Hajj ~ A Discovery (part 2)

Assalam Alaikum dear brothers and sisters,

This post is in continuation of my previous post Hajj – A Discovery (part 1).

Like I mentioned in my previous post, we were blessed to be able to have had performed Al Hajj this year.

It was an enlightening experience, to say the least. In reality, it was a road to self-discovery as much as understanding where I could, possibly stand in this huge universe, in terms of my love for my Allah swt.

Living in Dubai comes with its own set of ‘tiny’ drawbacks. We tend to become rather self-centered or self-absorbed, as you would, in any fast-paced and diverse metropolitan city.  Time is a commodity and we are almost always, utilizing to its best.  Grabbing fragmented moments of joy, as you attempt, in futile, to race against the merciless movement of the clock hands. Sometimes, you need to gain momentum in life. You need to stand still and figure out your place, in your own life and that of those close to you. You need to figure out, just how deep is your relationship with the Creator.  Where are you heading ? And regardless of how high you fly, you will still need to get a grip with reality, for your final abode is deep within the breasts of mother earth.

The days spent in Al Hajj, particularly in Muna (Mina) were an eye-opener. It unveiled  me to an unchartered territory of my own behavior and tolerance.

I resided in Muna (The tent city) with 11 other women under a single concrete tent~ surrounded by hundreds more tents.  It took me a few hours to come out of the shock of being one of the 12 to sleep in a makeshift dormitory !! (Did I mention I had braced myself for a similar situation, if not worse ??)  🙂

Most, if not all, were Urdu speaking from Uttar Pradesh( a northern state of India) or Delhi. Mainly three age groups  60+, 40+ and 30+

Allah swt has blessed the Muslim Ummah with two strong traits namely Sabr (Patience) and Shukr (gratefulness) ~ The Hajj is an excellent time for both of these attributes to be tested !

You are in Ahraam, in that situation, as a guest of Allah swt. What an amazing honor !! And what is it that we do when we visit someone special ? We maintain our dignity and put our best foot forward in every possible way.

Years before, we learnt that every action has an equal reaction. You get hurt and you hurt back. But in Hajj, (as it should be in our routine life too), one must maintain his/her dignity and tolerance. One of the most crucial lessons, I learnt is to restrain myself.  It is not easy becoz you have just left the protection of your shell, you are out exposed and you want nothing more than to please Allah swt.

patience in hajj

There will always be people ready to push you in a crowd ~ question remains ~ will you push back ?

  • you are sleeping on an uncomfortable bed,
  • the people around you may not smell the best,
  • they speak loudly to eachother,
  • they may eat snacks (which they bought with them from their home country) which gives out an unusual smell and worse, loud crunchy noises,
  • the introductions seem to take forever, with each one, wanting to discuss, their pregnancy deliveries, their family structure, their photographs, their daily schedule, the stories of their departures from their home country, right up to their experience so far.
  • you realize, people are far more focused towards the meal times than the salaah times.
  • and then their almost NEVER content with the amazing food to be had, in the middle of the desert !!!
  • lack of comfortable and continuous sleep can make you a switched-on walking-talking time bomb !! and yet you keep reminding yourself, the REAL purpose of being here.
  • you realize 5 out of 12 ladies, snore and you have no escape from that relentless drumming of octaves 😦
  • you realize, there is always one person, who selfishly wishes the lights to remain switched on, so she may read her dua books ~ late into the night !!
  • and some may also be inconsiderate enough to sit right over your head, and read tahajjud salaat in loud-enough voice !!
  • you realize your personal belongings are gradually becoming a thing, for all to “lend” !!
  • and then there are those clashes in debate sessions about the benefits of a joint family, or that children should be educated in convents, or even the recipe discussions !!!
  • endless amount of door knocks, from the spouces for the ladies in the tent !  All this ~ when one can easily relay the message on the mobile phone.
  • for the ladies in perpetual hijab, it is a quiet a trial. Especially when some ignorant spouces tend to drop their necks in, like ostriches trying to communicate with their obliviously relaxing wives.  Ofcourse, they were better than some of those, who assumed that we were their appointed pigeons, to relay messages when their wives awoke !!!

Women !!!! Shaitaan really has it easy !!! Women make his job pretty convenient.  He just has to play the fiddle around a tune of  ideas of greed, lust, temptation, anger, selfishness and confusion on women and the lives of all the men, next door is played havoc with in just a matter of minutes.

Luckily for me, Allah swt found an exceptional way of keeping me protected from gheebat and unnecessary loose talks.

  • My throat was choked with phlegm and as such, my voice was a mere exhausted coarse whisper. Luckily I had passed the stage of frequent coughs and moved into the sorry stage of  carrying a small plastic bag, and a couple of toilet rolls, for the constant flow of mucus.  Initially, I was embarrassed with my medical condition, not a pleasant sight to see someone spiting into some tissue or blowing one’s nose into a tissue so frequently
  • In addition, inspite of the several over 60 year-olds in the group, I was the only one carrying my loyal folding chair with me !! Naturally it got lent pretty often too 😦

All through it, I had to constantly remind myself, to continue making dhikr.  Its difficult to focus on your salaat and your tasbeeh, when so many distractions  surround you. The longer and harder, you focus on your dhikr, the more the reward ~ naturally. But its not as simple as that.

patience in hajj2

Gradually, I began to realize, coming from my own tiny world, what a large world existed ~ with people of such varied tastes, needs and aspirations, that Allah swt had to deal with.

I realized from some of the stories, how fortunate we had it in life.

I realized I was grateful for a little over a million (if not easily more) blessings that Allah swt had showered me with.

I also realized that most Indian/Pak muslims are rather fickle minded.

  • They come up with a ridiculous theory about not eating certain foods coz it may cause a cold !!! Eg, Tomato ketchup, yoghurt etc !!! Yes, I am referring to some rather seemingly ‘educated’ people !!
  • When dealing with a medical ailment, we tend to ‘assume’ “kissi ne kuch karwa diya” as in, ‘some one has cast a spell’, sorcery, witchcraft etc, rather than believing that it was genuinely a case of appendicitis !!!!!
  • We have a tendency to turn to all sorts of QUACKS for so-called ‘treatments’ ~ rather than the conventional route of medical doctors inorder to treat our ailments.

I had already mentioned in my previous post about the hygiene habits or rather, the lack of them 🙂

Consoling myself, that it was for a mere couple of days and that, it was a test of the sorts from the Almighty himself, was helping. But I pondered over this thought for sometime, was the Almighty actually trying to bring this change in me, to be more tolerant and aware of other people’s habits, nature and characteristics ! Was I being prepared for something higher and deeper ? Was I gaining any momentum in my quest for pleasing Allah ?

While I befriended each one of the ladies and bid farewell, after reaching Medina. It occurred to me, that Allah swt enfolds a lesson in each of our tasks.

Some of us, tend to commit to these tasks without so much as batting an eyelid, while some of us learn the lesson “WE WANT TO LEARN” while there are still some, who might truly decipher the code as he meant for us to.

patience in Hajj3

  1. In any case, I feel, I now find myself more tolerant and aware and slightly more forgiving than I was.
  2. I realized that I was the impatient one ~ they were just driven by their own conveniences
  3. I realized that I was self-centered ~ happy to be couped up in a corner with another English speaking broad minded family. It was my initial comfort zone.
  4. I realized that we tend to place people into virtual pockets and judge them on those basis.
  • The filthy rich women with no class, lapping up all the gold jewelry just to gain some recognition
  • The cultured advocates wife, who kept a firm thumb inspite of a sophisticated language
  • The tag-alongs who were so limp, they really had no decisive opinion of their own
  • The tabligi-jamaat ladies who spoke fluently in English, much to the amazement of the others.
  • And then there was me, imploring Allah swt to bless me with guidance and tolerance to bear them all !

Gradually I realized that each one of them, was fighting their own battle silently. Many silent prayers were being made ~ many silent tears were being shed and many quiet hopes were raised. For that moment in time, we all were in it together ~ each with his own individual issue, his own complex, insecurity, ordeal, trial, suffering. We were all there together, looking after eachother’s needs, our belongings, our luggage, our food and our chappals (slippers )too !!

That feeling of being together, inspite of not having ANYTHING in common except your belief in Allah swt and being at a certain place, performing specific rituals, and making small and big sacrifices just to please the Almighty, is a very unusual but special feeling.  We met as strangers and parted as sisters.

If that’s not self-discovery ~ what else can be !!

May we all discover ‘THAT”  amongst the 1 billion muslims in the world today, that one feeling of “brotherhood/sisterhood” is enough to bind us all together, inshallah. Ameen.

 

 

 

 

 

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Mr Ratan Tata said ….

Three beautiful thoughts from Mr. Ratan Tata

1. None can destroy iron, but its own rust can!
Likewise, none can destroy a person, but his own mindset can.

2. Ups and downs in life are very important to keep us going, because a straight line even in an E.C.G. means we are not alive.

3. F-E-A-R : has two meanings :
I. Forgot Everything And Run
II. Face Everything And Rise!!

Muslim Neighbors.

http://www.5pillarz.com/2013/11/09/mumbai-property-ad-specifies-no-muslims/

Being a “Bombayite” (Sorry, just never got around to calling it Mumbai ~ having spent 40 years calling it Bombay )  ~ We have been subjected to this kind of unspoken but direct discrimination for decades and yet, it infuriates me that people now have the audacity to say it out openly !!

We tend to throw every tiny and huge issue at our political system and probably to a certain extent, it is the divide that they (political parties ) cause between us during the election drama, that has left this stigma in society.  But I don’t believe that ONLY areas like Bhindi bazaar, Mohammed Ali road, Mumra, Mira Road, Bhivandi etc are where the concentration of Muslims, deserve to reside. Perhaps a jolt down memory lane is that in the late 50s, a large part of the polished Film fraternity were Muslims and had made the plush but then-quiet area of Bandra, including Pali hill, Carter road and Bandstand, their home. They still inhabit these now-sadly-over populated areas in co-existence with the rest of the world.

Scores of authentic hadiths have been told about a Muslims behavior towards his neighbor.  I’ll share just one here :-

The Prophet (pbuh) explains the rights and obligations toward a neighbor in the following hadith of Tabarani.

The rights of the neighbour is that, when he is sick you  visit him; when he dies, you go to his funeral; when he is poor you lend him (money); when he is in need you protect him; when he is in happiness you congratulate him; when he is struck with  a calamity, you condole him; don’t raise your building above his to cut off the wind from him; don’t harm him with the good smell of your food unless you let him have part of it.   [Tabarani]

That is the perfect neighbor ! And if Muslims practice this hadith ~ then they too are the perfect neighbors !

It baffles me, why while a Muslim boy from a chawl – celebrates every Hindu, Christian and Sikh festivals, what could prompt people to refrain from keeping Muslim neighbors ??

When we educate a community ~ it grows ~ it develops ~ becoz we have empowered it with education and rational thinking.

When we add hurdles, lest a community not taste the fruit of education ~ we are shunning an entire generation from seeing the light of the day. We are depriving it from moving, from change, from improvement, from betterment, from growth.

If Convents are going to target Muslim parents for enormous donations, how do you think, these children are going to make a difference, if not to the whole of humanity, at least to his own capabilities ~ to his own family ?  Are the parents not being penalized for being Muslims ?

If 60% of jobs are safely reserved for the privileged  (non-muslim) class, how do you expect the Muslim student to score a reasonably good job ?? Would we rather he turn back and run a kebab store or even better, flee to the middle eastern states ~ while depriving his own country of his abundant talent and economy ??

Why are we so judgmental ? What makes us above the next person we are seated beside ?  What he wears ? What he eats ? What he believes ? Where he prays  Or how he behaves with us ??? Lets just say, I expect a complicated answer with twists and turns from the learned  ~~ but from the righteous ~ He has already embraced his neighbor regardless his religion.

Our forefathers fought and won our freedom decades ago but its a pity, that they could not free our enslaved minds of our preconceived notions ~ “about ourselves” !!

Grow up and grow out of your self contained and self contaminated shells. Live and let live.

 

Simple powerful codes of conduct for Muslims

 

Assalam Alai kum my brothers and sisters in deen,

How simple and easy our beautiful religion is.  Our practises are easy for the poor and the rich, the learned and the illeterate, the city folks as well as those living in remote villages, equally. And yet we are mislead. So many a times, we have not been disciplined from a toddlers age, as a result, when we mature, we find ourselves following mundane and futile practises ~ with no basis in Islam. Please ponder and hopefully try to follow these simple commands. May Allah swt accept all our efforts and Ibadaats. Ameen.

Three things you should never forget about:

1.If you are in salah protect your heart

2.If you are in a gathering of people,protect your tongue.

3.If you are in the house of others,protect your gaze.

Two things you should never narrate:

1.Peoples bad behavior towards you.

2.Your good behavior towards people .

Two things you should never forget:

1.Allah.

2.The hereafter.

One minute for a muslim !

Ramadhan Mubarak to all of my dear brothers and sisters. May Allah swt accept all our duas and ibadaat especially during this holy month. Ameen. I have been MIA due to several reasons, one of which is also wanting to focus more on my ibadaat. (Sadly, I am one of those, who decides to “JUST” check on my messages on the various blogs/fb/messengers etc sites ~ and before, I know it, I have already “wasted” hours !!!! Therefore, this ramadhan, I decided to limit my “checking” time on the internet ~ Hence this message is primarily for me and then for all my brothers and sisters.)

Already the special last days have started and I wished to share some very beneficial information with you’ll.

I am, by no means, a perfect example, but as much as possible, we should try and use this month to make dhikr, voluntary prayers in addition to the Fard Salaats and charity ofcourse.

My children often ask me what they should supplicate during the “long” hours when they are banned from playstation and computers during this month and I found this wonderful site which had excellent comprehensive supplications which I, printed and  distributed amongst my boys to recite and gain knowledge by reading the meaning and gain hasanah’s by reciting the arabic quotes.

I am sure if you tried something similar for yourself and your children, it will benefit you greatly. inshallah.

Here is the link from where I have borrowed it :-

http://islamicemirate.com/articles/worship/2834-what-can-you-do-in-one-minute.html

There follows a list of things that can be done in one minute, by the permission of Allaah:

1. 1. In one minute you can recite Soorat al-Faatihah 3 times, reciting rapidly and silently. Some scholars said that the reward for reading al-Faatihah is more than 600 hasanahs, so if you read it 3 times you will, by the permission of Allaah, gain more than 1800 hasanahs – all of that in one minute.

2. In one minute you can recite Soorat al-Ikhlaas (Qul Huwa Allaahu Ahad) 20 times, reciting rapidly and silently. Reciting it once is equivalent to one-third of the Qur’aan. If you read it 20 times it is equivalent to reading the Qur’aan 7 times. If you read it 20 times in one minute each day, you will have read it 600 times in one month, and 7200 times in one year, which will be equal in reward to reading the Qur’aan 2400 times.

3. You can read one page of the Book of Allaah in one minute.

4. You can memorize a short aayah of the Book of Allaah in one minute.

5. In one minute you can say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’l-hamd wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer (There is no god except Allaah alone with no partner; to Him be dominion and praise, and He is Able to do all things) – 20 times. The reward for saying this is like freeing 8 slaves for the sake of Allaah from among the sons of Ismaa’eel.

6. In one minute you can say Subhaan Allaahi wa bi hamdihi (Glory and praise be to Allaah) 100 times. Whoever says that in one day will be forgiven for his sins even if they are like the foam of the sea.

7. In one minute you can say Subhaan Allaahi wa bi hamdihi Subhaan Allaah il-‘Azeem (Glory and praise be to Allaah, glory be to Allaah the Almighty) 50 times. These are two phrases which are light on the lips, heavy in the balance and beloved to the Most Merciful, as was narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

8. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When I say ‘Subhaan Allaah, wa’l-hamdu Lillah, wa laa ilaah ill-Allaah, wa Allaahu akbar (Glory be to Allaah, praise be to Allaah, there is no god except Allaah, and Allaah is Most Great)’, this is more beloved to me than all that the sun rises upon.” (Narrated by Muslim). In one minute, you can say all of these words more than 18 times. These words are the most beloved words to Allaah, the best of words, and they weigh heavily in the balance of good deeds, as was narrated in the saheeh ahaadeeth.

9. In one minute you can say, Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah (there is no strength and no power except with Allaah) more than 40 times. This is one of the treasures of Paradise, as was narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim. They are a means of putting up with difficulties and of aiming to achieve great things.

10. In one minute you can say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah approximately 50 times. This is the greatest word, for it is the word of Tawheed, the good word, the word that stands firm. If these are the last words of a person, he will enter Paradise, and there are other reports which indicate how great these words are.

11. In one minute you can say Subhaan Allaah wa bi hamdih, ‘adada khalqihi, wa ridaa nafsihi, wazinata ‘arshihi, wa midaada kalimaatihi (Glory and praise be to Allaah, as much as the number of His creation, as much as pleases Him, as much as the weight of His Throne and as much as the ink of His words) more than 15 times. This words bring many more times the reward for other forms of tasbeeh and dhikr, as was reported in saheeh ahaadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

12. In one minute you can seek the forgiveness of Allaah more than 100 times by saying “Astaghfir-Allaah (I seek the forgiveness of Allaah). The virtues of seeking forgiveness are no secret, for it is the means of attaining forgiveness and entering Paradise, and it is the means of being granted a good life, increasing one’s strength, warding off disasters, making things easier, bringing rain and increasing one’s wealth and children.

13. You can say a few brief and concise words in one minute, and Allaah may bring about some good through them that you could never imagine.

14. In one minute you can send blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) 50 times by saying Sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (May Allaah bless him and grant him peace). In return Allaah will send blessings upon you 500 hundred times because one blessing brings ten like it.

15. In one minute you can motivate your heart to give thanks to Allaah, to love Him, to fear Him, to put hope in Him, to long for Him, and thus travel through the stages of ‘uboodiyyah (total enslavement to Allaah). You could do this when you are lying on your bed or walking in the street.

16. In one minute you can read more than two pages of a useful book that is easy to understand.

17. In one minute you can uphold the ties of kinship by calling a relative on the phone.

18. You can raise your hands and recite any du’aa’ you wish from the books of du’aa’, in one minute.

19. You can say salaams to and shake hands with a number of people in one minute.

20. You can forbid an evil action in one minute.

21. You can enjoin something good in one minute.

22. You can offer sincere advice to a brother in one minute.

23. You can console someone who is depressed in one minute.

24. You can remove something harmful from the road in one minute.

25. Making the most of one minute motivates you to make the most of other periods that would otherwise be wasted.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Faith gives you wings !

This is such an inspirational quote.  I know, so many of you who visit my blog on a regular basis could find some respite in reading this quote if your disillusioned or going thru some trauma (May Allah forbid) ~  I know alot of these quotes sound soothing but it takes REAL FAITH to get you going thru those deliemmas ~ when they do appear.  For me, in my heart, all I believe is that Allah swt is always carrying me.  And I am ALWAYS thanking and praising him for that. To be honest, “Thats” enough for me to believe.

I have had my share of troubles and confusions and even when there was NOT ONE SINGLE SOUL who could guide me, share with me, support me ~ there was Allah swt ALWAYS. Knowing that ~ believing in that ~ made everything so much more “liveable” for me otherwise, I cant imagine what my state would have been then ! 

Everyday, we struggle.  Everyday, we are made to make choices. Everyday, we walk the thin line between haram and halal in small matters and sometimes big ones ~ but truth of the matter is that if you keep Allah swt in the center of all your decisions, you just cant go wrong. Question is “do you before it gets too late ? or Do you when its already too late ?

This world is a wild place and a few wrong steps, a few misplaced trusts can be  “near fatal”.   I know I took the leap knowing very well in my heart that “HE” would teach me how to fly ~ 18 years and counting, I am saying exactly how I felt then and now. Faith gives you wings !