Travelers on the Path of Knowledge

Knowledge is an ocean and a few drops just aren’t enough. -Unknown

Benefited and Rewarded April 3, 2013

Filed under: Gems,Islam,Reflections — Lena @ 12:27 am

(An old post that I never published.)

How truly Magnificent is He who rewards us for those actions which are already beneficial to our hearts, our very state of being, and our success in both this world and the next?  A sister read this from another sister’s letter at a hijab party I once attended, and subhan’Allah how true were these words (may Allah reward her).  I feel this very line applies to everything in Islam.  Allah, subhana wa ta’ala, has made certain things obligatory on us and each of these things is only there as a method of increasing our iman, truly realizing what is the purpose of our life, and not becoming tangled up in the silly, trivial matters of this world.  All of these protect us from the evils of this dunya, protecting us from shaytan and the weaknesses of our own nafs.

That is just the case with the hijab.  It was five years ago exactly (now over 11 years ago–time flies subhanAllah) that Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah…all praises belong to Allah, the One, the Most Generous, the only One worthy of praise…I started to wear hijab.  Subhan’Allah, it is the best decision I have yet to make in my life.  I really do not think I can fully express how grateful I am to Him, subhana wa ta’ala.

I am also grateful to have been there for that hijab party.  It was such a great reminder.  Everytime before I go out, I throw this piece of cloth on my head and the worst thing I could do is forget why it is that I choose to do so.  Fi sabilillah.  That’s it.  There is no other reason to it.  Allah subhana wa ta’ala made it obligatory on us and it is an act of obedience to my Lord, Creator of the worlds.  What a meager act in return for all the wonders He fills me with, in return for all the good He has given me, my family, my loved ones.

I don’t think I did this topic justice…but a few thoughts I had wanted to share.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grant life to our actions by filling them with sincerity.  Ameen.

 

Our Source of Stability July 30, 2012

Filed under: Allah's Names,Gems,Reflections — Lena @ 5:06 pm

Bismillah wAlhamdulillah wa salaatu wa salaam ‘ala rasulillah wa aalihi wa sahbi wa sallam

Earlier in the year, I discussed the tafseer of surat al Haaqah with my students.  I love Bayyinah’s tafseer podcasts.  They offer such insight on the verses and the meaning behind each of the words chosen.  SubhanAllah.

Oftentimes, we hear the name of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) ‘Adheem translated as “The Great”.  However, Sh. AbdulNasser gives different insight on the name and draws its connection to the daily prayer.  It amazes me how every word in the prayer has such deep meaning if we take the time to reflect and learn about it.

Sh. AbdulNasser shares that the name ‘Adheem also draws on the meaning of stability and that He Alone is the Most Stable and in fact our Source of Stability.  Then our attention is drawn to the prayer.  At which point of your prayer do you feel that you are in the most unstable position?  Is it during the standing, the ruku’ (bowing), the sitting, or the sujood (prostration)?  If someone were to come over to you and give you a slight push, you would be able to hold your ground for most of these except for at the time of ruku’.  Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala as He sent to the Prophet sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam through Jibril ‘alayhi salaam, taught us the words we are to say in each moments of the prayer, such that there should be no moment devoid of our dhikr (remembrance of Him) and our beseeching Him and our salawaat on His Beloved (sallAllahu alayhi wa sallam).  And at this point when we find we are in the most unstable position in the prayer, what is it we are told to say?  Subhana Rabbi al ‘Adheem.  Glory be to my Lord the AlMighty, the Most Stable.  We recognize at this moment the magnificence and greatness of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and recognize that in reality we are unstable creatures who derive any sense of stability from Him and His Mercy.

This is similar to the way in which we call on Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) when in sujood (prostration).  We lower our heads to the ground, prostrating in humility before our Creator, the King, and we say “Subhana Rabbi al ‘Aala”: Glory be to my Lord the Most High.  We recognize our insufficiency and weakness and complete need of Allah and how low we are in reality, however it is through our calling on Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and our connection with Him that we can be raised above the angels.

May we each find our stablity in You, Ya ‘Adheem and be humble before You, Ya ‘Aala.  Forgive us for our shortcomings and relieve the oppressed around the world from the oppression of those that rule over them.  Ameen.

Any mistakes are only from myself and all good is from Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala).  May this blessed month of Ramadan be finding you in good health and you are taking advantage of its many blessings.

 

Avoid Marrying the Wrong Person January 24, 2012

Filed under: Islam — musaafir @ 5:06 pm
Tags: ,

SeekersHub is having a session regarding marriage on January 28th (http://seekershub.org/XpressO/). They’ve posted a bunch of good videos and articles- but as I was reading the one below- I thought it was especially relevant and useful. I’m posting just the beginning of it in an effort to get you to read the original:

 

There is a right way and a wrong way to get to know someone for marriage.  The wrong way is to get caught up in the excitement and nuance of a budding relationship and in the process completely forget to ask the critical questions that help determine compatibility.  One of the biggest mistakes that many young Muslims make is rushing into marriage without properly and thoroughly getting to know someone.  A common myth is that the duration of a courtship is an accurate enough measure of how compatible two people are.  The logic follows that the longer you speak with someone, the better you will know them.  The problem with that premise is that no consideration is given to how that time is spent. Increasingly, young Muslim couples are engaging in “halal dating,” which is basically socializing with each other in the company of friends and/or family. This includes going out to dinner, watching a movie, playing some sport or other leisure activity, etc.  Depending on the family or culture, conversations are either minimal & chaperoned or worse, unrestricted and unsupervised. When you consider these  limitations it makes one wonder when exactly, if ever at all, would the critical conversations take place?  Unfortunately, for many, the answer is never and they live to suffer the consequences.  If you or someone you know is in the “getting to know someone” phase,  the following guide offers advice on exactly what to look for and avoid….

 

To read more: http://mentalhealth4muslims.com/2010/03/31/10-ways-to-marry-the-wrong-person/

 

Beautiful Simplicity January 7, 2012

Filed under: Dhikr,Islam,Reflections — musaafir @ 6:48 pm

As I knelt to pray Maghrib this evening, I heard a quiet shuffling behind me. In the library, I pray in a secluded hallway in which there are two vacant spaces- one in which females pray and one in which males pray. Of course, these aren’t clearly designated- the location is just convenient because often the males come with a friend or two to pray in congregation and the larger space is more appropriate for that. However, there’s been numerous times where we pray in the other’s space just for convenience. But this digression takes away from what inspired me to write this entry.

While I was completing my prayer, I felt someone pass me into the other vacant space and heard various sounds. Something being dropped, something being unzipped. I tried to clear my mind as I finished my prayer. When I said the final salams, I turned behind me to see who was in the other space. An unfamiliar face greeted me. She was consumed in her ritual of sorts. She was clothed just as an other ordinary person I would see in the library, but I was aware that the unzipping was the sound of her removing some articles from the bags she carried. As she laid out a prayer rug, I turned back around to begin my Sunna prayers. When I finally completed, I could not help but to turn around again. This female had put on a beautiful, luscious, black abaya and a hijab with different hues of gray. I wasn’t able to take my eyes off of her. Something about the sheer simplicity of her just drew me to her. And as she prayed, she looked like she was in complete serenity. The movements of prayer were beautifully executed, no rigidity in her movements, complete and fluid movements. It looked like a beautiful art form. And as I continued to sit on my prayer rug, it was me praying that I could as well be graced with some of that beauty. I long to pray as I mean it- with complete focus and uninterrupted by any sounds, movements or thoughts other than my focus on the One.

For some reason, her abaya was just so perfect. I wondered why people couldn’t see the beauty of the abaya. It looks so beautifully feminine. Compare it to my denim skirt and pink sweater, she- this unknown stranger- was the one who exuded confidence and beauty. She was the one giving up the conventional idea of beauty and while doing so looking even more radiant. And to think.. this girl brought in an extra bag with clothing in it specifically for her prayer, subhanAllah. Having been blessed to have started wearing hijab in my teenage years gives me an immense amount of respect for people that carry around these extra articles for prayer. It’s not easy- but they, too, are making a dedication to God. When she packs her bag, carrying in it items for prayer, she is consciously reminding herself that she needs to pray and to do so she needs to humble herself before her Lord. What do I do when I go to pray? I walk down the hallway and I pray in whatever I’m wearing. Jeans, a sweatshirt, fancy clothes or not– it doesn’t matter. It’s such a mindless act and when I dress in the morning, I don’t remind myself that my clothing and the way I dress is for the One who Created me. But I should- this hijab isn’t mindless. This is an active expression of my faith and it is up to me to determine how cognizant I am of it.

Someone once told me that when you make the opening takbir for prayer, there is beauty in the way you lift your arms up to your shoulders/ears. The back of your hands are brought up as if to throw all your cares and worries behind you- and as you say “Allahu Akbar” you are reiterating that God is indeed great(er) than anything else going on in your life at the moment. And this prayer, this ritual form of worship is a further acknowledgement of that fact and your utter dependency on God. It’s so utterly beautiful that I can’t adequately explain it. Seeing this person perform her prayer just instilled in me a greater feeling of love and desire to be closer to the Beloved.

May we be blessed with the ability to see our own deficiencies and blessed with the strength and determination to correct our inadequacies. May God accept it from us and bring us good in all that we do. May we appreciate Him and love Him. May our obligatory and non-obligatory acts of worship be accepted from Him and bring us closer to Him. May we be truly active in our acts of faith. Ameen.

 

Ya Nafsu… April 1, 2011

Filed under: Abdal Hakim Murad,Islam — musaafir @ 1:31 pm

Should you not gain your wants, my soul, then be not grieved;
But hasten to that banquet which your Lord’s bequeathed.
And when a thing for which you ask is slow to come,
Then know that often through delay are gifts received.
Find solace in privation and respect its due,
For only by contentment is the heart relieved.
And know that when the trials of life have rendered you
Despairing of all hope, and of all joy bereaved,
Then shake yourself and rouse yourself from heedlessness,
And make pure hope a meadow that you never leave.
Your Maker’s gifts take subtle and uncounted forms.
How fine the fabric of the world His hands have weaved.
The journey done, they came to the water of life,
And all the caravan drank deep, their thirst relieved.
Far be it from the host to leave them thirsty there,
His spring pours forth all generosity received.
My Lord, my trust in all Your purposes is strong,
That trust is now my shield; I’m safe, and undeceived.
All those who hope for grace from You will feel Your rain;
Too generous are You to leave my branch unleaved.
May blessings rest upon the loved one, Muhammad {pbuh} ,
Who’s been my means to high degrees since I believed.
He is my fortress and my handhold, so my soul,
Hold fast, and travel to a joy still unconceived.

- Ali bin Husayn al-Habshi (translated by Abdal Hakim Murad)

A beautiful recitation of the poem during Habib Umar’s Tour in Toronto:

 

Life’s Reflections March 14, 2011

Filed under: Reflections — Lena @ 11:01 pm

Bismillah.

A simple yet incredibly powerful phrase placed at the top hoping something may flow from mind to fingertips to screen. Well, it’s not so much the concern that nothing will flow forth, it is the concern of how I present it and the coherence with which I can present all these thoughts that fill my mind. Alhamdulillah.

I have deep hesitations when it comes to blogging and sharing with the world little factoids about myself and my everyday life. Maybe it’s paranoia or maybe it’s reality. Regardless, there are days I do feel compelled to share my experiences, thoughts, and insights to the world, moreso for myself but Allahu ‘alam, inshaAllah it could be of some source of benefit to somebody else. I need a venue where I can just present my thoughts and let them out, and possibly receive some feedback.

This writing comes after a beloved friend, who I dearly and sorely miss, wrote on her site the importance of just writing and to stop allowing those pestering thoughts to hinder you.

Alhamdulilah Allah blessed me with a marriage a little over a year ago and it has taken me from all I knew for more than twenty years of my life to a place more than a thousand miles away both in physicality and in experience. Alhamdulillah. I find new struggles everyday but at the same time I find new blessings everyday. Alhamdulillah–He indeed is the Best of Planners. Within the first few months of marriage, the hadith in which the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) states that marriage is half of the deen (or one’s religion) really started to come to light. I would hear this hadith of our beloved (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) previously and would not truly understand its meaning. It took being within the experience to understand it, and I am sure I am still learning its full meaning and nuances.

My marriage showed me sides of myself I never knew existed–things that I would have never thought to bother me previously I found bothering me; aspects of the new relationship brought out so many different character flaws I would have never noticed otherwise. Over a year later, I still struggle with these flaws on a daily basis and I imagine it will be a constant process inshaAllah as most important matters in life are. It is only with my marriage that I am now aware of these flaws (inshaAllah I hope there are good things too that came out and that I can grow in these) and have to address them; I have to consciously work each day to not become frustrated, jealous, impatient and to be more grateful and gracious, forgiving, and understanding and without my marriage there would have been these little defects hiding in me never inspected. To develop a marriage and a wholesome, beneficial relationship with another, you have to push yourself beyond the norm and beyond the limits other relationships take you. To look at yourself completely and to correct what needs to be corrected, to fine tune the good, and to really develop yourself fully in your deen.

You have this other individual now who has so many rights over you and who you’re with the majority of the time, through the best of it and the worst of it.  It’s this great realization with marriage that your actions and choices do not only affect you.  While this is true of many and possibly all relationships, it is magnified in marriage.  And when you reach this realization, you can begin to manifest it in all your actions and inherently it drives you toward becoming a better person.  This is a realization I am slowly making and I struggle daily in making it a reality in my life.

 

May Allah ta’ala forgive me for anything incorrect I stated, as they are only from me, and any good and benefit only comes from Him.  Alhamdulillah.

May Allah ta’ala ease the difficulties humanity is facing throughout the world and may He subhanahu wa ta’ala deliver them from it and grant them the best of this world and the next.  Ameen.

 

Is Robert Spencer a scholar? August 14, 2010

Filed under: Random — musaafir @ 10:52 am

A few years ago, Islamofacism Awareness Week came to our university. Robert Spencer, one of the huge anti-Islam critics out there was invited to speak and of course the MSA was not too thrilled. We felt like his invitation was an attempt at bringing bias to our campus and that it was a mockery of intellectualism and scholarship. Spencer was not open to the idea of having a dialogue with the Muslim students and security was posted at the doors as if the Muslim students posed a threat. The fact that they all left at prayer time was marketed as them walking out on the event and protest and it really was entirely silly. We met with the campus administration and explained to them that especially on topics that are bound to irritate certain groups on campus we should be more careful to screen the speakers or talk to the group we might possibly offend. I remember students saying that Spencer was not a scholar of anything remotely Islamic and was not an authority at all.

When browsing the net today, I found an article that spells out clearly how Spencer likes to be called a scholar without any credentials to back it up. “Spencer does not even possess a Master’s Degree in anything related to Islam, let alone a Ph.D. and post-doctoral fellowship. Spencer does have in M.A. in the field of early Christian studies; does that make him a scholar of Christianity? If not, then why is he considered a scholar of Islam without even an M.A. in Islamic studies?”

Interesting article and site: http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/08/is-robert-spencer-a-scholar/

 

 
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