Tag Archives: Religion

Notes To Self

Dear Ruqaiyah, this moment you’re in right now, this is the moment to do something. To start something. Stop waiting for tomorrow, next week, or next month. Start now.

Dear Ruqaiyah, happiness is here. Right here, where you are now. It’s not a destination you need to reach ‘someday’. It’s not some place you need to travel to, or arrive at. You simply have to be here, now; you simply need to breathe in, breathe out, and remember your Lord. Here, now. Be happy.

dav
Writing by the ocean. I call this happiness.

Dear Ruqaiyah, it’s been done before, it’s been said before, all the stories have already been written before. But don’t let that stop you. Do it, say it, write it. Find new ways, or do it the good ol’ fashion way. Just do something. Because if we stop, what is the point anymore?

Dear Ruqaiyah, we are all good and bad and beautiful and ugly and everything in between. Each one of us. At any given moment, we can be our best selves or our worst selves. See it all, and embrace it. Don’t judge it. But always try to be your best self.

Dear Ruqaiyah, keep on trying. Keep on fighting, loving, searching, hurting. Keep on feeling, keep on laughing. Keep on messing up. But be sure you keep on learning from it and growing. Keep on.

Dear Ruqaiyah, find your people. Find the people who will take the time to know you, those who will pay attention. Remember to pay attention to them too. Find the people who will pray for you even when you don’t ask them to or when you don’t see them for a while. Pray for them too (and for everyone else, but more for them — because, well, they’re your people). Find the people who will understand your laughter, those who will join in. Find the people who will listen closely. Be that person too.

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I Seek Refuge

Shaytaan is sneaky. He is the bad guy in this story; he also goes by Satan, Devil, The Biggest Loser… whatever floats your boat. He is cunning and sly, and oh so smart. We almost never see him coming, and then before we know it he is just there next to us. And before we can turn our backs to him we’ve done or said something stupid that we wish we hadn’t. Yes, he is smart. And he is very good at his job. So we have to be smarter. And we have to be better. But we cannot do it alone; we need ammo. We need to pack in the hardware and put on our battle faces, because this is a war. We are fighting for our lives. We are fighting for Jannah (paradise). And the best weapon we have–okay, this is going to sound so corny and cliché–is du’a (prayer). It’s true. The only way we can win is by asking for help, by making du’a. And the only One powerful enough to help us against as grave an enemy as that scary dude is Allah, The Most Powerful, Most High. We have to seek Him, seek His refuge during this war if we are to have any hope of making it to Jannah. Otherwise, without Him, and without du’a, we are just lost. Like a leaf blowing in the wind.

Path-of-Shaytaan
Taken from myfiks.org


I am certain that there have been times that Shaytaan has come to each of us, to whisper to us, and we could almost hear those whispers. We could feel that whatever it was that we were about to say was not something we should say, that someone was almost forcing us to say it, think it, do it. I wrote the following poem quite some time ago, and I think it is one that we can all relate to.

I Seek Refuge

I seek refuge in You, O Allah

From Shaytaan,
The cursed one.

Protect me, my Rabb,
From his soft, sweet whispers.
When he says to me:
”I miss you”
“I need you”
Just with these words,
He tempts me to reverse
All the good that has been done.
Let his evil spirit be cursed.
And from my mind,
Let him disperse.

Protect me from the sweet fantasies
That he arouses in my mind-
Fantasies of false happiness.
Protect me from the dreams that he
Makes me believe
Can be mine.

Protect me, O Protector of all,
From the false hopes that
Shaytaan helps me build so tall
Only to let them come crashing down
And to the cold, harsh ground of reality
Do I fall
And fall
And only then do I realise
That these hopes are ever-fleeting
Nothing more than a brief meeting
With this world that we are tested in
To which Shaytaan has front seating.

I seek refuge in You, O Allah,
From Shaytaan,
The rejected one.

Protect my tongue from speaking
Words which he conjures,
Make my ears deaf
to his sweet, evil whispers
Blind my eyes and mind
to his magnificent, misleading fantasies.

Protect me from the beauty
In which he cloaks himself
From the overpowering scent
In which he douses himself
From the eloquent words
With which he represents himself.

Help me, O Lord,
O Protector,
O Defender,
Stop him from coming nearer.

O Most-Mighty,
O Most High,
Only You can help me
Pass him by.

O Most Magnificent,
O Most Merciful,
Comfort me when
He causes me to be fearful.

I seek refuge in You, O Allah,
From Shaytaan,
The evil one.

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Image in My Head

So, if you’ve followed my blog posts recently, you’ll know what’s been foremost on my mind over the past couple of months. Can you guess it? Can you?? There’s a special prize to the first reader to get it right. Come on, you can do it!! (Uhm… just give me some time to figure out what the prize is going to be.)

So, the answer is ‘change’, and in the spirit of change, I wrote a poem a while ago. The poem is about who I want to be, in-shaa-Allah (Allah-willing), since I am constantly a work in progress. It is an incomplete poem, I am still working on the second half (There is actually an unintended pun in that 😛 When you eventually see the second half of the poem you’ll probably get the pun :D). Please read it and share your thoughts with me.

Image in My Head

I have an image in my head

Of the type of woman I want it to be said

I was.

The type of woman who,

To good deeds and righteousness,

Had sped.

The type of woman who,

For fear and love of her Lord,

Tears she had shed.

I have an image in my head

Of a woman who is so well-bred

That she doesn’t allow herself to be misled

By the evil one whom we all dread.

She is a woman who wouldn’t dare tread

The sins of the poisonous arrowhead.

She wouldn’t allow

The goodness of her soul to be shred,

Nor the love in her heart to be bled.

She is a woman well-read

In the verses that her Lord had said.

A woman whose arms are outspread

To the orphans and the poor,

The ones her Prophet

SallAllahi ‘alayhi wa Sallam*

Had told her to hold near.

I have an image in my head

Of a woman—

Chaste

And with grace.

One who has never, before marriage, been embraced.

A woman who does not, her own value, misplace.

-Ruqaiyah Davids

* SallAllahi ‘alayhi wa Sallam – May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him

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What image do you have in your head about the person you want to be? Or are you already that person? Tell me a bit about this person.

Love, As We Know It

I’ve never before fully understood how love really works. Growing up, I loved my mom, my dad, my sisters and my brother. I loved them because they were my family. I loved them because I had to–as cold as that sounds, it is the truth. I didn’t know what ‘love’ meant, I just fell into it (excuse the unintended pun). Being the last born, I just had all these people in my life, and I had no choice in the matter. Love was compulsory. Even while hating them and fighting with them, I loved them. Later in my life, though, I met some people, some amazing women. And I love them–I love them with a love so strong that, almost from as soon as we met, we stopped being strangers and became sisters. A sister–a woman who I had just met! Can you imagine that? And what’s more is that, this love that I have for them, it’s not the kind of love that I just ‘fell’ into like I did with the sisters and brother I was born loving; this is a love for the sake of Allah. Now, for a long time, this was mind-boggling to me. Love for the sake of Allah. Love for the sake of anything other than ‘I-love-you-just-because’ seemed unfair to me. Why should I be loved for someone else’s sake, and not just because I am great and amazing and loveable all on my own? I was jealous. I’ve always been a selfish person when it comes to love. But do you know what makes this jealousy even more ridiculous? I was jealous of Allah! That is downright laughable! SubhaanAllah (Glory be to Allah). What kind of silly do you have to be to be jealous of your own Creator, the Creator of Love itself? But the only reason that I was jealous was because I didn’t understand what it meant to love and to be loved for the sake of my Lord.

After much pondering on the matter, I eventually understood. To love for the sake of Allah is to love someone because you love Him, it is to love those who love Him and because they love Him. Love for the sake of Allah is not selfish and it is not about the individual, it is not about loving someone because of what that person brings into your life, superficially, or because of how great and amazing and loveable that person might be. Ultimately, it is about loving Allah. If we love Allah, we love those who love Him and those whom He loves, without expectation and without discrimination. A love borne out of a love for Him only strengthens the relationship between two people, and that relationship, in turn, serves to strengthen your love and your relationship with Allah. It is a beautiful cycle, indeed. A love like this ends up being a form of worship, subhaanAllah. Can you imagine that just loving someone for the sake of Allah is a form of worshipping Allah?

So, last night, my love for these women, whom I love as sisters, sent my blood pumping through my body. We met for supper, (almost) the whole gang of us (after each of us being absorbed by our own separate lives for far too long) and it was amazing to be reminded of why I love these women so much, and to be reminded of how indescribably blessed I am to have them all in my life. Our sisterhood was founded on a Divine Love, and it is only because of this love that it works. We’re all different–different personalities, different ages, different stories–but we’re bound by one, single Love.

Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

 “Allah Almighty will say on the Day of Rising, ‘Where  are those who loved one another for the sake of My Majesty? Today, on the Day  when there is no shade but My Shade, I will shade them.'” [Muslim]

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What is your understanding of love?

Where’s Your Head At?

My head is filled with too many things right now. Least of them all should be my blog, but I just can’t allow myself to disappoint my hundreds of loyal followers waiting with bated breath for my next post (ha!). I mean, it is Sunday after all, right? Which means New Post Day! Yay! No. Not yay. Because after Sunday comes Monday. And Mondays are slowly–but very surely–making its way riiiiight down to the bottom of my list of Reasons to Wake Up on a Monday Morning. I’m not liking you very much right now, Monday. Not very much at all. And, high school exams are nigh, which means set exam papers with memorandums need to be submitted to the office. Tomorrow. Who has time for a lengthy (but seriously entertaining) blog post with all that going on? Certainly not me. So this is what I’ll give you (my throng of loyal and devoted readers); a peek into where my head is at right now. So picture this:

Yep, that’s what it looks like up in here. More or less. Now, because there’s currently very little room in my brain for much real words to grow, I will give you some pictures, to further elaborate on the many ‘stuffs’ wheedling through my brain, in between the yucky exam stuff.

Are you noticing the pattern here? Both last week’s post and the week before that was about being a stranger in this world, or referring to the Strangers Tour that happened here in Cape Town two weeks ago. It is who I want to be–a stranger in this world–so that I may be a companion in the next world, the real world. A companion to who? To my Prophet (may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him and his family), and all the righteous people who lived in this world, ameen.

I read a beautiful line in an article a bit earlier, and I think it complements this picture beautifully:

“The hijab is only a brush stroke on the canvas within a much bigger picture. Without it the work is incomplete, but it is not the sole element that makes the painting. And my own canvas is incomplete and riddled with mistakes.” – Azlin Ahmed, It’s a Hijab, Not a Halo

And lastly, one of my new favourites…

So, kids, it would seem that the theme running in my brain for this month is ‘change’. And, in the words of the great American president, Barack Obama (that’s sarcasm right there), “Yes, we can!” And we will, in-shaa-Allah. And may we (or I, or whoever cares to join me in this change–whatever it might be that you are changing to, for the sake of Allah) be more successful than the lousy president–oh, oops, did I say ‘lousy’? I meant loser. Nooo! I meant… well, who cares what I meant? May we be more successful in our quest for change, and may we never lose sight of the goal. Ameen.

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Share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

Glad Tidings to the Strangers

The Messenger of Allah (may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Islam initiated as something strange, and it will revert to its (old position) of being strange. So, glad tidings to the stranger!” [Muslim]

Glad tidings to us, indeed–all of us who will be attending the long-awaited, much-anticipated, internationally celebrated Strangers Tour!

This event (befitting adjectives for which I cannot even think of) will feature three amazing people (and when I say ‘amazing’, you must know that I mean AMAZING. Maa-shaa-Allah.). They’ve hosted this event in twenty other cities worldwide (source: all the advertising I’ve seen), and it’s been awesome, inspiring and sold out in all of them. Now, I won’t go on to explain in much more detail what this event entails, you can check out the trailer (the video above) for that. I am way too wired right now to explain it coherently–I mean, in just over an hour, I am going to be experiencing some of this awesomeness right in front of my face while I have previously only experienced it through my laptop screen via YouTube. Can you imagine the excitement? This whole city is buzzing with it! Alhamdulillah.

On a less hyped up note, allow me to more appropriately explain the narration quoted above, so that it is understood in its proper context, and not the context in which I have used it (which wouldn’t be entirely wrong, I think, since it is definitely a blessing from Allah that we are able to attend this event, and it will, Allah willing, be a means of us attaining nearness to Him and His Pleasure). When Islam began centuries ago, it was a strange religion to the people of the land. This religion preached the Oneness of an All Mighty, All Powerful God to a people who worshipped stone idols which they had made themselves. The created were worshipping the created. But Islam proposed that, rather, we should worship the Creator, the One who made us, the One who never sleeps, never eats, and never dies. And this was strange. The people who followed this way were strangers in their own land, to their own people, their own family. Eventually, as time passed, the message of Islam spread. People’s hearts began to recognise their Lord. They feared, worshipped and loved only One God. Muslims reigned, because they knew the One who reigned over all the worlds. However, as even more time passed, the words of our Prophet (may Peace be upon him) were proved true: Islam began its return to being strange to people, even its own people. The world fears a religion about which they know little. They fear a people who are different to them, who have different values. Unfamiliarity can be a dangerous thing. And now, even Muslims find their own religion strange; they find their own family and friends strange when they try to be the best Muslims they can be. That is why, to the one who practices and strives for her deen in this world, even when she is looked upon as a stranger by everyone she knows, she will be presented with glad tidings. So, glad tidings to the stranger.

Ultimately, that is what this event is all about. It’s fun and it’s awesome and there’s a lot of hype around it, but, ultimately, it’s just about reminding us that it’s okay to be a stranger in a world full of strange things. We just have to know what it’s worth being a stranger for, and Allah is more than worth it. Paradise is more than worth it.

So I’ll be off now to have a strangely wonderful time with my stranger friends and many other strangers, listening to some other inspiring strangers doing their thing. Before I leave, however, let me leave you with this, so that you can get a taste of what I’ll be sitting through a bit later on. You have to watch it, okay? You just, absolutely have to! It is pure brilliance, maa-shaa-Allah.

Watch it!

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UPDATE [07-05-2012]: Most-amazing-show-ever! Maa-shaa-Allah. All three of them were beyond awesome. What word can I use that is awesomer than awesome? In my next blog post (13-05-2012), I will highlight some of the lessons, words and laughs that stood out to me–or, rather, jumped out at me and slapped me in the face. An awakening it was, indeed.

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Share your thoughts with me below. I love reading them.

Saving Private Does-Not-Want-To-Be-Saved

Have you ever gotten it into your head before that you can save somebody? Have you ever believed that you were that special person who would rescue that friend that you cared and worried so much about? You would be the one to show your friend that there is hope, that there is a better way. You would inspire that friend and be the reason she wanted to be saved. You would save her. You.

Really? You? What makes you think you’re so special? What makes you think that all the bad decisions that person has made, all the wrong roads that person has taken, were by accident, and that she was just waiting for you to come along with your in-built GPS, directing her to the “right road“? What makes you think that you could be the road map to righteousness and reformation? Are you even righteous and reformed yourself? How ridiculously self-righteous of you.

We cannot change anyone. We cannot save anyone who a) does not want to be saved, and b)–much more obviously, and much more significantly–Allah does not want us to save. Everyone’s road is set out for them. It might be the wrong road for us to take on our journey, but it is precisely the right road for that traveller’s journey. Our understanding of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ may be slightly warped–or maybe only mine is. I used to believe in what-is-right-for-me-is-right-for-you. But it’s not. What is right for me may be right for you–some day. But not today. Today, I need to let you take your own road. Go your own way, travel your own journey. If we do not, ultimately, end up travelling the same road, I will know that I had at least told you about the road I was on, I had shown you some of the treasures I had found along the way–and that is all I can do. If you choose not to take the same road, that is your decision. And I cannot change it. No matter how much I wish for it.

So, go your way. May it lead to something great. And pray for me that my road, too, leads me to a beautiful destination. Ameen.

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Have you ever experienced (what I like to call) the Saviour Complex? Were you successful in your ‘mission’? Share your thoughts with me below.