O Land Of Madina…

As the days pass, I become more restless than ever
And my longing becomes more intense than ever
To be on the land so very fortunate and auspicious
The land which my Nabi SAW held in deep endearment

What is so special about you, O land of Madina?
That God placed you under His beloved Rasool’s SAW feet so blessed
The sand here is wealthier than any King in history
The soil here has more grandeur than the castles of Rome
Oh how I wish I were a part of your land
I wish I were a tiny grain of sand in your land
And my Nabi SAW would have walked on me
Ah! how fortunate and how blessed I would have been!

O land of Madina, is there anything purer than your breeze and your air?
Is there anything more virtuous, clean and clear?
The air which was breathed by the Rasool SAW
How can it not be soothing and cool?
Oh how I wish I were part of your environment
I wish I were a tiny molecule of air in your breeze
Then I would have attached myself to the sacred tomb so green…
Ah! How fortunate and how blessed I would have been!

As Gunbad-e-Khazra will come into sight,
The whole world would slip out of sight
There is nothing more beautiful and more beguiling
Than the lovely green of the sacred tomb so enchanting
I am sure, glancing at it, I would forget everything
Having it’s desire fulfilled, my heart will likely forget breathing
A reflection of Gunbad-e-Khazra my eyes would seize
Ah! How fortunate and how blessed I would be!

Do you know what do I fear the most about the visit to your land?
It’s the fear that I may have to come back
For a lover’s separation from the beloved is painful indeed
But it’s even more painful when it comes after a meeting
I imagine what will happen when they ask me to leave
The heart would become restless; in the chest will be an overpowering heave
The blood in my body will forget to pump
And right there I will collapse, before the sacred tomb
Then, I hope, they will bury me in the Baqi…
Ah! How fortunate and how blessed I would be!

And I Let Myself Cry…

They say ‘ignorance is bliss’. I had always adopted this policy – particularly in the past several years. When social media began flooding with pictures of injured Syrians and mothers weeping, I chose to look away. When people around me talked about the war and the bombarding, I chose to not listen.

The pain was unbearable so I tried to numb myself. And by practicing it over and over again in these several years, I had finally become quite good at it.

The Holy Prophet SAW said “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.

So if we are part of an Ummah and we are like that of a body,  how do we really numb ourselves?

The doctors use anesthesia because there is no other way to stop the patient feel the pain. The human body is made that way. You cannot have a pain in some part of the body and not feel its effect overall. If you are getting a tooth job, the whole body would be uncomfortable.

So how do you do it? You become inhumane, that’s how.

By not listening, not looking and not talking, I pretended everything was fine. I pretended nothing was happening in Syria. Things in Afghanistan were fine. Children in Iraq do not suffer. The people of Palestine are enjoying their life.

I pretended all this because I thought I could do nothing to change it, except donating of course. So, when things became too overwhelming, I gave donation and became numb again. By giving away a small amount in donation, I could then start pretending again. I could enjoy my life. I could go out to social gatherings and talk about normal stuff – clothes, make up, latest brands, vacations.

However, after the recent bombarding in Afghanistan where more than 100 Huffaz were martyred, Hazrat Shaykh Humayun Hanif Naqshbandi DB asked a question in his bayan: Did anyone of you wake up in Tahajjud and pray for them?

That’s when it hit me. All these years I was trying to make myself numb because I thought I couldn’t change anything when actually I could – with my prayers.

Since then, I have let the tears fall. I have stopped pretending. I have started praying for them. I have started feeling pain. I pray for them and I let myself weep. With every tear, I break the shell of numbness around me. I feel much more human and much better. Yes, I feel pain but that’s what I am supposed to feel, isn’t it?

What if all of us start praying for our Muslim brothers and sisters everywhere in the whole world?

No, we don’t need to post a Facebook status or run prayer chains on social media.

All we need to do is sit alone for a while and pray sincerely for all Muslims that are suffering everywhere in the world.

Listen to these heart wrenching bayans. Let’s all pray sincerely and make a difference.

Huffaz ki Shahadat – Ummat ki Bay Fikri

Burma kay Halaat ki Wajah aur Uska Hal

 

How I Am Learning To Be More Patient

I had always believed there was no element of ‘patience’ in me. ‘I am born like this. It’s in my genetics.’ This was my mindset and the arguments I gave when someone told me to be more patient. I believed I would never be able to become more composed, calmer and more patient.

But then I turned to Allah for help and He helped. And Alhamdulillah I am witnessing my own transformation from a person on the verge of a violent form of depression to someone who is more in control of herself.

So how did things turn around exactly?

The main changing point in my life was the chance to learn Seerat-un-Nabi SAW, the life of Prophet Muhammad SAW. Being brought up in a religious family and then being taught in an Islamic school, I wasn’t ignorant at all. But before this, things just never clicked and never affected me the way they have now. Alhamdulillah.

One of the things that I have learnt in these Seerat-un-Nabi SAW classes is that patience is a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad SAW. This is something I didn’t know before. When talking about Sunnah, we hear a lot of things: miswak, etiquettes of eating, etiquettes of drinking, Sunnah of wearing shoes, etc. But we rarely see anyone talking about the Sunnah of patience.

For thirteen years, our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW endured difficulties, torture, torment, and taunts from the disbelievers in Makkah. His companions RA endured the same. That period of thirteen years before emigration to Madina was a very difficult time for the Muslims of Makkah. We cannot even imagine that and we cannot even compare our meager problems with the problems and difficulties they faced. And yet, what was the command of Allah SWT at that time?

SABAR. PATIENCE.

For thirteen years, the Muslims of Makkah were only advised to exercise patience. And nothing else. They were not even allowed to answer back. They were not even allowed to defend themselves.

While performing Tawaf around the Kaaba, our beloved Messenger of Allah SAW was taunted by the disbelievers of Makkah and was called upon abusively. Our Beloved Messenger of Allah SAW would only listen to them, continue his Tawaf and not even answer back. The disbelievers tormented him in every way possible. And yet the only command at that time was to exercise patience.

That is when I started thinking: do my problems even compare to what my Beloved Prophet SAW faced during those thirteen years of his life? He endured all that for what reason… because he wanted to teach us the art of patience. He endured all those difficulties so that we can look at his example and learn to be patient in life. By enduring everything himself, he became the exemplary role model of patience.

So is patience not a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad SAW? Sadly, we limit the Sunnah of Messenger of Allah SAW in a very small circumference. And we rarely talk about patience in the context of being a sunnat.

Another thing that helped me was the verse from the Quran, “Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” Of course, I have known this verse all my life. But again, sometimes, by looking from a different perspective, things look completely different from what we have known before.

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Allah says in this verse that if we become patient, Allah is with us. Allah doesn’t say that we are with Him when we are patient. He doesn’t say that we get close to Allah when we are patient. Rather He says that He becomes close to us when we are patient. He is with the patient. There is a big difference in that. The Lord of the Worlds, the Master of everything becomes close to us when we become patient. What else do we need, really?

Knowing these two things, I have now begun to see every day as a new test for me. At the end of every day, I check myself:

Was I patient today?

Did I lose my temper?

Was I successful in controlling my anger?

When I score well, I feel positive about myself. And when I fail, I silently resolve to be a better person the next day.

Every difficult situation is an opportunity to groom myself, to follow the Sunnat of Messenger of Allah SAW, and have Allah come close to me.

May Allah ease all our difficulties and keep us with aafiat. Ameen.

The Road To Happiness And Contentment…

Happiness. Satisfaction. Inner peace. These are some power keywords that drive all of us to do things and achieve more in life.  On the other hand, unhappiness, dissatisfaction and lack of sukoon are some common woes everywhere.

If I go back a year and look at what my criteria of happiness was – it was this:

  • Go for a vacation
  • Become a web developer and programmer
  • Have $$$$ in earnings.

If you are a frequent vacation goer, you would argue and say ‘vacations make me happy!’ Well, I am not saying they don’t make you happy. They do. But once you are done with taking pictures and uploading them on Facebook, it pretty much ends there. My father always says ‘being happy is more about telling others how happy you are than being actually happy.’

(if you are lucky, the effects would last a bit longer)

So, given all this emptiness everywhere, you wonder if happiness is just an illusionary emotion, relative to a person’s perceptions. Is it really like a mirage that looks like water but when you get there, it disappears and appears to be farther away?

Well, not really. Happiness, contentment and inner peace are very much real and can be achieved. The problem is: we are just not following the correct route that leads to happiness.

Let me ask you. If you are feeling hungry and you drink water, would you be able to satisfy your hunger? If you are thirsty and you keep eating more and more food, would you be able to quench your thirst? If you have a sore throat and you take the medicine for stomach problems, will it cure your problem?

No, we use our common sense and look for the right solution to every problem. Sadly, we don’t do the same when it comes to discontentment and unhappiness, the common problems of this age.

But fourteen hundred years back, Allah knew that a time would come when people, despite having all blessings and physical comforts, will whine about being unhappy and discontent. That’s why He said it in the Quran:

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Ala Bizikrillahi Tatmainnal Quloob

“Truly, only through the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace.” [13: 28]

This verse indicates two things: Firstly, happiness, contentment and peace are related to the heart and secondly, the only way you can satisfy your heart is through the remembrance of Allah.

This verse diagnoses the problem of discontentment by saying that the problem lies in the heart. That is precisely where we go wrong. We misdiagnose the problem and start looking for its solution in materialism.

A person owning an Alto thinks he would be happier if he owned a Corolla. A person owning a Corolla thinks he would be happier if he owned a Mercedes. A rich lady thinks she would be happier if she started working while a middle class lady thinks she would be happier if she could just relax and still be rich.

What they don’t realize is that all of these bring physical comforts. You might become more comfortable but you can’t get inner peace with these material things. Happiness and peace are problems of the heart, which cannot be solved with physical comforts.

So then, how do we treat the heart? Again, look at the verse above. In a single verse, you find the diagnosis as well as the treatment. What a beauty!

It clearly says the treatment is only in the remembrance of Allah. Period.

Just stumbled across this great Urdu saying…

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Translated as:

The end of every pleasure is vexation except remembrance of Allah.

Just try it. Results guaranteed.

Was I Really Successful?

If I look at my life a couple years back, it wasn’t really that bad. I had complete financial independence and a well paying job. My employers appreciated me and my team members looked up to me for advice. I still remember a comment from a colleague ‘I want to be Maria when I grow up’.

I was emotionally independent as well. Most of the time, things were at peace.

And I was not ignorant about the fact that there are many people around me who envy a life I was living. In fact, I even said it out loud once during a lunch at a friend’s house.

But was I really successful? Forward my life to the present, I now realize what a sorry state I was in at that time. A few months back, in his weekly bayan, my Shaykh Hazrat Humayun Hanif DB compared this success with a fish that falls in the trap of a bait.

When a fish sees a bait in the water, it considers the bait as a success. The fish thinks that if it can reach the bait and get there, it will be successful. The fish makes it its goal. It thinks of it as an achievement. Sadly, the fish is not wise enough to understand the reality. Only when it gets close and falls under the trap, it dawns on it what that thing was that looked like a success goal. The sooner it realizes the reality, the easier it is to free itself out. And the deeper it goes in the trap, the harder it is to come out.

Realizing that now, I understand that I was not successful. I was only trapped in that bait thinking of it as my success, not even able to see the basic reality. Even a fish doesn’t take that much time to realize it’s a trap and it tries to free itself.

This is actually the worst kind of situation because a person who is trapped in this bait does not even realize the reality. It is worst than being depressed. Because when you feel lost, depressed and disappointed in life, you then start looking for a direction. If you know you are lost, you will ask around for directions and ask people to help you. And then, there is a good chance you will find the right direction.

But if a person thinks he is successful and he is enjoying his life, he doesn’t find the urge to even look for directions. It’s just like someone who boards the train which is headed to Quetta and thinks he is going to Lahore. He thinks he is successful because he is in a train and the train is comfortable. He just doesn’t know what a sorry state he is in. If he is lucky, he will realize it before he arrives at the final station.

So , think about it while life is giving you chances. Are you really successful?

A Security Guard On The Hilltop Of Patriata…

The chair lift ride through the hills of Patriata was by far the most beautiful and breathtaking experience I have ever had. It was past autumn and peak winter but the thick and lush forest we treaded through was so green and so glossy that my eyes simply forgot to blink and my tongue wouldn’t get tired of praising Allah SWT.

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The beautiful and adventurous ride through the mountains and the forest and the ride back in complete, utter darkness of night have given me plenty of memories to remember.  And as odd as it might seem, those memories of the Patriata tour include a security guard I met at the top of the hills.

There was nothing extra ordinary about his appearance. He had a tough duty at the top of the hills – making sure the passengers got on and off the cable car safely. If you have ever been on a cable car or a chair lift, you would know this is the hardest part of the ride. The rides don’t stop and you have to act quickly and get on and off in an instant. Hence, you can imagine what kind of stress the security guards responsible for helping all passengers would be in – given that there were at least a few thousand tourists at that time alone.

So, after waiting for hours in the queue, it was finally our turn to board on the cable car. The cable car was due to arrive any minute and we were naturally stressed. At that moment, my 3 year old daughter started whining. Being a mother, I knew she was tired and was just being cranky. But I had to make sure nothing went wrong while we boarded on the cable car; hence, like many other desperate mothers, I asked that security guard to scold her so she would stop crying.

On one side, I stood, being so desperate that I was asking the guard to scold my own daughter. And on the other side, he was, doing a tough and stressful duty but still not missing the opportunity to revive a Sunnah. He refused to scold and then smiled at my daughter. He crouched down to her level and asked her what she wants. She told him she wanted a packet of chips. The guard then left while we prepared ourselves for boarding the cable car.

A few moments later and an instant before the cable car arrived, the guard returned with a full sized packet of chips. He handed it to my daughter and went back to his duty, helping the passengers get on and off.

On the surface, it looks like a small deed – I asked him to scold my child, he gave her a present instead. But if you look deeper, the guard did a very wise thing. With a packet of chips and a smile, he revived a Sunnah of being affectionate towards kids and Insha’Allah would have achieved the reward of 100 martyrs.

May Allah enable all of us to revive Sunnah and get closer to Rasoolullah SAW. Ameen.

Baab-e-Qurb: The Door Of Love

I am but only a beggar, my Lord.

A beggar that stands in front of your door.

 

I knock and I knock.

And I ask and I beg.

There is not much that I want, my Lord

But for You to open the door of Your love.

 

O Allah! I will keep standing,

Until my feet can no longer bear.

I will keep weeping,

Until my eyes shed the last drop of tear.

Even if it takes forever, my Lord

I will surely wait for You to open the door of Your love.

 

O Allah, a knot and a pain in the chest I feel

And it makes me want to give out a scream.

Though calm I try to be, the intensity only exceeds;

For you know, the pain of love never heals.

But even with so much pain, I will keep knocking

For I know You would never let a beggar walk away without Your blessing.

 

O Allah, the world seems to be melting away…

And the soul seems to be giving away…

I am afraid the worst kind of death it would be,

If the door is still locked in front of me.

 

O Allah, like a persistent beggar I knock

And I am sure what I am begging for isn’t a lot.

Not much of a difference it will make to You

But everything around me, it will give meaning to.

If only my Lord, you accept the zeal in my knock

Have mercy on me and let the door be unlocked.