Tag Archives: reflection

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

In the name of God

In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy.

O’ Lord of Mercy shower mercy upon your subjects, your slaves.

O’ Giver of Mercy, all the Praise and all Thankfulness are due to You.

O’ You who are the Most Forgiving, forgive us for our hearts have blackened. Our hearts have hardened and we’ve forgotten how to cry.

O’ You who are the Most Wise the All-knowing you know our situation better than we do ourselves. Know our innermost, our deepest secrets, our stench that we try to hide from people. You are with us, You witness what we do, You see what we do.

You know of the injustices that we’ve inflicted on those weaker than us, whether that is to the children from around the corner or the children in Syria, in CAR, in Palestine, the list is endless my Lord. I stand in front of You knowing that you have witnessed my inactivity, my drowsiness, my sleep in comfort, my feeding myself while I’ve forgotten about my neighbour, my brother and my sister.

You are the One who created us, gave shape to us, provides for us. Indeed I have failed in the words You commanded those before us and us to say „My Prayers and my devotion, my living and my dying are all for God, Lord of All the Worlds“ You witnessed how I have forgotten countless times over and over again.

I had forgotten…

O’ King of All Kings, King of All the Worlds, grant Jannat ul Firdaws to those who die in your path, to my brothers and sisters all over the world. Grant those who have distanced themselves from You the Ability, the Guidance, the Will, the Determination to come back to You and strengthen them. Grant patience to those in difficulty, those who have lost someone, those who are dealing with the great tests You have given to them. You do not burden a soul more than it can take.

You O’ Allah are the Most Just, the Most High.

Amin, Ya rabbil A’lameen.

1435 a.H

A new year is upon us. New opportunities, new chances to do good, to change myself and my community to the better.

Every so often I try to keep track of the Islamic date. Allah swt. tells us :

“God decrees that there are twelve months – ordained in God’s Book on the Day when He created the heavens and earth – four months of which are sacred…” [9:36]

Still, I failed to take notice that we had entered the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic Year. One of the 4 months mentioned in the verse above as Abu Bakr ra. relates from the Prophet saw. :

“The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Dhul-Qa’ da, Dhul-Hijja and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumadi-ath-Thaniyah and Sha ban” [Bukhari Vol 004, Book 054, Hadith 419]

A holy month in which both good deeds and sins are greater in their value than in other months. As the Ayah carries on saying:

“…this is the correct calculation(deen). Do not wrong yourselves in these months…”  [9:36]

Knowing this I feel guilty, guilty for sinning continuously. Sometimes I feel as if I could drown in my own sins.

It ultimately is myself that I am wronging. Allah swt. is not affected by it, it is I who is harming myself. Whether that be physically, mentally or spiritually. I know, that  whatever Allah swt. has forbidden He has done so to test me, to protect me, to save me from succumbing to my own self.

As I sit here reflecting over the past year, I see holes that need filling. Mortar has fallen of my foundations, a renovation is needed.

I cannot afford for my foundations to crumble. I’d be lost without it. Lost, wandering from place to place. Homeless. Unsheltered. Taking what I can to stay alive in this society. Just surviving.

The cards are stacked against me.

Negative influences get stronger, his whispers shaking the ground on which my house of cards is built.

Can it withstand that single rain drop falling on top of this collapsing structure?

I’m scared. The wind blowing, a storm is brewing. The cards silently lifting off the ground, up into the sky, into freedom. Or what I perceived of it. The clouds growing thicker, darker, bigger robbing me of my sight, thunder robbing my hearing. My screaming echoing in my throat, not allowed to leave its confines.

A strong gust leaves me hanging, in the unknown. Although… its getting  warmer now, the darkness lifting slowly. Branches… I’m stuck in a tree. “Don’t worry” it tells me, “you’re safe for now. Look around you, you’ll find that many are experiencing the same thing as you do”

Indeed, this tree with its roots buried deep into the ground was of a different kind. It’s foliage all kinds of cards. Its branches decked in spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs as if growing out of the tree.

A community is born in the branches of this new World, different than any other, strange even, very strange.

I thank Allah swt. for granting me another year. With each year passing and my birthday only 2 days ago, I remind myself that I also passed my death-day. So the question I ask myself is, what have I prepared for it? What was my struggle? Have I done enough to die happy on my next breath?

Or did the status I have and my own arrogance, that I have in spades, deter me from lowering my head, from dirtying my head on the ground, from being humble towards my Lord? It is He who decides true nobility, for He is the King of all Kings.

Have I become a clergy of this world, enslaving myself to it? Has the world filled up my heart, instead of being filled up with the One that created it? The world should be in my hands, be like a traveller in this world. Benefit from its shade and move on.

Has my trade distracted me? Have I become a bankrupt merchant, selling my Religion for a small temporary win. All the diamonds and treasures in the world do not amount to the worth of this Deen.

Have I become a peasant? Being used day and night, gaining nothing, but spending Friday nights in clubs forgetting all about it? I’m as slave indeed, my name does say so. I am the slave of the Almighty, the Lord of all the Worlds, the Most Merciful to all of His creation.

I am Abdur-Rahman.

Have I forgotten my purpose?

Kul am wa antum bikheir

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman