Thursday, October 24, 2013

Insight! Understanding! Action!

This world is similar to a stage. We all are performers. We all have been allotted roles. Our life is our script and whatever we choose to speak is our dialogue. There is freedom to some extent. The performers can choose to act with their insights and understanding of the situation they are in. But they are not permanent performers. There is a limited time for this stage performance. Once the time limit is over some performers leave the stage forever, never given another chance to perform.  Each one of us is being judged according to our performance on the stage. One day we all will be called on a Final Day where a big gathering will be present. Then the Master of this stage will judge us. We will be applauded, appreciated and rewarded for our performance if it is worth anything. Our scripts then will be in the form of books, handed over to us in our right or left hands. Those who will receive their books in the right hands will be rewarded abundantly. They will be very happy as they will be given the highest award of appreciation. Those who get their books in the left hand will be sorrowful. They will ask for another chance but it will be refused.
This life is the only chance for us to perform. Let us try and give the best act. Nobody can be perfect but there is not harm in setting high standards for a better performance. Actors try out in many takes and retakes and then they give the perfect scene. We do not even have to 'act' here. We are told to be real, honest and insightful.
In the acting arena they call out, ‘Lights, Camera, Action.’ Here we are being told to use our ‘Insight’, ‘Understanding’, and then ‘Action’.
Light here is the ‘insight’ of Truth.
Understanding is the realization that our Creator has the ‘Camera’ on us all the time.
Action is our deeds that we do daily in this life.
Let’s put our best into this once in a lifetime chance to perform on stage! 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

I care to share...the knowledge.

My dear sisters in faith, we all are related. If I find something that benefits me in my faith, life or in any way I would love to share it with you all. I am not perfect at all. I have too many shortcomings and weaknesses which will keep me busy all my life! I need to work on myself a lot. I have done some work and have improved in some areas but still a wide area needs to be repaired. When I tell you something good it is not from me. I tell you something which I myself have taken from authentic and reliable sources. I do not want to waste your precious time by introducing something to you which has no base or no foundation. 

As a Muslim, the base of all our knowledge should be based directly in the Speech of Allah and the traditions of His Messenger and that too authentic. We will settle for no less and no more. However, if in any of my posts ever you find any misleading or unreliable link do inform me. 

Be assured that I will try my best to share with you things that can be trusted as far as I have done my effort in research and found it out to be reliable and true. Media is a vast expanding area. We should not rely wholly and solely on it for every information.

 Let us take some effort and see directly in the Quran for references and guidance about several issues of our life. Why should we act upon the recommendations of others when we have with us the pure and true words of Allah and the exemplary life account of our beloved Prophet Muhammad sallal laahu alayhi wa sallam?

Having said this I want to share with you some of my thoughts and feelings regarding our life as women especially Muslim women. Through some of my upcoming postings I will try to share with you as to how we as Muslim women can TRY to be good Muslims whom we hope Allah will accept and love and as a result forgive us and grant us Jannah insha Allah.

Again, I want to remind you, my dear sisters, all this comes from me not because I think or find myself following everything in a perfect way, rather because I am a striving and shall keep doing so all my life; striving to be a good Muslim woman. Whatever I will share will be a reflection of the fact that I am nothing but a servant of Allah, a lover of the Quran and a believer in Islam who’s Ideal is Muhammad’s life. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Golden Days of Hajj 2010 Last Part

The sharp sunlight could not bring down the high spirits that the pilgrims had to make the most of the great day of Arafat. They wanted to make all the supplications they could. We stood under the bright sun and made dua to our Lord.
The pilgrims can stay in Arafat till maghrib time only so they want to make the most of these hours.
As the time passed we made our supplications more and more and the spirits soared higher. Most of us ask for forgiveness so that our Hajj is accepted and we return as newborn babies with no sin! We also prayed for strong faith, health, a good life and death. We all aspire for the final destination Jannah or Paradise so most of the pilgrims pray for it during Arafat Day. All of us pray for the loved ones who had passed away. To sum up, we all pray for happiness in the world and the hereafter for ourselves and others.
In Arafat we prayed Dhuhr and Asr prayers as shortened and combined. Then again we all got busy in supplications. Just around Maghrib time we set our for Muzdalifah to spend the night there.
We had set out for Muzdalifah before maghrib through the Metro train. It was really a good experience.
After reaching Muzdalifah we prayed Maghrib and Isha prayers shortened and combined. After that we took rest there. 
After praying Fajr in the morning we went to our tents in Mina. From there we went to Jamarat for the stoning of devils. We again took the train to Jamarat from Mina station. We could stone the pillars representing the devils easily because of the excellent way the officials were managing the crowd. They were monitoring the pilgrims from helicopters that were constantly hovering over the Jamarat bridge. 
The experience of the stoning of the pillars is one of its kind. We say the Takbeer loudly and then throw the stone on the devil. The emotion at that time can not be explained in words. Tears come out and the heart feels the greatness of the words Allah u Akbar!
As our Hajj was Hajj al Ifrad we could now come out of our Ihram after the first day of Rami Jamar or the stoning of the devil. Those who were supposed to do the sacrifice could come out of the state of Ihram only after they had done it.
Coming out of the state of Ihram also felt great as now we were officially celebrating the completion of our conditions of Hajj. We felt so happy and thankful that Allah had helped us complete such a big obligatory duty for Him alone. We prayed that we had done a Hajj that is Hajj Mabroor or acceptable Hajj.
After taking a bath and coming out of our Ihram we set out for Makkah to perform Tawaf Ifaada which is again a part of Hajj ceremonies.
We easily reached Makkah in a bus. Since there was no space inside the place near Kaaba we were directed to take a route upstairs on the first level in the Masjid al Haram.
We started our Tawaf of Kaba at around 1 pm and could complete it in two hours!
After the tawaf we went for sa'ee of Safa and Marwah which took two more hours!
After that it was Asr prayer. We could get free till 5 o'clock in the evening!
We came out of the Mosque and took some break and had something to eat.
We could pray the Maghrib prayer in congregation. We then took a taxi to Mina.
The traffic was heavy and our taxi could move on a slow speed.
We could successfully complete another part of Haj which is Tawaf al ifaada by Allah's Mercy.
We were now back in the tent. We spent the night making dua and taking some sleep as well.
The next morning after Fajr again the pilgrims started their journey toward Jamarat for the second day of stoning the devils.
The pilgrims have the choice of stoning the pillars for 2 or for three days. We had now completed all the important parts of Hajj Pilgrimage so we felt a great relief.
We spent the day and evening in prayers and supplications. There were ladies from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Bihar in my camp. We had some conversation too among ourselves over Hajj itself. I read out some book which I had taken along with me to clarify some doubts related to Ihram conditions and other aspects of Hajj.
Then the camp in-charge announced that the bus will depart for Jeddah by 4-5 pm in the evening so everyone was asked to pack their things before that time.
We met each other and bid farewell and hoped for an acceptable Hajj.
As we boarded the bus it started raining and soon it turned into a heavy downpour! We all were delighted to witness the rain. Soon the streets were full of water and many were standing in the rain enjoying it!
As we were heading toward Jeddah the weather became pleasant and it was raining all along. We could see two rainbows on our way from the bus window. The sky was looking beautiful with soft wide clouds and rainbows.
The trees were looking so fresh and lively. The greenery was looking so beautiful. Our hearts felt the contentment and satisfaction of performing a great duty toward Allah. The beautiful weather made us
hopeful that Allah had accepted our Hajj.
Our bus dropped us at the same spot from where we boarded it in the beginning of this journey of Hajj.
The families of pilgrims had gathered to welcome them back home. It was indeed a heart warming experience. All were excited and happy...alhamdulillah.
All praise is due to Allah.

My Golden Days of Hajj 2010 Part 2

We had to travel to Arafat by 'Mashair al Muqaddasa' Metro train service. We had been given the boarding passes earlier when we took our bus to Mina from Jeddah.
The Metro Train Service was launched for the pilgrims that year itself and it was the first experience for many.
We walked till the railway station on foot. Hundreds of people followed one man in a group who had a board in his hand held high on a long pole.
Every group leader had the board with the name of his group and camp and the members of that group were walking behind him. This made the long and crowded walk easy to track and manage Alhamdulillah.
Everyone was reciting the Talbiyah 'labbaik Allahumma labbaik...' Here I am O my Lord, here I am...
After a little waiting on the station we were signaled to move toward our platform numbers so that we can board the coming train for Arafat.
It seemed like a flood of people of all types, nationalities, colors and regions...the one thing was common to all...they were all there for the once in a lifetime journey of Hajj...they were all there because they believed in Allah the one and only Lord.
The Saudi guards were managing the crowd very well. Just as the train arrived everyone boarded it for the first time and could see the fine service they could avail to make their pilgrimage easier and comfortable.
We could reach Arafat in minutes. We had reached there late into the night. There were tents erected for the Hajis. There was a big carpet in each tent for the pilgrims to sit or sleep. Each one of us was given a sleeping bag as we entered the respective tents.
We spent the whole night in prayers, supplication and resting. Until after our fajr prayers we all remained inside the tents only. The tents and sections of ladies and gents were separate. We were provided with tea, snacks and other breakfast items after fajr. After having our breakfast we all came out of our tents and met our family members so that we could sit and make dua in Arafat till Maghrib time. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

My Golden Days of Hajj 2010 Part 1

In the Name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful

It is a great Blessing and Grace of Allah subhanahu wa ta'aala that we completed the Obligatory Hajj in the year 2010 (1431 Hijri).
My husband and I could perform the Hajj with all its rituals properly only with the help of Allah.
On the eve of 7th Dhul Hijjah 1431 which is 13th November 2010 we set our for Mina after Isha by bus. We were in Ihram and saying Talbiah when we started out from our home. We were doing Hajj al Ifrad in which the sacrificial animal is not necessary and one can directly wear the Ihram clothes for Hajj.
We had to go directly to Mina and perform the five obligatory prayers.
Our bus crossed the check point and headed towards Mina. We could see a lot of Hajis going toward Mina on foot from Jeddah. I could not believe that Allah had called me for this Great act of Hajj...I felt that a sinful and disobedient servant of Allah like me was given a chance to purify myself through this great duty toward Allah.
The bus was going and we were reciting the Talbiyah all along.
The Journey to Mina was not too long. After about one and a half hour we reached within the boundaries of Mina. Now we could see white tents spread far and wide till our sights could reach.
There were hundreds of thousands of tents in Mina for the Hajis (pilgrims) to stay.
Our bus dropped us just near our tent and all the pilgrims of that group took their belongings and proceeded to their respective tents.
We were allotted wrist bands on which our numbers were written which helped in identifying our tents and our train bookings for Muzdalifah and Arafat trips.
The Muallim with whom we were in a group was helping us all along. He got us settled down. After putting our baggage and performing the prayers we all kept ourselves busy in supplications and recitation of the Quran.
We were busy in our prayers when there was an announcement that due to the large amount of Hajis it is recommended that we set out for Arafat in the night itself!
We wondered it was recommended that one left for Arafat next morning after Fajr so how could this be possible!? But he convinced most of us saying that the crowd of pilgrims was too large so it is better to set out in the night itself.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

'Belief' or not!


It is as simple as that.
You are governed by what you believe in.
What you believe in becomes your way of life.
Your way of life becomes your identity.
Your identity represents your faith and values.
This is a cycle.
Your belief is your identity because standing for what you believe in actually gives you the identity.
These are interconnected. No one is without an identity. 
Each one of us lives life according to what we believe in. Some believe in honesty, some in charity, some in success and others in selfless service.
The point here is that whatever you believe in actually exists. Therefore, for belief to be strong it should be based on truth.
Sometimes people's beliefs are shattered because what they believed in actually was not based on truth.
It is always a good idea to seek the truth in what you believe.
Of course, some things are intangible and beyond human perception but then we always have sources of history, authentic knowledge, science, logic and the facts to build the foundation to our belief system.
Blind belief may not be based on the truth. It is, hence, better to search the truth, seek it and reach a conclusion and accept the facts.
This is the least we can do being the most highly gifted in intelligence among all the living creatures on this planet.
To shake ourselves a bit we must realize that even the lowest of the low creatures knows the survival techniques. It lives its life in harmony with nature and the natural life cycle. Many creatures exist to fulfill the needs of human beings. They are useful for us in many ways. 
Human beings are the best of creatures not just in their shape or form but in their use of intellect, their ability to communicate and their behavior patterns. 
A highly productive, communicative and intelligent creature is not there just to exist like other lowly creatures which are subjected under his power! 
Man has to have a purpose of existence. A higher purpose. A purpose even higher than life. A purpose that governs his life.
This purpose is his belief. What he believes in is what he strives for.
If he believes in money he strives for it. If he believes in fame he works in that direction. If he believes in helping others he is for it.
Belief, thus, governs your life.
The kind of life you live governs your present, you future and your end.
And then, your time is out. You have no time to restart the game. No time to gain more points. Not time for anything. Its over and out.
BELIEVE...because what you will believe in is how you will behave.
Believe in good things. Believe in the truth. Believe in the facts. Do not turn a blind eye to them. Believe in your faith. Do not follow anything blindly. It might lead you to a bad consequence.
The thing which is helpful in all this striving is KNOWLEDGE.  Seek knowledge and share it with others. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

One day...

One day...each one of us will reach our end. One day...we will leave this world. As we had a date on which we were born and we used to celebrate it so happily, our loved ones will know a date on which we would leave them. 

The dates of our birth and death are fixed. Why are we so concerned about the dates of our birth and so careless about the fact that we shall meet our end one day. Fine, if one is concerned about one then isn't it logical that he is a little aware of the other too. 

Death is certain. No one can escape it. We can not ignore the fact that one day, in fact any day, we can meet our end. 

What should be done to make our deaths too worth something for others whom we leave behind or at least beneficial for us even after we are gone? 

We must take lessons from other's end. We must think about our own end sometimes so that we get to realize the real value of life and the illusion of this world.

We should ponder on our life and make it purposeful. One day when we leave the world we leave behind something that will benefit others. We must focus on doing deeds that will benefit us even after our death; like leaving behind good children, beneficial knowledge and ongoing charity. 

Making most of this life by using our skills and talents can make us beneficial for others both while being alive and after dying. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Ripple Effect...and the drop.

What we do, say, like or dislike is not limited to us alone. When each one of us acts in a particular manner it has its effects. It starts from us. Each of us has his or her own influence on the world around. We are like small drop of water which falls into the pond of still water from above it, or like a small pebble which someone throws into it. We can cause ripples. We can give life to the otherwise silent pond or can make it turbulent by our not so responsible and continuous drops of undesirable behavior. 
Supposing the world as a pond. Each person has the ability to cause ripples in this pond. With us around the pond can not remain still or silent.
The thing is to cause beautiful, rhythmic and coordinated effects. Ripples going in all directions without harmony are not ripples they are tribulations. 

Ripples look beautiful but tribulations are disturbing.
The need, therefore, is to cause such harmonious ripples which add to the beauty and harmony of the world.
Each of us can act as a drop. We can affect the person immediately next to us. Be it the home, the office or any place. You smile and so do the others. You help out and this way you spread kindness and apathy. You do action and others join you. You say a good word and some of the others might just listen or appreciate and hence pass it on. You encourage someone and he or she does something well. This goes on and on.
You have caused the ripple in the pond and it looks just beautiful! 

The Return Journey

Yesterday I was invited at a friend’s place to a dars (a talk that involves remembering Allah and giving good advice to the audience). H...