Break Break Break

Break, break, break,
         On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
         The thoughts that arise in me.
- Tennyson

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I have an insatiable desire to be around water. It’s always been there and I’ve become more active recently about seeking out views to see water in it’s every form. The words of Tennyson resonated with me when Dr. Suheil Laher said them last week at a Fawakih event. He compared the inexplicable feeling one experiences at the sight of water hitting cold grey stones, with the feelings one has at the end of a journey that has changed them in ways they could never have imagined. You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place or a journey, as though you will not only miss the people, the sounds, and scenes around you, but you’ll also miss the person that you are in that time and that place, because you’ll never be that way ever again. I miss who I am when I’m with water. For anyone who has a love for watching water, it’s a true and recurring feeling .. to feel something deeply yet have few words to describe your internal thoughts.

In your free time, go to a lake or river stream and just watch the water. You’ll be surprised by what you learn about the world and yourself in those moments.

-Fi Amanillah-

Longing

Bismillah…

On the day of the conquest of Makkah, when Rasulullah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was making tawaf, a man by the name of Fadhala was also in close proximity to the Messenger of Allah. He approached the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) with the evil intention of killing him.

The Prophet smiled at him and asked him, “What are you thinking about over there Fadhala?” He responded to the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) saying, “Oh nothing, I’m just making dhikr of Allah. I’m just remembering Allah”.

Rasulullah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) then came up to him and put his blessed hand on Fadhala’s chest.

           If a tree could stop weeping after being embraced by Rasulullah (salallahu ‘alayhi                wasallam), what do you think happened to Fadhala when the Prophet touched him..

Fadhala says that “The Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) did not remove his hand from my chest until no one else in the world was more beloved to me than him.”

SubhanAllah, just moments earlier, he was thinking of harming the Messenger of Allah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and then such a miraculous change of heart.

Let the Sunnah touch you…

Let it become a part of you and allow yourself to taste the sweetness of the way of Rasulullah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). When we join in the companionship of the muhibbeen of Allah and His Messenger (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), the world will become so small in our eyes. The worries and grievances that plague the minds of people fixated on this dunya will no longer phase us and we will reconnect with the our ultimate goal of making it back home to Jannah and meeting Allah subhanahu wata’ala. 

When we find ourselves in a situation where we are not even aware of our own ignorance of who Muhammad (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) was, then this is what leads to the state of broken hearts and homes we have today. When we revive his Sunnah with intention and with love, it will be as if Rasulullah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) is in front of our two eyes, despite not having seen him in person. And inshaAllah, by acting upon the Sunnah, we will increase us in our mahabba and our longing to see the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), to see him and be moved by seeing him in the same way the Sahaba were moved. This internal longing to see him and join him can get us ways and ways in coming close to Allah (subhanahu wata’ala) that perhaps is not achievable by other means.

لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُم بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ

There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful. [9:128]

muhammadsaw

-Fi Amanillah-

Story Source: Seerah lecture at ISB yesterday

Comparisons

Bismillah…

Abbu came back from Pakistan two nights ago. He hadn’t visited for 14 years ….fourteen y e a r s. So needless to say, the trip was overdue. He’s come back with lots of stories and observations about life in Pakistan and as he shares, I can’t help but compare pros and cons of long-term living arrangements between the U.S. (or any other western country) versus “back home”. I would have never imagined that I, of all people would have second thoughts about living in America, but it’s definitely been more than a passing thought recently.

Growing up in a place makes you accustomed to aspects of life you would never really question until you’ve seen (or heard of) another lifestyle. Sure, I’ve benefited greatly from my education and experiences here and I wouldn’t be “me” without them but I’m finding that there are so many sacrifices one has to make here in the west, without necessarily being able to see an equal amount of positive dividends.

Examples..

  • No matter which way you look at it, there is a war on Islam at the international level, and it seems more pronounced in the U.S. compared to some other places.
  • There’s always a persistent sense of being different. You’re at a job interview and have to awkwardly explain why you can’t shake hands with the opposite gender. You step out mid-meeting to pray while everyone else carries on. Most fields and job placements have a handful of Muslims, making it so there really isn’t a true sense of friendship with workmates.
  • Food. I can only dream of how convenient it would be to have halal food all around and not have to think twice. There’s been a growing trend of Muslims going from zabiha to non-zabiha under the facade of finding truth in the opinion of one over the other, but it’s hard to believe that the lack of zabiha options has nothing to do with it.
  • We don’t get to hear the adhaan 5 times a day or see people from all over, heading to the salaah, leaving the world behind.
  • The social problems here are becoming more and more profound by the day. I see a lot of mental health and clinical psych issues on a daily basis, so I can say without hesitation that placing kids in public schools in certain locations in the U.S. should not be an option for Muslim parents.
  • The options for enjoyment and relaxation are overwhelmingly limited. Many public beaches are not appropriate. Going out to eat may mean sitting near a bar. Public displays of affection are anywhere. Shopping can only be so enjoyable after seeing it all.
  • If we are to look at the current state of social issues in the U.S., we can only imagine where this trajectory is headed. Between the active breakdown of the family system, oversexualized media, homosexuality, an overall rise of anti-religious sentiments, etc.etc. .. we have to be realistic in understanding how all these issues impact our ability to hold on to our own values and foundation.
  • We have a relatively weak education system… fyi
  • If you don’t have a lot of family here, life can be very, very lonely. And beyond the loneliness, you don’t really see people here who have a love for life the way people do abroad. Despite their struggles and difficulties, there is a sincerity and generosity they have that’s unmatched.

None of this is to say Pakistan doesn’t have its issues. It has plenty and I for one would have a very hard time getting past some of their social issues, but at least there is a sense of connection. There are trade-offs everywhere, but I’m starting to feel that maybe there are fewer in Pakistan than there are over here. If you don’t have electricity for a few hours .. is that hardship more difficult to bear versus losing your child to completely haram influences of the west while living here .. with electricity? It might be an oversimplified perspective or pure conjecture, since I haven’t physically been there, but still some food for thought.

-Fi Amanillah-