My heart is torn between East and West. I live somewhere between the present and the past. I don't know who I am.
Today at Fajr, I was clearing up in the kitchen with my dad and I found a bag of rice under the sink. I picked it up so I could put it away in one of the cupboards but my dad stopped me and told me to leave it where it was.
“Why?” I asked. “There’s plenty of space in the cupboard.”
He smiled and said “It’s not for us, it’s for the birds.”
I had no idea what he was talking about. He smiled again, grabbed the bag of rice and motioned for me to follow him to the garden door. There, perched on the garden fence outside, waiting patiently for him were five little birds. He unlocked the door, grabbed a handful of rice and scattered it on the ground. The birds swooped down on the grains. More birds came to join them, chirping happily at their good fortune.
“You see these birds habibty? Allah provides for them and many others like them. Allah provides for every creature on this earth through his sources. Why can’t we be one of those sources that Allah provides for his creatures through? Why can’t we be givers, not takers?”
“Allah provides for us too, but we don’t rely on him in the same way as these birds do, unwaveringly, unquestionably.”
He took my hand in his and placed some rice in it. He then looked me in the eye and said:
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told us “If you relied on Allah with a true reliance, He would provide for you the same as He provides birds: they set off in the early morning with empty stomachs and return back at the end of the day with full stomachs.”
“I want you to be like these birds habibty. Depend on no one but Allah, rely on no one but him. Never doubt his ability to provide or his power to bless even the smallest or the most unfortunate of his creatures. Never forget that habibty”
This is why my dad is the most special man on earth <3
So last week I was teaching my kids at Saturday school about the life of Prophet Yusuf (PUH) and I asked them at the end what they learnt from his story. This one kid puts his hand up and says in the most serious tone:
“Miss, this story is very important because it teaches us that you should know how to get out of a well in case your brothers throw you down one”
I honestly couldn’t stop laughing for the whole lesson. Kids are so precious!
The act of reciting a surah is not the same as actually reading it, there’s a big difference. Reciting a surah does not necessarily mean that you’ve understood it. Reading on the other hand suggests an act of comprehension. It’s way more important that we understand what we are reading so that we can act upon it and apply it to our daily lives. This is emphasised by the very first words that were sent down to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Surat Al-Alaq (N.B. the translation used is by Muhammad Assad):
1. Read in the name of thy Sustainer, who has created
Commenting on the first ayah of this surah, Assad notes that:
The imperative iqra’ may be rendered as “read” or “recite”. The former rendering is, to my mind, by far the preferable in this context inasmuch as the concept of “reciting” implies no more than the oral delivery - with or without understanding - of something already laid down in writing or committed to memory, whereas “reading” primarily signifies a conscious taking-in, with or without an audible utterance but with a view to understanding them, of words and ideas received from an outside source: in this case, the message of the Qur’an.
Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr - The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Convey (what you have learned from me ) even if it is only one verse.” [Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 667]
Don’t ever use a lack of knowledge as an excuse for not telling others about Islam. Dawah can be as simple as telling someone that you’re Muslim That could be the instigating factor for them to go and find out more about Islam. Many people are just ignorant about Islam and that does not translate into a lack of intelligence on their part bur rather a lack of information.
The only responsibility of the messenger is to propagate a message clearly. It’s not your job to convert people to Islam, guidance comes from Allah. Therefore, you should seize every opportunity to make dawah, follow the example of Prophet Yusuf (PBUH) who made dawah even when he was in prison!
My sister teaches a Sunday class at a local mosque for new reverts to Islam. She once told us a story about one of the ladies who attends the class. They were discussing prayer and wodhu (ablution) in Islam and when and how each of these acts should be performed. They were specifically talking about things that could make your wodhu invalid. My sister said that as long as one doesn’t break their wodhu then they could carry on praying throughout the day without having to make wodhu again.
Suddenly, one of the ladies in the class started crying and my sister asked her what was wrong? The lady told her that she worked as a cleaner at a hotel and that her boss was giving her a really hard time because she was taking too many breaks to go and make wodhu so that she could perform salat (prayer.) The staff bathroom was far away from the rooms she had to clean in the hotel and she thought you had to make wodhu before every single prayer for it to count. She didn’t realise that by keeping her wodhu from her morning prayer, she could carry on praying without having to make wodhu again.
She told my sister that she was crying from happiness. She felt like praying was a burden before. She was so scared that her boss would end up firing her but she didn’t want to stop praying. She was so dedicated to her faith and wanted to gain a sense of fulfillment out of it and now she could do that without feeling worried.
That little piece of knowledge that we take for granted changed someone else’s life. It made her happier and she was able to practice her deen better as a result of it. It reminded me of the following hadith:
Narrated by Anas ibn-Malik: The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Do you know who is most generous? They [the companions] said: Allah and His Messenger know best. Whereupon he said: Allah is the Most Generous, then I am most generous to mankind, and the most generous people after me would be those who will acquire knowledge and then disseminate it. He will come on the Day of Resurrection singly, like a ruler.” Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 93
Don’t withhold knowledge from others and don’t shun or ridicule a seeker of knowledge. With the right knowledge comes responsibility so always strive to seek and share it.
It’s crazy how much we take for granted. We’ve all been endowed with such great blessings, we can’t even begin to count them. We get too caught up by what has been given and offered to us that we rarely take a step back to reflect on all that we have.
I woke up this morning because of the alarm I had set the night before on a phone that I had the financial means to purchase. I woke up in a bed, a warm bed, fully clothed and with a roof over my head. I was able to open my eyes and get out of bed with ease. I was able to go to the bathroom and run clean, hot water from the tap to wash my face with. I didn’t have to walk miles to get that water, I didn’t have to worry about getting diseases as a result of using it. I could feel my stomach rumbling. My throat felt dry but I knew there was food downstairs in the kitchen I could placate my hunger with, water to quench my thirst with. I knew there was a family living happily in that house, no arguments, no sadness, no break-ups. I was not afraid or scared of them. I did not hate them. I felt safe and loved…
I can go on counting and recounting these blessings but they only come to acquire a true meaning when we attribute a feeling of gratefulness to them. Alhamdu-lillah (all praise is due to God.) Such simple words yet they hold so much meaning. Only when we come to realise the gravity of those words do we begin to realise the importance of praising and thanking Allah through our thoughts and actions. Be humble. Never, ever forget the true source of all your blessings and never stop being grateful for them.