The irony of pleasing

It’s ironic,

We can’t do something to please You,

without Your will.

Then will it,

Oh Lord, will me to please You,

Will me to be who You want,

Will me to be whom You love,

Will me to Your grace,

Will me to Your side,

Will me to jannah,

Will me, oh Lord, will me,

Will me to Your loving embrace.

The perks of leaving your homeland (unless absolutely necessary, of course)

Everything I write in this post is for people who have always wanted to live in some country abroad. People who have always lived there are aware of what goes on there. They have their social circles too, and they know how to live there. So I’d just like to address this basically to us complexed Asians.
“Why don’t you move to the U.K.?” People ask my dad when they find out my family background, it’s not that astounding, really, but yes it’s certainly different than normal folks. Although I am Pakistani, and glad to be living a good life here Alhamdulillah, I have another nationality because my grandfather from my mum’s side moved to the U.K. to work after partition. After my mum got married, she moved here, to Pakistan, and is happy till today.
No, my dad does not move to the U.K. and why should he? He has a good job and is able to support a pretty decent living, he has no social issues, he has family and friends and he is able to help us grow in our own culture, with all the traditional values of respect, honour, hospitality and all that. Yet even people who have all these things think our family slightly strange as we do not move to a foreign country when my dad has been given such a good chance to.
I’ll tell you why.
Living in a foreign country such as the U.K. or the States isn’t the dream people think it is. Yes, if you can, do go for a holiday as they are still internationally interesting places, but to move from the safe haven of your own country and to a place so different from where you have grown up, where you will always be considered second grade citizens no matter what, is slightly strange itself, don’t you think?
Yes, Pakistan respects you way more than any other country will. And don’t even get me started on how the Arabs pure seem to hate us.
Okay. Then, we have social evils. Social evils which have sprung up because of the so called ‘freedom’ of the individual. What kind of freedom, though, if it eventually eats up the freedom of peace for others? Yup, the word freedom loses its charms when it’s misused. And if you live in the U.K., your own parents can’t stop you. Child Protection Agencies and all that stuff will actually come to your door and even throw you into jail if your child reports you to have been abusing him in any way possible.
The school my cousin went to committed a most disgusting act. They gave diaries to the kids and told them to write everything that went on at home without telling the parents. These entries would then be read and analysed, and the school had the right to take away kids whom they thought were not being brought up in the right atmosphere.
Social evils, I think, is something we’re all too familiar with. And when you’re so surrounded by them, it’s harder to stay away from them. It’s tough when you don’t get to go everywhere and do everything the people around you do, because you are restricted, either religiously or culturally, because the culture instilled in us does give us a moral direction. I know it’s hard here too, but at least we folks have some people who are like us.
Then, no matter what anyone says about religious tolerance and freedom, it does NOT exist completely. You still might be attacked if you wear a hijab, you will be called names if you’re religious. It doesn’t end on religion either, the materialism factor has soared sky high. If you’re fat, you’re made fun of, if you can’t afford the very new shoes, you’re an object of mockery, if you’re different in a new way, you will be ridiculed.
And although it saddens me to see people here are also starting to be influenced by all the negativity of the West, at least folks here have the respect to listen to their parents and the old and ancient of the family. At least there is still some family structure, they, and I feel sorry for those who live in those Western countries, they have lost the basic family structure.
Folks are spiritually empty, though, and due to that they grow selfish. The good thing which has emerged is that they are looking for their purpose to life, and a significant part of the population converts to Islam annually.
Yes, there are a lot of opportunities there, and there is a lot going all there all the time, but if you’re living a good life here, then trust me you will be happier in your own land, who’s customs and traditions have brought you up.
If you leave this country, you don’t only leave your country, you leave your family, your home, your friends and many who are probably dependent on you. So before you make a decision like that, think of everything before coming to a conclusion. Don’t accuse anyone if they’re not making use of what seems to be an opportunity.
I’ve written about some of the basic problems, but know that this world had problems everywhere. There is no such thing as the perfect country.
Be glad you’re Pakistani, because it’s a pretty cool place to live in! Pakistan Zindabad!

Chimneyed Heart

This poem, though symbolic, has been inspired by the song “chim chimney” from Mary Poppins. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with her, but she has certainly been a part of my childhood, actually I love her today too! The main line has been taken from the song, the rest is all me.

Chim chimney, chim chimney, chim chim churoo,
Scrub hard enough and you’ll find the clue,
Chim chimney, chim chimney, chim chim churoo,
You’ve got to climb in to see what is true,
I know it’s a tough choice to make,
For cleaning’s no piece of cake,
But know you won’t regret this one decision,
Because after everything is a most coveted position,
So, scrub, wash, wipe away all the dirt,
And be rid of all that which can hurt,
Chim chimney, chim chimney, chim chim churoo,
Rise as you dust, come join the crew,
Chim chimney, chim chimney, chim chim churoo,
Climb up to sip the coffee you brew!

Oh and happy Juma’a everyone 🙂

Grandfather folklore!

It is a warm night, bordering on humid, but I accompany my grandfather on his routine walk after dinner. No tales at the dinner table this time, but I am adamant to listen to some anyway.
“Dadabu, you know so much about sufis and saints, tell me a story,” I say to him.
“Well, you know about Hazarat Dataa Ganj Baksh, right?” He begins after a while.
“Yes, I do,” I reply to him instantly.
“Well, he originally lived in Hajver in Afghanistan, but he moved to the banks of the river Ravi in Lahore. It is said that his spiritual mentor told him to move there. It so happened that he set his house right in the middle of the local Hindu community and the house of a certain person whom the Hindus revered.
Everyday, one Hindu or the other would walk past Dataa sahib’s house and go to the above mentioned person to speak to him about their problems. The major problem that he would solve was when their buffaloes did not give them milk. After the Hindus spoke to him, he would do something whereby the buffaloes started to give milk again.
Dataa sahib watched all of this with interest. But he knew this was wrong because that person used magic and witchcraft as the solution to people’s problems. The Hindus were surprised, how did Dataa sahib, an outsider, know he used magic? And did he use magic?
But the Hindus were in for an even greater surprise! For their folks started to die! One by one, in quick succession, they started to die. As the Hindu procession would take one dead to burn him as is their custom, Dataa sahib would say,
‘Another awaits you.’
And when they would go back to their community, indeed another Hindu had died! But as they would take him away to be burned, Dataa sahib would repeat what he said before, and every time the same thing would happen. The Hindus were astonished. They came to Dataa sahib and sat around him.
‘We accept your religion and your God, sahib, for you seem to be aware of things we are not. We accept Islam, as this seems to be higher path.’
And so thousands of Hindus embraced Islam at the hands of Dataa sahib.”
“Whoa”, I am amazed.
“I’ll tell you something interesting, though. You know how there are political governments here? With presidents and prime ministers and kings and dictators? Well, there is a spiritual government, too, and it works much in the same way, except that they handle things when we, normal people, cannot”, he says.
“Really? So there’s a spiritual president?” I ask him stupendously.
“Yes, the president is called the ‘wus-ul-azam’ and the below him we have the ‘wus’, the ‘qutab’ and then the ‘abdal’. Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani was always held to be the ‘wus-ul-azam’, or the leader of the spiritual government. Do you remember the Hakim sahib from Gujranwala?”
“The one who’s house we went to after he had died?”
“Martyred. Yes. You must have met him before but you don’t remember, I suppose.”
“No, I don’t remember”, I say. This certain Hakim sahib was on good terms with my entire family, and had been unjustly shot due to some strange materialistic matters.
“Anyway, he was a part of this government, too, you must have heard how spiritual he was. Even after he passed away his wife could still hear him reciting the Quran after Fajr as was his habit. And it wasn’t just her who heard him; even someone staying over would be surprised by his voice echoing in the house, doing zikr.
Anyway, I met him once during Benazir’s reign, when she was first made Prime Minister. He told me it had been decided in the higher government that her rule would come to end. I asked him why it was so, and his answer is a proof to the importance God gives to people who love Him truly. He said,
‘When Benazir went to Iraq, she visited Imam Hussein’s and Hazarat Ali’s graves and read Fatiha over them, but when she was coming back, she did not bother to go to Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani’s tomb, which was on her way, too. Being the ‘wus-ul-azam’, she should have respected him and paid his grave a visit. The government is not happy with how she behaved, and so it is time to end her rule.’
And three days later, she was indeed chucked out.”
“But Dadabu, maybe she didn’t know?” I asked.
“About him, everyone knows. Especially people who live here, we are all familiar with these great saints. And I’m quite sure if she was really that innocent in the matter, the spiritual government would not have had a problem. They don’t decide like we do with our narrow approach to everyday life, they think ahead. And that’s why, don’t ever underestimate the power the love of Allah gives you.”

Scared Symphony

I’ve been feeling strangely low these past few days, and although it’s okay now, I had to write out something that explained so much. I suppose not all people will relate to it, considering not everyone has their low Iman moments, but sadly I do 😦  I know God is there, but, well, I suppose sometimes it takes more time to convince one’s self.

The chords of my heart sing,
Sing so loud, glass shatters,
The doors crack.
God, I’m scared of the future,
I’m scared of where I’ll go,
I don’t know what to do with
Myself.
Is this sanity?
Or a reason for acknowledgement,
To think of how, how, how,
Powerless,
Unable,
Weak,
We’re made,
God, I’m still scared.
Although I know You’re there,
I know You’ll help me,
I know You will,
But yet the chords sing,
With a melody of eternal misery,
Of how much I’ve had to let go,
And how much I shall have to.
I know You’re there,
But I’m still scared,
I’ve seen too much, I know so little,
And so it is.
Oh Lord, My Lord,
I know You’re there,
But I’m still scared,
Of everything,
Is than sanity?

Grandfather folklore!

                               One of those grandfather tales around the dinner table again, he randomly kicks it off by introducing the name of a familiar buzurg, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani. A name we’ve been taught about in our Urdu school books, he remains the mystic he was even after his eternal union with love.

                               “Once upon a time, Sheikh Jilani was extremely hungry and was looking for a place where he could get some decent food. He walked and walked, having nothing around his own humble person. He came upon a stream and saw an apple floating in the water, moving with the currents. He picked it up before it could get away, and devoured it with relish.

But once he had finished eating it, he realized that the apple must have belonged to an orchard. And since he had not asked the owner of the orchard before eating the apple, the apple was therefore not allowed for him to eat. Think of how careful the man was! So constantly worried about getting his halals and harams right.

                               Anyway, he walked along the stream in the direction of where the apple had come from; he walked days and days looking for the source of the fruit which caused him such agony. Finally, he stumbled upon the branches of a big apple tree, the branches of which were bowed down over the clear stream. Resolving that to be the beginning of the apple’s adventure downstream, he walked across it to find himself indeed in an apple orchard.
After he had hunted down the owner, he ashamedly set forth to do what he had come for.
‘I must ask for punishment from you. To account for a sin I have committed’, he said.

                             ‘Why?’ The owner was confused and surprised.

                             ‘I ate an apple from your orchard without asking you, and now I must be punished for this wretched act of mine bears heavily on my heart.’

                             The owner thought for a minute, then said:

                             ‘Okay, you must take care of my orchard for a year. That is the punishment due from you.’

                             So Sheikh Jilani looked after the orchard for a year, maintaining the gardens and trees, watering them, taking out weeds and wild flowers and making sure they remained in as perfect a condition as his capacity to do so.

                             After a year, he went to owner and told him his year of punishment was up. But the owner, although very happy with his work, had something else up his sleeve.

                            ‘You must marry my daughter as the last act for your forgiveness. She is deaf in the ears, blind from the eyes and handicapped legs.’

                              The Sheikh was surprised at this, but seeing this was his way for forgiveness, he consented to the proposal.

                              After the marriage, the Sheikh went to see the woman he had married. He expected a handicapped woman, but almost jumped when he saw a beautiful young woman, who had not a single problem the owner had mentioned. The Sheikh then went to his new father-in-law, and told him his situation with a worried face.

                              ‘Do not worry’, the owner said, ‘I shall tell you what I meant by what I said : she is deaf because she has heard no non-mahram’s voice, is blind because has seen no non-mahram’s face, and is handicapped from the legs as her legs have never walked towards a non-mahram. She is purely for you now, go for that woman is my daughter.’

                               The Sheikh’s journey took him from a state of heart where all he could feel was guilt, to a state of matrimony. And that too a pious one.”


Purpose

Identity is to have a name. A name for one’s achievements, one’s disasters, one’s self. But that name comes into existence when one’s self comes into being. When one realizes that the world along with all its blessings is for him, it is not for him to indulge in; rather he would use the world to walk through this valley of menace holding the hand of Goodness. That is when one identifies self, that is when the window to realization opens wide and we witness for ourselves the ultimate reality.
When we turn on the TV to witness fires raging in Kashmir, helpless stones being hurled in Palestine, war torn destitute in Afghanistan, does it dawn on us that those sufferers are our brothers and sisters? That they need to cross this valley how we need to? We have become so engrossed in “my space” and “my life” that we have consigned to oblivion the fact that this is all a mere test. We were sent here for a purpose, and when we seek to fulfill that purpose do we form an identity. Being Muslims, or following any religion revealed divinely, we have been told our purpose of coming to life, and only when we act our roles shall we meet salvation.
So why not finally emancipate ourselves from this mental slavery? Destroy the chains around our minds, hindering them from thinking broadly and justly, so that they can work towards our end and accept the truth in all of its enormity.
This war is ours to win this life is for us to conquer, but for that we need to realize our “self” and stop running after those who do not have the aim we are ordered to have. There was a time when this ummah was at the heights of glory and success because they held the hand of Goodness- of Allah. They had identified themselves, and I think it’s time we relived the good old days.
I have written here and posted my creativity so that maybe I might be able to help the ummah take a couple of strong steps in the forward direction- as we did before. I’ve written on what life means to a young Muslimah in this confusing world.
Peace and Salam to everyone. May God bless us and help us.

Sometimes, it’s time for the young’uns


I respectfully address the parents out there. I know you guys love your children to bits and would be ready to sacrifice yourselves for anything they might need or want, and I truly salute your patience and love when it comes to dealing with the spoilt brats of today, but sometimes, you need to let loose.
Kids when younger are most vulnerable to every sort of vice and evil in the world, and when they grow up they are prone to swaying wrongly still, because that’s the sort of place this is. That’s the dunyawe’re to be tested for. It’s good you want to protect your children from all that sinister smoke, but maybe sometimes it’s time to not do just that.
Knowing how much to let loose, comes with age and maturity level of each individual kid. No two can be alike. Being confined to your loving embrace and protective clutch has its charms, but kids need to go out and breathe for themselves. To look around and observe what the ways are, how people live, behave, react, feel, think, do. To see what Allah has made and how everything’s been carved with such utmost precision and perfection, that is something of a spiritual ascent and every human should experience that. As long as one is young and still needs parents to support his every thought, yes, the mummy and daddy have to mould him. But as he grows and begins to think himself, too, let him. Tell him what is right and what is wrong, but let him.
Let him explore different thoughts, if he is uncomfortable exploring them with you, it’s okay to let him do that by himself. Although most decisions parents make are better that how the child may express himself, but as he grows he needs to take decisions. He needs to become more confident. Let him go somewhere; let him have some time to himself. Send him to a trustworthy location to help him see around and develop himself a little before he comes back. He will always remain your kid, but to develop that relationship so it blossoms into something more than a parent-child blood link, you have to give him some courage, have confidence in him.
He will have to experience things where you won’t be there, well then, let him. Don’t cover him and wrap him up so much he frustrates to depression and eventually destroys himself. It is naturally a need for every person to think for himself, make discoveries only he would revel in. And his love for his parents will grow when he realizes they’re there, at his back, and he can indulge a little part of his life mentally strengthening himself at a time when he does not have many responsibilities. Listen to your kid and let him do something he thinks he must.
I do not criticize parents, I just want to say, in today’s world, you have to let them live a little for themselves, too, because looking outside through a window is the worst nightmare imaginable for the youth.
So trust Allah and let your child love and respect you more than he already does.

The Act of Letting Go



Money, grades, love, hate, social pressures and what not governs our lives and the stress we undergo. Every day, our fathers come home from work, tired and exhausted from all the burdens they must bear to support a decent living, and our mothers run around, perspiring to the point of dehydration. We have issues with our friends and relatives, our teachers, the cleaning lady, neighbours, politicians, the community as a whole and even with our self. It’s surprising the amount of stress we put on ourselves without even meaning to or without the want or need for it!
But as Muslims, we have it easier. We have it wayeasier. Not only do we get every solution from the Book Allah sent us and the Prophet (SAW)’s life, we also have the rope to Allah Himself. Once we start letting go of all the things we try to juggle whilst holding that rope, our life will become so much more bearable.
We’re told that everything belongs to Allah and that everything happens according to how He wills it to be. So why do we then worry so much? Why do we load ourselves with every problem in the world when there isn’t much we can do just worrying there? I am NOT discouraging people from working hard, just saying, we have to let go, understand and accept that it all happens how He wants it to.
So let go! Let go of your social worries, let go of your financial worries, let go of your obsessive need to get higher in this world. Once we start letting go, easing off all that steam, everyone becomes happier, and so nobody’s depressed over the trivial things in life.
Love Allah and know He’s there, leave it to Him because He knows best, we don’t, and it’s useless thinking we might ever. Let go of status, let go of style, stay simple, stay decent. Keep your inner being satisfied. Slowly, it won’t matter to anyone that they belong to a certain circle. Islam is about brotherhood and fraternity, and the first thing we need to teach ourselves is to LET GO!
Start today. Let go of something you knowdoesn’t matter. Write it down. Make realistic aims and goals and strive for them without the thought of what will everyone think. And believe me you’ll have the happiest ending of your lot!

So Let’s Start Doing It!



“Delete it! Delete it now!” My friend screamed as we were looking at a picture we’d got taken. It seemed fine to me, and I told her so, but she was adamant.
“It’s absolutely horrible! I look so ugly and fat!”
The picture was deleted, as she wished, but I felt the whole scene completely silly. So what if in one picture she didn’t look her best? It’s not as if that picture was going to be displayed by the press or advertised on billboards. It was going to stay in the safe hands of her friends.
Okay. Today’s post deals with the socially conscious and mentally complexed group of society, and this state of things is pretty alarming as this group, once a small circle people thought were insane, has now caught almost everyone in its grasp, and I won’t say I am completely safe from it either.
I won’t go so far to say we don’t need to be socially conscious at all, because we do need to be careful about appearances, but to look good according to some standards set by unknown people? To obsess over a particular fashion or a certain weight number? That’s utterly absurd and psychologically disturbing.
We say we’re free, but are we really? Do we really think ourselves or do we strive to follow some bizarre ideals, ideals that might not even suit our own way of life? Everyone wants to have a zero size waist, and some will go at lengths to make sure they do, while people who are not as slim are ridiculed harshly. Those folks then think lowly of themselves, too, and as a result slowly try to become like the very people who made fun of them. It doesn’t even have to be about that specific size, anything, ranging from designer clothes to branded phones; it seems as if everything has turned into some sort of status quo.
I’d like to address the young community, though, they have so far to go and so much to do, and they better start now or they might never get to finish line, which is nothing but genuine excellence. Excellence which will actually benefit the people, not the multinational minted companies. So stop going after the latest fashion trend and then dwelling in some sort of inferiority complex if you don’t, because it doesn’t matter.
Now, before you make a decision think about it: does it actually matter? Do you really want to impress those who only judge you by your clothes? Or do you want to be the change you need yourself to reform that part of society too? We as humans have a larger life than these petty material needs. We were made to do better, to discover, explore, write, love, sympathize and spread content. 
I don’t see that happening a lot, though.
So start now. From today. Think “It doesn’t matter that I never was able to get that Gucci bag or those gorgeous dresses from the popular brand. It doesn’t matter, and now I need to think of what does matter.”
What does matter then? I’ll tell you. Have you ever noticed the way the cleaning lady gapes at the pretty little diamond on your pretty little finger? Or how she seems to never wear nicer clothes? Have you noticed the guy sitting opposite your house or your college or whatever, trying to sell something nobody would ever like to buy?
What about them? Do they not deserve Gucci bags if we do? Okay, maybe they don’t. But they deserve a better life. Our parents deserve better kids. Our books deserve better readers. Our country deserves better citizens. Our religion deserves better followers. Maybe we should pay that some attention. We weren’t made for ourselves, and to think for ourselves has never helped man reach inner happiness.
So pop your tiny bubble, reach out of your cocoon. It’s time to start doing something. And it all begins from yourself.