What are you?

A fantasy, a desire, hope?
A tear from the past?
A little glimpse of light,
that helps me go on.
What are you, but ….
Just a dua, uttered from the deepest part of my heart,
in the darkest hours of night?

Diary excerpt October 2018

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Futile Efforts

What’s written upon the heart,
Was never yours,
To write,
Or to erase.
These are God’s decisions,
He writes,
He erases,
According to His wisdom,
According to His wishes.

“and know that Allaah comes in between a person and his heart” [al-Anfaal 8:24]

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Betrayal​

Bismillah.

Narrated Ibn Abbas (Radia Allaahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “….. Seventy thousand (of this nation) shall enter Paradise without reckoning, and he said (describing them): ‘Those people are those who do not (ask others to) treat them with Ruqyah, nor do they believe in bad or good omen, nor do they get themselves branded (cauterized), but they put their trust (only) in their Lord.’”[Al-Bukhari, Book of Medicine]

“My goal”, he said to her, “is to be of those who enter Jannah without hisab”. 

She didn’t tell him, but that was one of the duas she made during every single prayer.

And yet, after several phone conversations, after weeks of speaking, after she’d been honest about every single aspect of her life to him, after they’d spoken to each other’s siblings, after the parents’ had been in communication … now he was telling her … now …

“I want my wife to not be in the same room as a non-mahram man, as I follow this too”.

She listened quietly, stunned. Her mind thinking back to all the times she’d talked about her extended family, her students, her cousins …

“Not even if it’s a family gathering, and my cousins are sitting there, with the parents and everyone?” she held her breath.

He stumbled with his words, and then said “Yes, not even with family there. I wouldn’t feel comfortable”. 

How had this conversation begun, you ask? It began because she sent him a screenshot of an Al Maghrib course she really wanted to attend. He hadn’t responded then. And now she sat here, having this phone conversation with him, 8 hours later.

Him telling her how he didn’t believe in these programs and instructors. He didn’t want her to listen to Al Maghrib or Al Bayyinah, all of these so-called scholars aren’t worth listening to. They’re deviants.

He knew she was taken aback because she’d spoken fondly of these teachers, and shared tidbits of wisdom she’d gathered. He hadn’t, not even once, said that he disapproved of them.

He had said in past conversations, “I want to give you the exact same home environment like the one in your parent’s home because I want you to be comfortable”. 

He went on and on and on. This conversation had been an hour and a half already, her phone told her as she looked down at it to check the time. He didn’t need her to say a word, he just continued.

Until, his speech was over and then he realized how quiet the line was, “M, are you still there?”. 

She couldn’t breathe, she was on the verge of tears. She had been typing on her phone diary as he had continued his speech, “Oh Allah, help me get through this, ameen. I’m so hurt right now”.

“Yea, I’m here. I need some time to think about this.” 

After exchanging the niceties she hung up. And she messaged him. She told him how hurt she was, and asked him why he hadn’t mentioned all this earlier when all of these things had already been discussed and he had hidden his perspectives.

He replied, “M, you are such a well-mannered person, I know it was my fault, I have been vague about these things. I just didn’t know how much to share.”

She had tears in her eyes, “S, if you trusted Allah, you would have been completely honest about everything, because you would know that whatever’s meant for you will never miss you.”

She waited as the screened displayed “typing …”

“I know, M, and that is something I’ve learned from you. I’m sorry.”

Tears, prayer matt, mom’s shoulder, crying.

Hadn’t he read the hadith properly, “…but they put their trust (only) in their Lord.’”[Al-Bukhari, Book of Medicine]

This man, who she thought was worth trusting because he dropped Ahadith and Verses of the Quran left, right, and center, he who had a fist length beard, he who spoke at length about gheerah, he who had told her he would relocate to her city just for her, he who told her she meant so much to him …

He had been dishonest with her, and told her he did so because essentially he didn’t trust God.

 

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An Answered Prayer

Bismillah.

Tuesdays are my long days. Wake up at 5:30 am. Usually get home around 6 pm. Around Zuhr my left foot started hurting. It was mild to begin with. By the end of the last lab of the day, I was limping.

Winter means, tall bulky boots. Praying maghrib was difficult. Got on the bus, switched over to the second bus. Phone battery was at 20%.

At this point, I’m thinking about how I will limp from the bus stop to home. It’s a 10 minute walk, and usually no trouble at all, but today, I could barely put my foot on the ground.

Internal dialogue:

I should make dua that brother picks me up from the bus stop.

But my battery is dying.

I don’t even know if he is home yet.

By the time I get to the stop battery will be dead.

I have no energy to call him.

What’s the point of making dua if I don’t put in the effort.

You know what, going to make dua anyway, what harm can it do?

“Oh Allah, allow S to pick me up from the bus stop, ameen”.

And then I fell asleep. I woke to my phone ringing. It was mom, “Beta where are you, do you want us to pick you up?”

Alhamdulilah bro picked me up. So grateful. ❤

Sometimes it’s the small fulfilled prayers that increase your faith and reinstall hope.

God is the all-hearing, As Sami, Al Mujeeb.

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Trustworthy?

Bismillah.

I’ve had some enlightening epiphanies in the past few weeks. Some slightly painful ones as well.

Trust.

Advice.

These are things that are so profound, to me at least. These are two things that I don’t take lightly, and up till now, I assumed that this was the norm. You do not go around offering advice without weighing out how it will impact the receiver’s life.

I get a lot of advice from people all the time, but I usually take it with a grain of salt. Unless it comes from a person I trust, in which case I take it acceptingly, and openly.

People tend to ask me for advice, and I’m so scared of misguiding others that I try to weigh things out, ponder upon them before I share them.

Recently, I’ve been shocked to know that people don’t do this, they just advice you with whatever comes to them in the moment without any prior thought put into it. Then they change their mind and tell you something completely opposite of the initial advice leaving you in shock.

Recently I was speaking to a prospect for marriage, and I decided to meet him. I went to see him with a friend. I thought the meeting went well except for a few hiccups (normal, I guess considering it was our first meeting). I took my friend with me because I trusted her, and thought it would help me gain objective advice from her.

After the meeting, she spent a substantial amount of time convincing me this person isn’t worth my time, and I “deserve better”. I think she was very focused on looks, which I’m shocked by, considering she’s also 30 years old. Not only did she tell me that she thinks he’s not that great, she even talked to my brother about it.

I don’t like leaving people hanging, so I prayed istikhara again that night and declined the proposal.

A few weeks later I got a text from my friend asking me how things were going with the prospect. I told her that based on her advice I had declined.

What she responded with shocked me. She told me that she had thought we would be good for each other, and that I shouldn’t be so picky as no one is perfect.

I was so dumbstruck, I honestly didn’t know how to deal with this situation. Later, I spoke to my brother and he said that I should confront her. I haven’t done that yet.

I believe that things just weren’t meant to be with this person for me. I prayed istikhara and God allowed things to fall over, so alhamdulilah. However, I’ve just really been shocked by my friend’s behavior and will not trust her with anything of this sort again.

I’ve another friend who was married to someone younger than her, and she would always ask me why I don’t consider men younger than me. I just find them a bit immature, and upon sharing this with her, she’d say “Oh common, look at me, I married someone younger”.

This friend is sadly currently going through a divorce. I met up with her for a coffee, and she was asking me about my search. She totally stunned me that day as she said: “M, you should consider someone who’s 10 years older or more, I would never go for a younger man again”.

SubhanAllah.

All of these things have really pushed me to contemplate things. Hereon I think I will be very skeptical of advice people offer me. People’s advice is so shallow, there is no depth in it.

May Allah swt bless us with the best of advice from the most trustworthy of people, and may we be of those who offer valuable advice to others, ameen.

What’s your take on this?

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Mirrored

Bismillah.

He is my top student. He and his partner have aced every single lab report that I’ve handed back with top marks. Lately, he’s been acting out of character. He seems lost, unfocused. He’s misplaced his lab manual. He’s stopped handing in his reports. I assume he’s overwhelmed. It’s his first semester of college, exams are around the corner, it’s normal I guess. I brush it off.

The day of the lab exam approaches.

Students are expected to successfully re-perform an experiment they’ve previously done. We don’t have enough equipment for everyone to do the same thing, so students are randomly assigned different experiments. Some get the harder ones, like acid-base titration. Some end up getting the easier ones like spectrophotometry.

He comes in late. Unusual, considering it’s a lab exam. Luckily enough he draws out the card labeled spectrophotometry. I watch over the students as they do their work, walk around and answer any questions they have. He’s just sitting there. Staring at the papers.  Really confused.

I’m shocked. Not only is this an easy experiment, but he’s also aced it earlier in the semester, and very well versed with it. I try to guide him in terms of what’s required. His processing seems so unusually slow. I don’t think he understands what I’m saying. He’s a domestic student, with English being his first language, so I don’t understand his lack of comprehension.

Everyone starts finishing up. He’s still there, I tell him he can have extra time. He finishes up half an hour later than everyone else. I’m supervising another class now with their experiments.

He thanks me, hands me his papers and steps outside the lab door.

“C, can I talk to you for a minute”, I ask, glancing over my shoulders to ensure students in the lab room aren’t talking to each other.

“Sure,” C says.

“Are you alright, C? You’re such a good student, and this is so unusual for you.”

I wasn’t expecting what happens next.

His chin starts to tremble and his eyes start to glaze over, “I’m not okay, I’m going through a really difficult breakup right now”.

Wow. SubhanAllah. At that moment I see my younger brother in him, and I feel so incapable of doing anything, except consoling him through kind words and making dua for him.

“You’re an amazing student, C, you’re handsome, you’re kind, you’re capable, God will bless you with someone better.”

Gratitude emanates from his face as he thanks me and leaves.

It’s amazing how Allah swt works. C doesn’t know that these past weeks have been brutal for me. C doesn’t know that I’ve cried on my prayer mat almost every day lately until I thought I’d pass out. C doesn’t know that things just ended between me and a potential spouse, I was really hoping things work out with. But Allah swt knows, and that’s why I’m here, in this moment, the one to learn this about C, and offer some consoling words. Or maybe Allah swt is consoling me through C.

So many of us think we’re the only ones going through a trial or test because we choose not to share it with others but the truth is everyone is going through their own tests, no matter how put-together their life looks.

Sometimes, you just need that mirror to be held up to you so you can reflect on your own tests through other people.

*Please note this is a reflection from 5 months ago. Also, interestingly enough I was inspired to finally put this into writing (though it’s been something I’ve wanted to do for ages) because I’ve had a second circumstance of “Mirroring” happen to me last week. Maybe I’ll write about it too sometime soon.*

 

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Male-domineering behavior

I’m in a lab of 24 adult college students. They work in pairs on their experimental work. One of them spills some bacterial culture, wipes it up and throws it into the regular garbage. I tell him how wrong that is, and it’s supposed to be disinfected and placed into an autoclave bag.

He is an Indian student, working with an Indian girl. The girl starts to say something, he tells her in his own language, “tu chup kar [you shut up]” in a very demeaning way. And turns around and apologizes as if I wasn’t a Lab Instructor but some sort of God.

This behavior is so disgusting. Men, being domineering, and rude. The girl is a better student than him, respectful, kind, and knowledgeable. He treats her like dirt. He treats me (a figure or authority) with the utmost respect.

Why do men do this? Why the double standards. Why do they think they can get away with it?

Over and over and over again, I’ve seen these behaviors around me. In all sorts of relationships.  Why can we not respect others? Why do men struggle with this so much?

They’ve got to do things their way or they’re out. I’m sorry but I demand respect. I value myself, and if you refuse to do the same, then the doors open, you’re free to walk out.

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