2016 in review!

Sunrise running woman

Things are moving way too fast. Too fast to allow your brain and especially your heart to fathom them. To internalize them as you usually do.

Relationships fade and sprout in oblivion. Some presumed eternally-kept bonds slowly disappeared before your mental sight, but you feel like just with any law of nature, they just do with time. There’s nothing that you can do to salvage them. You have no time to neither reflect nor pause for sigh.

Crisis are piled up and lumped together with no sense of order in an internal invisible bubble that is carefully stored deep deep inside your heart so that you may find some “convenient” time to sort them out. But you know deep down that there is no greater fallacy than this. You underestimate the nature of bubbles. Bubbles pop when they become too big. Perhaps, the piling has to be done in small little bubbles. Hmm.

Everyday, just as you put on a physical mask with layers of primer, foundation and powder, you also put on an internal mask; a mask of confidence, elegance and firmness.  You’re supposed to walk, look, sit a certain way. A showcase of emotional bulletproofness is necessary for you to be taken seriously. Your emotion is your weakness and weaknesses should never be on display. Thus, in tense times, you find yourself tucked behind closed doors, sobbing silently, wailing with a muffled voice so as not to be heard and quickly touch up your tears-soaked face with tissues once you tell yourself that you’re done being weak.

Distractions. Those are the tools that you have improvised so systematically in your system once things do not go according to your plan or people are not living up to your expectations. You do away with distracting yourself. You put on your running shoes, plug in your headphones and off you go running. Running away from your problems and other complications in life. You grab a car key and turn on the music and drive yourself away from people that break your heart.  You get on an LRT and watch the sceneries outside the window or observe diverse commuters’ characters on board. You watch life unfolding to distract from sorting out your own messy troubled life.

Things are much better done alone you thought. You’ve grown weary of waiting for people to either share the same passion as you do or even find time to answer your messages.  Hence, you’d rather tread those paths alone nursing your heart along the way.

Things are running fast. They’re practically sprinting. Work, relationships, friendships are bundled together. You’re living a modern 21st century life you thought. But just with any bundling of things, a bundled life is guaranteed to be a messy life.

What do you actually seek in life?

You wanted to rise. To rise from the ashes of your more-bitter than sweet past. You wanted to break free from the fortress of rigidity that you have meticulously built to suit your past circumstances. You are working yourself to frequent gastric attacks and sleepless nights to extract all the juice of potentials that bubbled and fermented in yourself. You wanted to convince yourself that YES you can do it all!

But, perhaps it’s all an illusion. What you’re going after, what you put on display. They’re all simply tainted in layers and layers of subtle hypocrisy. Hypocrisies that shove themselves on your mental and moral consciousness, every time you look at yourself in the mirror, but those that you choose to ignore and walk away  from out of the need to sprint fast to achieve your goals, however ambiguous they’re becoming every day.

Can we possibly change without entirely losing our sense of ourselves in the past?

The world has a convenient way of telling us that you’re supposed to act and be in a certain way once you’re moving up and down life’s numerous and complicated phases.  But, in truth, the perceived weaknesses are weaknesses ONLY in their eyes. Your natural tenderness, sense of compassion and an abundant love for others should never be compromised. Because losing those means that you’re losing a real sense of being a human. In the world of rigidity where are you are treated like a productive subject (read: a machine) to satisfy the economy’s needs for efficiency and productivity, it’s rare to find people that would be bold enough to wear their hearts on their sleeves. To love others unconditionally. To cross the sea of fires for others. To serve others and not your own whims and desires. Embrace your inner loving self and sure, do put on a mask but be sure that you’re comfortable when you have to take it off too!

2016, you have been one colorful, wonderful, flavorful, emotional-filled year!

May 2017 be a year that allows all of us to grow into more tolerant, loving, dynamic human beings and servants of the Most-High. May we never lose track of why we are here and where we are going. May we fill it with an abundance of good deeds for whatever life that we have left on this earth. May it be a year that is filled with constant prosperity not just in the form of materials but most importantly happiness and inner serenity.

 

 

It Will Come At The Right Time

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When you’re single, you dream of being married. And once you’re married, you reminisce the freedom of being a singleton. *sigh*

Focus. Focus on what you have at any given time. And be grateful for whatever status you have at any given time. If you’re single, that’s not the end of the world. Don’t get all depressed viewing wedding photos of your friends or their honeymoon snaps. God is giving you a golden opportunity now to maximise your potential on your own. To seek yourself. To contribute and spend time with your near and dear. And it has been proven times and times again that just when you’re not thinking about it, it will come. The moment and the right person will come because 50,000 years before the creation of the heavens and seas, all those have been divinely decided. And don’t get angry when your aunties and your mom’s friends teasingly queried, “When are you getting married?” Because to be honest, that’s just by default what they like to ask everyone 😛 Once you’re married, they’ll ask, “when are you getting a baby?” I mean that’s just an auntie-ly thing to ask 😉

Now, stop over thinking and get on the road of progress. And please for the love of God, I hate to break it to you, ‪#‎relationshipgoals‬ are superficial! And things seen on Instagram are what not what they seem in real life. Instead, make dua. Make dua for a pious partner.

And, Allah knows best

This post is taken from a previous Facebook post dated July 25th, 2016.

Experiences are a Two-edged Sword

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Why do I say this? That’s because experiences certainly usher change(s) in you. You’ll feel it. Gradually rather than immediately.

Look, a change is good. Its always good to go through changes. Changes mean that you’re alive, and not stagnant. And in order to move forward, one has to go through changes.

But, what I realized is that, some experiences work in 2 different ways. Not only that now, you’re positively changed, with a healthy mindset, perhaps, becoming more realistic than ever due to the experiences, thinking about the future, rather than the past, smiling and laughing more than crying, BUT, it has also robbed you of some of your endearing qualities. In other words, some important qualities of yourself were also lost along the changes. There’s no more of those enduring optimism. Idealism is snatched from your imagination. You’ve becoming numb to certain emotions and feelings. A lot of things now sound rather like clichés and rhetorics rather than possible realities. You have, dare I say, become less than a human that you used to be.

Your near and dear commented positively on your new self. And that’s because they’re not you. They don’t see that mountain of dilemma that you’re sitting on. But that mountain of dilemma is real.

You realized that you have changed. Actually, earlier than other people did. But, in having a new self, you’re also deeply missing your old self that has been snatched unconsciously from you. And perhaps, that’s just how it’s meant to be: “You get some and you lose some”.

‪#‎TheStruggleIsReal‬ ‪#‎ExperienceIsTheBestSchool‬

Resilience

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Of late, I could see an extraordinary level of resilience in my mother. Not that it was not apparent in her before but perhaps recent events just opened my eyes and accentuated that beautiful maternal resilience inherent and abundant in herself.

I could see resilience in her holding back her tears in talking about her children. I could read fortitide and out-of-this-world composure in her fighting for justice for her children. I could sense pride in her introducing her children of all ages to her colleagues. I could see perseverance in her spending hours breaking her back to provide for her family and to give back to society. I could read rigour and yet concern in her discussing over the ills of society with me intellectually. I could sense a deep sense of gratitude in her sacrificing her limited amount of time for the sake of her parents and family. I could see hope and ultimate reliance that she has in her long sujood and tearful supplication upon the Almighty praying for the best for her family. This is a woman that is nothing less than extraordinary.

All of those descriptions couldn’t possibly do justice to who she is to me. But, just wanted to give a glimpse of the love and sacrifices that are dispensed generously daily by my mommy.

Thank you Mak and may Allah reward you with the only true reward awaiting you, The Garden of Perpetuity

Captivating Beauty ﷺ

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These days looking up the sky night time, I would catch the radiant glimpse of a full moon. And inevitably my mind would be swiftly reminded of the beloved prophet ﷺ and how the companions, radiya Allahu anhum have described him, ﷺ using the full moon as the metaphor.

Ka‘b (ra) said, “When he was pleased, his face would shine so bright that you would believe it was a piece of the moon.”

His grandson Hasan (ra) would comment on his, ﷺ beauty by saying, “his blessed face shone like the full-moon.”

His best friend Abu Bakr (ra), mesmerized by his captivating beauty also composed a few lines of poetry about him ﷺ : “He is faithful, chosen (by Allah), and calls to forgiveness. He shines like a full-moon when it is far from dark (clouds).”

A famous Arab poet, Zuhair on the prophet ﷺ : “Were you other than a human being, you would be the brightness on the night of a full-moon.”

There is indeed something about the moon and its beauty that is quite inexplicable. Gazing at the moon, you are captivated by the serene and calm quality of its beauty, even if you turned around, you would want to catch its glimpse again and again. Indeed, the brightness of a full moon is the height of beauty and to know that our beloved master, ﷺ was described as such makes the heart forever yearn to one day catch the radiant glimpse of the blessed face of the best of mankind, Muhammad ﷺ.

May Allah make us among those….

This is taken from a previous Facebook post dated February 23rd 2016.

Lamentation of a Wounded Servant

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My soul is battered. My soul is bruised. From all the Divine surgeries that make up life. And every time I can feel it weaved. Though it does take a long time. But I know that my wound is tenderly nursed by my loving Master.

I stared hard at the prayer mat after my salah. “What did I recite just now? What did I feel in every utterance of Your name?” I could feel my heart murmuring no reply. I felt empty. And the emptiness is swiftly filled with the rush of guilt. I have betrayed my own heart. I have cheated my own soul. My mind wandered far in my meetings with You. I tried hard to focus on You. But it did not remain as long as I thought it would be. I guess I have lost the battle with the damned.

I no longer feel that rush. That intoxication of the heart, filled with ecstasy of spirituality. My soul now feels stationary and solitary. Perhaps this is the low that people often talk of faith.

I look right and left after my congregational prayer. On my right, tears flowing down the sister’s cheeks. I want that. On my left, a sister is severely quiet and focused in her supplication, her eyelids shut. I want that too. That composed devotion is graceful and beautiful. Intimacy with You is what I yearn.

Nowadays , I try to spend a little longer in my last sujood. Just trying to gather the perfect words of supplication. But that supplication now feels more and more like a repetition. I no longer shed tears out of desperation. I now shed tears out of frustration. Frustration of lifeless spiritual routine.

I heard the chimes of the trees. I heard the whispers of the wind. I looked up the sky and saw a glimpse of heaven. They are all holding the secrets of my soul. Secrets that are safe with You.

Life is an uphill struggle and the journey is long. I used to think of everything as the destination and thus I chased and chased until I was battered and wounded. But, the truth is the Destination is only one, and others simply are the means, much like the signboards to get there. And in order to get there you will rise and stumble. This is perhaps my period of stumbling. I crawled and crawled to His door of mercy. And before I could knock it, my soul collapsed. Collapsed of the heavy burden of my sins.

I admit, I frequently succumb to the burgeoning desires and the ever-lingering whisper of demons. The demons outside and within me. At times, my soul ravages at what the movies and drama illustrates to me. The delusion of paradise on earth, of life free of trials and tribulations. The picture-perfect family, the happily-ever after relationships, the flashy cars and dream houses. But, when I finally woke up from the sleepwalking, I was panicked. Panicked at the incoming vehicles, rampaging to tell me to stop being dead, and wake up to the often-grim reality of life.

And I amassed the little energy that I have left, and I rose. I force myself to strut my heavy, lazy feet with tremendous difficulty because Your promise rings in my head:

“When My servant draws close to me by the span of a palm, I draw close to him by the space of a cubit, and when he draws close to Me by the space of a cubit, I draw close to him by the space (covered) by two hands, and when he draws close to Me by the space (covered by) two hands, I go in hurry towards him.”

(Sahih Muslim, Book 48, Hadith 3)

That vow fills my heart up with life. The empty vessel of my heart is filled again with a river of joy.  Though I know that my soul is drenched in sins, I know that by forcing my body to withstand 2 raka’at of nawafil prayers, done solely for the sake of gaining proximity with You, Your delight and pleasure in drawing close to me is ALL that my small, humble self will ever seek.

And there was a time when I thought I was losing fragments of my old self. And how much I feared for that. But, then, as Your light penetrates my little, bruised soul, I feel home again. I feel that I have arrived at a familiar territory all over again. A firmer, Handhold I could feel within my grasp now.

I am forging that bond again. I am making amends again. I am down at my knees, my forehead kissing the earth, whispering my vows to You again. And every time I am struck with any calamity or adversity, I am reminded of Your beloved ‘s grievance and lamentation onto You alone:

“O Allah! Unto You do I complain of my weakness, of my helplessness and of my lowliness before men.  O most Merciful of the merciful. O Lord of the weak and my Lord too. Into whose hands have you entrusted me?  Unto some far off stranger who receives me with hostility? Or unto a foe whom you have empowered against me? I care not, so long as You are not angry with me.  But Your favouring help, that were for me the broader way and the wider scope.  I take refuge in the light of Your countenance whereby all darknesses are illuminated and all things of this world and the next are rightly ordered, lest You make descend Your anger upon me or lest Your wrath beset me. Yet it is Yours to reproach until You are well pleased. There is no power and no might except through Thee.”

Prophet Muhammad’s dua at Taif
(peace and blessings be upon him)

And to You all my reliance belongs…..

#soulspeaks #RelyOnAllah

I Don’t Know How To Say It!

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There comes a time when you would not know what to do with sack of emotions that you have allowed to pile up when you once were so used to discarding them out of the system. You have forgotten what is it like to have a healthy system of emotions now that you have to deal with massive untended piles of outdated emotions added with stash of fresh new ones.  Then, you feel as if you can hear your heart screaming in pain for the enormous unbearable weight that it has to carry.  And then, when you  fear the responses that the scream of your mouth will produce, the tears start shedding. Then your face starts to be soaked with  heavy shower of tears. And there’s no way to control its production. They keep on running and running out of your eyes. Its true what people said, “the tears are silencing the screaming of your heart.”

Over thinking doesn’t help either. Neither does over caring. To feel excessively for something silly as cat’s cries is looked down. To explain it to someone, be it your best friend about the particularities of what’s plaguing your mind will only be a source of mockery. But, then you ask, who, really, can truly understand and be of a caring listener to your problems? How do you even begin to break down all the things clouding your head that it has even made it harder for you to breathe. How can people understand that when you cry, it is not out of anger, but out of frustration that you are incapable of controlling your anger.

Who would have the patience, you might wonder. With all the hustle bustle of life and piles of commitments and demands of life that other people have to shoulder, expecting on people to take a time to understand your lamentations seem to be an act devoid of mercy and compassion. And again, not everybody is well-versed in human psychology. And yes, it will feel pretty lonely when you think of the worldly realm. This social world that we have created only provides more loneliness to us, the social animals, when you think about it.

But that’s only when you’ve limited the world in such a view. There is however, another landscape, another horizon of hope awaiting us. One that connects to a metaphysical realm, a spiritual enclosure, a Divine embrace. One that doesn’t require us to find the right words to say it or articulate them into coherent sentences. The screaming of the heart itself is a desperate whisper of help heard up in the Heavens above. You don’t even have to put out your hands in supplication, your tears are giving testimony to The All-Seeing. When nobody else knows how you feel, The All-knowing, knows.

Just having those notions in mind, you’re immediately comforted. The tears dried up. The heavy weight of the heart suddenly vanished. Your tongue can begin to mutter words of coherence again. Now, its not that you’re devoid of emotions, but at least your emotions are kept at bay, subjugated by the power of rationality. Your problems are now articulated well and can be easily understood by the listener, whoever they may be. And in that, lays the proof of:

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Sahih International: “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – INDEED I AM NEAR. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” (2:186)

May Allah comfort all of our hearts.

The Keeper of Hearts

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It was a beautiful sunny day with a cooling light blue sky. I noticed those particularly well that day.  I was seeking Him in those puffy clouds and I remember the continuous screaming of my heart : “Ya Rab al samaawaat al Ard!” (O’Lord of the Heavens and the Earth!) The mixed emotions of anger and pain as a reaction to what I just found out was a fertile ground for shayateen to cultivate their attacks of doubts, suspicion and insecurities. I realized that, too.  The famous hadith of “the REAL patience is at the first stroke of calamity” keeps ringing itself in my head. The battle was intense between my consciousness and the flaming fire of anger fanned by the devils.

But sometimes when you sincerely ask Allah to calm your heart down and eliminate the chaos within you, He answers you. And that swiftly, too.  Sometimes, we fail to notice the speed at which He answer our desperate calls. Perhaps, it is the blindness of our hearts that forbids us from noticing this, consequently making us fail to stop and wonder at the overflowing mercy and love that He continuously showers upon us.

And then the calmness slowly settled in. And in that calmness, I found that my du’a was answered. The conviction was found. The much-needed conviction that everything is going to be okay! I have a thing of always trying to look for someone to comfort me in times of confusion, grief or pain.  But in my desperate search for that someone, I made a quick du’a along the way. I remembered Him amidst the chaos of my heart. Thank God for that! For the feeling that I felt immediately then was different and unperturbed. Surely, radically different than if I ever sought a company and wishing that he or she will eliminate the chaotic feelings within my heart.

Indeed, He is the Keeper of hearts. He protects and guides your hearts. When you’re sincerely at lost and you know, ONLY He, al-Rahman who can help you escape the situation, nobody else will, only HE will.

I did not need anyone to give me a comfort or an answer to reassure me any more. Sometimes when He wills it, the answer can be shoved right in front of you. Clearing you of all the doubts and prevents you from all possible heartaches.

Auspicious Days

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Today I woke up with a sense of immense gratitude. I am grateful of the fact that as a believer, some days and moments are designated auspicious and sacred. Sacred moments where its all about creating and solidifying your relationship with your Maker. There are holy days where you sacrifice, starve and strive all in the name of your Lord. Because as a believer, you see and feel things that other people can’t feel. You feel the mercy and life that your Lord showers upon you on these few auspicious days. The strength and inexplicable contentment that He gives you. These selected days are blessed days that are meant to elevate you. Seize the chance & be present in the blessed moments. Increase and be intense in your supplication and moisten your tongue with the remembrance of your Maker.

Seize the chance of elevation and celebrate the spirit of renewal of the new you.

‪#‎Arafah‬ ‪#‎Hajj2015‬

This post was taken from a previous Facebook post dated September 23rd 2015.

Mending the Broken Heart

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Transcend. Transcend that pain. Transcend the pieces of your broken heart. Reach out to Him. For He is your destination. Through the mutterings of Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greater), you’ll find solace. For there is absolutely NOTHING that is greater than Him.

Your heart is broken. But, it’s not broken for long. You’re engulfed by the darkness and trembling, kneeling down in the abyss of your pain. No amount of tears can express the stabbing pain of what’s inside. But, light will shine through and you shall be walking up straight again, heading Home, heading to Him.  Trust me, the remedies are here and the journey is long, but, your heart will heal, it will be sound and functional all over again.

Let Quran be your close company. Travelling together with you in this long voyage, in hands and inscribed in the heart. For verily: “We send down Quran as a HEALING and MERCY for the believers.” (17:82) No other words can soothe the burning pain and remove the scar of your wound, apart from His words subhanahu wa ta’ala, for in that bears the greatest level of unconditional love of your Lord for His striving slaves. Just as He consoled and comforted the hearts of His beloved messengers through Quran, open your heart to receive the same comfort and consolation that it offers. Do not dwell on what has taken place. Instead, spend time to recite gracefully, memorize and attempt to understand and live by the messages that it carries. As it heals your heart, it also slowly purifies your heart and taqwa (fear of Allah) can ultimately sprout within it, a prized and rare possession sought by many these days.

In order for your heart to heal, it needs to follow a strict routine. Apart from Quran, waking up in the middle of the night bears the strongest manifestation of your will and desire to heal your heart by prostrating, pleading to Him, crying to Him, when nobody else is watching. Rise for tahajjud. Cry to Him. Wholeheartedly. Tell Him. Everything. When the tongue is tied and the words have dried up, let the shedding of tears speak for you. The following day will be different you, trust my word! Your vision will be cleared up and your heart will become your compass for every decision that you make.

Your heart is restless. You worry. Worry for what has already transpired and what’s to come and what has been written in your book of destiny. The Most Merciful says in His glorious Quran: “Verily, ONLY in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (13:28) Do not underestimate the significance and the enormous healing impact that dhikr (remembrance) of Allah brings to your heart. It transforms your heart from a place of chaos and unsettled emotions into a warm, cozy abode of serenity and tranquility.

Supplication. It is your most powerful weapon. To protect you and put the broken pieces of your heart back together. And nothing sweeps the breeze of love of ar-Rahman into our hearts more than when He says: “Call upon Me; I will respond to you” (40:60) This ayah is a consolation and a promise that du’a is a means for us to rise up, a stairway to help us climb higher, that when nothing else seems to work out, when no one else seems to be there for us even when they promised to be there for us, we have got Allah. Allah. The best of companies. Seek auspicious moments to supplicate your endless wishes and desires. Seek and speak with Him in your sujood (prostration).  Feel His loving embrace in the firmness of your heart that He will DEFINITELY answer your call.

Sometimes, in order to let your heart properly healed and mended, you have to escape. Escape from the chaos of this world and enter His house. Spend some quality time and seek refuge in his masaajid (mosques). Seek time just between you and Him. Stop your pretense of being strong. We were created weak. Admit your weaknesses before Him and seek His help to get through whatever struggles of this life. The stillness of the heart that you were thirsty of will be quenched in your solitude in His house.

He is watching you. Watching you crumbling down and broken. But, He would also be watching you rise and bloom into a new you. He is there. Always watching over you.

These are not words of consolation, for words of consolation cannot be anyone’s words but His. But these are spiritual remedies sought by many, but only granted to few. Seek His help for “Allah is your protector and He is the best of helpers” (3:150).