A few words that went a long way

Okay Salaam everyone! I’m supposed to be working right now but sometimes you need a decent break (ignoring the fact that I’ve been on break for quite a while now). I’ll use this, though, to jot down some things I heard last week.

I went to this Islamic lecture, there were two absolutely amazing speakers there mashaAllah, didn’t let me even want to look away once through the whole seminar, I wanted to stay focused on all they said. They spoke on two different topics, unrelated to each other, but both of them had quite a strong impact – I speak for myself but I think the audience there would probably agree.

One of them talked about music for a while. His talk was about Jinns, but he wanted to tell us when jinns find us fragile enough to harm us, and music was one those weaknesses. He related his personal experiences with music and how he worked so hard on himself after realising that he shouldn’t listen to it. The way he explained it was rather interesting,

“So you’re listening to your favourite song, bobbing your head up and down to the hypnotic rhythm, right then imagine that a Shaytaan is right in front of you, nodding his head the same way as you, except he’s nodding his head with appreciation, he’s smiling at you and feeling good that he got you to pop on your headphones. And then, he’s waiting, just waiting for the opportune moment when you’re vulnerable enough and then he’ll dive into your weakened soul and wreak havoc.

Listening to music destroys the spiritual soul! You have to strengthen your Iman, your faith. Don’t let Shaytaan take advantage of you, he has been the enemy of not only you, but your father, your grandfather, your great grandfather, stretching up all the way to Adam (AS). You have been selected to be with Allah, then why opt for the weaker side?”

The way he portrayed that was slightly alarming. I’ve tried to stop listening to music (it’s been quite some time now, and that lecture only helped me alhamdullilah), and to be honest I feel at peace more than I used to. Music does snatch away a certain bliss, a certain happiness. It has more of an effect on us than we think. Especially how everyone listens to music! Men and women and girls and boys pray five times a day, fast regularly, read Quran, but still listen to music whenever they’re doing something that permits it. Like working on a project, or drawing, or if they’re bored. Music is so powerful it’s creepy. Honestly. Go search about it, not just Islam, even non Muslim people have accepted that music can be dangerous.

I wanted to write more about that lecture but I think this post is enough for itself. I might do another part highlighting something else that I heard. I wanted to highlight this because slowly people are forgetting how bad and unlawful music is. And that we need to keep our distance.

Take care of your Iman! (if you’re muslim :))

Mortal Pleasure

She tilts her head to the side,

A drop falls from above,

And makes the slide.

She rests against the tree and smiles,

A breeze caresses her long, dark hair,

And lifts her face to the skies.

She drums her fingers on her book,

Watches the ants march by,

And gives them a long, pleased look.

She waves her hands around the clouds,

Imagining an entirely different place,

And forgets the noise and crowds.

She presses a flower between her hands,

The petals spring up again,

And she fixes it in her strands.

She moves her hand over the grass and feels,

Picks up a handful of dirt,

And thinks of its hidden meals.

She lies down and laughs,

Intertwines both her hands,

And joins together the two halves.

A gentle sigh blows beneath her skin,

She’s glad it’s time to leave,

And goes fluidly to join her kin.

The odd charm to drown

There’s an odd charm in rebellion,
That chance to be one in a million,
That chance to let everything go,
And to let the raging waters flow,
It’s a strange place to be in,
When the greatest enemy is from within,
He strikes and you like it,
He tells you to run when you’re supposed to sit,
You say,
It’s okay, I won’t do it again,
Oh God will forgive me in the end,
But the branches multiply and tighten,
And the idea of leaving is enough to frighten,
We need that rush, that adrenaline,
But there’s more ways for that, don’t make him grin,
Because when you do it once, it becomes quite an addiction,
And before you know it, you’ll be hopelessly desperate for salvation,
There’s an odd charm in rebellion,
But don’t do what will make you suffer a millennium,
I know, the impulse is so strong,
I struggle with you, this road is long,
But there’s the choice we were singled out for,
We can’t let him beat us with one loud roar,
This is more a reminder to me than you,
I have to be firm on what I need to do,
And though I’d love to rebel, to do something new,
I know those ideas will only drown me and my crew.

Death is scary, not because we’re dying

Death is eternal union,
But also losing control of your worldly dominion,
Death is the ultimate return,
The abode of our souls’ divine yearn,
It’s the divide between this world and the next,
It comes as sudden as the ping of a text,
And we don’t know,
Where we’ll go,
But what happens behind?
How does one soothe the devastated mind?
One moment you’re here, the other moment you won’t be here anymore,
Leaving three when they used to be four,
It’s a sad state, but who are we to say,
Whatever Allah deems best is His way,
It takes time to let it settle in,
They won’t be seeing his coming home grin
Ever again. It’s a sad state,
But who are we to debate,
For him whose gone, it’s all over,
He might have found his four leafed clover,
He’s left, he’s broken through this place,
And all they have is a picture of his friendly face,
Death is scary, not because it involves dying,
It’s scary when you hear all that silent crying,
Death is somewhat a confusion,
A time with a void as a conclusion,
And where it’s true we’ll all die,
I worry about that silent cry.

It’s a weird world

So this is basically a rant to sort of help me out of the confused mind that reigns on me these days. I’m weak, and that’s something I don’t like about myself. I have my strong Iman moments, where everything is so easy and just possible to do. And then I have my weak moments, when I seem to think Islam is just too hard.

I can’t really blame anyone, because basically I control a lot of who I am and who I want to be. Yes, my society influences me; my friends, my family, my environment everything does. But I should still have the power to ignore, to push away the changes I don’t want to see myself being affected by.

But I still seem to be affected by them. I’m working on myself though.

The thing is, I live in a weird society. A society where cultural Islam is more important than what Islam should be. And if anyone tries to follow what is actually to be followed, that person ends up being in a very hard place. The shameful bit is, I live in an Islamic state. A state where following your Deen should be easier for you, instead, it is hard. Not hard because people say following Islam is wrong, but hard because;

  1. We have our own interpretation of what is Islamic and what is not Islamic. We have decided for ourselves what the Quraan means on what occasions, even if the entire world is following it one way.
  2. The new and secular ideas, a lot of which have been proved wrong on so many occasions, are being preferred over Islamic values, because somehow it’s “cooler”. I know, we are unbelievable at times.
  3. We as a people are inclined to adopt Western ideas and ways of living, it has actually achieved the level of being a status symbol. If you know how to speak English, you will be listened to with rapt attention, if you, on the other hand, are trying to learn Arabic, you are automatically regarded as someone beneath a specific class of society.

Let’s take my struggle these days as an example. I’m trying to start wearing the jilbab (yes I’m so bad I don’t wear it), but nobody gives me a smile about it. Only a minute fraction of society tries to encourage me for it; people my age think I’m plain mental. I tried talking to my friends about it, they didn’t really respond. One of them told me my kameez/kurta was covering me just fine. But that’s just the thing, I wanted to say to her, it doesn’t cover me fine! They’re actually worried I might turn into a dull, extremist Muslim who will turn into this black bag walking around saying nothing. But I won’t! I’ll still be the same person, the same happy, social, fun (I know I’m so humble about myself), slightly sarcastic, interested-in-everything girl!

People are morally conscious, and that’s something we have to be, too, obviously, but that seems to be enough for them. I’m quite sure there are more proper striving Muslims, but my point is, they are a very small part of my society.

Out of my friends, I am the only one who cares about this hijab business. And so I turn to my blog, through which I’ve turned into a more positive person. This is my Islamic social circle in a way, and I’m glad I have this to keep me motivated.

It’s just, I know I don’t care what anyone thinks of me and I know it doesn’t matter, it won’t matter at all when we stand in front of Allah, but there’s still this nagging feeling at the back that screams at me to forget about it. The voice that brings up what everyone else says, that it isn’t important. The heart should be clean, practical Islam isn’t that important.

I know that voice is Shaytaan, and I know that since I seem to have such opposition I must be doing something right.

It’s a weird world.

The good thing is, though, I think I finally found out how I want my blog to look like. Yay 🙂

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.”

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.”

Cover do I still

I don’t cover,
To hide my hair,
I don’t cover,
To never let it show,
I don’t cover,
For a statement,
I don’t cover,
To be labelled,
I don’t cover,
Because it makes sense,
I don’t cover,
To be judged outwardly,
I don’t cover,
To make their thoughts turn,
I don’t cover,
To become saintly,
I don’t cover,
For people,
I don’t cover for that,
But cover do I still,
I cover,
Because that’s my identity,
I cover,
Because I don’t fear,
I cover,
Because God’s love is difficult,
I cover,
Because the path is rough,
I cover,
Because He says so,
I cover,
Because He wants me to,
I cover,
Not to show my piety,
I cover,
To please the One,
I cover,
Because His love is true,
I cover,
Because He rewards,
I cover,
Because He does too.

Divinely done

I have heard of a distant place,
Somewhere far away,
But somewhere to go to,
Every blessed day!
It’s not hard to get to,
And certainly not unreachable!
Go on ask what this is,
Am I capable?
Indeed, bow down your head,
And touch the ground,
Push aside this worldly worry,
Don’t be earth bound!
For it’s a magical land
Where magic is divine,
It holds every secret,

Beckons, “Be mine!”