Tag Archives: reflections

Questions…

In the various interactions I’ve had with elders in my family over the years, this is the summary of the message I have picked up:

“Some of the things you youngsters convey these days are things which we probably didn’t even understand at your age; we simply did what we were told. We listened and followed without question. We didn’t have the education or the tools with which to think intellectually but we had akhlaq, we had manners. We were people of action. The little that we knew, we put into action. And you have all this knowledge which is just wasted.”

Although I detest the “blind soldier” mentality that many of our elders conform to, they don’t lie when they say they were people of action. People of our generation think sagaciously and speak eloquently, but don’t do anything. We voice our opinions and that’s it—it ends there. We don’t change anything.

And the only *wrong* thing our elders did was listen to culture without question, but we can learn from them and listen to Allah without question.

These days everything is up for debate, even the obvious commandments of Allah. And people ask for proofs left and right as if they are scholars. This is not to say that we shouldn’t ask scholars where they derived rulings and follow them blindly, but we should be humble enough to accept some things even if we don’t understand them.

We simply don’t understand the concept of “sami’na wa ata’na” (we hear and we obey) anymore.

Advertisements

Old Scholars

If you listen to an old Imam or shaykh, you will sometimes find it tedious to sit through the long pauses, listen to the cracked voice or try to understand the heavy accent or the old language (i.e. word choice) but you need patience.

I remember when my dad used to play a CD in our car, loaded with a lecture from an old scholar and I would groan. He told me that besides the knowledge, that would teach me patience. And it did. He taught me that I cannot dismiss people if I don’t find them immediately appealing.

It’s easy to listen to people who are good, eloquent speakers and if they are providing authentic knowledge, then go ahead and listen to them.

However, sometimes the wisdom that you need with the knowledge is only found with the older scholars, the ones who have spent their lives learning, contemplating and teaching the Deen.

On Family

When young people are depressed, many of them turn to their friends for help. And others turn to the internet. Okay so what if they turn to the internet? What if they look for validation among people unknown to them?

The reality is that people tend to open up when they’re sad and that openness leads to vulnerability.

But that’s not my only point. I’m trying to get somewhere with this. When these young people lock themselves up into their own worlds (whether that be the virtual world or that of intoxication), they are consequently distancing themselves from the people who love them most-their family members.

Yes it’s true that sometimes your family does wrong you and sometimes they are the cause of your stress, but if you do not make the effort to improve your relations with them, you will always be miserable.

We always hear in Islam the importance of family ties and the danger of breaking them. Your emotional isolation may or may not count as breaking family ties, but stop for a second and think what your dad must be feeling when he asks you what you did at school and you say “nothing” or how your mom must be forcing herself to eat when you didn’t come down to dinner. Imagine what your younger brother must be feeling when you refuse to play a game of basketball with him or what your younger sister must be feeling when you refuse to read her a bedtime story.

If you’re a person who doesn’t spend much time with your family, set aside a day of your week only for them and see how happy you become. That happiness is not coincidental; it is a result of the blessings that Allah has put in spending time with your family.

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:
“Learn enough about your lineage to facilitate keeping your ties of kinship. Forindeed keeping the ties of kinship encourages affection among the relatives, increases the wealth, and increases the lifespan.” Jami’ At-Tirmidhi (Hasan)
Abu Ayyub al-Ansari told him that a bedouin came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, while he was travelling. He asked, “Tell me what will bring me near to the Garden and keep me far from the Fire.” He replied,“Worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him, perform the prayer, pay zakat, and maintain ties of kinship.” (Al-Adab al-Mufrad)
Disclaimer: If you suffering from physical, mental or emotional abuse from your family or you need to be away from them for a while, that’s completely fine and you may even need to seek help from outside sources like a mentor, counselor or the authorities. What I meant by depression in this post was probably the minor kind, or the everyday struggles that keep us from giving time to our family. We all know ourselves better than others and May Allah rectify our affairs.

Reflection (stages)

We all have stages through which we wish to proceed in the journey of change.

If I was to split up my journey into stages, I’d say I’m on the 2nd stage out of 3. This is not necessarily in terms of goals, but in terms of tarbiyah, behavior and lifestyle changes.

1st stage: Lost and trying to find my way; not knowing what to do and/or knowing the right thing but not doing it. (This part is now over by the Grace of Allah).

2nd stage: Knowing what path I am on, what I have accomplished, what I have yet to accomplish, what my strengths are, what are the things that keep pulling me back, and what my game-plan needs to be. InshaAllah, this year and onward, I want to be able to improve myself in all the ways that I know how to.

3rd stage: This is the one that will go on forever, because improvement is a life-long journey. It includes perfecting my akhlaq, always keeping tabs on myself, attempting to make progress without regressing and teaching others bi idhnihi ta’ala.

When I was in the 1st stage, which mostly consisted of my high school and early college years, I always asked Allah for help to guide me and to help me understand others’ points of view and to make my character better as a Muslim. I was kind of lost, kind of making it to guidance. I knew what I ought to be doing but had no idea how to get there. My mistakes served as quicksand and the vines that I used to lift me back up were often too weak.

The ayah that kept me going, along with a few others, was:

And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” Al-‘Ankabut (29:69)

Now, I feel as if Allah has answered my du’as and I have consequently landed at stage two.

That’s why this quote hit me like an arrow: “After asking Allah to guide you to the straight path, don’t just stand there … start walking!” – Albaz Poetry

I feel like that’s exactly what I’m doing: standing in the middle of a train track whose destination is clear without having the daily consistency to move upon it successfully.

And I keep forgetting what a big ni’mah it is from Allah that everyone in my family is so supportive of me, that I know what my passion is, and that I am provided with all the resources to pursue it.

Whenever I see people who are lost in their career paths or are consumed by the stress of poverty or the depression that has resulted from a bad relationship, I am constantly reminded about how blessed I am.

Having all of these blessings and then declining to take advantage of them is a type of ungratefulness.

I hope that Allah gives me the ability to overcome my personal challenges so that I can actually start moving on the path of action.

 

Everything Will Perish

I used to be an avid reader of Al-Jumu’ah Magazine. Now I occasionally pick it up (just because I have other things to do). I remember reading a self-help article for hoarders. I was a hoarder myself so that article helped me a lot. The ayah that the author used to drive home a point that many hoarders (and maybe majority of the people in the world) fail to realize was this one in Surah Ar-Rahman:

Everyone upon the earth will perish, (55:26)

followed by this one:

And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor. (55: 27)

From that point on, one little aspect of my consumerist and hoarder mentality received a spiritual blow, and that doesn’t mean I stopped buying and storing stuff. That means that a new realization had begun.

Then I started reflecting on other things in life. I like to write poems a lot and they are very valuable to me because in them I have documented fragments of my life, my emotions and my struggles. Then I thought: One day, all of this will be gone? When I die, these books which contain bits of my soul, these blogs which had collections of memories will vanish? These years of school which I find pleasure in remembering will be forgotten? I will be standing there on the Day of Judgment with none of these. My words, my clothes, my work, my books, my purses, my scarves, my jewelry, my laptop, everything will be gone. My feelings, my problems, my lame concerns, my valid concerns, my fears and my sorrow.

Then I realized the value of these statements that emphasized that Only Allah will remain while all else perishes.

Isn’t it amazing that even while everything perishes, including us along with the heavens and the earth, that Allah will remain and then He will bring all of us backwith all of our deeds?

There is none like Him; there is truly none like Him.

Glory be to Him.

Reflections from Jeffrey Lang’s “The Purpose of Life”

It took me forever to learn that this world is not meant for happiness. We are made for struggle and we will always have problems. I can’t believe that I underestimated the amount of people who have problems or the amount of problems per person. We always think others have it easier than us, but in reality, most of us have it hard in our own personalized way. When we embrace suffering and use our intellect to make the right choices, we develop superior qualities and become people of strong character. No wonder good character is worth so much on the scale on the Day of Judgement. It’s as if the weight of your worldly hardships will be lifted off your shoulders, converted into the reward for your sabr and placed atop the scale. Indeed, Allah is One Who removes hardship and brings ease.

Tafseer Class: Surah Al-Baqarah-Ayah Reflections

Learned this insightful ayah today in Tafseer class:

O you who have believed, prescribed for you is legal retribution for those murdered – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But whoever overlooks from his brother anything, then there should be a suitable follow-up and payment to him with good conduct. This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. But whoever transgresses after that will have a painful punishment.” (2:178)

-Allah first obligates (qisaas-legal retribution) upon the murderer.

-He then gives the family of the victim 2 choices:

1-They can punish the murderer through capital punishment.

2-They forgive the murderer and require him to pay blood money.

-The family of the victim is commanded to do “ma’roof” (generally acceptable & good conduct) and the killer is required to do “ihsan” (trying his best in paying the blood money) towards the victim’s family.

-Allah then says that “this is an alleviation/concession from your Lord.”

The reason why Allah says that it is a concession is because the previous nations had it harder than us. Ibn ‘Abbas (R) said: “The Jews were required to apply the law of equality, and were not allowed to offer pardons.” For the Christians, forgiveness was wajib-they had to forgive.

I started thinking about how Christians pride themselves in the concept of forgiveness and how they preach: “If someone slaps you on cheek, give them the other.” I realized that they uphold this command that was given to them so long ago and I never considered the possibility that this command could’ve been given by Allah. If the Christians can take pride in their abrogated command, why can’t we as Muslims take pride in our ever-just and relevant command?

If only the others could see the beauty in the commands that Allah has given us: He gave us a choice to claim our rights or rise above our pain & hostility by being able to forgive others. That is true freedom.

On another note, another lesson this ayah teaches us is that the revenge for the murder of one person cannot be taken by killing others unjustly. Truly relevant right now, when for the mistakes of a few, hundreds are being murdered. Allah is the Only One Who establishes true Justice.

May Allah grant us all understanding of the Deen and keep all the Muslims in world safe and secure. Ameen.