Liebster Award Time

Assalamu alaikum everyone!!

So I’ve been really sneaky lately reading a lot, taking inspiration, writing my own posts, condemning them to the drafts, repeat. And may be this would have gone on for some time until a Liebster nomination hadn’t woken me out of this vicious circle.

A big fat thank you to Love Halal for doing that! So happy to be nominated 😀

So here’s how it goes..

A Liebster award is a ‘of the bloggers, to the bloggers, for the bloggers’ initiative and you can accept the award by simply following these super fun steps:

  • Uploading the Liebster award logo.
  • Giving props to the awesome blogger that nominated you by mentioning them.
  • Making me the heir of all your wealth, home and food (just kidding, your wealth is enough)
  • Writing 11 scary secrets about you facts about you
  • Answering the questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Spreading the love by nominating 11 other bloggers (who have less than 200 followers) and exacting revenge by asking them 11 questions.
  • Of course let them know you nominated them.

Here are 11 facts about me:

*drumrolls please*

1.I would rather read than watch, listen, feel

2. Funny is my favorite everyday emotion. If you have food and funny I am yours.

3. I mostly watch TV when I’m having tea and my most favorite thing to watch is doraemon. (I’m not kidding. The tea won’t go past my throat if I am not watching doraemon)

4. I love love love large meadows with lots of wildflowers and green grasslands with cloudy skies about to rain. Ah!

5. I have a burning dream of living in a fairy house with mystical interior decoration, vintage crockery and teacups with pastel roses, little pink chairs and tables, a large library, a vegetable garden and of course there needs to be a fairy maid

6. My most important dreams about jannah are made of food 🙂

7. I am a pluviophile through and through (someone who is crazy about rains)

8. I am waiting to be adopted by a cat.

9. I am scared of anything that is a few centimeters long, has multiple legs and can fly. I can deal with the rest if its nothing wild and is 21 kms away from me

10. I like to be alone 🙂

11. I am an optimistic skeptic

Questions Love Halal asked me:

Where do you live and where would you prefer to live?

I live in Mumbai, India and I love this city. I would prefer to live in a place with gardens underneath which rivers flow 🙂 Anywhere with green grasslands and meadows would be my first choice, may be Canada

Whom do you love the most in your life?

My mom

Are you an introvert or extrovert?

Introvert with a side dish of extreme people allergy

Any weird phobias in life?

Just the occasional insect phobia

If you were rich enough to own the world, what would you do to change the present situations?

OMG. I would may be start with making sure everyone has enough to eat.

Your favorite famous personality?

Spongebob. He would be my spirit animal 😛

What is your favorite pass-time on a lazy weekend?

I love painting and crafting in my free time or just reading

Best thing to have experienced in life?

Reading a good book (second to eating)

Which one is your favorite quote?

Don’t let the muggles get you down! – Ron Weasley

Best read book of all time?

There are so many but to mention one The Harry Potter series 😀

What is your philosophy of life?

Don’t just hope everything will be okay. Have faith you’ll be okay no matter how everything else is.

My 11 questions

  1. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  2. How do you fight procrastination?
  3. What is your favorite season and why?
  4. One thing you would like to change about yourself
  5. Post your favorite shade of your favorite color
  6. Cake or ice cream?
  7. Silence or deep intellectual conversations?
  8. What is the one crazy thing you thought about the world when you were a kid? (Eg: that we live inside earth an not ON it)
  9. One thing you do to relax or make yourself happy(Eg: make funny faces when you’re alone and laugh at yourself, dance)
  10. A quote, book, place, person that has had a huge impact on you
  11. One place you’d rather be right now

Here are my nominees:

Khamosh Dhadkanen

Outspoken Hijabi

The Secret Hijabi

A Path of Roses

Life of a Striving Muslimah

The Wind Up Bird Speaks

Words of a Ramadan Addict

A Sprinkle of Surprise

Wannabe Deen Buddy

That Nagging thought

PS: This was so much fun. Guys, no pressure to take this ahead but hope you have fun if you decide to accept the award! Also if you’ve already accepted you’re welcome to just thank me for this nomination or go accept it again if you like ;D

 

Advertisements

A Bowl of Sheer Kurma

Eid Mubarak to all my brothers and sisters!! May Allah accept from you and from us. And may this be the beginning of a life spent in taqwa, goodness, worship and abstinence from sins. And may Allah bless us to see the grand Eid in the hereafter. Ameen

Eid

Eids are a lonely affairs and just like any other day for me but today I was a little more down and numb. And for reasons known and unknown. However, if there is one thing I have learnt being a Muslim it is that Allah is truly Al Wahhab. He is the Provider for everything from food and clothing to faith

I was sad because I had to refuse a friend’s Eid invitation for some reason. This time around there was no sheer korma at my home like last year, which is one universal symbol of Eid celebrations. But it wasn’t like I was expecting anything. And yet it found a way to me.

Out of no where a neighbor who I knew was Muslim married to a Christian shared a bowl of sheer kurma with us. Bless her. It is moments like these that make me realize how blessed I am to be a Muslim. I broke down with tears of gratitude for feeling Eid in my little world. Truly like the Prophet (saw) said “Never belittle any small deed” A small gesture may be a healing for someone. Never underestimate it.

I am a big believer in the little-things-are-actually-big-things thing. Small things mean BIG feelings. Alhamdulillah for the little things that have so much power! Alhamdulillah for the gratitude that feels inadequate.

This was also a sad Ramadan for a lot of Muslims but may we continue to do good. May we continue to be tolerant and compassionate. May Allah strengthen and reward the Muslims who did not have a peaceful Ramadan. Ameen

Neither Here Nor There

you broke the ocean in
half to be here.
only to meet nothing that wants you

– Immigrant // Nayyirah Waheed

I don’t remember when I wrote the poem below but it was a long time back. It doesn’t even have a name. When I wrote it I didn’t care for expression or choice of words or to make some kind of an impact on the reader. I just wrote this out of the pain I felt that could not help itself just wanting to find an outlet. Be it in words that did it no justice.

Today I am sad again because the world isn’t any better, may be worse. And even worse for the whole Ummah. #Brexit was preferred because that was the only way to stop immigrants (?) I am not from the UK but how depressing is that. Not to mention the political and media tirade against muslims. And I want this to encourage me to be the good I want to see.tumblr_l2q4c0ydXg1qade4w.png

I know there are still people in this world who would rather have open arms than clinched fists and hope is ever alive.

Just had to get the sadness out there so that we remember the people from our ummah who have nowhere to go and in the hope that these trials will be a turning point for the rest of us, a turning point that leads us back to Allah.

There is a Syria in each one of us

A Yemen coursing through my veins right now

My tears drip in the shape of Afghanistan’s map,

The nerves in my eyes are screaming for Gaza

And every heavy breath supposed to be an ode to Iraq

I think of the little girl who cries through the night
And when she tires of crying she falls asleep among the deafening sound of missiles

Another day spent hoping for death

This is why my body is a battle ground

And every war I fight kills a little of me, keeps a little alive

Victory is the luminous smoke from my burnt remains

Can you see a phoenix rising?

~Zara

Ramadaan hope for the underachiever

Just what I need!

slip-sliding away.....

The infant sun peeks out from behind a mountain peakThe last third of Ramadaan is almost upon us, and if you’re like me, you haven’t really hit the highs of the month yet. Personally, it’s been another low-key Ramadaan (as is the standard in recent years) – with only fleeting moments of inspiration and spiritual highs.

Personal circumstances have engulfed me – in this past week especially – but instead of feeling upset about that, I know better. I know to take it in my stride, because such challenges are a normal part of life. We cannot choose when our trials will come, but regardless of who we are, what we have, and where we are spiritually, those challenges WILL come. They’re a necessary part of life that is to be expected (as expounded upon recently).

The challenge is in being open to such events – which you know will throw you off the path you were hoping…

View original post 753 more words

Of Solidarity and Holy Seconds

I take delight in being a loner but the otherwise ignored magnitude of Ramadan isn’t lost on me.

Over a billion people fasting round the clock. Always the call to prayer going off, the prostrations, the raised palms, the empty hands somewhere.

The oft repeated invocations, the half remembered duas. The parched throats, sore legs from standing in prayer, the repentances, the remembrances, the recitations, the longing, the free flowing tears, the free falling egos.

Always someone down on their knees and foreheads begging for salvation. Or someone wetting their dry lips, water replaced with perspective.59e956e6f6ac4e4b1a298af663914e3a

Always the millions of those fasting whose fast is only between them and God. No one but God knows if there was a secret bite or a quick sip or the desperation and yet the sacrifice of both. Always someone hungry for food and forgiveness. Or someone holding their tongue, their eyes, their limbs, their whims.

Always the towering gratitude or the ocean deep regrets or the forgotten verses bought back to life, reverberating in now full masjids.

Always the Qur’an being recited somewhere, its pages turning every minute.

The short nights, the relinquished sleep, the exhilaration, the awareness, the generosity, the charity, the feeding of the poor. Or the broken hearts being slowly healed.

Someone always lagging but not the only one to do so, someone learning the intricacies of patience, the joys of delayed gratifications, the learned control. The rows and rows of famished stomachs being replenished at the same time

The transformations, the second chances, the going back, the finding the way. Always the deeds ascending and the Light descending. Infinite.

The acute sense of our humanness, the brokenness, emptiness, the loneliness, the incompleteness, the void, the faults, the flaws, the falling, the rising, the despair. And yet always the unabridged hope. Round the clock, holy seconds ticking by ever so gently, scattering mercy.

The Prophet (saw) said “The fasting person has two occasions for joy, one when he breaks his fast because of his breaking it and the other when he meets his Lord because of the reward for his fast.” (Muslim)

People united in hunger, prostration, goodness. Through ethnicities, generations, color, cultures, countries, continents, age, timezones, differences. Quietly proving God is One

May Allah accept from us. Ameen

The Audacity

“But listen to me. For one moment
quit being sad. Hear blessings
dropping their blossoms
around you.”

~ Rumi

How many times do we go in circles refusing to willingly break free. Until death does the favor or so we think. We refuse to believe in the tangible reality of the hereafter inspite of knowing how unjust and helpless this world is.

We never stop to think that may be just may be the bottomless pit of our desires can only be quenched with something just as endless. Something that is beyond the reach of this fleeting world.

And which isn’t futile to pursue?

We blame God for all the bad around us, for raped dreams, for orphaned ambitions, for oppressed second lives, half dead parenthoods as if its the first time the world has been so brutal.

Fallow stag and flies at dawn.

As if this world was made for anything but this. “Where is God?, for crying out loud,” instead of dear “God, I need you, where should I be?

I am perpetually surprised at our ability to question God when our hearts are contracting but refuse to even acknowledge His presence for every blessing we are savoring, for every step forward, for every kite not yet devoured by the wind it plays with, the missed disasters even when the last recorded sin was not accompanied by a repentance.

The audacity.

But like a too well memorized sonnet we never forget to wonder where He is?

We don’t even feel the burden of our record books on our shoulder forgetting that the pen of the angels never run out of ink. Or deeds to record.

I ask myself why it is so easy to forget that this life and every drop of blood in our veins was accounted for, just like our deeds will be.

I’ve been investigating my jaded criminal nafs across the table. But it won’t confess. It rules me with an iron fist.

“Don’t you taste the regret of pending virtues and of sins committed like clockwork?”

“Almost”

 

 

A Quora Question

 

tumblr_static_tumblr_static_2dvf878funokww0wgokog04k0_640

So someone asked me on Quora Why do people convert to Islam even after knowing its origin and history? Of course they meant the alleged barbaric and violent spread of Islam. So before I post what I answered (the question was deleted and I’m a rebel who doesn’t like their voice muffled) I would love to know how common this is. I know a couple of people and I’m sure this is quite more common than I know.

So here’s the answer:-

Why do people convert to Islam even after knowing its origin and history?

I think it is exactly the origin and history of Islam that makes people convert to Islam.

First they are repulsed by what they hear of muslims. They want to know what ticks these people. And all they see is the tag of “muslim” so naturally its got something to do with that religion of theirs.

They’re so honestly concerned and enraged they want to find out all about it. Some people are just inquisitive. The degree of intrigue is different but the goal is the same: what does this religion teach? Why is it such an “oxymoron”?

And then they dig in, some playfully, some seriously, some with a lot of hate but a clean heart.

They try to know all about it from muslim as well as non muslims sources. Most can see through the crap and get to the bottom of it all.

They are shocked to know not only is islam better than that, it’s better than anything they’ve ever know.

And they convert because like a revert friend of mine once said about the conclusion, that islam was not false. Not only that, but it was true.

(end)

 

What do you think? Do you know anyone who got to studying islam out of spite and then converted?

Oh Ramadan

ba8bf8ea-8190-4b8e-ac41-f248ec915075

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

key-in-door

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

il_fullxfull.872510320_kbw9

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}