Aside

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The year 2013 ended with a profound message. Going to ICNA Convention in the end was definitely  a good reminder.The year end message was greatly needed to uplift the weary soul and replenish the Islamic spirit. All the lectures were not only targeted to improve our relationship in the family and in the larger society but were loud and clear to improve at an individual and the community level .But some how I was not shaken to the core with any of the lectures I was hearing for two days. Those lectures were definitely a good reminder but not something I was looking for, some thing I needed to move my soul and to inspire me so much that it is sufficient enough to face the challenges of the upcoming year, until the last lecture of the night was delivered by Omer Suleiman. As soon as he started,  I felt that every word of him was directed towards me. I felt like each of his sentences were like an arrow tearing my heart into pieces. I wanted to write each and every part of the lecture but the way lecture was started, I was so much absorbed with the message and truth in it that my fingers couldn’t bear the pain of my guilty pleasures. The burden of my sins seemed to fall over my fingers as they seems to be frozen. The worth mentioning part was of his speech was about the blind person sitting on the stage who just finished reciting ayahs from the Quran and giggling and chuckling. Everyone was mesmerized with his voice and surprised at the same time how the blind person can memorize Quran. Hence, Omer Suleiman started his speech with the reflection of this blind man saying, “Did you see this blind man he can’t see but he has eyes and we all have eyes and we are blind.” This simple sentence contain so much depth and lesson that I couldn’t think of anything else, the speech was going on further, how happy he is, he can’t see the world but the stage was filled with his laughter and joy. What made him so happy despite his disability, what makes him so content and satisfied which we can’t experience even though we are blessed with all the faculties. Definitely and truly it was the light of Quran he has memorized the Quran which has filled his heart and the whole atmosphere surrounded by him and on the other hand our hearts are filled with filth and worldly things so much that the darkness overcomes all our blessings thus pushing us and everyone around us in the shadows of despair and discontentment.

      What a strong message it carried. It made me think really that is real happiness. In today’s world how each one of us is searching for true happiness, real contentment, satisfaction and the true meaning of life but why we are continuously failing, why we can’t grasp the fact  that happiness is something inside us not  hidden in outside material gains. It doesn’t reside in so called degrees, gadgets, name brand clothing, eating, dining and shopping. That blind man who can not see the glittering and shimmering of the world, can’t enjoy the glamour of marketplaces, yet his heart is enlightened with the intense and supreme light ” nur” of the words of the Almighty. Does he need anything else? Does he care for any other glow? no but he was ready to shine the world and every one around him whose hearts were either dead or searching for that true meaning of happiness through all other artificial means.

        The speaker carried on the same message that how we lose the true sense of happiness. His words made so much sense when he said, “if you depend on fragile things your life will be fragile.” This is such a short sentence but if we contemplate on it then our soul can withstand the strongest storms. We won’t be shattered and smashed by the attitude and actions of people. Our goals and objectives were not weakened by the ruthless and reckless emotions of others. These fragile means make our outlook fragile, our vision vulnerable, our entire perspective shaky. We can’t depend on these unreliable sources of happiness to provide contentment to our life. In fact, we can only depend on the most dependable and reliable source, the most pure and promising light, the light of His words, the strongest and everlasting ‘Quran’.

 

 And is one who was dead and We gave him life and made for him light by which to walk among the people like one who is in darkness, never to emerge therefrom? Thus it has been made pleasing to the disbelievers that which they were doing.

 

Reference:
Omar, Suleiman.(2013, Dec 27).Pursuit of Happiness. Address at the ICNA Convention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Shades of life

With all the happiness and cheers which creates charm and magnetism with the first light of sunlight, the very same light can be filled with trauma and tragedy. That gesture of happiness and bliss can be transformed into moment of sorrow and catastrophe. In the morning, while the soft subtle powdery snowflake refreshes your mind and soul, the whole world from snow covered trees, shrubs, twigs and leaves dance around you and sing the song of your choice, the day is filled with these precious memories of joy and delight, every moment spent in celebration of the first snowfall is cherished until a calamity struck which changes the whole outlook of the same day. The joy was transformed into a day of sorrow. The mind was unable to comprehend what happened. A minute ago the world was a place of pleasure and play the very next second it was no more than a dismay and distress. The shades of harshness and unjust overcome the surroundings. For a second it feels that life is so unfair. Why we can’t remain in the same state of happiness and joy forever, why the la laa land didn’t last forever. Why an unseen calamity has to shatter our hopes and dreams for the day but then ultimately something reminds me that we all are helpless in front of Almighty. The way he rotates day and night, the same way he rotates our good and bad times and we just have to obey him in the time of happiness and pain. Our rational questions us why and why me but our belief correct us that Allah is al Wise Al Hakeem. He can never be wrong. He do things for a purpose and as a slave we have to obey him no matter how unreasonable it seems to us, one has to understand that our moods and emotions are also in His hands. He can bless us bliss with the pure and sensational beauty of snowfall and He is the one whom we turned to when we are faced with intense agony and discomfort. The book remind us
Chapter (53) sūrat l-najm (The Star)

Sahih International: And that it is He who makes [one] laugh and weep
It is important to remember that at these times we have a daily reminder, our guide our Book which hold us in the dire circumstances, which shows us how to hold Urwatul Wuskaa in both times. In the past, prophets have been crushed in the turmoil of crisis of their lifetime. Similarly we will also be crumbled and cut among the fierce waves of brutal momentsbench_snowfall_winter_lamp_light_precipitation_park_61277_1920x1080.
From the story of Yusuf being alone in the well,to Musa’s upbringing in the most cruel King’s palace, from Yunus cries in the utter darkness to Ibrahim’s severe trial of his son and father, life is a bumpy ride with its ups and down. When we are up, life is beautiful but when we are down, life is gloomy and dark. But if we remember that life is a test, and our tests are nothing as compare to the people of the past then this life will seem to be like a smooth and sleek ride.

Chapter (2) sūrat l-baqarah (The Cow)

Sahih International: Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while such [trial] has not yet come to you as came to those who passed on before you? They were touched by poverty and hardship and were shaken until [even their] messenger and those who believed with him said,”When is the help of Allah ?” Unquestionably, the help of Allah is near.

Rada bil Qadr

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Many times in our lives we have to face some very cruel and harsh circumstances. At that time life really seems unfair. No matter how strong you pose externally, the internal flawed fibers of weaken emaan give birth to tons of unanswered questions. No matter how often and how many times you try to aviod the pricking of those unknown why or why nots, life still become a question mark to you. Your mind convinces you that you have to believe on one of the pillars of faith i.e. taqdir. To accept His decisions and to be content with them is a required part of our faith. We know that Allah is Al Wise, He is more merciful than our mother, He is our rab, our protector, our planner and our nourisher. He can never do anything wrong for us. But still there are some outcomes we are not satisfied with or even if we accept it there is always a slight clinch that why it happened to me or why it is happening to me? where did I go wrong? what did I do to suffer from all these pains and pressures. Why I am always the victim of everyone’s taunts and tantrums? Is it that we are not willingly accepting the decisions of our Lord. Is it we associating partners with Allah when making our intellect and rational to be more reasonable than the Al Mighty. How can we justify all these feelings? This is where the weakness of eman and sickness of heart peeks in and slowly and gradually push ourselves to the never ending cycle of doubts and desires i.e. ‘shubhaat and shahwaat’. We need to realize the fact that when He created us, He knows us very well. He knows us when we were not even ready to take the first breath. Still how can we think that he can be irrational in his decisions.

Does He who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Acquainted?

But the question is how do I convince myself, how do I make sure that I’m not constantly complaining and whining about the trials and tests life is keep throwing at me. Most of the time, our lives seem like a unsolvable puzzle but only He knows that how these parts can fit together to make the perfect picture. Life can be really rough sometimes, people will be playing with our sentiments and will drain us emotionally, sqeezing every drop of humanness within us but we have to beleive that the rough roars of the ocean can calm down when they come to the shore. Surely, sometimes the tides of troubles seem unbearable, everything seems to be haphazard like a messy painting, each and every corner of our lives need to be fixed, even our friends, family everyone we come across with is a Fitnah constant trial for us but in the midst of all these uncertainties, Quran assures us:

O mankind, indeed you are laboring toward your Lord with [great] exertion and will meet it.

During that strenuous physical and mental exertion, if the acceptance of Allah’s decisions will not prevail in our hearts and Nafs, then the purpose of Abd Allah will be defeated. In return, the desired destination every abd deserved and dreamt of, will only remain a dream. To make this dream a reality, we need to overcome all our inner hurdles and hesitations. We need to start strengthening our roots of eman and taqwa. It can never happen without Allah’s help so we need to make our relationship stronger and special to the extent that we can be among those mentioned in the following verses.

[To the righteous it will be said], “O reassured soul
Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him]
And enter among My [righteous] servants
And enter My Paradise.

Ihsaan

This word is definitely a combination of  a few words i.e. ‘i h s a n’</strong But in reality, the word has immense worth of depth in it, numerous pages can be written about it. but the meanings and its applications can never find true justice.When one take this word to heart and start acting on it then this word  is nothing but filled with layers and layers one after another and the true layer is yet to be found. This word is that profound!

No one can explain this word better then our own Lord. His Action of Ihsaaan starts from the womb of a mother. He starts giving us food, shelter, warmth and mercy. He give relief to the cries of an infant. When we put our hands into the gentle hands of our care taker then, immediately the relief arrives.

The life continues, the child grows up , the creator blesses him with family, water to drink, plenty to survive, friends to love, education to explore, air to breath, sky to see, earth to enjoy , consious to contemplate, parents to pamper and much more. In return what does He want? His Ibadah, His obedience, His worship. And what we do in return? Can we pay Him His dues just for His one 'Ihsaan?' Is it too much to ask ? Is it not pure Ihsaan from the Creator?

Everyday we waste food. Ask yourself how much food do you leave on the plate if not how much food you throw out everyday even from someone else's plate. Did God take the food away from us ? No! Every day we are still blessed with variety of food and we enjoy way with same joy and crave……………Is this  not Ihsaan from our Lord?

In Quran Allah used this word many times. in Surah Younus

Chapter (10) sūrat yūnus (Jonah)

 For them who have done good is the best [reward] and extra. No darkness will cover their faces, nor humiliation. Those are companions of Paradise; they will abide therein eternally

For them who have done good i.e. ihsaan, will have no darkness, nor humiliation. Today how many times we have been humiliated in front of the whole world, in front of many, in front of our own children , in front of our own spouses or in front of the whole crowd, how many times some bitter words pierces us like a dagger and we are doomed in darkness. The clouds of despair and darkness overcome us and we feel like the world is a deep dark dungeon for us , there is no light, there is no escape, there is no refuge, there is no where to hide, there is no shelter, but for  a few moments imagine the humiliation of that day and darkness of our deeds.

Their eyes humbled, humiliation will cover them. That is the Day which they had been promised.

But is that darkness and humiliation  is better then off that day. If you swallow the undigested words, if we seal the lips from throwing the fire of fierce words in return, we can be saved from the darkness and humiliation of that day. We have to decide which humiliation is better. The humiliation of some mere words is nothing as compare to that day .It is really nothing.

Remember Ihsaan of Yusuf  how he forgave his brothers and honored them even though they threw him in the well, they departed his beloved father from him , they were the cause of his father’s lost eyesight and after all that, that they called him a stealer. Can we forgive someone who did this to us? but  he did ihsaan. This word contains some real gems and treasures which can never be revealed without acting upon it,without experiencing the beauty of it.

Then Ibraheem’s ihsaan was not  an easy one to forget also. His father was with those who wanted to burn him . In fact, he was thrown in fire infront of his real father. Can we imagine the greatness of his character? He was leaving the city after the bitter betrayal of his own blood but  he still  prayed for his forgiveness. Where can we find this kind of ihsaan?

Our history and heritage is full of stories of ihsaan. Now think about our lives, how much we have painted our canvas of life with this act of ihsaan . It is not easy to throw flowers for someone who throws fire on you . It is not a piece of cake to come up with a clean plate day in and day out especially if we have been penalized by the same person everyday. Nevertheless, to come up with ihsaan in our dealings with certain people is a daunting test but Allah assures you through this ayat:

Sahih International: And We did not send before you, [O Muhammad], any of the messengers except that they ate food and walked in the markets. And We have made some of you [people] as trial for others – will you have patience? And ever is your Lord, Seeing.

Will you have patience?

Your Lord is asking you. Will you have patience? the one who does ihsaan  from the time of birth till death, the one who does ihsaan from waking you up to feeding you a morsel, from giving you strength  to bow down in front of  Him  till you feel the ray of sunlight and sense a moment of joy and feel the true peace and tranquality. Will you not do ihsaan for Him?  This can only be possible if we know the reward of ihsaan is nothing but ihsaan from our Lord  in this world and in hereafter also.

Chapter (55) sūrat l-raḥmān (The Most Gracious)

  Is the reward for good [anything] but good?

poem

khilaya jis rab nay tugh ko pilaya aur bolna  sikhaya

hua tera wajood us ki waja say is  dharti par samaya.

phir kiya hui teri taabay daari us ahsaan kay badlay

mana kay asaan nahi logo kay nishtar baharay lafz sahnaa

nahi hai asaan har berukhi ka jawaab khushdili say dayna

magar yeh bhi to soch kay kitna dafa teray rab nay tugh ko sanbhala’

kitnay shikwon kay jawab may us nay  tugh par rahm naa chora

kitni nafarmaniyon ki bawajood tujh say tera rizq naa choota 

yeh tera rab hai aur us kaa ihsaan nahi to kiya hia

Us nay to rab ban kar dikha diya ab tu yeh bata kay tera ihsaan kiya hai

ا >

To Ilm Summit Students

Ramadhan Reminder,

When we were in Ilm Summit, my dear fellow Solange started the Ramadhan Reminder where everyone can share some reminders about Ramadhan . I ‘d like to share my reminder here.

Asalamualaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,

How are you all. I just wanted  to share my feelings I gained through all the tafsirs and lectures attended throughout the whole month. Every year we are blessed with the month of Ramadhan. we are fortunate enough to earn the blessings of this month. Every Ramadhan passes by and we are drilled to worship, read Quran, do good deeds, not waste time, take care of relatives, extra gentle to our families but I never understand why the bubble pops as soon the month is finished. Why we can’t we climb one stair of piety, one more step of closeness to our lord, open one more door of mercy for us. Why it happens. I truly believe that Ramadhan is the month to earn the reward as much as you can but the only purpose is to earn tons of reward and then go back to zero again? The only purpose is to pray, read  read and read and then altogether leave the book of Allah. Do we think that Allah wants us to be muslim only in this month and the rest of the year is a free ride. I think that Ramadhan is the month of transformation. It is the month of connecting to Allah when shaytaan is chained so you can feel the real sweetness and try to maintain this sweetness throughout the rest of the year. you can feel the real peace in this month and try to maintain the same peace throughout the year. If you have developed the relationship with Quran and felt that it was the real food for the soul then nourish the soul after this month too.This month was the sample life style or ideal life style a muslim can adopt but there is no such thing as ideal so at least we can do even half of it. But don’t leave it altogther.Don’t stop reciting the Quran at fajr, don’t sleep after fajr, don’t backbite, call your relatives, try to help someone always, use your talent for the community . Ahh! we have so much to do and so much less time. Still we can’t see what are we doing. Where are we heading to? this life is not easy. Path of paradise is not filled with bed of roses. We are created for hard work as the Surah Inshiqaq mentions:

Chapter (84) sūrat l-inshiqāq (The Splitting Asunder)

Sahih International: O mankind, indeed you are laboring toward your Lord with [great] exertion and will meet it.

Therefore, I really feel that if you have developed some relationship with your Lord, don’t let it go. Hold it. This light should enlighten the rest of your life. The power of taqwa gained in this month should energized you to do eveything for the sake of Allah, to gain His mercy, to gain His closeness. Just trust me my sisters, no one can give you the full measure of whatever good we do in this world. Only Allah can. Only He can return the reward the way it should be rewarded but for this you have to appriase him the way He should be. Then definitely, He will praise you the way you should be praised in both the worlds.

Sahih International: They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.

I pray that this month become the source of attaining real taqwa. Whatever steps we have taken to gain his pleasure should become the strong foundation to race to the tower of tolerance, patience, piety and productivity(Ameen).

Love and duas to all the seekers of knowledge.

Sharmeen Makda.

Takmeel e Quran

 It is November 20th 2011, journey of Quran came to end. well it is not an ultimate end but atleast one phase of going through it is accompolished. It seems like yesterday when I joined this class and started learning Quran word by word. The experience is so spritual and phenominal that words can not depict what the heart has witnessed and felt . Truly the book of Allah has wonders and magnetic charisma which pulls you towards it. It is a deep deep study where one can immerse and never come out feeling being finished. You want to go deeper and deeper as on the surface you can’t find many but when you go deep down the sea, wonders are many.

Similarly, I found this journey to be the most profound and unique in all the ways specaially the last juzz has surahs which have totally differnet impact on you and it is only possible to experience when you reach there. You can not have the same feeling if you read that juzz without being through the journey of all 29 juzz . After every 10 juzz the feelings were different. After 20th juzz , heart starts trembling some more but then on 30th juzz, the feelings were very intense as it was obvious how Quran in wrapping up its message.

Going through this whole proceess was not easy for me. There were numerous times when I felt the message has been slipping through my hands, all doors are being shut one by one, all my ways of guidance has been diluted but then soon any of the Quranic verses and lectures from our teacher Farhat Hashmi lifted me up. Indeed as she mentioned in the last juzz that it was Allah’s blessings and truly His mercy that I could have blessed with that gift. Now I believe it with my full heart and certainity that it was Allah’s help and favor on me to make me steadfast on this path . Every ayat, every word has incredible amount of depth and life long lessons in it. It is the food that every soul needs to taste. It was the daily doze which every seeker of knowledge has to take. It is the treasure which is buried but we have to dig it up. It is the speech which has the loudest vioce but we must bring our ear near to it. Thus, this book has given and taught  me many things which I couldn’t be able to learn  with any other book or work.

jitna bhi karoron tera shukar us nimat kay milnay par kam hai

us nimat ko paigaam ko sab ko agay phauchana hai, yehi aik gham hai

koi kamaal insaan nahi kar  sakta yeh Allah hi kaa aik nazrana hai

usi nazr e karam kay shukr may us kalaam ko parhna aur parhana hai

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Surah Fajr

 

When  I read this surah, I thought the whole surah’s message is trapped in a single verse.

Sahih International: He will say, “Oh, I wish I had sent ahead [some good] for my life.”

This verse is very captivating yet very heart trembling. It made me think what we have sent for the next world. what have we deposited for the next world. What we have stored really for the upcoming life. This life was suppose to be cultivating phase , seeds need to be sown,  and the reaping must be done in another life. so what is really we think we have done to have sucessful destanation over there.

Yes but there will be some souls who were in continous, utmost struggle as mentiones in

Chapter (84) sūrat l-inshiqāq (The Splitting Asunder)

Sahih International: O mankind, indeed you are laboring toward your Lord with [great] exertion and will meet it.

when you put that kind of effort then you will gain the highest status and will become satisfied soul  your Lord will call upon you.

Chapter (89) sūrat l-fajr (The Dawn)

(To the righteous soul will be said:) “O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction.

and the reward will be

Sahih International: Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him].

Returning to your Lord is definite. Final destination will be  paradise.

 

Sahih International: And enter among My [righteous] servant.

Sahih International: And enter My Paradise.”