Friday, 30 December 2016

Footsteps in the Sand

“Walk in truth. Leave footprints of honesty.” ― A.D. Posey

Once, someone commented that I only had 139 followers on my instagram, hence insinuating that I was not popular. I was dumbstruck by the comment and did not know how to reply so I just shrugged and smiled.

To tell you the truth, I'm not really tech-savy. Yes...I'm old school. My abilities with regards to social media accounts are limited to uploading photos and pressing 'like' only. Even when I started my instagram account, I had somehow, miraculously fumbled through the whole setting-up process. Don't ask me about twitter because I still think it's a bird!

Anyway, I noticed that some people are quite obsess with the number of 'followers' that one has or how many 'likes' a person gets on his/her Facebook status. I suppose it's a popularity ruler. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's wrong to be popular but let it be for the right reasons.

Honestly, I don't keep track of my 'followers' or 'friends' so I have no idea the number of followers or friends that I have.

The thing is, regardless of how many friends or  followers that a person has, how would you like them to remember you after you're gone? Which part of your life or conduct would you like them to follow?

"Whoever introduces some good practice in Islam which was followed after him (by people) would be assured of reward like the one who followed it without the reward of either fo them being diminished in anyway. And he who introduced some evil practice in Islam which was followed by others would bear the burden like that of the one who followed this (evil practice), without the burden of either of them being diminished in any way." 
[Muslim]

The Wise Old Man told me, many many years ago, when I was young and naive; when I complained that I didn't have many friends, that our goal on this earth is not striving to be famous or popular but to inspire others to do good. Even if we managed to encourage only one person to commit an act of goodness , then it's better than having a million friends.

The Wise Old Man also said that footsteps in the sand are only temporary and will be washed away by the rolling waves. Once it's gone, no one will remember it. If we are to leave an impression, let it be a good and lasting one. Don't let our footprints be a fleeting memory or footsteps in the sand....

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Love

'Heaven Sent' is a book about love. Love for a person, love for knowledge, love for books, love for nature, love for animals, love for parents, love for friends, love for food, love for the Prophet pbuh and love for the Creator.

This is your chance to be part of the 'love'. Show your creativeness and stand a chance to win 'love'.

How? Details are in the poster below.

#heavensent #norhafsahhamid #itsallaboutlove

Friday, 2 December 2016

Can I ask Why?

“There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be...” ― John Lennon

There's a saying that 'life is not a bed of roses'. That means that life isn't always easy. There'll be bumps and potholes along the way that can make you lose your balance sometimes.

Whenever calamity strikes, I do try very hard to remain calm. I've read and heard many lectures and sermons about not questioning the Decree of God as it's fate.

The thing is, my lips would remain sealed as I have the power to control it but my heart has a voice of its own. Sometimes, my heart will ask 'why'?

"Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear."

Surah Al Baqara 2:286

When that happens, I'll be tormented by guilt of failing to accept fate. Is my heart rejecting fate by whispering 'why'? Am I doomed to eternal Hell because of my treacherous heart?

So, I asked the Wise Owl if my stubborn heart is defective or beyond help. He explained. ...

My heart is not questioning fate but rather it's silently pleading or making dua for Allah SWT to grant it the understanding and wisdom behind the hardship.

Let's face it, I'm not perfect and there are many things that I still don't understand. Then the Wise Owl shared with me this verse,

"And [mention] when Abraham said, "My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead." [ Allah ] said, "Have you not believed?" He said, "Yes, but [I ask] only that my heart may be satisfied."

Surah Al Baqara 2:260

Then, I understood. My heart was not being rebellious or ungrateful but merely seeking for understanding and clarity. Sometimes, even though we accept our fate, our hearts still need assurance, just like Prophet Ibrahim.

Now, whenever disaster strikes, I don't feel like an ogre anymore whenever my heart speaks. Instead, I ask God to grant me the understanding and wisdom. Sometimes I get it and sometimes I don't but it's ok. 

One thing for sure, He will not place a burden on my soul that I can't handle and that's a promise.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Can you keep a secret?

“Sometimes, loyalty gets in the way of what you want to do. Sometimes, it’s not your secret to tell.” ― Stephenie Meyer

During my uni days, I was pretty much a loner. 

It was a personal choice. Mostly because I was bogged down with course work and assignments to even have time to socialize and partly because I was wary of people. You know the phrase, 'once bitten twice shy', well after been back-stabbed many times by the people whom I trusted,  kinda put me off people.

Now, after many years, I have learnt to trust again and let a little bit of myself go.Alhamdulillah, I have a group of friends whom I find that I can rely upon as my 'go-to place when I need to scream' and of course, dear hubby is often to the rescue.

Perhaps it's my naivety or maybe it's just me wanting to think to best of a person, but I had to learn the hard way again that not everyone can be trusted to be your 'confidant'. 

Most of us fail to understand that every one has problems. Some deal with it better than other. I know people who can just simply brush off whatever problem that cropped up and some who loses sleep over the smallest thing.

Different people deal with problems differently. Some need to talk it out, get it off their chest and unleash their frustration. That's why we find people seeking the help of a psychiatrist. They just need someone to listen without being judgmental. 

Some people on the other hand, keep everything bottled up inside until one day, they explode. Often we hear about individuals who ran amuk, killing innocents victims in its wake. 

I've been in similar situation many times before. I am a very vocal type of person and whenever a problem arises, I feel the need to talk it out and get it of my chest. After that, I would feel much better and be in better position to think of a solution. It's like hearing myself rant and thinking out loud. If I find that I can't fix the problem, I know it's time to move on. 

I also have friends who are like me. They just need a sounding board or a listening ear. Trust me, these ears have heard plenty!

The thing is, whatever the story, complaints, lamentations or grouses that we hear, are only meant for our ears only. It's not meant to be told to anyone especially the person whom our friend is whining about or complaining against. That is why it is called 'in-confidant'. This is really some serious stuff - TRUST. We must always remember that it's not our story to tell and not our place to judge. We are strictly listeners. 

Narrated from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If a man tells you something then looks around, it is a trust.” 

Hadith Tirmidhi

By breaking the trust that was given, not only that we may have spread 'fitna' but also created animosity amongst 2 person hence breaking up their friendship or kinship or literally, sinking their 'ships'. 

No one likes to be betrayed. Don't be a back-stabber.

So, think before you speak or judge...

"And [remember] when the Prophet confided to one of his wives a statement; and when she informed [another] of it and Allah showed it to him, he made known part of it and ignored a part. And when he informed her about it, she said, "Who told you this?" He said, "I was informed by the Knowing, the Acquainted."

Quran 66:3

It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are four qualities, whoever has all of them is a pure hypocrite, and whoever has some of them has a characteristic of hypocrisy until he gives it up: when he is entrusted with something he betrays that trust; when he speaks he lies; when he makes a promise he breaks it, and when he disputes he resorts to lies and falsehood.” 

Hadith Bukhari

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Becoming a Minimalist....

“Your home is living space, not storage space.” 
― Francine Jay

I don't know about others but I do have an ongoing battle with trying to keep things simple i.e. less clutter. I suppose that I have been collecting knick-knacks for years hence there's quite a bit of stuff to go through and let go.

I actually started de-cluttering a couple years back. I started with my closet. When I decided to wear abaya, I gave away all of my colored clothes. Mind you, it wasn't easy. That was my first baby step.

When I looked at my closet then and saw those beautiful colored robes and dresses hanging neatly, I hesitated for a while. Then, satan started whispering in my ears that it would be a total waste to let go of all my beautiful garments and to just put it aside, in case I want to wear it again. Doubt started creeping in. What if I change my mind about wearing abaya later on? Perhaps I should keep all of my clothes just in case. I could hear my clothes calling out to me....begging me to let them stay.....

Sounds familiar? I bet you that it's the same argument we have with ourselves each time we feel like giving something away. Satan will try to convince us that we are throwing things away instead of giving away as charity.

It was something that the Wise Owl said that jarred me back to reality. He said that we should away things that we love not things that we have no use for. Plus, he said, "Don't be like the Pharaohs, who had their wealth buried with them".

"O you who have believed, indeed many of the scholars and the monks devour the wealth of people unjustly and avert [them] from the way of Allah . And those who hoard gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah -  give them tidings of a painful punishment."
Quran 9:34

"Muammar Ibn Abdullah narrated that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said: No one hoards but the sinner."
Hadith Muslim

Errrkk! Ok, I do not wish to be like Pharoah or a sinner. The intention is to progress and be better, not digress and be worse! I knew then that I will never wear those clothes ever again hence it was time to let go.

So, I closed my eyes, grabbed my clothes and put them in a bag without a further glance. I closed my ears to their imaginary protest. I didn't even go through them because I knew that if I did, doubts and satan will start creeping in again. Once I've done packing everything, I gave it all away.

Immediately, I felt liberated. I was free of the shackles that was imprisoning me for years. After that, it got easier. Next was my handbags, colored scarves and hijab, costume jewelleries, shoes, plates etc. The only thing that I'm still finding difficulty in letting go is my books. My precious ........

When I was suffering from post-natal depression after giving birth to my 5th child, I had this overwhelming urge to get rid of everything in the house because I felt suffocated. Luckily, my husband stopped me otherwise we would be living in an empty house now!

At that time, the mere sight of seeing things stacked made me anxious and edgy. I would be pacing around, trying to keep things out of sight or throwing things away. The funny thing was, seeing books piled high brought me comfort instead.

Now, I'm still trying to de-clutter my house and life but at a normal rate. One thing that I noticed is that my shopping bill for clothes and shoes have tremendously dropped since I started wearing abaya, much to my husband's delight!

Friday, 4 November 2016

A Good Life...

“Your definition of a good life does not have to look like everyone else thinks it should. Whatever feels right for you, whatever aligns your inside with your outside, that's what you should spend your time doing.” ― G.G. Renee Hill

A couple months ago, I met an old friend. As we sat down and catch up on things, she commented that I have a good life. Her statement made me think. 

Then I met another friend who bemoaned that she was miserable because she is single. She said that she feels lonely and longs to have a husband and family of her own. Her statement made me think.

I have met many people from all different walks of life. Some are happy and some are not but one thing that I know is...being happy is a personal choice. Only we have the power and option to make ourselves happy. If we choose to be negative and miserable then nothing will make us happy and contented. 

" Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves"
Quran 13.11


No one has a perfect life. It may seems perfect and flawless from the outside but if you peer closer, you might see tiny cracks of imperfections. It's easier to judge from the outside. Everyone has problems. The only difference between them is how they solve their problems. I know a person who is terribly wealthy but is miserable because of an abusive husband. Another has status and recognition of peers but feels very lonely most of the time.I also know of a person who doesn't have much but has peace and tranquility in his heart. Another, living on a meagre salary but is contented and still able to support his family.

I believe that each one of us have our own journey to take. Some of us are blessed with looks, some with wealth, some with good health, some with good family relations, some with really good friends, some with good jobs. Every journey is different. Each journey has been specifically catered according to our needs and strength.

"Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity." 
Quran 2:286

Every blessings and gift that has been given to us comes with responsibilities. Remember Uncle Ben Parker from the 'Spiderman' movie, words of wisdom ? "With great power comes great responsibility". Oh how I love that quote!

I have met people who make the best of what they have and don't have. A couple who are very close friend of mine, have been married for many years but have yet to be blessed with a child, dedicate their time and effort for charity and to do good. 

Another friend who is still single, spends her time acquiring knowledge and imparting to others. She also spends her time traveling and doing charity. 

You see, not all of us are meant to be like Maryam, mother of Prophet Isa a.s. or Khadijah r.a., the beloved wife of Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Some of us perhaps are meant to be like Aisha r.a. 

You see, there is a reason as to why we are what we are. We each have our own purpose in life so find it!

"Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose),"
Quran 23:115

Don't moan on the things that you don't have as probably you are not meant to have it. Not having it could also be a blessing as you'll probably be given something better. Focus on what you have and how to make the best out of it. Remember......happiness is a personal choice.... 

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Rizq....

“Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” 
― Charles Dickens

I used to equate the meaning of the 'rizq' with money or food. Probably because in English, 'rizq' means provision or sustenance.

Provision- noun means

an amount or thing supplied or provided.

Sustenance - noun means

food and drink regarded as a source of strength; nourishment.

It was only much much later that I come to understand that 'rizq' also means blessings.

Blessing - noun means

God's favor and protection.

In actual fact, I do believe that blessings in Islam covers a wider range than the dictionary definition. To me, anything that is good is 'rizq'. In fact, some things that we perceive as bad, can also be 'rizq'. I suppose it's how we look at things.

Let me give you an example, whenever we fall ill, we think that it's a bad thing, something that is negative. After all, who enjoys getting sick, right?  So how come it's a rizq?

Abu Sa'id al-Khudri r.a. reported that the Prophet said: Whenever a Muslim is afflicted with a hardship, sickness, sadness, worry, harm, or depression --even a thorn's prick, Allah expiates his sins because of it.
Hadith Bukhari

I visited Allah's Apostle while he was suffering from a high fever. I touched him with my hand and said, "O Allah's Apostle! You have a high fever." Allah's Apostle said, "Yes, I have as much fever as two men of you have." I said, "Is it because you will get a double reward?" Allah's Apostle said, "Yes, no Muslim is afflicted with harm because of sickness or some other inconvenience, but that Allah will remove his sins for him as a tree sheds its leaves."
Hadith Bukhari

It's clear from the above hadith that the opportunity of having our sins be forgiven or written like a bad debt is indeed a blessing, rizq.

When we pray and make dua for more rizq, often we expect more money or wealth or food or material stuff and when we feel that our dua has not been answered in accordance to our expectations, we tend to get disheartened or frustrated.

We forget that rizq encompasses a whole wide range of things. Good friends are rizq, families are rizq, having perfectly able and working limbs are rizq, functioning senses are rizq, peace is rizq, love is rizq, waking up every morning is rizq, clean water is also rizq. We forget sometimes that some rizq are given to us on a daily basis and still, we take it for granted, like the air that we breathe.

I read a story about a blind boy who thinks of his blindness as rizq because his eyes are protected from seeing haram things. MasyaAllah...

Now, I must remind myself that everything that has been given to me is a blessing, rizq and I should be thankful and grateful as indeed God Almighty has answered my dua.

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

Allah the Almighty said: I am as My servant thinks I am (1). I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a cubit, and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed. (1) Another possible rendering of the Arabic is: "I am as My servant expects Me to be". The meaning is that forgiveness and acceptance of repentance by the Almighty is subject to His servant truly believing that He is forgiving and merciful. However, not to accompany such belief with right action would be to mock the Almighty.

Hadith Bukhari & Muslim

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Into the Woods...

“A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.” ― A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

Last week, instead of our usual gardening routine, sister M suggested that we go hiking instead. Sister M has been on this 'eat healthy and exercise' mode, which I'm not too thrill to follow.

I'm actually allergic to exercise, at least that's what I tell myself but the episode of ending up in the emergency ward with chest pain, is not something which I want to re-live or go through again. Hence, I reluctantly realised that the time has come for me to make a change.

So, that day, sister M, sister G and myself decided to climb one of the hills near my place. The hill is surrounded by a reserved forest so it was like hiking adventure in the woods.

I arrived early at the entrance of the hill so I perched myself on a stone waiting for the other two to arrive. A couple of the hikers who passed by, looked at me cautiously before smiling, perhaps, trying to determine whether I was human or a ghostly figure that had descended from the top of the hills since I was sitting all alone, smiling like a Cheshire Cat. I suppose my smile was kinda eerie.

Anyway, we walked following the foot path until we reached a junction. It was either to go right or left and since there was no signage, we were not sure which was the best route. The last thing we wanted was to get lost in the forest!

There we were, standing right in the middle of no-where, trying to decide where to go, when an elderly guy came up to us to told us to take the right path. Immediately, I remembered a verse...

" And your Lord says, "Call upon Me; I will respond to you."
Quran  40:60

Dua or supplication is a unique thing. You can call upon God at any time. It doesn't have to be only during prayers. It can be while you're sitting down or driving or even when you think you are lost in a jungle. That's how easy it is to talk to God. There isn't a prescribed protocol on or when to make dua but still we sometimes fail to do it.

 “There is nothing more dear to Allah Ta’ala than a servant making dua to him.”

Hadith Tirmidhi


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.

Quran 2:186


Anyway, the elderly uncle who is 60 years old, put the 3 of us to shame when he effortlessly climbed the steep hills without being breathless while the three of us were huffing and puffing all the way. Of course he did make us feel slightly better when he said we looked like students, which reduced us to a giggling fit. What can I say...Flattery works all the time.

To make the story short, we survived the hike and made it out in one piece, thanks to the kind-hearted uncle. I realised that I really should start taking care of myself better. After all, our bodies are only on loan to us. We are merely custodians but we are responsible for the condition of our bodies.

Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said a strong believer was better than a weak believer.

Hadith Muslim

One thing for sure is that blessings can come in many forms. It can even come in a form of a 60 years old uncle guiding 3 clueless women through the woods...

Friday, 14 October 2016

Heavent Sent

Alhamdulillah....the journey to remain on Path is never easy. Every struggle is a step closer. Every obstacle is a stepping stone.

My heartfelt thank you to those who have been supporting me relentlessly. With His Will and the love that I received, this book is finally out.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

New Year

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” 
― Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Last week, someone asked me about my resolutions for the New Islamic year.

Frankly, I've never been one to make new year resolutions as I am horrible at keeping it. It would be utterly pointless for me. Sigh!

As for me, the end of the year (Islamic year, that is) is the time for me to reflect on the things that I've done, both good and bad. I try to tally things up. I try to imagine standing on Judgment, watching my deeds being weighed. Will my good deeds be heavier or my bad deeds? Brrr...chills run down my spine just thinking about it!

This year, when I reflected on what I have done, I found myself feeling tremendously grateful and thankful. There were things that I wanted to do but didn't quite manage to do it. There were things that I never planned or intended to do but I did. Indeed, God is the best Planner, He is Al-Wakil, the best Disposer of Affairs.

“And whatever of blessings and good things you have, it is from Allah” [al-Nahl 16:53]. 

One of the things that I am thankful for is the sisterhood bond that I get from both my book and gardening club. Who would thought that a group of perfect strangers, would end up to be my pillars of support.

I've always been nerdy. I have this deep fascination and love affair with books. During my uni years, most of my time was spent in the library or hibernating in my room with a book. I love the smell of books in the library. I also love museums.

When watching the cartoon 'Beauty and the Beast', while everyone else was gushing over the majestic castle, I was busy salivating over the library with the thousands of books and the rolling ladder.

When I first stepped foot in my university library, I felt that I had died and gone to book heaven. The musty smell of the leather-bound old books, was so intoxicating that I felt I wanted to stay there forever. Some people do think of me as weird hence you have no idea how happy I was to find 'some bodies'  as weird and nerdy as I am.

As for my gardening club, now that's something that I didn't plan to do. Getting dirt on my fingers or all sweaty is definitely NOT my favourite past time but lo and behold, these sisters had somewhat convinced me that soil won't kill me and that I do not have a black thumb. Hence, begun a very green and fruitful relationship.

I still do scream like a banshee at the sight of a frog or bugs but at least I've managed to grow a couple of plants and trees all on my own. Trust me, for a 'diva'  like me, that's a HUGE achievement.

So, for this new year, I do not have any resolutions but only hope that the sisterhood bonds that were created, that I've been so fortunate to be apart of, will last for a lifetime. Ameen...

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Souls are like crowds, which gather together. The ones who met before get along well. The ones who did not meet before, cannot get along very well and separate.” (Bukhari  & Muslim).

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Rumours Has It....

“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” ― Socrates

One night, a sister whom I know, called me sounding very distressed. It seems that someone had started a rumour about her that affected the perception of her friends towards her. She tried to dispel the rumours and explained the truth but her friends didn't want to hear it. She asked me what she should do.

I'm sure that some of us had been victims of vicious gossip that turned into a rumour. It's never nice to hear nasty things spoken about us especially if it's untrue. Some rumours can be downright malicious.

I have read about cases whereby the victim of the rumours committed suicide because they could not take the pressure of being ridiculed, scorned at or ostracized.

Now, that's how dangerous a simple gossip or backbitting can be. A gossip can turn into a rumour and a rumour can be very lethal.

O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.

Qur'an 49:6

 The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah has forbidden you to disobey your mothers, to bury your daughters alive, to not pay the rights of others and to beg from others. And He dislikes gossip for you, asking too many questions, and wasting money.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2231. 

Sometimes, we might think what we spoke about was harmless but truthfully, it will harm us more than the person whom we spoke about.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A man might speak a word without thinking about its implications, but because of it, he will plunge into the Hellfire further than the distance between the east and west.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6477) and Sahîh Muslim (2988)] 

This would also apply to the sharing of news or information on Facebook, WhatsApps or other social media. We must be careful not to slander anyone.

The question is, how can we stop others from creating rumours about us? Honestly, we can't. While we can control our own tongue, we can't control others. There is a Malay saying, "Mulut tempayan boleh ditutup tetapi bagaimana dengan mulut manusia".  Which basically means you can put a lid on a crock but not on people's mouth.

So, what do you do? Simple....just ignore it. Don't lose sleep over it. The mantra 'ignorance is a bliss' would be very handy here. Truth is, people would still talk regardless.  Just think of it as a blessing instead. I know you must be shaking your head at me....How can a nasty rumour be a blessing?  Well....let me tell you how it works... on judgment day, the person who started the rumours and slandered you will end up giving his or her rewards to you and if there's no more rewards to be transferred then that person will take over all your sins.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The one who is bankrupt from among my followers is he who comes on the Day of Resurrection with prayer, charity, and fasting to his credit. However, he had insulted this person, struck that person, and seized the wealth of another, on account of which his good deeds will be taken from him. Then, if his good deeds are exhausted, the sins of those whom he wronged will be taken from them and foisted upon him and then he will be cast into the Fire.”
[Sahîh Muslim (2581)]

I'm no saint and I have made mistakes in the past but the idea of giving away precious brownie points that I had painstakingly collected, does not sit very well with me. So, let this be a constant reminder to you and me, not be among the 'bankrupt'.

So in the end, I told the sister to just relax and do nothing about the rumour mongers. After all, they are giving away their rewards to her and if she's really lucky, they might even carry her sins!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Devotion and a Dream...

"Allahu akbar kabira walhamdu lillahi kathira wasubhanallahhi bukratau waasila. Wajjahtu wajhia lillazi fataras sama wati wal ardha hanifam muslima wama ana minal musyrikin. Inna solati wanusuki wamahyaya wammamati lillahi rabbil’alamin. La syarikalahu wabiza lika umirtu wa ana minal muslimin."

"Allah is ever greatest, Much praise be to Allah. Glory to Him morning and evening. I turn may face to Him who created the heavens and earth, a pure montheist, in submission , and am not of those who associate others with Him. My prayer, worship, life, and death are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds, who has no partner. Thus I have been commanded, and I am of those who submit."

This is the dua that we recite at the opening of our prayers. For years, I recited it without knowing the meaning. One fine day, many many years ago, I finally found out from the Wise Owl the meaning of the dua. To be honest, I've never felt like a big fat liar like I did that day.

Here's the reason why. In the dua, I'm actually making a declaration to God Almighty that 'my prayer, worship and life is for Him'. Is that true? Well, I can safely say that it's not. If my life had been for Him, then, I wouldn't have done the things I did before. I knew that I needed to stop lying to my Creator.

So, I stopped reciting the dua in fear of God's wrath towards me for being a liar and a hypocrite. I dare not make promises that I can't keep or guarantee that I can ensure that 'My prayer, worship, life, and death are for Allah, Lord of the Worlds'. Is that even possible in this current time?

It wasn't until when I went for hajj that I had the guts to start reciting the dua again. It was my intention to devote my 43 days in Holy land for Him and tried I did. Whether it was enough or even accepted, I leave it entirely to Him. I figured that even if I incur the wrath of God and die, at least I died trying, in the Holy land.

During hajj, all I did was pray, dhikr, recite Qur'an, eat, sleep and performed other sunnah acts, every single day. It became my daily routine. My entire time there was entirely devoted to Him. It was only then I realised that to be able to give 100% of one's time to Him is actually a blessing and privilege given by Him to His servants. He removes all obstacles and worries from the person so that the heart is at peace and is able to worship Him better.

If you ever come across the opportunity, grab it and don't waste it as you may not get a second chance.

To me, to be able to devote one's entire time in worship without worries or obstacles was nothing short of a miraculous gift. It was sheer bliss.

I would give anything to have that privilege again but alas it's not just possible. Perhaps, that's why they call it 'a journey of a lifetime'. Still, I harbour the hope and dream of getting a second or even third chance again...Ameen..... 

"So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me."

Qur'an 2:152

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Somebody 's watching me...

“Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.” ― H.L. Mencken,

I used to sing this song by Michael Jackson..."I always feel like, somebody's watching me....". At that time, little did I know how true the lyrics are.

When I was small I remember learning about the angels on the right and left side of our shoulders whose task is to write down every single thing that we do. Of course, that bit of info was conveniently forgotten as I was growing up.

" Behold, two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings) learn (and noted them), one sitting on the right and one on the left. Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him, ready (to note it)."

Qur'an 50: 17-18

" But verily over you (are appointed angels) to protect you,- Kind and honourable,- Writing down (your deeds):"

Qur'an 80: 10-11

Are we truly aware of the angels writing down all of our actions and deeds? Has that fact prevented us to committing sins in private or when we think no one is watching? Are we truly conscious of God Almighty watching us 24-7?

In some places, we see cctv cameras being placed as a reminder to people that they're being watched. It's also as a deterrent to would- be criminals. If a crime was committed and it was captured on camera, chances are, the culprit can be apprehended.

The hard truth is, when we see a camera pointing at us, we try to be at our best behaviour because we get self-conscious but why do we always forget about the 24-7 surveillance on our shoulders?

Some say 'seeing is believing' but for Muslims, to believe has everything to do with Faith.

I have to remind myself, the next time I want to say or do anything, think of what the angels will write.....

The Prophet pbuh said “Whoever intended to do a good deed, but did not do it, it is written for him as a complete good deed.  If he actually performed the good deed then it is written as ten good deeds, or up to seven hundred times or more.  If a person intended to do an evil deed, but did not do it, it is written as a good deed, while if he entertained the thought and acted on it, it is written as a single evil deed.”

Hadith Bukhari and Muslim

Friday, 5 August 2016

Left behind...

“The only journey is the one within.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

Every year, since 2011, at about the same time, which is after Syawal, my depression would set in. I would feel like I'm being suck into dark oblivion and spiralling out of control. I would feel left out and left behind. All these symptoms will last about a month plus then slowly I would start to feel human again.

What am I blabbering about? Hajj season of course!

Every year, when I see or hear of friends or families going for hajj, I would feel happy for them then the envy will creep in and finally I would feel like I was not invited for a momentous event of a lifetime.

"Labaik allahuma labaik,
labaik la sharika laka labaik,
Innal hamda
wann'imat
laka wal mulk,
la sharika lah"

"O my Lord, here I am at Your service, here I am.
There is no partner with You,
here I am.
Truly the praise
and the provisions are Yours,
and so is the dominion and sovereignty.
There is no partner with You."

To be able to recite that in the Holy land is a privilege.

It is true when people say that performing hajj is like a journey of a lifetime. One thing for certain, your life will never be the same again.

Hajj is all about sacrifice. For me, it was sacrificing my own little comfort.  I must admit that it was not easy at first, for me, especially during the first few days of wukuf. At one point of time, I felt like screaming because I was dirty and badly in need of a bath. I was as cranky as an old bear but I kept my mouth shut and tried my hardest to remain patient.

All those while, I clung the verse....

" Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease."
Qur'an 94:4

After our first throw at the Jamrat, we came out of our ihram and I finally had my much needed bath. It was one of the best showers I ever had in my life, all 5 minutes of it! Thenafter, I felt nothing can dampen my spirit and I can even climb Mount Everest. Thenafter, the discomfort did not bother me anymore. Thenafter, came ease..

The funny thing is, all those discomfort that I endured are actually my fond memories.

Each year, when I hear the call for hajj, my heart would ache with such longing. Given the chance, I would drop everything and perform hajj every year but alas only the 'invited' ones can go. That's why I always feel left behind. That makes me sad.

To be able to complete all the rituals of hajj patiently is a personal victory of being able to conquer our desires. For  me then, success never tasted sweeter........

Friday, 15 July 2016

The Aftermath.....

“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.” ― E. Joseph Cossman

Have you ever feel like your adrenalin is sky high during Ramadhan? That you feel so motivated to do many good deeds and sunnah acts and everything is made easy. Everyone around you is also encouraging others to do good and is supportive of your efforts. You don't feel alone because there are many others on the same journey with the same goal - to be a better Muslims.

Then come Syawal.  You start to feel alone again. Gone are the pom pom girls and the cheerleaders who kept your spirits high. No one is standing at the side lines to cheer you on anymore. Gone are the words of wisdom and encouragement, even on Facebook!

Suddenly, you feel like it's a mammoth's task to keep continuing doing what you have been doing all the while during the month of Ramadhan. You start dragging your feet at the simplest sunnah act. Sounds familiar?

You then find that you don't spend the same amount of time reciting the Qur'an as you did before or that you're not as generous as before or that you're not performing the same number of sunnah prayers as you did before. Night prayers?  Well ...that stopped when 'sahur' stopped.

So what happened? 

One easy but lame excuse would be to blame it on satan which was chained during Ramadhan but now has been unleashed again. Blame satan! Satan has made us lazy. Yup! That would be the most convenient excuse but then again satan has no hold or influence on the believers.

" [Iblees] said, "Do You see this one whom You have honored above me? If You delay me until the Day of Resurrection, I will surely destroy his descendants, except for a few."

Qur'an 17:62

"Indeed, over My [believing] servants there is for you no authority. And sufficient is your Lord as Disposer of affairs."
Qur'an 17:65

So, did we stop believing?

The truth is I think, we just ran out of steam. We were going non- stop at high speed, caught up with the excitement that we ran out of breath even before reaching the finish line. Our finish line should when we finally return to our Creator and not the end of Ramadhan.

A seasoned marathon runner would tell you to pace yourself and not sprint in the beginning of the race. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we shouldn't take full advantage of the blessings of Ramadhan by doing as much as possible but also bear in mind that there is still life after Ramadhan. We should try to continue with our deeds and acts even after.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”

Hadith Ibn Majah

Narrated `Aisha:

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little."

Hadith Bukhari

Of course it will much more difficult with satan being loose and all but that is the challenge. To rise above the obstacles.

Find someone or people who can help, be it spouse, family or friends. People who can even join you in your quest.

"Among the people are some who open the way to goodness and close the way to evil."

Hadith Ibn Majah

If you can't find anyone to join you, don't despair. Set out your goals starting with the littlest and simplest of act. Once you feel that the act have become a norm then gradually add to it. Eventually, you will find yourself doing more but with ease and most importantly, with consistency.

"And those who strive for Us -  We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good."

Qur'an 29:69

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Antidote and Miracles

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” 
― Rumi

The Wise Owl used to tell me that the Qur'an has healing powers and is therapeutic. Although I believed him, I just couldn't understand the mechanics of how it works. In the past, I've seen people reciting the verses of Qur'an over a glass of water or an opened bottle of water and then drank the water. Hmmm... is that how it's done?

Curious, I decided to ask the Wise Owl more about the Quranic antidote . Do I sleep hugging the Qur'an with the hope that the miracle vibes will be absorb by my body? Do I recite the verses over a glass of water and drink? Errrrmm...But then again, that might not work as my recitation is quite bad.

The Wise Owl then asked me, " Sister, how do you feel when you read a very good book?" I flashed him a grin, "Relax and woozy inside. There's an unexplainable inner happiness". The Wise Owl nodded his head and smiled. "That sister, is exactly the same effect that you will get when you read or listen to the Qur'an."

Hmmm...something was wrong somewhere as I was not getting that desired effect. Am I eternally doomed or did God sealed my heart?

Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing, and over their vision is a veil. And for them is a great punishment.

Surah Al Baqara 2:7

Yikes! If that was true, boy was I in deep trouble! I needed to find out what, why and how.

The Wise Owl once said that Qur'an, being the words of God, should bring good tidings to believers and warnings to those who disobeyed.

"And We send down of the Qur'an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss."

Surah Al Isra' 17:82

Now I understand that when we read the Qur'an, it's not just the physical act of reciting but we must also reflect and try to understand the meaning of the verses. The Qur'an is the remedy for the diseases of the heart and soul. Believe it or not, it also contains information on physical healing.

“There comes forth from their [bees’] bellies, a drink of varying colour wherein is healing for men”
[A-Nahl 16:69]

The thing is, I've always had a relationship with the Qur'an. It started when I was small, when I was made to learn to recite it by my parents. However, as I grew up, we drifted apart and the relationship became strained.  Eventually, we went our own separate ways. I didn't understand it hence failed to appreciate it.

When I wanted to re-learn about Islam, I rekindled the old flame. It was bumpy at first but soon the familiarity started to creep in. It's actualy like riding a bike. You may feel rusty and have a wobbly start but you can never forget how to ride it. This time, not only did I started my recitation again, I also took the trouble to understand what I was reading.

This year, my relationship with the Qur'an changed.  I was finally given the opportunity to learn to read the Qur'an the correct way. I'm no longer mis-pronouncing the verses and neither do I sound like a tone-deaf person singing off-key. I learned to appreciate the beauty of the tajwed of the Qur'an. I'm still am far from perfect and I still do stammer here and there but I do hope that I get some rewards for trying. One thing for sure, it's never too late to learn.

"Verily the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have TWICE that reward.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

However , this Ramadhan, I sensed something was not quite right. I felt that there was a crust forming around my heart. It was like my soul was slowly becoming cold and lifeless. No matter how many times I recited the Quran, nothing was happening. Something was wrong. Then one night, my husband and I went for terawih prayers at the Wilayah mosque.

When the Imam started reciting the Quranic verses, I felt the hardness around my heart began to slowly melt away like a block of ice. His melodious voice lifted my spirit. Bit by bit, my heart started to feel warm and alive again. Even though I didn't understand the surah that the Imam was reciting but I felt the severity of the verses penetrated straight into my heart. It was as if God was talking to me directly. I held my head down in shame and cried. I was full of regret and remorse. I have not been paying attention to the verses that I've read. I read but I didn't listen. I looked but I didn't see. I learnt but I didn't understand.

That night I was humbled by the fact that despite me  commtting so many mistakes, God still showed me His Mercy.

Now, I truly understand how the Qur'an can cure a hardened heart and soften it. It can even turn it mush. It is indeed one of the miracles of God Almighty.

So, if you ever feel that you are slowly dying inside, perhaps it's a sign that your relationship with the Qur'an is troubled. Do something about it. Sometimes, you can't mend it on your own and you need help. Don't be ashamed to reach out and ask for it.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

How to become an attention seeker. .

“The hunger for attention is an enemy of self-love.” Edmond Mbiaka

Everyone craves for attention. 

To be at the receiving end of scrutiny, consideration, love and care is a wondrous feeling. It envelopes you like a thermal blanket and makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. It also makes you feel important and wanted.

The tricky part is seeking the right kind of attention. Here are some tips on how to seek the right kind of attention and to be assured that you are talked about and your name is mentioned repeatedly.

1. Safeguard your 5 daily prayers.
2. Pray on time i.e. right after the call for prayer.
3. Help others who are in need.
4. Be generous either with your time or wealth or knowledge.
5. Guard your tongue.
6. Always forgive and seek for forgiveness.
7. Always seek for repentance.
8. Keep your intentions pure and for Him only.
9. Pay your zakat.
10. Perform your hajj if you're able.
11. Think well of God. 
12. Only turn to Him for help.
13.Don't be arrogant. 
14. Have compassion and mercy towards others even to animals.
15. Study, read and apply Quran in your daily life.
16. Learn and apply the teachings of Prophet Muhammad pbuh.
17. Be thankful and grateful. 

"And spend in the way of Allah and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good."

Surah Al Baqara 2:195


"When Allah loves a servant, He calls Gabriel and says: Verily, I love this person so you should love him. Then Gabriel loves him and makes an announcement in the heavens, saying: Allah loves this person and you should love him. Thus, the dwellers of the heavens love him and he is honored in the earth. When Allah is angry with a servant, He calls Gabriel and says: I have resentment for this person, so you should resent him. Then Gabriel is resentful towards him and makes an announcement in the heavens, saying: Verily, Allah is resentful with this person, so you should resent him. Thus, they become resentful with him and he is hated in the earth."

Sahih Muslim 2637

Friday, 3 June 2016

Softening the Heart...


"Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess: For Allah loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious;-" Surah An-Nisa 4:36

When I was small, one of my favourite movies was the film 'Annie'. The story is about an orphan named Annie who met a rich man who eventually became her adopted father.

I liked the movie because it had a happy ending. Who, in the right frame of mind, doesn't like happy endings? If only every orphan child can have such wonderful life but alas, the reality can be quite harsh sometimes.

A friend of mine, sister A, always reminds me of a hadith about taking care of orphans.

Sahl ibn Sa’d reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The one who cares for an orphan and myself will be together in Paradise like this,” and he held his two fingers together to illustrate.

Hadith Bukhari

Recently, sister A and I were given the opportunity to spend time with a group of very special kids. Most of them have lost their father and some, both parents. Despite the hardship most of them faced, they are very strong and grateful for whatever blessings that God has given them. Their attitude and outlook on life taught me a couple things, such as, to scale down my 'diva-ness' and to reduce my whining.

We often take for granted the simple things in life that we have. We have a bed to sleep on at night yet we sometimes moan that the mattress is not soft enough. We eat more than 3 meals a day but yet we still complain that the food is not delicious. We have a closet full of clothes but yet we grumble about not having anything to wear or that our clothes are out of fashion.

These kids, I can tell you, have little indeed but they are the happiest bunch of people I've ever met. They have such calmness in their heart.

I supposed what the Wise Owl has been trying to drill into my daft brain all these while, is true....once you've accepted what is decreed for you, you will have peace and tranquillity.

Now I understand.....feeding or taking care of orphans is not just an act of kindness. The reason why we are encouraged to do so is, it's more for us than it is for them. You don't believe me?

"Abu Huraira reported: A man came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and he complained about the hardness of his heart. The Messenger of Allah said, “If you want to soften your heart, then feed the poor and pat the head of the orphan.”
Hadith Ahmad 

Try to spend time with them. Stare into their eyes and hold their hands. You'll be surprised with the lessons of life you can learn from them. They will teach you about humility, acceptance, love, courage, perseverance, and most importantly.......about being a thankful servant.

I think that both mine and sister A's hearts didn't just soften after spending time with them; it had in fact turned into mush! I honestly believe that when one's heart is soften, it's easier to feel compassion and to absorb as well as to give love. A hardened heart will not appreciate the blessings that God Almighty has bestowed upon it.

Ramadhan is just a few days away. Don't wait for Ramadhan before you open your heart to goodness as you'll never know if you will even get the opportunity to greet the blessed month.

Then which of the favours of your Lord will ye deny?

Sarah Ar-Rahman 55:13

Thursday, 19 May 2016

It's ok to be alone......

“There is a certain strength in being alone.” ― Heather Duffy Stone

One of the biggest fear for most of us is being alone.

To be alone often means being lonely. Loneliness is not a nice feeling to have and it can make a person feels utterly depressed.

Long time ago, I found out that in order to discover ourselves, we need to be alone. That is truly when we can learn about our own strengths.

If you think about it. We came into this world alone and we will return to our Maker, alone. Then again, we are never alone. We always have Angels surrounding us and most importantly, we have God.

"When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way."

Surah Al Baqara 1:186

Today, at the Sisters Book Club, we talked about being alone and being lonely. Actually, we talked about a whole load of others stuff also *grins*. Well....You know how it is...when sisters meet, they tend to talk about everything under sun!

But the gems I got from our discussion was that, sometimes, you find that you need take a certain journey on your own. The journey to get closer to God is the journey that we need to make on our own. Even if we have friends on similar path, each of our experiences will still be different.

And, the beauty of it is....we may be alone but we will never be lonely.

"It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein."

Surah Qaf 50:16

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’”

[Sahih Al-Bukhari]

I'm not saying that we need to isolate everyone in our lives or become a hermit, in order to come close to God. Neither am I'm saying that we shouldn't seek help from others or companionship when we need it.

All I'm saying is that if you find yourself to be alone, don't feel despair or sad as it could be that God wants some private time with you. Perhaps so that you can devote your entire attention to Him without distractions. An intimate session, just you and Him.

Moral of the story....Don't worry...... we are never truly alone...

Thursday, 5 May 2016

The Book Club

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” ― Marcus Tullius Cicero

The Wise Owl always tells me to read. "Sister, you must continue to read books. You must continue gaining knowledge".

What the Wise Owl said is true, in fact,  "Iqra", which means 'read', was the first word that was uttered by the Angel Jibrail a.s. to our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW in the cave of Hira', when the first wahyu was revealed.

The good news is that I love books and I love reading. The bad news is that I've been so caught up with other stuff that I couldn't find the time to sit down and actually read a real book. The honest truth is that I've been slacking....

Realising that fact, I decided to do something about about it. The mountain of un-read books that are stacked high at the corner of my bedroom seems to be mocking me every time I glance at it. With all these hi-tech gadgets and gizmos, I tend to get easily distracted. I needed to to discipline myself to get back to old fashion book reading. I needed to do something..

So as a solution...I decided to join the Book Club! I figured that by joining a book club, I would not have any excuse but to read at least 1 book a month. Perfect solution right? I purchased the books on the club's reading list (and added it to the existing mountainous pile) and started reading the book that was going to be discussed at the next book club meet. 

I must admit that I was really looking forward to the book club meet but I was also a bit nervous as I didn't know most of the ladies in the group. The group had decided to meet at one of the Mosque. 

After the introduction, we went on to discuss about the book of the month. Each one of the sisters gave her view on the book and author. 

I must say, I was amazed. I never thought that a book club can be so interesting and fun. I love listening to the views of the sisters with regards to the characters and also the contents of the book. It was refreshing. I discovered that by reading, you can gain knowledge of things that you don't know but by listening, you can gain a deeper understanding of the knowledge that you possess.

Did you know that any gathering with the intention of obtaining knowledge is a blessed gathering?

The prophet (SallaAallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever seeks a path through which to gain knowledge, then Allah will make easy a path for him to Jannah (e.g. facilitate study for you, making the Day of Judgement easy i.e. journey over siraat, etc).” 
Hadith Tirmidhi & Ahmad

I went to the book club meet that day with the intention to discuss a book but what I got instead was so much more. I learnt the true meaning of modesty or 'haya' of women. I learnt about the obstacles and struggles that the other sisters face in trying to be a good Muslimah. Most of all, I made new friends. Now, I can say that I belong to a sisterhood of books. As nerdy as it sounds, I am happy to be part of this group and I am really looking forward to the next meet, to learn more...InshaAllah...

"Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-
Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood:
Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,-
He Who taught (the use of) the pen,-
Taught man that which he knew not.
Nay, but man doth transgress all bounds,
In that he looketh upon himself as self-sufficient.
Verily, to thy Lord is the return (of all).
Seest thou one who forbids-
A votary when he (turns) to pray?
Seest thou if he is on (the road of) Guidance?-
Or enjoins Righteousness?
Seest thou if he denies (Truth) and turns away?
Knoweth he not that Allah doth see?
Let him beware! If he desist not, We will drag him by the forelock,-
A lying, sinful forelock!
Then, let him call (for help) to his council (of comrades):
We will call on the angels of punishment (to deal with him)!
Nay, heed him not: But bow down in adoration, and bring thyself the closer (to Allah)!"

Surah Al-Alaq 96:1-19 


Friday, 8 April 2016

Through Thick and Thin..

Struggles test the strength of our faith.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita

Yesterday, was the weekly gardening meet with the usual suspect; sis M, sis G, sis F and myself. It has been two weeks since we last met. I really do look forward to our weekly meetings because not only do I get to sharpen my gardening skills and eat all those marvelous food brought by the sisters but also, I enjoy the chit-chats. I love the fact that we talk about everything under the sun, from religion to problems, food and to even how to budget travel to London just to eat fish & chips!

Anyway, I was on a stool, trying to balance myself and avoid being pricked by thorns whilst cutting the leaves of the sidr tree when sis M commented, "you know, we only remember God when we are in trouble but we forget him once we are doing fine. We need to remember more especially when we are happy." As much as I hate to admit it, I too have been guilty of that in the past.

Today, I woke up with a pounding headache. My sniffles had turned into a full blown flu. My nose is so red that even Rudolf would actually be envious. 

The first thing that crossed my mind was, I'm sick because I'm paying for my sins.

Hadrat Abdullah bin Mas'ood(R.A.) reports that Rasulullah(Sallallaahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, 'Whenever a Muslim experiences any hardship like sickness (etc.), Allah Ta'ala wipes away his sins just as a tree sheds its leaves during autumn.'
(Bukhaari and Muslim)

Then, what sis M had said yesterday echoed in my head. It is true. As human, we tend to forget. We forget about the bad times when things are good. We forget lessons learnt during hard times when things becomes easy. We forget about the sacrifices made by others when we have achieved success. We forget about the friends who stood by us when we were down when we have climbed back on top. The saddest part of all, we forget God when we are happy and would only turn to Him when we are in trouble or sad. 

“I am to my servant as he expects of Me, I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him to Myself, and if he remembers me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly better than his…”
(Bukhari and Muslim)

So, sometimes when we become forgetful, God sends us little signs. It may come in a gentle form of sis M or in a dizzy form of sickness or even in a big painful slap in the face.  Pay heed. Be thankful. Remember Him always.....

“Remember Allah during times of ease and He will remember you during times of difficulty”
(Tirmidh)

Friday, 1 April 2016

Less but More

“To be content with little is difficult; to be content with much, impossible.” ― Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach.

Just the other day, a friend of mine asked, " How can you be happy having so little when you used to have so much more? Do you have regrets?". Hmmmm..... to tell you the truth, she's not the first person to ask me that.
It has been 4 years since I left the rat-race....

"By (the Token of) Time (through the ages), Verily Man is in loss, Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy."
Surah Al Asr 103: 1-3

It's true that I had so much more in terms of money, clothes, shoes, handbags and other stuff but all of that came at a price. My work took me away from my family. I missed a lot of small but significant events in my children's life, like their first step and their progression from walking unsteadily to running. I was just too engrossed with my career.
Whilst my career did give me some recognition amongst my peers and friends but I felt small in the Eyes of God.
The Wise Old Man used to tell me, "There's more to life than work. Don't stay back too late." He also said that we will be surprised to know that we can actually survive and be happy with very little. Now, many years after, I daresay that the Wise Old Man is right.

In terms of material stuff or money, I may have less now as compared to before but I discovered something. I have more time for my husband and kids. I'm enjoying motherhood from a completely different angle. And you know what? Most importantly, I have more time for God. I am able to get to know Him better and learn to love Him. I also have more time to get to know our beloved Prophet pbuh, learn his teachings and put it into practise so that I don't feel like a hypocrite when I declare myself to be one of his ummah.

Also, now I have time to reconnect with old friends, spend time with current ones, become a gardener and recently, joined a book club. 

So in actual fact, if you think about it, I have much more now than I ever did before. I have more time, more precious time.  Time is something money can't buy as it belongs to God Almighty. Regret? Not the least bit but instead I feel quite the opposite....grateful...

Ibn Abbas narrated that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:
"There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) health and free time for doing good."
Sahih Bukhari

Friday, 25 March 2016

How much is enough?

"No one has ever become poor by giving.” - Anne Frank

I believe that God is the best Planner. He plans our schedules and meetings according to what is best for us. We may not understand it or even liked it at that time but He has a good reason for everything.

“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” 
(AI-Baqarah, 2:216)

Yesterday, I met up with two very young but very aspiring couple. I admire their dedication and hardwork towards Islam even at a young age. When I was their age, (which was eons ago and I'm beginning to feel like a dinosaur fossil with my bones rattling everywhere), Islam was farthest on my mind. I was too busy chasing the world.

Anyway, this young brother said something that has been plaguing me for months. He said that he feels he hasn't done enough charity. Without him knowing, he echoed my own distress.

The question is, how much is enough and when do you know it's enough? If only we have a visible quota ruler complete with neon lights and warning buzzer that can indicate our acts of charities and warn us if we fall short.

So, what do we do? Well......I find that if you set a target for yourself to try to do a charitable act, at least once a day, perhaps the guilt feeling won't hunt you. For me, I admit that I got distracted and have been slacking for the last few months. This young couple was sent to me as a reminder...

Many think that you need to have money in order to give in charity. Wrong!! An act of kindness is also an act of charity. The easist one is to smile to others and be nice. Leave your grumpy moods and bad-hair day drama in the toilet. If possible, flush it down.

The Prophet also said: "Every act of goodness is charity." - Sahih Muslim, Hadith 496

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises." He was then asked: "From what do we give charity every day?" The Prophet answered: "The doors of goodness are many...enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one's legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one's arms--all of these are charity prescribed for you." He also said: "Your smile for your brother is charity." - Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Every Muslim has to give in charity." The people then asked: "(But what) if someone has nothing to give, what should he do?" The Prophet replied: "He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns)." The people further asked: "If he cannot find even that?" He replied: "He should help the needy who appeal for help." Then the people asked: "If he cannot do (even) that?" The Prophet said finally: "Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds, and that will be regarded as charitable deeds." - Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 524 

Committing an act of charity is actually food for the soul. When you feel the twitches in your heart or the guilt, that means your soul is starving. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. Feed a person. See how your heart reacts to it. How it's rejuvenated. You'll feel as if a flower had bloomed in your chest.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Protect yourself from hell-fire even by giving a piece of date as charity.”
(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

How do we know when it's enough? Hhmm....that's quite subjective actually. I suppose we need to listen carefully to the whispering of our hearts and also, I believe that if you find contentment and peace in your heart even in this chaotic world, then perhaps you've fulfilled your 'quota'. Wallahualam....

“Who is it that would loan Allah a goodly loan so He may multiply it for him many times over? And it is Allah who withholds and grants abundance, and to Him you will be returned.”
(Surah Al Baqara 2:245)

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Learning to Let Go

“The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.” ― Steve Maraboli

Once, a sister asked me, how should she deal with people who repeatedly hurt her feelings. Have you ever been in that situation? Whilst it's easy to walk away and stay away from acquiantances or even strangers, how do one react if the person is a family member or work-mate or someone you see on a daily basis? Tricky isn't? You can't simply tell the person off as it might jepordise the relationship but at the same time, you can't take the pain anymore. How do you cope with the anger, pain and heartache without confronting the culprit? What do you do when you know that talking to this person will not make a difference but could possibily make things worse?

Well....I'm no expert but I did find myself in such situation a few years back. One thing for sure, it's not a nice situation for anyone to be in. At that time, I felt torn between trying to maintain the peace and to fight for justice and my own sanity. Keeping everything bottled up is also not solution as one can only take in so much before exploding. The negativity will only pull you down and make you feel depress.

"Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you;"
Surah Al Baqara 2:185

My advice is....let it go. Let all the negative emotions go. Sometimes we need to experience hate in order to learn to forgive. Forgive the person and move on. Don't let this person occupy a space in your heart. Trust me, this person is just not worth your attention or losing sleep over. Once you let go, you will not be affected with anything that this person does to you.

"but forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds): for Allah loveth those who are kind."
Surah Al Maida 5:13

Abdullah ibn Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,"Be merciful to others and you will receive mercy. Forgive others and Allah will forgive you."Narrated by Imam Ahmad

We must accept the fact that we can never please everyone and that there are bound to be someone who simply hates us. Sometimes, the problem lies not with us but within the heart of that person. Envy, hatred, dislike and grudges are all diseases of the heart that has the potential to blacken one's heart if one is not careful.

If a person does not like you, don't be sad or angry or depress. Just shrug it off, accept the fact and move on. Believe me, you can't make everyone like you. Even our beloved Prophet Muhammad pbuh had 'haters' during his time and yet, he is the best amongst all of us. Aim to please your Creator and not His creations.

Also, always think well of God. If a person has nothing but negativity towards you, then perhaps God is showing you that this person is not someone you should have in your life. As much as you can, keep away from them but if you can't, don't let them get to you.

Worst case scenario, if it still bothers you, just pretend that the person is mentally impaired. That way, hopefully you will be able to deal with it better.

Most important of all, always remember that God Almighty is always near....

"He said: "Fear not: for I am with you: I hear and see (everything)."
Surah Ta ha 20:46

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Life starts at 40?

“Just remember, when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.”
― Charles M. Schulz

A couple years ago, I discovered that we reach the pinnacle of our lives at the age of 40. 40 is such a special age that it is specifically mentioned in the Quran.

"And We have enjoined on man to be dutiful & kind to his parents. His mother bears him with hardship. And she brings him forth with hardship, and the bearing of him and the weaning of him is thirty months, till when he attains full strength and reaches forty years, he says: My Lord! Grant me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds, such as please You, and make my off-spring good. Truly, I have turned to You in repentance, and truly, I am one of the Muslims.”

Surah Ahqaf 15:46

When I first read the verse, I really didn't understand the meaning of the verse. The Wise Old then told me that it means in Islam, we reach our 'spiritual' maturity at age of 40. Hmmmm....really? I'm not sure if that's true for me though.

Well, I've gone past the significant age threshold and I slowly began to noticed something. You know the saying 'everything that goes up, must come down'. Once you've climbed to the top of the mountain, the only other way for you to go is....down. Similarly with our bodies, once we've reached our prime, it will slowly descend down the graf and wither.

For the last few months, I began to feel the impact of being above 40. Now, I get aches and pain on my body that I never did experienced before. My movement have somewhat slowed down.

Our body is given to us on loan by God until such appointed time. For some people, the body is taken back at a moment notice and for others, gradually.

I do believe that for me, little bits and pieces of me such as my strength, agility, part of my eyesight and health are slowly finding its way back to its Maker, God Almighty.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un
We surely belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.

"Who say, when afflicted with calamity: "To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return"
Surah Al Baqara 2:156

Some of the privileges given to me are now being taken back slowly. Ultimately, my soul will return to Him. So whilst I'm still alive though no longer kicking, I must make full use of the balance of my life in the best possible way. 

The Prophet said: ”Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth before you become old; your health, before you fall sick; your wealth, before you become poor; your free time before you become preoccupied, and your life, before your death.” (Narrated by Ibn Abbas in the Mustadrak of Hakim & Musnad Imam Ahmad. Sahih)