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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu,

We can fool ourselves into thinking that there is some sort of destination in this life, but the reality is that we will never reach the surrounding we strive for. Even the most successful people, those who wrote literary masterpieces, conquered ancient cities, did not feel satisfied. There is something to be said for the analogy of a dog who doesn’t realize the bone he is pining for is just a little out of reach in the hands of his owner.

I’m convinced that this is a blessing that Allah swt has given us to keep out of the trappings of this dunya.

Over the years, my idea of what ibaadah is has changed frequently. Only recently have I come to the revelation that we can not make changes in ourselves by simply making an intention and waking up the next morning. Change takes time, and it takes wisdom. It takes knowledge.

The journey is what changes us, more than any single action could.

One of the earliest things I learned about Islam’s difference from other religions is that we have a direct connection with God. We read His words, we have “meetings” with him 5 times a day, we utter his name in every duaa and before every meal. We trust that He has told us the truth, because He is the most Truthful.

I also learned that we are different because of our belief that actions count for something. Salvation is not enough. We must prove ourselves. Because what better are our hands and our brains and our eyes good for than to worship God?

We will never reach the level of imaan of the prophets, may peace be upon them all. We will never reach Jannah in this Dunya. They are two separate words. Two separate natures. We are the dog chasing the bone that is just a little bit too far away.

So we are forced to keep striving. We are forced to find the beauty in the struggle.

Subhan’Allah.

 وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

As for those who strive hard in Our Cause, We will surely guide them to Our Paths. And verily, Allah is with the good doers.” (29:69)

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4/3/12

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu,

Today marks the 4th year of me being a Muslim. 4 years ago today, my fingers shook as I typed in my phone number so a strange man would witness my shahada from thousands of miles away. And as I muttered the words that we say five times a day in our prayers with a finger pointed towards Makkah, I could not fathom how they would change my childhood, shape each step and motion in my life.

To those who are unreligious, and/or unsupportive, my conversion’s inadequacy is blatant in every possible way. A young, and impressionable girl who spent a little too much time with Muslims and fooled herself into becoming one of them.

To them, I proudly show my heart four years later. To them, I say, look a little bit closer, squint a little harder, and you will see alif lam meem beating in my brain with every pulse, salah etched into the bones of my body, dhikr murmured during long rainstorms and long flights.

My heart is bleeding Islam, but all they see is blood. Ya’Allah, all they see is blood.

Ya’Allah, soften my heart and close my mouth and open my ears to the recitation of the beautiful Quran. Let me read Quran and feel Your mercy in your words. Let me constantly be praising You, so my lips run dry with Your name. Ya’Allah, the Pure one, the King, the Hearer, the Seerer, the Everlasting, the Eternal, the Glorious, the One who Never Tires, the Merciful, the Compassionate, the Light, the Forgiver, guide my parents and family to Islam, guide them to the highest ranks of Jannahtul Firdaus and have them accept my decision to become a Muslim. Ameen. 

-Ruhina

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صَبْرٌ

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu,

How can we see the true hearts of people? And how can we reach them ourselves?

 

I find confusion in the answers that I scribble down in journals at night.

I’ll start with my parents. My beautiful, loving, kind parents, who have no choice but to be the people that they are. How could I ever fault them for that? However I do, all the time, and I know that is the worst thing I could possibly do. The best thing that I CAN do is to be kind and helpful and empathic. Not just for them, but for Allah (swt).

In some senses, yes, it is my life that I’m living, but they also have a claim to me. Even if it not a claim to what religion I practice and believe in, I still must obey them. But sometimes that is so hard. I am not rebellious by nature– even if I had a million chances to do something I would always pick the safest route, the most logical one, the one with the least collateral damage. However it seems to be that they are the only ones I am able to say no to, they are the ones that I can disagree with the most fervently.

And I feel like sometimes I can taste a sliver of their true selves, when my mom laughs and smiles and hugs and responds to the things I say, when my dad sits in the passenger seat while I nervously drive on Route 40 for the first time and confides in me about work, among other things.

In these instances I am starting to understand them piece by piece, not fully of course, but more than before. I understand that they are not perfect–and I know that everyone is supposed to say that their parents are special, so I guess I acknowledge that as well–but I feel so remote from them, in a strange way, as I begin to learn who they are. Its like I’m meeting someone for the first time who I’ve been told I would get along really well with, but its awkward and not very exciting and we don’t end up talking after one meeting.

Its not like I don’t see the similarities between us–they are there, fleetingly, in an action or look or statement. But looking at the bigger scope of things, there are giant chasms, namely in religion, careers, priorities in life. I know what you’re thinking–I’m young, they’re right, etc. I should be more grateful. They give me stability and love and hope and so many opportunities. They are fair and kind and generous and don’t expect much, as long as I go to college and make something of myself.

But as I am trying to figure out who I am, I realize who I am not as well. I am not scared of anything (except stinkbugs, maybe), I am not weak, I am not secular. I can not live with myself if I try to conform to anybody’s standards, including theirs. I don’t what to do, but thats okay, because no one does. So for now, I will stick with صَبْرٌ, patience, because its the only way out.

Allahu ‘alem.

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And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah ] [2:45]

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تَوَكُّل‎

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu,

There is such a difference. A difference between motivation and laziness, and I haven’t yet figured out the secret.

But here’s what I think I want need.

I need to get up thirty minutes before fajr, and be of the ones mentioned in the Quran when Allah says, “And those who pray for forgiveness in the early hours of the morning.” (Qur’an 3:17). I need to make my intention before the first white of dawn appears, to live life with modesty and awareness and to “speak good or be silent”. I need to listen to the Quran on the bus every morning and move my lips to the letters, and ponder the most beautiful book with the most beautiful message given to the most beautiful man. I need to learn the duaas that will protect me, so when I drive on the highway for the first time I have enough tawwakul that I won’t get killed.

Then, I need to learn how to come home and not procrastinate, and finish my schoolwork early so I can actually gain some real ilm. I will try my hardest to learn something useful everyday, an Arabic grammar concept or an ayah of the Quran.

I need these things because they are the only options for success. I can only be truly accountable for myself, but who am I if I can not set an example for others? If I waste the precious time I could have had with Allah?

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ الْهَمِّ وَالْحُزْنِ وَالْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ وَالْبُخْلِ وَالْجُبْنِ وَضَلَعِ الدَّيْنِ وَغَلَبَةِ الرِّجَالِ

‘O Allaah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being over powered by men.’

-Ruhina

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In the Name of God

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu,

It comforts me that every second I am living, you are too. You and I have the same choices in essence, whether to continue on our lethargic paths, or to challenge ourselves, and to win against the demons that grapple in a battle against good.

To the soul, the body that encompasses it is as familiar as the perpetual faint blue in our sky and the burnt red of roses. But does the body know the soul? Not just the hopes and dreams and fears and desires and beliefs. How well do we understand the words that are only blurted out at 3 am in the morning in utter darkness with tears crawling down the face of someone so scared to confront their own heart?

My life is one full of juxtapositions. There is the life that I dream about and the one that I live, the person who writes pieces full of emotion and the person who ignores her mother at the break of dawn because, well, school is too early. Hours sitting at a desk, answering questions aimed to extract the small sliver of students who have been gifted with the ability to answer such questions, and throwing out the rest. Human beings are not meant to sit.

I would protest, but this is my life, and the life my society leads, and my culture tells me is the only way to succeed. There are a million different projects I am supposed to be immersed in at this minute, and yet, while developing my own repertoire, my voice, my writing, it is deemed as useless. So, what does that say about my soul?

My soul wants to play the third movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and Someone like You by Adele and the b flat chord over and over and over. My soul wants to read, and more than that, have the motivation to read passionately and spontaneously and bravely. My soul wants to heal people with words, but if that doesn’t work out, it will settle for the normal way. My soul wants to become me, and I want to become it. I want to be the person who follows their heart and not their head, no matter how many people are enraged while watching someone have the courage to do what they didn’t. It will be my privilege to teach them that the world is made up of people who change their minds.

Don’t be scared.

If I am destined to be a traveler in this world, I will be a traveler who seeks to find…what?

Allahu’Alam

 

the only one with true knowledge

is God

himself

 

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Share the Khayr

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu,

As the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are approaching, we are armed with Iman and  tasbeeh. But the most important thing is to not forget

قال النبي –صلى الله عليه وسلم-( مامن أيام العمل الصالح فيها أحب إلى الله من هذه الأيام قالوا يا رسول الله : ولا الجهاد في سبيل الله قال ولا الجهاد في سبيل الله إلا رجل خرج بنفسه وماله فلم يرجع من ذلك بشئ) رواه البخاري

The Prophet ﷺ said: “There are no days in which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than during these days. The Sahaba said: O Rasul Allah [Messenger of God], not even jihad in the path of Allah? He ﷺ said: Not even jihad in the path of Allah except for the man who goes out in the path of Allah with his life and his wealth and returns with neither of them.”

Do not just focus on helping yourself during this sacred days but others as well. Truly, kind words have such a huge effect on people.

I’ll tell you a story. I was having a bad week, a bad month. My imaan was at a record breaking low. One of my friends sent me the nicest message, about how my writing had affected her and it made me so, so happy.  After that day I have tried to find the best times to be that person to other people, because that kind of happiness is beautiful.

We all have stories like this. But this is your time to be that miracle for someone else. Whether its reminding them of how much you love them, or all of the things they have done for you, whats important is to have the intention of truly helping. You have no idea of how much it will help you on the Yawmul Qiyamah, day of Judgement.

Lots of Love,

Ruhina

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Mediocracy

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu,

Check out this awesome article on Suhaib Webb’s awesome virtual mosque:6321295625

http://www.suhaibwebb.com/society/dawah/the-digital-dunya-why-im-ok-with-mediocre/

I love Ubah, her personal blog is here. Her insights are always so spot on, masha’Allah. This is so important for the youth growing up today. In the end of the day, what matters more? The amount of likes of your Facebook post or actually devoting all of your time to truly worship Allah subhana wa ta’ala?

May we ALL be guided towards the straight path and the light and love of Allah subhana wa ta’ala. Ameen.

 

 

 

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Simplicity

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu,

Islaam is based around simplicity. The fact that there is One God, Allah subhana wa ta’ala, and it is most important to worship Him alone, is extremely simple. Even though there is so much more to know and learn about Islam, that is the most important tenant of our faith.

Moreover, our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم‎ lived a very simple life. He was not extravagent, and even encouraged people to not go to extremes.

In another narration `Abdullah is reported to have said: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said to me, “O `Abdullah! Have I not been informed that you observe fast during the day and offer prayer all the night.”

“I replied, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah!” Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Don’t do that. Observe fast for few days and then leave off for few days, perform prayers and also sleep at night, as your body has a right upon you, and your eyes have a right upon you; and your wife has a right upon you; your visitors have a right upon you.”

Also Allah subhana wa ta’ala tells us: “Thus We have made you a moderate nation”. [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 14]

It is so much easier to not get attached to this dunya if we live simple, pious lives. Be focused on the goals that you want in this world and the next and be consistent with your actions to get you there.

“The most beloved actions to Allah are those performed consistently, even if they are few.” Prophet Muhammad (Bukhari, Muslim)

It is very difficult for me when I try and develop a routine. As like a lot of people, I go to “extremes” and end up crashing. For example, I wanted to memorize a whole Juz during Ramadan, when I barely was able to read Arabic and knew that it was going to be a tough month for me. Lets just say, next Ramadan I will try to make my goals smaller and more consistent, inshaaAllah 🙂

Here are a few ideas of simple deeds you can incorporate into your life to make it full of barakah and healthiness:

1. Begin and end your day with akhtar (here or this app: al hisn, both amazing mashaAllah)

2. Create morning and night routines ( morning: here night: here)

3. Pray 12 sunnah prayers, 2 before fajr, 4 before dhuhur and 2 after, 2 after Maghrib, and 2 after isha, and you will be granted a palace in Jannah 🙂

4. Water plants everyday

5. Make an alloted portion of Quran to read per day, consistency as always is key.

6. Find a sunnah and follow it, such as the Witr prayer after Isha

And may all of your lives be full of barakah, ameen.

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Are We Prepared?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu,

I came across this beautiful video by dear sister Yasmin Mogahed a few days back. Masha’Allah, it is a wonderful and important reminder on how we will all be standing alone, in front of Allah subhana wa ta’ala on the Day of Judgement, the day that lasts 50,000 years! Subhan’Allah…really. It really motivated me to make sure that all of my actions are in order to further my status in front of Allah subhana wa ta’ala instead of the people in this world. A reminder for all of us, as it is so easy for us nowadays to waste so much time on the internet and TV (I am of course the first offender).

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The Bible through a Muslim Lens

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatu,

Last year I took a class by Seekers Guidance (the link is on the sidebar) called “The Bible through a Muslim Lens.” It was very beneficial, alhamdulilah,  and I will share the link of my notes for the first 8 sessions here.

As you can probably notice, the notes get disheveled as the class goes on. Those are a bit harder to understand but the beginning lessons are very detailed, insha’Allah they will be easier.

Class Description-

This course will introduce students to the four gospels found in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and provide them with new insights and a more nuanced understanding of who Jesus (peace be upon him) was for the objective of calling others to the truth of Islam.

You can register for it here

It was interesting to me personally because I knew virtually nothing about the gospels (or at least the Muslim perspective on it). This class could potentially improve dawah skills if you are able to be speak knowledgeably about the Gospel to a Christian. It is simplified enough for most people to understand although it can get a bit confusing at times, the most important part is just to pay attention at all times and make sure that you take advantage of being able to re watch the sessions whenever you want for the allotted course time.

O Allah, honor me by the light of understanding and take me out from the darknesses of doubt and open upon us the doors of Your knowledge and open upon us the treasure of Your recognition, O the best of the Merciful ones. Ameen 🙂

 

 

 

 

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