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.
"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]