Lines upon lines of people prepping for potential quarantine at local stores. Checking the stats every few moments. Panic and concern.

In times of fitan, I remind myself of what I learned in a class some years back at PIC – increase ‘ibadah and avoid the mass obsession of keeping up with the news by the minute (just for the sake of it) in times of fitan. Stick to your home and be vigilant of your foundational duties to Allah (swa). Losing that means losing everything.

March Musings

Bismillah…

When I enter into Seekers, there is a sense of order and serenity that evokes a hope for my own betterment. I love the simple reminders about the foundations .. clear your intentions, eat less, know Allah is watching, be committed to the path, work on clearing the excess in your life. It’s a beautiful and uplifting space. They organize the coffee part with ease and simplicity each time. I also really appreciate their zero waste reminders and efforts. Waliya has gotten quite comfortable there since she sees Hannah and takes turns running from Mehdi and I.

I started learning how to swim. WOW. Huge step outside of my comfort zone and I’m so happy. I’ve had only a handful of classes so far but it feels great knowing I’m making progress and inshaAllah will be able to fully swim soon if I keep at it. The last time I was in the water was in Dominican and I felt totally within my element even though I couldn’t swim. There’s forest people, beach or mountain people, and one other I can’t remember. Even though I love water, I think I’m overall more of a forest person. Kind of like the Hobbit. Yea, definitely like the Hobbit. Loved that movie when I watched it with Ayesha and Aminah years ago.

I’m reading Wild + Free and have a book club coming up for Indian Horse. Great reads. I always gravitate to non-fiction but love that my book club keeps me on my toes with reading interesting titles I wouldn’t pick up on my own.

I’ve been aching to go back to see my parents and sisters but trying not to verbalize it too much. I know Waliya and I will go soon inshaAllah but it’s tough to decide when given all that’s happening with travel and all. One of the best reminders Sh. Faraz shared this past Sunday was to ask ourselves .. “Where am I? And what does Allah want to see from me where He has placed me?”..

I overthink everything. There are so many people on my long list of amazing people .. family members all over the world, beautiful friends I’ve met and knew who I want to reach out to but I struggle with it a lot .. Sometimes I just want to call one of my family members from Pakistan or an old friend just to chat but I feel like I have to go through 481309481 formalities before I can get to what I loved most about our connection. Have to get over my own blockers.

Loving enneagrams lately .. almost as much as I loved psychopathology class lol. I’ve pretty much typed all my close ones and done so pretty accurately. I even talk like an annoying enneagram expert at home and say things like “I’m leaning more towards my 3 so you can expect I’ll be..” haha.

I need a new skincare routine. Or at least one that’s consistent. I don’t think I ever did or can do anything consistently. I make my chai or coffee a different way every single time. I realized I have rhythms but I’m not huge on schedules.

I had a mini panic at the meat store yesterday. I never ever ever go to the meat store, but I figured I should get some meats to prep that I should’ve done Sunday but we were busy. So I get there, I walk around the store like 6 times looking at everything, trying to avoid the meat section. Two people cut me after I kind of looked like I was in line, but I was actually looking in a totally different direction. I got up to the counter, almost at my turn, all while fidgeting with my little post-it note that had my order written on it till it almost ripped. I saw the faces of the uncles and they seemed nice but I literally froze and went mute. Alhumdulillah there was still one person ahead of me .. in my head I said “Umm, yea no .. can’t do this today.”  So I just decided to call it a day and go home .. heading out I messaged Mehdi “Having a panic, can’t do the meat order” lol and of course he smiled and said he’d get it on the way home and to just relax. Phew.

This was fun. Now I’m gonna have cereal (this habit hasn’t changed since 2006) and maybe watch Murdoch Mysteries. :)

-Fi Amanillah-

On Courage

Bismillah…

Does courage expire?

If I reflect back to my journey with entrepreneurship, I’d say my courage was a 10/10 during my first round, partly because it came after a season of great challenge and change. I also took a leap with courage and hope because I was still deeply connected to positive experiences I’d had in my life that reminded me of my potential to create change in myself and others with Allah’s help. So what’s the current status of my courage? I think just like muscles, the more we exercise a certain soft skill or internal conditioning, the stronger it gets. The more I “engage” with my world courageously, the more courage will follow, but I’ve found that journaling about courage and writing out my desire for having certain brave traits again has not proven to be helpful. Writing has however helped with intuitively getting down to what’s beneath certain fears or perfectionist tendencies or introversion that holds me back. But from my past I know that the only way to get over a certain hump is going through it no matter how messy and hard it is. Literally jumping in and forcing myself into discomfort, trying new things, opening up and taking calculated risks is the only way I can avoid losing my edge. At the moment, I’m feeling I need to reignite my creative spark somehow with brave action and less writing. I feel my courage has gone back into its shell and I may be waiting for someone out there to remind me of what I can offer before I feel valuable enough to keep putting out good and making change.

Till next time,

Asma

Being Seen

Bismillah..

  • Alhumdulillah for getting the planners done a second time around. I was almost sure they wouldn’t happen this time because I’ve felt pretty low and fatigued through most of this year but… we plan and Allah (swa) plans. Looking forward to seeing them soon inshaAllah! :)
  • I’ve gotten bolder lately. Three recent incidents out in the world where I was able to speak up and tell people what was okay and what was not okay. I’ve spent too much time being a chronic people-pleaser and I’ve found that when I speak up for myself and set boundaries, I actually physically feel better.
  • I want to have more courage in how I operate this year. Life is too short to be spent draining ourselves with energy that doesn’t uplift us. If we can’t be vulnerable, we can’t truly be empathic.
  • Space. I wish this world was made for introverts. Several things make me wonder why people don’t understand that there are people who function best when in seclusion for large periods of time, and can spend time with people in small doses. I feel it’s always perceived negatively but it’s truly exhausting when introverts have to constantly spend time in social settings that don’t give them energy.
  • Trust is built between people when people are genuinely, non-judgementally curious about us and what’s important to us and vice-versa.
  • So few people are raised in families where you are taught to be curious about emotions and work through them, or open up to others. Instead, most are taught to suck it up and push through. I have a big problem with this and I want to help people get out of this way of being.
  • I can’t wait to practice social work again inshaAllah.

 

Heavy Blessings

Bismillah…

It’s always the small things we take for granted. The things right in front of us that seem almost negligible, until they become distant memories, only to be awoken at a different time and place.. and we’re left wondering, “Wow, how deeply I wish to experience that (thing, person, moment) just once more.”

Relocating and becoming a mother are by far the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. They’ve both strengthened me and weakened me and I often find myself needing to catch up to my own life. I sometimes feel like I am stuck at a different time and place and to a different identity that I became so comfortable with back “home.” Home itself is an interesting concept. It’s in these precious few moments when my little one sleeps when I have time to reflect like I once did for hours on end. I reflect and think about the enormity of the blessings I’ve been given, alongside the weight of these blessings .. the demands of these blessings .. and just how much I used to take for granted.

I talk to my family often, but if I think about them for more than a second, I can’t help but burst into tears. I miss them beyond any expression of worldly love. And again, it’s the small things. Abbu’s gentle look of love and concern, the times when he would put extra food on my plate knowing I tend to eat less, Ammi’s warm embrace, Ayesha’s loyal and heartfelt expressions of constant love, car rides with Aminah’s animated sounds, Friday night laughs with Anaam and khala, my family’s genuine feeling of being proud of me and valuing me.

Moving meant not only to leave all of this love for a new love and a new home, but also a willingness to redefine and re-establish my sense of self. Motherhood both enhanced and slowed down that process for me. On the one hand, I was extremely committed to my motherhood journey while starting my side business with the unwavering support of my husband; but on the other hand, I felt/feel like I my internal goals and hopes cannot keep up with the mixture of utter joy and overwhelming exhaustion of motherhood. Time and again, Allah (swa) puts me in situations that force me to be patient and to accept the seasons of my life. The last several months have been “winter” for me, but my spring is coming soon inshaAllah. Our lives are merely pendulating between openness and constriction.

Till next time,

Asma

Bismillah..

I have a real soft spot for Urdu naats .. especially since they’ll always be part of my memories of Ayesha and I riding together, contently existing in each other’s silence.

Is karam ka karu shur kaise ada
Joh karam mujh pe mere nabi ne kiya
Mai saja ta hu sarkar ki mehfile
Mujh ko har gam se rab ne bari kar diya

Zikre sarkar ki hai bari barkate
Mil gayi mujh ko sab azmate nehmate
Mai gunah gar tha beamal tha, magar
Mustafa ne mujhe jannati kar diya

Lamha lamha hai mujh par nabi ki aata
Dosto aur mangu mai Maula se kya
Kya yeh kam hai ke mere khuda ne mujhe
Apne mehboob ka ummati kar diya

Joh Dar e Mustafa ke ghada ho gaye
Dekhte dekhte kya se kya ho gaye
Aisi chasme karam ki hai sarkar ne
Mujh gada ko sakhi ne sakhi kar diya

Koi muyus lauta na darbar se
Joh bhi manga mila mere sarkar se
Sadqe jau niyazi mai lajpal ke
Dono aalam me mujh ko sakhi kar diya

:’) 

:)

-Fi Amanillah-

Bismillah…

One of Sh. Budair’s final du’as this Ramadan in Masjid An Nabawi. May Allah (swa) heal this Ummah and make us people of real conviction and change. There isn’t a single person who isn’t worried about what tomorrow will bring seeing as the last few months have been filled with difficult news from many corners of the world. May Allah swa help us in becoming His true ibaad – people of real taqwa and ikhlas, and accept our actions by making them heavy on our scales, Ameen.

Praying everyone has a wonderful Eid tomorrow with friends, family, and lots of shukr.

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ
[Surah Ibrahim: Ayah 7]

-Fi Amanillah-

60 Lessons

Bismillah…
In this month of the Qur’an, I wanted to share this excellent list of brief lessons we can take away as action items from Allah’s kalaam. To make it a reflective exercise, it may be helpful to highlight or make note of any particular areas where we need to make improvements, which helps with making more meaningful istighfar and making real changes in the future inshaAllah.
1. Respect and honor all human beings irrespective of their religion, colour, race, background, language, status, property, birth, profession/job and so on [17/70]
2. Talk straight, to the point, without any ambiguity or deception [33/70]
3. Choose the best words to speak and say them in the best possible way [17/53, 2/83]
4. Do not shout. Speak politely keeping your voice low. [31/19]
5. Always speak the truth. Shun words that are deceitful and ostentatious [22/30]
6. Do not confound truth with falsehood [2/42]
7. Say with your mouth what is in your heart [3/167]

Continue reading

Masajid Allah

Bismillah…

Every masjid I’ve attended in my area for the last 20 some years has it’s own special place in my heart. With the number of options in our area alhumdulillah, I’ve always felt like I could go to any masjid and find my place. They each have their unique memories attached to them and I figured it would be nice to reflect on a few.. :) Continue reading

Al Hijr

Bismillah..

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ
45. Indeed, the righteous will be in Gardens with springs.

ادْخُلُوهَا بِسَلاَمٍ آمِنِينَ

46. (They will be addressed) Enter in peace and safety.

وَنَزَعْنَا مَا فِي صُدُورِهِم مِّنْ غِلٍّ إِخْوَانًا عَلَى سُرُرٍ مُّتَقَابِلِينَ

47. And We shall remove any bitterness from their hearts: [they will be like] brothers, sitting on couches, face to face.

لاَ يَمَسُّهُمْ فِيهَا نَصَبٌ وَمَا هُم مِّنْهَا بِمُخْرَجِينَ

48. No weariness will ever touch them there, nor will they ever be expelled.

نَبِّىءْ عِبَادِي أَنِّي أَنَا الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

49. Tell My servants that I am the Forgiving, the Merciful

وَ أَنَّ عَذَابِي هُوَ الْعَذَابُ الأَلِيمَ

50. But My torment is truly painful


One way to reflect on the ayaat where Allah describes His Jannah is by comparing it to the reality of dunya. Here, what’s beautiful is that Allah (swa) lists one blessing after another for the believers to enjoy, without any separation between each one. In dunya, it’s possible you might come across a garden or beautiful hidden spring, but you may not be in peace internally or it may not be safe. In dunya, sometimes people carry around all sorts of negative feelings and resentment that can prevent them from truly enjoying a moment of peace, even if they are surrounded by beauty. A process of detailed planning and weariness often precedes any kind of travel to a nice destination, because of the nature of travel and our own stamina. Once we arrive, the experience may be wonderful in every way, but you still have to leave at some point. In Jannah, Allah (swa) tells us the believers get it all .. health, peace, safety, gardens, springs, brotherhood, Allah’s mercy and forgiveness, and it never ends. :) May Allah make us from them, and help us to love and appreciate every hint of Jannah we experience on earth, ameen.

-Fi Amanillah-