THROUGH THEIR EYES Q49:11-12

A young couple moved into a new neighbourhood. The next morning while eating breakfast, the young woman saw her neighbour through the window hanging the wash outside.

“That laundry is not clean,” she said. “She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap”.

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time the neighbour would hang laundry to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband,
“Look, she has learnt how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this!”

The husband replied, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.” – from message.snopes.com


And so it is with life.

What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look. We see people as we are.

It is pretty easy to discuss other people, their lives and things that don’t really concern us – yet we tend to forget that our window isn’t that clean after all.

I got a call from a close friend who mentioned that she ran into a young man who knew me when we were at the University. He asked after me and shared something which had intrigued him. He said when we had worked together on the departmental student body association, I had gotten upset when he complimented me on my looks.

Now, I cannot even remember who he is, neither can I remember the incident; but I do find my reaction a tad weird. While I sincerely loathe when men cannot look beyond a pretty face but what happened to graciousness; witty wisecrack; skilful change of topic or even pretending I did not hear him? Anyway, maybe he was annoying when he said it but now, I know I would have done things differently.

Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I had a couple of clashes with people (who didn’t?) because I was pretty headstrong and
opinionated; saw things in only black and white. May be I still am but I’ve begun to learn how important manners, tact and speech (or silence) can be. I also understand that there are a good many shades of grey and find myself making excuses for people and trying to understand their points of view. Alhamdulillah, I have a better relationship with many people I did not get on well with in the near past by realising my opinions are not always right and people correcting me are not necessarily ‘beefing’ me.

Of course, not everyone has valid criticisms but if we listen well enough, we should be able to discern constructive criticism from judgmental statements with malicious intent. On the other hand, we should not shy away from asking perceptive and intelligent people for advice and for their insight while prepared for the sting of feedback. We need to stop viewing all criticisms with suspicion. It takes guts to do that but we often become better for it.

So, you see? We really ought to get up and clean our windows more frequently and be open to accepting that the problem is not always them; sometimes, it is us.

Advertisements

FLOWER GARDEN Q25:74, 30:21

A little boy visits a flower garden. He walks around awe, admiring the bursts of colour in a variety of shapes and intoxicating fragrances.

‘I need to have them all!’ Adam declares, but since he has only a few coins, he settles on lovely white lily.


He leaves the garden with his prize and a dance to his steps. At home, he sits gazing fondly at his purchase enveloped in beautiful gift wrap for a couple of hours.

‘I really ought to get some sleep,’ he thinks and carefully places the lone lily in an old blue jar before he retires to bed. It had been a long day.

He awakens to a lovely morning and smiles when he remembers his purchase of yesterday. With a bounce to his step, Adam goes to check on his beautiful flower.

It is still as delightful to his eyes as it was yesterday – but a little less so. He is still excited about his new possession and decides to take his friend to the flower garden too.

Now, Zack has even fewer coins but is equally enthralled by the blossoms of beauty so he also makes a purchase of a single white rose wrapped in paper and leaves the shop.


When the duo part ways, Zack takes his purchase home. He stares lovingly at it in a vase but deciding it looks alone, he unwraps it then plants it in his little flower patch beneath the kitchen window.

The next morning, he awakens to a lovely morning and smiles when he remembers his purchase of the day before. With a bounce to his step, Zack goes to check on his beautiful flower.

It is still as delightful to his eyes as it was yesterday, even a little more so. It seems happier and appears to stand out from the rest in the bright morning sunshine.

‘Well, it should stand out from the rest,’ he chuckled to himself. ‘It is my only rose!’

He carefully waters it and weeds his flower patch. He spends some time there and prays right next to his little flower patch.

Time goes by, Adam drops by. He finds Zack in his little garden, pruning the rose which had become a lovely little bush with a couple of blossoms.

‘I need to visit the flower garden again,’ he says. ‘My lily is no more. It is quite annoying, really! I kept her in a lovely blue jar, wrapped in her wonderful paper. I placed her by the window for everyone to admire when they came by but she drooped more and more until her petals fell off.
‘Say, where did you come upon the money to afford this little rose bush?’ he asks.

‘Oh, I didn’t get any money,’ Zack says. ‘It’s that same old rose that we bought together.’

*******************

It often amazes me how men see a beautiful lady they wish to marry for her wonderful qualities then pluck her out of the wonderful environment that makes her so unique. All the attributes that appealed to them suddenly become repulsive and they seem intent on squashing every single life out of her until her bright spark is replaced by a dull gleam.

I simply wonder why they do not simply go by her parents’ house everyday to see her instead. It would have been cheaper, right? Instead, they hurriedly marry her, intent on possession then leave her to wilt.

I never will understand it.

Then, when they have daughters, they do not take kindly to someone treating their daughters like they treat their wives.

Abu Hurairah narrated that The Messenger of Allah said:
“The most complete of the believers in faith, is the one with the best character among them. And the best of you are those who are best to your women.” – Jami’at Tirmidhi Book 7, Hadith 1162

If you truly want to know who a man is, watch how he treats his wife both in public and at home.

May Allah grant us wonderful spouses who would encourage us to become better people; and if they do not, may we be strong enough to motivate ourselves and them too.

ABOVE ALL NEEDS Q4.131, Q6.133, Q29.6

I remember this story a friend at the University shared. We were discussing our most embarrassing moments and he disclosed his.

He was a teenager and had begun to flex his muscles of independence. He had left the house and returned pretty late. When his worried mum confronted him, he responded in annoyance and stormed off to his room. He was a grown man, for God’s sake! He ought to be treated like one. She served his dinner but he ignored it. He would show her!

Midnight came and he tossed and turned in bed. The angry growling of his empty stomach would not let him be. He finally decided to sneak back to consume his meal. He stealthily moved around the house until he reached his destination and began to gorge on his late dinner. Gosh, he was so hungry! He sensed, rather than heard her behind him and he wished the ground would swallow him. His ego was in shreds.

Allah is above any analogy. Sometimes, we ignore Allah or rail at Him for messing up our plans. We neglect our only duty to Him which is worship and assume we can take care of ourselves on our own. Then sometimes, we are amazed, embarrassed by His kind gesture to us despite of our failings. We skipped Fajr because we had to rush out of the house but He still sends someone to give us a lift to school or work. We were rude to our mum and ignored her call as we stormed out of the house forgetting our purse but He sends help our way and someone offers to pay our bus ticket or taxi fare. We lost our temper when a contract we were working furiously on slipped through our fingers and have refused to pray since then, but He sent us a client who single-handedly gave us as much as we would have gotten from the contract.
youve-got-mail
We should see these events as Allah personally sending us an sms or an e-mail to remind us of our duties to Him.

He is above all wants or needs and we only stand to benefit from following His order to worship Him. He doesn’t need a thing from us, we need everything from Him. Starving ourselves of worship will only hurt us in the long run. It costs Him nothing to keep sending us help but we should feel ashamed that He is there, ready to listen to our prayers but we don’t have time to pray; ready to help us through a harrowing experience but we can’t be bothered to remember Him afterwards. We call on Him to intervene every time we have a problem but cannot do the one thing He commanded us to do: worship Him.

If Allah willed, He could replace us in an instant, with people better than we are; people who are not averse to remembering His Glory. Instead, He continues to have mercy on us and gives us numerous chances to return to Him while still benefitting from His largesse. He is Almighty!

May Allah strengthen our feet on this Path we have chosen.

FRIENDSHIP Q2.254

This post is dedicated to my oldest friend. We’ve known each other for 2 decades now.

When we met, we had an altercation. I was new in the class and sat in her seat because she had not resumed. I was expected to make my desk and bring from home but I only realised that after I had commenced classes in my new secondary school. I thought it was like primary school where you came as you were and were assigned to a seat. So, while the carpenter made me a seat and desk, I took an empty seat (hers) and received my classes. Until the day we met.
empty classroom
I had heard she had returned but she received her lessons in her friends’ class so I was not bothered; besides, my seat wasn’t ready yet. She came into the class with some of her friends and ordered me to get up. I did not. I continued to copy my notes.

I cannot remember all the details clearly now but it quickly degenerated into she and her friends insulting me but I ignored them. We did not fight physically (not that I even knew how to) because we would be suspended from school. Eventually, they left (if my memory serves me correctly).

When I went to the bus park, I saw her and looked right through her. As far as I was concerned, she was just a spoilt rich kid who had friends simply because of her status. We rode on the same bus more times than I could count but studiously avoided each other. I would have rather gotten on another bus than to seat beside her!

Eventually, we became friends. I do not remember how it happened but I know she made the first step toward reconciliation and we became good friends since then. Decades later, we still joke about how it incensed her that I ignored her while she insulted me. What did we know then?

So, my dear sweetheart, I am glad to have you as a friend. I wish you the very best in life, way more than you can even conceive. May Allah continue to bless and strengthen you and your beautiful family. May we continue to be friends even beyond the day when there will be no friendships or intercession.

Love you, dear! 🙂

Do you have any old friends? How did you meet?

Quote

TRUE STORY Q2.235, Q4.24-5, Q17.31-2, Q24.3


Narrated ‘Abdullah, I asked the Prophet (SAW), ‘What is the greatest sin in the Sight of Allah?’ He said, ‘That you set up a rival unto Allah though He Alone created you.’ I then asked, ‘What is next?’ He said, ‘To kill your son lest he should share your food with you.’ I asked, ‘What is next?’ He said, ‘To commit illegal sexual intercourse with the wife of your neighbour.’ Sahih Bukhari Book 65, Hadith 4517

I had an encounter with a patient in an IVF (in-vitro fertilization) centre. She had had one-too-many induced abortions for her husband-to-be prior to their marriage. She conceived again just before the wedding but they decided to terminate the pregnancy again because they are Muslims and did not want to ‘give a bad impression of pregnancy outside wedlock.’

Fast-forward to a couple of years later, she is in our clinic seeking to get pregnant. The same husband who was encouraging her to abort earlier and perhaps financing the procedures, was nowhere to be seen. He had fathered a child with another woman, physically and emotionally abuses his wife and does everything within his might to provoke her to leave. She refuses to leave because she is now in her 40’s, still childless with nowhere to go.


If you are in a relationship with a fornicator who is trying to rope you into sin, be rest assured that his fornication will not stop with you. Why rope yourself into such a future? Are you an adulteress too?

Fornication and adultery are sins on their own but exacerbating it with killing the foetus is plainly digging our grave. Times are hard, without a doubt. Nurturing children we are not prepared for can be a daunting challenge but the maxim ‘Prevention is better than cure’ holds sway here too. If prevention fails, know that it is what Allah (SWT) has ordained so let it be.

Abstinence may be hard, particularly with someone you intend to get married to, but Islam has taken various steps to nip premarital intimacy in the bud (hijab, lowering our gazes, avoiding co-mixing and intoxicants, travelling with a mahram, no dating etc). The world may have changed since 1400 years ago but if we make sincere effort and exercise restraint, Allah will strengthen us and make it easier, in sha Allah.

We are much stronger than we imagine.

Status

I AM BETTER THAN YOU (II)

They went to him and found him in the same situation, herding the pigs. They conveyed their salām to him, gave him reminders, and recited some Qur’ān to him, but he gave no response. They left him and the regret for him in their hearts intensified.

As they distanced themselves from the monastery in a state of mourning, someone began to come from the direction of the monastery crying out to them, and they stopped. It was their shaykh and he joined them once again.

He said, ‘I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allāh, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allāh. I have repented to Allāh and have abandoned what I was upon. All of this has happened because of a sin between me and my Lord, and He wanted to punish me and thus you witnessed the ordeal I was in.’

The students were happy beyond belief and returned to Baghdād. The shaykh engaged in acts of worship and self-struggling far more than what he used to do. One day while they were reading to the shaykh, there was a knock at the door and it turned out to be a young woman. The students asked her, ‘What do you need, young lady?’

She said, ‘I want to speak to the shaykh.’

They went to the shaykh and told him that she was so-and-so, the daughter of the priest. She came to accept Islām at his hands. He permitted her to enter and she said to him, ‘My master, I have come to accept Islām at your hands.’

The shaykh said, ‘What is your story?’

She said, ‘When you left me, I became weary and fell asleep. I saw in my dream `Alī b. Abī Tālib(RA) and he said to me: ‘There is no religion except the religion of Muhammad, may Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him.’ He said that three times and then said: ‘And Allāh will test one of His righteous servants through you.’

So now I have come to you, standing here in front of you to say that I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allāh, and I bear witness that Muhammad his the Messenger of Allāh, may Allāh’s peace and blessings be upon him.’

The shaykh rejoiced that Allāh blessed her with Islām upon his hands. He then married her based upon the law of Allāh and His Messenger.

The students asked him about the sin that he committed that was between him and Allāh.

He replied, ‘One day I was walking in a path when a Christian man grabbed a hold of me. I said: ‘Get away from me! May Allāh’s curse be upon you!’

He asked, ‘Why?’

I told him: ‘I am better than you.’

The Christian man turned to me and said, ‘And how do you know that you are better than me? Do you know of the matters with Allāh that would lead you to say such words?’

After some time, news reached me that this Christian man accepted Islām, lived it in a beautiful manner, and was persistent in his worship. Thus, Allāh tested me because of this as you have witnessed.’

We ask Allāh for a state of spiritual well-being in this life and the Hereafter.

I shared this story to remind us that Allah simply favoured us by making us Muslims and not because we deserve it. Every non-Muslim is a potential Muslim so we should never look down on them as kaafir because only Allah knows our end.

If we meet someone committing a sin, we should realise that it is not our words that make them change their actions but Allah. If He does not touch a person’s heart and guide him after he is lost, he will never find his way. All we can do, after guiding them nicely, is to pray for them.

Any other lessons learnt from this?

On another note, I will like to share with you the award I received, together with other bloggers, from Aisha, a blogger in Egypt. It is the Muslim Blogger Award and here it is:wpid-muslimbloggerawarda
You can visit her here. Thanks again, Aisha.

In keeping with the rules of the award, here are my awardees in no particular order:
1. Haneefah 2.The Sandal 3. Ubah 4. Islamic Musings 5. Fajr 6. Umm Assad 7. Aisha’s Oasis

‘And remind (by preaching the Quran, O Muhammad SAW) for verily, the reminding profits the believers.’ Q51.55

Status

I AM BETTER THAN YOU

Assalaam alaykum, people. Here is a story I will like to share. I will divide it into two posts because it is quite lengthy but totally worth the read.

(Transcribed by Abdul Alim Abdullah
The following story is an extract from ibn al-Jawzī’s Ocean of Tears.)
It has been related through some reports that there was a man who was from amongst the Islāmic jurists of Baghdād. He was a source of knowledge and authority for the people in addition to being a great and noble shaykh.
One time he desired to perform Hajj to Allāh’s Sacred House and to visit the grave of His Prophet (SAW). He gathered some of the students who used to study with him and they set out for the journey placing their full trust in Allāh, Exalted is He.
During their travels they came upon a Christian monastery. They had become exhausted and fatigued from the heat of the sun and thirst. The students said to the shaykh, ‘Our dear teacher, let us take refuge at the monastery until the weather becomes cooler and then we’ll set out again.’
The shaykh said to them, ‘Do as you please.’
They then went to the monastery and settled at its walls. The students slept, but the shaykh did not. The shaykh left the students sleeping with no other concern except to search for some water to perform wudhū’. As he was searching for the water, he raised his head and saw a young woman whose beauty emanated like the sun. At this moment, Iblīs gained control of his heart and he forgot about the water and wudhū’. He did not have any concern now except for this young woman. He went to the monastery’s gate and knocked upon it intensely. A priest came out and asked, ‘Who are you?’
The shaykh introduced himself.
The priest said, ‘And what do you want, O jurist of the Muslims?’
The shaykh said, ‘Dear priest, that young woman who appeared at the top of the monastery. Who is she?’
The priest said, ‘She is my daughter. What’s your business with her?’
The shaykh said, ‘I want you to marry her to me.’
The priest said, ‘That is something not permissible in our religion. If it were permissible, I would marry her to you even without consulting her. However, she made a covenant upon herself that she would not marry anyone whom she is not pleased with. I will go to her and inform her about you, and if she is pleased I’ll marry her to you.’
The shaykh said, ‘My warmest love and honour to you.’
The priest then went to his daughter and informed her of what transpired as the shaykh listened nearby.
She said, ‘My dearest father, how could you marry me to him? I am a Christian and he is a Muslim. No marriage will occur until he becomes a Christian.’
When she said that, the priest replied, ‘So if he accepts your religion will you marry him?’
She said, ‘Yes.’
As these events were unfolding, the noble scholar was becoming overly passionate. Iblīs began to beautify all of this to him while his companions were in deep sleep with no knowledge of what had happened to their teacher.
The shaykh approached the young woman and said, ‘I have rejected Islām and have accepted your religion.’
She said to him, ‘A marriage destined to happen! However, it is from my rights of marriage that there is a dowry payment. So, where is my dowry? I see you as someone poor, but if you herd these pigs over here for one whole year, I will accept that as a dowry.’
He said, ‘Sure, I will do that. But I have a condition that you do not conceal your face from me so that I may look at you throughout the day and night.’ She agreed.pigs
He took his cane that he used to lean upon during his public sermons and went to the pigs, driving them towards the pasture.
All of this happened while his companions were asleep. When they awoke they began to look for their teacher, but with no success. They asked the priest about him, and he told them what happened. Some of them fell down unconscious, others cried and wailed. Others felt great regret for what happened to him.
They then asked the priest, ‘Where is he?’
He said, ‘He is herding pigs.’
They went to him and found him leaning upon his cane—the one on which he used to lean during his public sermons. This time around he was herding pigs with it. They said to him, ‘Our dear teacher, what is this misfortune that has happened to you?’
They began to remind him of the virtues of Islām and the Qur’ān, and the virtues of Muhammad (SAW). They proceeded to recite some verses of the Qur’ān to him, as well as Prophetic traditions. He said to them, ‘Get away from me! I am more knowledgeable with what you are reminding me with. This ordeal of mine is from the Lord of the Worlds.’
His companions said, ‘We tried convincing him to come with us but we were not able to. Thus, we left him and proceeded to Makkah with a feeling of regret for him in our hearts.’
They performed their Hajj and began their journey back to Baghdād. When they came across the same monastery on the way back, they said, ‘Let us go see what our teacher has done. Perhaps he felt regret over his actions and repented to Allāh, Exalted is He, and returned to his previous state.’