Monday, 20 June 2016

My Doors to Jannah

I long for your touch,
Your warm soft hands,
That would melt into mine,
Like feet when upon sand.
When I am sick,
I remember you,
And all those nights you
Stayed awake,
For my sake,
To sing me a lullaby,
So it would distract me from the pain.
And when I remember, I wish I did more.
I long for your presence,
Because, we could sit for a long time,
In silence,
Watching a football game,
Or marvelling at the sunrise on our way to school,
Yet still feel connected.
And when I remember, I wish I did more.
They say distance makes the hearts fonder,
That is definitely true.
But it also teaches you,
The significance of your presence,
Your warmth,
Your hug,
Your mercy,
Your care.
Because, though I will meet many people,
Who will love for me,
None can match the love you gave,
The effort it took to raise me,
To hold my hand and take me out to the
Big, bad world,
Equipping me
With the right tools and resources.
It was under your care I was shaded,
Till I eventually was set on my own journey,
To fulfil a greater potential and purpose,
Though it required us to separate.
There is nothing like a fathers protective wings,
And a mothers friiendship.
And so,
I just want to say,
Mum and dad,
However many miles you are from me today,
I will always do my best to serve you,
Through Du’aa,
Through a simple text,
Asking, “How are you today?”
Through serving my new family in the best way,
Because that is what you taught me to do.
My doors to Jannah,
My king and queen,
Wherever destiny takes us,

I will always love you.

Monday, 30 May 2016

My Du'aa List: A Guide On How To Organise Your Du'aas This Ramadhan

Du'aa has played a huge part in my life. It's been my ultimate weapon to fight the doubts, the fears, and the confusion amidst the tests of life. There's been moments in my life, when I felt misunderstood, lost, and my thoughts were one big muddled up mess, yet, by pouring them out in sujood, to my Maker, the One who understood even my silence or my whispers, I felt rejuvenated and relieved. There's been times in my life when I've been on a crossroad, not knowing which road to take, which decision to make; all the emotions were overwhelming, yet Du'aa helped me make the correct decision, as I was able to talk to Allah, ask Him, rely upon Him, and express my deepest, darkest thoughts and doubts to Him. There's also times, when I could see no light at the end of the tunnel. Times when guilt crippled me, remorse paralyzed me, numbed me inwardly, yet somehow, He granted me the strength to muster up the courage to whisper, just whisper an external plea of help. A whisper that He heard, and so He came running to assist me, comfort me and grant me hope when I thought all hope was lost.

Du'aa is indeed a miracle. A gift bestowed upon mankind. A strong weapon of a believer to help Him fight the enemies within and the enemies outside. 

When we hear the word, ‘Ramadhan’, we instantly think of the Qur’an. As much as Ramadhan is a month of Qur’an, since it was in this month that the revelation was given to the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) in the cave of Hira - it is also a month of Du’aa since that is the essence of worship. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) himself said: “Du’aa is the essence Ibaadah.”

Also, in the Qur’an, sandwiched between the ayah of Ramadhan and the ayah of fasting, is an ayah just on Du’aa, (ayahs 185, 6 and 7 in Surah Baqarah). Yes, right in between! What does this teach us? That Ramadhan is centered around the essence of Ibaadah; Du’aa. For every act of worship we perform is a reminder of our neediness towards Allah. And what do we do when we have a need? When we’re feeling the pangs of hunger? When someone has hurt us but we have to suppress our feelings and control are tongue as to not waste the reward of our fast? We turn to Allah. We ask Him. And that’s when we find contentment, reassurance and hope..

In this post, I want to give you an insight into the way I usually write-up my Du'aa list, in the hopes that you may also benefit and create your own Du'aa book, list - whatever you want to call it :)

So, here goes.

Firstly, you will need to gift yourself (or if you're married then use your wifey tricks to get your husband to buy you one ;), a beautiful book or journal - preferably something that can slip into your jacket pocket or won't take up ample room in your handbag. If you're someone who isn't a fan of books, then you can always use an online tool or mobile app. I recommend evernote, since you can use it both from your mobile and your computer/laptop. 

The reason why I placed this as number one, when you're most probably thinking it hasn't anything to do with Du'aa, is because, I feel, many of us will invest money and time in buying cool stationary when we're about to begin our school/uni year, but rarley give it a thought when it comes to anything spiritual or related. Rather, we're okay to attend talks with scraps of paper that we found in the corridor on our way out because we were running later for the local masjid halaqah!

For me personally, every notebook I own, and especially my journal is a reflection of who I am and what I love. My personal journal, in which I write my dairy, is pink, flowery with lots of pearls and swirls. It's what I like. It reflects my personality. Similarly, my Du'aa book reflects my love for Du'aa, how I find it such a beautiful gift from Allah, and thus (see picture below) I picked a mini, purple and gold notebook to store all those things I want to ask from Allah.

In short, it sets the mood and really makes you, (well me for sure!) excited to jot down all my dreams and goals and transform them into beautiful Du'aas.

Secondly, categorize your Du'aa list. Now I don't mean categorize them by colour (though if you like your colourful Stabilo pens like me, then by all means - got for it!). But I mean separating your Du'aas under the following sections:

  1. Dunya
  2. Akhirah
  3. Spirituality
  4. Others
  5. Superstars

In the dunya category, note down all those Du'aas pertaining to things you want in this world. For example, a child, to enter a particular study program, to visit a particular place or to be granted a job you desire. Remember, as long as what you are asking for is good and permissible, then don't shy away from asking. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) said: Verily your Lord is Generous and Shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him (in supplication) He becomes shy to return them empty." (Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi)

The second category, write down all those Du'aas related to the next life. Think and reflect on the Du'aas whilst you write them. Be specific if you want to, but remember Allah can give you anything, even that which is beyond your scope of imagination. Don't write down that you only want Jannah but that you want to enter the highest stations of Jannah with your family and loved ones. Other Du'aas under this section include asking for protection from hellfire, intercession of Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wasallam), the shade of Allah etc. 

The third category is, others. It includes all the Du'aas for family, friends, shuyookh, people who have requested duaas, the oppressed and needy - they all go under this title. It is also a good habit to write down a person's name every time they ask you to make Du'aa for them. That way, you are not saying yes and then forgetting about it, but you are showing that you care enough about the person to do what you can to remember to say a prayer for them.

Then comes, spirituality. This is to do with your heart. So istighfar, dhikr, asking Allah for guidance, for cleansing and purification, for steadfastness and the 3 i's - ikhlaas, istiqaamah and ihsaan. It all falls under that category. Sometimes our hearts feel dirty and rusty and heavy and so we turn to Allah begging Him to cleanse us, to purify us and strengthen us. Asking Allah for pardon or for an increase in knowledge, or for the ability to memorise and ponder over His words, all comes under spirituality. It's all those things you ask Allah for that are related to taking care of your Imaan and your heart.

Finally, the Superstars. This category involves you writing down your top 5 duaas, perhaps you can take one from each category, or write down something you really, really want at the point in your life. Maybe its a dream or goal. Write it down and next to it write the means you are taking to make it a reality - and then Du'aa like mad.

Hope, certainty and trust in Allah's decree are three things that will push you to keep making that Du'aa.

Becuase you hope for something, you are certain that He will respond to your hopes and wishes and you trust that if He doesn't grant you what you asked for, or wrote down, He will grant you better than it - something better for both your Dunya and Akhirah.

Seize the opportunities this Ramadhan, by creating a Du'aa list and noting down the times from the Sunnah wjhere your Du'aa has a higher probability of being answered. Amongst them are:

- After tashahhud
- Tahajjud: Last third of the night
- After you make Wudhu'
- Upon breaking your fast
- Anytime whilst fasting!
- Time of rainfall
- Between Adhaan and Iqaamah
- Sa'at al Istijabah: Last hour of 'Asr on a Friday

And always remember, Du'aa is the essence of Ibaadah, it is your superpower and the most powerful weapon you carry. 

“O my servants, were the first of you and last of you, the human of you and jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request from me, and were I to give everyone what they requested, that would not decrease what I have anymore than a needle decreases the sea if put into it.” [Sahih Muslim]

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

When Anger Turns Inward

Some people express their anger and frustration externally. They shout, they point fingers at other people person, they get physical and lash out. Then there are some people who express those same emotions inwardly. They blame themselves, they beat themselves up until the emotions begin to eat them up from the inside, all the while they don't speak. But inside, the temperature is rising and boiling, their hearts are hurting.

Anger is just like any emotion we experience; sadness, guilt or even happiness. It is our circumstances or situations that trigger it. To feel anger is beyond our control, but how we react to it is within our control. That is why the Sunnah of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) is perfect and beautiful. It understands the psychological, physical and spiritual state of the human and it gives solution that takes care of all three.


1. The first advice of the Prophet (s) was for the angry person to say: "'Aoodhu billahiminashaytaan irajeem." By saying this, we are reminding ourself that the anger is a fuel and tool of the Shaytaan to make us lose control of our senses. And so we are instantly reminded who the real enemy is. Shaytaan. This helps us psychologically, so that our anger doesn't express itself externally (blaming others and hurting them) and internally (blaming ourselves and consequently beating ourselves up).

2. Changing position. If standing, one should sit, and if sitting, one should lie down: Note how here our physical state is being taken care of. When angry, the blood is rushing through our body and our muscles are tense, this makes it easier for us to react physically with our hands or other limbs.
Changing position helps us cool down, allows the blood flow to slow down and the heart beat to stop racing. It prevents one from acting in manner that he she will regret later.

3. It is narrated by Imaam Ahmed that the Prophet (s) also advised: "A person should remain silent." An angry person is like a semi-unconcious or sleeping person, he is not fully present or aware of the here and now. In his or her mind, so many thoughts are racing, of things that happened, questions about why they happened, confusion and so it is so easy for them to speak their mind without being fully aware of the consequences of their words. Swallowing (literally swallow, it actually helps!) ones words, taking some space, digesting the thoughts and feelings and them coming back to communicate the feelings is the best way to combat anger according to the sunnah.

4. Make Wudhu: How does it feel when you've been walking miles and miles under the hot sun? your baked to the crisp but then you come home up, pull off your abayah and make Wudhu in cold or cool water? "Aaaaaah" Yup, that's exactly how it feels. :) This spiritual act of making Wudhu cools the mind, body and soul and helps bring you back to the senses.

It's amazing when you truly reflect on how Islam helps us in every aspect of our lives and reduces any harm we may impose on ourself or others.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

How it feels to be a real Musaafirah

I remember, when I first set up my blog, I spent ages deciding a name for it. I was so indecisive. What possibly could I title my blog and how could that one title sum up everything I would be writing about? Then it hit. Musaafirah. The Traveller. I not only liked the name because it sounded good, but I chose it especially for two reasons:

Firstly, I realised how everything in this world is temporary. That it will come to and end. And thus it is not the place to settle and invest in, but rather a place we should view as part of our journey as travellers. We are just passing by. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) summed this up for us in a hadith, where he said: “What do I have to do with this worldly life? I and this worldly life are but like a traveller who stopped for a little while under a tree to get some shade and then moved on.” (Recorded in Ahmad)

Secondly, I always dreamt of travelling to different places. I would often become consumed with wanderlust and have a strong longing and desire to travel and visit different places to marvel at the beauty of the creation of Allah. I felt like there was so much to see, taste, smell, admire, reflect upon in this world - signs all around us, and so I hoped that one day I would actually taste being an actual musaafirah. Hopping from one place to another to see the beauty of Allah’s creation.

Alhamdulilah, slowly I’m seeing that dream unfold into a reality. In the past month or two, I’ve been constantly on the move. Travelling from one country to another, returning to my home, then having to make another move to another city, whilst commuting between two cities to visit family etc. All this travelling has been making me reflect on how it feels to be an actual Musaafirah, and how this feeling is helping me in my relationship with Allah and my attachment to things, people and places.

For those who know me well, I am someone who used to get deeply attached to experiences, moments, people and places. I was the one who would recall memories with tears streaming down my face wandering what happened, why things changed. It took me an entire year to get over my Umrah trip because I didn’t understand why it had to come to an end. I missed who I was and how I felt - the spiritual high. I was also the one who would walk into the Masjid on Eid day, under dressed (because your supposed to dress up on Eid right!), and I would be teary-eyed (nothing new) because I felt so depressed that Ramadhan had left. I kept getting attached over and over again and and this was hurting me and more more.

That is until very recently. In the past couple of years, Allah has been teaching me to keep my heart attached to Him alone. Yes, I’ve had to learn the hard way, and yes I still do get attached now too, but, I’m aware when it happens and thus know that changes needs to be made to put my heart back to where it belongs. 

All this travelling to and from in recent weeks have meant that I had to pack my entire life in one suitcase and since a suitcase could only hold so much, it meant I only could take what is necessary. Even in my new home, I leave everything in my suitcase as I know the stay at that accommodation is only temporary as we will be moving again.

And you know, it’s truly teaching me. My heart is being tamed through this experience. There are a few reflections I’ve had that I’ve been wanting to jot down about what travelling so far, has taught me:

- We own more than necessary - I am guilty of this. When I open my suitcase on a daily basis, I find in there the things I absolutely need. One or two sweaters for when it’s chilly, one long dress, one pair of trousers. No extras. Yet, when I was in my parents home, my wardrobes would be filled with excess clothes that I wouldn’t even wear often and it made me realise how, the things we own are not always things we need, but things we desire and want. And everytime we desire something, we get it. There is nothing wrong with having possessions and wanting things, but too often we fall into excessiveness and every time we do, we don’t realise it, but slowly our hearts begin to become attached to materialism and slowly our hunger for possessions grows till it consumes and fills our hearts. 

- It’s not about things - There are some things money can’t buy. Like experiences, like an understanding friend, spouse or family members. You could live in a small two-bedroom house, but have an understanding family and well-mannered children, and that would mean more to you than all the valuables of the world. That’s because life can be lived simply and the purpose of life isn’t to work so we can spend. It is to work hard so we can provide for our family, so we can love and give to others, and so we can fulfil the responsibilities Allah has bestowed upon us.

- Attach your heart only to Allah - This is never an easy thing to do. Even I have just hit the tip of the iceberg. There’s more beneath the surface that I am yet to delve into. But if anything, travelling really instils this in you. It detaches you from places, things and people because you eventually have to leave it all behind. The memories, the smells, the tastes, and even the way you felt at that particular moment. And it’s never easy. For myself, moving from one city to another was difficult. Whilst I packed to begin a new chapter, I also packed memories away. Memories of my life as a single woman, memories of childhood - even the little things. I had to detach myself from it all and move on. And it was then that this truth hit home. I realised my heart didn’t belong to a people, if it did, how come I no longer was under my parents responsibility? I realised, my heart didn’t belong to a place, if it did, why would I return to my home after a long holiday (plus honeymoon)? I realised, my heart didn’t belong to a moment, because change is the only constant thing in life.

Now I’m beginning to feel like a real Musaafirah and it’s helping me realise that no matter where in the world He takes us, if His remembrance remains alive within our hearts, then He will be with us wherever we may be, wherever destiny takes us.

Friday, 29 April 2016

The Buddy Bench

I remember painting the buddy bench,
With my own two hands,
The teacher said it should be bright,
Like the colours of the rainbow.

The buddy bench was a unique bench,
Designed for victims,
Like me,
Who were bullied for their height, sensitivity
And sometimes, even ethnicity.

The buddy bench was for those,
Who had no one by their side,
Whose pain and hurt didn’t hide,
Nor did it subside.

The buddy bench was supposed to help assist,
Those bullied or hurt or abused,
It was supposed to be a place where you’d find,
People who wanted to comfort and console.

The buddy bench was where I’d retreat,
When the hurt from my ‘friends’,
Landed me in defeat.
It was the place I’d sit, 
Looking for a friend or an understanding soul,
Yet, they all laughed,
“Look at her, she’s all alone!

The buddy bench overtime, became rusted and old,
I stopped going,
Decided that suffering in silence,
Would make them think I was 
Brave and bold.

At least, even if I was a victim, no one would know,
The laughter would stop,
No longer would my helplessness show.

Because, the bullies never truly understood,
The pain they caused,
And so their hateful words,
Their name-calling, their threats,
Never paused.

But as I grew, as I blossomed,
As I became more aware,
I realised that God would not place me,
In a situation I couldn’t bear.
I become stronger, more faithful,
More confident in my skin,
I was determined not to let them win.

So I went to speak to someone in authority,
Who after discipling the bullies,
Arranged us tea parties -
If a month went by and no one had bullied.
We would all be invited,
To celebrate a victory.

Over time, I learnt,
To speak out, and not suffer in silence,
I learnt to forgive, to give them another chance,
I learnt that taking the first step, lies in our own hands,
I learnt that the buddy bench taught me that I was strong,
When so many were afraid to admit they had been wronged.

I learnt that so many bullies had been bullied themselves,
I learnt that scars fade but don’t truly mend.

But most importantly,
I learnt that God has a plan,
I learnt to find solace in Him, when all had turned their back
I learnt that ease would follow hardship,
I learnt that anyone could be a target,
Even if they look big and strong,
I learnt that never should bullying be tolerated,
Whatever the form,
And that the sunshine will always appear,

After the storm.

Monday, 11 April 2016

The Worshipping Wife

She applies the kohl in the waterline of her eyes, curls her lashes with some mascara and fills her lips with a pinkish colour. She is a worshipper.

She picks out a rustic blue kurti and rummages through her wardrobe for her denim jeans that match perfectly with it. She is a worshipper.

She ensures her body is clean and her clothes are scented with sweet-smelling perfume, one which he himself had gifted her. She is a worshipper.

She wakes up in the early hours to dust the bed sheets, cook the food and organise her possessions. She is a worshipper.

She waits at the door with a smile on her face, embraces him with a huge hug after his long day at work. She is a worshipper.

She sits on her prayer mat counting her blessings and asking Allah to bless this sacred role that had been bestowed upon her. She is a worshipper.

Marriage opens more doors and opportunities to worship Allah in ways you never may have done before. From the make up you apply, to the smile you wear for your husband. All these are acts of Ibaadah. However, it is not limited to marriage alone. The smile on your face when your father walks in from work, the dishes you wash whilst your mother rests, the time you spend with siblings having some halal banter, is all an act of Ibaadah. Sometimes all it takes is a change of intention. As the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) said in a famous hadith, "Actions are but by intentions and everyone will get what was intended."

Saturday, 9 April 2016

A New Beginning

Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabaraktuhu,

So it's been quite a while since I last wrote anything here. I've been taking a much-needed break from the world of social media, firstly because it was lonnnng overdue and secondly, because I recently got married, wa lilahil hamd. :) I'm only 2 weeks into my marriage yet there are so many things I've learnt, felt, and have adapted to. So many new changes, people, places, feelings, emotions, sights, scenes, smells, tastes, that I could go on writing about it all! However, I've been having certain reflections, related to marriage and also related to change that I wanted to share here.

My husband's family live in the middle-east, in Dubai, so I am here on a visit, currently sitting on a cosy couch listening to the sound of chirping budgies nearby and the occasional aeroplane flying above whilst typing away and munching on chocolate and butter cookies :)

So what's been on my mind?

Let me begin with change. Is it not  amazing how your life can change in the split second? It took two words, a signature and khalas, the tables had turned. I was no longer single, but married, I was no longer part of a one family, but two, who are my own. I was no longer associated with one country or city or place, but two - my birth country but also the country I would be situating to. One of my friends once told me that change is the only constant thing in life. How true that is. Sometimes we get so comfortable in where we are in life that we forget life is constantly changing, always moving. It's change that helps us detach ourself from people, things, situations and places so that we can attach ourselves completely to Allah; so that no matter where in the world He takes us, His remembrance remains alive within our hearts. He is with us wherever we may be, wherever destiny takes us.

Secondly, I've been contemplating on the name Al-Wahhab and Ar-Razzaq. Both myself and my husband are students. I am in my second year of uni and he is in is first. We don't have an income coming in. But we married for the sake of Allah, *with* the certainty and trust in Allah that He would provide for us. Allah says in the Qur'an, "And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing." (24:32) By Allah, you will receive provision if you have this tawakkul. I am seeing it with my own eyes. The way Allah has provided through means of gifts from generous souls, through means of our parents and family. When there is a will, there is always a way and if you have faith, then Allah will facilitate and make easy that way for you. Our financial status or position or even our age should not hinder us from marriage if we are ready to commit to this beautiful and sacred bond and if we are ready to shoulder the responsibility that comes with marriage.

Thirdly, there is something special about living in a Muslim country. There are so many things I can mention but a few stand out to me. The first is hearing the Adhaan being called five times a day. The other day, I was taking a stroll with my husband when Maghrib Adhaan went off, just hearing the name of Allah being glorified from all directions was phenomenal. My heart felt alive. It also served as a huge reminder of our purpose in life. It's also very beautiful discovering new masaajids, there are so many masjids that when I ask my husband, "which masjid are we going to pray in today?" His reply, "Whichever masjid Allah decrees for us to pray in!" 

I am also humbled at the thought of being able to pray in different masjids because the different grounds we prayed on will testify for us on the DOJ. That in itself is a huge blessing.

Another beautiful thing about being in a Muslim country with stunning tourist attractions is watching the sunset at the beach. There is something about watching the day merge into the night. And its something that can't be described in words. It's a feeling that leaves you silently in awe of the creation of Allah. A feeling that makes your heart feel alive and connected and moved. Emotions that lift your spirits and reminds you of your true meaning and purpose of life. Allah is the Creator of all things. The sustainer of all things. Glory be to Him. The only words that escape our lifts when looking at such a sight is: SubhanAllahi wabihamdihi subhanAllahil Adheem.

Although so many changes have happened in my life, some days I am completely overcome with gratitude. I sit there thinking, what possibly could I do with this feeling of thanks? And then I remember the ayah, "And if you were to count the favours of Allah never would you be able to enumerate them." Alhamdulilah is all I can say. It is Allah who blesses the transitions we go through in life, it is He who makes it easy and it is He who will remain with us. Glory be to Him and all thanks is due to Him.

To be continued inshaAllah :)