Sunday, 16 March 2014

Collecting Brownie Points......

“The road to happiness is paved with good deeds for others.” Lisa Schroeder

One fine day, my beloved hubby asked our kids to help him with something. They then asked hubby what they will get in return. When hubby replied 'pahala' (rewards), they groaned and looked disinterested. Well, that I would say, would be the typical reaction from kids but ironically, we get the same reaction from the adults sometimes.

What struck me after was hubby's next comment. He said that if only human can see with their own eyes, the rewards attached to each good deed, everyone would be scrambling to do it.

What hubby said is absolutely true! Performing good deeds have something to do with faith and faith have everything to do with the unseen. Faith is something that the naked eyes can't see but yet the heart still believes.

Have you guys ever played the game 'pac-man' or 'super mario brothers'? If you have, you'd then remember that you can see the value of the points that you're supposed to collect. The more you eat or jump on the coins, the more points that you will get to enable you to advance to the next level.

Picture this. If we can see the rewards that is attached to good deeds like in the game, wouldn't we be happily chomping or jumping away? Wouldn't we make sure that we collect enough points to secure a better level as Muslims or if possible, even a higher level in Jannah? I bet we would.

Unfortunately, things don't work like that in the real world. In the real world we just have to have faith and believe that we will be rewarded accordingly for each good deed that we commit. As to the value of the rewards, that we just need 'tawakkal' to God Al Mighty.

Eventhough we can't see the rewards with our naked eyes, that shouldn't be the excuse for us not to scramble to collect our brownie points. This is when we need to see with our hearts as the hearts are able to see and recognise the rewards but on the condition that the hearts have faith....

On the authority of ibn Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with both of them): On the authority of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him) from among the sayings that he related from His Lord (glorified and exalted be He) is that He said, “Verily, Allah recorded the good deeds and the evil deeds. Then He clarified how [that recording should occur:] whoever decided to do a good deed but he did not do it, Allah records it with Him as a complete good deed. And if he decided to do it and actually did it, Allah records it with Him as ten good deeds up to seven hundred up to many times over. If he decided to do an evil deed but he did not do it, Allah records it with Him as one complete good deed. If he decided to do it and he actually did it, Allah records it as one evil deed.” (Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Thursday, 13 March 2014

To Say 'I Do'.........

A great marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.”
― Dave Meurer
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a very special wedding. What's so special about it, you may ask? Well, I can tell you that it was not the decor or the bride's dress but it was the story of how the bride and the groom came together.
Both bride and groom are still very young. They are still in their 20s. (Gosh I feel sooo old!). The thing is you see, their marriage was an arranged marriage. The beauty of it is that it was not arranged by their parents but it was arranged by them with the help of their friends. Confused?
Allow me to explain. The bride and groom followed the Islamic way of choosing a partner. They were recommended for each by a mutual friend. Then, they got to know each also through friends and finally, they met face to face accompanied by friends. To make the story short, they decided to get married.
The interesting thing is that they never dated. They made sure that everything was done in accordance to Islamic principles.
I have the deepest respect for them for having the faith and courage to do something I couldn't do at their age. Even at their young age, they are putting their complete trust in God for their happiness. They truly understood the meaning of 'tawakkal'.
Some may might say that an arranged marriage is akin to marrying a complete stranger hence it's quite suicidal. The bride or even the groom might be a psychopath or a raving lunatic. But then again, how can one be completely sure that a person whom he or she has dated for years will be the perfect mate?
For example, I do have friends who dated for years and their love story was more romantic and tragic than 'Romeo and Juliet' but their marriage only lasted a year or two. When asked for the reason for the divorce, the reply I got was, "he or she wasn't the man or woman I married" or "the romance had sizzled out". In some cases, it is even worst as the prince charming that they dated prior to marriage turned out to be an abusive monster who use their wives as punching bags!
In view of the above, perhaps marrying a stranger and falling in love after marriage, might be a good idea after all. One thing for sure, one wouldn't be committing any sin. As far as the risks are concerned, I do believe it's more or less the same.
The point I'm trying to make is, our beautiful religion has laid down guidelines on matrimonial matters. God always have our best interest at Heart hence He will not give us a marriage formula that will not work. If it doesn't work, it could very well mean that we didn't do it right.
The Wise Owl once told me that if we do a certain act for the sake of Allah SWT, and wants our deeds to be accepted and blessed, then, it must be done in accordance to His Wishes otherwise, it would be completely futile. Perhaps, it's time for us to finally start paying attention and get it right once and for all.......
"And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Undoubtedly in these are signs for those who reflect." [Noble Quran 30:21]
"O you young men! Whoever is able to marry should marry, for that will help him to lower his gaze and guard his modesty." [Al-Bukhari]

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Little Deed goes a Long way....

“Every time you do a good deed you shine the light a little farther into the dark. And the thing is, when you're gone that light is going to keep shining on, pushing the shadows back.” ― Charles de Lint

            Last week, I was approached by a sister whom I had befriended a couple years ago. She first contacted me after reading my book and since then, we have been friends. She told me that she wanted to start a little project. It will be her project of good deeds. This wonderful sister is a firm believer of sharing good knowledge around. 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "A servant of God will remain standing on the Day of Judgment until he is questioned about his (time on earth) and how he used it; about his knowledge and how he utilized it; about his wealth and from where he acquired it and in what (activities) he spent it; and about his body and how he used it." - Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 148

            She explained to me that she wants to start a little project where she will distribute books that she has read that she feels are good and will benefit others. She feels that she needs to share the valuable knowledge that she acquired from the books with others. The recipient of these books can read the books and then, must pass it on to others. The reader of the book is not allowed to keep the book for their own personal collection. If the reader wishes to own a copy of any of the books, then he or she must purchase their own copy. The most important thing is, the books must be shared and passed around. 

            MasyAllah! Such a noble idea. I am always amazed at people who unselfishly think of ways to do charitable acts. I mean, they will actually go out of their way, to please God. Me? Sigh! I’m still stuck, trying to figure out what is the difference between ‘tweeter’ and ‘instagram’! I can’t seem to keep up with these new tech applications. 

Well….she has chosen my book to kick start the project. The project is called ‘Where’s the book at?’ The concept is, if you find yourself to be a lucky recipient of any of the books in this project, please snap a picture of yourself with the book and share in on Facebook or Instagram by tagging it as #wheresthebookat? This is a way for her to trail the books that has been distributed. So far, 30 books have been distributed around the whole. Yep….around the world. 

            Please support this awesome project and help this sister achieve her aim. It wouldn’t cost you a single cent to share or pass the books around. I fervently pray that her project become a huge success and may God Al Mighty bless her noble intention. Ameen….