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Archive for the ‘Personal Growth’ Category

In My Grave

Bismillah

I was thinking about it the other day… my grave…. a shiver up my spine…

In My Grave

Its cold and dark and somewhat wet

Moist I think is what that means

Small and constricting

It smells like bugs

I imagine the funza

Crawling all over me

Their glistening white bodies

Disgusting to behold in the daylight

Then there are also the worms

Pinkish brown, burrowing burrowing

I cannot breath, there is no breathing

I’m dead after all

What I used to do without effort

Now I appreciate and wonder at its absence

My heart has stopped beating

Hard and cold in my chest

Subhanallah everything is hard and cold

In my living there used to be the sunlight and warmth

And even on a gray day there was light and heat

And at night there was electricity

A bounty I never thanked Allah for

Water and air, clean space, motion, and companionship

All gone, taken away by their Owner

I’m left alone to contemplate, for an endless minute

What I lived for and what I died upon

Who did I really worship

The world

My comforts

The adulation of people!

Delusions all

But this is real

This earth, I can feel it

It is no longer beneath my feet to be ignored

But surrounding me to be felt, analyzed, feared

It is looming larger than life

Literarily that is

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Bismillah

A thing of depth and majesty

A creation of Allah

Having much benefit

Beautiful and calming

A place of rest

Being different than regular life

A precious containing preciousness

Its outer is attractive

Drawing a believer in

Don’t you just love watching a sister in prayer

The one who stands with Khushuu

Aren’t you inspired when you see

See the masses bowing and prostrating

When Allahu Akbar is called

Don’t you just want to join in

To see and to feel what you imagine what they are feeling

In the ocean there are jewels to be harvested

By those with intention and focus

Who live and who dwell by its shores

Who willingly and repeatedly dive into its depth

Who learn its rhythms

Who understand its exacting standards

So too within the salaat

There can be found much benefit

For the person of understanding and sincere intention

One who knows the worth of being certain

Certain in and of Allah’s promise.

Into her salat she will dive

Head long, feeling a rush

Into the rukuu she will settle

Completely immersed in the wonder

And into her sajda she will linger

Exploring with confidence

Finding precious pearls and beautiful gems

Beholding wondrous sights

Those that bring about sincere tears of appreciation

Also like the ocean

Once you leave it for a time

You become dry from the sun

And the memory and clarity starts to fade

What you have earned from trading

Those gems you had obtained from the dive,

It gets used up in daily living

So to stay away from the ocean

Is to destitute the persistent diver

So it is to stay away from salat

It is to destitute the believer

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Battle

Bismillah

I have entered into a battlefield. It is the scariest thing alive. Half of me is ready to flee, the remaining half is looking for excuses to flee and all of me is standing about in indecision, heart pumping and ready for the sprint of a life time.

I’m facing an enemy of a thousand and I tell you right now, my eman is so weak, it would take 3 to 9 of me to fight one of them! So to say that I’m out numbered is a gross exaggeration!

There is Iblis, the commander in chief, on his war steed, powerful, terrifying and looking undefeatable. Around him is a blood bath of severed limbs from those whom he has easily defeated. His piercing knowing eyes are fixed upon me. He knew I was coming, my puny self, and he is ready. He hated me before he saw me and my presence on this battle field is a laughing matter for him. Long ago he declared his enmity against my lowly self, weak and hasty he knew I was going to be.

On his left and right sides are his minions. Many are mounted upon war steeds, powerful, them and their horses’ SubhanAllah, scary too. Not to mention the numerous foot soldiers, all at the ready to attack should I choose to move one step forward. It’s almost like him and his minions can read my ambitions, my aspirations, my hopes and dreams and they rage to crush them. It is probably certain that they know my desires, have studied in depth my weak points, and have a plethora of tools to torture all goodness and pure intentions from me.

I’m scared. That is until I look around to my left and right. Then though my fear does not subside, courage returns. I remember why I came to the battle field in the first place. Alhamdulillah!

Right next to me, on my left and right are my two recording sentinels. They are ready to record my deeds of bravery, my valour, my self sacrifice, my pure actions. As soon as I intend and do them that is. Beyond them is the creation of Allah the Majestic. They, those who have submitted themselves with a complete submission, they are all on my side. They are rooting for me, cheering for me, encouraging me. They remind me that I am battle worthy and they show me long and detailed records of the numerous defeats of Iblis and his minions.

They remind me that after all, I did make it here. Not many do. Not many can. Not many are willing to. When I look at my cheerers, my well wishers, my eman is bolstered. After all, on my side are the giants like Prophet Ibrahim alayhe salaam. He opposed everything and left everything for the sake of His Lord. When His Lord called him to *aslim*, he said *aslamtu lirabbil ‘alameen* and thereafter, Allah chose him and raised him in ranks upon ranks.

Then there is Hajar umm Sulaiman alayhe salaam. She submitted to the command of Allah and settled in the desert, to raise her son in a pure environment for the pleasure of her Lord. And she never wavered in her belief in Allah and she knew He would save her and provide for her, so long as she made her part of the effort. And her Yaqeen was rewarded with Zamzam. A spring we still drink from today, tens of thousands of years later!

And of course, the fish and the trees, the beautiful creation of Allah are all on my side, supplicating for me, cheering for me, encouraging me, tell me to be unflagging and Allah will defeat Iblis for me.

Then I look up. Laila hailallah! What can I say! Power and strength floods into my heart and I become strong and ready. You see, my Lord is above me, far above me, above me and the 7 heavens. He is watching over me. He is there, providing for me, helping me. He is ever ready to assist me, to make my efforts bear fruit.

I’m ready. Let’s battle.

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Bismillah

I love praying Qiyam. I love the whole concept of waking up when the world is sleeping and accounting myself in front of my Lord and Cherisher, Provider and Sustainer. I love the way when I’m reciting, the whole world seems to go quiet, and all I hear are the beautiful Words of Allah, almost echoing mashallah. I love that I’m praying with the Angels and the Mu’mineen in every part of the world, some who are like me, in the dead of the night, and some who are fulfilling their daily obligation. I love that it is a time when my children are sleeping and I can really focus on saying what I want, going on and on, self correcting some stuff, and just talking to Allah the Exalted.

I love that Allah, Exalted that He is, still loves us so much that He comes close to us every night and He extends  Himself to listen to us, to our needs, our supplications, our complaints perhaps. What a Merciful God! Allah is more merciful to us that we can even ever be to ourselves. It is because of His Mercy that He sent us Messengers to help guide us to the right way mashallah. It is because of this Mercy that He gave us families and loved ones, and gave us ease after every hardship!

Though I love Qiyamul Layl (praying at night, especially in the last part of the night), I truly struggle with it subhanAllah. Every month, I have times when I cant pray it anyway, then after this, it takes time to sort of build up momentum to get back to praying nightly, and it usually seems that I’m just getting the hang of waking up and being alert enough to make good use of the time before Fajr, when again I’m rendered unable to pray.

In addition to this cycle (I wonder if its normal and other sisters experience it too), there’s my children to contend with. Sometimes they are sick, or in the case of my son, teething (my kids tend to teeth pretty hard, it can go on for months without a tooth in site, just swollen gums, low grade fevers, some diarrhea, sometimes a rash on the cheek, but no teeth! Alhamdulillah, Allahu Must’an).

Then there’s my own Nafs with its base desires for sleep, food, and general laziness :(. Some weeks I’m pretty successful, especially if I take the time to exercise (this seems to impart an extra boost of strength and alertness mashallah, so I try to do some regularly). And some weeks can be abysmal, with only one or two Qiyams in the whole 7 day span, and sometime even less!

So anyway, I’m working on it. But here’s the good part inshallah. Today I went to visit this one place and mashallah they had this video posted and wallahi listening to it, I feel so much more motivated to keep trying mashallah.

Finally, some tips that have worked for me at different times (and in no particular order) and I’d love to hear more of your tips inshallah:

– before going to sleep, I make my intention and make a small dua to ask Allah to please wake me up and allow this event to take place inshallah. Usually this works wonders mashallah, then it becomes up to be to do the follow up.

– I think about what Allah has done for me, and all the bounties in my life that I have no way of showing proper thanks to Him, so I think the least I can do is to wake up to pray for a few minutes before Fajr.

– after Isha salaat, I pray my sunnah then the witr, which calms my heart because I know I’m “done” with my necessities for today.

– set an alarm for qiyam and tell myself “I can eat something” lol, I know it’s bad but my Nafs likes this concept so it gets up. I usually don’t though, it wasn’t a promise after all, just a suggestion.

– usually Ibrahim needs his milk around this time anyway, so I go get it. Or sometimes, he just wakes up and wants to play and jabbers on endlessly so we have to go downstairs and I end up praying so its a win win mashallah.

– its hard for me to fall asleep once I’m up, I tend to stay up and if I’m purposefully ignoring this meeting with Allah, anxiety builds and I hate anxiety, so this pushes me to get out of bed.

– I make sure I have some specific requests to put to Allah and since I want them answered, I have to go to my “meeting”

– I have the surahs I’m going to recite already picked up the night before. Usually they are ones I’m working to memorize but anyone that struck my fancy or has some benefit touted (authentically) are also just as good.

– seeing as I’m in possession of a pretty lazy Nafs, I assure myself in advance that if all else fails and I really cant stand, then I can sink into the couch, put my feet up and just recite inshallah and that is still better than lazing about in bed. This little tidbit seems to calm the Nafs and let me get up off my very comfy bed mashallah. And then I proceed to stand:)

If I think of more tricks inshallah, I’ll add them. Also, if you have any you can post for me to use, that’d be greatly welcomed inshallah.

 

 

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Growing Taqwa

Bismillah

We have ceased to be awed, our world moving so fast that we cant find excitement in anything except the most extreme of things and even then, only for a short time. We truly are dead to the beauty of nature, the magnificence in creation, and the awesomeness of our Creator.

However, I think true beauty can be found in what we may consider the mundane, such as the soft sound of a baby as she is breathing in sleep, the early morning smell on you walk to work/errands, the chubby pair of arms around your neck with your child whispering ‘I love you momma’, etc.

One of the goals is to live intentionally, constantly being aware of Allah, of what I’m doing so as to please Him inshallah, which is, having TAQWA in my day to day living inshallah.

I believe to grow in TAQWA (God awareness), we have to focus our hearts where our eyes and ears are, and filter everything that enters through a God conscious heart.  Allah says in the Quran, in many places that “He gave you hearing (ears), sight (eyes) and hearts”, with often the ending of “little is the thanks that you give”.

Just here I feel there is a lesson inshallah that can be applied to increasing our TAQWA, and that is to use our hearing and our sight with the understating and knowledge that they are gifts from Allah and should be used to turn our hearts even more to Him.

Imagine I see a beautiful sunset and in my heart I’m pleased, then I fall in love even more with the Creator of that sunset and praise Him. I have kept myself God conscious, right? This is easy because sunsets are usually beautiful and moving so mashallah they inspire the heart to turn to Allah and praise Him, acknowledge His Majesty and even thank Him for providing the opportunity and the means to view that sunset.

However, often, in our daily living, we are not “moved” thusly and forget to be God conscious for what we see and hear. We forget to filter it through a loving and aware heart. I’m intending inshallah to work on making every moment I can, a “beautiful sunset” moment so that my heart will grow in TAQWA inshallah.

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I acknowledge that…

Bismillah

I have nothing to trade with except a great many sins and a few good deeds of low or susceptible quality, yet my Lord is Al Ghani, Al ‘Aziz, Al Ghaffar. He is able to forgive all of my sins (after my sincere repentance (which I’m making now)) and able to weigh with a beautiful weighing my small deeds so that I may still make a great trade.

My Lord’s interest is not to punish me, nor to hurt me, nor to subjugate me, nor to abase me, nor to cause me hardship. He would gain nothing by that at all for He is not increased by my worship of Him, nor is He decreased if I were to never acknowledge His presence at all. Whatever I do is for myself and He gives it to me with no loss on His part or from His abilities.

Therefore, so long as I can efface my bad deeds (by virtue of a sincere repentance), I can conduct a good trade with my Lord, a trade that is beneficial to me, for Allah is not in need of one to trade with, let alone one so worthless, someone He created as He pleased. If I can do a few good deeds to add to that wondrous deed called sincere repentance, then Allah will Inshallah even raise my rank to be among those who are closest to Allah.

Who’s Lord and Master is better than mine? None but Allah is the Greatest, the One deserving of all worship, all subjugation of the self, all submission, all surrender, all sacrifice. To Him alone do I turn my face, only Him do I beg, and only from Him do I expect anything, not because I deserve it, but because He is so giving and the only One able to give anything.

Allah is my Lord, content I am to worship Him with full surrender and submission. I do not desire more than this for this is my ultimate pleasure and goal. I’m thankful that He has made me among His servants who wish to worship only Him, who struggle with their selves to worship and dedicate everything only to Him.

Ya Allah, I’m poor, and unable, and sinful, and misguided. Further to that, I forget that this is my condition and I get prideful and I seek from others and I like to show off. In addition to this, I set myself to be something I’m not, and I consider my deeds of small kindness to be great ones and I over shadow what I cannot really overshadow.

I’m disobedient, prideful, sinful, full of errors, having a boastful nature, and extremely forgetful of my reality and true condition. I care only about myself and want all my rights fulfilled yet am negligent of the rights of others and do not fulfil my obligations with a content heart, one submissive and happy at being submissive. I’m restless and searching as if You are not there. I rush about in my thoughts and words and actions, as if You cannot hear me, see me, encompass all that I’m about.

Ya Allah, I have much I need to work on, and I need Your help and Your protection and Mercy. I need Your guidance, unending and continuous Inshallah.

I was reading the verse: wa minhum man yaqulu rabbana aatina fi dunia hasanatan wa fil akhirati hasanatan wa qina ‘adhaban nar. I perceived my forelock and its heat. I asked Allah to please hold firmly to my forelock and prevent its entrance into the fire, to pull it towards Him Inshallah. If Allah was to let go of my forelock, so that I grasped it and tried to lead it this way and that way, I will end up in the fire with a lasting ending. I am incapable of guiding myself and only He can and does guide me. I ask Inshallah that He guide me to the truth and to its correct understanding and implementation Inshallah.

And just a question to ponder next time I think I know things and I know where things are going: if I’m incapable of guiding myself to the straight path, how is it that I presume I can guide others? If I’m so in need of help and guidance from Allah, of the illuminating Light from Allah, why am I so set in thinking that I know and can teach others? I’ll give you an answer o’ Nafs of Fahari, of showing off, of wanting to please others, oh you misguided nafs, do not think to guide me to the fire for I will be most severely displeased with you!

Ya Allah do not let my nafs be my guide, nor let it to mislead me to the fire. I do not make my nafs to be my lord as You are the only Lord I recognize and run to and lean upon and rely on and am content with. Oh you Nafs, you don’t know nor are you guided except by whatever Allah allows and therefore, if you are teaching, it is not you at all, it is Allah shaping the words and stringing them together to benefit those of His servants that He chooses. You are merely a tool and I tell you now o’ Nafs, Allah has many tools much better than you so be careful what your thoughts may be, for Allah will choose another tool, better than you, smarter, more humble and closer to Him and you will be left out in the dark, lost and misguided, and may Allah have mercy upon you! SubhanAllah.

So just so you know o’ you Nafs in my breast, who likes to think you are bathed in light and are doing good for your akhira. I assure you that you don’t know what is good for you and only Allah knows this, so refer all matters to Him and let Him pick and choose what is best for you and I caution you to be humble, whether what He chooses for you makes you happy and is easy for you to do, or if what He choose for you is difficult for you and makes you unhappy.

You are a servant. A servant does his best then spends the rest of the time worrying if his master is going to be pleased with him or not. So you also do your best in all of your actions then spend the rest of the time, praying to Allah that He accept your efforts, that He guide you to what is better, that He show you your errors and help you to fix them, that He overlook and forgive your mistakes and that He blot out your iniquities. Do also remember to ask Him to forgive the dark whisperings in your heart and to cause them to go no further than a dark whisper in a locked chamber that can never escape to cause havoc to your very precarious future.

Ya Allah, if I could annihilate myself and make myself non existent so as not to displease You, and thereafter to face Your wrath and punishment, then I would do this gladly. If I could expire on the spot and be scattered into nothing and never exist, then that would be better than to meet you with what will cause You to be angry with me for having been ungrateful to You.

Ya Allah, I’m really truly sorry for everything and I ask you to forgive me again and again and never stop forgiving me. And if I didn’t know of Your power and abilities, then I might have despaired completely, for I cannot seem to stay a minute without a sin of some sort entering upon me, even if the sin of thinking *hey, I’ve been one whole minute without a sin*!

Ya Allah, Your mercy and forgiveness are all encompassing, they are as great as you are and they are well able to cover and erase all of my inequities and sins and dark whisperings, so I ask you to envelop them and remove them from my person Inshallah. I ask you o’ Allah, that I meet You while You are pleased with me, while I owe nothing to Your creation, and while my being is free from sin.

I ask you o’ Allah, the only Lord, my Master, the One I submit to and surrender to, to purify me so my essence becomes pure and perfected, to forgive me so that all corruption leaves me, to guide me rightly so that, everything I do is correct and pleasing to You, and to protect me so that sin is repelled from me and if it does manage to enter, it is quickly destroyed.

O’ Allah, make me remember You, so You can remember me, fill me with Taqwa and Sabr so You can be with me, for You are with the Muttaqeen and the Ssabireen, increase me in Khushu for everything is hard for the servant to do except for those who are Khashi’een. Teach me Your commands, then teach me to implement them, then teach me to be thankful for this teaching. Ameen.

Ya Allah, I love you with a true love, please cause my actions to reflect this true love, cause my thoughts and words to enumerate this true love, and cause this strong love I have for You to mingle with a perfect mingling with my intentions, so that at all moments I’m aware of You through my love of You; and so that it becomes easy to dedicate all that I’m doing to You because You are paramount in my thoughts and actions. Currently, my words and actions belie this true love I know I have inside for you and I wish for you to make it not a lie that I love you Inshallah. I want to not just feel love for You, but to speak it and act it also, so that all of me is loving You, and no part of me is being obedient or loving to any other than You, Inshallah Ya Rabb.

Thank you o’Allah, for listening. Please forgive me where I have said something wrong or intended something wrong. Please answer my dua, correct me and guide me, and forgive me again and again for I keep sinning, despite my strong desire not to and my shame in doing so. Thank You for everything, even for this awareness of my sinning self, thank You, again and again, over and over, by the weight of Your Arsh, and by the Power of Your Majesty, and by the Amount of Your Words.

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Sometimes I feel…

Sometimes I feel like a prisoner, inside my own skin and it has nothing to do with the space I’m occupying. Sometimes the space I’m in contributes to the intense feeling of being a prisoner and I hate it and I wish to expire or to just go out. I hate that feeling, it makes me feel so helpless and out of control and useless and just so needy and dependent and NOT FREE! I hate it.

I have thought much about why I have this feeling and I think it’s because I love the idea of being in control, of being free, of having some sort of say and power over my own life. However, I have realized that freedom is an illusion, at least for as long as we are living in dunia. How can one say they are free when they are subject to the vagrancies of life? How can one say they are in control when it rains on them at will and the wind blows however which way it wants, and they nearly always manage to miss the bus by just a few seconds?

How can one even make a case at freedom when they still get hungry and thirsty? When they crave to sleep, be hugged, and to be told that they matter and are loved? One who is free would not have these needs, nor would he be subject to the laws of the land and living. The one who is free and powerful would be independent and not needy, he would be self sufficient, and over everything able.

Let’s face it, only Allah is free. The rest of us are not free, and we are not in control.

You see, in this life, the idea of freedom or of being in control is truly an illusion and it’s a beautiful and powerful illusion. And I think this is why we crave it, we breath it, we pretend we are like this, because deep down we want to be strong and powerful, we want to be able to run the show, to be top dog, to be king of the mountain, etc etc.

We think we are free and in control because it makes us feel safe and that feeling of safety dispels anxiety, and when we are not anxious or afraid or perturbed, only then can we rest, fully and truly rest. We so desperately crave this need to be free of anxiety and fear and despondency and pain, that we buy into the illusion and we feed it and we become ferocious when one tries to take away this illusion, because it is all we have, or it is all we think we have.

Therefore, I diagnose us as being delusional and I say this because everyone knows it (the illusion) is not true and everyone knows they are not free, but beholden, and yet the pursue it and cling to it. And only the deluded person will insist that they are free and in control when they know for a fact that they are not. Only a delusional person would ignore the facts and the evidence in plain sight, and continue to live with the illusion.

I’m included in this delusional group and because it is a disease, I need to fix it and cure it and find a way to banish it. Everyone knows that a delusional person in not healthy, not at all. Most people in society feel very sorry for a delusional person; they also work very hard to avoid that person, just in case her delusions are contagious. Now that I know to adopt the idea of real freedom is delusional and sick, I need to check and cross check myself so I do not fall into this trap Inshallah.

Allah is the free and I’m the slave, and He is independent and I need Him, and He is self sufficient and I can’t even breathe without His help and permission. If he doesn’t let me do something, I can’t do it. He is so powerful over me because I’m His creation and if He so wanted, He can cast me into the proverbial dust bin and it would not waste anything from Him and He would be wise and right to do this.

I think that if I can remember to acknowledge how able and perfect and self sufficient and far removed from need Allah is, then I think that would be entering into the only true freedom available to me. That is, not the freedom of being free as He is, because that’s an impossibility itself, nor do I wish to Alhamdulillah, but the freedom of being free from needing to be free from Him.

The true and achievable freedom is the freedom of needing to end my dependence and reliance from Him. Now that is true freedom. When you can say and truly be content that yes you are a servant and yes this is the best place and thing to be, and you would not choose anything else even if you had the choice.

And you know how best to do this, how best to achieve this contentment and love at being His slave and servant, and not minding one iota? It is to love Him. It is to know Him and His attributes so your heart is content that He will never abuse you, nor hurt you, He will never fling you away nor leave you alone, He will always love you and want you and appreciate you and reward you and be pleased with you. To know that though He is absolutely not in need of you in any way, He still wants you around Him, loves you, accepts you, welcomes you, prefers you actually.

When you know this with a certainty, then your heart becomes calm and when it is calm, you become like that bird who loves to stay in his cage, gazing adoringly at his master, and content with the provisions of his caretaker. Never wishing to take flight, pleased to be in the gilded cage, happy to be close to his master, adoring every moment of being bound because it is far better to be bound with and to this master, rather than to be free, yet roaming about endlessly, having to fend off predators and difficulties that he has no control over.

Yes. I want to be like this bird, content in my cage, happy with my provisions, anxious only for the face of my Lord and Master, my beloved Owner and joyous only when I’m around Him Inshallah. Feeding from His hand, flying in His garden, sleeping in His house, breathing of His fragrance, adoring every moment… sigh… yes, I want to be this bird. I prefer that to the illusions and I prefer Him to any delusions, no matter how grandiose!

Ya Allah, I’m that bird. I come to you willingly, answering Your call, submitting my Nafs to Your ministrations, content with Your provisions, loving only You, and wishing to always be in Your presence. Ya Allah, do not let me free to roam about, having to care for myself, protect myself, find my own sustenance and provisions. No Ya Allah, that is doom and loss, which is letting me to become a slave of anxiety and I hate anxiety. I love only You. You are As Salam and from You comes Salam (Peace) and I want only to be with You so I can be in Salam.

Ya Allah, I’m that bird, captured and tamed and content in this. I do not wish to return to the wild (jahiliyah/ignorance) and I do not crave the freedom of my brethren. I’m that bird Ya Allah, accept me and keep me close by.

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