Friday, 26 February 2016

Simple yet Powerful..

Recently, I had a visit from a very good old friend. We've been friends for more 10 years and though we didn't managed to see or talk to each other often, each time we met it was as if, we were never apart at all. It's always nice to have friends to come and visit, isn't it?

To tell you honestly, the last few months have been somewhat very trying for me. I had a lot of things going on at the same time that I felt kinda lost. I felt that I've strayed far away from my original purpose and slowly changing into someone I wasn't comfortable with. Have you ever experienced the feeling that without you realising it you've become someone you're not happy with but yet was unable to stop the change? You know like you've kinda got swept away with the tide and when you finally stopped and looked up, you found yourself in dark and unfamiliar area.

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't turning evil or anything like that.God forbid! If that happens, the Wise Owl would probably grab hold me and perform an exorcism before he even let that happens.  I am truly fortunate to have people who cares about me and my spiritual being. Alhamdulillah.

Anyway...I know I'm digressing but what I'm trying to say is that I wasn't comfortable with the personal changes that was happening to me. Somewhere along the way I got lost and sidetracked. I also became lazy. There were things that I wanted to do but there were too many obstacles that I simply gave up and in the end, I ended up feeling frustrated. I know...I know...entirely my fault. I was kinda drifting aimlessly for months end.

The visit from my friend made me realised that I should NEVER underestimate the power of dua, however simple it may be. Day in and day out I pray to God asking Him to guide me to the straight path and that day, he sent someone to remind me of my purpose.

"1. In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.  

2. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).  

3. The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.  

4. The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)  

5. You (Alone) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything).  

6. Guide us to the Straight Way 

7. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger, nor of those who went astray."

Surah Al Fatihah 1-7.

When my friend (may God bless her) came, not only did she lifted my spirits but she took me down memory lane and reminded me of what I first set out to do. Sometimes, you just need a friend to help you up and help you find your way back. Some encouraging words can also do wonders. No doubt the reminder came from Allah SWT but it sent through her.

So my friends, never underestimate the power of a simple dua like Al-Fatihah. We take for granted this powerful dua because we repeat it every single time we pray. We ritually repeat it without really putting any emphasis on it. 

If you ever feel lost, just ask Him to guide you back. You ask and He will give. It may not be immediate and normally there is a very good reason for the delay but trust me, He will give.

And your Lord says: "Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer):
Surah Ghafir 40:60

Friday, 19 February 2016

A Pair of Rubber Shoes

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”- J.M. Barrie.

A couple years ago, I suffered a very painful knee problem. To prevent further injury to my knee and to facilitate speedy recovery, the doctor told me that I had to make sure that my feet were flat on the ground when I walked and wearing stilettos were a big no-no. I was fine about the stiletto part because I don't wear them. I simply can't seem to balance myself on it. Still, most of my shoes had heels and I can't very well wear flip flops to work. So, my quest for a comfortable flat shoes started.

Upon recommendations by some friends, I bought a few shoes which were supposedly to be of high quality. Mind you, those shoes were not cheap but you know what people say....good things don't come cheap.

Unfortunately, those shoes did not last very long. The cushion at the heels wore off quickly. I found myself buying new shoes every few months. It was a costly affair and I was getting frustrated.

One day, I was doing my usual grocery shopping when I saw this plain black rubber shoes. It was the most unattractive shoes I've ever set my eyes on. It wasn't ugly, it was just unattractive. I picked it up and found it to be flexible. Out of curiosity, I decided to try it on. Lo and behold! It was the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn! The price? was less RM20. you believe it?

That goes to show that not everything that is expansive is good and not everything that is cheap is lousy. I do believe that the lesson that I was supposed to learn was also that when it comes to people, never judge from their appearance. The best person in the Eyes of God could be the scruffiest looking person in the eyes on men and vice-versa.

Ever since that day, I've been wearing that black rubber shoes everywhere and have no intention of changing. That one pair of rubber shoes lasted me a few years rather than a few months. I've also started looking at people in a different light. My rubber shoes have taught me that sometimes in life, simplicity is the best.....

"Verily, your Lord knows better, who (among men) has gone astray from His Path, and He knows better those who are guided."

 (Surah Qalam:7)

Sunday, 7 February 2016

As I touch my forehead to the ground....

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
I used to wonder why do we human prostrate i.e. 'sujud'? Is it as a form of respect or is it an act of worship? Why do we, as Muslims, prostrate in our solat? Is it because it's one of the rituals in solat or is there another reason for it?
I decided to look it up in the dictionary and what I found was....
To prostrate means
lay oneself flat on the ground face downward, especially in reverence or submission.
Worship on the other hand means
Show reverence and adoration for (a deity).
Hhmm....I was no where close to finding my answer.
A couple years ago, I suffered a bad knee injury that prevented me from standing for a long period of time or kneeling. My injury also prevented me from performing my solat in the normal way. When it came to prostration or 'sujud', I had to sit on a chair and bend down from the waist as opposed to kneeling on the floor. That, was also about the time when I was due to leave for my umra.
Imagine my apprehension! I felt that I wouldn't be able to perform my prayers perfectly when I'm at the holiest place on earth! That didn't sit too well with me. Then, the Wise Owl told me that when we prostrate, that is when we are closest to God Almighty. made me feel even worse!
Prophet saw said, “The closest that a servant is to his Lord is when he is in prostration.” (Muslim)
It was then that I understood that prostration or 'sujud' is actually a blessing granted by the Creator to His creations. It's a special kind of privilege that is accorded to us to enable us to be closest to Him. To have that blessing taken away from us is a catastrophe indeed.
Questions swirled in mind...has the blessing been taken away from me ? Did I do something wrong? Will my injury be permanent? Is God angry with me?
When God prescribed the five times daily prayers to us, He wanted us to be closest to Him, at least 34 times in a day. Now, if the King wants to see us 34 times in a day, every day, wouldn't we feel honoured ? Of course we would. In fact, we'd probably be over the moon. Then, shouldn't we be ecstatic and over the entire universe that God, the One who created us, wants us close to Him every single day ? 
Honestly, when I couldn't perform the 'sujud' properly, I felt as though the special privilege was yanked away from me. The realization that God is not letting me be closest to Him at that time was like a slap on the face. It was as if I was given a second class seat instead of the usual first class.
It's true when people say that, 'we don't appreciate what we have until it's gone'. Well...I really felt the loss. The emotion that I feel whenever my forehead touches the ground in humble prostration, is like calmness and peace blanketing my entire body and soul. Even my heart beats to a different rhythm. I am in a safe cocoon. In that precious moment, everything else fades in the background and the only thing that exist is Allah and me....
Thankfully, my injury healed right before I left for umra and I could perform my prayers properly and with ease. My injury was actually a lesson for me to learn.
So, the moral of the story, do as much 'sujud' as you possibly can, while you can. The privilege can be taken away from you in a blink of an eye and never be returned. Don't take it for granted.
Our beloved Prophet saw said,
“Prostrate much because there is no Muslim that prostrates to God except that God raises him one degree in Paradise by it and forgives for him a sin.” (Ahmad)