Heartbeat

Bismilllahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Waseem: Beginning to End

Life changes in a heartbeat. Things change, people leave… and life doesn’t stop for anyone.  But along the road, there are some things that deserve a second chance.

You have to go back to the beginning to understand the end. Sometimes it happens in an instant. We step up, we see a path forward. We see a path and we take it. Even when we have no idea where we’re going.

Sometimes, when you’re caught in that kind of rut, you have to just put the question out there.  When you’ve lost hope, you have to put the question out there. Ask yourself; 10 years from now, are you going to wish you gave it just one more shot? And yes, it may take a lot of guts, but the best things in life, they don’t come without any strife. Sometimes you have to take a step. Sometimes you just have to make it happen.

And of course, I should have known on that Friday morning, when Ziyaad came to me looking like he had huge termites in his pants, I knew that he was facing a choice of some sort. He had done an almost ridiculous thing, by making a move so spontaneous, and he couldn’t stand the wait. He took a chance, and now it was making him itch.

“What if they just need a shove in the right direction?” He asked, sounding like he was probably up the whole night thinking about this. He was scratching his beard thoughtfully and wearing too much of Itr. Definitely sleep deprived. I knew Zee too well by now.

I nodded numbly, not wanting to steer him on too much.  But he didn’t need it. Once Ziyaad was on to something, let’s just say that there were very few people who could talk him out of it. All it took was an ‘err, okay’, and before I knew it we were in the car, on the way to the farmer’s side of the province. I recited my Yaaseen as my daily routine in the car, determined that the outcome of this will be good. Allah’s promise. All our needs will be met, like He says at the end of the Surah… everything is easy for Him, and only He could fulfill our wishes for that day. Of course, I had my own agenda too, as I thought about it.

My heart was already beating a bit faster and doing weird things, as I remembered the roads I had driven through so many times when I used to visit Zaynah. The memories are bitter sweet… some more bitter than sweet.

I remembered the feeling of hope mixed with anxiety, and then I remembered the disappointment that came when I would drive back home, a little less convinced that everything would be okay. That it would all just go back to normal.

And then of course, on sweet memory would draw me back again, and I would find myself in the same cycle yet again.

“Why do you keep on coming back?” She had asked one day, when I had been trying to jog her memory. It was obvious that she had no idea what I was talking about.

I looked up sharply, but I could see it in her eyes. She meant no harm.

“I mean,” she said, blinking and smiling apologetically. “Why do you try so hard to make me remember? Was it really that important?”

I blinked back, slightly taken back by her question. Was it? It was. Of course it was. Every moment was.

“Because,” I said, without much thought. “You were like coming up for a breath of fresh air. It was like I was drowning… drowning in sin… and then I was saved. Saved by you.”

She looked at me with a look that spoke a million words, but she didn’t say one. And of course, I left that day with a little more hope than before.

Then the letter came shortly after that, and changed everything. Some things are just meant to stick with you, but as we drove again, I felt myself relying on a miracle to make something change our course once again.

If anyone would ask me, the simple answer was that of course I loved my wife. But sometimes loving someone from a distance was the safer choice.

Sometimes it was just easier to let it go, even though sometimes I wished that I could just tell her all the things that I’d been wanting to all this time. I wished I could let her know. Everything. How it all changed. Everything I had seen. How far we had come. How my mother loved her. How far my father had come spiritually, when he had been so dead before. I wished I could tell her how I revamped my entire business approach, based on her advice. I wished I could tell her how my brothers did a complete changeover since I met her, and she showed us the brigher side of what would have been a bleak future. I wished I could tell her what it meant to us. How it changed everything.

But some things were left unsaid, and I couldn’t get caught up in my own emotions when I had come to support Ziyaad. He was a bit of a nervous wreck as he stepped out that day, and I didn’t blame him. It was a tough thing for a guy to do, and Ziyaad was no exception. He stepped out steadily onto the dusty gravel ground, and we walked ahead. As usual, and no surprise to us, their uncle came out even before we rang the bell, and like always, I wondered if they were just waiting for people on their doorstep.  He was always ready for visitors with a welcoming smile on his face.

“Long time,” he said to me as I moved forward, and I grinned back at him, missing Saleem Khakha’s warm hugs. They felt good.

“What can I do for you today?” He asked as we sat down, knowing that there was a deeper-lying reason for our visit.

“Not me this time, Saleem Khakha,” I said solemnly.

I glanced at Ziyaad and he nodded.

“It’s Ziyaad. He’s hoping to get some answers today…”

I trailed off as I saw a nod.

“You’ll came on the right day,” he said, glancing inside as if to hint something. “Wedding in the family. Everyone is here.”

Wedding? I didn’t ask more because he got up quietly and went inside.  There was a small exchange, and then I heard the lower tones of  a softer female voice. Much to our surprise, Saleem Khakha was out again after two minutes, with a huge grin attached.

“Well, that’s sorted out,” he said, shaking his head.

Ziyaad and I looked at him expectantly. Sorted out? What did he mean?

“You can go in and talk to her,” he said slowly, nodding at Zee.

Zee looked back at him as if he  was some kind of alien. I knew what he was thinking. Geez, I wish it was like that for me. This was too easy. Was he for real?

I kicked his leg, and he looked up at me with wide eyes.

“Go!” I said, hoping he’d seize the moment.

I mean, this was the news he was waiting for right? The path to the ultimate destination he was aiming for was finally opening. I grabbed his hand and literally lifted him off the seat, guiding him to the open doorway where he was supposed to be going. I reached its entrance, looking away as I saw a girl waiting there, waiting almost expectantly. Duh.

I nudged my brother to edge him on, watching the two of them lock eyes for a few moments, before they both went out of sight. An older looking male stayed outside, and just behind him, a figure I vaguely recognized became more visible as my eyes adjusted to the dark passage.

The figure came closer, as realisation dawned, I looked at her openly, wondering if the past few months had actually happened at all. Everyone was here. Zaynah was here, and now that I could see her properly, she looked more like the girl I knew once again. My wife. Her face had resumed her former shape, and instead of the hollows in her eyes and cheeks, they were filled with flushed skin.

Zaynah was looking like… well, like Zaynah. Beautiful Zaynah. My Zaynah.

I felt myself hold back as she smiled at me. Yes, she actually smiled at me and my hopes soared. Though I was hoping she would come and make everything okay again, I wasn’t sure if I would be that lucky. And of course, as she came toward me, I stepped back and allowed her to lead the way. What did it mean?

Would she talk? Would I have to? Would it be awkward? I mean, it was so strange that I was even thinking that way, but it had been so long that I had no idea what to expect.

She stepped past me, onto the empty patio that everyone else had just left. It was just her and I, and the words I had wanted to say were overwhelming. So overwhelming that I couldn’t even say a thing.

“I thought you’ll would eventually come,” she said, all matter-of-fact and I wondered if I was hearing right. “We were waiting.”

I wondered if I heard right, because the last few times I had come, I felt as if she probably never wanted to see me again. She sounded something like she had sounded before, all knowledgeable and presumptuous, as if she knew more than she was letting on. Maybe she did. I wasn’t sure.

“Yes, they were,” a voice from behind us said, and I turned around to see the notorious Raees standing there.

Where on earth did he come from? Of course I was annoyed at him for interrupting our conversation, but more annoying was his sarcastic tone when he said it.

And then, before I could even say anything back, he just turned around and walked away.

I shook my head and looked at Zaynah, who just gave a small smile back. She probably didn’t know what else to say.

“You know, that guy is just-”

“Shhhhhhh,” Zaynah said sharply, holding her long finger to her lips.

I stopped and looked back at her, biting my lip to try and contain my anger. Raees was that annoying and interfering type who actually needed a thump.

“I can’t believe him,” I muttered to myself, looking away into the distance. I wanted to strangle that guy, and not only because of today. It was a whole load of pent up nonsense that was waiting to be addressed.

“I know, but he’s not worth it,” she said now, looking at me and trying to reason with my conscience. It was like she knew exactly what I was thinking. She was already defeating my urge to do something impulsive and I lost all resolve to fight.

Zaynah smiled and I melted. It was like an action reaction theory just waiting to happen.

“Okay,” I said finally, letting her know that she had convinced me. I would cool off and just take it easy. No need to start a big thing and get myself involved.

My wife and I had just met after ages and it was like all this gap of time had just been filled. Like there was no distance at all anymore.

“Make a Duaa,” she said suddenly, as if on a whim. “Now.”

I looked at her strangely and nodded slowly, wondering what she was saying.

“A Duaa?” I asked, kind of confused. For a moment, I wondered if she had recovered completely.

She nodded eagerly.

“Abbi used to always say that when you think of doing something wrong, and you don’t… Right at that moment… it’s a beautiful time for acceptance of Duaas.”

I looked at her, slightly amused. Not to mention, quite amazed. Only Zaynah would think of using a potentially detrimental situation for something beneficial. I honestly wondered what this woman was made of… she always had such a strong inclination to right a wrong. To polish what was tarnished.

“So make a wish,” she said simply. “Make your Du’aa.”

And I did.

I closed my eyes for a few seconds right there and then, saying the words my heart had been wanting to express all this while. I prayed, and not only for right now, but for the the eternal  as well, because I understood now that it wasn’t only right now that mattered. What came after was more important.

I opened my eyes again, feeling slightly renewed after the few moments of spirituality. I breathed in the crisp air, letting it fill my lungs and body, as I leaned against the wall, watching my wife watching me.

It wasn’t awkward. It was just surreal. Like most of the time I had spent with her, I could feel myself re-orienting once again, just in these few minutes I had spent with her. I loved it because it made me feel like I could be so much more than just exist. Like I could be the best in my Deen once again. I was convinced that she was one of those special and few people who can change the entire world with just her inspiration. Our Rabb had made her in such a way that she always had that effect on me.

“As I was saying,” she said casually, but with a hint of a smile in her eyes. “Thank you for coming. Nabeela was bugging my brains, and it’s been a while so I didn’t know how to contact you without getting everyone else involved…”

I had went off the radar slightly, but it was only because I needed to absorb myself in things to keep my mind off her. If I had known that she was looking for me, I might have come earlier… but I couldn’t do much about it now.

“I’m sorry,” I said solemnly.

“No, don’t apologize,” she said hastily, shaking her head. “I’m sorry. JazakAllah… for everything.”

I smiled, because in that moment, it was like I recalled the past once again, and frankly, I couldn’t believe that it was happening. That this moment would ever brace me with its amazement once again. I never thought I’d see it again because it reminded me of times when everything was so much easier. Rosier. More promising. When the sun shone with a light that lit up my whole world.

And of course, there was only one response to what she had said, and I couldn’t help but say it. I couldn’t help but say exactly what she had said that changed a whole lot in my life, and I hope she for the same outcome here.

I looked up, smiling slightly, and said the very same words that just made it for me.

At that time, it was priceless, and I knew that it’s value would never lessen. With our history,  it could only escalate.

“Is there any other reward for good other than good?” I said, slightly mysteriously.

And she knew the words. Of course, she had said them too. It was Allah’s promise… Of the favours upon us.

And maybe it was the us who made it, but once again, all I could think was: This is just the most perfect moment. With the most perfect words.

هَلْ جَزَآءُ الإِحْسَـنِ إِلاَّ الإِحْسَـنُ

“Is there any reward for good other than good?” (55:60)

And honestly, as I said it and looked at her, it was like she was suddenly endowed with something beyond explanation.

Her eyes filled with tears as she looked up, and I was dead certain that I saw it right there. The glint of recognition. Maybe it was my mind playing tricks on me, or fooling me into believing what I wanted to, but  when she smiled amidst the tears, and repeated the words, then I just knew for sure.

“Copy cat,” she whispered, almost under her breath.

So soft, I almost didn’t hear it, but as I processed, I stared at her in shock, as she smiled amidst the countless tears  that were streaming down her face. It was too much, too fast, and I couldn’t yet process what it all meant… Until it suddenly hit me.

Moments. There are so many, that we hang onto, with no idea that they were so special. And then, there are moments that you just wait for, hoping with every inch of your entire being that they are for real. Moments that, sometimes, just make you want you drink them in, because they’re what we live for. After a long road of loss, gain, failure, success, and so many mistakes—There finally are moments that just capture you in a way that you wait for and inwardly crave… To create a new beginning, or to give us a new hope.

We spend our whole lives just focusing on now. The present.  What we can feel, hear and touch. As insaan, we just chase what’s immediate, without worrying about eternity. We get attached to things and people. We chase fleeting moments and temporary enjoyment. We chase what’s not really there, because we get too busy to focus on what lasts.

It wasn’t like I had done it all for her. Took the plunge. I didn’t. I didn’t worship a person, a feeling, or anything material. The truth was simple, and it was just this:

We are all striving. All seeking. And along this really long road, is an end that is forked and frayed. There are many ways to the end, but along the way there are many means that help our striving. What we need to realise is the path to the truth, and what is eternal. I had to choose a path that I knew I could see a beginning… not an end.

Nothing happens without reason. Not separation. Not even pain. Everything is a means to seek closeness to Allah, and to find the way to the end. Everything is made to guide us along the path, and when we feel pain over something in Duniyaa, it is the pointer to where our attachment lies.

And that’s the trigger. Seek your Rizq, but don’t chase. Love your spouse, but don’t ever idolize. Use people to guide you, but never depend on them.

When Musaa (AS) went down the River Nile, his mother thought he would never see him again, but she did, in a most comforting way. When Ibrahim (AS) let his wife and child, he did return years later, to see how they had thrived. The lesson here was simple. After all that time and separation, in the process, reliance on Allah was at its greatest heights. They turned to Allah completely.

Begging, praying, hoping and complete Tawakkul. It’s what any of us would understand, that through the loss, we turn entirely to Him. And by definition, our heart turns to him completely. Through the losing, we have been given something so much more precious and eternal. What’s lost, does sometimes return- but sometimes it just takes some time.

Time to love. Time to give. Time to return.

What lives in the heart, controls the body. It’s the driving force, and the foundation that everything builds on. If that root is what is with the eternal, then that heart will never break. It too, will keep striving, keep seeking, until it finds what it is meant to. And what is meant to be found has no argument to hold.

Undeniably, there are places in the heart created only for our Rabb. Places that many people have come to only find when they had given everything… Only to end up with nothing else.

And in this temporary world, there are very few things that are truly priceless, and that will be part and parcel of the journey to Jannah. What I do know, though, in my chase for something ‘more’ to life, I had somehow ended up with gold.

And that brief moment that I had found it, I could never forget. It was a moment that I was saved, completed and everything that was once broken inside of me, had gotten fixed. The moment all the pieces fitted together, so perfectly, as if they had never been out of synch before. How my every need was fulfilled, through a single person being a means sent by the Almighty. Through a single person who had helped me find what we all needed to seek.

Jannah.  Paradise. The Lord of the Worlds, and His pleasure upon them. And when they get that, He will give them what He has hidden for them of the delight of the eye. He will grant them more, on top of all of that, and even better… they will even get the honor of looking at His Noble Face. And that is greater than anything that had ever been given. And of course, one will not deserve that because of our deeds, but rather, we will receive it by the grace of Allah and His mercy. From a little effort they made in this Duniyaa that passed…

The Duniyaa, that was so fleeting, that it will seem like it happened in just a moment.

In a mere heartbeat.


Please make maaf that this post is so delayed. I’ve just been too crazy. Planned on doing two before Ramadhaan but time has caught up with me.

Time. We all know how precious it is, and as the blessed month dawns upon us, please remember me and my family in your Duaas. Also, let’s try and plan each day meticulously so we do not waste a moment. May Allah guide us and take us safely to Ramadhaan, over and over. I do hope to post something beneficial, so InshaAllah, if I get a chance I will, and hopefully and epilogue to this post will follow if not before, after Ramadhaan.

Lets utilize every moment and increase in our Ibadat so we can build toward our Aakhirah InshaAllah. Let’s cut our addiction to technology and absorb ourselves in the Quran. InshaAllah. Allah give us the Tawfeeq.

ONE STEP CLOSER TO JANNAH, InshaAllah!

Let’s practice our SUNNAH InshaAllah! More Sunnah of eating:

*sitting*

We tend to stand and eat/drink. Let’s consciously make an effort to sit, even if it’s on the floor, while we are enjoying our food.

*Eating with three fingers.*

The Sunnah is to eat with three fingers;
eating with more than three fingers is a sign of greed and is bad manners,
because
there is no need for more than three in order to gather up a morsel.
If it is necessary to use more than three,
because
the food is light and cannot be gathered in three fingers, then he may use the fourth or fifth.

*See Fath al-Baari, 9/578*

Practice, share and earn multiple rewards in shaa Allah.

SubhaanAllah. Let’s try and observe the Sunnah Duaas of eating InshaAllah.

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#RevivetheSunnahofDrinking

#Revive theSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofSmiling

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofDu’aas

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Talk of the Town: Nabeela

Bismilllahir Rahmaanir Raheem.

We’re all striving for something. Something that may seem beyond our reach. Some of us say we’d rather have something than absolutely nothing, but the truth is, to have it halfway is harder than not having it at all. But what we need to understand is that there’s only wisdom in whatever has been placed, and sometimes it just takes a little bit of patience.

Patience is hard. It’s really hard. Sometimes we feel like we’ve been tested to our limit. We try all sorts of aids in an attempt to gain some relief. You name it. Every measure to make the path a little steadier.

But the path will always hold challenges. It’s never a walk in the park. With all that, it can never have any effect if we cannot accept that it is only Allah Ta’ala who is One who places effect and benefit in something. Sometimes we just have to wait for it all to unfold, to see the real deal behind the scenes. Sometimes we have to strive a little harder to actually see the results.

“You cannot be serious,” I said, widening my eyes at my cousin, and shaking my head. “She actually said that?!”

Okay, so maybe this was a bit much.

It was unbelievable. The things that people came up with when anything out of the ordinary happened was quite something.

“It didn’t come from me, okay?” Zaynah said. “I just wanted to let you know so you watch what you say around them.”

I nodded, slowly digesting everyting that was happening. Raees had really caused it this time, and I was fuming. I had already seen a bit of the talk on Instagram, and I knew that I needed to take it easy with the social networks I had secretly downloaded. Zaynah would have a fit if she knew.

“She should be the last one talking,” I said impulsively, furious about all the hype. “You should see what her daughter is up to on Instagram.”

Zaynah looked at me sharply. Uh-oh. She would probably have my head for mentioning the “I word”, because Zaynah could not stand the fact that people advertised their lives so blatantly.

I knew that being involved in them was futile, because besides it being a huge time drainer, looking into other people’s posts and lives was always detrimental. It’s where most of the discontentment stemmed from in us, because instead of living our own lives, on social networks, we tend to live the lives of others. We want to live their lives, because everything always seems peachier on the other side… but my focus was wrong.

Instead of focusing on us and our inner self, we try to create a Jannah outside our own lives. We want a flawless, storm-free and serene world, outside, but our inside is turbulent to the core. The catch is; contentment just doesn’t exist in this world.

I needed to shift the focus. Instead of the outside- the perfect and peaceful world—can exist inside. The sanctuary can be inside us. No one can take that sanctuary away. No storm can affect it. No rain can reach it. And no-one’s silly post or Snapchat snip can kill it.

“Zay,” I said, chamging the topic to something safer. “I didn’t check… are you okay with the upcoming wedding?”

Zaynah frowned and looked at me weirdly.

“You better delete it,” she scowled, still thinking about my previous comment.

“Okay,” I said sheepishly. It was part of my goals for Ramadhaan and I knew I had better get moving if I wanted to achieve success in the blessed month. I had to start killing the bad habits from now.

“And of course I’m okay with it,” she said breezily, talking about the wedding. “You guys seem to think I’m bothered. I’m just glad that he’s making it right instead of running around with that poor girl. Besides. I have bigger things to worry about, remember?”

I smiled, really hoping to see Zaynah happy again soon. With Waseem. I was young and had always been sceptical in the past, but it was the love story that gave even me hope. I was so worried that she was going to give up on him and do something stupid. Everything was slowly falling into place, but my life, ironically, had taken a slightly drastic turn.

After the recent drama of an extended family member spotting Raees at a mall with a girl, he had finally decided to come clean and decided to make Nikah. The annoying part was that being in the spotlight made him spill the beans about me. Raees was so sly that he couldn’t stand the drama centered around him, so he had to put me in the eye. It made me furious.

And okay, maybe me not mentioning anything to anyone about my hunting hobby might have been suspicious, but I knew the kind of ladies we had in our family. Daddy’s condition was that I would always go with him and that I keep it low key, because he knew what they were like. They were so judgemental and old fashioned. They would probably talk my father into sending me for a cooking course instead. It wasn’t like I was doing anything wrong.

Now that they found out, the stories that were emerging were quite unbelievable. I mean, to say that I was man-hunting instead was really spiteful. I really didn’t anticipate getting a proposal at the hunting grounds. It was completely unexpected. Spontaneous. And of course, it gave me a weird kind of feeling in the pit of my tummy. I wasn’t sure if it was excitement, but I didn’t dare feel any yet because I had no idea where it was going. Raees was the number one obstacle, and even with his recent history, he still had the audacity to pass judgement.

“Never,” Raees had said, the minute my father mentioned it. “My sister will never marry there. That guys been married before, Daddy. We don’t even know what happened there. Can you really let your teenage daughter marry someone with that much of history? Let’s not even go there.”

He stressed on the word teenage, and I could feel my cheeks burning as they argued. I mean, really? Couldn’t they at least do this when I wasn’t around? And didn’t I get any say at all in the my own future?

Well, it was just as well that I didn’t say anything that day, because I know people would probably have a mouthful to say had I pushed the issue.

Instead, I left it alone and went to my room to phone Zaynah. Of course she would know what to say, and make it okay. And, ten minutes later, my mind was completely at ease, knowing that what was meant for me would never miss me. My silly childish crush was now the least of my worries. I knew that I had been off-track before, but Ziyaad was trying to do the right thing when he approached my father. I just had to hope that they see it that way too.

I had some hope still, after all, it wasn’t yet the end of the road. Increase in istighfaar, was Zaynah’s advice. It will all be okay.

“Whatever path you are treading, or whatever you want… know that it will be made easier with abundant Istighfaar.”

A man once came to al-Hasan al-Basri and complained to him: “The sky does not shower us with rain.” He replied: “Seek Allah’s forgiveness (i.e. say أستغفر ألله).”

Then another person came to him and said, “I complain of poverty.” He replied: “Seek Allah’s forgiveness.”

Then another person came to him and complained, “My wife is barren; she cannot bear children.” He replied: “Seek Allah’s forgiveness.”

The people who were present, said to al-Hasan: “Everytime a person came to you complaining, you instructed them to seek Allah’s forgiveness?”

Al-Hasan al-Basri said, “Have you not read the statement of Allah? ‘I said “Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Truly He is Oft-Forgiving. He will send rain to you in abundance; increase you in wealth and children; grant you gardens and bestow on you rivers.”‘” [Nuh (71):10-12].

Rasul Allah (SAW) said, “If anyone continually asks forgiveness, Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress, relief from anxiety, and will provide for him from where he never realized.”
[Abu Dawood, Hadith 599]

And of course, I knew that was only truth in it. As the days passed and I hoped that everything would work out, I increased in istighfaar. In fact, I became addicted to istighfaar… and of course, made plenty of Duaa for the best. Although my heart was inclined to what it wanted, I knew that there could only be goodness in still asking for what was right for me. If I had to give a reason why I wanted this to work out, I knew that it would be because of reasons that were far from before.

No silly fantasies and hopes could match the contentment you feel when you do everything the way that Allah is pleased with. When you save yourself from the sin of something that is wrong.

As it does when you seem to be waiting on something, it seemed like forever before anything happened to change the course of my life. My teenage years had always been spent under the radar, and I had, overnight, become something of a topic of discussion for most in our small town. It was a time of finding myself and coming to peace with everything that was going on, so I ignored it and kept occupied with the usual things while I got on with life. Finding peace within my self was something of a mission, but it was something that I had needed to do for a long time.

Like many girls, I had spent most of my life waiting for that someone to sweep me off my feet. I spent my life running after what I thought would give me happiness. It was what I felt I needed. I needed a special someone, and since I never had it,  I needed comfort. I needed people. All the time.
But the reason for that desire, is simply love. The need for love. We yearn for it and chase it, but we forget that love has a Creator too. We forget about who brought this need within us, and we get lost along the way.
We seek it in the wrong way. We look to fulfill that need in the wrong place.

But there is winning in every walk of life. There is a beautiful and fascinating rule that governs this world. And it’s really not rocket science.

Chase what is always there. Chase what lasts. Although the heart inclined to what’s easiest, quickest and closest, when we see that the chase will lead us nowhere, and finally see the truth… that’s when we chase what’s eternal. We chase what doesn’t fade. We chase the only thing that can fill us. Our Creator.

And then, of course, as Ramadhaan came closer, I seemed to finally get this, and started to focus my attentions on something other than what I was waiting for. Like Murphy’s Law, everything suddenly started happening at once. First was the preparation for my brothers wedding which seemed to be taking forever to happen. My family was all about the quick Nikah, and apparently the girls family wanted time to prepare a function. And though I never thought I’d be the one to say it, with my new focus, I wished they’d just make the Nikah and get it done with.

Everything was happening at lightning speed when the arrangements were finalized, and I took a deep breath in on that last Friday morning before Ramadhaan, preparing myself for a helluva weekend. I was so busy with my to-do list, that I didn’t even think twice when Hassan came in a few minutes later, screaming at the top of his lungs about something I had know idea about.

“What on earth are you saying?” I asked him, so frustrated that he was behaving like a problem child. I wondered why he acted so hyper at times. It was probably his age.

“It’s his car!” He screamed again, running to the window and pointing out.

The boy was obsessed with cars and it was getting a bit much. I sighed and went to the window, hoping to steer him away from the attraction.

“Uncle Waseem!” he shouted, grinning widely as someone got off the car.

At first I didn’t believe him, but as I looked closer, I realized that it was true. Zaynah’s husband was here. I was just about to shout for my cousin, when my voice froze in my throat as someone else stepped out.

At that moment, I had no idea what all this would bring, but I knew that I had to be prepared for anything. My father had been avoiding any discussions and they had obviously come here for something. Of course, this wasn’t just a coincidence. This was going to be a battle, but there had to be some winning here.

There was winning in every walk of life, and we all want it. We all want to win. We are all chasing something. Running after something.

But when we re-orient, and run towards Allah alone, then do we get the real picture: Only the one who gives up this fight, fails. You don’t give up… but you just have to re-focus. Focus on the One who will keep you grounded, throughout the storm. Focus on Him, and then only will you be successful.

And then only, will you find the real gold.


ONE STEP CLOSER TO JANNAH, InshaAllah!

Let’s practice our SUNNAH InshaAllah! More Sunnah of eating:

*Eating with three fingers.*

The Sunnah is to eat with three fingers;
eating with more than three fingers is a sign of greed and is bad manners,
because
there is no need for more than three in order to gather up a morsel.
If it is necessary to use more than three,
because
the food is light and cannot be gathered in three fingers, then he may use the fourth or fifth.

*See Fath al-Baari, 9/578*

Practice, share and earn multiple rewards in shaa Allah.

SubhaanAllah. Let’s try and observe the Sunnah Duaas of eating InshaAllah.

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#RevivetheSunnahofDrinking

#Revive theSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofSmiling

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofDu’aas

Tweet: @ajourneyjournal

 

Fired Up

Bismilllahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Time. Time flies. Time heals all wounds. Time waits for no man.

We all know. We’ve heard it all. We know all the proverbs, heard the theologians theorising and heard the elder people warning us about wasting time.

Sometimes, though, we’re too busy hanging onto something that we don’t really have, to move forward and grasp what’s really there. To let go and make way for what can be fully ours.

We still want to see for ourselves. We have to make our own mistakes. We have to learn our own lessons. We have to sweep our fears under the rug, and move forward into the ambush of life, whether we’re ready or not.

“Come on, bru,” I said, moving toward the edge of the bank we were standing on. It looked quite scary from up here. “Have some faith.”

It was one of those outdoorsy days, and we were encompassing natural beauty in the way we liked to do best. It had been a few months since we had come to the hunting grounds, and I enjoyed the feeling of being here. And no, I wasn’t becoming some crazy hunter guy. I just enjoyed the chase. Not to mention, I was all fired up.

I glimpsed the impala that was standing below us, and  Junaid was eyeing me out sceptically, completely convinced that I couldn’t get it.

I was, of course, trying to convince him that I had definitely improved since the last time at the hunting grounds, but he wasn’t buying it.

“It’s not that I don’t have faith,” he said, taking a few steps closer for a better view. “It’s just that the last time… Well…”

He trailed off, and I knew the guy was mocking my big mess-up on our previous trip there.

But, I mean, c’mon, cut me some slack, okay? It was my first time. That chic was probably doing this hunting animals thing for years. You can’t possibly compare.

I kept a straight face and tried to look hurt.

“That’s not fair, bru,” I said, dropping my tone. “You shouldn’t judge people like that. You could see that chic was probably a Mujaahidah in training.”

Junaid grinned and shook his head.

“What are your you guys talking about?”

The voice came from behind, and I turned back and grinned. Trust Waseem’s ears to turn into satellites the minute he heard anything to do with Jihaad. I thought he had got left behind somewhere in the bushes behind us.

“I’m talking about the last time, when Zee let a chic beat him to the hunt,” Junaid said smoothly, shaking his head.

Waseem grinned, but his smile had an edge to it. It was like his heart just wasn’t in it. It just didn’t seem like it was real.

When he had come back, it was awesome, of course, because we had all honestly thought that my brother was gone. Like, for good.

And of course I was happy that he had returned, but I guess I was a bit ambitious in my expectations. I maybe wanted him to be just as he had always been, and expected everything to go back to normal, but I was let down.

Waseem had changed and a lot of stuff had changed because of him. He had focused wholeheartedly on his work and Hifdh, and I was proud that my brother was nearly done with it. With the upcoming Ramadhaan, I could tell that he was excited to perform taraweeh as well, but it seemed like he was immersing himself in it so he wouldn’t feel anymore. I hoped that his wife would return so he would snap back, but he always had the most profound things to say when I asked him about her. Of course, Waseem always did have a tendency to be mysterious, but he took it to another level that day.

“I’m letting destiny take it’s course,” he had said, sounding like a wise old man who had seen too much in life.

“But we have no idea what’s going on!” I said, thinking it was so weird that everything was just at a stand still. “We’re all in the dark here.”

I knew that I was taking his life a bit too personally, but it did affect us all. And besides, I was tired of all the secretive behavior. I needed to know what he was thinking.

“In the dark there may be fear. But there’s still hope.”

I looked at Waseem, wondering where on earth he got these things from. Like, who on earth says things like that?!

“That’s deep, boet,” I said, raising my eyebrows at him.

“Whatever is meant to be, will be,” he added, making me wonder why he wasn’t trying harder.

It was obvious that the guy was having major trouble with withdrawal since his wife had gone, but Waseem remained as cool as ever.

And though it was killing me, doing what he was doing required great strength and I knew that I wouldn’t have half the amount of courage that he did. Of course I had great ambitions for the month that lay ahead, and I even made an intention to sit in Ithikaaf, but Waseem was different. I mean, to just sit back and let whatever was meant to happen, happen, was all well and good, but not exactly something that I could commit to. I was slowly making other changes as the month drew closer. I had even fasted a few days during Shabaan, with intention of Sunnah, and for me, it was a big deal. Staying away from food was huge for the Zee.

Now, as I watched Waseem, I just hoped he wasn’t channeling all his worries into a place where it had no outlet. Maybe coming here to the hunting grounds to let off some steam today would actually be good for my brother.

“Woah, look,” Junaid said suddenly, as he peeped through a shrub and I saw another animal come into view.

I assumed it was some kind of deer, but I couldn’t be sure. I wasn’t that clued up on the hunting thing yet.

“If you miss this one,” he muttered, putting his own rifle down. “I will probably kill you.”

I gave him a sly smile and pulled up my rifle, trying to aim the way that Junaid had taught me earlier that month while we were practicing at the shooting range,

Focus, Zee, I urged myself, determined to get it right this time. It should take a little more effort. A little more perseverance.

“Five,” Junaid said into my ear, counting down for me, so I could work focus on the prey. It was a difficult job to do both at once.

Three, two, one, and….

The piercing echo of the gunshot rung through the air, and as I slid off my ear muffs, I could see that something was definitely lying on the floor ahead of us, somewhere near where I had aimed.

It was the red deer, and though I was confused at first, because I was sure I had aimed for the impala, things got cleared up to pretty quickly as I turned to look at Junaid. At that point, he had a blank look on his face as I grinned at him, and it felt like dejavu.

My smile didn’t take long to fade. He was shaking his head, and looking at me hopelessly.

“I’m the man?!” I asked him, still hopeful.

And of course, I honestly could not believe it when a crowd of people appeared, once again, this time, much bigger than the last time. I could hear their excitement as they moved forward, and I stared at the chic clad, now clad in black as they moved ahead.

The ISIS chic. Even though her face was covered, I could tell that she was the exact same one.

Like, really? A girl can shoot like that?! Twice?!

My mouth literally hung open as I watched them, because I really could not believe what had just happened. Again.

No ways.

Juniad literally covered his eyes and hung his head as they all oohed and aahed over the kill. I obviously had no idea where to put my red face. And of course it was an eyeball, because even Waseem looked completely bewildered at the turn this had taken.

And then, of course,  my mind couldn’t help but wonder why. How? I mean, what was the odds of this kind of thing happening not once… But twice? It was either some kind of weird coincidence, a huge joke, or the unfolding of fate that was happening right at that moment.

“I cannot believe this,” Junaid said, voicing my very own thoughts. “Waseem, isn’t that your connections? Again.”

Waseem nodded numbly, looking ahead as he walked toward them to greet.

I could see him stretching out his hand and greeting the older man who was talking animatedly as they walked further on. And then, of course, as they walked, the girl in question came into view once again, and this time, instead of staring as I usually would, I looked down, knowing exactly what all this meant. Knowing exactly who she was.

Time. All it took was time. Time to realize how important time is. Time to focus on what really counts. Time to see that whatever is wasted on Duniya, is always lost.

It had been a long haul- an era of broken hearts, getting it back together and fitting in the puzzle pieces once again. Through shifting my focus, it worked. Through halting the chase of the world, a bigger picture came into view.

It was then when everything seemed to come together. When I saw the truth of the temporary world, and when reality became truth for me. And then, when I understood how valuable the time that we have here is, and that we can never win unless we are of the few that Allah (SWT) mentions in Surah Asr.

إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ الصَّـلِحَـتِ وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْاْ بِالصَّبْرِ

Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and enjoin each other to the truth and enjoin each other to the patience.”

And unless I made myself of those few who had Taqwa, I knew I would be the ultimate loser. I may not have been the best, but I had tried to do what I could. I had taken the step in the right direction, and had been Divinely inspired to take the opportunity to change my life. And it wasn’t always easy. Through the journey of discovery, there were moments in deep valleys of despair, moments spent on mountaintops of triumph… And of course, then, finally, came the moment I had to see for myself, and take the plunge to make myself the best version that I could ever be.

And before I knew it, I realised that what’s broken… can be fixed. What’s hurt… can be healed. After it all… and after the darkness, the sun has got to rise again. The brightness will find it’s way through, once again. I saw the light, because when I looked back, it was easy to see when a mistake had been made. When I made the wrong choice, and took the wrong path. When I stumbled and fell, bringing down not only me… but people around me too.

But the important thing was the regret.  Oh, the regret.

I regretted so many choices, yet they seemed like decent ideas at the time.

If only I had used my best judgement and listened to my what was within… to that inner voice… to the hold over my heart that was urging me to do the right thing… I knew I would have chosen different. I would have chosen better. And to make it right, I just hoped that this choice, I would choose wisely. With this choice… I would avoid the deepest and most painful regret of them all; the regret that comes with letting something amazing pass you by.

Sometimes you have to act on impulse to do what’s right. Sometimes you have to just take a plunge. Not everything in life can be intricately planned and penned out. Sometimes it may be erratic. Spontaneous. In the moment.

And this, I had to do right now. I was all fired up.

“Jun,” I said boldly, turning to my friend. I wasn’t sure how I would explain, but I just needed him to be there. “I need you to come with me. I’m about to do something crazy.”


Please remember this humble writer in your Duaas as these Mubarak days dawn upon us. We are coming to the end of the story, and I am trying to round off this blog by Ramadhaan, InshaAllah. 

May Allah make it easy to practice whatever we may have learnt from here. 

ONE STEP CLOSER TO JANNAH, InshaAllah!
Let’s practice our SUNNAH InshaAllah! More Sunnah of eating:

*Eating with three fingers.*

The Sunnah is to eat with three fingers;
eating with more than three fingers is a sign of greed and is bad manners,
because
there is no need for more than three in order to gather up a morsel.
If it is necessary to use more than three,
because
the food is light and cannot be gathered in three fingers, then he may use the fourth or fifth.  

*See Fath al-Baari, 9/578* 

Practice, share and earn multiple rewards in shaa Allah.

SubhaanAllah. Let’s try and observe the Sunnah Duaas of eating InshaAllah.

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#RevivetheSunnahofDrinking

#Revive theSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofSmiling

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofDu’aas

Tweet: @ajourneyjournal

Forever and Always

­Bismilllahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Waseem: What's meant to be...

The human heart is a funny thing. In one spectacular vessel, it can hold many emotions, feelings and connections, that we can never completely fathom.

The ties that bind us are sometimes impossible to explain. They connect us even after it seems like the ties should be broken. Some bonds even defy distance, time, and logic. Because some ties are simply… Meant to be.

And I had felt love before. Of course I had. I had let it consume me and take over. I had let it engulf me and overcome me, but I realised one thing. The love that you feel when you see your first child…

Well, that love is a different kind. That love is just… Well, it literally takes your breath away.

And like that image in the distance that we are hoping to reach, and will become willing to sacrifice everything to get there, that too, sometimes eludes us.

As I eyed my brother,  my own heart couldn’t be  controlled. I could tell exactly how he felt. He was drowning in the type of gratitude that happens when you know that you truly don’t deserve something that good. It’s like everything just fell into place, but out of no effort on your part. Life just took a turn for the best, and it was hardly believable.

“I can hardly believe it,” he was saying. Of course, he was awestruck, and though it may sound weird- but the mere fact that a new life can emerge out of a clot of blood… well, it was nothing short of awesome. It was the miracle of life.

“Name?” I asked, looking through the glass at my new niece. I wasn’t sure what she looked like as yet, but I was glad to see that the baby looked pretty normal.

“We’re still deciding,” Mo said, and I nodded, wondering how things had progressed so drastically in the past few months.

I mean, just seeing my wife outside had put a whole lot into perspective now. The fact that she looked almost like she was back to being the Zaynah I had known and loved all that time sent chills down my spine. I wasn’t sure why, but seeing it made me even more weary. Was it all really as good as it seemed? I just couldn’t seem to let it sink in.

After everything that I had seen in the past few months, I wasn’t sure if I could just snap back to our shallow reality just yet. I still had images of bloody corpses stuck in my head, and I closed my eyes briskly to try and block them out.

“It just happened overnight,” I could hear Molvi saying to me, as we drove through the deserted streets late that night we had landed, all those months ago.

“Like us, they were also in a lax state before the war hit them,” he continued, speaking in a low tone now as we entered a new district.

The driver of the car we were in had suddenly stopped, and a few armed men could be seen approaching the car. I immediately tensed up as the window opened, hearing them speak in the local language, and then addressing us in the back.

I was on edge as they spoke, knowing they expected a response, but unable to understand what they were saying. My heart seemed to jolt up my throat as their voices got louder , and just as I was about to give us up and let the cat out, Molvi placed a comforting arm on my shoulder, leaned forward, and spoke so calmly, I couldn’t understand how he did it. He spoke so smoothly in the local language that not even I would have thought he was a foreigner, had I not known him.

I shook my head as we drove away to the masjid we were going to reside, not believing that we had just scraped something quite threatening. With Molvi around, I knew that Allah would be on our side.

And of course, having him around got us out just when we needed to. Although I argued that I had nothing to be back home for, the fact that our death would have been questionable if it had been ther was very likely.  The war was becoming a civil one, and that could never be the kind of Jihaad we wanted to be involved in. Too many beliefs. Too many sects.

Though Molvi had said that he would be there for Da’wah purposes alone, the fact that we were there in the midst of the trouble made us part of it already. We eventually made the decision to remove ourselves when people were not responding to the call to unite. Instead of uniting as a common Muslim body, the divisions were becoming greater and scarier.

I blinked back the emotion I still felt when I saw the dead bodies that last day, just lying there, waiting to be claimed. Some looked like they were still fresh… As if their souls had just been taken from them seconds ago. It was when I truly realized the truth in the words that I had heard many times before. Indeed, the true martyrs were the ones who, by Allah’s Will and Might, hold corpses that do not decay even though they have been buried in the graves for dozens, hundreds or even thousands of years.

It is mentioned that Muslim historians had reported that when Mu’awiyah (RA) ruled, he was planning for a water channel to be built in Madinah. In order for this development to be achieved, the channel had to be routed through the middle of the Madinah cemetery. Therefore, he ordered the remains of the dead in the graves to be transferred to another place.

In the midst of the dismantling and relocation process, the people found that the corpses were still in their original states. When one of the shovels they used accidentally hit and slashed the leg of a Sahabi, blood was seen flowing from the cut. This occurred although he had died in the Battle of Uhud, about 50 years before this incident.

In fact, there are so many narrations to be mentioned about the undying state of the corpses of those who died as Shaheed. Nevertheless, based on the narrations, it is evident that the bodies of the Shuhadaa also do not rot away (consumed by the earth). In fact, the scholars have clarified that their condition is like that of a living body, as they are provided sustenance accordingly.

The subject has been clearly mentioned by the Qur’an: “Think not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord;” [Qur’an 3:169]

And for those people who were prone to adversity, it was a common sight in the streets after an invasion or blast.  Some didn’t even flinch as they saw it. They knew what had happened. They knew how it all went down. It was just another day of war-torn life, and the atrocities that came with it. They knew that what would come after would be better. That their faith would only get stronger.

For us, on the other hand, our reality was a far cry. It was our never-ending chase of the world that fueled our day-to-day lives. It was the constant rivalry for worldly consumption that sparked our concerns. Nothing like what I had seen the past few months. We were so off-track.

I sighed now, as I left the hospital, spotting the car I knew oh-so-well waiting on the far end of the parking lot. Abbi’s car was now being used by his brother, and it evoked memories that were sometimes difficult to swallow.

I gestured to them to follow me as I reversed out. Of course I had to make sure my wife was taken care of while she was back home. I thought of offering them to come and stay at the house, but after everything that had happened… I didn’t want to be disappointed once again. I didn’t want to push it, and scare her away.

I left them that night with a heavy heart, knowing that there was so much still hanging in the air. So much left unsaid, and so much m yet to be explained. I didn’t know how long it would be until I saw her again, and my mind was so alive with questions, despite my body being so tired.

I had went straight from the airport to see my brother, and  when I finally walked into my house that night, my mother’s emotions got me wondering why I ever went away in the first place. She clung onto me, and I held her back, not knowing what they had thought really happened to me. I knew that they deserved an explanation. I knew that everyone did.

And just as I was thinking of what exactly I would say, then of course, when I finally got to my room, the reality of what I had left behind became apparent. Everything that had happened came flooding back.

Meeting Raees. The letter. My marriage.

I sucked in my breath, so confused anout what to make of the whole thing. If only I could have known how much this changed me. If only she could know how much she had taught me. And yes, maybe it was really hard right now, but I would have never opened my eyes if I never took the plunge.

The huge awakening that I never saw before. And when that happens, like it did for me that day… To reach a different kind of elevation, where you never imagined yourself to be,  you know that you actually achieved. Then you know that you have to be grateful. When you finally reach out for others, and not just yourself, that’s only when you will attain the kind of salvation that you truly need. That’s the height that defines our true worth.

But first, you have to do it. You have to make a plan. You have to set a goal. You have to reach for what may even seem impossible, and let it be known.

And so, I opened a notepad Zaynah had kept at the top of her cupboard, took out my Mont Blanc pen that I had always cherished, and started writing. Another one of the materialistic things that I had taken such great care of, but now meant nothing to me.

I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. Because I didn’t have the heart to to pick up my laptop or phone, I poured it out on paper. I just didn’t care about anything else.

I poured out my experiences, and everything that I had kept inside all this time. Of course I still loved her, but my focus had completely changed now. And for her, she might not love, or even know me now, but for the brief time that she did, she had changed me because of it. It was that hopeless kind of love. The type that was not only unforgettable… But unmatched and incomparable on every possible level.

And as I finished the last paragraph of what I wanted to relate, I knew just what I had to say to sign off. I wasn’t sure where we would go from here, or where we were headed in the future. All I knew was that whatever was to happen would be what destiny had in store. The very person who I was addressing knew that better than anyone else, as she would often remind me. How could I ever forget?

The pen. The very thing I had been using had to be the reminder for what I needed to know.

I wished it was different, and I wished it was more clear cut. I wished that everything that had to happen would be as I wanted, but when it came to the reality of the future, it wasn’t to do with matters of the heart. It wasn’t to do with what our feeble minds made sense of. It was, frankly, all in the hands of Allah.

The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W) is reported to have said: ‘The First Thing ALLAH created was the Pen. He commanded it to write. The Pen said: “What should I write?” It was said: “Write Taqdeer.” So the pen wrote everything that will happen till now and what will happen till eternity.” (Tirmidhi)

Taqdeer. It was what it was. It shall be what it shall be. That is how it will end.

I continued to write, with that in mind.

The ties that bind us are sometimes impossible to explain. They connect us even after it seems like the ties are broken. Some bonds are so strong… that they even defy time, distance and logic.

Because no matter what happens after… some ties were simply… Meant to be. Whether we meet again, or there is nothing in store for us from this day, know that the very fact that you were part of my journey, was meant to be. Allah chose you to be the reason for me to start over. The reason for me to change.  

I think of you, and my heart is filled with love and gratitude to our Lord… So I just want to thank you. Thank you.

Thank you for Tahajjud smiles and late night laughs. Thank you for holding my hand through the rough patches, sharing that last packet of jelly babies, and for proving to me that real love through and for Allah Ta’ala can exist. Thank you for showing me the truth of this temporary world, and for opening my eyes to what I had been blind to all along. Thank you for giving a guy like me a chance, when no-one else would have.  You gave me something beyond just what a wife can give, made me take the plunge, and I will always be grateful for that.

Thank you for the pleasure of being your someone special and giving me mine…

That, I will never forget.

Your always and forever husband,

Waseem


Please Don’t forget our Super Sunnahs! Lot of Durood on this Jumuah…

Sallalahu Alaihi Wa Sallam…

SubhaanAllah. Let’s try and observe the Sunnah Duaas of eating InshaAllah.

#RevivetheSunnahofEating

#RevivetheSunnahofDrinking

#Revive theSunnahofSpeakingGood

#RevivetheSunnahofSmiling

#RevivetheSunnahofMiswaak

#RevivetheSunnahofDu’aas

Tweet: @ajourneyjournal