Shoreline Observations

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

As I look at the world around me, I'm not really sure what to think. My mind cannot comprehend how we, people of this world, go from love to hate, or from respect to disrespect, or from sincerity to selfishness. Worse still, I cannot understand how this occurs after committing oneself to the precepts of marriage. These wonders are not, in my mind, directly linked to issues of divorce as that is a topic all on its own.

The marriage process by itself is one that is.. uhm.. I can't even find a suitable word to describe it. Suffice to say, I'm at the shoreline and keep a safe distance away from the waves, with rare exception. I suppose it is the exception that makes the endeavour worthwhile.

One night, when I was especially tired and eager to get to sleep, I returned to my room and found my roommate on the phone with her betrothed. I couldn't sleep with her chatter, but I figured that she was much too happy for me to get irritated at the late-night conversation. At last, she hung up the phone, and as far as I could tell I was finally going to have a chance to fall asleep. But then she sighed deeply and said, "Farzeen, have you ever known love like this?" I tried not to laugh out loud and was glad that she couldn't see me in the dark. "No" I said. She sighed again, and then I knew it was going to be a much longer night than I had anticipated.

The following night, however, was much different. She confided in me about her worries and sought some counsel. From what I gathered (and Allah knows best), both of them were approaching marriage with less-than-ideal intentions, and thus their specific issues were quite predictable. Given their predicaments, it seemed as though their relationship was as good as done, but a day or two later my roommate informed me that she was going shopping. "Shopping.. hmm.. now?" I asked. "Yes, for my wedding!" she said. "Yesterday you told me it was over, and today you're going shopping?" I asked her in obvious surprise. She laughed and shrugged her shoulders. I imagined things were sorted out. I do hope that she is happy and content wherever she is now. By agreeing to get married, they were both getting exactly what they wanted from their union. And perhaps this is true for many.

SubhanAllah.. perhaps that's the missing link that keeps some of us on the shore and others of us deep in the ocean. And yet all are seemingly content with their methods. We seek the most fitting means to match the ends which we desire. If the means do not match the end, then they do not suffice us and we most often seek new ways. We all have different ends and different means, no one better than the other. Perhaps marriages become especially strained when time illumines the discrepancy between these premarital expectations and reality. And God knows best.

I wonder at those who marry but don't live together. Each their own, but it's a strange regularity these days. If one is not ready to get married, then why get married? Yes, I know, because relationships can reach levels of closeness and inseparability that they become Islamically questionable. Gotcha. But you can't beat the system. Marriage comes with rights and responsibilities, and it's a shame that we are willing to accept the rights while we place the responsibilities on others. Yes, the others agree, but then again so do grandparents who find themselves raising their grandchildren. Is that the best option for all involved? Sometimes it is, but most times, I'm not so sure. Allah knows best.

The institution of marriage, I think, needs to be treated with seriousness. Enjoyment of the occasion should not excuse an abasement of its greatness, a greatness which is found in its depths. We cannot reach great depths with light hearts. Not the way I see it at least. In the Book of Intentions, Al Habib Muhammad bin 'Alawi Al 'Aydarus, (الله يحفظه) lists intentions of marriage from the work of the great Shaykh 'Ali bin Abi Bakr As Sakran. The list finishes with, "I have intended all the previous and more from whatever I control, say, and do in this marriage for Allah Almighty." And within this niyyah, this intention, I think is the greatest beauty in all the jewels of marriage.

Perhaps I speak of ideals. But if we do not pursue moral and spiritual ideals, then what will we pursue?

Ungrateful Inception

I have nothing to offer the world,
Nor to those who tarry within her
I cannot benefit those who meet me
And prefer to be a stranger

To myself I am only a shadow
A voiceless and formless existence
Within which light does not reside
Giving only my own decrepitude preference

It’s not in my perceived capability
To do that which is the praiseworthy norm
To walk as an ambassador in this world
Tracing the steps of the Beloved, peace be upon him, in an ennobled form

It is a favour for humanity
To be rid of my energy
For my misdirection is unfitting
And my mistakes far too many

But as life resides in my limbs
I’m still indebted to act
Wanting to be rid of myself
Muting the voices to react

It is my very intolerance
Of my being’s reflection
That proves the worth of this indulgence
Highlighting an ungrateful inception

The truth of this realization
Must emphasize a logic to discern
Being nothing for oneself or for others
Yet waiting for a peaceful return

His Way

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

I look at your picture and can't stop myself as your name easily slips from my lips, ya ibnati. Allah's favours are grand, and we thank Him, Transcendent is He, for blessing us with you, ya habibti. I remember those days when you relaxed in my arms or lay wide awake resting on a pillow by my side as we listened to the wisdom of our dear teachers. May we and our loved ones always be in gatherings of His remembrance, ameen. Nas-alu Allaha as-salaamah.

I look at the world around us, and I wonder. I've been wondering for some time. Some days, rare days, I like to think that I come closer to making sense of it and maybe even grasping some understanding our place within it. In 27 years, should you not return to your Lord before that time, will you find yourself where I am now? How will the world look to you, and what will it mean?

I had the good pleasure of learning of a book by our teacher Habib 'Ali Al Jifri, but I couldn't read much further than the first page. Within it, he named the confusion:
When the Muslim and the Believer becomes fully aware and comprehends his mission, he is then able to understand others with that comprehension of his mission. And to the extent that the Muslim and the Believer only dimly understands the greatness of the mission with which God entrusted him exclusively of others, he is hardly able to understand well and widen the scope of his relationship with creatures in all their variety.

Ignorance is painful.

I recently had the opportunity to ask a respected teacher about the role of a Muslim woman today. She kindly corrected my question. The role of a person, irrespective of gender, is the same. She said there are three roles or responsibilities for people, both men and women:

1) Worship Allah on earth
2) Tazkiyyah or purification of the nafs
3) Inhabit the earth

She elaborated on the final point by adding that we must inhabit the earth in the way that Allah wants, according to the shari'ah. For example, perhaps it can be by raising one's children, which is praiseworthy and a great task, or perhaps it is by working in something that one is really good at, etc.

May Allah bless us with knowledge and understanding. May He guide us and our loved ones to lead lives that are pleasing to Him and in accordance to His way, His laws, His guidance, and His message. May He protect us from the evils of ourselves, mankind, and jinn. May He bestow His rahma upon us, forgive us, and teach us. Ameen.

Some wisdom to sip on... In The Shadow of Fatimah

Be Great People

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

My brother sent this to me today. BarakAllahu fih. really puts things into perspective.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3a - Part 3b

God is the Light of the heavens and the earth;
the likeness of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp
the lamp in a glass, the glass as it were a glittering star
kindled from a Blessed Tree
an olive that is neither of the East nor of the West
whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it;

Light upon Light!

God guides to His Light whom He will.
And God speaks to mankind in symbols
for God is knower of all things.

Quran - Chapter 24, Verse 35

"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]