Oh Ramadan

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It’s amazing how Ramadan seems to come exactly when we need it.

This will be my fourth in sha Allah and second without having to hide it from anyone.

The approach of Ramadan has always come with a lot of promises for me all these years. Last year this time, I did something that required so much courage even a fraction of which I knew I didn’t have.

I wrote a letter to my mom to reveal my conversion and saw her crumbling reading every line.

I like to think I’ve been an obedient child, choosing a conventional career path in an academic setting, something my parent thought apt for me. I like to think I had no option but then I also knew I was pretending. I didn’t like studies. I had an active left brain that breathed creativity. That was where I felt at home.

But I did what I felt was the right thing to do. I wanted to make my parents proud forgetting that being my own person was essential to doing anything worth their pride. It was a disappointment for my mother when I stood up for what I wanted to do or rather “did not” want to do. Of course she had my best interest at heart and it took her some time to see through them.

And then there was my reversion.

I’ve never been so sure and yet so cowardly. It was such an oxymoron now that I think of it. But then again this is when courage becomes the bravest choice you can make.

It literally took every ounce of my being to confess who I really was. But what was worse were the tears coming in the very eyes I never wanted to see them in. And to know I was the reason for it all. But indeed in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest. That was my only rope, only hope, only glimmer of light in a dark as a black hole world and that was all I needed.

And just as hard as it rained, subhanAllah it cleared faster. The sun was shining again, as bright as ever. I’d never imagined after all the show down, my mom would even accept my reversion let alone so quickly. Indeed Allah is Al Kareem and Al Fattah. And He surely never burdens a soul with more than it can bear.

I had accepted Islam ten days short of Ramadan. Two years later around the same time I revealed what mattered to me most to people that mattered most to me. And truly, it is a month where mercy is in abundance even at times when the sabr of a mother is being worn down. She would still find it in her to remind me to get up for suhoor, stock fruits and milk so I can fast with a full stomach. I fail to know how she prepared delicious iftar snacks for me carrying a dagger buried in her heart. How she prepared sheer korma just a little over a month after her world has come crashing down.

And then I remember the Source of all this mercy. May He give me the taufeeq to be patient with my mother. And show her how much she means to me inspite of failing to have sabr on the many occasions I’ve lost my cool.

It’s that time of the year again where veils fall off from the eyes of our heart like the autumn leaves. And I can swear there are miracles among us, living, breathing the same air we breathe, holding forbearance like it’s the only thing they ever inherited. Looking like the comfort of the home we come back to but always take for granted.

While I bask in the glow of its approach I pray this time won’t be any less magical, especially for my mother, especially for my mother.

Ya Allah, have mercy on my mother. Let her see the Light of Your Oneness. Turn to her in guidance and forgiveness. Ameen

Please keep me and my family in your duas, especially my mother.

The need to know

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We humans are a curious lot. We always need want to be in the know. I, especially on most occasions find myself with a burning desire to be privy to what’s happening with me and not out of some noble way. It’s more of a selfish thing.

Like when someone cancels on me. I take it all personally. Oh God, I do.

And then I need to know what in the world is so important as to justify canceling of a commitment. As if the world revolves around me. It’s a dangerous monologue that involves no other perspective except my own. I can’t be blamed for being impatient when I don’t even understand what I need to be patient with right? I confess I let my thoughts lead me instead of the other way around.

Sometimes you need patience with the need to know itself. People have their own perspective and may be yours just doesn’t figures in theirs. And even if it does, it may be way off. But then those expectations are not going to fulfill themselves are they? -_-

[Al-Khidh r] said, “This is parting between me and you. I will inform you of the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience. [18:78]

I need so much of the patience (and the interpretation) this verse speaks of in my life right now. May Allah forgive me.

There is knowledge and then there is unnecessary information. And in an age where you are a Google search away from what you need to know, not getting answers is downright unacceptable. It even surprises me  when I don’t get answers to really personal questions like “why do I feel this way?”

I am not good at being patient. It’s a boot camp. As soon as you think you are getting there, the goal post has shifted. I especially find it tough to be patient with specific people. May be just because I don’t understand them. Like some mental wall goes up against the unknown and terrifying. A brutal shield. Will it break with the opening of the heart? I don’t really know.

Indeed our Prophet (saw) told us, “Part of the perfection of one’s Islam is his leaving that which does not concern him.” [Tirmidhi]

Now I understand this is with regards to actionable knowledge that helps you become a better Muslim. And I find this really profound because I can’t relate when someone wonders on small things like what kind of clothing someone wears under their abaya because some religious fanatics on the other side of earth may take offense if its tight western clothing. What the heck?

I can’t understand someone who is enamored by the number of expensive beauty products in someone’s dressing table instead of the riches and luxuries awaiting the slaves of Allah in the next life.

I can’t understand someone who fusses over the mental note another person makes about their impressive appearance instead of expecting them to see through the façade to what truly matters.

I can’t understand why someone would care about the Islamic perspective of the political situation of a muslim country instead of the Islamic perspective on the problems and issues in their own life as well.

I know I’m rambling but just bear with me for a sec. I really need to get this out there.  I think I’ll never get some people.

By the grace of God’s magnificent plans, they and I not just crossed paths but somehow became good friends. I wonder if we are growing apart now and I shouldn’t be associating with them anymore. Or I just need to be more patient because we are tied together with the rope of our friendship’s torrid history and I may be the only practicing Muslim or a close friend or a confidante they have?

Because wasn’t I like that before and still am at times? Until Allah guided me to better? To Islam. How am I to deal with a personality I no longer relate to when I am still learning patience and acceptance myself.

These are the kind of situations where I am clueless about my role. To forever be a seeker. Ya Allah get me in on this information. I need to know…or do I?

Why the World is Not Black and White

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When you’re a Muslim, you just cannot go a meter without running into an overzealous person trying to teach you their version of Islam. Indeed sometimes, that can be you yourself.

Through my journey on trying to become a better Muslim and learning about Islam, I’ve struggled quite a bit. In part it’s what makes this journey so unique and heartfelt. I can feel every color and emotion of being human. And alhamdulillah, I believe it is this reflection of my own weaknesses, this humanness of not being able to comprehend it all that keeps me saying Ya Allah guide me, help me. Blessed is the confusion that shows me I’ll always be in need of Allah SWT

No wonder, the very composition, order and significance of Surah Al Fatiha makes so much sense.

All this imperfection to comprehend all the information about Islam and the struggle to put it in practice can be overwhelming. And I think the way I’ve been praying salah is the perfect symbol of this struggle. From following a madhab’s women’s prayer, to praying like men to doing something of my own out of sheer confusion symbolizes all the other struggles I’ve faced practicing Islam. And I’m amazed time and again how much peace it can still bring alhamdullilah. Allah is truly the Most Patient and the Most Merciful.

It also means I am learning and growing. Just like the seed that takes time to become a tree or the crescent moon that takes time to become full. And you want people to see that even if they want to judge you. The problem starts when they refuse to.

So coming back to overzealous people and specifically muslims. I think a folly that lot of such people make is thinking the world is made up of just two shades – Black and White.

So you are either good or evil

Beautiful or ugly

Alive or dead

Successful or unsuccessful

Terrorist or Non Muslim

Muslim or Disbeliever

Anyone who understands the message of Islam and it’s discouragement against extremism can smell the coffee.

Our world is neither heaven nor hell then why do people who don’t agree with us instantly brand us as the worst creature in their sight? Why can’t there be room for possibilities? I’ll never know.

But the people I refer to, they are SO hyperfocused on a single trait they oppose, they become completely blind. They don’t realize how absurd, ignorant and presumptuous their generalization is. Either you are a muslim* (their terms and conditions applied) or a polytheist, disbeliever and the likes. In their blindness they don’t realize they are assuming extremity to an extent that doesn’t even exist. They are recognized by their extreme pro-something trait but in truth they are anti-something else.

I’d just like to tell them I am as human as you are. So if you think I’m doing something wrong explain it to me and let me take my time to understand and contemplate my position according to my understanding.

Stop saying I am a disbeliever

Stop saying I am a polytheist

Stop letting your ego take over your good sense.

Stop letting shaytan tell you how strong and truthful you are

Stop this anti-dawah

Not only because it hurts me but also because I am sure you’re not sparing anyone else and in turn risking someone’s experience of learning Islam and becoming a Muslim.

God forbid if that poor someone is already on the fence about Islam and Muslims with one step out of the door, I promise your behavior is anti-Islamic. You may just push someone out and break their belief in Islam. Any Muslim will hate to be that person.

If I don’t eat pie, doesn’t mean I am in love with pudding. If I love pizza, doesn’t mean I hate burgers. If I am not a Muslim (according to your fallible interpretation) doesn’t mean I am a polytheist. If I don’t follow your position, doesn’t mean I worship scholars who have a different position.

This world is NOT black and white, don’t let yours be.

Let the sincerity to worship Allah alone prevail. Lets resign to the fact that indeed only Allah knows best.

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.. {16:125}

 

 

Back to Basics

Bismillah

It’s been almost a year I wrote here. And here I am again.

So much has changed and yet so much remains the same since the first time I picked up a pen and spilled words in a diary. So much has changed since I decided to formed words from my thoughts and since I made the courage to get up and do something about my life. After a long winter and bouts of summer I had decided it was enough and with the name of Allah set out to do something I never imagined I had the strength to do. I decided to write professionally.

And if any one was wondering where I’ve been, it’s where I was, writing for my life. I never fathomed this after all, this blog would be the beginning of reconnecting to what I’d once lost or rather had forgotten.

So much like becoming muslim.

A day ago a friend reminded me how I was an amazing writer in school. I remember an essay I’d penned in my 9th standard exam paper. I didn’t know it then but it felt like a spring inside me had found its way out. And the result was an amazing essay I was absolutely proud of as soon as I had completed it.

The cherry on top of the cake was when the teacher thought the same. Bless her, she loved my essay so much she actually read it out in front of the whole class. Though I wasn’t there that very day to be sitting beaming with pride but I remember being weirdly enchanted with my little achievement.

Now, after so many years, after so much struggle and work I’ve come back to it. I never imagined I’d be writing on and off field and there would be people paying me for it. And this blog has been the launching pad for all that I would be. I know that spring I found sitting on a bench in the exam hall is still here. Sometimes I come across it unexpectedly.

I like to believe Islam has a way of reconnecting you to your origins, to your once pure ambitions.

So here I am. In sha Allah and this time I truly madly deeply want to keep my blog alive and well. Expressing my thoughts and reflecting on life and Islam.

BTW of course I’ve been writing. I contribute on Quora as well https://www.quora.com/profile/Zara-Razaq

So you can expect many rants and opinionated posts on my experiences.

May Allah make it a means of good for me and for anyone reading. Ameen

This blog however will always be that special place I started from. It’s been through my ups and downs but mostly my downs. I wish to resurrect it once again. Here goes nothing….

Bismillah:)

 

 

Allah Knows Best..

Nearly 8,000 Muslims prayed the namaaz-e-janaza for Yakub Memon today. With that ended the 20+ years of pursuit for justice.

Did those who had lost their families in the blast really found justice? Was Yakub among those who pursued justice? We will never know.
What we do know is Allah is Al Adl, the Most Just.

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We only saw a man who plead innocence till his last night in this world.
We saw a man whose voice was lost in the rabble for retribution,  whose claim of innocence pressed under unrelenting need for affirmation and to punish the guilty, whose last words were for the acceptance of this punishment on behalf of his brothers sin, but rejection of it due to the faith in his innocence.

Was he really innocent or was he punished for the stains on him that his brother’s sins painted?

We will never know but Allah knows and Allah sees everything.

He sees the innocence of those who claimed it till their last breath and of those that never even got a chance to do so.

What we can only take from this end is that this is not the end.
This is not the place where justice prevails but on the Day of Judgement, everything will be crystal clear.

Who cast the first stone? Why is the justice in this country not just? Who decides the punishment?

What we can only hope and pray for is that if Yakub was guilty of even one atom’s weight of wrong, then his death may not have been in vain.

We pray that we are able to account for our worst of sins in this world and not the next. That when we meet Allah, we meet Him in a state of fewer sins and with lots of repentance in our account.

That when we meet Allah, we would have turned to Him before returning to Him.

Yakub knew that he will die, many of us may not and repentance will then become a luxury.

Yakub may never have had a shot at justice, but he had a shot at forgiveness. And in the end, in the real end, that is what will make all the difference.

And Allah knows best.

Ramadan Mubarak Everyone!!

I Love Ramadan :)

I Love Ramadan:)

Asalamu alaikum wa rehmatullah wa barakatuh

Hope this finds everyone in the best of health and imaan. Its the excitement and joy of yet another Ramadan that makes me want to spread some more joy and love around. It has been raining crazy since last night where I live, so much so that it threatened to strand unsuspecting folks all over the city. Alhamdulilah I reached home safe and I pray everyone else is safe and secure wherever they are. I mean of course the clouds are excited. Its ramadan! what else could explain this downpour😛 (Oh I have missed writing here so much :,)

It was also Jummah and the Monsoon. That is like the bumper monsoon offer. Grab your duas now!! This is the time to make it. Hurry Up! I am only hoping I make the most of this day and inshaAllah of the month to come. I also pray that Allah enables us to be enriched by this month and its innumerable rewards, forgives us our sins, grants us the tawfiq to better ourselves each day and keep the Ramadan spirit alive even after the month passes us by

Narrated Sahel Ibn Sa’ad (RA): that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘Two will not be rejected, Supplication when the Adhan (call of prayer) is being called, and at the time of the rain’. [Al-Hakim 2: 114, and Abu Dawud #2540, ibn Majah]

Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA): Allah’s Messenger (SAW) talked about Friday and said: ‘There is an hour on Friday and if a Muslim gets it while offering Salat (prayer) and asks something from Allah (SWT), then Allah (SWT) will definitely meet his demand.’ And he (the Prophet (SAW) pointed out the shortness of that particular time with his hands.[Sahih al-Bukhari] .

The prophet (SAW) declared, ‘Three men whose dua is never rejected (by Allah) are: the fasting person until he breaks his fast (in another narration, when he breaks fast), the just ruler and the one who is oppressed.'[Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi – Hasan]

I cannot help but wonder how beautiful our deen is. Had it not been for Ramadan, we would hardly gear up for increased worship and the chance to expiate our sins. How slack we are and how beautifully Ramadan releases us from this slackness. We are told our duas are never rejected yet we are encouraged to pray and increase in asking on certain occasions. Allah is the Most Generous and Most Forgiving and gives and forgives through out the year but thanks to these special encouragements our hearts are a little more assured about the acceptance of our duas. SubhanAllah! How well Allah knows us.

I pray this Ramadan, we are able to witness this Mercy, power, magnificence, support, kindness and love the way we should and it helps us worship Allah with the worship due to Him. Ameen. Please remember me and my family in your precious duas.

Five Day Challenge – Day 3

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It was 8 in the morning. The dazzling rays of the sun were piercing the crystal rainbow maker on the windowpane.

Firasat loved simply watching this play of light with the hanging crystal. He found the pretty rainbow spectrum that the crystal projected, the prettiest sight. How a single ray of white light scattered to form a path of all colors that exist. The rainbow made his heart fill with joy and hope for a reason he couldn’t understand.
He would sit there in the morning, right by the window and wait for his friend Samuel to pass by.
They were not on talking terms. Mom had told little Firasat in clear words that he should stay away from his friend. He was not one of us.

Firasat was never able to figure out what that meant. He still remembered how both of them spent their play time, digging for bugs, watching birds peck away at the stumps of trees for food, checking on the neighborhood dog and getting it to do tricks and then laughing at each other for fooling around. They were anything but different.

He wanted to play with his friend. He wanted to tell him about the new game they invented at school. But most of all he wanted to feel his presence. It was like his personal rainbow maker had been snatched away. Nothing else mattered.

He stared at the now glistening stone for sometime, it was scattering the spectrum of light even farther now. Every color vividly visible.
The play of light made a profound impact on Firasat’s little mind and he ran down stairs like he had stumbled on life’s scret and couldn’t wait to tell his mother. Panting, he bought his mom to watch the rainbow with him and pointing at the colors it reflected on the walls said –
“Mother, look, Sam and me are like the colors on the rainbow, we split from the same white light. How could we be different?”

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I know I took forever to post this and maaf if you have been waiting but something is better than nothing right? LOL. I hope I don’t take as much to post the last two posts in this challenge inshaAllah:/ JazakumAllahu khair for reading😀. Comments always appreciated. Today’s nominee is Faith is where the heart is. I would love if you would take the challenge forward and if you don’t it would really hurt me (just kidding :P) There is no compulsion at all! All you have to do is choose a picture each day and write a story based on them for five days. It could be fiction or non-fiction. You can also nominate someone else for the challenge. BarakAllahu feeki!