Shukr wa Sabr

BismiAllahir Rahmanir Raheem

I recently wrote a blog entry in my notebook, at about 12 am while perched upon my sleeping bag, but somehow I think it will remain in the notebook. I wrote it because I was thinking of you all, those who have shared your perspectives and opinions with me on this blog and those who I know read in silence.

I feel in some way that I should share something with you, something beneficial from my experiences over the last month. SubhanAllah... I'm just not sure where to begin.

I'm currently in a land far away from everyone that I love and everything that looks like home. But this land itself is not problematic for me, especially not as I live here only one day at a time. I think of myself as a traveller, despite the commitment of some sort to stay here for a couple of months, insha'Allah.

My heart feels heavy today. Maybe it was because all of yesterday it was just me, myself, and my thoughts, with my Lord forever with me. Most days I speak only to my teacher during a short two hour class. Every few days I visit a friend and her family. But what I describe is not loneliness. I'm much too connected to the ones I love to feel alone. And I know, truly I am never alone.

But while being alone, without loneliness, and knowing that only my Lord knows my experiences, I can't help but wonder what my life is all about. We have our generic answers for our purpose. Yes we worship our Lord. But our purpose is not to worship Him, it is to know Him. How do we come to know Him? Do we need to clean our souls (anfus)? If we do need this, how do we do this? How does it feel? How do we know that we are on the right path?

I have felt contentment and ease for most if not all of my time here. Yet while here, Allah has sent a test for me and all the people that I love. The response has been gratitude because there is good in this test, but the heart needed its grieving time and tears have been a part of this experience. Every previous taste of heartache that I have known I have deserved. But this one was delivered.

I know there is wisdom in the plan that Allah has for us. I submit to His plan, though I don't know it. I don't know what I'm here for, but it must be for something. There must be a reason that I would be so far from my loved ones when we all have been presented with a situation that we must use to improve ourselves.

How will I ever improve? I'm so weak. I know it. I sense it. Allah hears me. I know He knows me better than I know myself, but I want to know His response to me and my state. What must I do? Where is my strength?

I suppose all the above I've written for myself. Why I write it here, I have no idea. Perhaps I will delete it soon enough. But if you can make sense of it, find the light within it, then please share it with me. In my quest for light, I trust my Lord, but the tunnel is still too dark for me that I'm not sure if I'm going the right way. My soul is much too dirty.

Something that you may benefit from? Hmm... well, I'll share with you some of what I wrote for you those minutes past midnight.

Each day as I walk along these bustling streets, I see people who are poor beyond our comprehension. My sleeping bag, as I see it, is more than I deserve as others sleep on the filthy concrete somewhere alongside the streets. Allah has blessed me tremendously.

Each day as I have to figure out what to eat (as I keep little food at home, given that I have no stove or fridge and have no plans on buying them now), I know that I have the life of luxury where I, alhamduliAllah, have the money to go buy a bottle of water for 17 cents or a shawarma for 25 cents. I once passed by a child sitting alongside the street. She probably didn't notice me as she was very busy concentrating on her task at hand; that is, she was trying to stick her little fingers into the neck of an empty bottle in an effort to try to get every last drop of sustenance out of it. Ya Rab! I submit to Your plan. Make us almong the grateful, ameen. There are many children like her and many more with few items that serve as inventory for their street-side businesses.

I saw a pair of boys the other day. They were the sweetest little boys, masha'Allah. I smiled at them, but they couldn't see my smile given that I have my niqaab on. I hope they saw it in my eyes. The younger one smiled at me though as he knew I watched them. It was a shy smile. They sat in front of an overturned cardboard box - the front desk of their store. Sitting atop the box were some candies. I should have bought something from them. I saw a man pass by. He stopped and touched one of each type of candy on their little display, only to walk away having bought none. The older boy ran into the restaurant that I stood in front of as I waited for my burger. He managed to get some bread, and he took it back to the younger boy. They shared that piece of bread with a little argument in between which I couldn't hear nor would I have understood.

These are our children. They really are. But while I feel for them and my heart breaks for them, what do I do? What can I do?

Ramadhaan is ever in mind for me as it marks the date when I must move on from here, God willing. But we must all take our personal journeys to find truth. Truth is not vain. Truth is sincere. Truth is peace. Truth is tranquility. Love is truth.

As Ramadhaan fast approaches, let's take a breather from nafsi, nafsi, nafsi (me, me, me) and look to where can benefit others. I tell myself this first because if my nafs thinks for even a second that me being alone or in a strange environment makes me anything more than anyone else or worth more than a speck of dust, it is sadly mistaken. As Shaykh Hamza Yusuf once reminded us, the problem with delusions is that the deluded one does not see his/her own delusion.

May our Lord bless us with clear hearts filled with His haqq, and may He protect us from our selfish delusions, ameen.
"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]