Today I attended an event “Fly like a Bird” that was arranged by Live Deen. I got to know about this talk through Facebook and later I also got a text message. I was very excited about this event because of the topic. Everyone who knows me, knows my obsession with the birds. And that is not only limited to their beauty and colors, there is something about birds that fascinate me so much. So I really wanted to know how can I fly like a bird? This is not it. After getting the ticket, something happened between me and my friend that increased my interest even more. We were talking about the Panama leaks and my friend was certainly not happy with the results and especially the judiciary system of Pakistan. As we talked more, it came down to Pakistan and he told me that it hurts him to see our country in this condition. He also showed his concern for our people. Idk how but in the end, we found ourselves discussing each other. I won’t say that I am trying to be a practicing Muslim now that I have attended this conference but at that time I told him that I am very hopeful about my relationship with Allah. I am sure that He loves me and I can feel that. He, on the other hand, is very cautious in whatever he does and he says that he fears Allah. He is afraid to commit a sin and act bold. So he quoted one Hadith in his own words that Iman is a condition between fear and hope. After a few days, I got a promotional message from Live Deen on how to develop love for Allah by striving that perfect balance between hope and fear in Him. Bingo. That’s what I wanted to know.
So Instead of talking about me, let’s talk about the message of that event very briefly. Sheikh Abu Abdissalam was the speaker. He came from Makkah and he was not even feeling well today but he didn’t cancel his talk. The whole talk was based on the following saying;
“The heart on its journey towards Allah is like that of a bird. Love is its head and fear and hope are its two wings.”
He emphasized on the importance of all three, fear, hope and Love for Allah. According to him, if a person doesn’t have fear of Allah but he is very hopeful that Allah will forgive him anyway (like I do Astaghfirullah), that person might keep on doing the same mistakes and sins. Too much hope can also be a sign of arrogance. In fact true fear raises love and hope in Allah. He actually raised a very good point here that a true Muslim always has fear of Allah, even after doing good deeds. Fear is a guiding light in your heart. It shows you what is good and what is not.
Similarly, only hope is of no use. Hoping without action is deception and Ghuroor (pride). You can’t carry on with your bad actions and think that He is Al-Ghafoor and Ar-Rahim. Actions with hope is the key. True hope is doing, then hoping. Otherwise, it’s just wishing. If hope invites you to sins than it is foolishness, not hope.
To further emphasize on the importance of hope and fear, he quoted one verse from Quran;
And call upon Him out of fear and hope [A’raaf 7:56]
Then he talked about love which is like the head of a bird and said that without the head, a bird is dead and so does a believer. Love is the soul’s food. Excessive desires and love for dunya takes all the space in our heart. We first have to empty our hearts if we want Allah’s love. He mentioned Ibn al-Qayim (r) saying that:
“Loving Allah is the life of hearts and nourishment of souls without which a heart will not feel happiness, blessings, success or life. If the heart misses the
feeling of loving Allah, it will hurt more than losing one’s eyesight, hearing, smelling, or ability to speak? If one’s heart is void of loving His Creator, Lord and the Truth it will be greatly dangerous than losing one’s soul”
During his talk, he told us that he don’t like the term “practicing Muslim”. Everyone has got different level of struggles and weaknesses. Humans are made with the capacity to sin unlike angels. If a man has beard or a woman wears hijab that doesn’t necessarily make them a good Muslim or Muslimah or tell us anything about their status with Allah (that doesn’t mean that we can ignore hijab or beard). It’s about getting different exam questions in the exam and everyone will get marks on the basis of their papers. He gave the following ways to increase the love for Allah;
1) Recitation of Quran with reflection
2) Increase obligatory acts of worship
3) Constant Zikr
4) Preferring Allah’s love over your desires
5) Reflecting on the names of Allah and attributes of Allah
6) Witnessing His generosity
7) Stop humiliation (Don’t think no one is better than me)
8) Be alone at the time of Dua
9) Sitting with truthful lovers of Allah
10) Keep distance with anything that comes between you and Allah
He ended the talk with the following lines;
“In Jannah, there is no hope and fear. There is only love. You only worship Allah out of love. Thus, love is among the highest forms of worship.”
I had two questions that I wanted to ask but due to the shortage of time, he didn’t take any questions. My main question was about the verse in Surah Yunus 10;62 that says that the friends of Allah will have no fear upon them and they will not grive so what does Allah mean here by fear? Fortunately he covered that briefly in his talk but unfortunately that didn’t answer my question. Overall it was a pleasure attending the conference as always.
I am not what I was a year before. Year 2015 gave me many lessons and 2016 gave me a new direction. I am not not what I am trying to be, not yet and I accept that in a healthy way. I believe change comes in steps, not a big long jump. I was cool with my progress but two incidents happened that actually hurt me so much.
Two persons that are very close to me, I would say the closest, criticized me in a way that I didn’t anticipate, not from them at least. They both reacted in their weak moments and I understand but I also believe that we are most likely to say what we have in our mind during those weak moments (that is why its important to change, not pretend).
So I did something wrong and I confessed it that I know I can’t feel good but that is what I am, I won’t pretend. After some dialogues, our talk took a turn and she said,“Okay so you follow Rumi. Does Rumi teach you this?” And I could not say a word after that.
Then the other person he said, “So why are you going to sleep without offering morning prayer? Why you follow Islam for only those things that you like, and do the rest according to your will?” I accept that I am not following everything so I couldn’t argue.
But I want to say that I don’t follow Allah because I want to be religious or because I want others to take me as a pious person. I am following one thing because I have been succeeded in following that and I don’t follow the other thing because I am still fighting with it, not because I think it’s not convenient for me and I don’t even annouce that I am trying to change, it’s just that when I speak, my words reflect my thoughts.
There is a thing in psychiatry that is called reaction formation. When a person does something that is not acceptable to him, he tries to do the opposite. Like a person watches porn and he is guilty so he becomes a preacher to avoid that or if a person thinks that he is not a good person and it is not acceptable to him so he becomes a good person. This is all reaction formation when we are trying to do the opposite of what we really want. But is that a good thing? Yes it is, but it’s not permanent. Because in those weak moments, when we are upset, angry or tired, we will go back to what we really are and this will happen again and again. We are likely to watch porn again, we are going to do all those things that we were trying to escape and will be that bad person, thou for a short time, again because actually we have not changed, we have only learned to be what is acceptable to us. We have just got a way to divert our attention from ‘real us’ to the one ‘we want to become’ and that is why changing from the root is important. That is why it’s important to go in steps. That is why it’s important to love the good things and not merely make them your inspiration. I can never even come near to what Rumi was and what our beautiful Islam is all about. But I am a seeker and I want to die as a seeker. It’s good to seek and not find than to give up. I always get fascinated by the story of Moses and the shepherd. When Moses rejected one shepherd’s prayer, a revelation came from Allah to Moses:
You’ve torn My servant from My presence
Were you sent in order to unite
or to distinguish and divide?
I love Allah a bit more every time I read this and I try to be what I am rather than pretending to do what I am not. I love everything that my religion says not because I am born with this religion but because I really love it. If some people have defamed my religion, I will blame that person and not my religion. If I am not a good person, blame me, don’t blame Islam or Rumi. They are trying to make me a better person, they gave me hope when I was in darkness. No matter what I do now or in future, that will only reflect me. Yes I am failing to follow what Islam and Rumi says but I am trying and He knows that. I am sure He knows that. Don’t judge me because I confess that my roots are still damaged and rotten. Guide me, don’t judge me because your words can hurt.
When God wants you to know something, it starts to make sense on it’s own. Same words that you have read many times, start to show a different meaning. Kalma is one of the few things that I learned when I started to speak. The first part of Kalma says that “There is no God but Allah.” In Arabic, It starts with LAA which means NO. My whole life, it never made sense to me. Why Allah chose LAA to be the first word that one has to say to be a muslim? Because it all starts with LAA. Not only Kalma, but everything starts with a NO. When we say NO to all we have inside us, that starts with I, we find the truth.
Qalandar Baba Auliya says;
” The first step is LAA, that means one has to neglect his traditional information and knowledge.”
“I honor those who try to rid themselves of any lying, who empty the self and have only clear being there.”
On the other side of LAA, He is waiting for me. In short, it all starts with LAA and it ends on ALLAH”.
لا إله إلا الله
But is LAA everything? When we focus on the second part of Kalma that is, “Muhammad is Allah’s prophet”, we will see that Allah comes between LAA and Muhammad Saw. Both will take us to the Light, An-Noor, Ya-Allah.
لآ اِلَهَ اِلّا اللّهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُوُل اللّهِ
May Allah give you ease and help you to distribute it among others. Ameen.
I can see myself divided into two persons. I am sure now who that one person is, that person is not me, but I am what she is. Because she is not me, I can never find tranquillity in being what she is.
The second person is what I am but I am not, what she is. She is innocent and she is scared to show herself up. I suppressed her voice and dragged her into darkness years ago, she is not visible to anyone, not even me.
Something happened, I don’t know what, but she has now started to send me signals of her existence. She is telling me that she is still alive. I can’t recognise her. She is so weak and I can’t believe what I have done to her. Although I know she is alive but that doesn’t mean she has shown herself to me. NO. Not yet…
But now I know what is happening inside me. I am not doing what I want to do. I am doing what that other person is telling me to do. That person has taken over me completely.
I was not born like this. This second person is who I have adapted from outside. This is not me. That part is living inside me and eating me out. That person is responsible for keeping myself away from me. Although she is living inside me, I am her hostage. I am trying hard to get myself back, but she is strong. I feel like I am dying inside, I feel like my real self needs oxygen now. She wants to come out in the light otherwise she will die. And with her death, my death is definite. With her life, I will be immortal. I am living with my nafs, without my soul.
You attain to knowledge by argument.
You attain a craft or skill by practice.
If what you want is righteous poverty,
that’s won by sohbat (companionship), not by hand or tongue.
The knowledge of it passes soul to soul,
not by way of talk or reams of notes.
Although it’s signs are in the seeker’s heart,
the seeker does not learn to read those signs
until his heart becomes exposed to light.
Then God reveals: “Did We not expose? [Surah Ash-Sharh, 94:1]
for We have exposed the chambers of your breast
and placed that exposition in your heart.
-Rumi: Swallowing the Sun
When I was in Saudi Arabia, we left to peform our second Umrah, on the first day of Eid. I don’t remember but I think I only slept for an hour or not at all that night so I was feeling a bit sleepy. When we were in between Madinah and Makkah, I saw the most beautiful sunset of my life. Now even though I was dizzy, that sunset invigorated all my senses. To offer maghrib prayer, our driver stopped the car in the nearby masjid. And I am not going to forget that place ever in my life. That place was near mountains and the sky was orangish-pink which than changed to blue, with first day moon. That scene was beautiful beyond words, even the picture failed to capture it. It was so mesmerising, that no one was willing to leave that place, but we had to. I don’t know but there was something about that scene that can’t be described in words. My heart aches to see that scene again. And I don’t know why but today, I wish to be in those mountains again.
There comes a time when your problems become so big that they stand like a wall between you and a normal life.
There comes a time when you are so depressed that you forget that God is always here to take care of you and your problems.
There comes a time when even after struggling so hard, it becomes difficult to hold on to the rope of God.
There comes a time when all your senses are impaired so much that when you open your eyes, you see your problems. When you hear, you only hear about your problems. When you open your mouth, you only talk about your problems and worst of all when you think, you only think about your problems.
There comes a time when you start to believe that you are the one who can solve your problems.
At that time, We need to remind ourselves that we have Allah Who is here to fix everything in our lives. He is the one who can solve our problems. I know when a person is in depression, he is not in a position to think positively because depression blurs our vision, he is not even able to differentiate what’s good for him and what’s bad. At that time, even talking to God becomes difficult because we are so obsessed with our problems. Although at that time, it’s very hard to believe that only our God can take us out of this dark zone but we need to believe it even more than ever.
And for that we don’t need to pray, I mean pray like we usually do, that please Allah do this and do that for me. We need to sit at the corner of our bed or in our garden or where ever we want and handle Him all our worries one by one like Allah I am facing this problem and I am going through a very hard time, I can’t see any way out of it. Here is my problem, take this and tell Him that now this is not my problem. This is your problem and believe me that will do wonders.
Allah doesn’t want fancy words or fancy acts. He just wants your pure intentions. He wants a pure heart. He is always there for us. He is in fact waiting for us to call Him so that He can respond. It is our right to pray. He says that He is Ar-Rehman, Ar-Raheem and Al-Kareem. What else do we need? WHAT ELSE DO WE NEED? Subhan Allah. Allhamdulillah.
Allah Taa’lah says in Surah-Ghafir [40:60];
“Call upon me: I will respond to you.”
Believe me after doing this, first of all, you will be satisfied that now your problem is in the hands of the One Who is capable of doing anything and everything. Even this thought is enough to get rid of your anxiety, depression, tensions and worries. But also in few minutes, or hours or may be days, you will get a solution out of no where, literally out of no where and I can guarantee you on this if you are asking with all your heart. May Allah solve our problems and may He be happy with us. Ameen.
P.S. I am one unlucky person who has no connection with God. This way of handling our problems is told by Ashfaq Ahmed in Zavia. He was a teacher, story-writer and novelist, with great interest in Sufism and I believe he was a Sufi himself. May Allah grant him the highest place in Jannah. Ameen.
I read an article on WordPress the other day. It was on the relationship with the God and she told that the easiest way to connect to God is to talk to Him every second. Yes, that’s right. Talk to Him and you will feel like He is with you all the time. I liked her article so much because I know how right it is. After coming back from Umrah, I have developed this habit unintentionally. I talk to God about everything. Even when I know I am doing something wrong, I tell this to God and tell Him why I am doing this or even when I don’t, I talk about it with the only one I have, the sincerest of all the friends I have, I tell Him how weak I am without Him that even after knowing that I am not doing something good, I can’t stop myself. I tell Him that I have no control over myself and I don’t do this in fear, I think of Him as my friend and guide and I expect only His mercy.
I think it’s very important to remind ourselves that He is not Someone we should be afraid of. In fact, He is our best friend. After all, He stays with us through all our thick and thin. He never leaves us, although we sometimes distance ourselves so much from Him that even though He lives within our hearts, we are unable to reach Him.
Just before some months, I was in a very weird state of mind. I wanted to change everything and when things would not go as I have wanted, I felt helpless. I had so many questions in my mind like why people do this? Why they do that? Why my life is not going according to my plan. What is it that I am doing wrong? These questions only put me in more anxiety and sometimes depression.
I still have these questions but now I talk about it with the God and I feel relaxed or I find a good answer or a solution depending on the situation. I feel like myself is at peace with myself now. I feel like I am not divided into two persons now. I still have my dark days. I still feel disappointed and hopeless sometimes. But now I have got a solution, I talk about it all with God and just put all the responsibility on His shoulders and let Him do everything according to His plan. It’s like I am slowly accepting the God’s plan. I have started to believe like actually believe that I am nothing and even if I want something for me, I won’t get it if that’s not what He wants. And it’s not because He is very cruel or He is showing us that He is the boss. Astaghfirullah, nooo. That’s becausee He knows what is good for us and what Is the best for us. He only grants us the best Allhamdulillah. I have started to believe that he is Ar-Rehman , He is Ar-Raheem, He is Al-Kareem and also He is Al-Ghafoor. After so many years, I have actually started to believe that I have Him with me all the time.
May we all succed in developing such a relationship with Him in which there is no fear but love and love and only love. Ameen 🙂
Shared from: Hadith of the Day
Pankaj, my friend of 20 years, asked me, “Does God exist?” I replied, “Yes, he does.” Pankaj continues, “I don’t believe it. I am an atheist. If God really exists, prove it to me.”
So I continue “Well, it’s very easy to prove it . . .”
. . . And I embark upon a dedicated effort, “God is someone or something that we cannot physically locate. Perhaps that is the reason why some of us tend to resign to the notion that He does not exist. As human beings we are naturally inclined to explore. And hence we must try to find God wherever He exists. But does He give us a chance to do so? Where do we start looking? Should we try to find Him in the heavens above? Should we look for Him in the skies, in the sun, in the moon, our own planet or should it be in inanimate objects such as trees, idols, or in living beings such as animals or gurus or even ourselves?
Pankaj intervenes, “Hey man, don’t beat around the bush. Come to the point. Prove it!”
“Ok, if you let me continue. The scientific way to explore would be to see the body of evidences that we have. The sun that gives light and heat and runs our eco-system, the moon that reflects the sun’s light, the earth where we live and breathe oxygen and have water that is rare in the universe, the smooth transition of night into day. These signs are miracles in themselves. Our own body too is so complex that with all our scientific achievements we have not yet been able to make another living being without the given sperms and eggs that already exist and are not our creation.
And so I continue, “If one were to argue that these phenomena occurred by chance, that’s simply being superstitious, presumptive, and un-scientific. The theory of evolution actually works to prove God’s continuous creativity with a strong exception to any suggestion that Man is a descendant of Apes.
“Ponder upon this: Our complex body, the solar system, the galaxies, and everything in between has been in existence for millions of years. As we know, these systems that we see on Earth and in space have a balance, an equilibrium, a discipline, an order, that remains stable come what may. Thus, it is a foregone conclusion that there has to be a force, a Creator that has created all these systems and it is the same Creator who keeps them running effortlessly. Nobody but God can create all these systems.”
Pankaj adds, “Yeah man, these are valid arguments, but if God has done all that why doesn’t He show Himself to us, why does He want us to learn about Him the hard way?”
So, I tell him, “Do your parents tell you every day that indeed they are your parents? Or do you know it because of the kindness, love, care, and guidance that they offer you? God works in a similar manner. He has reminded us several times through several generations through His Books – Torah, Psalms, Bible, and the Qur’an. And He expects us to use our intellect to recognize all His Creations in nature and His signs in His Books; thereby we recognize Him. ”
“If we look for further proof, then we can refer to the Qur’an, which was revealed 1400 years ago in the year 610. Professor Emeritus Keith Moore is one of the world’s prominent scientists of anatomy and embryology. He is the author of the book entitled ‘The Developing Human’ and Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto, Canada, among other achievements. When asked to give scientific analysis of some specific Qur’anic verses and prophetic traditions [hadeeth] pertaining to his field of specialization, he was amazed. He wondered how the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), fourteen centuries ago, could describe the embryo and its development phase in such detail and accuracy, which scientists have come to know only in the last thirty years.
“Very quickly, however, Professor Moore’s amazement grew into admiration for this revelation and guidance. He introduced these views to intellectual and scientific circles. He even gave a lecture on the compatibility of modern embryology with the Qur’an and Sunnah in which he stated: ‘It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Qur’an about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Allah [God] because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad (peace be upon him) must have been a Messenger of Allah.’
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) says in the Qur’an about the stages of the creation of man: “And indeed, We created humankind from an essence of clay. Then We placed him as a semen-drop in a firm resting place. Then We created the semen-drop into a clinging substance, then We created the clinging substance into an embryonic lump, then We created the embryonic lump into bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh; then We produced it as another creation. So blessed is Allah, the Best of Creators.” (Qur’an23:12-14)
“Many such signs are given in the Holy Qur’an through descriptions of the human body, the origin of the earth, the seas and oceans, and astronomy. Thus, using these scientific proofs (see footnote for website links) given in the Qur’an, it is easy to conclude that God does exist and He is the Creator.
“And since life and death are in His hands, for every breath we take we are indebted to Him. Thus, I for one, am an ardent believer. As far as you are concerned, the choice is yours.”