Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Real Deal!

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.

I thought of something a few minutes ago that I had to share. I was considering how very hard the struggle is for many of us Muslims. To be honest, I was initially thinking of us Muslimahs, but that is just not balanced because the men have just as much to face and bear. At times, it seems we are pushed to our absolute limits before the relief comes. But that tells me something very important. If we have to go through such hardships and difficult tests, Jennah must be literally "out of this world!" Or, as they say in the big old U.S.of's "The Real Deal!"

It's kind of like saving up one's get something beautiful and of high quality if you have patience and invest wisely. Whereas if you hurry and buy something cheap before you have saved, you end up with something that doesn't last and is a poor, miserable substitute. That is a false economy. (Oh yes, dear teachers...those economics lessons are not lost. They benefit me every day, just not in the most conventional way, LOL.)

So, for all who struggle, never forget...the price is high because Jennah is worth it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mount Uhud

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.

This morning we went to Mount Uhud. It wasn't exactly a "trip" out of the way, because we pass it every day but don't turn off the road and park. We climbed up the little mountain where the archers stood and looked out over the plain and the vast mountains of Uhud, while hubby explained the story of the Battle of Uhud. Then as we looked over at the graveyard of the shuhada and I sent a greeting to Hamza, radhi Allahu anha, I found myself in tears. Of course, one of my daughters asked why I was crying. I told her, "They are dead; they are martyrs, they are ahl al-Jennah. They have died in a state of Islam, for Islam. However, we are still here. We still have the struggle and test of this life to live through. We don't know if we will make it to Jennah... we can only pray to remain on the Straight Path and for Allah's Mercy."

When I consider the simplicity of fighting for Islam, physically, compared to these times where shaytaan's long-term ministrations have encircled us, Islam seems so much harder now. Oh, how I envy those shuhada!

As ever, though, the signs around the graveyard cheered me up. Those beautiful signs in 4 languages telling the visitors what the acceptable dua' is to make for the shuhada and what to avoid doing there, as it has no basis or benefit. Coming from a land where bid'ah and confusion are rife, I appreciate greatly those guidelines that are given here to keep believers on a straight, and simple, path. Al hamdu l'Illah!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Root of the Problem

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.

We all have big, long-term problems at times, and even though everything is a blessing of some sort from Allah, we still have to deal with them. If we understand that the problem is sent so that we can learn something, then that is a huge step towards having the right attitude and solving it. Here is a practical concept, which often answers the question of "Why?"

Think back to when the problem arose. This may require you to go back days, months, or even years. However, the circumstances around when the problem began is usually the key to what the problem is and why it is continuing. Sadly, it is usually listening to the whispers of shaytaan and believing his empty threats that make the problem last so long.

So make dua', call on Allah to guide you to what He wants you to learn from the problem, and then get your trenchcoat and magnifying glass out. Go back, Sherlock or Sherlockette... and back, and back. Dig deep, and deeper, and deeper. Pinpoint the beginning and work from there.

Most important of all, when you have clarity about the problem, don't be afraid to do what Allah guides you to. After all, the biggest reason for sending you the problem is to cause you to put ALL your faith and trust in Him and act with confidence.  Inshaa'Allah, then we will have a real hope of an eternity of never-ending bliss.

Stinking Thinking

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.

Ever wonder how I manage to always come across with positive things and encouragements to turn to Allah? Ever think to yourself, "That sister just can't be real! She's always blogging positive stuff..." ?

Well, of course I have negative thoughts. Of course I am plagued by shaytaan and his rotten whispers. Of course I make a truckload of mistakes that send me into desperate, tearful pleas of forgiveness to Allah. Why aren't you reading about them? Because all that is stinking thinking. The thinking shaytaan just loves us to have and works at cultivating in our minds 24 hours a day.

Most certainly I have some unpublished posts that focused on the negative. That's why they are unpublished. Hey, I'm not giving shaytaan a billboard on my blog page! I'm not taking the chance of pulling other people into stinking thinking as well. The second I start sharing my stinking thinking with others, I'm spreading shaytaan's work and giving him pleasure. So, I don't share it. I write a little, read it and see clear as day that it's all shaytaan's devilish work, and then I don't publish it. Usually, in not publishing it I manage to send that rotten devil packing. Otherwise, I scream, shout, and kick shaytaan out.

Now, on a couple of occasions I might mention some stinking thinking, but only as an example of what shaytaan whispers and what that thinking should be replaced with. I do that because I know others have the same struggles and thoughts and I hope to give them something good and pleasing to Allah to replace them with. For the most part, however, my policy is to send the stinking thinking right back to the stinker who started it all.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Qur'an in my Life

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.

21 years I've been a Muslimah, mashaa'Allah. Plenty of time to have memorized the whole perfect book. But have I? No. Not even a complete juz of it. AstaghfirAllah! My approach to the Quran, particularly to its memorization, is to memorize what I love to read or particularly want to know. So, as surah Inshirah was the most moving and loved by me in my first days of Islam, it was one of the first suwar I learned. I didn't just do them in order and work backwards. I picked and chose from suwar and ayaat that were important in my life. Before even learning Al Alaq, I learned Al Mulk. I had read about the benefits and rewards of Al Mulk and so it became of great importance to me. I learned about the Sunnah and reward for reciting the last 10 ayaat of Al Imran upon waking for tahajjud, and so learned those. I learned the last three ayaat of Hashr long after learning ayah 17, which is a sentence I was greatly moved by. Oh, I could go on and on with the dibs and dabs of Quran I have memorized - a scattering all around without any order to the onlooker. But to me, it is the roadmap of my Islamic development.

I have thought about the subject of Quran memorization, and of course, I'm always dissatisfied with my progress. However, I read something somewhere (LOL, obviously I have no idea where or I'd quote it here) that had a big impression on me. I'll be looking around until I find it to include in this post inshaa'Allah. In effect, it said that it was more important to understand the Quran than to just recite with no comprehension. A colleague of mine once said in conversation that it was not important how much Quran we had memorized, it was important that we live it. Subhaan Allah! The Akram; Allah, azza wa jal, put such joy in my heart by sending me those points. I see people recite, knowing the whole Quran, with no idea what they are saying. I thank Allah that He made it a real and beloved thing to me. Rather than think of what I have memorized as a haphazard smattering of insignificant proportions, I now think of it as my treasure chest. There are many things I look forward to adding to the chest, but I will continue to follow my heart, my love for the words of my Creator, to ensure I do not become a parrot inshaa'Allah.

Music to my Eyes

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.

A few months ago I wrote about my perception of music. Oh, how this excerpt from Ibn Al Qayyim's writing resonated in me...and how wonderful it felt to have come to that conclusion before ever reading this. Allahu Akbar!

“From among the artful machinations and entrapments of Allah’s enemy [Satan], with which he has snared those possessing little good sense, knowledge and deen [faith], and by which he has stalked the hearts of the false and ignorant people, there is the listening to whistling, wailing, handclapping and song to the accompaniment of forbidden [musical] instruments. Such things block the Quraan from people’s hearts and make them devoted to sin and disobedience. For song (to musical accompaniment) is the Quraan of Ash Shaytaan (Satan). It is a dense veil and barrier, preventing nearness to Ar-Rahmaan! (Allah) By way of such song, Satan deceives vain souls, making it appear pleasing to them through his cunning appeal to their vanities. He insidiously whispers false, specious arguments suggesting the’ goodness’ in song. These arguments are accepted, and as a result, the Quraan becomes an object of neglect and abandonment.”
Ibn Al Qayyim

Mixing for the Good

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.

When I read this, I thought of my feelings towards returning to the USA. In fact, I considered my closeted life there and how many times I've heard people say that being exposed to wrong-doing builds character. Hmmm. Wrong-doing certainly has pushed me to right-doing! I have hated so much the actions and effects of wrong-doing that I have run the opposite direction. However, mixing with the wrong-doers is another matter. Many do not have fear of the dangers. I just have this big banner pop up in my head, "You are on the deen of your companions!"

Ahmad ibn Harb (rahimahullâh) said, “There is nothing more beneficial to a Muslim’s heart than to mix with the righteous and to watch their actions, while nothing is more harmful to the heart than mixing with the sinners and watching their actions

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Who Gives a Hoot?

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.

One of my daughters said that the girls in her class look at her as if she were crazy because she uses a handkerchief rather than disposable tissues. My younger daughter mentioned that other children were buying chocolate, candy, chips, and other junk foods at school and she couldn't because I packed her lunch. I try to show my children and others, through modeling, that it's not about being seen by the people. It's not about being told how good or wonderful you are. It's not about what other people will say about you for not meeting their fabricated standards. What is important is pleasing Allah, subhaana wa taala. It is more important to save the earth Allah has gifted us and eat foods that will nourish the bodies Allah has entrusted to us.

I read this saying from one of the Salaf, and found it to be a perfect anchor when the storms of the world keep pounding us. We are so affected by those around us, and we give their opinions so much weight and importance...importance that is not deserved. All praise and thanks is due to Allah, The Beloved, The Divine.

“If you can be unknown, be so; it doesn’t matter if you are not known and it doesn’t matter if you are not praised. It doesn’t matter if you are blameworthy according to people if you are praiseworthy with Allah, the Mighty and Majestic.”

Al Fudayl ibn Ayyadh, Al Bayhaqi, Al Zuhd Al Kabir p100.

The High Road

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.

Subhaan Allah. I am aware that some people perceive me to be picky, over the top, extreme in my outlook and how I strive for things to be close to the Sunnah. Moreover, my quest for natural living, natural surroundings, materials, and foods is considered eccentric and an unnecessary hardship. For me, it is necessary and an enjoyable hardship. For me, it is a way of opening the door to Tawfeeq.

I read the post The Door of Tawfeeq has been closed on the People. It is translated from a work by Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah. An excerpt, which highlights the source of the reasons for the door being closed is below.

"And the origin of this stems from humiliation and ignobility and exchanging that which is superior for that which is mediocre.

If the individual was noble and ambitious he would not settle for mediocre. The source of every good is by the Tawfeeq (i.e. success) of Allah as well as by His will, the nobility of the soul, its magnanimity and exaltedness.

...."Thus the noble souls are not satisfied except with the finer things in life, those things that reap the most praiseworthy outcome."

So, for all who ask why I put so much effort into emulating as much of the Sunnah as possible, rather than just what is easy, that's the reason. I don't want to settle for average. I want to strive for the best. I believe that I will be questioned about every thing, so I want to be able to say that I tried to follow the best of ways... which are the ways of the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam).