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