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Assalamualaikum,

It has been almost two years since I left Australia and for most of my friends, they have already adapted to their new lifestyle. But for some reason, I still find myself struggling to move on. I’m in a different country physically but mentally and emotionally, I am stuck in Australia. There is probably never a day that goes by without thinking of being back with my closest friends who became like family to me.

I wrote about not being attached to the Dunya a few days ago.. and this was the first thought that came to my mind when I was reflecting on the story of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s). I’m the sort of person who selects her closest friends carefully. Only those who are within this circle have access to my deepest thoughts and fears, and have seen the ‘other side of me’. In return, I give them a piece of my heart – I think I am extremely loyal to these friends – and they can trust that I will always be there when they need me.

But you know what is the downside? I become too attached to them.. and that is my ultimate weakness. Being attached to people. Not only is it unhealthy to develop such close attachments to people, but ultimately, my attachment to Allah SWT weakens. I learnt the hard way that when your heart is filled with anything else other than Allah SWT, you will get hurt. And I got burnt real bad.

Back in Aust, I had a very close relationship with this sister. Since she is much older than me, she was my big sister there. I had someone to run to at the end of the day to confide my secrets and if needed, she would not shy away from advising me even when I didn’t like to hear it. I guess I spent so much time with her that when I had to move to a different country, I felt that instant loss. How could I not feel that way when my life practically revolved around her? All of a sudden, there was no safety net I could fall back on. Who was going to listen to my daily rant? Who will be there to set me straight when I needed it the most? Who will be there when I need help?

I left Aust all broken and frankly, quite depressed. I would wake up crying when I realised that she isn’t there. Reality hit me hard then. Our contact became very minimal because she was caught up with work and it was difficult to get hold of her. The sickening part is when I had to wait for reply because I would keep checking to see if I have any messages in my inbox. And that was enough to eat me up inside. I knew that if I needed to stop feeling that emptiness inside, I had to do my part to remove my attachments. I tried and al-Hamdulillah, I have stopped feeling so attached to her and people there. There are times, however, when I miss them terribly.

I think I am more careful with my interactions with people now. There were a few times where I let my emotions take control of me but now I remind myself of the past. The answer to my questions came later on after months of self-healing… that I confide only my secrets to Him and turn to Him for help. He will never leave us even for a second (but people have the tendency to walk away from you). Allah SWT loves when we talk to Him, and ask Him frequently so who else is better to talk to daily?

If you read this post right to the end, I’m sorry if you did not benefit anything from it. I just needed to write this to get it out of my chest. I also hope that it’ll be a reminder for all of you, as much as it is for myself.

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Tips for the last 10 nights of Ramadhan

Assalamualaikum!

Useful reminders by Sheikh Tawfique Chowdhury on the last 10 nights of Ramadhan. May Allah make us amongst those who attain rewards of Laylatul Qadr!

“The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months” (97:3)

The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “Verily, the month of Ramadan has come to you all… In it there is a night that is better than one thousand months. Whoever is deprived of its good, then he has truly been deprived.”

1. Do not let your ‘performance’ until now affect your last 10 days. The moment of forgiveness could be today or anytime in the coming days! It is not all lost! If you sincerely wish it could have been better – Chin up and get ready to make it your best yet! Start with a positive, sincere intention!

2. Today, take a little time to read the Tafseer of Surah al-Qadr to understand what actually happens this night! You will feel its power & greatness so much more!

3. Do not wait for the 27th Night to give it your “all”. The entire last 10 days should be your target. Stay up each night! Would you want to miss Laylatul Qadr even “by chance”?

4. Do not fall into any innovations/celebrations any Masjid or culture might try to promote. Follow the Sunnah! The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) guided us simply:

“Whoever stays up and prays on Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”

5. Memorize and keep asking the Du’a taught by Rasoolullah (sallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam):

Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibb al-‘afwa fa’affu ‘anni

(O Allaah, You are forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me).

6. Prepare a short Du’a list. Remember this is as awesome as it ever gets for a servant of Allah! The Night of Qadr, of Destiny! Consciously pick each and everything you crucially wish for in this dunya, in your deen, family, and in youraakhirah! Don’t forget to include the brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering and in grief!

7. Take brief naps during the day, if possible. Keep your stomach light and sleep as soon as you have prayed ‘isha. Do not delay! After a brief nap, refresh yourself and get ready for worship.

8. Don’t neglect your family! Rasoolullah [p] made it a point to wake up his wives throughout these nights! And yes, your children are not too young to stay up some part of the night – if they can be allowed to play video games or watch TV, they can be inspired to be up atleast for sometime! Prepare them, make them excited, plan some activities for them to do!

9. Look the Part: The way we dress and prepare has a big effect on our psychology. Wear your best, perfume yourself, and feel the energy!

10. Choose a spot, whether in the Masjid or in your home, where you can have peace and solitude. Keep your mushaf, praying mat, and water at hand so that you are not distracted by constantly getting up for this or that.

11. IMP: This is not the night to tweet pics or update FB statuses about how amazing the night is and how you are feeling & worshipping Allah! Let that be a secret between you & your Rabb! So switch off those phones, wifi, laptops and computers. Disconnect with the world, and connect with Al-‘Afuww!

12. If you find yourself feeling sleepy, vary your acts of worship. Alternate between Qiyaam, heartfelt Du’aa, reading theQur’an. Do not spend the night listening to lectures or recitations. Or do it only for a short while when you feel the sleep coming on!

13. Patience is the Key: The last 10 days might be tiring. You might still have work or school. This is the time to bear all that hardship, and keep firm Sabr. Think how Allah has blessed you with this tremendous opportunity that might NEVER come again in your life again. If you knew for sure that this was your last #Ramadan, if you knew certainly that Jannahwas up for grabs, wouldn’t you sprint for it no matter what it takes?

14. This is most important: Keep Husn Adh-Dhann Bi Allah (good expectations from Allah). When you ask, remember you are asking the Most Generous King. If you hope for the best, He will give you the best. Don’t hold back. Trust in Him, pour out your heart in front of Him, and let no doubt, no barrier, no evil thoughts keep you away from Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem!

 

Be patient!

Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

For those of you who fidget a lot during taraweeh perhaps because the Imaam is reading very slowly or that you had so much food during iftaar that your stomach feels uncomfortable.. here’s an encouragement for you insha’Allah!

12411_10102093717265697_613398852_nMay Allah make it easy for us to perform as much Ibadaah as we can during this blessed month!

Niqaab rant (whatever you want to call it)

Assalamualaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

My friend asked me this question yesterday which goes along this line – “How are you going to find a job with you wearing niqaab?”. Her question was actually less direct but that’s basically what she wanted to ask. I think this question is perhaps nothing new for niqaabi sisters eh?

Before making my decision to wear niqaab, I’ve thought a lot about this. Trying to find work in the future is inevitably going to be a challenge for me – no doubt – but the nagging question which remains is that, “Who is the one who actually provides for you and gives you sustenance? Isn’t Allah the one who gives you rizq?” So really, why do we worry so much about the future then and why do we treat it like as though we determine our own fate? I do not know what my future hold for me – heck, I don’t even know what will happen to me in the next 10 mins – but I put my trust in Him when I made this decision that Allah knows what’s best for me and He will guide me through it.

And then she gave a few scenarios on “what if you have to remove niqaab?”. The thing I don’t understand is that, why do people make a big fuss when a sister decides to remove niqaab like as though she is committing a huge sin? If she traded niqaab for tank tops and skinny jeans, then that’s something questionable but I think so as long as she remains properly covered then really, there is no issue. I told her that if I have to remove niqaab, then I’ll consider my circumstances. For example, if I desperately need to find a job to support my family then that’s darurat. Or even if my current university decides to have a new rule that niqaab is not allowed (actually, niqaab isn’t allowed but there are many niqaabis here so I reckon it’ll be a big issue if they try to implement such a ruling), I’ll try to find ways around it and if I can’t, I would probably comply to it. Niqaab is a sunnah to me and if circumstances do not allow, then I’ll weigh my options first and remove it if I have to . For example, Niqaab vs Education – Seeking ilm is wajib so in circumstances like this, I’ll probably not keep my niqaab..but allahu alam.

There are three things which I want to point out from the above rant:

1) When you want to make a decision (i.e wear hijaab, have a beard etc) to do a Sunnah for example, don’t let your “what ifs” keep you from doing them. Put your trust in Him fully, and that whatever happens in the future, Allah will guide you to what is best.

2) We plan for the future but we should live like we will not see tomorrow. Again, when we think about the future, we wonder if this good deed that we are planning to do, will be an obstacle for us to find a job etc. Well, who guarantees you the future? And who can guarantee that you will see the end of today? If you have the means to do this good deed now, then rush towards it because you might not have the chance to do it tomorrow.

3) Our lives should not revolve around worldly matters only but we should far-sighted in making decisions. I saw this term “Be jannah-focused” and I think that basically encapsulates my third point. Like for example, a few people asked me how I was going to eat with niqaab on. I mean like, why are we so concerned about food etc when those are just minor things in life. The question should be – how does wearing niqaab gets you to Jannah? So let’s be more focused on that goal and not let the smaller things in life obstruct it.

There. Finally I let it out of my chest!

The power of Dua

Assalamualaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

A friend asked me this question couple of days ago: How did you convince your mom to allow you to wear niqaab?

I replied her saying that it’s a good question because I don’t know. I didn’t sit my parents down and explained to them why I want to wear niqaab or gave them the daleels from Qur’an and Sunnah. I have done neither of that but there’s one thing I realized which proved effective al-Hamdulillah and that is: lots of patience and dua.

When I had the intention to wear niqaab, I was thinking to myself that it’ll only be possible after I got married because at that time, my parents were against wearing big hijaab and abaya. Each time before leaving my room, I would actually make dua that my parents would not tell me ‘go back to my room to change out of my old woman’s clothes’. And if I wasn’t verbally poked fun at by my family for dressing that way, my relatives would do a good job at that. Everyday felt like a battle just to properly cover my aurah.

Subhan’Allah over a period of five years, there was a transition from my former tight clothes to much looser ones along with bigger hijaab. Al-Hamdulillah, it was all by His will. I was starting to wear baggy pants with longer tops, followed by skirts and then dresses and finally abaya. My mom changed her wardrobe as well. One day she told me that she wanted to get rid of clothes that revealed her figure because she didn’t feel comfortable in them and it was replaced by bigger and longer tops as well.

The last bit I want to share is about something which took me by surprise. A couple of months ago, my mom came over to visit me for a few days. We were walking back to my dormitory and the there were a few sisters walking ahead of us. I’m not sure if I have mentioned this before but I’m currently studying at an Islamic university thus the types of clothing we usually see is sisters with baggy abaya and khimar. I was telling my mom that the colour of the sister’s khimar is beautiful but left the part where ‘the khimar is beautiful too‘ out of the conversation because I know how she feels about it.

But then she said it. “The khimar is beautiful too. Do you want me to get it for you tomorrow?”. I was squealing in delight inside, completely taken aback by those words and thinking did my mom actually say that? I controlled my excitement and tried to reply calmly like it was no biggie, “Yeah sure, but just one will do”. The next day when she went out, she bought three different coloured khimars and told me, “Make sure you wear it to class”.

My intention for sharing these is not about my ‘journey to wearing niqaab’ or anything of that sort. The point I actually want to make is that dua changes the impossible to possible if Allah wills it. Several times when we make dua, myself included, we might not have that 100% trust in Allah SWT that it’ll change any of our situations. To those who do not believe, the thought of raising our hands and asking from a Higher being for help may sound incredulous but we Muslims, sometimes fall into that category too. We think, “how is it possible to get out of this problem. No one can help me and you want me to make dua?”; “How can I do this when there is no one supporting me?”.

The truth is, we lack trust in Allah SWT. We know He is there to help when we are in need, but we may think that it is only through our efforts and hard work will things get done. We only give credit to ourselves when we manage to achieve something or solve a problem. But it is only when we can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, then He comes to the picture as a last resort for help.

If you ask me five years ago, whether there will come a day where my parents will let me wear niqaab, I will tell you that that’s not possible. But I look back now and thought that I must have forgotten that Allah SWT is the controller of our hearts and situations. We think that we have everything within our grasp but the One with ultimate control over everything is Him. I don’t believe I put 100% trust in Him when I made dua seeing how my situation seemed bleak at that time but I knew I had no one to turn to for help except Him.

Whatever situation any of you are in right now, and you feel like there is no way out and no one to listen to you, make dua and be patient of a better outcome. Pray two rakaah for relief if something is distressing you and open the Qur’an when you are in need for answers. Our dependence and reliance is on Him to provide ease for our hardship, not on people and especially not thinking that only we can help ourselves.

Allahu Alam.

At the top of my head..

Assalamualaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

*just a short rant..

“La Tahzan, Innallah Ma Ana..” (9:40)

If there’s one thing I learn from staying abroad without having my family with me (or in my case, I don’t see my brother/relatives often) is that you can never rely on people. This is not to say that we entirely reject/seek help from others, but we should realize that placing full dependence on people will only result in disappointment. Either people turn you away when you need it desperately or they are half-hearted in helping you. We forget that when we need any assistance, we should be asking Allah SWT for help first before asking others. Why do we turn to everyone else THEN we ask Allah SWT as a last resort? Only Allah SWT is able to change our situations and humans are only there as means to help you but the results lie solely in His hands.

I also use this reminder to console myself each time I feel down. Don’t be sad! I admit that when I’m miserable, I hope for someone to cheer me up. Maybe pull me up again, brush the dirt off my clothes and tears from my eyes and say everything is alright. But what I don’t realize is that you don’t exactly need people to always make you happy. Only YOU can make yourself happy. How? Allah SWT has given you His book to read in any situation you are in – “Verily in the remembrance of Allah do the hearts find ease” (13:28). If we truly believe this, then pick up the Qur’an each time you are feeling low. Don’t wait and depend on others to put that smile back on your face because not everyone will be there for you.

Hadith Qudsi

Assalamalaikoum wa Rahmatullaah wa Barakaatuh,

Allah `azza wa jall said:

‘Verily, from amongst My slaves is he whose faith cannot be rectified except by being inflicted with poverty, and were I to enrich him, it would surely corrupt him. Verily, from amongst My slaves is he whose faith cannot be rectified except by wealth and affluence, and were I to deprive him, it would surely corrupt him. Verily, from amongst My slaves is he whose faith cannot be rectified except by good health, and were I to make him sick, it would surely corrupt him. Verily, from amongst My slaves is he whose faith cannot be rectified except by disease and illness, and were I to make him healthy, it would surely corrupt him. Verily, from amongst My slaves is he whose faith cannot be rectified except by disease and illness, and were I to make him healthy, it would surely corrupt him. Verily, from amongst My slaves is he who seeks worship by a certain act but I prevent that from him so that self-amazement does not enter his heart. Certainly, I run the affairs of My slaves by My Knowledge of what is in their hearts. Certainly, I am the All-Knower, All-Aware.'”

[Tabarani. See also: al-Silsilah al-Sahihah by al-Albani]

Subhan’Allah, this is something we can reflect on. Sceptics say that if God is all loving, why then would He place hardship in the lives of some people. Allah SWT with His infinite wisdom gives trials in this Dunya to certain people because He knows that without the hardship, there might be corruption.  Allah is Just and Fair in His judgement – no question about it. The hardships are according to our ability to handle it; He does not test someone beyond his ability. So the next time we are faced with an obstacle, remember that you can get through it with His help and know that He places them in your life for a reason.

Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.