Mourning

Bismillah.

Today is one of those days when I do not feel like writing anything. Words I have to listen to sometimes ruin my inner peace. Now all I want is silence to reign my soul.

Silence heals when words wound. Today is one of those days when I welcome silence with an open heart.

Let me vanish in a remote corner, away from prying eyes. I have been hurt. I feel miserable. I don’t know how to express or suppress it.

I want silent tears to wet me from top to bottom. Let me bathe in repentance and emerge as fresh as a new bud. I feel old. I feel weary. I feel like I do not belong. Anywhere.

What am I doing here? Is my place not up there in heaven? Don’t I want a house near The Lord in heaven? Time flies when I am burdened with chores. But time comes to a standstill when I long to meet The Lord.

I am perplexed. Broken. Anxious. Sad. Lost. Clueless. Yet I am not hopeless. Whatever is on Earth and in heavens is under the control of The Lord. And He is looking at me right now. At this very moment.

I need a break from writing today. No more trying to write 500 words today. Today I will relax.Today I will regain what is lost. Today I will mourn. And cry. And let my heart be torn apart into a million pieces like so many times before.

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When hearts collide

Bismillah.

I don’t like conflicts. We are made of water. Why is it then that we fail to stay united like water drops? We fail to see things from the perspective of the other person. When hearts collide it is because no one wants to sacrifice an inch for the other person.

Sacrifice is a concept that could create heaven on Earth. But who will practice it? Most of us do not manage to rise above the conditions that compel us to leave the “me-first” premises.

We have just said goodbye to the housemaid that used to help us in our housework. I won’t say she was perfect. She was human. And humans are not perfect. We expected certain things from her and so did she. To each party the expectations seemed unrealistic. And so we came to a miserable end.

All things come to an end. Must it be miserable? Can’t we leave each other with respect and fond memories? Perhaps we would not have to bid farewell if respect and fond memories played a big role.

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If we value love and respect but fail to show them during crises, it only means love and respect are not ingrained in our personality. Whatever is ingrained in us shows up in critical moments. Crises bares our souls and lets us see what we really are. Crises are eye-openers.

When hearts collide we do not see the situation from up above. We become active participants who engage in aggravating the situation.

Things have calmed down now. Now I have more room in my heart to ponder over our moments together. Our past was not smooth as silk. Our past was marked by collisions even though they were few. We could have gone on like that. Yet matters went out of hand in the spur of the moment. Our hearts shut down. There was no more room for human error. We longed for perfection and had to have it.

What will I do now that she has gone? I used to like her because she used to cover herself unlike other housemaids I have had. She was a little aged and so it felt good to have someone who was old enough to be a guardian. Now the house is empty without her existence. I am already even missing her loud voice which I used to dislike.

Is this life like then? You begin to feel upset about a situation enough to take action to put an end to it and then begin to miss even the flaws of the other person? Or is it just me who feels this way?

How can we handle the situation better when hearts collide? Islam teaches us to be lenient. Islam teaches us to forgive in the hope that Allah will also forgive us. Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) taught us not to be angry.

Anger is indeed a fire that consumes hearts. And a heart that is consumed by fire can burn hearts that are in contact with it.

I am yet to grasp the lessons Islam teaches us and act accordingly. It is a lifelong process and I am only a weak servant of The Lord.

Just ask Allah

Bismillah.

If we always got what we wanted and whenever we wanted, we would have been spoiled. There is an unmatched thrill in waiting for something, in waiting for something eagerly, hoping that you will get it but you do not even know whether you will get it or not!

Such is our life. Unpredictable and full of possibilities.

As a Muslim, it is mandatory to always be hopeful. Is there anything Allah cannot do? Yes, there are times, when I badly want something and see no way of getting it. Moreover, however I try to get it, a roadblock appears out of nowhere. Being optimistic in those times is sometimes not that easy.

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We have grown used to instant gratification. When repeated attempts yield no positive result, we tend to give up hope.

Yet, there is no reason to give up hope. Allah works in His own time. Whenever we supplicate, Allah either grants it in this life or wards off a harm that could afflict us or wishes to grant us something in the next life. How awesome! In no way are we ever deprived!

Yes, sure, sometimes we are like little children. We have to have a particular thing  right here and right now. However, Allah is The Most Wise. Allah is The Best Planner. Allah knows what comes before us and what comes after us. He knows what is best for us.

How can we be ever sure that our coveted thing will not destroy us? We do not have the knowledge of the unseen!

As a Born Again Muslimah, I have had to learn life from a fresh perspective. It is not always easy. I am still under construction. I am still like a spoiled brat sometimes, coveting something forgetting that it might not be good for me at all. Or Allah may have something even better in store for me.

I have witnessed that Allah does not deprive me. In one way or other, He gives me what I long for. And He does it in His own way and in His own time. And it feels super awesome to finally have something when I could not get it the first time! It teaches me never to lose hope!

As long as we live, we will never stop wanting things. Some of these things are absolutely necessary to have, like, food, clothes, a roof over our head. Other things may not be necessary for our survival, it is important for us to  have them so that we can grow as a person. Our desire is endless. Sometimes we do not get what we want. We must remember that there may be good in what is bad in our eyes and vice versa.

The secret to happiness and fulfillment lies in submission. Total faith in Allah can ease us during disappointing times. Allah loves us and to Allah belongs whatever is on Earth and in the heavens. Yet He does not need any of it. We are the ones who are constantly in need either in reality or psychologically. When we need something, all we have to do is ask Allah. And Allah responds to us when we call upon Him.

Need something but cannot get it?
Call upon him and never lose hope!

My mother

Bismillah.

My mother is an ordinary woman. She is the kind of woman who feels happy when her family is. I have known the practical example of the word selfless by knowing her.

Many women today neglect their families to be at the top of the career of their choice. Not my mother. To her, family comes first. Yes. My mother is an ordinary woman. In this day and age of liberated women, her ordinariness is an extraordinary thing.

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When I was growing up I used to dislike being like her. It irked me to think someone would have to sacrifice her whole self just to see that each of her family members gets his or her favourite dish and clean laundry, among other things. The thought of having a life where I cannot pursue my own dreams scared me.

When I was little, she was my hero. She was my mother, my tutor, my seamstress, my chef, my playmate, my everything. She meant the world to me. I remember thinking as a kid how able she really is. I used to be awestruck just seeing her go about throughout the day multitasking in an unprecedented manner.

There is a reason why mothers are given such importance of Islam. I am grateful that Islam has taught me about the rights my mother has over me.

Today my mother is not so able. She has developed a back problem. It is hard for her to sit in low chairs or to climb up the stairs or to sit somewhere for a long time. I don’t know if you will ever read this, ma, but I always admired your strength. I still do, I used to think that I do not want to be like you, someone who has no life of her own so that her family gets pampered. Now I know that I do not have what it takes to be you. You possess the kind of selflessness that my big dreams never allow me.

I am married with no children. I do not know what it takes to be a mother. My husband is not very demanding. Despite being in a comfortable situation, I have my own sets of trials. I suffer from depression. Even normal household chores can feel overwhelming. Sometimes I move around the house dragging my body like a ton of bricks. Alhamdulillahi ‘ala kulli haal.

Each one of us has a different route. We arrive at our own truths in different ways. While I could not be like my mother, that does not stop my mother from loving what I am. Most of my work is computer-oriented. She does not understand what I do. How I spend time all day. Why I choose to stay home even after getting higher education. Yet she loves me. I don’t remember when she last scolded me. Perhaps this is what love should be like. Love should give lovers the space to grow, to fly in the vastness of belonging.

I connect with my mother a lot when I need to learn to cook something, As I was pampered to the core, my mother did not teach me to cook before I got married. After getting married, a housemaid used to take care of cooking. I learn to cook something from my mom only occasionally.

During her last visit, I showed her on Youtube how to make sponge Rusgollas. Being a cooking freak, she enjoyed every bit of it. I enjoyed being a part of it, too. By getting her to use a computer she entered my world and by sharing a recipe with her I entered hers. We shared a mental space just like we did when I was little. Perhaps I have come full circle at last.

Learning

Bismillah

Have you ever thought about learning about learning? That’s exactly what I started to do yesterday. I have found a free MOOC offered by Coursera that teaches us how to learn about learning.

I am usually a quick learner. Yet I took this course. I felt an urgent need to learn how to learn.

The reason is depression.

Depression affects my learning abilities. I can no longer truthfully say I am a quick learner. Things have changed. Depression does something to your brains. Depression slows your brains down. Sometimes so much that it takes real effort to do everyday things. Learning something that involves intellect becomes an ordeal.

I refuse to give up. There is a reason Allah has blessed with me with this trial . Yes, my trial is my blessing. All the trials that we ever have are nothing but blessings. My trial keeps me humble. Depression makes me seek refuge in Allah because I know then for sure that there is no other refuge for me other than Him.

I am not complaining to you about my depression. It has made me a better person in many ways. Pain that brings me closer to Allah is better than joy that takes me away from Him. And depression is painful.

I do have some fears. The probability of losing the ability to learn quickly because of depression is one of my biggest fears. You see, I am a Born Again Muslimah. There is so much to learn about my deen. I need to learn so that I can teach. I want to be a holistic healer – the kind of healer that heals people physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have suffered silently for so long. Wouldn’t it be great to help those who suffer like me?

This is what motivates to take up the path of a healer. And for that I need to learn a lot. It is a brand new subject that I need to immerse in in order to be a good healer.

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I don’t get tired of studying. I am a lifelong learner and studying is my passion. However, studying when I am down is second next to impossible now. I need to make up for the loss. This is why I am learning about learning.

I went through materials of only week 1. It has been an eye-opener. I realized that in my eagerness to learn as much as possible in as little time as possible, I was actually slowing down my learning process. Simple things like focusing on something for just 25 minutes and then taking a break can greatly boost our learning. Yet I used to be frustrated because I do not have the energy to study non-stop. I used to feel deprived when I slept too much. I learned that sleep deprivation can actually affect your learning.

I need to take a good look at my life. No matter how much I try, I cannot finish learning all the things that I am fascinated about. It is time to pick and choose. Perhaps what is worth learning most is life lessons.

Why work?

Bismillah.

Why do we work so much? We get tired to the bone, forget to socialize and even stop caring for our own well-being. When is the last time you really enjoyed life without feeling rushed? It is as if we finish one chore only to catch up with another one.

Was life really supposed to be so demanding? I ask. What do we have to achieve by overworking? What do we have to prove to ourselves? Why does our work become so important that we do not hesitate to neglect our family?

I remember a neighbour kid from years ago. His father was a doctor and his mother was a teacher. While his parents were out there making the world a better place, he often loitered around outside his home – a minor child – because there was no one to look after him at home. His home would be locked while his parents were out and he would be playing outside, sometimes on his own.

I don’t know if it is my imagination… he seemed like a sad kid. I don’t know how much money his parents made, I know that they could not make their house a home. Years later I heard that they got divorced.

I don’t know why they could not bear to be with each other anymore even for the sake of their two children. I do know that money could not buy them happiness.

Perhaps we work so much to get approval from our own selves. And this is why disapproval even from our nearest ones, even when they suffer, cannot deter us.

Yet it takes so little to be happy. A heartfelt smile can truly make us happy and it costs no money and smiling is not hard work. Yet we forget to do so because we are too stressed at work.

Even the smallest deeds can bring us great joy. Simple acts of kindness. Like, bringing flowers to the woman you love or cooking what your man loves to eat.

We have forgotten the art of little things.

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Yet, it need not be so. No good deed will go wasted. If the purpose of my life is to satisfy my own desire, then no matter how much I work, it will never be enough. Simply because my desire knows no bounds. On the other hand, if my intention is to please my Lord, then whatever little I do with the intention of pleasing Him will fulfill me. The Lord never forgets and He will reward us even for the good deeds the size of an atom.

The problem is, we do not long to be rewarded by The Lord any more. We feel rewarded when WE get that coveted job or buy our dream house or accomplish anything that captivates us. We forget that whatever WE get is a manifestation of HIS endless Mercy.

Unless we begin to see what we truly are, we will never stop chasing work. Or success. Or money. Or fame. Or love.

We are just servants of the Most Merciful. That is all that we are. The moment we realize that, we will stop fulfilling our own desire and start working with the intention of pleasing Him, in shaa Allah. And it does not take too much to please Him! Small deeds done consistently are His favourite!

With that thought in mind I must learn to take a break when my to-do list begins to pose a health threat. Or when a loved one craves my company. Or when I know deep in my heart that I should call mom.

Life is easy. We should work to make life easy. We should not let work make life hard.

An ode to nights

Bismillah.

I often find comfort at night. When the daily rush dies down and people are done with their last-minute business of living life for the day, it is then that my mind finds a new springboard. A sense of adventure fills me after dark. I am more contemplative and focused. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I am an introvert.

People come. people go. Everyday. In and out of my life. Some of them leave a bad aftertaste. Some of them I long to meet again. Whoever I am with, I feel drained when exposed too long to human company. I need my own private space, I need to occupy a small corner where no one can see me. Where I can be momentarily forgotten. Beyond the periphery of errands, chores and duties.

A time and space I can call my own. A time when I can be free as a bird and not tied to any responsibility.

Overwhelm is something I am yet to overcome, I feel overwhelmed easily when in public.

The night cradles me. It keeps me safe. I grow fearlessly when no one is there and no demand is made out of me.

Allah descends to the lowest heavens during the last parts of the night. I wonder if that is why I feel spiritually charged during those hours. Blessed are those who pray then. The night invites us to come and seek its bounties. And the best bounty is the company of The Creator.

As I write this piece, I remember, I tried late-night prayers for some time. It used to feel awesome. Yet I let it slip between my fingers. Now I seek night mostly to pursue something creative. I need to learn how to figure out how to balance these two different kinds of activities.

Sleep is essential and my performance is poor during day or night when I do not get enough sleep. I am yet to keep up with the solar cycle. My prayer times depend on the ever-changing solar cycle. And my sleep schedule depends on prayer times.

There is something beautiful about keeping pace with the sun through out the day. It makes me a part of the bigger picture. It is a reminder that I am connected to the outside world in imperceptible ways. I influence and I am influenced.

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The absence of the sun is filled in by the moon. The moon is there for me even if I am unaware.

The night, the moon, the night air, and Allah in the lowest heavens – all of these factors make my night-time creative adventures special. Spirituality awakens in me at night in a way that does not during day.

While days are dotted with minor and major daily demands, nights are more relaxing. I can breathe more easily and reflect upon myself at night.

Perhaps it is odd that even at night, when I finally go to sleep, I prefer to sleep with some light in the room. This means I am in love with night but not with darkness.