Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Personal Faith

 

Autumn On The Water

‘A good word is like a good tree whose root is firmly fixed, and whose branches reach to heaven; bearing fruit in all seasons by the permission of its Lord’ (Qur’an 14:24-5).

Putting my faith into everyday practice has been difficult. How can I strengthen my faith if I have been lacking it? How did I achieve this once newly founded faith that was encouraging and positive? Was it a process I wnet through? I have reached a very low point in my faith. Yes, there are tests in life and greater than others but what I have yet to figure out is why are these tests an interruption of a person’s personal faith. It is like adding more weight to a scale until it reaches its capacity or like pouring a glass of water and it overflows without any direction.

Has there ever been a time when you have doubted your faith?

Curiosities challenge choices

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to the patient.”

The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 2, Verse 155

A friend once asked me, “What is it that you really, really, really want?” A question that can be defined by today, tomorrow or the future I asked. No, what is it that you really want. Is it happiness, is it more wealth, maybe to live a longer life ? I was not sure how to answer this question. I almost felt like I was taking a survey of my life and the choices that I had made. This question can mean so many things from an individual perspective I thought. This question was asked by my non-Muslim friend who seemed to really want for me to evaluate my life. Okay, I could do that but I thank Allah for everything past, present and future. An answer I could not find myself being able to simplify over a cup of coffee with my dear colleague. Okay, so I said to her, what really defines this question is that fact that I need to seperate what you are asking to how I live as a Muslim-a different state of mind. Being the broadminded person she is had no choice but not challenge me and so she gladly smiled and began conversing about her thought processing challenges in getting an affirmative answer that she was able to define what she really wanted.

We all have different points of view don’t we?

 Although I have been working a long way from home now, I can’t help but wonder how much societies change overtime but people pretty much stay the same in their own state of mind, whether circumastnaces change or not in their lives.  Always wanting more, needing more, planning for a future with a timeline that may be so unpredictable in the end. Thus, resulting in disappointments and questions of should I or could I have done this or that without being able to turn the hands of time back to those events.

The statement I once heard from a friend planning to go off to college many years ago was that a person should “plan while he/she can becasue you never know what could happen in the future.”  This statement had no bearance with the quality of life I wanted. Yes, we try to use critical thinking for the choices we make BUT there is one thing that I have lived while a long way from home and that is that people live according to their means. In a society where the “rich get richer and the poor get poorer” you can’t help but ask, “why, are people in such a state of  financial need but yet don’t complain about it or if they do well, there is no way of telling.

  As you drive away from the urban areas into rural places, you can see how much people care for their children as you watch them walk to the beach as a family for a day of fun carrying a basket of fruit or other delights. People still find the time to appreciate their families and time spent in simple lifestyle. On the flip side of this, you can’t help but wonder how do some people have the money to be driving around a Hummer.  Well, this is a changing world of always trying to keep up with the latest of this and that. Anyway, these are just a few of my curiosities that challenge the choices I make as a parent who wants to instill in my child that the very essence of life is not in the kind of clothes you wear or the kind of shoes you have but tin the actions of respect, responsibility, ethical and community minded individual that one hopes and aspires for each child to portray in their adulthood.  Islam is a complete way of life and their are choices that challenge us day in and day out but at the end the answer to what I really, really, really want is simlpe- to be thankful for the things that I have and the things that I don’t have.

Do you know what you really, really, really, want?

Visible but unforgettable

Write On!!

I missed the opportunites I had several months ago to sit and type ideas and comments on the blog. I have been away trying to keep up with so much going on in my professional and personal life. One being the amount of work away from home and my obligations at home seemed to always be growing. The time spent away from home and family are exceeding the amount of  extra time I once had to write on the blog. I have not forgotten this place of much writing and reading pleasure. I am back and hope to continue updating my blog. It always seems like a work in progress or under construction for some new ideas. Writing and reading are just two of the things that I can’t seperate myself from and have been away doing a lot of.

My blog is my space for relaxing and getting away from the demands of being productive.

Have you ever had a moment when getting to your blog gets put off?

A Word: Multiple Meanings

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What is the meaning of Alhamdulillah? 

It is usually translated as, “All praise is due to Allah.”  In the reality of our lives, what does it truly mean? Depends from an individual perspective I think. However, it is not just a word on our lips. I believe that it is a genuine feeling in our hearts.  Once, I read that “Alhamdulillah” means when you don’t have something you need or want, you are content with your fate; when you have a limited quantity of that thing, you are content with it, and you try to share it when you have a lot, or when you are content that youa re searching for ways to share it more. Therefore, no matter what your condition, you are grateful to Allah for that condition. In another words, I believe it is a recognition that all that Allah has given us or taken from us id the best for us.

For Allah mentions, “This is of the grace of my Lord that He try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful; and whoever is grateful, he is grateful only for his own soul, and whoever, is ungrateful, then surely my Lord is Self-sufficient, Honored. (27:40)

A Hadith that was found by Ibin Qayim Al Jawziyyah, p.70

Allah had given us so much, and our duty as Muslims is to be grateful for those many blessings. Ibin Abid-Dunya mentioned that Dawud asked Allah, “What is the least of your blessings?” Allah revealed to him to take a breath. Dawud did so, and Allah told him, This is the least of my blessings on you.” 

 When I read this I was like “WOW” to just take an involuntary action such as a simple breath that basically sustains us is quite a blessing from Allah.

The blessings of ALahmudlillah are many in itself.

Narrated Samurah ibn Jundab: The dearest words to Allah are four: SubhanAllah (Hallowed be Allah), Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), La ilaha illallah (There is no god but Allah), and AllahuAkbar (God is the Greatest)… Sahih Muslim: Book 24, Number 5329.

Narrated Anas ibn Malik: Allah’s Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said: Allah is pleased with His servant who says: Alhamdulillah while taking a morsel of food and while drinking. Sahih Muslim: Book 34, Number 6592.

I pray that ALlah gives me and everyone the faith, patience and gratitude to implement “Alhamdulilah” into our lives as true and pious slaves of Allah. May He forgive me, us, we as He guides us and provides the best in this life and the next.

Ameen

Concept of Friendships

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We are always in need to socialize and in need for friends and companionship. Our lives are spent interacting with others. We are living in societies where as Muslims we may feel as the minority. Thus, the issue is always choosing the right friendships is essential in preserving our beliefs.  As a Muslimah I am always striving to befriend righteous and virtuous Muslims. Sometimes it can be difficult. Staying at a distance sometimes has been necessary, yet treating everybody in a noble and kind manner is a must.

Who are friends? Those who feel for you in the good and sad moments.

On the other side, a believer is the mirror of his brother”(5), and if he sees any faults in the other believer, he draws his attention to it, helps him to give it up and helps him wipe away any evil that he may have. Ibn Hazm said: Anyone who criticises you cares about your friendship. Anyone who makes light of your faults cares nothing about you.”

Passing it Along

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A friend sent me the following and I just absolutely enjoyed reading it. The examples are so true but in the end we know that Allah is the best planners of all we do.

Enjoy reading it.

The Mayonnaise Jar and 2 Cups of Coffee
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar He shook the jar lightly.  The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous ‘yes.’The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else—the small stuff. ‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
‘Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’

The coffee just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.’ 

 

Relating Life

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 The Four Wives

Author Unknown

Once upon a time, there was a rich merchant who had 4 wives. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. He took great care of her and gave her nothing but the best. He also loved the 3rd wife very much. He’s very proud of her and always wanted to show off her to his friends. However, the merchant is always in great fear that she might run away with some other men. He loved his 2nd wife, too. She is a very considerate person, always patient and in fact is the merchant’s confidante. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he always turned to his 2nd wife and she would always help him out and tide him through difficult times. Now, the merchant’s 1st wife is a very loyal partner and has made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and business as well as taking care of the household. However, the merchant did not love the first wife and although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her.

One day, the merchant fell ill. Before long, he knew that he was going to die soon. He thought of his luxurious life and told himself, “Now I have 4 wives with me. But when I die, I’ll be alone. How lonely I’ll be!” Thus, he asked the 4th wife, “I loved you most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No way!” replied the 4th wife and she walked away without another word. The answer cut like a sharp knife right into the merchant’s heart. The sad merchant then asked the 3rd wife, “I have loved you so much for all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No!” replied the 3rd wife. “Life is so good over here! I’m going to remarry when you die!” The merchant’s heart sank and turned cold. He then asked the 2nd wife, “I always turned to you for help and you’ve always helped me out. Now I need your help again. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?” “I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” replied the 2nd wife. “At the very most, I can only send you to your grave.” The answer came like a bolt of thunder and the merchant was devastated. Then a voice called out : “I’ll leave with you. I’ll follow you no matter where you go. “The merchant looked up and there was his first wife. She was so skinny, almost like she suffered from malnutrition. Greatly grieved, the merchant said, “I should have taken much better care of you while I could have!” We all have 4 wives in our lives. The 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it’ll leave us when we die. Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, they all go to others. The 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how close they had been there for us when we’re alive, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.

The 1st wife is in fact our soul, often neglected in our pursuit of material wealth and sensual pleasure. It is actually the only thing that follows us wherever we go. Perhaps it’s a good idea to cultivate and strengthen it now rather than wait until we’re on our death bed to lament.