NO COMPULSION Q2.253, 256; Q109. 1-6

la-ilaha-illallah-calligraphyIf there is anything I have learnt about Islam, it is that you cannot force it on any one.

My mum is a revert. When growing up, I knew she converted after she married my dad and thought it was done automatically but when I got older and asked her, I realised she did not switch to Islam immediately. In fact, my dad used to drop her off at church prior to her reversion.

Family friends were instrumental in her conversion and my dad never had to coerce her. She impresses me how far she has come, virtually on her own with Allah’s help. She observes her salaah, fasts in Ramadan including the six days of Shawwal and on Mondays and Thursdays; she has been to Hajj twice and is an active member of an Islamic group. If I weren’t a Muslim, it would have been difficult to convince me to begin to fast and pray and cover up and all. Alhamdulillah, I already am!

And this is a shout out to all reverts out there who are self-motivated, learning more about Islam and striving to be better Muslims than we born Muslims who are supposed to have had a head-start. We really should stop giving them a hard time about how they do not behave 100% like Muslims and focus on providing them with much-needed support instead! Slow and steady, in sha Allah.

If there is a non-Muslim you wish to convert to Islam, remember that ONLY Allah (SWT) has the ability to change hearts. Just as we do not see the wisdom in the Trinity, so can they not see the nobility of the Prophet (SAW). If Allah desired, we would all follow one religion but He did not make it so.

Please, live and let live. Invite to a way you know is better with kind words and good counsel. Then seat back and leave the rest to Allah. He is Able to do all things.

HI, SELF! Q87.1-3

So, I’ve had this idea fermenting in my mind, unsure of how to start so I’ll just lay it down here.

We all lie, everyday, everywhere, every time. It’s not always verbal but in many subtle ways. We are so full of deceit that we have begun to accept the lies as truth and carefully conceal it every time we have an audience (sometimes, even when we don’t). Some of these lies are socially polite and arguably necessary but the problem lies in when we do not know where the lies end and truth starts.

A lot of us have not stopped to give ourselves a long critical and honest look in years. We need to invest in a full length mirror and set out a day for self-reflection. Majority of us can no longer recognise ourselves because we haven’t looked in a long time.

Stand in front of the mirror, alone, stripped of a false accent, fake airs, face paint, artificial hairs, nails, your hijab, jewellery, flashy clothes, be nude if you want (but remember to secure your door). Take a good look at yourself. Take a good look, not to look for faults and blemishes. Take a thorough look at yourself and accept yourself.

Take a good look at the short or lanky stature, rolls of fat, stretch-marks, cellulite, hidden tattoos, uneven skin, dark-complexion, receding hairline, increasing paunch or six-pack, crooked teeth, squint, excessive body hair or lack of it, huge nose, hairy ears, flat-chest or saggy breasts, skinny legs, ugly toes.

Appraise yourself. Are you materialistic, not-religious, dependent on others, angry, arrogant, scared? Or you are frightened of the dark, heights, crowds, a broken heart, failure, not being accepted, poverty? Whatever you have a problem with, stare at it and stare hard. Think about what you want to do about it (if at all).

Then, analyse this: if you don’t accept yourself with your flaws, why should anyone else? It’s a very negative but comforting place to be, wrapped up in our inadequacies like it’s a security blanket. Clinging to our flaws can make us feel safe but diffident. And it holds us back from enjoying ourselves and our relationships. It is a fact that these insufficiencies prevent a woman from achieving orgasm because she is too worried about how she looks to enjoy the moment.
self-reflection
So, if you cannot bear what you see, try to fix it. If you cannot, live with it, accept it and embrace yourself. Allah has proportioned you wonderfully and blessed you immensely whether the world views it that way or not. Stop trying to live like others, be like others. Those perpetually happy Facebook posts and carefully-edited Instagram selfies are mostly lies too so stop comparing your life with theirs. No one is always happy and always so beautiful all of the time. That is not normal! Concealing yourself will only make it stranger to those who get to peek in. You may be surprised to realise that when you reveal yourself to the world, it will not cringe back in disgust but will accept you, ONLY if you have accepted yourself. You will bloom with new-found confidence and a beautiful aura.

So, go ahead and step out of your comfort zone and say, ‘Hi. I am ABCD.’ You will hear us chorus, ‘Hi, ABCD!’

Quick Question

Dear fellow bloggers,
I was on this blog and came across this:

Do you ever experience writer jealousy? Ever read something and instead of appreciating it you thought “man I could have written that!” What are you more envious of a person that writes in your same genre better than you or someone that is able to create something you cannot?

Who do you have writer’s envy for?

BIRTHDAY THOUGHTS

I am undecided about birthdays.

I used to think I was ambivalent but I am not.

Even as I type this, I am not sure what my opinion is about birthdays. I know what I don’t like about how people choose to celebrate theirs but I don’t know if I like birthdays or not.

When I was a kid, the anniversary of the day I was born always fell during the long summer break so I never had my mates sing to me while standing in front of the class, ready to slice a birthday cake. It was celebrated very minimally in our house with my mum, dad and siblings singing to be in Daddy’s room. Then my parents would hand me a beautiful card (maybe with a gift), give us some biscuits and sweets and that was it! At least, for me – who couldn’t celebrate in school.

When I got to the University though, I was forced/convinced/obligated to entertain my hungry friends every birthday I had. I did not really mind that. It was quite fun, except for the dishes we had to attend to afterwards.

Then I got married and my in-laws love to celebrate each birthday with elaborate cooking, popping non-alcoholic wine and uploading pictures on Facebook. I really did not mind that (except for the music).

Now, with kids on my tail and the hassle it takes to throw a party (plus my husband doesn’t seem much into celebrating), I honestly can’t be bothered about celebrating mine. Or it may just be what a friend of mine postulated: I am getting old!

That said, I really appreciate birthday calls, texts, cards and gifts because I honestly am surprised people remember at all. It really touches me that without me hinting on social media sites, my friends remember. I loathe reminding people of my birthday and would rather it passes quietly without a fuss.

Another thing is that, I feel obligated to get you something for your birthday (or your kid’s birthday) if I am aware and I can, particularly if we work together or we are friends.

I don’t think first birthday celebrations are even necessary because the child cannot remember it. It seems compulsory though because everyone will insist you do it since the kids will grow up to see the pictures, I guess.

It is tempting to think that it is because of Islam but I really don’t think am so convinced birthdays are bad islamically.

Please be my shrink and share your thoughts.

THE BEGINNING OF THE END Q83.18-20

angels in flight
THUMP, THUMP…THUMP, THUMP
He feels himself slipping away
Thump, Thump…Thump, Thump
Like a dancer in a ballet
Thump, thump…thump, thump
He sees the light; that fabled light
Thump, thump
Thump, thump

As all becomes enveloped in night.

With the final thump, he becomes fluid
Like an ocean tossing a seaweed
On angels’ wings, he takes his flight
Defying gravity, gaining height

Mantled in robes of ivory tusk,
All around him, the scent of musk.
With each ascent, they’re put to task;
Reply his name to those who ask

The gates open by beings – pretty
Ahead, behind: splendour, beauty!
Peace and colours; summer in June
His book is registered in Illiyun

His soul’s escorted back to Earth
Right back to the land of his death
No one seems aware that he’s gone
As all around him life goes on.

© 2014 AwK

LIFELINE Q4.85

As we navigate the waters of the dunya, we sometimes lose focus and begin to drown in worldliness. We are often fortunate to be rescued into a lifeboat by a helping hand which steers us back to safety.

We cannot – out of fear – refuse to take to the sea but we should all be on the lookout to toss out a lifeline into the turbulent waters to rescue someone, as we would like to be rescued ourselves. Our common goal is Al-Jannah and there is sufficient accommodation for us all so we should seek to help as many people as we can, on board the ship en route Paradise. We should do da’awah, give advice (naseeha) to others and pray for their guidance. When we begin to drift, we should also be open to correction from others.
capsized
The path to the Hereafter is littered with capsized boats, sinking vessels, drowning swimmers. We should look out for both ourselves and others and assist those floundering in the water back to shore.

May we and all those we love make it to the other side in safety.