Our Beloved... صلى الله عليه

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim


The Arabic proverb "If you return from travelling, give gifts to your family if even a rock" played over in my mind as I had only a few days left in Yemen and still a few more gifts to buy. Sana'a's charm captured my heart, but the beauty that I saw in her could not be bought and selecting gifts from her stores was challenging. I decided to go to the markets at Baab Al Yemen to shop for the remaining gifts. My friend, a very dear sister, accompanied me. On our way, we stopped at one store in which I noticed a necklace that I thought might be appropriate. The price was far too unreasonable for my likings, nonetheless we continued to browse the store. I then noticed a masbaha (prayer beads) which I thought was nice.

There were two men in the store, both chewing qaat seated on cushions behind the two dusty counters. The younger of the two stood up to serve me. As I looked at the scented masbaha, my friend and I conversed in English. The young man then asked me if I was Muslim. Na'am, alhamdulillah - "Yes, praise be to God," I replied. Ana Tom - "I'm Tom," he said. I was surprised. Lasta Muslim? - "You're not Muslim?" I asked. He quickly added ...ow Muhammad - "or Muhammad." In broken Arabic, I told him (or at least tried to tell him) that it was a shame on him to call himself other than his name Muhammad and that he should be happy and proud to call himself Muhammad. As I've been told, a home that has one with the name Muhammad is blessed by virtue of that name alone. I told him that Muhammad is the most beautiful of names. He said nothing.

The moon is almost at her peak of glorious illumination, but sadly at that point it will mark the passing of half of the blessed month of Sha'baan. It is the month of our beloved, the beloved of God, Al Habib Al Mustafa, our Prophet and Messenger, the seal of the prophets, Muhammad bin Abdillah, may God's peace and blessings be upon him.

I wonder about my relationship with him, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa salam, and I know that I take him for granted, sadly. I know that it is a relationship that I have to work on and one that I long to taste the reality of. But love is not lazy, and my laziness in following his way is a clear indication of the illusory reality of the love that I claim to have.

I know my words with brother Muhammad, a shopkeeper in Sana'a's marketplace, were more for my sake than his. Why would it bother me that he would take another name instead of the name of our beloved, 'alayhi assalaatu wassalaam, if I were not guilty of taking a way other than his way?

As I try to discover the reality of what it means to call Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, our beloved, my beloved, I invite you to do the same.

May Allah make us among those who love Him and His messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him, and may He guide us all on the path of truth and righteousness. May He make us among those who follow the way of the living Quran, Al Mustafa, peace and blessings be upon him and his family, and protect us from the evils of ourselves. Ameen.

Written on August 4, 2009

هو محمد في الأرض و محمود في السماء
صلى الله عليه و آله و سلم

A Blazing Flame

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

In the depths of the night, a flame burned brightly. It danced across observant eyes etching its beauty into timid retinas. Eyelids, the first line of defense, stood open and indulged the sight. There, in the stillness of the night, the fire only caressed the night's gentle breeze. Hidden was any threat of harm, chaos, or confusion.

The night has long since passed, and now under the luminence of the sun the casualties are clear. Logs and sticks that were once part of living trees are now charred remains, mere ashes, serving as the only evidence of the night's performance. Was it worth it? It is difficult to say. If life was shortened by the moment, then it likely wasn't. But if the fire's fuel was indeed true firewood, then the glamour only manifested its fate. There is a cycle, and every stage within it needs its due.

But when the cycle ceases to exist, must its memory be preserved?

I'm sorry...

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

I'm sorry. I cannot make any excuses for my insolence. I cannot explain myself, not in any comprehensible way at least. My reflection is far more loathsome to me than the sparks that you see spewing out from it. I try to keep my distance as I know that the volcanic pool cannot be tamed except with a profound understanding that few can claim. I do not want to leave a trail of charred remains. Eventually it will settle, bi ithnillah, but while it gushes and spurts with a vengeance, I am forced to live with it. There is nothing more I'd like than to be rid of it, or in the least, understand it. But understanding is a gift and comes only when He wills.

Interestingly, I had a flicker into the source of this angst very recently, and it was a horrible and frightening realization. I'm learning that those who despise lies are actually keenly adept at lying as they can disguise a lie with a mask of truth, honour it, and live by it. But eventually lies manifest themselves, and the only thing of worth in my being, I realize now, was an illusion. An ideal truth, but whose reality was far from embraced. Such was the depth of the lie.

It's fair to say that I'm understood by few. But if you take the worst from me, you'll find the worst because I do not have the strength to transcend your opinion of me. A flower will not grow in a bed of rocks and that's about all I can offer now. A handful of rocks.

If I could mute my state... If I could trace history and pick out a point of tearful submission... If I could, then perhaps a smile can return. In the mean time, I am learning more lessons. A beautiful medicine can become a vile poison. Of this, I wasn't aware. Such is my naivety. But naivety is a flimsy excuse. I offer no excuses for my insolence. I am as reprehensible as you see me, even more so.

I need to embrace hope, but I don't see the light. I ask, and He hears. I plead, and He hears. I am impoverished, but He is Al Ghani. I am lowly, but He is Al 'Ala. I want to want for me only what He wants for me, but I don't know how. I'm in darkness, but He is An Nur.

I wish I could relieve you of the burden of my company, but such is not in my hands. Nonetheless, I'm empathetic to your situation and pray for the best.

اللهم ارزقنا بحبك و بحب رسولك الحبيب محمد عليه الصلاة و السلام و بحب القرآن الكريم و بحب سنة سيدنا محمد صلى الله عليه و سلم. اللهم افتح قلوبنا إليك و اهدنا الصراط المستقيم يا ارحم الراحمين. اللهم نسألك حسن الخاتمة يا الله يا عظيم... آمين
"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]