a dark cloud over my head. I am exhausted and I really wonder when the help of Allah will come.

My emaan has been better since the US but it is always unstable because I find myself falling into sadness and despair quite often. Listen, I know and I keep reminding myself of all the ahadith and Quran verses of how Allah tests those He loves, Allah responds to the caller, Allah loves those who are patient, Jannah is not attained without going through hardship, hardships are an expiation of sins etc.... I am well aware of this and I am sure every other convert who is struggling is well aware of this as well. Being reminded of these things are essential in order to get through our struggles but what we don't understand is, it is easy to be sympathetic to others and offer advice that will only touch the surface but being EMPATHETIC is another story.

For once in my life, I know exactly how converts feel and what they go through. Since I was living away from my non-Muslim parents for nearly 5 years and I was with my husband, at that time, things were easier. Despite the fact I was living in a horrendous disgusting country, it was much easier than it is now.

Now I am full fledged living the life of a convert lol, without my husband and where I struggle daily to hold onto my emaan and to not let the terrible kuffar traits around me get a hold of me and take me down. I struggle to remain positive and I struggle to imagine that one day, just one day, I will be relieved from here and every suffering, every tear, every pain, and sorrow will be worth it. At this point in my life, instead of KNOWING that this will happen, I have only but a tiny glimmer of hope in me that THINKS this will happen. I know the hope should be much greater but I feel defeated at the moment. I know that Allah is with those who are patient, I know Allah is the only one who can help me get through this and out of this. I know that and I am well aware. But when you are thrown into difficult situations, that is when your faith is truly tested and to be able to strongly believe and apply what we know and learn about Allah and Islam is in itself, another test.

Sigh.

 As you read this, remember that  your advice may not resonate with the grieving heart. Your advice may not reach deep within the troubled soul. Your words may be comforting only to the ears but to the heart, they do not feel a thing. Until you show empathy and truly put yourselves in someone else's shoes, your advice will only be taken at a surface level. This is what I have learned and this is what I want to share with anyone who is reading. A lot of sisters who ascribe themselves to the Salafi minhaj believe that their harsh words of "FEAR ALLAH! How can you feel this way?!? " , " If you did this and that you wouldn't feel this way!", or " you only feel this way because your emaan is low" (well OBVIOUSLY our emaan is low or else we wouldn't feel this way!!!) .... these words do not help, in fact, they will only drive a sister away from you and the deen.

Many of us become obsessed with seeking knowledge and trying to spread it and share it but fail to realize that the manners and character of a Muslim are far heavier in the sight of Allah than the knowledge that you seek and do not act upon. As you read this, remember that when someone is going through hardship, they are looking for support. They are looking for someone who can listen to them with non-judgemental ears and for someone to remind them about how temporary the Dunya life is and things WILL and DO get better. Yes we also need to be reminded of our blessings and compare ourselves to those less fortunate, but to be honest, when someone is going through hardship, pain IS pain. Their pain is all they can feel at the moment and it is all they can see. It is very difficult to tell someone who is going through a hardship to look at those around them because all they see is their own blurred vision of reality. So continue to be the listening ear, the supportive shoulder, and the encouraging mouth. Even though it is hard for us who are on the receiving end to believe that things WILL and DO get better, we like to hear the encouragement. Encouragement is good. It is needed.

All the days that I feel alone, all the days that I don't feel like talking to anyone, I find myself forcing it upon me to remember that Allah is with me and Allah will help me. I force myself to remember that this is only a test and like gold, I need to go through an extreme process before I can come out beautiful and strong. Even though at this very moment in my life, I do not feel that anybody is with me, I know these thoughts are from shaytaan....Living in a home full of idols, full of negativity and full of no barakah, it is hard to keep strong and firm.

Afterall, I am only a human.

This post may not have much structure to it and may sound all over the place, but that is exactly where my thoughts are right now. All over the place. I am allowing a more raw side of me come through and I hope that somewhere in the world, someone can benefit from this post and to also know that what you feel... I feel too and at the end of the day, I rather struggle as a Muslim to get through life's lessons than to get through it as a non-Muslim who would only drown her sorrows in alcohol and provocative behavior that will bring her nowhere but into her own demise. That thin string of hope is what eventually threads through the needle creating a strong support for use.

At the end of the day, Alhamdulillah we are Muslim.

It may feel difficult at times and we may feel a loss of hope, despair and deep dark sadness. We are only human beings and it is normal to feel negative emotions. Allow yourself to feel them, allow yourself to deeply feel them. Feel them from the bottom, from the top and from the sides and the little, hidden corners. Feel them and get to know them. This is who you are at this very moment. Accept it and then move on. Move up and move on and try to find that glimmer of hope, that loose thread you are hanging onto and hang on to it a little while longer.

 Keep making dua even though you feel like nothing is being answered. Keep pushing yourself to do a good deed daily even if it is as small as saying a good word to someone. Just keep pushing yourself. Maybe it will be during these moments, finally, just finally Allah will respond to your call and grant you relief. This is what I try to tell myself daily, even though it may be hard to understand and implement at times, you just have to do it. Life doesn't wait for anyone and life will move on without you. You can sit and sulk (which I have done enough times this week lol) or you can keep trying, trying and trying until some day, just some day you will see the fruits of your efforts pay off. It is not easy, but nothing in life is and especially getting to Jannah. Everything comes with a hefty price.

I guess it is up to us to decide where we want to pay our attention to. I know it is easy to say all these encouraging things, but acting upon it is something else. I can tell myself these things every day and every night, but in the moments where your emotions take over, it is another story. But we have to try because if we don't tell ourselves these things, then who will right? We can't constantly have our friends and family by our side giving up pep talks 24/7 - especially since they don't even know how we feel or what we are going through! Nobody is living your life except for you so you just gotta live it to the best of your ability...

Sigh.

 Anyway...to all those who are going through hardships and struggling to hold onto their emaan and deen like me, May Allah grant you ease, happiness and tears of joy and success soon and grant you the highest rank in Jannah. Ameen

This Dunya is an exhausting one and all I wish is that I will be able to look back one day at this post and smile. Smile and think to myself " Subhan Allah wow, I made it through and I can't even believe how much has changed since those days..all praise and thanks is for Allah alone! "  I wish that one day I could look back on this post and it will just be a distant memory.

But until that day, this is me and this is who I am at this very moment. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

5 Keys to Handling Life Like a Boss - Moutassem Al-Hameedy


I haven't had much inspiration to blog lately because I am currently on my own journey to find peace within due to my external environment and circumstances but I found this written piece written by the imam of my masjid to be very insightful and helpful. I hope that you can benefit as well insha'Allah .


 5 Keys to Handling Life Like a Boss
(taken from : http://rashidoon.com/2017/02/18/5-keys-to-handling-life-like-a-boss/) 

Life doesn’t turn out to be what we expect or wish for. It is full of ups and downs and it surprises us in countless ways. If you reflect over the last year of your life you will definitely see moments when life seemed to take you down, and moments when it has offered more than you expected. In brief, this is how life works and expecting it to be fully responsive to your desires and expectations is a tall order.
Although this likely to make you feel down about life yet the reality is that this is the beauty of life. It is not an easy challenge. It is meant to test you and push you beyond limits. The hardships that life throws at you are meant to stretch you beyond your comfort zone so that you will discover treasures among you that you never expected. What seemed an opportunity could end up as a set up. What once looked like a hopeless case can turn out to be the best investment ever.
Most people let this wavy and unpredictable nature of life crush them and kill their dreams. This creates a deep sense of resentment and frustration towards life which ultimately leads to a failure is seeing the great opportunities it actually
offers.
This article offers you a fresh outlook on how to view life and yields a new paradigm that has the potential to help you understand life better. This is meant to make you see hope in the most hopeless situation and see through the false flags of what may seem an opportunity.
This paradigm is built on the tenets of Divine Decree as Islam teaches it. The principles of Qadar are not merely theoretical ideas that are committed to memory. They are a way of life and a full system for handling life correctly. I will be addressing hardships here more than anything else hoping this will also help you figure out how to handle times of ease and tranquility.
Here are the practical solutions this paradigm offer to handle challenging times in life:
First: Reality is not as solid as it seems to be. In other words, reality as we perceive it is never a finished business; it is a work in progress. What many people fail to realize is that what happens is half of reality, while our perception, interpretation of, and response to this reality altogether create the final reality we have to experience. This usually comes as a surprise to most of those with whom I share this concept. However, many find it a liberating realization. There is something inside each one of us that recognizes this as true to a certain extent.
What this principle suggests is that reality is not so carved in stone. Instead, reality is so malleable and we play a major role in how it turns out to be. Yes, this means you are responsible for your circumstances, to a certain extent…actually to a great extent.
And it is this element of responsibility that throwspeople off. Who wants to face the notion that they are responsible for their pain and suffering. This notions strips away the comfort of a victim mentality. It allows you no space to blame other things or other people for how your experience in life has been going.
However, this concept is so liberating as it puts the power in your hands and places you in the drivers seat. If you are able to see this and embrace it, I promise your life is on the way to changing to the better.
Through this principle losing your job is not necessarily bad. It could be an opportunity for you to move on to a better job, or learn new skills and move to the next level of your professional growth, or maybe the reason that would push you to take that step and build your own business and achieve more financial freedom.
I once read the story of a nurse who was laid off. She felt miserable and was devastated since she had to take care of her elderly parents. Three years later, she writes the boss who laid her of a letter of appreciated for giving her the golden opportunity to face life by herself which made her build her own business and now she had become a millionaire.
Second: Everything that happens is essentially good. If you grasp the first principle and embrace it, you will have less tendencies to grapple with this one. Allowing this principle to sink into your the deepest layers of your consciousness will offer you a ticket to a new outlook on life that will put you on the path to a fully lived and rich life. Things that happen in life are only allowed in when they serve a better end; this is how Allah works with Qadar. To put it differently, only the best possible versions of reality takes place, period. This is a universal fact of life that is not easy to accept despite being one of the most empowering and liberating. You need a mature mind to find peace with this notion.
Does this mean murder and rape are good? Absolutely not. But as the first principle suggests, reality is not a finished business. Murder, rape, and all other crimes and violations are evil in and of themselves. But reality extends far beyond the immediate circumstances and what is evil could very well serve a greater reality and repel a greater harm. Again, this principle is about being able to see how among all possible versions of reality, only the best takes place. I understand this is not so easy but here's a practical way to approach it.
The power of this principle lies in one’s ability to embrace it and find peace in it. Only then you will be able to make this principle work for you. Universal principles will respond to you differently based on whether you believe in them or not. Yes belief is a causal force that has physical consequences.
The Prophet (PBUH) puts this whole principle in a simple statement when he says: “Amazing is the state of thebeliever; whatever happens to him turns out to be good. If a blessing comes to him, he is grateful and thats good for him. If harm comes to him, he is patient and this is good for him. And this is only available to the believer.”
Third: Things that happen were decided long ago. This principle is also unexpectedly empowering. I say “unexpectedly” because I’ve seen many people see it in a negative light and tend to use it to relieve themselves of taking responsibility for their actions and their life. Others also use it to blame Allah for the tragedies that take place. Others use it to blame Allah for creating humanity even though He knew many of them will disbelieve and end up in Hell. I will respond to these objections somewhere else. I will take a pragmatic approach to it here to stay in course in this article.
The fact that Allah wrote everything down way before the creation of the heavens and the earth should only be seen in the light of His wisdom, knowledge, mercy, and justice. Again here the best possibility of reality was created and favoured above all others. This makes your heart rest in peace. When reality seems to be beyond your control and immediate influence, you know that the best choices have been made for you even though they may seem challenging and negative at a first glance.
When you reach a state of certainty that Allah has chosen things for you based on His mercy, wisdom, and justice you rest assured that things are happening for you not to you. This is what Allah invites the believers to as they respond to threats:
((Say nothing will happen to us except what Allah wrote for us. Indeed He is our protector and guardian and in Allah let the believers put their trust)) [surat at-Taubah: ] Fourth: Adverse circumstances fall into two types. Undesired events are one of two:
1. those you can change and those you can do nothing about. With the things you can do nothing about, the best solution is to leave them for Allah and be happy with His choices for you.
2. adverse circumstances you are able to affect either completely or partly, you should do all you can to change them. The ability to tell the difference is very important in this regard.
The key here is to classify the condition at hand. Putting it were it belongs is the first step. Then you know how to handle it. If it is something you can do nothing about, you should leave it for Allah and not worry about it. Having trust in Allah is necessary if you want to do master this principle. Many people are addicted to worry. They can’t stop thinking of negative circumstances about which they can do nothing. I will be sharing techniques to help you change that in a future article on gratitude.
Fifth: Focus on the good things you have in life. Often times our attention has been trained to focus solely on negative circumstance and we don't seem to be giving enough attention to the countless blessings we are showered with.
In most of the cases, depression and negative feelings come from the mismanagement of one’s own attention. We have been conditioned to pay more attention to undesired conditions and almost completely forget about the good that constitutes the majority of our living circumstances. Our attention draws our reality. What we pay attention to tends to push away other elements of reality outside of our consciousness. Then we fail to see how many blessings there are in our lives. This leads to depression and a life of misery, complaint, and negativity.
So make a point to bring to your attention some of the good things in your life and circumstance and thank Allah for them. You will be surprised how the quality of your life will change. Here's a video to help you develop this skill.
Finally, having an all consuming cause to live for can give you all the energy needed to implement these five keys and keep your focus on the things that empower you. This cause must come from your heart and must be a genuine response to your soul’s calling.
If you embody these tenets and embrace them, you life will be a rewarding experience. You will live a rich life regardless of your immediate circumstances. Remember Islam is not a set of ideas designed for mere memorization. It is a way of life to be embraced and lived and this is how it delivers the promises its followers.
Try to read these five principles as often as possible and take time to reflect on them and try to see your life through their lens. After a while they will find their way to your mind and start showing you a more profound version of reality. and remember all the time that Islam is so powerful.

The Beauty of Salah (prayer)

What a beautiful lecture!


Saturday, November 5, 2016

What Will I Leave Behind? - A Tribute to Linda

" O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, and you will meet (the results of your deeds which you did)." 
(Surah Inshiqaq: 6)

Bismillah,

For awhile now I was suffering from emaan lows and heedlessness. Even before I moved back to Canada I felt like my problems were heavily weighing me down. My problems felt like burdens upon burdens that just gave me excuses to drown myself with things that wouldn't increase my emaan and would just cause more heedlessness . I struggled a lot with my emaan during the past year and a half from the time I was living in merikuhhh up until now. I can't explain what it was exactly that made me lazy. I blame it mainly on myself and my own deficiencies because in the end even though shaytan plays a role in our demise, it is ourselves who allow him to get to us in the first place, and even use him as our main excuse. I do not deny that my passion for the deen is anywhere near where it used to be or where I wish it to be. I guess I just got caught in the life of this dunya and worrying so much on my dunya problems that I kind of just put aside my akhirah goals.

The reason why I am bringing this up is because a week ago I had received tragic news regarding two families. Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ileyhi Rajioon. A friend of mine who's beloved mother returned to Allah after battling stomach cancer ( May Allah accept her as a shaheedah ameen!) and another sister (who I was not close with, and who to me was just an online personality) passed away 3 months after delivering her second child from cancer ( May Allah forgive her and grant her Jannah ameen!). She was only in her early 30's who had a very loving husband who she would talk about often. Both these incidents happened a day after each other Subhana'Allah and it really made me reflect upon my own life. Alhamdulillah I was able to see my friend's mother the day before she returned to Allah and it really opened my eyes. I had only met Linda, my friend's mother once and even though it was only one time, I fell in love with her immediately. I remember the first time I met her she sat up and had her eyes glued on the television where the Qur'an was playing and the K'aaba showed. She talked about how nice it would be to go there. Despite her illness, she had a loving energy that really touched my heart. She was sweet, she was kind and I truly felt like she was a loving mother to her children (May Allah have mercy on her and grant her the highest level of Jannah ameen.) It only took me one meeting and I already felt such an affinity for her. She was a revert as well Alhamdulillah! The second time I saw Linda was indeed the last (May Allah reunite me with her in Jannah ameen!) La Hawla wala quwatta illah billah. There is no Might or Power except Allah. Linda's health had deteriorated significantly and when I saw her on that hospital bed, I could not help but break down and cry. A plethora of emotions overwhelmed me as I reflected upon the first day I met her to the final moments of her life. Knowing that she was going to return to Allah any given moment that day really struck me. The memories still keep playing in my head and the feelings are as raw as ever. I was touched to see the amount of support my friend had received (and continues to receive) and how there was a sister sitting beside Linda reading Qur'an during her final moments in the hospital. So many sisters wanted to visit Linda and support my friend because they knew what a special woman she was. Though the room was filled with quiet sobbing there was an unexplained feeling of comfort and hope. Comfort because we knew that she would return to her Lord and hope that He will be pleased with her. The fact that she had stomach cancer was a mercy from Allah as it is considered one of the ways of a Shaheed.

{Abu Hurairah that Allah's Messenger (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) asked: "Who do you consider to be a martyr?" They said: "O Allah's Prophet, he who is killed fighting for the cause of Allah." The Prophet (sallal lahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "(If this is the definition of a martyr) then very few in my Ummah will be martyrs!” They asked: "Who else are they, O Allah's Messenger?" He said: "He who is killed fighting for Allah's cause is a martyr, he who dies in the cause of Allah is a martyr, he who dies in an epidemic is a martyr, he who dies from a stomach disease is a martyr, and the one who dies of drowning is (also) a martyr."  (Muslim, no: 891}

 My friend told me she felt very at peace and calm when her mom returned to Allah. Close friends and family surrounded the bed and made duaa for her and at that moment they knew that Linda was in a better place. Alhamdulillah.  May Allah be pleased with her and make her grave spacious and full of noor! Please make duaa for her as you are reading this!

It made me reflect upon just how weak the human being truly is ! We walk around the earth with our head up high and our noses in the air, but once we are struck with calamities and illnesses we lower our heads with shame and humility. Sometimes we call upon Allah only when we need something or when we are suffering or dying yet all the other times when we are perfectly fine we are heedless and forget that our lives and hearts are in the Hands of Allah !


"And when We cause mankind to taste of mercy, they rejoice therein, but when some evil afflicts them because of (evil deed and sins) that their (own) hands have sent forth, lo! They are in despair!" (Surah Rum: 36)

"And when We show favour to man, he withdraws and turns away, but when evil touches him, then he has recourse to long supplications" 
(surah Fussilat: 51)

And when harm touches man, he invokes Us, lying down on his side, or sitting or standing. But when We have removed his harm from him, he passes on his way as if he had never invoked Us for a harm that touched him! Thus it seems fair to the Musrifun that which they used to do (Surah Yunus: 12)


...O mankind! Your rebellion (disobedience to Allah) is only against your ownselves, - a brief enjoyment of this worldly life, then (in the end) unto Us is your return, and We shall inform you that which you used to do. (Yunus: 23)

All these verses I shared really open my eyes and make we think about myself. Not only am I heedless sometimes but I often forget that during these hardships and tests, they are meant to expiate some of my many sins and also to give me a chance to earn as much rewards as I can so that I can bring them to Allah on the day I meet Him! Sometimes I get so caught up in all my life's problems that I forget to say "Alhamdulillah" for all the other blessings that I overlook. Duaa is and always will be a form of worship and even when things are good and we are smooth sailing through life (which that in itself is a big fitnah and you should be worried), we should always make duaa that Allah protects our health and gives us well being as well as always asking for guidance and for good in the akhirah! I often think about life since Linda's return to Allah and I think how she has left her children to continue fulfilling her legacy which she left behind. She was able to raise children who will insha'Allah be sadiqah jariyyah for her and insha'Allah her grave will be filled with ease and noor because of her children continuing to do good deeds in her name for the sake of Allah. That is something really amazing when I think about it...and then it also makes me ponder...What will happen when I am in that grave....what legacy will I leave behind? As soon as my soul exits my body, that is it. I won't be able to do any more good deeds, I can't repent any more and I won't be able to go back and erase all the wrongs I did. What will I bring to Allah? 

Honestly, since that day, every time I just picture in my head the image of a grave and how two people I once knew is in there right now and how the first stages of their Hereafter has begun, I can't help but shiver . Sometimes it takes something as real as death to bring us back to reality and to put us in our place. We often think that we have life all figured out and that we continue to be heedless and commit haram even while knowing that we are disobeying Allah. Yes, the human being is weak and we are made to sin but how many times have we actually prayed to Allah and asked Him for forgiveness? Too many frightening stories out there about instant deaths, dying upon kufr, and dying upon great evil acts which we hear and see every day. May Allah protect me and you and all the Muslims ameen. We always think "oh, it wont be me" or " oh i plan to do Hajj or make ummrah soon , I know Allah will not take my life before then!" Oh sons and daughters of Adam! How naive we are to think that we will not be next! One minute I was sitting with Linda and having a conversation with her and the next, she returned to Allah (May Allah have mercy on her soul ameen!) One minute that sister just gave birth to her daughter and the next her family and friends are mourning over her loss ! She had great plans for the future and she believed that she was going to fulfil them all! But how death does not wait! How death does not wait! I know that many of you who read this will think "ya but still, I won't be next, not me" and then there will be some of you who will take heed and this post will send chills up your entire body. I pray that you will be the latter for you really will never know when it is your turn.

May this post be a reminder to me and to you and may we always take heed and build our bank of good deeds so we have at least some to bring with us in the grave. It really is time to start taking our life seriously and push and strive for the ultimate goal. Meeting Allah while He is pleased with us. 


It was narrated that Haani’ the freed slave of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan said: when ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan stood by a grave he would weep until his beard became wet. It was said to him, “You remember Paradise and Hell and you do not weep, but you weep because of this?” He said, “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘The grave is the first of the stages of the Hereafter; whoever is saved from it, whatever comes afterwards will be easier  for him, but if he is not saved from it, what comes afterwards will be worse for him.’” And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have never seen any scene but the grave is more frightening than it.” 
(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2308; Ibn Maajah, 4567; classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1684)


It was narrated that al-Bara’ (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: We went out with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) for the funeral of a man from among the Ansaar. We came to the grave and when (the deceased) was placed in the lahd, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sat down and we sat around him, as if there were birds on our heads (i.e., quiet and still). In his hand he had a stick with which he was scratching the ground. Then he raised his head and said, “Seek refuge with Allaah from the torment of the grave”, two or three times. Then he said, “When the believing slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with white faces like the sun, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. They bring with them shrouds from Paradise and perfumes from Paradise. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O good soul, come forth to forgiveness from Allaah and His pleasure.’ Then it comes out easily like a drop of water from the the mouth of a waterskin. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that shroud with that perfume, and there comes from it a fragrance like the finest musk on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this good soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the best names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is opened, and (the soul) is welcomed and accompanied to the next heaven by those who are closest to Allaah, until they reach the seventh heaven. Then Allaah says: ‘Record the book of My slave in ‘Illiyoon in the seventh heaven, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it I will bring them forth once again.’ So his soul is returned to his body and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Allaah.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘My religion is Islam.’ They say, ‘Who is this man who was sent among you?’ He says, ‘He is the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).’ They say, ‘What did you do?’ He says, ‘I read the Book of Allaah and I believed in it.’ Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘My slave has spoken the truth, so prepare for him a bed from Paradise and clothe him from Paradise, and open for him a gate to Paradise.’ Then there comes to him some of its fragrance, and his grave is made wide, as far as he can see. Then there comes to him a man with a handsome face and handsome clothes, and a good fragrance, who says, ‘Receive the glad tidings that will bring you joy this day.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which brings glad tidings.’ He says, ‘I am your righteous deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, hasten the Hour so that I may return to my family and my wealth.’ But when the disbelieving slave is about to depart this world and enter the Hereafter, there come down to him from heaven angels with black faces, bringing sackcloth, and they sit around him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits by his head, and he says, ‘O evil soul, come forth to the wrath of Allaah and His anger.’ Then his soul disperses inside his body, then comes out cutting the veins and nerves, like a skewer passing through wet wool. When he seizes it, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant before they take it and put it in that sackcloth, and there comes from it a stench like the foulest stench of a dead body on the face of the earth. Then they ascend and they do not pass by any group of angels but they say, ‘Who is this evil soul?’ and they say, ‘It is So and so the son of So and so, calling him by the worst names by which he was known in this world, until they reach the lowest heaven. They ask for it to be opened to them and it is not opened.” Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited (interpretation of the meaning): 
“for them the gates of heaven will not be opened, and they will not enter Paradise until the camel goes through the eye of the needle”  [al-A’raaf 7:40] 
He said: “Then Allaah says, ‘Record the book of My slave in Sijjeen in the lowest earth, and return him to the earth, for from it I created them, to it I will return them and from it I will bring them forth once again.’ So his soul is cast down.”  Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) recited the verse (interpretation of the meaning): 
“and whoever assigns partners to Allaah, it is as if he had fallen from the sky, and the birds had snatched him, or the wind had thrown him to a far off place” [al-Hajj 22:31] 
He said: “Then his soul is returned to his body, and there come to him two angels who make him sit up and they say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ They say, ‘What is your religion?’ He says, ‘Oh, oh, I don’t know.’ Then a voice calls out from heaven, ‘Prepare for him a bed from Hell and clothe him from Hell, and open for him a gate to Hell.’ Then there comes to him some of its heat and hot winds, and his grave is constricted and compresses him until his ribs interlock. Then there comes to him a man with an ugly face and ugly clothes, and a foul stench, who says, ‘Receive the bad news, this is the day that you were promised.’ He says, ‘Who are you? Your face is a face which forebodes evil.’ He says, ‘I am your evil deeds.’ He says, ‘O Lord, do not let the Hour come, do not let the Hour come.’” 
Narrated by Abu Dawood, 4753; Ahmad, 18063 – this version was narrated by him. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1676. 

It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say, ‘Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-kasali wa’l-haram wa’l-maghram wa’l-ma’tham. Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min ‘adhaab al-naar wa fitnat il-naar, wa fitnat il-qabri, wa ‘adhaab il-qabri, wa sharri fitnat il-ghina wa sharri fitnat il-faqair wa min sharri fitnat il-maseeh il-Dajjaal. Allaahumma ighsil khataayaaya bi ma’ al-thalji wa’l-baradi wa naqqi qalbi min al-khataaya kama yunaqqa al-thawb al-abyad min al-danas, wa baa’id bayni wa bayna khataayaaya kama baa’adta bayna al-mashriqi wa’l-maghrib (O Allah! I seek refuge with You from laziness and old age, and from debts and sins; from the torment of the Fire and from the tribulation of the Fire, and from the tribulation of the grave and the torment of the grave, and from the evil of the tribulation of wealth, and from the evil of the tribulation of poverty, and from the evil of the tribulation of the Dajjaal (Antichrist). O Allah! Wash away my sins with the water of snow and hail, and cleanse my heart from sin as a white garment is cleansed from filth, and put a great distance between me and my sins, as great as the distance You have made between the East and the West).” 
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6014). 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

And then it was gone...


Ramadan came and went in the blink of an eye. The first week started off really slowly for me and then after that I don't know what happened!
My Ramadan this year was not like any other. I didn't get a chance to pray taraweeh in the masjid but since my husband is not with me (just like all the times when I am home for Ramadan in Toronto), I had no problem praying it in the comfort of my own home . I was able to attend my first iftar at the masjid I usually attend and I was able to attend iftar gatherings with many of my good friends Alhamdulillah.  But of course, Ramadan is not just about having iftar gatherings, actually it is far from that. Ramadan should be about getting closer to Allah and rectifying our own selves and holding ourselves accountable for our actions and our character. Even though I didn't do loads of ibaadah, I tried my best to be consistent and I think I moved at a steady pace alhamdulillah. I always found the prior years whenever I would try to make a plan I would fail miserably. Just something about writing down a plan makes me feel stressed and forced. So this year, I decided to go at my own pace and do what I thought was best for me and what was within my capacity. I tried my best to be consistent and worked on things gradually and tried not to dive head first into the deep end, which is something I always end up doing, resulting in me becoming burnt out in the end. It is really important that we always pace ourselves not just in Ramadan but during our lifetime as a Muslim. If Allah does not burden us with more than we can bear, then we should not do that to ourselves!
What made my Ramadan different this year was that I was able to reflect a lot. Day and night, I was reflecting and thinking about my own self and my many flaws which really needed to be rectified. I almost felt like I went through an emotional boot camp because I experienced so many different emotions all in one month. I went from being happy and excited to feeling sad and depressed! I then realised the negative feelings I was experiencing was due to my lack of yaqeen (absolute certainty) and tawakkul (reliance upon Allah) in Allah. I also kept focusing on all the negative aspects of my life when in fact I should have been trying to focus on the positive things ! I know it is so hard to be grateful when we are going through trials. It is so easy to forget that we have so much to be thankful for during our times of hardships. For example, we should feel happy that we have either our health, our wealth or loved ones around us when we are suffering from something that is testing us. We should always be thankful and grateful no matter what because then Allah will increase us with more.

"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."" (14:7)

even though this is such a challenge most of the time, every time we feel ungrateful we should immediately stop ourselves and think of all the blessings that Allah HAS given us! Even if we think there are none, if we truly reflect , we will find many ! I always ended up comparing myself to others and then I would feel lonely and sad but then I tried to remember the story of Yusuf (aleyhi salam) and Ayyub (aleyhi salam) and I compared myself to them and then I thought, wow, I have no right to complain because look at what they went through and how patient they were?! And they did not even complain for one second! It is amazing how Allah gives us examples in the Qur'an and uses His righteous slaves to help us get through our hardships! How great Allah is! Whenever we feel sad, ungrateful or hopeless, let us look at the example of the prophets (May Allah's peace be upon them all) and reflect upon ourselves and remind ourselves that they were the best of people and yet they were struck with many difficult hardships yet they were patient and never complained and exercised full tawakkul 'ala Allah! A great reminder to myself first and foremost.

I hope that I can continue to strive daily to always be grateful because now that Ramadan has passed us by almost a month now, I am finding myself starting to become heedless and impatient. The struggle is real! The best way to stay on track is to always surround yourself with those who remind you of Allah and to always surround yourself with people who have less than you so that you will always remember your blessings that Allah has sent upon you and I ! May Allah keep us steadfast and firm with Islam and upon the correct understanding of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Ameen!