Excerpts from my life

Miracle Morning

I have a relationship with waking up early in the morning. A bad one. Its that man I am crushing and trying to have since I was very very young. It then comes to me for a few days, then it acts hard to get and then concluding that its not worth the struggle, I give up. This loop repeats itself after every few months.

I do wonder how life would be to wake up by 5am each day and not go back to sleep. I have tried sleeping early, but even after my Fajr prayers the mind is not bright and awake. I do snuggle back into the blanket for some more time until work calls. Then begins the hustling for the day.

I remember having read Robin Sharma’s ‘Who will Cry when You Die’  at 20. It did motivate me to get up and run before the sun even rose. Now it was The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. You know, I have figured out one thing about myself. I shy away from self help books because it is going to show me the mirror on things I lack. But reading them per se tells me how to go about it. It is difficult for me to stick to this genre though.

So, taking the lead from this book, I researched about meditation and tried it for the first time today. It was an interesting experience for me. I remember having meditated when I was 12, as a part of a Scouts and Guides activity. I set an alarm of five minutes, wondering whether it was too less and I should set it for ten but decided to not overdo it the first day itself.

It was THE longest five minutes ever! The first few minutes (or seconds) it was nice. I was focused on my breathing. Then a few thoughts came but I had read the instructions that this will happen and I should let it pass. The thoughts went and I was back to  focusing on my breathing. Then new thoughts came and I let it pass. Minutes passed and at one point later it was as if the dam of thoughts broke and there was flash flood! So many thoughts and one thought behind it saying “stop it! I want to just breathe”

I managed to shove it aside and again focused on breathing. However, I had begun to get impatient. I wondered whether the battery of alarm had died and I continued breathing. Finally, I could not wait. I opened my eyes but thankfully just as I did that the alarm rung.

A few things I learnt about myself- I think more than needed, I think when I should not and my mind could do with some efforts of being calmer. It is only when I tried to not think, I could see how much I actually do!

This post is the scribbling part of miracle morning- So you meditate, affirm, visualise, exercise, read and scribble. Quite an interesting start of the day!

 

And Allah is Seeing of [His] servants –

Those who say, “Our Lord, indeed we have believed, so forgive us our sins and protect us from the punishment of the Fire,”

The patient, the true, the obedient, those who spend [in the way of Allah ], and those who seek forgiveness before dawn.

[Quran, 3:15-17]

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Excerpts from my life

How are you?

I was recovering from a minor illness last week. It is not how it used to be when you were a child. The world no more revolves around you. Sickness is just another episode- you know you are going to be alright. Gulp in the tablets, rest a bit and be patient. One does not expect anyone to set aside all chores and watch over you.

Yet, there is joy when someone drops in a word of concern. The joy my heart felt when my nice friend Remaa asked whether I am doing alright. Even reading that made me go emotional at that point. Who does that these days? A time when even parents do not call kids up, here she spent a few seconds to care whether I am better than before.

I thanked her and let her know that it meant a lot. The heart was soothed by her words and it was a small reminder to myself to do this more often. I am sure each of us know at least one person having a hard time. There is not much we have to do really. Just ask and express that we care.

I couldn’t help remembering this one time when I was in the eight standard. I must have been thirteen. My father was very sick. High fever, difficulty in breathing and he was mostly resting. I am not able to recall where mother was. But late at night he called me and wrote down on a notepad (unable to speak) that in case his health deteriorates, I must call XYZ uncle and do as instructed. And he gave me some instructions so that I do not panic. That scene is etched in my mind. His blood shot eyes, heavy breathing, hot skin and the dimly lit room.

Next morning thankfully his health was better. I went to give him medicines time to time. This time however he passed a very hurtful comment, “Your father is lying sick and not a single soul (including you) would even bother to inquire.”. The thirteen year old took it very personally to the heart. As a personal attack. That I am the only one even around, what else could I do except giving medicine, food and water I knew not.

We were a very formal family. So loving and soothing words does not come out easily. The love is rarely expressed in words. It stays within. I still would not know what else could be done then.

But thinking of that moment again, I feel it wasn’t about me. It was about everyone else. Family who was not there and the family who never called. It was the thoughts of a sick man who lay on the bed for days and days with nobody to talk to.

But, I also realise that it is a two way lane.

A lesson for me. You do not want to be sick alone, then make people feel you care. You want family to speak words that soothe, then show it to them how you express your emotions.

I do not believe that only actions express love. Words are important too. Yes, visible expressions of love soothe the heart. It takes effort but it is worth it when it comes back to you.

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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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