Insignificance

One of the greatrest blessings of tribulation is that it forces one to end self-reliance and instead rely on God. This is another of the meanings of that profound verse in the Quran…repeated twice…in surah 97, which is aptly titled ‘inshirah’ a word that can be translated as ‘the expanding of the chest’ meaning increasing one’s understanding or realization. The verse is
‘inna ma al usri yusra…/ inna ma al usri yusra…’
Meaning ‘ verily, with hardship, is ease / verily, with hardship is ease’

– I have translated to the best of my ability as I am on the road. I believe it is right though God willing. But please forgive any errors.

So Ibn Ata’allah, a great Islamic scholar advised us to ‘bury oneself in the soil of insignificance, and then like the seed, to be brought to fruition’

So I pray, ‘O my Lord, empty myself of me and fill me with Thee’
– ameen

Peace be with you all and may whatever hardship you go through bring you also to the One and to peace.
Assalamu alaikum

If you hadn’t…

If you hadn’t made me strong my Lord,
I would not have been able to resist

If you hadn’t made me just my Lord,
I would not have been able to stand-up

If you hadn’t made me kind my Lord,
I would not have been patient

If you leave me for a moment my Lord,
I will be destroyed.

***
Copyright Joymanifest
Continue reading “If you hadn’t…”

Many thoughts of gratitude

Assalamu alaikum, peace be unto you,

 

Alhamdulillah (thanks and praise to God), I’ve had a lovely few day. First due to an amazing camping trip to a small island off the coast of Vancouver. I was touched and deeply humbled by the concern of my non-Muslim camping buddies that I keep my prayer on time…and I must say, there is no feeling as beautiful as standing under the trees on the grass close to the ocean in the state of ‘salat’ (the Muslim ritual worship, it is a physical ritual with meditative quranic recitation and repetitive praise of God made by the tongue or in the heart). Alhamdulillah! a deep peace and glimpse of utter serenity. Especially to wake up with the first light at about 4 am (impossible to sleep with sunlight streaming through a tent!) and be fully woken taking the ‘wudhu’ (ritual purification with water, the best translation of the word in to English is ‘lumination’, from the greek ‘lumos’, meaning to make light) with freezing cold crystal clear water and then to stand on a rock by the ocean and enter the salah. Mashaallah (by God’s grace) the weather was amazing, and the sunrise a beautiful pink and red. I wish I had taken pictures, but I did not want to wake my sleeping camping buddies…and perhaps it is that some images are better preserved in the heart. Having said that, I thank you my dear reader, for listening as I type out this verbal imagery, for indeed it stamps the memory on my heart and for that I am grateful.

 

There is much more I want to write and share, but enough of words from me for now. Let me leave you with a ‘du’a’ (this is more like what the English word ‘prayer’ means, it is supplication made to God) that was found some days ago recorded on the back page of an old notebook I had used when learning sacred knowledge. I do not know where it is from, but it is beautiful, wise, and universal. So I hope you benefit from it.

 

I will inshaAllah post some of the camping trips photos below for your pleasure 🙂

 

Du’a

O Lord, please help me to say the truth in front of those who have authority. And please help me not to say that which is false in order to gain advantage. And please help me to see the other side of reality. And please protect me from bearing false witness due to difference of opinion. O Lord if you give me money, do not take my money. If you give me health please don’t take my sanity. If you give me success don’t take my humility. If you give me humility don’t take my dignity. O Lord, please teach me to love others as I love myself. And teach me to question myself as I question others. And please teach me how to forgive. Because the ability to forgive is the greatest of qualities. And because revenge is a major sign of weakness and regression. Please O Lord, protect me from arrogance upon my success. And protect me from despair upon my failure. O Lord, please remind me that failure preceeds success. O Lord if you do not give me success, please leave me determination to overcome failure. O Lord if you do not give me health, leave me my faith. O Lord, if I hurt others please give me the ability to apologize and if others hurt me, give me the ability to forgive. O Lord, if I forget Thee, don’t forget me as You are the Forgiving (al-Ghafur), the Clement (al-Halim), the Great (al-Kabir), Dominant and Able to do all things (al-Qadir).

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– Deer everywhere on the island…I was very happy with that!

 

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– Campsite 🙂

 

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– a precious moment as Otter arrive shortly after the dawn prayer (‘fajr), it was quite and still and I was thrilled by the sighting

 

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-pretty island farmhouse. Idyllic and the best part is it is a functioning farm. The family that owns it, gifted much land to make a park for Canada!

 

 

Image– golden sunset on my way home. MashaAllahu ta’ala!!

 

Signs of the last day

Peace be with you all, Assalamu alaikum,

The news continues to be bad. Not just bad in one sphere, but in many ways and at the same time it seems. The conflicts and political disturbances seem to be growing and the number/scale of natural disaster increasing. I don’t want to seem to be ‘scandal mongering’ or trying to make this post sensational in anyway, but I do wonder what you feel about how all this works in terms of the signs of the last day?

I grew up in a country in conflict (but relatively sheltered from the worst of it masha’Allah) and am not a stranger to hardship, both physical and emotional. Now masha’Allah living in this protected western country sometimes I wonder if I am becoming immune to the suffering of others. Whether the ‘unfamiliarity’ of the suffering keeps me away from a real empathy. Sometimes I wonder if I am really living here. For in the east, it seemed life was more real and consequently death was more real. Suffering and joy was real and empathy was real. And knowing how fragile life really is, our awareness of our place in the universe more real… and somehow, in some strange way, instead of depression by all this, what was the outcome was peace in the heart. Like we didn’t have to wonder, only to live. Only to live. I miss those days and hope I am not too accustomed to the ‘luxury’ of life in the west (e.g., hot water showers, affordable food and a variety of it). On another note, perhaps the east is now full of these luxuries too :), and like here, the people are being rocked in to a false somnambulant state.

I feel that the need to distribute the wealth of the world evenly is becoming urgent and extreme. Having experienced first hand the incredible rift between ‘haves’ (typified by the West) and the ‘have-nots’ (typified by the East) and now with this knowledge so widely spread (that is more people becoming aware of this, or one hopes that is what is happening) that more is not done is a sign of the depravity of the times? Allah protect us. I do however also feel that the good are getting ‘gooder’ and the bad, left to their devices often becoming ‘worse’. The former is a source of strength, hope and joy and should not be underestimated in any way.

It really does seem that things don’t make sense anymore and can’t be made sense of in any comprehensive manner. And that, more than anything else, is why I wonder if the signs of the last day are coming one after the other with increasing frequency. I would love to know anyone’s thoughts on this.

For your reference here is a site that has the signs of the last days with references at least for many of them. Not all the ahadith quoted are sahih, and they don’t confirm if they are hasan. But most seem to be from the ‘sihah sittha’ (the six most rigourous/well regarded books of hadith).

To end, a few lines below, hoping it makes some sense :), but only really wanting to say that prayer is refuge at these times.

Peace through the night in prayer,
My heart feels yet I am unable to utter,
Struck dumb by terror
A glimpse of the immensity of Thy power
Of what could be of us all.
Yet the prayer, unjolted
continues, somehow in my heart, it continues
and soon swells to words on the lips
O Lord, only because of the hope
that knowing You are ar-Rahman brings.
Peace through the night in prayer.

Allah (God) protect and forgive and teach us all.

Copyright 2011. JoyManifest’s blog. F R Zahir

One to one

Here is a very recent poem, speaking of an old truth; The beauty of unity and the march of time. Something I easily forget amidst busy days and the usual frustrations. What a gift it is to be ordered to pray five times a day, forced to be peaceful mashaAllah :). God forgive my forgetfulness

One to one
I sit before you
My Maker
Created to Creator
this bond
Oh, when I acknowledge it
I am the eagle that has soared beyond the heavens
I am the water circumambulating the earth
I am every particle of dust in a comet’s tail
I am home.
This moment I glimpse eternity
acknowledging, one to one
My Creator to Thee
I am hurtling through time.

***

Copyright February 2011. JoyManifest’s Blog. F R Zahir

Purifying my gaze…hijab

Found written sometime ago and posting now. A constant reminder to me inshaAllah

Purifying my gaze
No, I don’t mean not
looking at that half naked
figure on the billboard by the street
I meant inside.
That when I stand in prayer
I don’t see the carpet
But my Lord’s face.

That I don’t see the mistakes of the worshiper next to me
But only the angels on her either side.

That when I eat
I don’t see the food that makes my mouth water
But the baraka upon me, and my neighbour
who needs me to share it.

That when I teach
I don’t see the rapt attention on my student’s
face, swelling up my pride
But I see the deep truth of what I talk about
And I’m in sujood, inside.

So I purify my gaze
And the hijab on my head is simple
Sometimes it is nothing at all,
A head bowed low
Deeply ashamed of my weakness
Deeply grateful for Thy grace
I walk this earth in modesty
And purify my gaze.

Copyright- January 2011. JoyManifest’s Blog. F R Zahir

‘O Muslim, your honour lies in humility before Allah and your strength lies in weakness before Allah’

I listened to this beautiful talk by Sh Yasir Qadhi today. Alhamdulillah, it is a beautiful call to faith in the kindness, compassion, beauty and love of our Creator. We often and easily forget that Allah has told us He loves it when we ask of Him. What bounty that is, that our Creator, the only Creator that exists, is one of Love. Real love, that is watching out for those loved…not one to make us and forget us. And then what sadness, deep deep sadness contemplating the individual who has forgotten Allah and then Allah has in turn forgotten him/her (it is important to understand that the forgetting begins with the creation and never the Creator)
It has been a difficult time in my life the past few days and listening to this helped me very much. Therefore I thought I would share it, in case it helps you too :).
But you know what is most profound, in this time of many burdens coming at the same time, all it has done is renewed my faith, washed my heart clean of dirt and reminded me of what is important. We are all here to try to be better people, to try and elevate our souls to that highest level, that highest level that is the reflection of the divine. To polish our souls so we like mirrors, reflect the light of Allah subhahana ta’ala. Some of us are given children to teach us this, some parents who are elderly and need us, others the sick to look after, yet others personal difficulty. And so pushed to go to the source of all love, and that too the pushing a very act of love. And then when nudged in to coming close to Allah, when we feel the incredible strength of that closeness with our Lord, what strength and comfort that is! How phenomenal the qualities of Allah are in their perfection. Allahu akber, I say that with deep love.

The title of this post is from the closing comments of the talk… it is so true, our real honour lies in humility before the One who bestows honour and our real strength comes when we acknowledge our weakness before our Creator. Is this not the quality we see in deeply spiritual people, great scholars, priests, rabbis, monks… that they are all so devoid of self and only a reflection of all that is from God.

May God make us all deserving of His grace and teach us to be better.