Longing For Tayba…

Every cell of my body,

weeps for you.

Streams of tears,

my eyes shed for you.

There is no scrap of me,

that doesn’t aspire.

To be anywhere,

except where you respire.

 

Though really close you are,

to my heart

Thousands of miles,

keep me apart

How I wish,

the miles would truncate…

And the intensity of love,

would melt them away…

Then all I would need,

to reach your Durbar

Would be nothing but,

a blink of eye and a step to take.

 

O Allah,

I know You understand,

the state I am in

For You are,

the Greatest Lover,

of all time being.

 

On the night of Isra,

You sent down the Buraaq,

for Your beloved.

And lifted up all in between

to bring close the one,

for whom this world You created.

 

Though I am nothing but,

an insignificant lover of Your beloved,

but still,

O Musabbibal Asbab,

bring me closer to Your cherished,

how so ever you will!

The Fire Of Love

I saw a burning fire on a blessed day

Drowned in evil, the nafs was backing away

But I dragged myself to the one who had been alight

For I knew that fire of love will set me right

 

So the flame I caught, set me afire

Though tiny it was, it made me aspire

The high ranks of love I aim to reach

And I want the fire to make my soul besieged.

 

The heat and light of it is so fervent

It gives life to even a heart deadened

What a strange thing it is, this love

Indifferent it makes except from the beloved.

 

Getting Straight A’s…

I remember those school days when I used to get up early in the morning to get some extra time to study. I was so hooked on my goal of achieving straight A’s in O level that I lost all sense of time. By the way I was studying, I was almost certainly sure I would pass but my biggest fear was to get B’s and C’s, as the top and the best was my goal. And it still is.

But there is nothing novel in it. We all want the BEST in this world, don’t we? Do we ever pray to Allah to provide us just enough to survive in this world?

No. We always want the best. We ask Allah to shower us with his blessings in this world, to help flourish our businesses, and to fulfill all our desires. (Ameen)

However, a question came to my mind recently that although we read the prayer “Rabbana atina fid dunya hasanatun wafil akhirahti hasanatun”, in which we ask for the best in both worlds, do we really mean it?

Well, I’ll talk about myself. I have always asked Allah for the best and top in this world- nothing less. And I have worked for it. But did I really mean it when I asked the second part of the prayer, that is, the best in the Hereafter? If I did, did I work for it?

The problem is, I never even understood what the best in the hereafter meant. When it comes to this world, I don’t just want to survive – I want to flourish. But when I used to think about the Hereafter, my thoughts, goals, and aims were limited to ‘staying away from the fire’ and ‘entering the gate of Heaven’.

And then shaytan took advantage of this opportunity and he led me to have false beliefs. I believed that since “Allah is the Most Forgiving” and “He has promised that all Muslims will go to Heaven”, I can enjoy my life the way I want without giving any heed to the right and wrong. So I adopted a carefree attitude – just like a student of O level who would be happy to get a D and who doesn’t aim higher than a passing grade.

But then recently, the question came to my mind: do I really want a passing grade in the Hereafter or do I want straight A’s? Like this temporary world where I strive and work hard to get the best and the top, do I even aim for the best in the never ending Hereafter as well?

I have always known that there will be levels and grades in Heaven as well. And I have also known this Hadith that talks about the regrets of the people who will enter Heaven.

“On the Day of Resurrection, everybody, sinful or pious, will have regrets. The sinful will regret that they did not quit sins and live religiously. The pious will regret that they did not perform many more acts of worship.”

I have known all this and yet it is surprising that the thought never occurred to me to act before the time of those regrets would come. If a teacher keeps telling a student to study otherwise he would regret, the student will eventually start taking the teacher’s advices seriously. If a dentist tells the patient to take care of his teeth otherwise they would rot away and the patient would regret, the patient will eventually take his dentists’ advice seriously. But when it comes to the advices given to us by our Prophet SAW and Allah SWT and the clear warnings of those regrets, our attitude is surprisingly quite different.

There is another thing shaytan kept telling me. He provoked me to adopt a carefree attitude and indulge in sins by leading me to believe that I can repent and start praying more when I am old and aged. Of course, I have heard stories of young people having sudden deaths but that voice in the back of my mind was somehow never convinced on this idea that I can die in the next instant. I knew it was true but somehow didn’t believe it when I thought about myself.

Then a thought occurred that even if I live to old age and I get that last minute time to prepare myself for the Hereafter, will my result be the same as compared to the person who had been serious all his life?

When I was appearing for my O and A levels, I never left the preparation for the last moment. As soon as I knew I was appearing for the exam, I started preparing for it – because I aimed high. But when it came to the Hereafter and the result of the actual test this entire world is built for, I was blinded by false perceptions and false beliefs. While I am mostly far sighted, passionate, and enthusiastic about everything related to this world, my visions, passion, goals and aims of the Hereafter were all limited to a very small level.

So, what finally removed that blindfold? And what led me to think that while I am running after the best and top in this world, I should also aim a little higher for the permanent Hereafter as well? What led my thoughts and perceptions to travel beyond and see what I couldn’t previously see?

Well, I recently consulted my Sheikh and told him that I want to increase my love for Prophet SAW and I felt I did not have enough knowledge about his life. Sheikh Sahib advised me to take some classes on Seerat-un-Nabwi. And although I did not deserve it at all, Allah SWT blessed me with a chance to listen to the lectures online.

So, I have been listening to those lectures online and the lecturer keeps praying for one thing in all her sessions. She prays that may Allah SWT give us a high rank in Heaven so that we are near to the Prophet SAW and his companions in the Hereafter. Since we couldn’t meet him in this world, she prayed for that opportunity in the Hereafter. (Ameen)

And that is when it occurred to me that I had never thought about it that way.

We all want a luxurious home in this world. But what about a luxurious home in the hereafter which will be near to Prophet’s SAW home? Do we even aim for it? If we start aiming for it, the good news is, achieving it is not that hard. Prophet SAW said, “You will be with those whom you love”. So, all that is required to get the high ranks of heaven and straight A’s in Hereafter is sincere love for the Prophet SAW.

But the problem is: although we all say we love him, do we really love him sincerely? If we would, wouldn’t we try to follow his footsteps? Wouldn’t we try to copy his style and his way of living? Isn’t that what true lovers do when they love someone dearly and sincerely?

When I started listening to those lectures, I began to realize how I was missing out on such important life lessons which are given by our beloved Prophet SAW. The way the lecturer explains everything is also quite fascinating and I began to see the things I couldn’t see before.

Hence, studying the life of Prophet SAW in detail and taking lessons from everything he did and applying that to our own life is one important step we can take today if we want to achieve the best in the Hereafter as well.

May Allah SWT ingrain the true love of Prophet SAW in our hearts so we can be near him in the Hereafter.  Ameen.

 

In Search Of A Lover

For years and years, I tried to find,

a lover who would love me back.

A burning fire of love was there;

flames of passion burned in there.

Although the heart in real is rather small,

but the love it can hold is limitless after all.

 

Different persons came and went,

and I loved them to my heart’s content.

But heartache it is they kept giving;

and the fire in there was slowly quenching.

As sad as it was,

the lover in me had been lost.

 

All those years it kept me haunted,

why the love of a lover is unwanted.

Until one day something happened and something clicked,

I found the answer to the trick.

 

As apparent as it was, the problem was not with the lover I loved,

it was rather the kind of lover I sought.

For the one I was looking for,

was the one without a flaw.

For the one I was looking for,

was the one that gave as I hoped.

For the one I was looking for,

was the one that cared for the tears I shed.

For the one I was looking for,

was someone who never broke the heart.

 

Then a thought suddenly dawned on

that the lover I sought did not walk the Earth after all.

On a big throne in the sky He lives,

from where He rules everything that thrives.

The only One in the world is He

who doesn’t break the heart for the Maker is He.

For He is Al Wadoodu, The Most Loving,

And Ar-Rahman, The Most Compassionate.

 

The thought ignited the flames again

and I took out the mat and started to pray.

For I have finally found the lover I have sought,

for all that time I have cried and sobbed.

How I Started Purdah

Most of the time, when you ask someone how they started observing purdah and what inspired them, you get to hear many inspirational stories. My story doesn’t even fall in that league. Actually the story is a bit embarrassing for me to share. But I am still sharing it because it does have a lesson for all of us.

So, a few months back, I suddenly became beauty conscious. I had left full time work so I had all the time in the world to look at myself in the mirror. And so, I noticed that my complexion was getting dull. “itni kaali tu nahi thi main” I said to my husband and he didn’t know what to say so he just nodded. I took his silence as a sign of agreement and began the search for beauty treatments.

For the first time in my life, I bought the tube of Fair N’ Lovely and started using it. I must tell you that I covered my face while I was at the store to hide the utter embarrassment. “C’mon, it’s the fastest selling beauty product in the subcontinent”, I told myself and picked the damn thing up.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t use it for more than a few days because I was concerned about side effects and a Google search revealed some pretty scary ones. (There were reports of increased facial hair growth. So, obviously I preferred a kaali me instead of a hairy me).

So the next solution I came up with for my dull complexion was covering my face when I went out, especially when the sun was up and bright. (This one is tried and tested in case you are wondering)

Anyway, the story goes that one day I was going to some place with our chauffeur, office worker, secretary – not sure what his exact job title is. But he has worked for my grandfather and then for my father and is like family actually. So while he was driving the car and I sat on the back seat adjusting my niqab- because you know the sun and my complexion – he said something very simple and very honest.

“I am very happy that you have started doing purdah”. He said it with such sweetness and appreciation that it left me speechless. What do I tell him? That I am doing it to shield my face from the sun? That I have tried beauty creams but they didn’t work? The embarrassment and humility I felt at that moment cannot be explained. Sharam se doob marnay ka maqaam, that was it.

This man here was praising me and I totally not deserved it. I was dead silent after this and I wished he would forget about it. But then he repeated “ab aisa na ho ke do din karo aur phir chor do. Shru kia hai tu qaim rehna.” Oh my Lord, I can never forget the humility I faced at that moment. Maine tu kuch shru hi nahi kia hai, my mind kept screaming but no words came out. And how could they? It was a matter of izzat, after all.

And that was precisely how I started purdah. It seemed easier to start the niqab genuinely than face the embarrassment by not doing it.

The purpose of telling this story is not to inspire you. I obviously don’t want anyone to take a positive step without a good intention. But the purpose here is to highlight how some people’s simple words can make a huge difference in life. A few words of appreciation can sometimes become a source of sadq-e-jaria for you. His simple and honest words led me to take a positive step in my life. And one positive step leads to another. Allah says ‘Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you…’

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That embarrassing moment taught me one thing: that when you see someone doing something positive, you should try to appreciate them. Just a few simple words that that you are pleased and that it’s a good thing.

You never know, that person might just need a little motivation to take that leap. And if that motivation comes from you, imagine what a great thing it would be. That’s called muft ka sawab.

And let’s look at the opposite scenario as well when God forbid you accidentally mock that person and tease him. Sometimes we don’t intend it but shaytaan leads us to say things that can hurt someone or stand in the way of something positive. If God forbid that person gets embarrassed and decides to quit, imagine the negativity that will shadow our lives. May Allah SWT help us say the right thing at the right time and helps us abstain from unnecessary and hurtful speech. Ameen.

So, try to spread positivity by appreciating everyone and saying those simple words of appreciation. But when you can’t, remember that silence is better than words that sting.

The Science of Meditation and Muraqaba

I had become used to the shock and disgust on people’s faces when they found I had adopted content writing as a professional career. For me, it was not something you do when you want to refill your wallet or when you have some extra time on your hands –it was something I did as a full time career (until of course, Maulana Tariq Jameel kicked in his wisdom and said that a Mom’s full time career should be her kids).

Anyway the question is, what kept me going in this sometimes boring field of work for more than 7 years? Apart from the consistently lighter wallet obviously, it was the thirst for knowledge. In content writing, you are assigned different topics, things you have never heard about, and that’s when you get that chance to expand your knowledge. Instead of getting annoyed at those never-heard-of-topics, Alhamdulillah I viewed them as an opportunity to expand my knowledge.

So meditation was something I studied several years back while working on an assignment. It was always a topic of discussion when we talked about psychological problems – stress relief, behavioral disorders, etc. There are even apps designed especially for meditation purposes. You select the time you want to meditate and the app plays some track for you for guided meditation.

And how do you do it? Basically, you sit somewhere comfortably, imagine some scenario in your mind and try to keep your attention and your mind focused on that scenario.  There are other techniques of meditation as well which have been introduced by different practitioners – yet, they all have the same benefits for the mind.

The benefits of meditation have created waves in the medical field. Hence, numerous researches have been conducted to find out the science behind it. Psychologists and practitioners have always sworn by its positive effects on the mind but researchers tried to find out whether there was some actual science behind it or were the positive effects only because of the time people spent relaxing.

Hence a recent Harvard study came forward with mind blowing findings. They studied a group of participants that engaged in meditation for 30 minutes every day for eight weeks. Researchers took magnetic resonance images of the participants prior to the study and then again after 8 weeks. On analysis of those images, they found that meditation had actually caused changes in the grey matter of the brain. The changes were seen in the areas that were related to learning, memory, self awareness, compassion, and introspection. (No wonder I feel positive and compassionate towards others)

Here is what a researcher at Harvard says about the findings. “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day. This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

Why am I writing about meditation today? To tell you the truth, I never gave much thought to this practice before – as in, never thought about doing it myself. But recently when I took bayt with Hazrat Shaikh Humayun Hanif Naqshbandi DB, he instructed me to do Muraqaba everyday as it is an important part of naqshbandi silsila.

When I learned how Muraqaba is done, I was surprised. It turned out Muraqaba is another name for meditation except that our focus is towards the point where the heart is located and our purpose is to do His zikr in our heart without any verbal movements. Our mouth is closed, eyes are closed, we are only sitting comfortably without having to count anything and yet we are doing zikr. That’s called Zikr-e-Qalbi. And my words simply cannot explain what a beautiful feeling it is.

It’s only been a week I have started engaging in Muraqaba. And Alhamdulillah and MashaAllah the positive effects have left me in awe. I am in awe of what Allah SWT’s name and His remembrance can do to our lives. The feeling is beyond everything. The peace you get from Allah SWT’S zikr is beyond everything you get from this world. Going out for dinner to a posh restaurant, wearing top-notch brands directly imported from America, or even buying a new luxury car – the happiness and peace you get from all these seem like a minor as compared to the happiness and peace you get with His qurb. May Allah SWT give all of us hidayat to stay on the right path and give us taufeeq to do his zikr. Ameen. SumAmeen.

!!!

And by the way, I wasn’t too surprised to find that meditation is also a part of Islam. It turns out, everything good that is proven by science was already taught to us by our Prophet SAW. There are many such instances when we blurt out “yaar ye tu hamaray Nabi SAW ne 1400 saal pehlay hi bata dia tha. Science ko ab pata chala hai.” 🙂

Why I Got Depressed

I am sharing this story today with the intention of helping all those fellows like me who are facing hard times in life. I know there are many souls out there who are struggling to find peace in their lives. In fact, that’s a majority. Today most people will agree on one thing that true happiness and sukoon are some things money cannot buy. You can go for a world tour but not be happy. You can wear expensive clothes but still have a turmoil of feelings and emotions going inside. Your bank balance may be good but the bebarkati in your income can upset you very much.

So… my story: Exactly one year back, I got depressed. I lost my job, my parents were away for umrah and I felt my world crumbling down. It wasn’t the first time I had lost a job. In the field I worked, companies opened and closed every day. So jobs were never forever. But the way I got depressed was something that happened for the first time.

I just got tired of everything. I got tired of my circumstances, I got tired of my work and I got tired of life in general. Although new jobs came easily, I couldn’t focus because of the thunderstorm going on inside. I used to cry uncontrollably while staring at blank screens of my computer. I sought help from friends and family. They kept suggesting new tactics to face the difficulties in my life. And I tried everything.

But nothing worked. Not even the fat blue pills prescribed by the psychiatrist. After a recent episode, the psychiatrist increased my dose. But this worried me. I thought maybe getting away to somewhere far for a few days will work. So I thought about staying with an old friend who lives in another city.

And then it occurred to me that I had not talked to that friend since a long time. So I went home and called her. She told me something no one else had told me in all this time while I was struggling with depression.

What she said wasn’t very philosophical. She simply told me that all this depression is because of our gunah and that I should consult a buzurg and have islahi taaluq with him so that he can guide me in the best way. It was simple and I may have heard those advices from other people but at that time and on that day, something clicked at its right place. It was like I had found the missing piece of the puzzle.

“Allah insaan ko besakun karta hai takay woh sukoon ki talab main Allah ko dhunday.” The Baba jee’s dialogue from Alif Allah and Insaan rang in my mind and I understood why I had been through all the pain for the last one year. Yes, it’s a little embarrassing that a TV drama inspired me but…

Today, Hazrat Shaikh Humayun Hanif DB with whom I have taken bayt also narrated the same thing in his islahi bayan. When Allah gives you any difficulty and makes your circumstances difficult, it is because He wants to get closer to you. Allah gives pain to a person, whom he loves very much, because He tries to nudge him out of gunah and bring Himself closer to him. “Jab dil toottay hain, halaat atay hain to Allah pak kuch Lena nahi chahta balkay dena chahta hai… Woh dil tor deta hai takay yeh dil ghaflat se baaz ajae.” Hazrat’s heart touching words strengthened my beliefs and further cleared the shadows in my thoughts.

Hazrat further stressed on this point, “Innallaha ma’as sabireen.” When a person accepts and exercises patience, Allah brings Himself closer to him. He doesn’t say that my banda gets closer to me. He says that I get closer to my banda. “Main apnay banday kay saath hota hun.” So essentially, we get the qurb of Allah when we do sabar. “Aur jab kisi ko Allah mil jae tu usay aur kia chahye.”

I have shared this story in a small attempt to inspire all those souls who are suffering from the pain I had been going through for a long time. Instead of complaining to Allah and being hopeless, think about it in a different way. Maybe Allah wants to bring Himself closer to you or maybe He is sending you messages to stop gunah and turn to him.

Here is the link of the islahi bayan of Hazrat Shaikh Humayun Hanif DB.