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.
"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]