بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

While I remember emotional and psychological reactions to people in my dealings, I am notorious for not remembering names. One such sister was referred to as "Khala Chibbies" or something to that effect. She used to make fries (or chips as the British might say) at the girls' boarding school that I visited a few years ago.

One late afternoon when a couple of my housemates stood in line in front of me waiting to purchase some fries, one of the girls - a native English speaker around 18 years old - decided to whine about the wait. And that she did. I listened to her for a while, just as I had done on a few previous occasions, before I finally suggested that she not address the khala in such a way. What really impressed me, however, was the blank reaction from the khala. She neither frowned at the girl's rude behaviour nor did she verbally respond. She simply attended to her work in what appeared to be peaceful silence.

During one of our chit-chats, I learned that this khala's day started early in the morning. She had to take a long walk to get to the school to make fries for hours because that was a necessary source of income for her. If my memory serves me correctly, her husband had passed away. Allahu yarhamuhum wa yubariku lahunna, ameen. She would carry large buckets, by herself, filled with potatoes from the kitchen, sometimes putting one bucket on her head while carrying the other in her hand. I once offered my help, but she refused me with a smile. Perhaps it would have been more difficult for her to watch me trying to carry the burdensome load than to carry it herself. May Allah bless her and all the others working hard for His sake, ameen.

There were other "khalas" that would frequent the school each day to sell a variety of random items including henna, jewelry, snacks, stockings, and a lot of other stuff that I cannot recall. I wondered about their stories, but my interactions with them were severely limited due my weakness in Arabic and my absolute ignorance of the local colloquial dialect.

I wonder to what extent women work in such countries out of necessity compared to those who work for the sake of indulging their interests or time. My family is what some might call "traditional" in that my sisters and I weren't raised with the idea that we need to have a profession nor do we need to work except if conditions made it necessary. Alhamdulillah wa ash shukr lillah 'ala kulli haal. Rizq is from Allah. My parents, however, always encouraged us to learn and to strive to do good. I'm grateful for this because I hope to never find myself working for the sake of earning alone.

While I recognize that I'm saying this with a sturdy roof over my head, a filled stomach, good clothing, and more luxuries than most people in world would even think of, I hope that if I ever find my circumstances changed, I will remember that Allah is Ar Razzaq, the Sustainer and the Provider. I hope to never find myself dependent on my efforts for my needs, but rather that I depend on Him entirely - most Glorified is He.

As I face the idea of entering a short-term commitment, I remind myself to be grateful. It doesn't matter where my heart is when Allah is the One who governs my affairs. Ideally, my heart should be in complete submission to His will.

My hope is that I can enter into that which He facilitates with the right intentions and to behave in a way which is most pleasing to Him. For this reason, I'm especially looking forward to the upcoming opportunity, inshaAllah, to sit at the feet of our teachers. Perchance I may take something of their wisdom and knowledge. Perchance I will be able to gain clarity in my life and rectify my actions before my death.

InshaAllah wa ameen.

اللهم افتح علينا و تقبل منا إنك السميع العليم العظيم... آمين

لا أستطيع

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I dabbled with my pen
To lend a voice to my heart
It bled a brilliant colour
And I knew not where to start

But words found their places
As sincerity took the lead
Guiding a heartfelt initiative
Cradling a promised seed

I regret not a moment passed
For all must be will definitely be
But I wonder about the invite
That repeatedly calls to me

Never can I forget
The strength of truth's hold
An everlasting union
Beyond jewels and glittered gold

For the weakness I blame my nafs
As it fails to disengage a heart
Feeding an old thirst
Unrest will play its part

The target I expect to miss
But I'll cheapen not a single shot
Hardship is an expected bit
As truth, my friend, can never ever be bought


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

يا أبا عمير...ما فعل النغير؟
Ya Aba 'Umayr, ma fa3al al-nughayr?
O Abu Umayr, what did the the nughayr [a small bird] do?
الف الصلاة و السلام عليك يا حبيب الله

I don't need to close my eyes to see it. I still see it. Although having missed the chance to return it in the flesh, the world of the arwaah has since opened enough opportunities to compensate the shortfall. When slumber faces the world, indulgences are endless.

If I placed my heart upon a glass tabletop, what would I find? Its colour will likely be charred with perhaps only a single drop of brilliant red colouring. It'll have random scuff marks and boast an arrhythmia. Hard to the touch, it would be a thing of great wonderment. I'd cradle it in my palms while searching for a well-known, hidden portion of sponginess. With no more than gentle pressure, I would gently remove the portion, in its entirety, and place its remnants on a mattress of sterile cotton. Then I would caress the blackened clump hoping to ease the pain of its tiny though substantial loss.

This certainly sounds like a cruel way to return a smile.

I wonder about the interaction between a little boy and our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. The demise of the boy's bird was cause for the boy's sadness. The Prophet, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa salam, cheered him up by saying: "O Abu Umayr, what did the small bird do?"

I would love to hear the wise insights that have been gleaned from this one sentence. Superficially, one might comment on the act of a busy man attending to a child in his moments of sadness. But wisdom is not in doing what is unexpected, rather it is in doing that which is rarely thought of and even less frequently acted upon.

أين أنت في حياتِنا يا حبيب الله؟

I wonder about the wisdom encompassed in a shared smile. Sharing things of beauty are not negligible experiences. For whom do we reserve our smiles? Are we so tremendously lacking in our appreciation of our circumstances and so self-involved that we keep this heart-moving curve of the lips and twinkle of the eyes to ourselves?

I'm hardly suggesting a charged movement to pasted smiles and heartless gestures. Rather, I wonder at sharing the treasure of actions that springs forth from the sincerity in our hearts. In voicelessness, a pure smile can say we care. How profound it is to not only share it but to also inspire it. A beautiful gift indeed.

Ask Earnestly

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ أَنتُمُ ٱلۡفُقَرَآءُ إِلَى ٱللهِۖ وَٱللهُ هُوَ ٱلۡغَنِىُّ ٱلۡحَمِيدُ

O mankind! Ye are the poor in your relation to Allah. And Allah! He is the Absolute, the Owner of Praise.

The blessed first ten days of Dhul Hijjah have passed, but not without leaving an imprint. It is in this month - especially so when the pilgrims are adorned in the apparel of the deceased - that it is evermore obvious how impoverished we are before our Lord. Although entirely dependent on Him, we fail to readily acknowledge our lack of influence in meeting our elementary needs let alone anything else. Sure enough another reminder has come, and it is up to us to act on it.

I have been remembering my dreams quite vividly of late. A few days ago I savoured one throughout the day, but this morning was quite the contrary. It was one in which I was sure that the wrath of Allah was upon me and thus I found myself making istighfaar. If my destruction was ordained, then my delayed istighfaar would likely have been in vain as was the case with nations that only sought refuge in their Lord after bearing witness to the punishment that they were promised for their lies and evil ways. I woke up too soon to find out the reality of my situation, but my accelerated heart rate was a reminder that dreams are sometimes a thing to consider.

Some of us may have not seized the gifts that these last ten days offered. Perhaps we even neglected to take our share of the bounties that were showered upon this world in Ramadhan. Nonetheless, we must know that we have until our deaths before all hope for reform is lost. The challenge, obviously, is that the timings of our deaths are unknown and our lives are in vain and utterly pathetic when they are void of beseeching our Lord's mercy and continuously turning to Him.

If we reflect on our lives, we will note that He gives us whatever it is that we sincerely seek. Eventually, in some form or another, He grants us those desires. So why do we not hope for the desire of being close to Him? Why do we not hope to worship Him and praise Him as is most appropriate for our existence? To acknowledge our lowliness before Him is to understand the signs of His unfathomable greatness that are constantly before us.

Simply speaking, we need to find sincerity in our hearts and ask. He gives us every excuse for His mercy, undeserving as we may be, and He gives us every opportunity to draw close. But we need to ask of Him, and we need to strive in His way.

The companions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, would ask Allah for every single need. They would even ask Allah for salt that might be within arm's reach. Why? Because they knew that everything, without exception, is from Him, and He is the only provider. Unlike many of us, they did not put their hopes in the means, but they took solace in the Source. Allah. La ilaaha illa Hu.

When you ask of anything, ask Him. No specific day is is the best day to turn to Allah and seek His forgiveness and good pleasure, though some days and times (like tahajjud) support such beautiful endeavours.

As the sacred month of Dhul Hijjah continues, intend to make aright the wrongs in your life and heart, and let gratitude be your adornment before death becomes your companion.

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِى عَنِّى فَإِنِّى قَرِيبٌ‌ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعۡوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ‌ۖ فَلۡيَسۡتَجِيبُواْ لِى وَلۡيُؤۡمِنُواْ بِى لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡشُدُونَ

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright.
Al Baqara:186

Updated 28/11/11

I'm hesitant in sharing this here because it could be counterproductive if misunderstood. Nonetheless, it is a weighty gem worth reflecting on and seeking further clarification about from our scholars.

Your asking Him is a charge against Him. Your asking for Him is [due to] your absence from Him. Your asking for other than Him is due to your lack of modesty in front of Him. Your asking from other than Him is due to being far from Him.
- Hikam #21 of Ibn Ata-illah

A commentary of the above hikam states:

There are four ways the servant asks and all of these are faulty:
(1) asking from Allah,
(2) asking for Allah Himself,
(3) asking for other than Him, and
(4) asking from other than Him.

[As for the first], asking for something from Him is an accusation (charge) against Him. If the servant put his trust in Allah to send him his needs without asking, he would not demand anything from Him.

[As for the second], asking for Allah Himself is [a sign] of being absent from Him, since the person already in His presence does not ask [for Allah].

[As for the third], asking for other than Him shows a lack of modesty on the part of the servant. If he were modest in front of Him, he would withdraw from what He dislikes such as asking for other than Him. Not mentioning other than Allah nor preferring anything over Him are among the types of modesty that He has a right to.

Finally, asking from other than Allah is due to the servant's remoteness from Him. If he were close to Him, others would be far from the servant and he would not ask anything from them.

Therefore, all asking is faulty according to those who declare Allah's oneness and know Him, regardless of whether this asking is concerned with the Truth or creation. However, the exceptions are asking in order to keep good manners with Allah, to do so as an act of worship, to follow Allah's command [al-Qur'an 40:60], and to express one's need and poverty. In these cases, asking Allah has no fault in it.


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Q - What is the perfect definition of having a good opinion of Allah (حسن الظن بالله)?
A - To have full certainty in your heart that Allah deals with you and gives you according to that which He knows is best for you (not good for you but best for you).

[Al Habib Husayn As Saqqaf - April 21, 2011]


Thoughts of children fill my mind. There is a lot that we can learn from them - not necessarily in terms of what they say and do but rather the combination of both phenomena as they relate to how they are as people and how they develop. For example, the other day I noted how politely my nephew asked his brother for a plastic bat as the two of them played some version of hockey whilst their beloved little sister - a newcomer to the world of walking - insisted on having a share in the game. I figured that he would probably consider his casual request of "Can you please pass me that stick?" as insignificant and normal. And really, in the world of ideals, being polite should not be unexpected. Nonetheless, I recall many occasions in his short life when he's been reminded, "How do you ask nicely?" or "Hey, you forgot the secret word!" or "Is that how you ask for something?" Like all of us, he wasn't born into this world knowing what makes up acceptable speech. Progress in this realm has required the sincere concern of his caretakers - his parents namely - to teach him, and repetition and discipline have definitely been a part of the equation.

So how does this simple, "no duh!" point relate to adults? Our nafs is a child in many respects and needs to be chided, reminded, and disciplined much like children. As we grow into adults with a solid awareness of what is respectable or praiseworthy conduct, we realize that there is still a mischievous, lazy, and easily-distractable part within ourselves, and sometimes we are entirely ineffective in curbing its child-like inclinations to whine and indulge itself.

While I toss around such thoughts in my mind, I note the craze in this world for people to improve themselves. Advertising speaks to both the childish nafs that wants ease and comfort, and it speaks to the brain that says "challenge yourself to be better" - better looks, better money, better accomplishments, better socializing, better everything. And sometimes better is only realistically sold at the price of discipline and sacrifice. Thus, we have 1001 diets, programs, videos, etc. inviting people to work hard to lose those extra pounds, or the ridiculous fast-paced work environments of vile characteristics that ask people to "suck it up" and push on if they want to "make it" and other things.

So perhaps the nafs has opportunities to be disciplined and such efforts are more common than I'm aware. Personally, I'm not sacrificing anything at all, and popularized endeavours to deal with the pain of getting ahead are not the least bit appealing to me. I don't think I could motivate myself nor discipline myself enough to achieve even sentiments of a single fad.

Then where is one, such as myself, supposed to find strength when preparing to reproach one's nafs? I can only really think of one piece of advice when attempting to answer this question even though the greater meaning of it is lost to me in practice. A teacher advised one to be connected to those of similar spiritual aspirations. In one word, he advised suhba or companionship. I suppose before I reach clarity in this advice, I must learn what it means to truly have a good opinion of His creations and how to interact with them deeply.

My personal inclinations of suhba are largely embedded in quality and not quantity. Regardless, it is a concept that currently escapes me and thus it is one which I must struggle with should I hope to be even mildly deserving of its fruits.

Think deeply, live deeply, die peacefully... inshaAllah.

Started on Feb, 28, 2011 and completed today.

Nothing Else

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

During a long car drive earlier this year, a fellow passenger commented that marriage is in crisis. I disagreed but said nothing as she went on to explain herself. She meant the process of getting married. While I agree that challenges exist there and in marriages as well, I find it erroneous to consider "marriage," or any part of what it means, in crisis. People are in states of crisis, not marriage. Mentally, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually, people are confused and yearn for harmony.

Before much more can be added to this introspection, it must be said that it is a great blessing that we each have a relationship with our Creator regardless of any despicable level we may reach in our servanthood. He is deserving of all loyalty, praise, and aspiration. It is only by His guidance and decree that what we may find clarity in this world of conflicting messages and ideologies.

I have since tossed her words around in my mind as I tried to find an angle from which the prism could appear transparent. It is a difficult process given my own cowardice. I said as much to her that day as I put out different scenarios with the hope that one would inspire a clear perspective.

It is all too easy to get into discussions about how we, people, attempt to honour conflicting values in the same embrace. But such discussions yield nothing because trying to join opposing principles will, naturally, lead to disaster.

In all truth, we cannot put the deen on one end of the scale and justify any other weight; no matter its shape, size, or appeal. Whatever it is, it will always take things out of balance since the deen - that is, divine guidance and the exemplary teachings of our Beloved 'alayhi assalaatu wassalaam - is balanced. It is complete justice. It is complete unity. It is complete harmony.

And yet you'll read my words here and say, "But it is completely ideal and nearly impossible to achieve." This is truly the point of disagreement. Though difficult, it is not impossible to achieve. We laboriously choose not to let go of some things for the sake of reaching it.

Yet again, in my myself I find that words are all too easy and smooth while actions are utterly absent.

I will say though that another person's words in a different context have embellished this whole reflection and offer me clarity. "This isn't about me and never has been. It's about Allah, and nothing else." It is an ideal that is rare to hear and even more scarcely lived by, but it serves as a glorious ambition all the same.

May it be lived by the soul that was graced to express it, and may it saturate the hearts that are ennobled to receive it. Ameen.


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Less than 24 hours ago I dreamt that I was in Yemen. I don't remember much else about the dream, neither the scenery nor the circumstances, except that one of my sisters was with me and after settling our lives there we had to leave. It was perhaps a replay of a situation that occurred some eleven years earlier in more northern soil.

I heard from a friend recently. She was the same one with whom I walked through the flooded streets of Sana'a during our return home from the grocery store one night. She said to me then, "Do you know what makes Yemen different than other countries?" I thought for a few moments but soon gave up and asked what it might be. "In other countries, when it rains the streets get cleaner, but in Yemen the streets get dirtier!" I laughed. I told her today that I missed Yemen. She said that I shouldn't since there is nothing to miss. My heart is with them as times are tough.

I often think of another sister who I met there. In a quiet moment together, she once expressed the helplessness she felt as a poor woman who was unable to, in the least, find out about her husband's health as he remained in the hospital for more days than anticipated. All I could think to say at the time was that these tests of patience are not in vain and it is not a wonder that the poor will be among the first to enter Jannah. I haven't heard from her in a long time, though I've heard she is bedridden with ailing health. May Allah make things easy for them all, ameen.

These thoughts often tumble in my mind, and they inevitably invite me to draw parallels to life here. But where can I begin, really? I don't look at the world as I did before I went to Yemen, but I don't attribute this change of thinking to that experience alone. Some of the most unexpected lessons were taught to me upon my return. And, true enough, aging has played its part too. The difficulty for me now lies in putting the pieces together. But, is it worth it?

I have this unfortunate tendency of wanting to understand situations, as few and rare as they are, that are near to my heart, be it good or bad. Not understanding or not having enough insights to even try to understand is.... distracting.

Some criticize me for "never" saying what I want, but not saying does not mean not knowing. I do seek clarity but pursuing the means to such an end is sometimes a luxury. I suppose some matters of the heart will remain forever as they are. Thus, I pray for the strength, wisdom, and resolve to delve into the matters that will ease the suffering of a putrid soul, inshaAllah wa ameen.

Insanity's Witness

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

It is rarely abated as it runs in the blood like a virus. Where does weakness find rest? Words, a mere disguise for truth, yield nothing. Answers are no easier sought here and now than there and then. Stillness is an unachievable experience. But it wasn't. Is there something to be learned from the past? It is a wonder that what is missing was once a succulent fruit whose taste lingered enough to make each choice worthwhile.

Now every choice must be mistrusted. Every venture considered worthless. Every intention negligible. Every desire damned. Every thought flawed.

Perhaps it was said once not to give up, but instead to find the strength needed to straighten the strays. To grow in wisdom while facing doubts and inadequacies. To feed the heart more than paper-pleasing diction. To persevere despite turbulent weaknesses. The strength of such advice is faint. Ears no longer suited for such wise counsel.

Many speak to be heard, but patience in the face of blabbering is short lived. Rarities speak to honour the gift and blessing of communication. To say love is not to be love, but to live love is to proclaim it. Fanciful words that few to none can embrace or even deserve. How is it to read the same line of the same book and take rest in the same word but adorn such vitality with a ghastly interface?

Inspiration is lost in this drunken stupor. Veils are burdensome. Lights are securely blackened. Not a soul might understand the multiple layers of such coiled musings. Its meanings are twisted so tightly that not even the author can unravel them to the point of gainful clarity.

Indeed, a darkened heart is a secure witness to half of insanity.


Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

My last reflective blurb ended with a question: "What do you want out of life?" The difficulty in answering this is, as I see now, that the question itself is flawed entirely. Life cannot be about what we want. If it is it, then we know nothing about the pursuit of soulful submissions and struggling with ourselves to taste their sweetness.

The question must be more urgent than what we want. Wants are fanciful. Some of them we reach and others must escape our thoughts as they remain strangers to our lives. Some are purposeful and others are purposeless, almost useless. It is truly a matter of what we need.

What do we need from life?

If random people were asked, "Do you want a million dollars?" Most, I imagine, would say yes. When asked, "What would you do with that much money?" Most, I imagine, would be unsure about using most of it. A wonder, isn't it?

Ironically, it is easy to speak of wants but troublesome dealing with needs. If wants go unfulfilled, we know that we will be alright all the same. But if needs are neglected, we know that the consequences will eventually catch up with us.

We don't need to drink seven to eight glasses of water a day. But people try to do so anyway. We don't need to eat seven to eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day nor any other specifics that an official food guide might suggest. We need only eat good food, and enough of it to live or to simply stand straight. We don't need to be popular or respected, but we need to know, for ourselves, that we are honourable and dignified.

We don't need the keys to the treasures of this world, not even the simplest of them, nor do we need to adopt a facade of piety. We need to be honest with ourselves, and we need the strength to spend a moment, if only a single one, in the dark waters of true solitude and silence. And in that moment, we must force ourselves to face our realities. Who are we? Where are we? Where are we going? What do we need to get there?

Unimaginable are moments of true insight.

Soon to follow...

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

There she is, the Rajab moon, looking upon us as she reminds us that Ramadhan is coming soon. I look to one side and see the comfort of the world I'm in, the one that can mute the rest of the world out, unconcerned and unmoved. I look to the other side and I imagine their fears, their tears, and their unrest. My unrest is unwarranted compared to theirs.

The other day, as I lost my thoughts in two hours of kitchen duties and the sounds of Arabic nasheeds, I found myself in a pendulum moving from thoughts of joy to reminders of struggles. I remembered the people who I once called a friend. Those who were upset with me when I failed to share reasons for my sadness. Those who I spent hours with in unexhausted conversation. Those who considered my ears worthy of their woes. Those who offered me a hug when I needed it the most. Those whose advice and insights I always seek. Those who I hold near and dear to my heart, and the one or two that I dare call a good friend. Some have since moved on, married perhaps, perhaps just better settled in the comfort of their families. Others are a hand's span away but utterly unreachable.

Despite using a fan strategically placed by my father for my comfort, the heat of the day and the stove was still ever present for me. "Not quite desert heat," I thought with a smile "...but heat nonetheless." The scent of freshly barbecued kebabs wafted its way to me as family members opened the oven and helped themselves to lunch. I smiled. If I closed my eyes at that moment, I could have almost experienced a step in Sana'a bustling streets, perhaps passing a street vendor as I contemplated lunch options.

I'm blessed. My family is well, but they're not my only concern. Violence in Sana'a, in Cairo, in BenGhazi, in Damascus, and other places enter my mind. A smile cannot survive such thoughts. I hope for some correspondence that will inform me that those who have touched my heart are well. A selfish hope, but a hope nonetheless.

Years ago, as my friend and I discussed travelling overseas to study at a certain school, we talked about the difficulties that singlehood could offer. "You're a hopeless romantic!" she said to me. I still haven't figured out why. It just didn't seem easier to travel with a spouse and have him staying in one school while I had the opportunity to pursue my studies in an adjacent school. Practically speaking, I said to her, "How would I know if he was ill? Or if he had eaten well?" For me, these concerns have nothing to do with romance. They're simply a part of caring, even if only considering a hypothetical situation.

Romance... caring... love... perhaps they all add up to the same thing to some extent. I then thought about the infamous Layla (Majnoon's Layla). Few look at her perspective on things, perhaps because of the enticement of Majnoon's eloquence. Undeniably impressive eloquence, but kalaam nonetheless. What did Layla's silence say? Perhaps this question is worthless, but I'll indulge it all the same. Given the option to marry him but to also bring shame to her family due to his open declaration of love, she attempts to disengage her feelings for him and instead marries another. Her emotions eventually get the better of her (and him no less), and they both die of broken hearts. Quite the drama indeed, but I credit her effort of sacrificing her desires and her beloved's for the sake of greater good. It's not an easy task, but life sometimes requires that we walk firmly on the path of self-denial.

The question is simple, "What do you want out of life?" But the answer is one of the most difficult to provide while being ruthlessly honest with one's self. A dishonest answer will only lead to a tangled web. I realize this now. In my attempts at answering this question, I find myself saying, feeling, thinking, and living different things. While this stems from my weakness, I must stand by the strength in my kalaam and hope that the rest will soon follow, inshaAllah.

اللهُمَّ إنِّي ضَعِيفٌ فَقوِّ في رِضاكَ ضَعْفي، و خُذْ إلى الخيْرِ بِناصِيَتي، و اجْعلِ الإسلامَ مُنتهى رِضاي
اللهُمَّ إنِّي ضعيفٌ فقوِّني، و إنّي ذليللٌ فأعِزَّني، و إني فقيرٌ فأغْنِني، بِرحمتِكَ يا أرحمَ الرّاحمين... آمين

هي جنة - حمود الخضر


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I gesture to wipe them away, but they've yet to be shed. Harboured deep inside, given no voice, they're hardly said. But the heart has forgotten not, for it delights at the knowledge while grieving its cessation. Perhaps it's greed that incites a palpitation. Stillness occurs but rarely. And in such moments, one wonders. Perhaps it is an infatuation. Perhaps it is a hopeful mirage. Time continues to take its course, but the voiceful echo of "This is true!" resounds firmly. Thus questions float and tears halt. How can they descend in a desert? A heart that harbours only its desires is at manifest fault.

So let the will to transcend overcome the invitation to wonder. What has passed will remain complete, and what will come is not by one's personal accord. This is a lesson most cannot afford. For choosing other than the way of good is not an option. It is a notion that will never be indulged. Its consumption releases a poison. Death before death is ignorance. Truth is beyond us and belongs to Him.

May we live in His way, by His laws, earning His closeness and good pleasure. May we be strangers to other than what He wills. May we be firm in progressing, in loving, in existing for His sake alone. Ameen.

جمعنا ربنا
هو يعرف ما في قلوبنا
هذه نعمة منه
فنسأله وحده
الخير لنا
و الفتح علينا
و القربى إليه
جل جلاله

Update: 04/06/2011

My statement "death before death is ignorance" referred to the death of the spiritual heart before the physical heart. But here is something else to think about in terms of truly living.

Imam Abdullah ibn 'Alawi al Haddad was heard to say, "We should now be counted with the dead for all our worldly appetites have died and we find in us not the slightest inclination nor desire for anything of this world, whether it be food, clothes, or any other thing; and in all these I find no pleasure. However, when food is placed before us we eat what we can to conform. This has been our state for quite some time now. Prior to this, I had for these things a very weak inclination which has now disappeared, even though you may observe me behaving and speaking differently with the people. The Prophet, may God's blessings and peace be upon him, has said, 'Die before you die!'" He once remarked that those who come to know the illusory nature of the world become detached from it even though they may be disbelievers who expect no Day of Judgment. He said, "All religions have united in vilifying it, yet all the communities to whom those religions were sent are united in loving it. And he remarked that as much as a third of the Quran is aimed at dispraising the world and encouraging people to renounce it.

[Sufi Sage of Arabia, pg. 40-41]


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the heavens and earth and all that exists. All gratitude is due to Him, He who is the source of peace.

Clothed in silence, it must not matter that words fail to encompass emotion, intent, and existence. Each day, the essence goes a little deeper becoming a little less accessible.

We each hold our breath as we eagerly dive deep into the waters of life ambitiously exploring an oxygen-less world. But with each enjoyable dive, we must return to the surface. And that we do, time and time again, to take our share of necessity before we plunge into the depths below.

But I wonder, what is it that engages our efforts, time, and interests such that we exert ourselves to disillusion perceiving ourselves as capable of frolicking in a water-filled world? Perhaps it's not an illusion, but a hope that extends beyond good sense.

I will myself to leave the enchanting waves, but my will goes no further than knowing that at some point I must return to the truth by which I was created to live. In the movement of undercurrents, I search for the meaning of life above the surface. Ironic, isn't it? From beneath the surface I stare in wonderment at life above wondering why existence seems so effortless.

We were created for and with a purpose, and each part of that which makes us who we are will only serve us in achieving that purpose. It really depends on whether we are wise enough to learn how to use these parts in the way that befits their very existence, or if we shall continue exerting our beings in ways that do not serve our purpose all the while wondering when and how we can achieve the goal of our existence.
يا أرحم الراحمين فرج على المسلمين ...آمين

A Great Purpose

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحمد لله رب العالمين و الصلاة و السلام على الحبيب محمد المصطفى و على آله و صحبه و سلم

All praises belong to Allah alone, from whom we ask for guidance and protection, upon whom we depend, and to whom we will return by His grace, mercy, and will. Praise be to Him who has placed us in this world and has not created anything with idle purpose. Gratitude is owed to Him who has elevated human kind and made subservient all of His creations for our benefit. Transcendent is He whose rights over us are obvious and certain and whose mercy is encompassing and generous.

In recent days, He - most glorified and exalted is He - blessed this humble community with an honoured guest. Many sipped at the fountain of his knowledge, character, and his efforts to call people to strive towards states of greater insight and purpose. As I reflect on the last few days, I'm still very much at a loss for words as my heart still tries to absorb the whole experience. It is a sign, and signs by their nature point to something other than themselves. Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, in his talks that punctuated the lessons given to us by Al Habib Umar bin Muhammad bin Hafiz, - الله يحفظه - repeatedly mentioned that a return to prophetic guidance and Quranic teachings are not only possible but necessary. The only thing that holds us back from achieving anything of this sort is ourselves. And really, it requires a great deal of reflection on our current circumstances and what we want out of our lives, and it requires sincerity in making changes to reach our lofty potential.

It is not befitting for humans, those of sound intellect, to doubt their Lord's majesty, transcendence, and supreme power over all things. And we must recognize that in His infinite wisdom and generosity, He keeps opening doors for us, one after another, to improve ourselves and to cleanse ourselves of the stains, hardships, and angst that we adorn ourselves with as we label it reality. "Reality" is that we have a limited time to live in ways that call to good and that recognizes our position in this world. Interestingly, lessons in these last few days, as I saw them, cradle messages quite like those that distinguished revelations in the Makkan period. That is to say that they seemed to invite us to establish a firm belief in the Oneness of Allah, to recognize His Lordship, and to see His prophet - may peace and blessings be upon him - as one whom He has honoured and by whose example we can learn to rectify our states both outwardly and inwardly.

Taking a step back, we must ask ourselves: Why do we love our teachers? Why are our hearts moved by their presence, prayers, and words? Why do we feel as though opportunities are lost when we cannot attend gatherings with them? Why do we shadow them and wait anxiously for their counsel? Because they, unlike us, have grasped wisdom, revelation, knowledge, and understanding with a passionate ferocity and made it their life's concern to live in the service of that which is pleasing in the sight of Allah. They are the ones who when they read "..and these are the successful..." in the Quran, they heed the advice and persevere with Quranic counsel. They are the ones who do not belittle prophethood and its role in their lives. They are the ones who turn away from cheap prices that are offered for their soulful identities, and instead they live saying "labayka Allahumma labayk." This is where we all need to be. But at the beginning of all this rests one thing - knowledge.

Perhaps we look at our beloved shuyukh and teachers as some sort of GPS units that will lead us to the state of raised human conditions. Perhaps excitement for their company comes from the anticipation that they will lead us to our destination. In some ways, they will. But they're not "quick fixes" for us, and we must prepare ourselves to work, to learn, to struggle with ourselves rejecting all that is perceived as norms when they go against prophetic teachings. We need to be active in our movement towards greatness, but awakening an almost dead heart is not easy, and it is only by Allah's generosity and grace that we will find ourselves with the means to do so.

I like to look at the past few days as part of the means, and I pray that the good that has been gathered can be utilized and eventually increases with Allah's blessings. It is a great and severe error and a great and severe mockery of good to neglect striving to lead better spiritual lives.

As I say this, I know there will be many slips ahead, but Allah is generous, and we must maintain a good opinion of Him and depend on Him for guidance. And we must know that He will facilitate that which is best for us, and He will take care of us.

ربنا تقبل منا انك أنت السميع العليم و تب علينا انك أنت التواب الرحيم
يا ربنا اهدنا الصراط المستقيم يا أرحم الراحمين يا أرحم الراحمين يا أرحم الراحمين...آمين


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

لا حول و لا قوة الا بالله العلي العظيم

When there is a conflict between active engagement and serene submission, we will find that our manifestations of both efforts are amiss. If I perceive something as good and pursue it full heartedly only to find myself in tangles of frustration, then I must know that at some point I am failing to submit. Submission is not to be idle but to recognize where power and governance of all affairs lie.

Certainly, these matters are far from every brain cell that we are able to juice and every resource that we are able to grasp. Sometimes the point of correction is simply in one's motivations. When an intention is soured, an act will be impacted. So indications of unresolve or imbalance sometimes point back to the beginning of the act as they invite us to correct our intentions and to follow through with the act so that it serves as a reason for worthy gains instead of the opposite.

A Step

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

May it bubble and frizzle and do the wonderful things it is meant to do. May it sparkle and shine. May it settle and incline to the ways of its nature. May it awaken to the reality of its existence. May it flourish and reach unimaginable depths. May it breathe easily. May it taste peace. May it know life. Ameen.

This world is a mad house in many respects. It baffles any claims I have to my own sanity. It lies repeatedly. It defies logic relentlessly. I have been inclined to write about its absurdities but never seem to find the right words, those that get to the heart of what is really going on. Behind these veils, there are signs that need to be uncovered, polished, and savoured. But often times it feels like a task almost unachievable. Little progress is made beneath the veils of darkness.

But you know what? Sometimes, sometimes, there are flickers of light. No, not hope in this respect, but a hand to hold while on treacherous grounds, one that makes stability a useful word. We cannot have stability nor strength nor progress in anything that itself is finite. As always, truth must be beyond the tangible. Love must be beyond the visible. But such moments are rare, almost non-existent.

I want to hope for them. I want to carry them. I want to share them. There is chaos masking a world that begs to return to its state of peace. For those who care to see it, its success is existent, and it is possible. We must see beyond ourselves, beyond that which might make us worthwhile even in our lowly estimations. All we are for ourselves now, in this preliminary stage of existence, is a rebellious inner being, a rebellious nafs. But her end will come soon, and the part that we would like to wholeheartedly embrace is waiting patiently for our gentle touch. If all goes well in part one, we can then reasonably hope for a sweet reunion bereft of the stubborn, hardly satiated, and rarely disciplined part of our worldly selves.

But do we have the patience for such a logical, clearly outlined step?

It is only a step as it is very brief and can hardly be considered a journey. But perhaps we don't consider steps, by themselves and in their independence, as significant. Do tell, how many steps does it take to land in a puddle? A mere step should you be close enough. Know that both expectant realities - that which we fear and that which we hope for - lay securely at our sides. When our single step ends at the call of our deaths, we will know the consequences of our choice. Choose well, think carefully, and lift you foot with utmost care. May it be favoured with His mercy and grace and be amongst those that are showered with His ridha... ameen.

The Voice of A Stone

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

"Your life you must one day ponder
So evaluate and remember
Now and not later
Now and not later."
- Muhammad al Haddad

I had the great opportunity to attend a blessed gathering a few days ago. But truth be told, the most peaceful moment for me that night was when I returned home, stepped out of the car, and raised my eyes to gaze at the luminous crescent and crystal-clear night sky. While resting my head against the car door and inhaling the frigid winter air, I had to ask myself yet again, "Where are you going?"

It seems I've been asking myself this question for a long time. Thoughts that I scribbled in books some nine years ago are no different, in essence, than much of what I've written on this blog. I don't find myself any stronger, but I only see a deep weakness. Sometimes we need this weakness, sometimes. Regardless of my state, may I never find myself ungrateful.

I'm regularly flirting with ideas of travelling or with sipping at the fountain of engaging thoughts. Although I have made attempts in various life progressions, I'm still standing impoverished and unchanged. Entirely unchanged. I'm still waiting for the rain, though I wonder if I should be really waiting or rather I should welcome its unexpected arrival. At the heart of it, I can't help but consider this helplessness a great blessing. Nothing of my hopes or endeavours have materialized, and yet I know that my Lord is taking care of my affairs. But I also know that I'm not right with Him, and within that which He has empowered me to do, I must make a mark - as insignificant as it may be. I must. Again, I wonder how. From here, so smoothly is the voice of a stone released...


It feels unreal. Perhaps like a chapter from a book. A fish in his bowl listens to the words, and it is nothing more than that. Words or some imaginary phenomenon that lasts only as long as one is reading the tale. This is life in my eyes.

If my silence whispered anything to a listening ear, one who dares engage my presence, a presence that only inhales oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide, it would say, "I don't want the sun, moon, or stars, but truth." What is truth? For me, it is to stand in the midst of the desert, with chapped skin, dusty robes, and nothing more than an aura of peace and contentment. Gone is the crown of a title, the status of earnings, the value of aesthetics, the strength in oratorship, the tangibles. In the desert, silence allows the soul to speak and leaves hearts to rest.

The desert need not be formed of heat and sand dunes. Whatever its form, ya nafsi, it is where we must be, by the grace and permission of Allah, most glorified is He.

Written on March 26, 2010

الله المستعان

ارحمني يا الله

Shared Thoughts


I've been meaning to write here for quite some time, but I haven't given myself the time to collect the remnants of my thoughts into anything substantial. My sister, however, has written this wonderful poem that speaks to me on many levels. Masha'Allah, it is like a breath of fresh air on a hot summer's day.

A Peace That Sings

By Shireen

My soul breathes a breath it has never quite taken before
So crisp, so clean, so pure
And a giddy little grin will peak upon my lips
For no particular reason, just a peace within sings so deep
And though the meaning of life’s lesson is upon me now
I can’t help but feel that I know nothing of anything, but to God I remain, to God I bow
Time and time again we search, we befriend but in the end there are things that remain questionable
Should a friend really be so textable?
Really, is there nothing else to do other than keep us entertained
Twitter, or Facebook, Blackberry or Iphone, Google and Amazon E books
It’s all the same really, friends too many
One or two may know me
But never have they given me this feeling I feel
This ease, this lightness upon my chest, this gushing goodness of “man, God is Indeed The Best!”
Why? some may ask. Wasn’t that a test?
Yes, but a test is only a question mark away from a reward
Will you submit to that which you cannot control? Or will your choice be hard, and dramatic turmoil?
I resolve with, I need not fight if I have the angels fighting for me
I will not wander blindly when I have light making a way clearly
I will not speak ill of what’s meant to be, when I have the All Knowing watching over me
I will not be among the ungrateful, before I become alone just me and me
My life is a breath of fresh air for which I pray lasts until I return home
Though fears I have, it’s not something any human can console
For words don’t come when I try to speak it, just thoughts and only God Knows the Meanings
So I stop here.
Praising the All Knowing, The All Wise
Hoping for the best, fearing my weaknesses and begging for success!
"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]