Bittersweet

Some days
You’ll have a bitter taste in your mouth
From something someone said
Something someone didn’t say
A memory coming out of nowhere
The thought of a missed chance
The guilt of living too less
The guilt of living too much
The guilt, guilt, guilt, guilt
For anything and everything
And something and nothing
And more.

Some days, you’ll feel every atom in your soul
Weighing you down
From the guilt of existing.

And you’ll know how it really tastes
To be alive.

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Campfire

You
are like
sitting by a campfire
in the darkest of nights
and the softest of breezes.
As warm as I could get
yet not warm enough.
And as I slowly drown in this cosiness
i know i can never get too close
without burning myself.

The Mercy Behind Allah’s Commands

When we hear a religious rule, the first thing we tend to ask is “How does this help me?” Apologetics are always busy explaining how every rule has a social or personal benefit.

“Zakah is the fastest way to remove poverty.”
“Salah is like meditation, it brings calm to your mind.”
“Hijab prevents people from objectifying you and putting your looks above your character.”
“Wine or narcotics are haram so that society can have less crimes and chaos.”
“Look at the trillions of dollars of worldwide debt because of interest based finances. No wonder it’s haram.”

Yes, all of that is true and that’s great. BUT, these are not the main reasons we have these commands from Allah. These are side effects. Added benefits.

The reason behind every ibadah is one and the same – our Lord told us.
Nothing less, nothing more.
The one who created us so perfectly, placed us in this perfect universe and gave us everything we need in life and more – told us to do and not do certain things. By following these, we prove our submission to our Creator, express our loyalty and gratitude to Him. BUT out of His mercy, each of these commands ALSO happen to have certain benefits – whether physical, spiritual, or social. Do you realize the magnitude of this? It’s definitely not something to take for granted!

We could have been told to kill ourselves after reaching a certain age. To eat the most bitter leaves that grow on earth (thank God eating korolla isn’t sunnah or fard :v ). To give away our kids to monks or leave them in jungles to fend for themselves. To live on only insects. To cut off a finger every 10 years. To live without houses. To become vegetarians for life (oh mannn, imagine no meat). He could have forbidden people from growing long hair. Forbidden marrying outside the extended family.

Not just Islam, barely did any of the originally divine religions – Christianity, Judaism, etc have commandments that harmed the society or person. What greater proof is there of the Mercy of Allah? Because even if we had rules like this, we would still have to obey those. But He made it easier for us. He made the acts of submission towards Him a means of a better society, a better relationship with family, and a better life in general.

“Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship”

– Surah Baqarah, 2:185

So the next time you seek the *reason* behind a rule, stop yourself. Allah does not have to justify His commands to you. Rather seek the mercy behind that rule. Seek the Love behind each and everything our Lord tells us to do. You’ll be amazed.

 

Quran Journal #1: Surah Kahf 18:28

KAHF_28

Okay,  I’m attempting to start a new series (inner me: haha here we go again), which I hope to write at least once per week. This will be about any ayah(s) I come across which deeply influences me, or makes me feel that it needs to be written about. Bismillah!

Why this ayah hit me like a truck:

Since the start of university (which was about 6 months ago), I have had a massive downfall in terms of good company. Most of the friends (lol friends?) I made are not particularly religious. Or even believers. At first I thought – well that’s always been the case and what could really go wrong? I’m a strong independent minded human who is NOT affected by other people’s thoughts or views. Hah, guess what Shaytan, you were (as usual) wrong. I did start to get influenced by everyone else’s astaghfirullah mindsets. As if my iman wasn’t low enough, I now have newer, stronger, shinier issues deep down inside my heart. Did NOT see that coming. Hey, fitnah, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE BRO?

So this week I read this ayah – which I usually skim over, cause it makes me feel guilty (meta conscience in action, damn) – and I realized i REALLY need to make some changes. Okay, I think that exact thought twice per typical day and then keep going without making any changes (ermm..) but THIS time it’s different. Because I’m writing about it. On my blog. Nuff said. (Yess that’s the secret to success, my boiz. Writing public posts stating your vague personal issues.)

Actions to be taken in shaa Allah:

  • Cut down talking too much to people who don’t have meaningful contribution in my life
  • The world sucks. Do not crave it. I repeat DO NOT CRAVE THE WORLD, IT SHALL BREAK YOU.
  • Stop wanting material things that others have. It’s never as good as it looks wallah.
  • Try to get more practicing friends.
  • Stay off social media as much as possible.
  • m o r e    i b a d a h

Now let me go back to reading the novel about jinn and hackers. Salaam.

The Paradox of Everchanging Truths – Why I’m Not Ashamed of My Beliefs

I was reading a Harry Potter fan fiction where Harry is a “rationalist” – in all implications of the word’s present day definition – and tries to justify every new thing he learns in the magic world from the point of his existing knowledge and beliefs. When something doesn’t fit, he upgrades/modifies his beliefs and theories (note to wannabe rationalists who “blindly” follow certain schools of thought). This one quote suddenly hit me hard, and i just had to write *something* about it. I haven’t written in a while so excuse my jumbled thoughts.

Professor McGonagall’s eyes were alight. “After you graduate, or possibly even before, you really must teach some of these Muggle theories at Hogwarts, Mr. Potter. They sound quite fascinating, even if they’re all wrong.”

So here McGonagall casually says that Harry’s muggle theories (i.e years of human acquired knowledge) are obviously wrong. He had been talking about some good stuff, like causality and temporal order (a cause having to occur *before* its effect, in the observable timeline), and Turing Computations (going back into a defined moment of the past and computing a different future from there) and things like that. He couldn’t explain the Time Turner based on his existing knowledge of how cause and effect works. So he accepted that it could work backwards too – something that happens *later* in time might control something that happened *before* it.

See, whenever we read or hear about something that doesn’t make sense according to our established scientific theories, we immediately dismiss the phenomenon as “impossible” or just fantasies made up by humans or superstitions. Or religion. While that is true in many cases, it doesn’t always have to be. There could be – and quite definitely are – laws that are beyond our understanding yet. For all we know, all the basic scientific theories we know now could be false in some way, or at least *incomplete* – which is why they fail to explain many things.

The mind projection fallacy, as described by physicist and Bayesian philosopher E. T. Jaynes, says that that if you are ignorant about a phenomenon, that is a fact about your own state of mind, not a fact about the phenomenon itself; your uncertainty is a fact about you, not a fact about whatever you are uncertain about; gnorance exists in the mind, not in reality; a blank map does not correspond to a blank territory.

In this particular book the people of the magic world know for a fact that most muggle theories are wrong, and hence they have no problem accepting the reality of magic. Meanwhile Harry Potter, a sort of child prodigy back in the muggle world, just CANNOT come to terms with the apparent unbelievable-ness of magic world laws – which allow things like time turning, mind control, trapping a “large space” inside a “small space”, etc.

The lesson to take from this is, just because we don’t find something believable, doesn’t always mean it is false. We are a species that’s SO arrogant that we are never ready to believe anything that the currently most-credible institution in human society hasn’t declared believable. In the present world this institution is Western rationalist science. For a long time this institution was the Church (which followed different interpretations at different times, based on what suited the current emperor). During Moses’s time (ancient Egypt) it was the Pharaoh. Sometimes it was aristocrats, sometimes philosophers. Keeps changing, is the point.

The only constant throughout history is that we were always too arrogant to think outside the box. Pre-Copernicus scientists were too arrogant to believe that the earth wasn’t at the center of everything. 18th century biologists were too arrogant to believe that plants have life. Descartes was too arrogant to believe that atoms couldn’t be broken down. Hume was too arrogant to believe in the existence of anything we can not see. Non-Darwinians are too arrogant to believe in evolution. Darwinians are too arrogant to disbelieve in evolution. Present day rationalists are too arrogant to believe in the existence of a soul, or an intelligent designer of everything in the universe. Present day scientists are too arrogant to believe in anything that doesn’t show up in existing man-made measurement devices. And on and on and on.

The point is, we think we know. At every point in history, we thought we knew. And this, the present, is also a point in our history. That’s the part we always forgot.

And that is why when someone asks me how I believe in such “backdated, flawed” theories i.e Islamic beliefs (and that too, as a conscious decision) – I can’t expect them to understand what they’re too arrogant to understand. Yes, I believe in divine entities, higher dimensions, eternal consequences, an intelligent designer, and much more. I believe in a bigger reality. And I’m not ashamed of it.

.

.

[Reference: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, by Eliezer Yudkowsky]

Horses and Dreams

There are so many things I have to tell you.
Like how I rode a horse this morning
How it almost jumped off the bridge we were crossing
How good it felt to hold on to its smooth mane
And to recover from the anticipation of falling.
How disappointed I was when I woke up
How shaken I was at the realness of the dream
How I can still feel it’s smooth neck
Brushing against my tensed skin.

There are so many dreams I have to tell you about
Dreams that no one cares about
Dreams only you would hear about
Dreams that help me go on
Even on sunless mornings.

Like that one time I was looking for a key
Hidden under layers of reality
On some cold night covered with vivid constellations.
And under the stars I felt like I saw you.
And although I couldn’t remember how you looked
You’d never looked more perfect or true.

Someday I will tell you all about these
All about every thing I ever dreamed
While your eyes get​ heavy with sleep
Your voice gets blurry and weak
And we’ll dream together
Of all the horses
We never rode.

Arabic poetry #2

العالم هو غريب
و كل الناس عجيب
ولكن انت
كنت وراء الجميع

The world is strange
And all people are marvelous
But you,
You are beyond all.

My Favorite Shortcut To A Good Quality Salah

Want a shortcut to boosting the quality of your salah?

Memorize some new ayahs from the Quran. It can be just 3-4 tiny ayahs from the 30th juz. Or an entire surah. Anything.

Now pray your salah with the newly memorized ayahs after surah Fatiha (the minimum is 3 ayahs).

If you’ve done this before then you already know how incredible it feels. It’s not the same anymore. The effort your brain gives to keep the recitation correct drowns out all those unwanted distractions. You are literally forced to focus, without the strain of deliberately trying to focus.

The rush you feel…the warmth flowing through your body…the longing to linger on…how long have you been waiting for this? Every new word feels like an adventure! This is what keeps me going on the really, really bad days.

Trust me, it’s totally, totally worth trying.

That’s How The Quran Starts

In the first ayah of the Quran – Bismillahir rahmaanir raheem – the first letter is “Ba”. Here the “Ba” can have two meanings – isti’aanah (seeking help) and Musaahabah (seeking closeness/companionship).

  1. “In” the name of Allah – implies seeking help from Allah
  2. “With” the name of Allah – implies wanting the closeness/companionship of Allah SWT

So just this one letter defines our relationship with our Lord – the one we seek help from, and the one whose closeness and company we absolutely need.

That’s how the Quran starts.

[Heard the concept in Tafsir Surah Fatiha by Asim Khan]

10 Everyday Sunnahs We Need to Bring Back

10everydaysunnahsFINAL

 

1. Saying Bismillah or Salam When Entering The House

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:

“If a person mentions the name of Allah upon entering his house or eating, Satan says, addressing his followers: ‘You will find nowhere to spend the night and no dinner.’ But if he enters without mentioning the Name of Allah, Satan says (to his followers); ‘You have found (a place) to spend the night in, and if he does not mention the Name of Allah at the time of eating, Satan says: ‘You have found (a place) to spend the night in as well as food.”‘ [Muslim]

2. The Right Side Rule

`A’isha relates that the Prophet (SAW) used to like to start with the right side when putting on his sandals, combing his hair, engaging in his ritual purifications, and in all of his activities.

When entering the house, wearing shoes or socks, putting on clothes and other such activities – the sunnah is to start from the right side. And when doing lowly or despicable acts like istinja’, removing clothes, entering the toilet etc – the sunnah is to use or start with the left limb.

3. Eating Less (One-third At Max)

Miqdam bin Madikarib said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) say:

‘A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.’” [Ibn Majah]

4. Musafaha – Shaking Hands

It is sunnah to shake hands with when you meet someone of the same gender. It is one of those remarkable sunnah practices many of us don’t know about, or tend to forget. Science says that a simple touch can lower stress and release oxytocin – bringing about a feeling of trust, connection and other positive vibes. No wonder the Prophet (SAW) practiced this habit and thus left this valuable tradition for the Muslim ummah!

5. Sending Salawaat Upon The Prophet After The Adhan

It is reported that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said:

“When you hear the Mu’adhdhin, repeat what he says, then invoke a blessing on me, for everyone who invokes a blessing on me will receive ten blessings from Allah.” [Reported by Muslim]

We should recite the durood after the adhaan ends.

6. Taking A Nap At Mid-day

The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Take a nap, for the Shayateen do not take naps.” [At-Tabarani, Al-Sahihah, no. 2647]

A short afternoon nap, known as Qailulah, is a well-known Sunnah of our Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Instead of oversleeping in the morning or napping in the late-afternoon, following this remarkable Sunnah of taking a nap at midday – a time when our bodies and minds just start to get exhausted – would ensure much more efficiency from us and help us avoid a grumpy day.

7. Using Miswak

Ibn Umar (Ra) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Make a regular practice of the Miswak, for verily, it is healthy for the mouth and it is a Pleasure for the Creator (i.e. Allah is pleased with the Muslim who uses the Miswaak).” [Bukhari]

Let’s try to replace our toothbrushes with the miswak and reap the blessings of this highly recommended Sunnah!

8. Dhikr Before Sleeping

The Prophet (SAW) instructed his daughter Fatima and her husband Ali (may Allah be pleased with them) to say before sleeping: Subhanallah (33 times), Alhamdulillah (33 times), Allahu Akbar (34 times) [Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi]. Besides, we should make istighfar and recite ayatul Kursi and the recommended surahs, like Surah Mulk, before sleeping. The Prophet would hold his palms together, recite Surah Ikhlas, Falaq and Nas, then spit into his palms and wipe over his entire body as much as possible with his palms.

9. Duha Prayer

The Prophet (SAW) said, “In the morning, charity is due on every joint of the body of every one of you. Every utterance of Allah’s Glorification (saying Subhan Allah) is an act of charity, every utterance of His Praise (saying Al-hamdu lillah) is an act of charity, every utterance of declaration of His Greatness (saying Laa ilaaha illa Allah) is an act of charity, and every utterance of declaration of His Power (saying Allah Akbar); and enjoining M`aruf (good) is an act of charity, and forbidding Munkar (evil) is an act of charity, and two Rak`ats of Duha Prayers which one performs in the forenoon is equal to all this (in reward).” [Muslim]

It is two rakahs of supererogatory Sunnah prayer to be prayed in the morning, any time after the sun has risen but before noon.

10. Greeting Children With Salaam

We talk about the importance of spreading the salaam so often, yet disregard or overlook its value when it comes to children.

Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that he passed by some children and greeted them. Then he said: “Messenger of Allah (SAW) used to do the same.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Let’s start as many as we can right away. Life is short and, as we all know, every sunnah counts!

Dark Matter

You’re a pixelated reality
A handful of insanity
A trigger to some vanity
The unuttered profanity
That threatens inhumanity
An uncalled for calamity
That drills through my sanity
Falls before no immunity
And pulls stronger than gravity
Drenched in its naïvity
And merciless audacity
A rebel ‘gainst felicity
A display of monstrosity.
A people-less community.
The darkest part of this dark city.

Like dark matter
You shatter
My gravity.

tumblr_o3yy8lgepl1qg7vr2o1_1280

The quote on the bookmark says, “A thousand miles begins with a single step.”
What better place to start?

The Shift

And one day,
Something changed.
Something in the universe shifted.
As if a long forgotten veil had been lifted.
The winds seemed to shiver in awe
Of the new life she had been gifted.
No one else noticed.
No one had to know.
Perhaps it was the soft, ultrasonic laughter of the angels
At the mighty way their Lord answered a shabbily constructed dua
Of a slave drowning in sins.

The Perfect Piece Of Memory

My eleven year old hand frantically swishes the mouse around
As the pixelated face of Harry Potter bobs around the computer screen
Both of us trying to remember the next spell
Both of us stuck in the surrealness of our perfect worlds.
10 points for Gryffindor, announces my stereo soundboxes.
I pause the game to tell my sister that I’ve made it through the “tough level”
And save the moment in my head as a perfect memory.

A dark skinny boy dressed in a superman costume
Stands at the edge of my bed
As his red cape defies gravity
I explain to him what to say whenever anyone enters the room.
This is going to be the best party in my life, I think to myself
Not knowing that would get accepted as a prayer.
All these years down, superman never visits anymore.
I hear he’s doing quite well
Coping with studies and incurable disorders that make him weak to the bones.
I wish I had kept his cape when he left
But all I have is a perfect memory.

I stand in front of my front row bench
Waiting for the next teacher to come.
At the other side of the classroom a guy sharpens a pencil
And just when it is sharp enough
He decides that it never was a pencil
But a rocket that deserves to tour the length of the classroom
And before I know
I have a pencil sized rocket Slashing my right cheek
Just missing the eye.
Just a little cut, the teacher says.
And now every time I look into the mirror and notice the tiny scar that not even my mother knows about
I smile at the irony
Of how perfect the memory is.

I stand on the concrete floor of the school field
My large eyed and perfectly ponytailed friend calls me over
A ritual is about to take place.
On the count of three, five fists bump against each other
And the field echoes back our unflinching oath
“Best friends forever.”
Forever.
And now every time I tell someone that forever is the most delusional word
I crunch my forehead skin
In a failed attempt at blocking the perfect memory.

My first jab at Arabic poetry

(This is probably full of grammatical mistakes but…I got four sentences to rhyme, in a language I hardly know, lol)

هذه الغابة ليست على النار
ليس عل النجوم خمار
لم ترك الريح اثار
ولكن القلب يريد الفرار

Translation:
This forest isn’t on fire
There’s no veil over the stars
The wind hasn’t left traces
Yet the heart wants to flee.

Dhikr

Dhikr

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