Thursday, September 21, 2017

Slow down!

Slow down !

By:Abdur Rahman Umar

"Can you believe this!" lamented Yusuf as he looked sadly at his leg covered from foot to knee in a thick white plaster cast leaving his plaster stained toes exposed.

"This is so frustrating!" he continued, addressing his exposed toes who had now become his captive audience, "Just when everything was going perfectly. Now this! Like I needed it in my life?"

Ridwaan stood idly by, adding little to the lament being addressed to the toes. He fidgeted wearily with his cell phone paying little attention to the monologue until Yusuf turned to him and asked:

"Did you hear what I said? I really didn't need this in my life. Not at any time, and definitely, definitely not now. I mean..."

"What's so special about now?" enquired Ridwaan not bothering to look up from his cell phone.

Yusuf ignored his question, shifted painfully in his chair and struggled to get his leg into a comfortable position. He stared at some of the graffiti on his plaster cast "Mojo was here!" "Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector" "On the other hand, you have different fingers" and some other writings that became a bit smudgy with the first attempt at taking a shower.

"I mean how does someone rupture an Achilles tendon playing tennis? It must be a one in a million thing, and I am the one! So now I sit – six weeks with this thing on my leg. Six weeks! and at a time when the business is going so well. Just when we got the Department of Education tender for printing. There's so much to do .... preparation, layout, design. Yo! It was going crazy at work."

Ridwaan stopped fidgeting with his cell phone long enough to exclaim, "So what's the hassle. You get a nice break and fully paid on top of it!"

"You don't understand, do you!" said Yusuf, glaring at him. An uncomfortable frown crossed his forehead, "You don't know what it means. I really didn't even have enough time to eat let alone take a six week break. We were working 12 hours a day to get that tender out. So what happens now?"

"I know exactly what it means," replied Ridwaan, "It means you were moving too fast so Allah put down a speed breaker"

"What!" he exclaimed, "What you mean...speed breaker?"

"You see, sometimes when we rush through life and we forget the important things then Allah puts down a speed bump so we can slow down and reflect. Maybe a little sickness or a small problem. Just to ponder on what we're doing and what we should be doing. And that's it! You were chasing like a madman so you got hit with a speed bump."

He paused allowing his words to sink in then continued, "You know most of us get so caught up in life then we forget about Allah, our salaah becomes just a ritual and the family ...well, they even forget who we are. I bet your kids call you Uncle by now?"

"Hey, it's not that bad," said Yusuf struggling to find a comfortable position for his plastered leg, "But I hear what you saying. Things were getting a bit out of hand. I missed my daughter's pre-school jalsa, my son's graduation and dropped a couple of salaahs on the way and jip, Allah knows what else I gave up for this tender...."

Yusuf fell silent pondering on his situation, a thin smile broke on his lips and his face lit up with this new found understanding, "So this wasn't all bad then. Actually...."

"It was for you own good," Ridwaan completed the sentence for him, "Too often we forget the real things in life...our Allah, our Deen, our families and those so called little things we tend to forget."

"Yup," chorused Yusuf, "I remember a clever guy telling me once, pay attention to the little things in life, for one day you may find out they were actually the big things. Really can't believe Allah's mercy and kindness upon us. It is, as they say, more than that of a mother. He cares for us and even what I thought was a horrible misfortune was actually an act of kindness from Him."

Allah, The Most Wise, says:"…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know." ( Qur'an-Surah Baqarah: 216)

A calamity that makes you turn to Allah is better for you than a blessing which makes you forget the remembrance of Allah.

 Let us slow down and ponder of the journey of life and make more calculated decisions that will not only benefit us in the transitory life of this world but more so in the eternal life of the Hereafter.

 



MUHARRAM- REFLECT, RESOLVE AND RECLAIM

MUHARRAM-  REFLECT, RESOLVE AND RECLAIM

by Sister Jasmine Khan
 

Muharram is one of the sacred months of the Islamic year. Muharram is the month with which we begin our lunar calendar. It commemorates the Hijrah undertaken by our beloved The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) to Madina, where he was welcomed with sanctuary. It is one of the four sanctified months about which the Holy Quran says:

 "The number of the months according to Allah is twelve (mentioned) in the Book of Allah on the day He created heavens and the earth. Among these (twelve months) there are four sanctified."(Qur'an:Surah 9, Verse 36)
 
These four months, according to the authentic traditions, are Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab. All the commentators of the Holy Quran are unanimous on this point, because The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in his last sermon, declared: "One year consists of twelve months, of which four are sanctified months, three of them are in sequence; Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, and the fourth is Rajab." 
 
 It is derived from the word 'haraam' which means forbidden. What is forbidden during this month is fighting. We are not heads of countries that wage war on others, but we have our own battle fields in our homes, families, workplace and even our neighbourhoods.
 
Most of us live at such a frenetic pace that when we get home from work we are tired and stressed. This is the time when impatience and intolerance flares up and we fight with our partner or our children. A good thing to do is to remember who they are and what they mean to us.  With consciousness it becomes possible to think before flaring up. The same thing often happens at work as well. When we remember that we are all working to provide a service, even if we never know who benefits from what we do, it could change our attitude.  There are many of us who are not on speaking terms with family members, holding onto grudges, whether real or imagined. We should be aware that we are all different and unique, and that we are all the divine creations of Allah. Being conscious is not enough; we have to be Allah conscious, so that even if we cannot see Allah, be aware that Allah is seeing us. This should make us pause and consider before we act impulsively, or live in enmity.
 
The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said that on the 10th day of Muharram we should be more generous to our family: "One who generously spends on his family on the day of Aashora, Allah will increase (his provision) for the whole year." (Hadith:Baihaqi).
 
We do not have to confine such generosity to the tenth day, or for that matter, for the month of Muharram. Nor does generosity have to be limited to monetary spending. We can be more generous with our time; when a child runs to tell you something while you are busy it will make a world of difference to him if you stop to listen. In this way you will be giving time as well as kindness. The child will feel validated and very often will then leave you to continue what you are doing.  Opening up to your family about your thoughts, dreams and hopes, is an excellent method of getting them to share theirs. Knowing the hopes and dreams of your children is invaluable as a means of achieving family cohesion. Another form of generosity you can share with your family is to share with them painful moments, and what you learnt from the experience.  This could lead to them sharing things which had hurt or traumatised them and as a family you can brainstorm what lessons   can be learnt from their experiences.

 

This year Muharram is falling very close to the silly season, and we can very easily get caught up in the hype of the summer break. It is also very difficult to focus as the body clock is winding down after a year of working and this can make us jittery and inclined to go a bit haywire.  This is the time when reflection is very important; we need to think about what we have done and what we plan to do next. Allah speaks several times in the Quran about the need for reflection, particularly in the following lines:

 

"If we had caused this Quran to descend upon a mountain, thou, (O Muhammad) verily hadst seen it humbled, rent asunder by the fear of Allah. Such similitude coin We for mankind that haply they may reflect" (Quran-Surah Hashr: V 21).

 

Come the end of December and everyone makes resolutions, as Muslims we should be making resolutions on a daily basis. The hujaaj are returning now from having performed the fifth pillar of Islam, and as we rush to greet them we could easily forget that this is the last month of our year, that Muharram is mere days away.  Now is the time to engage in reflection, to resolve to make the shift to do better. We know that we are going to be judged by our intentions, so let us try to have only good intentions for the rest of the year, Insha'Allah.

 

The word resolve has a two-fold meaning:  it means to make a resolution or intention to do something, but it also means to solve an issue.  Many of us carry unresolved issues, and these clutter our lives and prevent us from true spiritual connection. It is hard to have closeness to Allah when we harbour grudges against people for real or imagined slights. Forgiveness is the key; it does not excuse the other person's action, but it does set us free. It is also important to forgive ourselves when we feel we have done something we subsequently regret. We are all born pure,natural and innocent; we are born with a Fitrah. Somewhere along the way we have become contaminated by experiences, environment and conditions.  The thing is not to beat yourself up about it, acknowledge what happened and accept it. Now try to do better. Resolve to reclaim your Fitrah, the perfection that Allah created you with. It has not been lost, it has just been overlaid with a lot of things, but it is still there.

 

In the stormy sea of life we have often been tossed around, but with Allah consciousness we can keep our heads above water.

 

"The believer is the ship and the world is the water. As long as the water remains outside the ship, it will sail through it. Once the water enters the ship, it will sink. So navigate through the world, but do not let it enter your heart and sink you into itself"(Imam Al Ghazzali)

 

Use this period to reflect, resolve and reclaim what we were truly meant to be, Insha'Allah.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Dirty Laundry…(motivational)

The Dirty Laundry…

By Abu Muhammad Yusuf
 

In life we often tend to be judgmental and very often look down upon others without exploring deeper as to why the person is behaving in such a way. The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said "It is enough of evil for a person to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. All of a Muslim is sacred to another Muslim: his blood, his wealth and his honour." (Hadith- Muslim)

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbour hanging the laundry outside. "That laundry is not very 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 her neighbour would hang her washing to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean laundry on the line and said to her husband: "Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this."

"The husband said, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows"

Lesson: If our windows are dirty so will we see others as dirty too. What we see in others is indeed a reflection of our inner-selves! So it is with life that what we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look. It is easy for us to discuss other people, their lives & things that really doesn't even concern us and we tend to forget - our windows may not be that clean after all! If we good we will see good…

The Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said:
"A Muslim is a mirror to another Muslim"(Hadith_Abu Dawud)




Slow down!

Slow down !

By:Abdur Rahman Umar

"Can you believe this!" lamented Yusuf as he looked sadly at his leg covered from foot to knee in a thick white plaster cast leaving his plaster stained toes exposed.

"This is so frustrating!" he continued, addressing his exposed toes who had now become his captive audience, "Just when everything was going perfectly. Now this! Like I needed it in my life?"

Ridwaan stood idly by, adding little to the lament being addressed to the toes. He fidgeted wearily with his cell phone paying little attention to the monologue until Yusuf turned to him and asked:

"Did you hear what I said? I really didn't need this in my life. Not at any time, and definitely, definitely not now. I mean..."

"What's so special about now?" enquired Ridwaan not bothering to look up from his cell phone.

Yusuf ignored his question, shifted painfully in his chair and struggled to get his leg into a comfortable position. He stared at some of the graffiti on his plaster cast "Mojo was here!" "Oops. My brain just hit a bad sector" "On the other hand, you have different fingers" and some other writings that became a bit smudgy with the first attempt at taking a shower.

"I mean how does someone rupture an Achilles tendon playing tennis? It must be a one in a million thing, and I am the one! So now I sit – six weeks with this thing on my leg. Six weeks! and at a time when the business is going so well. Just when we got the Department of Education tender for printing. There's so much to do .... preparation, layout, design. Yo! It was going crazy at work."

Ridwaan stopped fidgeting with his cell phone long enough to exclaim, "So what's the hassle. You get a nice break and fully paid on top of it!"

"You don't understand, do you!" said Yusuf, glaring at him. An uncomfortable frown crossed his forehead, "You don't know what it means. I really didn't even have enough time to eat let alone take a six week break. We were working 12 hours a day to get that tender out. So what happens now?"

"I know exactly what it means," replied Ridwaan, "It means you were moving too fast so Allah put down a speed breaker"

"What!" he exclaimed, "What you mean...speed breaker?"

"You see, sometimes when we rush through life and we forget the important things then Allah puts down a speed bump so we can slow down and reflect. Maybe a little sickness or a small problem. Just to ponder on what we're doing and what we should be doing. And that's it! You were chasing like a madman so you got hit with a speed bump."

He paused allowing his words to sink in then continued, "You know most of us get so caught up in life then we forget about Allah, our salaah becomes just a ritual and the family ...well, they even forget who we are. I bet your kids call you Uncle by now?"

"Hey, it's not that bad," said Yusuf struggling to find a comfortable position for his plastered leg, "But I hear what you saying. Things were getting a bit out of hand. I missed my daughter's pre-school jalsa, my son's graduation and dropped a couple of salaahs on the way and jip, Allah knows what else I gave up for this tender...."

Yusuf fell silent pondering on his situation, a thin smile broke on his lips and his face lit up with this new found understanding, "So this wasn't all bad then. Actually...."

"It was for you own good," Ridwaan completed the sentence for him, "Too often we forget the real things in life...our Allah, our Deen, our families and those so called little things we tend to forget."

"Yup," chorused Yusuf, "I remember a clever guy telling me once, pay attention to the little things in life, for one day you may find out they were actually the big things. Really can't believe Allah's mercy and kindness upon us. It is, as they say, more than that of a mother. He cares for us and even what I thought was a horrible misfortune was actually an act of kindness from Him."

Allah, The Most Wise, says:"…and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know." ( Qur'an-Surah Baqarah: 216)

A calamity that makes you turn to Allah is better for you than a blessing which makes you forget the remembrance of Allah.

 Let us slow down and ponder of the journey of life and make more calculated decisions that will not only benefit us in the transitory life of this world but more so in the eternal life of the Hereafter.