Thursday, July 28, 2011

Looking back in time, a different kind of life

SubhanAllaah! Sweet Glorious Morning!

Birds warbling, some tweeting, singing. Are they making sweet dua to Allah? The street is quiet and air sharp and cool. Even the morning sun is gentle and not hitting the window panes at this time of morning. Alhamdulillah!

My mind drifted off to a time where I was having a slightly different kind of life...

Back in time, a different kind of life

I tried to live a quiet life for some years. Wanted to concentrate on just working and taking care of my family and caring for a little group of members and new reverts who are really family to me in the real sense.

Caring for each other

Not one day would I fail to think of them and look forward to classes and being with them during weekends etc. It was a safe little world, just taking care of a small part of society, and benefiting much in return.

Loving for the sake of Allah

Some of them have given me lots of support and motivation through a span of 2o long and happy years and they have in a way helped shape my destiny. Their growth and discipline, their love for Allah and their caring and sincerity is precious to me. Though there may be some differences of opinion from time to time, there is mutual love and respect for the sake of Allah SWT.

Trying to live a simple life

I had tried to be kind of a hermit for some years. Not that I secluded myself in some cave or house but I tried to be more ascetic. Gave up meeting people of the glamourous and sometimes pretentious life style. I do admit some of these beautiful people are indeed beautiful in iman as well, though we may have to look hard.

Giving up things we love for the sake of Allah

Even gave up dressing attractively inorder to become less distracted with the dunia (world). Started having a more sober wardrobe, throwing away cosmetics, gave up even a proper skin care routine (big mistake when you are already getting older...). I even did not bother to look into the mirror most days and became so busy that I had not much time for myself personally. I felt that was the thing to do at that time.That change in my life probably helped destress me and kept me focused.

Early years as a single mother

Now that its Ramadhan, I think of the times many years back when I would rush off to the department store after maghrib the night before Eid. Because there is no more tarawih prayers, I would find myself in the almost empty store, trying to find a beautiful dress for myself. Of course I could not find anything I liked. All the nice stuff had been taken by early birds. I wanted a new dress to mark the new Eid, to go to the masjid dressed in my best clothes. For Allah. Usually had to settle for the new telekung which I would buy early in Ramadhan.

Joy and Sadness

Those were the early years when my son was very young and I had a lot of commitments and responsibilities as a new single mother and also very busy with my baking business. I am grateful that Allah sent me many friends who gave me lots of support and love. I was never lonely or depressed or lacked love or attention. Only sad for my young baby boy and realised my lack of knowledge.

All that baking and cooking classes helped me buy my car and house. Alhamdulillah!

Tired of trying to mingle with 'beautiful people'

It was tiring attending meaningless functions and making small talk. Some do not even bother to have a conversation, maybe because they think we are some backward conservatives (a more polite term for fundamentalists, which actually is an honourable term for a practising Muslim). Once a while I had the good rezeki to meet some kindred souls.

Been there, done that

Is it because I did not dress like them? Its hard to ignore the obvious differences. One is all wrapped up like a mummy and the other is almost naked, in so called designer gowns and minis. Smile... What they did not know was I had been there, done that, and at a more extreme pace than they would ever imagine. Thank you Allah for helping your ignorant slaves.

I remember the times when I too dressed like them. I would have fitted in beautifully, as I too had different values during the wandering and wondering years. The right knowledge came real slowly but surely but there is still so much to learn, so much to improve.... O Allah, please forgive us and give us a chance to make up for our vain and silly behaviour. Please help our sisters who are struggling to improve themselves and please help those who are still wandering in darkness, dazzled by the bright lights of this worldly life.

'O Allah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha'ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhan'. (i.e. prolong our life up to Ramadhan, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings). narrated by At-Tabarani and Ahmad

I was reminded again at a talk yesterday to keep making this dua. Insha'Allah our duaa will be accepted by Allah SWT and our Ramadhan accounted for even if we should be recalled from this worldly life before we can perform our ibadah in Ramadhan. Allah so ever so Merciful, full of Wisdom.

No longer belonged

I just felt I no longer belonged. No, I did not feel I was really better than others. Just mixed feelings, where we reach a stage of being bored and tired of it all. After some time everything seemed artificial. Everyone needs to be loved and respected. Many people who behaved like that were just hungry, seeking love and approval. Sometimes from the wrong crowd.

On looking back now

I suddenly am very afraid to end up being condescending. I know my own weaknesses better now - who am I to judge or have a strong opinion? Probably many people out there are working much harder than some of us. They are always chasing pahala (merit points from Allah SWT). Many people have more knowledge, have done great deeds and sacrificed much of their time, money, blood, sweat and tears for the good of the ummah and society.

Who do I see? What do I know?

I once met a young woman who was amply exposed but she has a good and kind heart. Sometimes knowledge has not reached some people yet. After we do not know everything ... she may know something we don't.

Anyway, she had been attending proper religious classes and has the sincerity to want to improve her knowledge and to become closer to Allah. If we judge from her appearance, we would be very mistaken. Allah knows our intentions and may He guide and help all those who turn to him. I used to think I know something. Not so sure now. I learn much from people like this sister. A lesson in humility.

That extra mile

We are so busy and constantly rushing from point to point, sometimes making commitments we cannot keep up with. So difficult to say no and so much in need to do that little bit extra to make up for our lapses.

What do we know, really?

We know nothing and all knowledge is in the hands of the Almighty. Yet sometimes we are on the verge of judging and thinking ill of what we do not approve. I have to remind myself very often these days that what we see may not be what we imagine it to be.

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