Oh my brothers.

Oh my sisters

Listen now, I have a message for you

When he says La illaha illalallah

When she says La illaha illalallah

Listen now

Carefully

With your heart not ears

There is no God but God

These words

They are our DNA

The DNA that binds us

They are our blood

The blood that follows through us all

Through us all

Listen now

When the sweetness of

la illaha illalallah mixed with honey

drips from your lips

You are born anew

Into a family

Into a family

The family, The Ummah

The Ummah of Muhammad Mustafa (PBUH)

Is he not the one who told us

The Ummah is like one body?

Is he not the one who told us

When one of us hurts

We ALL feel the sting?

Yes

He is.

Our Beloved Muhammad (PBUH)

Listen now

Listen carefully

Listen with your heart

Open

Raw

Exposed

To my question

Do you love our Nabi (PBUH)

If your answer is

Yes

Why then, is your pride

Overpowering your love?

Why then, how then, can you bare

To allow your Ummah to be

consumed in the depths of pain?

How often have you said

How often have you thought

Ya Allah where is her hijab? AstagfiruAllah

Ya Allah where is his beard? AstagfiruAllah

How dare she

How dare he

Call herself, call himself

A Muslim?

NO

How dare YOU

Is your skull that thick?

SubhanAllah how quickly you’ve forgotten

La illaha illalallah

Say He is Allah, the one and only Only.

So I implore you

To help me understand

To help me comprehend,

your mind

Who handed you this right?

The right to judge and decree?

O my brother

O my sisters

Remember this

For if the Almighty

Removed your veil

Exposed you

You would be clothed in shame

It is only by his mercy

We are protected

From humiliation

Remember this

The next time

Shaytaan begins to whisper in your heart

Turn towards Mecca

And allow yourself to be

Clothed

In humility

In humbleness

O my brothers

O my sisters

Listen now to my heart

We are a family

Do not lose yourself to pride

We are a family

Say

I love you for the sake of Allah.

 
-Inspired by my beautiful sister Shaimaa

May Allah protect you and keep you happy always

Ameen Ya Rabb

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The fragility of this life is unquestionably an unnerving thought, at any given moment, any one of us will be face to face with angel Azrael. Just like that, the perfect house, you worked so endlessly to achieve, your beloved wife and sweet children, are an illusion, and you are alone answering to the Lord of the Universe. Yet it is also this very fact that makes life so profoundly precious. Every moment, every person, every encounter, is suddenly so much more, everything is filled, with spirit and pure love.

I am deeply grateful for every second, every day, every moment I have been honored with by the mercy of Allah SWT, and so I sit here in amazement, another year has passed, and I ponder have I utilized my time appropriately, was I grateful enough?

I can vividly remember sitting down in the middle of the night recalling my year at the end of 2015, so ready, so eager to welcome 2016, and that time has come again. Filled with so many new experiences, new journeys, new moments, my heart smiles at all the moments that composed 2016. I recall by the end of 2015 I grew intensely mindful of Allah ta’ala, of death, and of life. With this perspective in mind that, our days on this Dunya are limited, every smile, every laugh, every act of love, was eminently felt and cherished. So with a beaming smile and tenderness, I want to share with you pieces of my heart so that you may, find some comfort in, so that you may learn something, in sha Allah.

In the passing year, Allah SWT has given me the honor of growing deep bonds of friendship with many people. I have cried with and held hands of people who have shared their deepest sorrows and fears with me. As I set out to attempt to alleviate their pains, I found myself repeating this truth, that the pain in this Dunya is temporary. This Dunya and everything that it encompasses is temporary. While it is absolutely certain that your heartbreaks and grievances will subside, that you are promised ease, another truth is often not discussed, that even your happiness is temporary. What does this mean, are we to just remain miserable always? Not at all. All it means is that we must treasure our times of bliss. With this notion in mind, life is felt with a peace, fully fathoming the truth and purpose of existence, indeed our life here, all the bloodshed and sadness, all the glitz and glam and smiles, none of this is infinite. With this, you are given the capacity to withstand any hardship, and blessings are dealt with extra care and treated as the gifts they truly are. At-Tawakkul ‘ala Allah, all our trust is solely in Allah.

As the seasons pass by and, you grow aware of how perishable life is, you also come to grasp the reality of the futility of material things, how frivolous they are, how they ultimately bring hollowness to the soul. Cars, the latest smartphones, wealth, mansions, these things people often chase after, gambling away their lives, forsaking their Lord for, will not accompany them to their graves. Earlier in the year, a celebrity singer had passed, I was watching the news, and this man had died unmarried and childless, however, he had left behind an abundance of property, without a will. His only living relatives were disputing as to who will be his inheritor. So I sat that there, thinking, subhanAllah, this man presumably had everything, money, fame, all the luxuries of this Dunya and now what are the value of these things? Worthless. You see that’s all he had, things. Eventually, it will all be obliterated, and like his physical body, they will fade into oblivion. Celebrities invest and exhaust all of their time and energies pursuing the vices of the Dunya, but, by the virtue of, pure human nature, the more they have, the more they want. This craving will leave humans to remain to be dissatisfied with the world and everything in it, and this is exactly how we were created. This passion is meant to be directed towards earning for the hereafter and if it isn’t, if you live solely for this world, you have lost everything.

The euphoria you experience in this world is an illusion, your carnal possessions which you hold dear to your hearts, are ultimately meaningless in aiding your final fate. The question remains, what truly matters? Your deeds and the time you allocated in striving in Allah’s way, striving to gain his pleasure, your treatment of people, these are the things that matter and among these treasures, you must preserve and safeguard the lovely souls in your life. People, who, remind of you Allah, those who love every part of you, irrevocably and unconditionally, those who never fail to make you smile, they are worth far more than any amount of money and any inanimate object. Appreciate these people and love with every inch of your heart. We are travelers of this world, our journey is a short one and it would be a great misfortune upon your own soul, to spend even a second, harboring any resentment in your heart. Love, so you may seek his pleasure and take your heart and submit it to Him, only he will protect it. Don’t worry, don’t stress, don’t fret, trust that He is Al Razzaq and he will provide for you, your rizq. If you have Allah, and if He has blessed you with genuine love, you are richer than any celebrity. Our beloved Prophet, the example for all Mankind, the man promised Jannah, lived the humblest of lives. He once told his wife, Aisha r.a, “If you want to reunite with me be in this world like be like a traveler! Keep away from being near the rich and do not think about buying a new dress before the present one becomes so old, that it cannot be used anymore.” Live simply and be pleased with all that Allah has given, for indeed worship begins with shukr(gratefulness), and watch as your life fills with His light and mercy.

“Oh travelers of this world
your destination is the grave
This journey for which you are preparing will last for only two days
Since the creation of this world thousands and millions have arrived
No one is left, They’ve been engulfed in soil
Do not forget this, this will be everyone’s final abode” (unknown author)

With these words in mind, spend every moment wisely, with, each passing year we are nearing the end of our journey.
May this year be filled with Allah ta’ala’s blessings and love, may this year be filled with beauty.

الحمد لله على كل حال.
“Alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli Haal”
Praise be to Allah in every circumstance.

This morning, you got an email alerting you, Netflix had uploaded a new season of your favorite show, last night was laborious, your fingers sore from composing that ten page paper for class. And so these thoughts begin to invade your mind, perhaps today I can forsake my sunnah rakats, my eyes are heavy and all I really want is to “relax.” Other days, you might be afflicted with an incomprehensible heartbreak, rendering your obligatory salah a dreadful chore. These are sentiments, I’m sure, everyone, at one point or another, can relate too.

There is often this false perception that a woman who dons, the hijab, the niqab, that a man who maintains a beard, or a sister who has immense Islamic knowledge, that their Iman (faith) is unceasingly high, their faith is never shaken, and that’s not true. A niqab or beard or hijab or thobe or abaya, unfortunately does not contain, any magical ingredient that, automatically transforms and perfects, one’s faith. Contrary to popular belief, just like anyone else, a person who is outwardly “pious”, is still a human. A human, created weak, a human with nafs, a human, who often goes through the aforementioned moments.

Its okay. Its aggravating, and arduous, I know. Life is constant battle with yourself, your nafs. No matter how sound you believe your Iman to be, there will be times when you find yourself, questioning its strength. People, along with the aid of shaytaan will diligently, hammer at you, asking, “You committed so and so sin, whats the point, of hijab, whats the point, you are already unworthy of Allah.” You are never unworthy of Allah. Sinning is human nature, but when you allow it to penetrate your heart and turn you away from Allah, this is the true failure.

When you have inclined towards that which Allah dislikes, when you have abandoned your salah and that which is good, this is not the time to resign your faith, rather, it is the perfect time to surrender and sumbit to Allah, to fall back and beg. Beg for forgiveness, you will never be turned away no matter how deep you have plunged your soul into transgression.

On these occasions of mishandling your own soul, you must push yourself. When the cloud like softness of you bed is calling you, whispering that God will forgive you for passing on the Isha salah, remind yourself, of the children, whose, bed is nothing but the earth and stones, and bow in gratitude to your Lord.

Iman is perplexing, one day you are on a spiritual high akin to being on cloud nine, and the next you find yourself indulging in a guilty pleasure, preferring it over a few minutes of ibadah, of worship. And this is how we were created, Allah swt doesn’t say IF you have sinned turn to me for forgiveness, no, He says, WHEN you sin, turn back to me.

There is this pressure today, in our ummah, to be the “perfect” muslim or do not be a muslim at all and it’s ridiculous. There is nothing more infuriating than this notion. You see the faultless muslim is a thing of fiction, the sinless muslims were the Prophets and Sahaba’s and they are long gone. While we should seek to live a life even slightly in relation to theirs, while we should strive to be as awe-inspiring as them, and avoid sinful behavior, there are times when we will, assuredly fail, we will fail, we will sin, the difference,is we repent, we continue to push ourselves despite our shortcomings. Your sins don’t make you any less muslim, they make you human.

This is for my sisters and brothers, who are currently in combat, on one hand with shaytaan and on the other hand with their own selves. Its a bloody and nerve wrecking war and its absolutely worth it.

الَ كَلَّا ۖ إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ
[Moses] said, “No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me.”[26:62]

 I’m sure you know how cruel this world can be, I’m sure many of you have experienced the brutality of heartbreak. Restless nights, perhaps in a fit of tears, followed by a hole in the wall from frustration, and sleepless nights with your forehead to the earth, “Ya rabb, Ya rabb, hear me, answer me, help me, save me.” Shaytaan whispers, what’s the point? Where’s the acknowledgement? Where’s the fruit of your labor? It’s a buzz in your ear you can’t quite turn off. Sabr? Have sabr, for how long? 1 year passes, 3years, 10years gone. There seems to be no end, just nothingness. Many will throw their hands up, not a prayer missed, Quran memorized, hijab, niqab worn, sacrifice after sacrifice, yet why does Allah not respond to my pleads?

It is a peculiar matter of contention, this idea of the meager human, feeling entitled to everything. We often think, “I pray my five daily prayers, i donned the hijab, and recite Quran”, Allah swt owes us something. The Lord of the Universe owes us nothing. We owe everything to HIM. Constant disobedience, time and time again do we get consumed by the vices of this life, unmindful that we are being watched, falling into deep ingratitude, yet even if our sins were as vast as the ocean, He forgives, and forgives and forgives. On the other hand, the creation, despairs, the neglect, and thanklessness, of their love and efforts,from each other. Well in fact we are guilty of such inconsiderateness, and Allah swt overlooks our weakness.

I was once told not to except much gratitude from everyone and this has proven to be full of truth. So why should we do anything, perform acts of kindness and selflessness, when seemingly it is of no benefit to us?

There is a more eminent blessing, and that is the pleasure of Allah swt. With that I am reminded of the verse from surah Insan

“We feed you for the sake of Allah alone: no reward do we desire from you, nor thanks.” [76:9]

If we live our lives seeking the approval of those who will eventually be buried and forgotten like the rest of us, than we will lead a life drowning in our own misery. Our lives and deeds should , first and foremost, revolve around the undying love of Allah swt, only than will we achieve, a peace of mind and heart. I am well aware this is easier said than done, but what is difficult does not deem it impossible, commit to your memory, that He is, Al Mujeeb, the responsive one, call to him and surely he will respond in the best way, at the perfect time.

Still we desire to hear it, the recognition because it is not easy, breaking your back and bending over for the sake of other’s happiness,when you don’t receive so much as thank you. Two words, eight letters with the power to lift a sunken heart and sculpt a smile. You should know these words can not compare to what I am about to remind you of.

Your deeds, your life, your very existence, is not in vain for, Allah swt created us with Haq, with truth, with a purpose and He is, Al basir , the all seeing, all seeing of every thought you conceive and every action you carry out, remember not even a leaf falls without Him knowing. In Surah Al Ahqaf Allah swt says,

“We shall accept the best of their deeds and overlook their evil deeds. They shall be among the dwellers of paradise, – a promise of truth, which they have been promised.'{46:16}

Despite the invisible bullets, and knives we endure in this life, despite the hammer banging at your heart, already taped and glued, we have been promised that we shall be recompensed for all that we suffered, not any old promise, not a pinky promise easily forgotten, a promise of truth.

 “So whatever you have been given is but (a passing) enjoyment for this worldly life, but that which is with God (Paradise) is better and more lasting for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord. And those who avoid the greater sins, and illegal sexual intercourse, and when they are angry, they forgive.” (Quran 42:36 & 37)

The childhood I recall is one, with an abundance of laughter, love, toys every other week, all in all, AllhumdulilAllah. I did not suffer any traumatic event, I lived (and still do), comfortably, in a safe neighborhood. But like most people, the inevitable reality of this dunya, I had my share of troubles and grief. I debated a lot with myself, whether I should I write this post, should I publish, and I decided that the pros outweigh the cons. 

Bismillahhir Rahmannir Raheem…

 Intertwined with all the toys and pink dolls and lullabies and make believe games that filled my hours,before real life took over, there was also a lot of anger, frustration, and heartbreak. I will not go into details about my domestic life growing up, however the impact that the exposure to this level of anger had on me, is something I believe needs to be discussed. 

 I know it sounds silly, trivial and maybe even a little naive, anger? It’s a part of life, people get upset, move on, get over it, I’m sure many people are thinking this. Yes, it is a part of life, it’s human nature, and it is horrible. 

 The anger I’m talking about isn’t the, everyday little disagreements, the silly fights between husband and wife, the parent scolding the disobedient child, it’s the hateful kind, the kind that rips apart families, the kind the sticks to you and keeps you up at night sobbing, the frustrating, all encompassing, soul eating kind. Sounds dramatic? I know but it’s real. 

  I despise this feeling, anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I can’t even hold onto this feeling for too long, before you know it, I’ll be a crying, an emotional wreck. You know what, I’m grateful that I can’t keep this feeling in me, AllhumdulilAllah, I don’t know how to hold grudges because it’s an ugly feeling, it’s harmful not only to your mental and spiritual well being, it effects those around you and I can personally vouch for this statement. 

  I’m not saying, never be angry, be happy all the time, it’s not practical, it’s not possible, we are not robots, we are human and indeed Allah swt, created us weak, with a range of emotions. However, it is possible, to control your anger, to forgive, to not allow this monster to consume you and burn ties of kinship and friendship.  Forgive and let go if not for them, for the sake of Allah swt, for his pleasure, for his love. 

  It is not worth staying angry and I know every situation is at variance, but in a very general setting it’s not worth it. No one in your life will make you a hundred percent happy, even your wife/husband, mother/father, sibling, child, will upset you, you will have disagreements, these worldly matters are not worth it to stop talking to those you love, it’s not worth having 2 hours or 1 week or 10 years of not talking, filling and hardening your heart with hate. What if you die with this anger still in you heart, what if you die and the last things you said to someone were spiteful, bitter, “in the moment” harsh things? This is not the way you want the state of your heart to be in when you meet you creator. 

 And it’s not easy, this task of restraining your words and in extreme cases, your fists, especially when you are being insulted, when you are being unacknowledged for your efforts, for your love, whatever it maybe, it can be extremely disconcerting. This is Jihad Al Nafs. The struggle against your desires, including anger. One can not adequately, envision the beauty of the reward for controlling their nafs in this dunya, it  is the true definition of “happily ever after.”

 I ask you to please, not allow this beast to overpower you, to let go of this dunya and let go of your pride, for the sake of Allah, in accordance with the sunnah, remind yourself that it’s not worth it, that just like all the memories of bliss and all the conflicts we face, it will subside, it is temporary. Remind those we love them, even when we are angry with them. Remember love for the sake of Allah swt over any moments of bitterness.

  

“The Prophet once asked his Companions, “Whom among you do you consider a strong man?” They replied, “The one who can defeat so-and-so in a wrestling contest.” He said, “That is not so; a strong man is the one who can control himself when he is angry”

“It was then i came to the realization: our society teaches us to be obsessed with appearance.” – Na’ima B. Robert (excerpt from, From my sister’s lips)

A typical saturday morning, I woke up, made my breakfast, made my coffee and sat down with the book I’m currently reading and today I came across this particular line. It really hit home, and I knew I would have to make a post about this.

There is so much truth, so much significance enclosed in such a simple and obvious observation, “Society teaches us to be obsessed with appearance.” This is an incredibly immense issue that needs to addressed, it is disturbing, how sexualized and objectified society has made women.

I have story that I would like to share before I continue, and I believe it is pertinent to this matter and In sha Allah will be beneficial to many people, especially young girls.

When I entered high school, my outlook on life, my self esteem, everything was shattered. I was plunged into this alien planet, my high school and my middle school were on totally separate wavelengths. Back in middle school there was tons of hijabis and everyone wore uniform, it was really comfortable, but my high school, all of sudden I was surrounded by these beautiful, westernized girls, wearing clothes that accentuated their statuesque figures, their gorgeous hair flowing, and their porcelain skin. Truthfully, I was intimidated and I did something, I’m not proud of, I took off my hijab and conformed to their standards. The environment I was apart of, 5 days a week, for 8-9 hours a day, was toxic, and putting aside the people I was surrounded by and their morals and their ideas of beauty and “feminism,” everywhere I looked, on T.V, online, even the music I listened to, billboard ADs, this idea of the perfect body was everywhere. I remember one day on the train, I saw an ad that to this day still sickens me, it was an AD for breast augmentation, anyone could do it, wow subhnAllah what a world we live in, its easy for anyone to distort, Allah swts creation. I was weak and I regret falling for their hyper sexualized concept of beauty and degrading standards so much but AllhumdulilAllah, Allah swt has given more strength than I could’ve ever imagined myself having, in these past couple of years.

I put so much effort into my appearance, my makeup, my hair, my clothes, my body, why? To impress a few boys? To impress the beautiful girls and be on their “level”? Was it worth it? Are these people going to intercede for me on the Day of judgement?

One day, a friend of mine, was telling me that I could get a job at Hollister, and she says, “Oh you’re pretty, you will definitely get the job.” What? I’m sitting there thinking, so what if I wasn’t their idea of “pretty,” I have to look a certain way to sell clothes? SubhnAllah. It still baffles me.

We have been reduced to nothing but, perfect skin, large breasts and a large ass. From my beloved Quran, I was taught, my value is measured by my piety, my character, my deeds, my manners NOT these superficial, trivial, things, we so desperately occupy our time with, aiming for that “perfect body.”

You can do all the plastic surgery you want, all the botox you want, all the makeup you want, spend your precious hours perfecting your worldly shell, in the end, you will age, you will sag, and you will get wrinkles and inevitably you will die.

This doesn’t mean, don’t take care of yourself and let yourself go. Absolutely not, take care of your skin, eat well, keep your body in shape, be healthy stay clean and presentable, wear makeup if you feel like it (with the right intentions of course), this body and beauty we have its temporary like everything on this dunya, but its a gift from Allah swt and we should take care of it to the best of our abilities, just do not allow it to distract you from the goal, do not allow it to cost you, your akirah.

We are all made of clay, all this beauty that we spend our time fretting over will be buried 6 ft under the earth, forgotten by all the people who we tried in vain to allure. We dream of airbrushed skin and to have all the right curves in all the right places, in this ephemeral life of ours, but imagine, the inhabitants, of Jannah, their faces will be glowing with Noor, they will have eternal beauty, earned because, of how much time they spent, reciting Quran, doing salah, immersing themselves into the deen, because of their deeds done in the name of Allah swt, because of their treatment of others, envision imperishable beauty.

We are all just clay waiting to meet the Lord of the universe.

“Your lord will open a way for you from His Mercy and will make easy for you, you affair.” [18:16]

I turn to this verse time and time again for comfort, how beautiful is our Lord, how incredible is his promises? Open the Quran, study the Quran, imbed it in your heart and you will never despair. This is only one of the countless verses that highlight our Rabb’s kindness and I think in the state in which the dunya is in right now, we can use all the comfort we can get.

I have had numerous conversations with sisters who have confided in me, telling me they are scared to go out, scared of the reactions people will have to their hijab, sisters who want to wear niqab but they are afraid, and if I sat here listing even half the heinous crimes against our brothers and sisters simply because they choose to submit their souls wholly to Allah swt, in the past couple of years, I would never be done with this piece, and I’m sure most of us are aware of these crimes, and going into detail about these heinous acts is not pertinent to the point I’m about to make.

The world has not been kind to muslims. And I’m not only talking about todays world, it goes all the way back to the very beginning of Islam, read the seerah of our beloved Prophet and you discover all the kinds of trials and tribulations he faced, you can not even fathom, how painful life was for the first muslims. They say history repeats itself, don’t misunderstand our situation and their situation are on very different levels, but still, it has not been easy.

While I can’t promise you it will get any easier, I can remind you that Allah’s promise is always true, to hold firm in your heart his words and remember the perfection of his plan. 

Let me ask you this question, why do we wear hijab? niqab? thobe? The most familiar responses we have all heard I’m sure goes a little something like this, ” I’m saving my self for my future spouse, to be modest, to protect myself from fitnah,” and these are all correct, but it’s not the main reason for our peculiar choice of attire, it’s a much more profound reason. This is how we dress, not for any man, not because it’s how our parents raised, first and foremost, it’s for Allah swt, because he commanded us too,to establish a connection with our Rabb, simple as that. This is what I tell myself every single time, people spew hateful comments at me, when they give me dirty looks. The fact is, no matter how you dress, what your faith is, who you are, someone, somewhere will have something to say, don’t let it phase you , don’t let humans upset, when you believe that Allah swt is the greatest, the All knowing, the most powerful.

We weren’t created, to please each other, we were created to worship Allah swt, so what are we doing?