بسم الله الرحمان الريم

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
~May these personal reminders be of sincere beenfit to you and reach you in the best of unwavering emaan, exemplary taqwa and polished health always, ameen.~

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

An Oasis of Sunshine...

Isn't it amazing? You know ... the warm, squirmy feeling you get when you realise ... it's actually possible for your heart to feel true, sincere and indescribable .... love.
It's been over a year and a half; since I 're-discovered' a gift that changed my life... for good. To be precise it all started in Ramadhan 1427 - Oct/Nov 2006, when Allah (Swt) bestowed upon me a spiritual urge, the realisation that: Allah is with those that remember Him [Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 10553]. If I asked you, who the noblest of human beings are, what would you say? Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (rahimahullah ta'ala) beautifully informs:

"The noblest of human beings who revere Allah is the man whose tongue is ever moist with His remembrance, who reveres Him through His laws and makes remembrance his watchword. For by his reverence will he achieve recompense and reward - to enter Paradise and be delivered from Hell.

By his remembrance will he achieve a spiritual station: nearness and intimacy with Allah (Swt)."

In fact dear readers, Ibn Qayyim (may Allah truly have mercy upon his soul, ameen) also states in 'The Invocation of God' that nothing is sufficient to resemble Allah (Swt) relationship with someone who remembers Him. "The relationship is even more particular than the one that occurs to the doers of good deeds or the reverent. Beyond expression or description, it is something known through direct experience."

Alhamdulillah, everyday, succeeding the moment I realised how much I needed, and will always need, to be near my Lord (Swt), has been an amazing learning curb. For those that have followed my journey, our magnificent journey, since January 2007, you're probably aware of the states - stations, tests - hardships, ups and downs of it all. You'll remember my: 'penny-drop' moments, 'sweetness of faith' realisations and my 'silent inner cries', alhamdulillah. The feeling I am inclined to disclose to you all is, to me, like one of those; 'I can't believe this is happening to me' moments. You know when you've longed and waited for something so much, so intensely, and yet as much as you've longed for that special something, there was always an atoms weight of doubt lingering at the back of your mind - will I ever really get there?

Recently, Allah (Swt) blessed me with something that touched the core of my heart and the depths of my soul. As I sat contemplating what this blessing meant, I cried, in a way that I hadn't cried for a while. Alhamdulillah, some of you know that I write for a few organisations, one of them being SISTERS Magazine (may Allah bless all their writers, ameen). Whilst those of you that simply know me as Umm Thameenah will have seen this 'disguise' besides a number of my works, insha'Allah. Alhamdulillah, I've been writing since I was eleven years old, masha'Allah, and have always viewed my writings as precious - 'my precious babies'. So when Allah (Swt) gave me the opportunity to write something, an article, on a topic that, (anyone who knows me will testify) couldn't have been a more beloved topic for me to address. Not only was the topic one of my favourites, but the notion that it would be read, shared and, insha'Allah, benefitted from, was overwhelming.
The topic 'The Greatest Love of All' is one that resides in my heart, lingers in my soul and brings true warmth to my self-being. Alhamdulillah, as I use a pseudonym, only a hand-full of sisters are aware of my published works, thus it enabled me to do what it is that Muslim writers should always feel free to do ... write simply for the sake of seeking Allah's (Swt) Pleasure.
For what is the use in writing something just for the sake of seekig approval, being praised, loved or honoured? No thank you. Let me be completely honest with you all, when I sat reading Issue 6 of SISTERS Magazine: 'Love is All Around', it reaffirmed and strengthened in me, what my heart had been trying to tell me all along. SubhaanAllah, my heart would silently cry through dark lonely nights as a result of me not acknowledging a basic fact ... this heart has no room for temporary fulfilments; for the pleasure of Allah (Swt) is all it truly seeks.
As one course lecturer once stated: "Modernity teaches: 'you are free to do what you want. But Islam, frees you from wants".
Alhamdulillah, alhamdulillah, alhamdulillhi Rabbil 'alameen. Dear readers, I am free, free from the unattainable wants, baseless desires and insignificant concerns and worries of this temporary world. So, the futile and idle pursuits of this transient world will just have to find another victim to pursue.
And just as I narrate these inner thoughts to you, the words once spoken to me by my secondary school History teacher comes to mind:
"You are an oasis of sunshine in a mad forsaken world."
And that, dear readers, is now exactly as I feel, alhamdulillah :-)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Beauty of Islam

The expression on her face was almost one of disgust. As she entered the doorway, she stood, stroking her straight blond hair, its length just above her shoulders. Her presence was one of formality; confidence and professionalism clearly evident in her stance. Though her appearnace was one of a casual form; a fitted white t-shirt coupled with straight black trousers somehow only emphasized her formality. I easily imagined her questioning the stupidty of my attire, my naive reluctance to accepting whatever excuse 'he' (probably assuming I were married) had given me for why I must be dressed as I was. Of course these words were not uttered; but having heard more than my share of 'innocent comments', I could pretty much sense what was coming next... "So tell me something?" She began. "Why do you have your face covered and she doesn't?" She looked towards my colleague, who was wearing a hijab (headscarf) and jilbab (outer garment) and then back at me. I knew whatever answer I gave, I'd most certainly have to speak with wisdom, or ... remain silent...
Through her short time with me and my colleagues, all of whom wear the Islamic attire, she smiled, joked and laughed. Realising that we teachers; Muslim teachers were just as sociable as any other teacher, she said: "I really like you guys, you're all really lovely". Suddenly our "costumes" and the difference in our beliefs seemed not to be a barrier, on the contrary, it was a means of comfort to both parties.
... Just before leaving, she turned towards me, waiting for an answer to her question. Eyes gazing at me, as though she'd been waiting for this opportunity for some time now. "Well you see," I began. "Imagine a teacher said to her students 'if you complete questions 1 to 10, I'll be so pleased with you'." I paused, wondering whether the 'teacher-student' scenario would work with her. "However," I continued "if you attempt questions 1 to 20, I'll be even happier'." I gave her time to follow my train of thought before concluding. "Well ... I'm the student doing questions 1 to 20". As I ended my explanation she smiled, letting out a small sound of laughter. As I returned the smile, she begun to nod her head in agreement, somehow satisfied by the response. I accompanied her on her way out, not forgetting to shake her hand and give her a warm hug, customary amongts us 'sisters'. And, with such a sincere embrace, I thanked Allah (Swt) for granting me this opportunity to show what often goes unseen - good character - a beauty of Islam.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Allah (Swt), is as His servant thinks He is

Last week, I was blessed with a gift. Something that ... to be completely honest - could only have been from Allah (Swt).
There are a small amount of sisters, of whom, I've been honoured to meet their acquaintances. These sisters are not covered from head-to-toe neither do they have an immense amount of 'ilm (knowledge), but they have left with me precious jewels. These sisters have taught me what it means to show gratitude; devotion and to completely place oneself at the mercy of one's Lord - trusting in Him, like none else.
So, along with these beautiful sisters I embarked upon a task, one just for my Lord (Swt). Many people were convinced that the task ahead of us (9 muslimahs) was unrealistic and running on nothing but false hopes. However, with something that normally took years to achieve, the head of our group was adamant and completely convinced that we would and could do it in just three months... Our critics knew that this, if at all possible, would need sacrifice, dedication and devotion like never before. Although we completely agreed with this, there was just one thing they failed to realise ... above all of these significant qualities, was a quality that, in our hearts, rose far and beyond ... tawakkul - trust.
I thank my Lord (Swt), my Protector, my Beloved ... though doubt, insha'Allah, didn't enter my mind, when we received the wonderful news I was in a state of shock; not because I doubted my Lord's capability (may Allah protect me from such a thing), but, I - we - felt a sense of honour beyond anything words could possibly describe. Tears overtook me, as I wept like a baby; my heart filled with love and sincere awe of my Lord (Swt). I realised (as I tend to be reminded with every situation with which this occurs), that my Lord (Swt), despite whatever the situation may be, will, most definately, always make a way out of every situation ... for those that truly trust in Him (Swt).
Do not let it be a mere thought dear readers... rather, let it be a concrete convinction, insha'Allah. And ... may it always be so, ameen.