Eid Reflections 2017

Peace,

Eid Mubarak! Kul ‘am wa antum bi kheir.

The darkness of the night is broken by the dawn, Ramadan for me is that dawn. A new start. The year over we amass baggage. We are hurt or hurt others and ourselves whether physically, emotionally or spiritually. Experience situations that test us to our core, test our goodness, our faith and resolve. Ramadan is that time of the year for me to refocus and recharge, for me to learn and grow and most importantly improve my relationship with God. Ramadan has ended and Eid celebrations are nearing their end, so what have I made of it?

Well, I am a work in progress, nothing told me that more than this month and having both my parents independent of each other (my father visiting for Eid) “tell” me to grow up and find a job within a couple of hours of each other. I have a weakness for knowledge but lack the wisdom to act on it, letting it sit instead in stacks of notebooks. I worry about how much of what I have gained in knowledge this Ramadan I will actually implement this year. Whether I will be able to persevere in the face of the struggles around me and within me.

During the time of the Prophet (saw.) battles taking place in Ramadan were about the inner battle as much as the outer. Similarly, it is about the inner battle against our Nafs (Self) as much if not more so than the outer battle of just giving up food and drink. However, that does not mean that we neglect the outer battle.

As the Prophet (saw.) said:

A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone…

This hadith can be understood to mean both spiritual and physical strength. Ramadan has also for many, quite rightly so I think, become a month of eating clean and increasing fitness, as the self is ruined by three things, too much eating, too much talking and too much sleeping and Ramadan destroys all three of those.

On spirituality, Shaykh Omar Suleiman in his Faith Revival series this Ramadan explained that faith are the 6 articles of faith and testifying with the tongue, conviction in the heart and actions with the limbs. A friend of mine who was going through some hardships and knew some of what I was going through, asked me once why some people who do not believe seem to do so well while people who do suffer so much. I wasn’t able to answer, not because I didn’t know that one had nothing to do with the other or as Sh. Suleiman said: “If this world meant as much as the wing of a mosquito to God He would not let a disbeliever have a sip of water from it.” I wasn’t able to answer, because I myself lacked the conviction to act on it.

Supplications (Dua’) aren’t necessarily there to change the reality around us, but to change the reality within us. Our baggage, our loss, our hurt, the difficulties we face are tests of our faith and resolve, are we going to let these crush us or are we going to cry out to God and persevere? Faith isn’t static, it ebbs and flows, we have days and nights where our connection with God is soo intense and days where we struggle to even just pray. The Prophet (saw.) warned us of  waking up in the morning with faith and going to sleep losing it in the evening. The companions never felt themselves safe from falling into hypocrisy even though they were promised paradise because they understood their weaknesses as humans. Doubts are natural, but we always try to achieve faith with certainty and conviction.

As Ibn Masud (ra.) said:

Yaqeen (Certainty) is full Iman.

Which, as explained in the Faith revival series, is done amongst other things by fortifying yourself intellectually and spiritually. That is by learning as much as possible, thereby filling the cracks in understanding of the religion (and the world) and by growing spiritually through experiences so that we know that true fulfillment is felt through faith, that the strongest love is felt for those we love for the sake of Allah (swt.) for example.

The goal is to achieve certainty so that as Ali ra. said:

If I was to see heaven I would not want it as much as I would right now, and if I were to see the hellfire I would not want to stay out of it more than I would now.

 

Indeed a work in progress, this year I intend to work on as my University’s charter says “making knowledge work”, on my faith, on my diligence and work ethic and yes to those who know me in real life my availability too!

O Guardian of faith and its people, allow us to be bound to Islam until we meet you with it. O Allah we ask you for everlasting faith, true certainty and beneficial knowledge. Our Lord do not let our hearts slip after you have guided us and bestow on us from your Mercy.

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman

Entry XIV

Peace!

I’m back!

Kinda disappeared this last month, not a good start to my 365 project. It was due to a combination of a number of factors but mainly due to a dissertation deadline I had two weeks ago and being ill, the last month and a half. Slowly getting back into the groove, so look out for new posts starting tomorrow!

God willing.

 

Videos? Love ’em! XXXVII

Peace,

one of the worst things a parent can do in my view, is putting their children down. Unfortunately parents are quite good at doing that, often having experienced the same from their parents, we have to break that chain. We have to start differentiating between the actions of a person and the person themselves, not just in our parent-child relationship but across the board.

With Donald J. Trump having been inaugurated this week, this post is going to be quite heavy on it and its reactions. The first video is on something that absolutely had me in stitches. The Trump Administration’s reaction to the media on the attendees of the  inauguration by providing #alternativefacts.

In all of the quite righteous hysteria around Trump’s election, with both peaceful and violent protests, with marches and banner drops. We cannot forget the fact that while we organise, we have to try to get the best deal out of what we have. Dr. King’s non-violence and meetings with the president were as important as the actions of Malcolm X and the Black Panthers for example.

Our voices definitely need to be louder. One such great voice in our past was Muhammad Ali (rah.). That inspired us, and drove us further.

Our voices have power. Power to uplift and bind us together. No matter who you are your voice is important and can make a difference and if you don’t believe me listen to this.

We need to wake up from our dreams. We all live in our social bubbles, with our individual privileges but now is the time to burst our bubble, to engage others. Once we’ve listened, once we have become aware of the issues around us, we need to organise and act collectively. Divided we are one, united we are many.

So, Good Morning, wake up!

Empathy has often been lost in our interactions and that is why I find films, like this one, so important. At the same time, reality will always be different to what will be displayed in a scripted film. I can not without going through the same experience even begin to understand, what a friend of mine is going through at the moment with the loss of his baby. I cannot really do more than offer an ear and maybe that is enough.

It’s always difficult to segue back into something more light-hearted after going through something so difficult. That however is life, life is difficult like that, we have episodes of utter happiness and moments of deepest sadness and that is life.

Travelling I feel is also part of life, and while I haven’t traveled as much as I want to the times when I have been able to have been special indeed. Malaysia is definitely on my list of places to visit.

I’ll finish of this week’s list with another fresh Parkour video!

#videolovin’

 

 

Videos? Love ’em! XXXVI

Peace,

due to my exams this is going to be a shorter post.

The first video is the trailer of a Film, which I am looking forward to see. It tells the story of the novelist, essayist and activist James Baldwin as narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.

Another recent important video, staying on the topic of identity, was the Black Muslims Matter webinar in reaction to Shaykh Yusuf Hanson’s comments at RIS at the end of December hosted by Boona Mohammed.

I have already mentioned this next video in a previous post (currently private), it made quite some waves in the political sphere in the UK but unfortunately not quite enough. The Investigative Unit of Al Jazeera revealed the machinations of an Israeli Embassy official in a 4 part documentary called The Lobby.

One of the reasons for me, as a Muslim, to get involved in my community and getting more involved in politics is the want to make society better for everyone. Not just for me and my family, my brothers and sisters in Islam but for everyone, as the Prophet (saw.) was a Mercy to mankind.

This excerpt of a show by the satirist and comedian Serdar Somuncu has blown up recently in Germany, unfortunately there aren’t any subtitles. In it he attacks our indifference to the suffering of others, the inexplicable fear of our wellbeing and our luxury being threatened by a migrant just breathing in our air.

*TW*

Mental Health is something that I have over the last year gotten quite a lot more interested in. Having family and friends go through difficult times has an impact on everyone in that nucleus. This short film beautifully captures the feelings of someone who has gone through depression and tried to commit suicide.

This post was quite a bit more serious than planned, but that’s cool. Here, to finish this list off, something fun. The new Zelda title looks absolutely amazing. Why can’t I play it on the Wii?

#videolovin’