Excerpts from my life, Uncategorized

Bestow

When I read today’s prompt from WordPress, the first thing that struck me is that how many times have I read this word in the Magnificent Qur’an!

The multiple times Allah has reminded us of how much He has bestowed up on us. The reminders of not hiding the bestowed like a miser and giving away to the needy generously. The promise of eternal abode in Jannah to the obedient…

Like a weak woman, I have been through moments of thanklessness too. The question “why has so and so hardship dawned on me..” has crossed my mind too. Yet, truth is merely seconds away. Despite all harms, I crib in a safe home, a kitchen stacked with food, a family who cares, source of rizq to provide for myself and a body free of diseases. That, is A LOT to be grateful for.

In my ‘keyword’ search, I found the true definition of success..

Remember the graces bestowed so that you are successful..

And I remembered the blessing of being guided into the true faith.. the blessing of receiving the message through Allah’s messenger (salallahu alayhi wasallam)

Allah says in Surah Al-A’raf 7:69:

“Do you wonder that there has come to you a Reminder (and an advice) from your Lord through a man from amongst you that he may warn you? And remember that He made you successors after the people of Nuh (Noah), and increased you amply in stature. So remember the graces (bestowed upon you) from Allah, so that you may be successful.”

Truly, its really a very huge reminder. Allah asks us whether we wonder that there has come to us a Reminder and advice from Allah, through His messenger (salallahu alayhi wasallam) ..

This statement stirred something inside me. Made me feel very sorry for my state of mind. A guilt, that how I have repeatedly failed to treat the word of Allah with the treatment it deserves. And it makes me feel worse for those who are completely devoid of it. I know how empty life feels without it. Aimless, headless and meaningless stride towards man made goals which once attained leave you with a life of no worth.

Al-A’raf 7:23

قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَآ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلْخٰسِرِينَ\n

They said: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.”

And then I read this…

Allah says in Surah Al-An’am 6:165:

And it is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others that He may try you in that which He has bestowed on you. Surely your Lord is Swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

I knew this. I have read this before. But when I read it again, suddenly 80% of everything that my life comprises of started making sense. They all fell into place. But I know, my mind is feeble. This sense of serenity, solitude, connection, reflectiveness and all the mixed bag of good emotions within me now will last for some time. Some time until I drench into worldliness again..

And then the raw truth of how lonely my soul is. No beloved of mine can intercede for me and cover up except by Allah’s permission. Am I ready for this proximate interaction with my Master. To face Him all by myself. Am I even worthy? What a insignificant creation I am! In a world full of his marvels…I find myself smaller than a speck of dust.. May Allah protect me and you from humiliation on the Final Day

Allah says in surahAl-An’am 6:94

And truly you have come unto Us alone (without wealth, companions or anything else) as We created you the first time. You have left behind you all that which We had bestowed on you. We see not with you your intercessors whom you claimed to be partners with Allah. Now all relations between you and them have been cut off, and all that you used to claim has vanished from you.

And then, i read this. Amongst all the warnings and reminders my Lord has also told me that I can seek my own welfare..for my own good. How my tiny, feeble heart shatters to recite this.. what are we without His mercy?

Al-A’raf 7:23

قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَآ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمْ تَغْفِرْ لَنَا وَتَرْحَمْنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلْخٰسِرِينَ

They said: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.”

I don’t know why, I suddenly remembered the story of the people of Kahf. How Allah’s mercy saved them from the corruption of this world and granted them the best for their Akhirah. Hope..

It’s never too late. Even if we are at the lowest low at this moment, we can still change. It is never about competing but it definitely is about improving ourselves for Allah’s sake. To tread a path, no matter how small a step it is, consistently towards Allah.

Al-Anfal 8:53

That is so because Allah will never change a grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in their ownselves. And verily, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.

And the promise of Allah of a good end.. that the efforts and the hardships is always worth it. So many times you will read it in the Qur’an and every time it makes you want to try just one more time hoping for the best end..

Ar-Ra’d 13:22

And those who remain patient, seeking their Lord’s Countenance, perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and spend out of that which We have bestowed on them, secretly and openly, and defend evil with good, for such there is a good end;

He has given us a lot. And we never had to pay a penny. There is no price ever demanded , just bounties of rewards in exchange of good deeds always promised. How hard is it to recognise His favours and be grateful? Till when will we live in denial?

An-Nahl 16:55:

So (as a result of that) they deny (with ungratefulness) that (Allah’s Favours) which We have bestowed on them! Then enjoy yourselves (your short stay), but you will come to know (with regrets).

#Daily Prompts <a href=”Bestow“>Bestow

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Excerpts from my life, Uncategorized

Partake

The entire world is aware of what is going on in India now. It’s bubbling with so many issues. Tiny sections agitated at different degrees..more so the mind of a Muslim.

As a Muslim, I live a day at a time. Symptoms I see. Of an eerie disease. These are the symptoms of an outbreak…a civil war. Getting goosebumps even as I write this.

A glimpse into history will clearly reflect the tension that prevails in any state before civil war. I could break them down to three major ones-

  • Lack of powerful Opposition
  • Religious divide and intolerance
  • Curbing freedom of speech

Sounds familiar?

Peep into the history of any civil war that has existed. Whether it was during the time of Hitler or now in Syria.

I’ve stopped reading comments on YouTube pages that speak about Islam. And I’ve stopped listening to speeches of our Legislators. An hour of watching news is enough to give me palpitations and anxiety.

Yet, human fitrah (basic Instinct) prevails. We live each day gathering our tiny world and oblivious of everything that prevails 500m beyond our range.

I saw protests and rallies. I saw candle light marches. Instagram and Twitter.. and then back to normal routine.

As a very normal Muslim, who hopes that she and her progeny manage to live through good times without having to partake in communal tensions or war.. that the dunya and akhirah both are easy for us.. what does one do? What is your role O Muslim in this to assure justice to the victims, your brothers and sisters who have been at the receiving end of this zulm and oppression. Get up for Tahajud. Pray Qunoot e Nazila after every Salah.

We believe in The God- Allah. We believe that He is The One and The Master over everything that exists.

We believe in His Qadr. That Man plans and plans but Allah is The Best Planner. That Man does things out of His Will and Allah’s Wills precedes over all.

It is a part of our Imaan (faith). The power of prayer and dua cannot be underestimated.

Going down the streets and shouting has not helped. Do the groundwork. First and foremost teach Muslims what it means to be a good Muslim. You shoulder responsibility towards the society. You cannot simply ravage around like a bull darting every person that comes on your way. You don’t have that liberty.

Speak Good or Remain silent.

Work on making your neighborhood safe. Educate the women around you. We women form the foundation of the society. Train little girls on self defence. Work on your own fitness so that you can run. Be financially independent and work on making your children (especially daughters) financially independent.

And No! It’s not just Muslims who are victims. And No! It is not just physical abuse. Imagine how much hate do normal civilians live with. Minds have been polluted to the greatest possible extent such that even an urban educated person harbs communal feelings in his heart. Are they not victims?

We are in need of groundwork at the most basic level. And that my friend, is way tougher than rallying or sharing posts over social media. That is how we can partake towards a larger change.

#DailyPrompt Partake

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Excerpts from my life, Uncategorized

Vague…

It’s the one fine day.. when sitting in nothingness <a href=”Vague“>vague memories pass by me.

I remember faces from the past, wondering what they must be doing now. Nameless faces. I try hard to recall the names but alas!

It’s amazing how distinct incidents flash back. Vivid imageries. Was it me who lived these moments?

Friends are getting married. How smoothly we have moved from one stage to another. When we were eight, twelve or fifteen little did we know we’d be so comfortable without each other.

The competing over grades, the insistence over going for a movie, how important a dinner party seemed to assert our freedom…

I remember during the standard three exams, the class monitor wrote my name on the board as I was talking. The fear that masked me! I was given the question paper an hour late. In my desperation I was asking my neighbours to show me the question paper. It was a HUGE thing. I even remember it was English Grammar.. and I remember how scared I was of my mother knowing about it that I tried penetrating the sharp HB pencil nib into my neck hoping I die.

Thank God it hurt and I stopped.

One of many times I thought in my naivety that I’ll die and teach “them” a lesson. The “them” varied from.time to time and the gravity of their deeds too

Then there was a time I had a sword fight with my arch enemy at eight with a wooden ruler (or scale, whatever you call it as).. the reason I know not. Haha. But over the next ten years we evolved as very fast friends.

And there was a friend at 7, who told me before shifting to a new city that he would bury his dolls at a particular spot so that I could collect them after he leaves. We dug a very neat hole and placed a beautiful tile over it to prepare for the event well before time. Why he didn’t give it to me just like that, I don’t know. Maybe, we just wanted more adventure of secret treasure. His family moved. New family came in. I could never gather the courage to trespass the property to dig out all of it. (Laughing out hard) ..I wonder if he ever kept them, and if he did, what must have happened to the toys.

Swimming competitions.. we had this annual swimming galas in the local social officers’ club. Free style, breast stroke, back stroke, relays, butterfly, marathon and water quiz were amongst the various rounds in which I participated. I must’ve been 8 or 9.. water quiz it was. You are required to swim across the length of the pool, a volunteer gives you a chit on the other end with a mathematical problem written on it, solve it and go back. My volunteer happened to be my dad’s friend and thus, kept prompting the answer to me. And oh my dad’s honest genes. I left without marking the answer because it was prompted. Needless to say, I lost the round.

I won my first “first” prize at 12. Drawing competition in the same Officers’ Club. And I am really bad at drawing. The subject was “Swimming Gala in the Club”. I won second position again the following year for “Mother India”. I remember both my drawings very well. Then I won my next first for elocution competition at 16. I used to stammer on stage till 14. Things changed at 15, when I was elected the school prefect and had to host many events at school on stage.

Oh my God. My mind is flooding with memories. Conversations with my parents. The lone time spent at home. Cycling to school and tuitions. Loving sports. Being the class monitor first time at 12 and carrying the legacy until 15.

We say time flies. But it really doesn’t. It’s stuffed with memories. Loads and loads of them. Moments that you’ve lived. Ones that you can relish… 🙂

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Excerpts from my life

A Good Word.

Stories of getting betrayed by loved ones are very popular. Each one of us will be able to recall at least one person who deeply hurt us, but we never expected him (or her) to. But has the converse ever happened? That you get warmth and affection from a source you least expected?

Come on. Think harder. I am sure you must have come across that one stranger who helped you without demanding any return. A kind word that soothed, or a generous smile that healed. An acknowledgement of your hard work or a good pat to do better next time.

Just as I write this, comes in my mind my ex-househelp. Let’s address her as Suman. It was way back in 2014, when I was living alone in a city, had newly started practising Islam and was struggling emotionally. A revert sister, after having read my blog, had come to visit me for a short period as my guest. Let’s address her as Aminah. I don’t know how I struck a warm chord with Suman back then. She was a non-Muslim, and a victim of domestic violence. We often sat together for a cup of tea on weekends when I was not rushing to my workplace. Sometimes we discussed Islam, sometimes her hardships and sometimes thoughts of a hopeful future.

I introduced Aminah, as my ‘elder sister’ to her. So, when I was not around these two would spend sometime together at home. Just the day before Aminah was supposed to leave, Suman insisted that we do not make anything for supper that night. That evening, she came down all the way from her home and handed us a delicious meal of spiced okra (bhindi masala) and Bajra rotis. I remember the first thoughts we had when we opened her container. We were doubtful as to why would she be so warm towards us? It was a gesture too kind for someone who washes dishes in other’s homes. Now when I look back, it makes me realise that kindness and affection have no barriers. Four years and her generosity has stayed.

Recently, my mother in law and I were sitting together. It took me a while to get comfortable around her. Even now, it is perhaps 70% comfort, the remaining will take a few more years I guess. That’s how it is with mother in laws and daughter in laws (Speaking of kind and good women with Taqwa). They are two women from different backgrounds, lifestyle and for us even different culture. She comes from a North Indian state wherein I am from the East Coast. It took me some efforts to be able to understand her over these two years and I am sure, there has been a lot of efforts from her end too.

So, this fine day, she asks me about my parents’ well-being. Whether they are fine and comfortable at their places. How they are managing their things alone etc. My parents have two daughters and as happens in such cases, they’re living alone after both of us got married. Then my mother in law (Ammi) says something beautiful:

-“In future, when you want to look after your parents, never assume that Ammi will object to it or dislike it. I would rather be happy and supportive. You can keep them at your house, if it is difficult then you may keep them in my house too. I will truly enjoy their company and have tea with them in evenings. Never think twice about my opinion or the society. Rather, I will be very proud of you and present this as an example to everyone on how daughters can also look after parents. Irrespective of whether they become Muslims or not, you should bring them to you.”

It choked me. I am a very nonchalant person. It is rare that I am unable to hold my emotions before people. But it was one of those rare moments. It is hard to explain anyone my rapport with my parents. It is definitely not smooth but again, affection and concern exists. It is often that I worry about their oldage, which will be dawning soon on them. These words coming from my mother in law, shed a 100 bricks from the heart. I guess, it changed my way of looking at her forever and definitely raised her status in my heart.

I’ve always had in my mind to write a post on how she and I developed a good rapport despite the many differences we have in our lives. But, I shall do it only after I complete four to five years of my wedding (In Sha Allah) because I want to observe how she and I evolve over the years. In India, this relationship perhaps has more intricacies than the husband-wife relationship. Needs careful planning, observation and patience. And, it is not possible unless both are willing to strike an accord.

Words heal. Just as words harm. Around us, we will find several people whom we can ease merely by spending some positive time with them. Or maybe by lending a ear. A kind gesture can make someone’s day. Does not take much. We women, need to get over topics that include clothes, gatherings, food or television. Let us be beneficial women. Let people around us benefit from us. Remind them of Allah and show them the way to lead a life that pleases Allah. A life that is closely connected to the Qur’an. How else will the society change for the better unless women take charge of it?

~~~~~~~

“So remind, if the reminder should benefit.” [Qur’an, 87:9]

Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or else keep silent …” 

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded us to control our tongues in more than one hadeeth, such as that narrated by al-Tirmidhi from ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is salvation?’ He said, ‘Control your tongue, keep to your house and weep over your sin.’” Classed as saheeh (authentic) by al-Albani. 

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Excerpts from my life

Empty Hands…

I remember meeting Mariya* shortly after her divorce. Life certainly did not look like a bed of roses but her positivity was hard to miss. A toddler to look after and a newly acquired job that barely managed to make her ends meet. Yet, she had a zeal towards life that lacks in us despite we are blessed with more endowments.

Speaking to her clearly reflected the affection she still held for her ex-husband. I don’t know why they separated. I never asked and she never hinted the slightest contempt towards him. It would be a lie to say I was not curious but then, it was unimportant. Any normal person would wonder why they parted ways when she had all good words about him. There was no custody battle. He would visit his son often and she never resisted. It was unusual.

What I appreciated the most was that she never adopted the “why me” attitude. With a smile and immense courage she lived through the hardships. She didn’t portray herself as the abandoned helpless woman. Rather, strove to survive with Tawakkul that it is Allah who provides. And surely He did.

Tough times got over. Few years later she got married. In fact, I am certain, to her those were “many “years. And she got married to the same man. As usual, I do not know the why and how. The cheer she had on her face on her wedding day was the brightest that I have ever seen. Perhaps it was relief. Perhaps it was more. They had another baby and its a blessed marriage. Alhamdulillah.

It has been years since I have spoken to her. The heart remembered her today nevertheless. To remember what sincere faith looks like. Devoid of any aggression, contempt, envy or apparent sorrow. She made post-divorce phase look so easy. The true meaning of relying on Allah and handing over your issues to Him. Who else sorts out all the issues anyway?

“… And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him of his matter ease. . .
. . .Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease.” [Surah at-Talaq: 2 & 7]

When we think of trials and tribulations, I am certain we can recall at least one person who is suffering more than us. That victim of domestic violence, that person abandoned and shunned by family, the one struggling for two meals a day, the one whose children died, the Rohingyas, the people in war torn states, the homeless, the victim of drug abuse or the child who was raped.

To even think about their issues fills my heart with distress. What did I ever do to be here and they are there? Is it not purely the mercy of Allah? Even in my worst situations I was in a better position than them. And how ungrateful of me to even frown and clinch during my ‘tiny’ tests. What a bad performance.

I see those with huge problem smile and say “Alhamdulillah” and I see ones blessed with almost everything being depressed over small nothings.

Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said,”When is the help of Allah ?” Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near. [Quran, 2:214]

You know this verse. I know this verse. And we know innumerable other verses which tell us everything about our problems. Why they are there, how do we react to it and what do we get in return. Yet, we succumb. Making these verses mere theories. Ever experienced how it is to apply them and test reliance on The One?

Next time you feel life is tough, remember this:

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) who said: the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:
“Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessing of Allah.” [Bukharee 6490, abridged & in Muslim (2963) in its completion.]

Your empty hands will be filled counting things you never worked for, yet you do not want to lose. Were they ever empty in the first place? Its overwhelming!

#RemindeToMyselfFirst


*Name changed

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Excerpts from my life

While in Search of the “Right” One.

How hard is it to take a stand for the right in hard times? What does being a Muslim mean in the first place? Do we perform the external obligations of salah, sawm, zakaah, hijab etc. and when time comes to adhere to commandments which do not suit our ease we discard it?

We ought to be vary about our acts with people. Why do we not hate what Allah hates?Something like cheating and more so cheating a slave of Allah. Who knows the someone we underestimate might be dear to Allah? Many a times we do not realise that what we do might be something fraudulent.

Allow me to give an example I recently witnessed. You promised marriage to someone. The someone is looking forward to it. Meanwhile, you get other alliances and you start considering them without informing the former party. No, I am not speaking about considering multiple alliances at a time (I do not have knowledge about its validity). What I am speaking of, is promising someone the hand your son or daughter. Guaranteeing that the alliance is finalised such that the other stops his/ her search but we still search. Many of us carry the misconception that it is okay until the marriage actually happens.

Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) which states that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No man should offer a proposal of marriage over the proposal of his brother until the first one gives up or gives him permission.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 4746).

It is just ethically wrong and even wrong in Deen. But you know, when we are looking into alliances we forget to appreciate the good things in a person. Especially if the ‘good’ is sincerity towards the deen of Allah. My heart burns when I hear absurd demands like not wanting to marry reverts, not wanting to marry men whose profession is not “xyz”, not wanting to marry someone who lives in “so and so” place.

On the authority of Abu Hurairah (رضي الله عنه) who said: the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessing of Allah.” [Bukharee 6490, abridged & in Muslim (2963) in its completion.]

I agree, some standard preferences is always there to ensure compatibility. Its about the specific ones that are so superficial and would not matter once you live with your spouse. These specific demands are just there so that people view two people worthy of each other or perhaps we view ourselves so high that we want the other one to match us in worldliness. Sometimes on a subconscious level we do it because we are competing with someone else whom we believe has a better proposal.

In times of dilemma the solution is perhaps to remember those who do not have even a single proposal because of some ailment or tribulation. Rather we show ingratitude by finding flaws in the one we have. We forget all the advice of our Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam). We forget that the other one might have ignored many flaws in us before agreeing to marry us.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Render back trusts to the one who entrusted you, and do not betray the one who betrays you.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3534; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.  

The sad part is, even when we serve reminders, people get uncomfortable. Sooner or later your reminder is smashed on your face as if those words are made up by you and not from the Shari’a. Or some random reason will be served on how difficult it is so adhere to every bits and pieces of Islam. Worse, examples of other people committing the same fraud is given as if it validates the lawfulness of the fraud.

“And let those (executors and guardians) have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own, if they had left weak offspring behind. So let them fear Allaah and speak right words” [an-Nisa’ 4:9]

Whether it is your parents, siblings, in laws, neighbour, friend or spouse doing it. No matter who. A wrong is a wrong. Stand against it. Allah will take care of you, your heart, your relationships, your food, bills and whatever it is that makes you consider being a silent spectator to their wrongdoing.

Remember, you cannot get beyond what is already pre-destined for you. The least you can do is behave as a strong and faithful Momin by having opinions and decisions in favour of Allah. No matter what you decide, you fate is in His control. Why earns sins and wrath in the process by accessing your will in what He hates

I’ll leave you with this: How one must love Allah?

Allah, the Most High says: “{Say (O Muhammad, to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me…}” [Surah Aal:Imran, 3:31]

 

 

 

 

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Excerpts from my life

To Love or not to Love..

We got a kitten at my mom in law’s place a couple of days back. The first day, he was a bit anxious and timid. Two days later it seems that he has accommodated well. The playful self that kitten are. He has swept everyone off their feet and has been the center of attention ever since.

 

Last night, however, he went missing. I was amazed to see how anxious and depressed everyone became. Every member of the house was searching at every possible niche one could think of. Precisely why I dislike having pets. Not because of the responsibilities they bring but because they die too early. Ten to fifteen years down the line, they grow old and then they’re gone. And if they don’t die in front of your eyes, they just vanish one day- either abandoning you or perhaps falling prey to some bigger animal whilst on their regular stroll.

 

Pet lovers might not relate to my opinion. I know, the joy they bring might seem more. But I guess your childhood frames a major portion of how you think. When I was eight, dad brought home a mongoose. Apparently, its mother had died in the 1999 cyclone in Bay of Bengal coast. I don’t remember, how long we looked after it but the heart was attached. There are still so many moments with it I remember very well. We never kept it chained. It had free access to our lawn and so one day it went out and never came back. I remember how emphatically I searched for it. I still remember the moment when I last saw it.

 

Next came home an injured Jungle Babbler. Had fallen on dad’s factory window sill after being struck by something. When it came home, it was already pretty weak. We looked after it for some days. Feeding it grain by grain. Dripping water into its mouth with an ink dropper (90s kids will know). Five to seven days later, I found him dead. I remember screaming and calling my mom to find its head dangling down while I seemed perfectly perched on the bar.

 

A fish was what we adopted next. We got it from a local fisher-monger. Amongst his heap of dead fishes, this one was still breathing. Allah had destined a longer life for it. It stayed in our water tub for a couple of weeks until dad decided to free it in a pond nearby. And so we did. Perhaps as a kid, I was expecting a Free Willy come back. But that ungrateful fish dived in the pond and cut through the waters without even looking back. The first time I realized, not everyone loves you back equally.

 

This was too much pain for my eight year old heart. That’s when I decided I will never adopt any pet. Fast forward eight years, a dog gave birth to three pups in my garden and abandoned them.Much as I scorned at the idea of having pets again, I had to raise them lest they would die. One fine day when I was coming back from my school, one of the pups rushed towards me from across the road on seeing me. Half way through, a speeding car came from nowhere and rammed it. I froze as I watched it flung into the air and lying half dead on the further end of the road. It died in a few hours. Two days later, the second pup was found dead in his kennel. Didn’t survive the winters. The third just left after that.

 

As I write about this I wonder, how Allah fills our hearts with love for these beings. How we keep giving them without any hopes of returns from them. Yet, how less affection humans show to their own families. In my last post I spoke about goodness. When I think of this term, I realize how subjective it is. There were times when I have wanted to do things that I felt were right, yet many disproved saying those were ‘not the right things’. Who set these standards in the first place? Does good and bad (in personal choices like religion, clothing, spouse or food) really need social sanction even if it costs a lifetime of mental agony?

 

For me, I found solace in the good and bad set by my Lord. Goodness in Islam begins at home. Much like the very popular phrase of “charity begins at home”. In this rush of a chaotic life that can be proudly flaunted on social media, Islam gave me the true essence of life. Not only to read, but to inculcate in life. The society is moving towards a lifestyle where parents are being taken out of homes and children made to love things. Weekend time with parents is deemed to be something mention worthy! A lifestyle that is very youth centric but ignores the needs of children and the old. What is the need of these two classes? Time, love and affection- in ample!

 

The best man is he who is the best to his wife.[1] The person worthy of your best behavior is your mother and thrice more worthy than your father![2] The amount you spend on your family is considered greater than charity.[3] Loving your wife is quoted as Ibadah. Even putting a morsel in her mouth is rewarded by Allah.[4]  Looking after your children and raising them with the goal to contribute to the society beneficially is tagged Ibadah (worship). The right to first learn religion from you is of your family.[11] Every shepherd is responsible for his flock and a man is the shepherd for his family, a woman of her home and children.[12]

 

Men are advised live with their wives with kindness. They’re advised to overlook her flaws and focus on her goodness.[5] Women are a trust from Allah to men, thus Allah tells men to fear Him with respect to women.[6] They’re their protectors and maintainers. [7] Thus, they are required to look after the needs of their womenfolk.

 

Women, on the other hand, are called the twin halves of men.[8] Allah says that it is He who fills the hearts of spouses with love and mercy so that they may dwell in tranquility. Yes, the word is not happy, together, or forever; the word is “tranquility”- an absolute sense of bliss. They are advised to be thankful for the hard-work their spouses puts in for providing the family. She is expected to be helpful to him in his faith.[9] That includes, being his adviser in enjoining good and forbidding evil.

And a woman is shouldered with the biggest responsibility- to carefully raise the next generation of ummah! And how demeaned is this task. Considered to be so fickle that now nourishing a child’s mind, soul and heart is completely compromised for everything else that the society sanctions.

 

These are not just texts. These are instructions to integrate into your life and I see families thriving on it. Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wasallam) was the perfect example of being kind and loving to his family. I remember a hadith where a man mentioned to the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) that he has ten children but has never kissed them. Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam), who was holding and planting a kiss on his grandson, told him that whoever does not show mercy will not be shown mercy. [10]

 

I have seen closely knit families laughing for hours each day, sharing conversations about each ones lives, advising on how to move closer to Allah and never running out of words to express concern for each other. So I know it is possible. It is the parents who lay the foundations of a family. They get to decide right from the time they marry what the family framework will be. And most choose the path opposite to the straight and easy path given in Islam. How will then blessings and barakah (increase in goodness) come?

 

Ever thought why the fabric of family is disintegrating? It is because we are not providing the rights our families have upon us. Rights that Allah, Our Maker, placed for them. Then we remorse when we do not get our rights from them. We crave to earn fame and acknowledgement in the society but behind closed doors live strangers.

 

Perhaps that’s why we love pets- they never rebel no matter how much we ignore them. They always come back affectionately. We do not see the side effects of family negligence in them. No wonder, the moment parents see their adult kids wanting to live a life that does not fit their social strata, pop comes the famous Bollywood statement, “tum mere liye marr chuki ho.” . (you are dead for me). How easy an solution for dealing with differences of opinion but how grave the consequences of breaking family bonds. Bonds that we never valued in the first place.

 

The cat, to everyone’s much relief, was found selfishly sleeping in a inaccessible corner of the storage area. I, after settling to the idea of it being gone (inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon), clenched my jaws at the idea of going through it all over again.


1. Ibn Majah, 1977

2. Muslim, 2548

3. Muslim, 994

4. Bukhari, 6352

5. Qur’an, 4:19

6. Muslim, 1218

7. Qur’an 4:34

8. Abu Dawud, 236

9. Ibn Majah, 1856

10. Bukhari, 426/10

11. Qur’an 26:214

12. Bukhari, 7138

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