LAYLATUL QADR ON HALLOWED GROUNDS……. — Siraat-e-Mustaqeem

There are some experiences after which one should die because nothing more will surpass them. One such experience is the Qiyam of Laylatul Qadr at Eyup Sultan. Everyone enters the hallowed precincts of Eyup Sultan with their own individual worries and burdens and yet once you step off the ferry and cross the road to […]

via LAYLATUL QADR ON HALLOWED GROUNDS……. — Siraat-e-Mustaqeem

Assalamu alaikum, peace be with you dear readers. It has been a long time since I last blogged, and it may be some time yet before I can resume as many other things have kept me busy. However, today the 29th of Ramadan of 1440, just before this blessed months departs (we Muslims consider the month a dear guest that arrives once a year, and we try our best to host her in the most loving way while she is with us, and wait until she visits again another year… many Muslims will end the month with the heartfelt prayer, ‘O Divine, give us life to meet Ramadan again’!), I cannot but help share the post above written by someone I was honored to meet. I will not name her except to say she is a well respected specialist physician who has dedicated her life to service in many many spheres, and it seems, is now enjoying some well earned time in Turkey during Ramadan.

Laylatul Qadr means ‘layl =night, ul =of, qadr= power/Divine decree’, it is the night that comes once during Ramadan, on one of the odd nights of the last ten days – i.e., 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th night. We do not know exactly when it is, but we watch for it and we look for its signs – a beautiful indescribable peace that settles in the heart from dusk till dawn, a stillness that covers the earth, and in the dawn a sun that rises without rays. It commemorates the night the Quran was first revealed. Many reports pour in every year about which night it may have been. This year, the night of the 27th rose high on the list of signs. 🙂

The nights of Ramadan are spent in beautiful and peaceful worship, usually we break fast in the mosque, complete the dusk prayer, then eat a meal..then rest a little until the call for the night prayer is made, which happens about an hour and half after dusk. Then we pray the night prayer and after this begins voluntary prayers that last through the rest of the night. We call these ‘taraweeh’ or ‘qiyam al layl’. They are spiritually powerful, especially in the last ten days of Ramadan…the month’s training of abstinence from food and drink I think impacts the body, which becomes more receptive to spiritual or other wordly nuances, and then the profoundly moving recitation of the Quran by master reciters adds to the ‘magic’ (if you will) of it all, where many people will feel their hearts open, their burdens fall away, their tears flow, their worries and anxieties eased as they are filled with new light and healing.

So now with the above context I hope you can enjoy the experience shared above from someone blessed to have spent laylathul qadr in a most special place, the mosque of abu Ayyub in Istanbul. For any who have been there during any time of the year, I need say no more. The feeling in the place is immense, indescribable. For those who have been in Turkey and been in any of the mosques, I hope you can imagine..but really it is so much more in abu Ayyub jaami. And for those who have not been there, I pray you get to go and regardless of what faith or creed, colour or disposition, may you be able to benefit from the gifts freely given there.

Peace be with you all, and Eid Mubarak in advance! May you have a blessed festival

Welcoming the month of months…Ramadan Mubarak!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahma Allah wa barakatuh!

O my dear brothers and sisters fortunate enough to witness another Ramadan, I greet you with joy and hope and pray that the light of Allah shines upon you and your loved ones this blessed month.

This is an image of the moon of sha’ban 2012. May the new moon of Ramadan be as beautiful and may we get to see it. Remember to make the prayer our beloved messenger did when he beheld the moon; ‘O moon, as thou dost worship my Lord, so do I’! – I love this du’a 🙂

I have been meaning to write a long while, first to share all the beautiful events that I was a part of since my last posting. Not all pleasant mind you, but full of the teaching of Allah, as I journeyed through hurdle upon hurdle and learned much along the way. It is not easy to summarize and indeed I began this post to share some of the joy and pleasure of knowing it is once more, ramadan. But shortly put, as we continued upon our journey through the countryside of Sri Lanka, we came across many interesting and diverse scenes that spoke to much. A sad visit through what used to be a pristine mountain village by a famous waterfall now full of a type of tourism that unnerved me much…it was tourism for drugs it looked like. All these people in the middle of nowhere looking drugged and senseless…the local women staying off the streets and simple village men now stoned and with blood-shot eyes. It was telling, this never existed a few years ago. I guess when the war was on, this type of tourists did not visit the island. Now we hear, coccaine is grown in the jungles and it has become a hotspot. Or so the driver of our vehicle informed us later on as he reported being solicited by locals to bring more of the ‘right type’ of people through. Thankfully we were not the right type, and we were pretty quick to exit the place. There were other things that happened to us along the way, including a rather bizarre and incredibly memorable encounter with a wild elephant! MashaAllah Sri Lanka really is an incredible country.

Then that night we were staying a small guesthouse, with rooms by a paddy-field…mashaallah it was very pretty, when we heard that my beloved grandmother had suffered a bad fall. Alhamdulillah for the salah and the comfort of putting one’s trust in God. May it always be so for all of us! So then in the morning we rushed back to the city and it took us the day to get there. Thereafter began some good work, as that was the main reason I was in the island. MashaAllah we visited many a social service organization and medical center and learned a lot about what is needed and what needs to be done. Allah bless the brave and tireless people working to help all who need help. I have forgotten much about service, now living in this affluent western world removed from the constant reminder of need. I miss this, for in it there is a great healing and great blessing. There is a reason for suffering and want…I believe it brings us closer to being good people and open our hearts to be merciful…this when one is a sincere seeker or truth or a humble human being. These are some brief thoughts I am sharing, there is of course much more to be said. I pray that these experiences stay cemented in me and I am able to contribute in whatever way God wills. Please include me in your prayers too.

Then it was about leave-taking and coming back home again. Then about settling in and preparing for the month of months just around the corner, and now so swiftly upon us all. I am wordlessly happy! I will end with sharing a lovely youtube time-lapse video featuring one of my favourite anasheed, and this du’a

‘O Allah, please remove oppression from all those oppresed in the world and ensure a peace based on justice and mercy to everyone in the world. Bless us, forgive us and increase us in your light upon light. And bless and elevate our beloved Muhammed, the chosen one’

As promised and some reflections

Assalamu alaikum, peace be unto you,

I promised sometime ago to share some photos from Sydney, so I’ll attach them here. Since I went to Sydney mashaAllahu ta’la I’ve traveled through Colombo, Singapore, Tokyo and Minneapolis. Some of these places I only stayed in an airport and others I had time to visit a bit. But it is a great blessing to travel and see the differences in this massive earth. To be in airports and observe the great multitude of variation among peoples. To see the pious next to the ignorant next to the forgetful next to those obsessed with worry and care. It is a great blessing to stop in these places to pray and touch your forhead to the ground and hope that the earth will bear witness for you that you did so, on that day we must all face. It is a great blessing to know that it is Allah that is upholding this amazing world. To travel way above the earth, to be with the clouds, to race the rising sun as you traverse oceans and cross time-zones, to wonder at the might and completeness of Allah’s creation and plan. To recognize that I am just an insignificant jot, a mere instance in the passage of time. And yet, Allah loves me so much, He has given me intellect and sight and sound and travel and more than this, has given me my faith. That Allah has given me time and so much of reading and the wonder of knowing oneself and learnign of oneself. To think this is true for so many thousands of people, millions and billions of people, existing now and who have existed and who will exist inshaAllah. So Allah gives each of us a universer of care, and yet we are insignificant jots on this great plane of existence. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the One, beyond time and place, beyond gender, beyond our human comprehension, the First and the Last and the Everlasting. Praise be to God, my Lord, and thanks and thanks and thanks be to God and God alone. God, please send your grace and salutation upon Muhammed, your beloved and my beloved, the last of the Messengers and a mercy to mankind.

Sunset from Mosque window in Colombo
Pelican in Colombo suburb, and the tower with satellites were not there a few years ago
Sunrise in Colombo
Sunrise in Colombo on a foggy morning...those brief few moments you can look at the sun!
From Australian National Museum, look at the diversity of skeletons
Skeletons of Marsupials, again from Australian National Museum
Frangipani! what a beautiful name for such a beautiful flower...Thanks to God!
Lotus flower 🙂 Praise to God
Ibis roosting on tree tops, Chinese garden in Sydney
The moon gate from the Chinese garden in Sydney...highlighting water and trees, praise be to God who created our appreciation for beauty and art in architecture
Look at this beautiful old man, walking slowly at the back of a procession marching for International Women's Day in downtown Sydney, asking for equal rights for women. A noble sight indeed and one I found deeply humbling
A young student in an old building, reading on the stairs of 'the strand' ( I think) which was a Victorian era construction, built to honor Queen Victoria. How then Allah knew the day the building went up, that this student would be sitting there a century or more later, reading, and I would be passing by, traveling all the way from Canada, to take this picture, later to post it up on the www, and you my dear reader viewing it now. Subhahanallah! Glory be to God!
When leaving Vancouver...a place I spent many years of my life below me. How the view changes when we are far above, so I glorify my Lord, who is the subtle and near ('Latif', an attribute of Allah in the Muslim theology) and the Great and Overarching, Manifest ('Zahir' another attribute of God in the Muslim theology)