Yesterday I attended a lecture given by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf (SHY), an American Islamic scholar, and deemed one of the most renowned Muslim thinkers in the Western world. He is the author of Purification of the heart.
My best friend told me about this event and really, made sure I did not miss the opportunity. We both attended and as nerdy students of life as we are, we both took notes. When you have an opportunity to listen live to a prominent thinker, you don’t want to let the wisdom pass by.
The event was titled “An Evening with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf: Where is Your Heart? A Prophetic Guidance in an Age of Confusion”. SHY addressed the fundamental problem facing Muslims in modern society today and coupled it with encouraging reminders to get through such “turbulent” times.
There were many tear-jerking moments, mainly because SHY has an ability to transcend your heart with the purity and calmness of his words.
Here are the main takeaways:
After much contemplation, I have come to understand that nobody is perfect. And that the Creator of this world loves His subjects differently.
Because Allah is Al-Musawwir, الْمُصَوِّرُ (The Shaper of Beauty) – He forms his creations in all ways.
I was telling my Bestie how I noticed that this blogpost had been getting a lot of views lately. It must be because of its relevancy of topic.
Bestie: It is a good post! I was discussing it with my cousin, too. I said celebs shouldn’t be blinded by both praise or criticism on social media because neither paints the full picture.
But then Sya, these influencers revolve their whole career on their popularity. No wonder they react so drastically when people aren’t head over heels over them.
Popularity is an illusion.
This year has felt so incredibly long! I know I said the same thing last year, but perhaps this year was an extension of that, only I learned much more. So much more. Where do I begin? A list is in order of course.
12 things I learned in 2016
- Do not look for a person to complete you. That person does not exist
So I think the biggest misconception when it comes to love and relationships is that people feel the need to look for someone who can complete them. This year I realised that there is no such person who completes another. A relationship is the harmony of the lives of two individuals, not one person trying to complete another persons life. Once I realised that, my outlook on relationships made more sense. I was able to manage my expectations for relationships better. Read more…
إِنَّا للهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ
My uncle passed away 2 nights ago. I still remember the family sitting down at the dining table having dinner but discussing his health condition which was critical at that moment. Thanks to family group chats we were constantly being updated. But just half and hour into dinner, the text messages were becoming more rampant. My aunt (his wife) was asking my parents to come to the hospital quickly which they were going to after dinner. But shortly after, he took his last breath. And therefore my parents were too late to see him before he passed away. Such is the concept of time, you could never tell if you’ll have enough and therefore it is a gamble life forces you to take.
I recently turned 24 and I’ve been feeling upset and down about a lot of things lately. And the easiest excuse to make is that God doesn’t love me.
But victimizing yourself against God is pointless because what you seek is His mercy and it is His mercy that will save you.
I began to reflect over the tide of events that happened to me and asked myself why I was feeling this way. So I was not getting what I want, what I prayed for. So? Maybe it’s not for me. Maybe it’s not here yet. Maybe I’ll get something else. I should wait. Why couldn’t I wait?
Nuzul Al-Quran lies on the 17th day of Ramadan and is a day acknowledged to be the day the first few verses of the Quran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad. If you think about it, this is an important day in history for Muslims. I hardly appreciated this thought when I was younger but now that I am more aware of the significance of this day, I feel a strong connection and ultimately I am reminded of the beauty of this religion Islam and what it propagates – to seek knowledge of the world and within, yet never forsaking your remembrance to your Creator and your duty towards him.
That surah is Surah Al Alaq or Surah Iqra to some (Iqra means to read in Arabic) since it tells the tale about the angel Jibrail summoning Prophet Muhammed to read. A short surah numbered #96 in the Quran yet conveys such a strong message.
In such a blessed month with a blessed day to remember (more blessed days ahead; Lailatul Qadr!) it is only natural to pursue the reading of this wonderful book – one that imparts unquestionable knowledge and draws us closer to our Rabb, our Creator; the one who created mankind and taught mankind that which they did not know.
Blessed Ramadan to all fasting :)
Gratitude is a wonderful virtue. It’s that virtue your parents always teach you to show, your experiences teach you not to neglect and religion wise (Islam for me), encourages me to incorporate as a way of life.
The latter struck me hard when I came across this video by Nouman Ali Khan, one of my favourite western Muslim scholars (another is Suhaib Webb). The video below is part of a series called Quranic Gems which I really enjoyed watching because Nouman basically takes short verses of a surah and discusses the meaning of it, conveying the message in a relatable everyday manner.
This episode he discusses Surah Ibrahim, Verse 7 [14:7] on gratitude and the message that this verse basically imparts is this:
If you are grateful in general (not limited to Allah himself, but to those around you), He will increase you (in whatever favour)
Grateful is an attitude, it’s a lifestyle, it’s a way of thinking.
What a beautiful verse, part of an even greater surah. Here’s to never neglecting our sense of gratitude :)
Reading about Proudduck’s trip to Makkah had me reminiscing of my time living in Saudi Arabia and how I used to visit Makkah often. From the pictures I’m seeing, all I can see is mannn has it changed.
I moved to Jeddah when I was 5 years old (1997) and I stayed there for close to 10 years (my parents stayed there for 12). Growing up I had no excuse not to be close to Allah because the holy city of Makkah was only an hour away from Jeddah and my parents were always taking me there every month to perform our Umrah. And on weekends when my parents were bored of the mall, they’d take me to Makkah on Thursday night (Thurs/Friday is a weekend) and we’d arrive in time for Isyak prayers, spending a good 2-3 hours to pray and read the Quran. Then we went home. It was that close. And we did it so frequently it became a norm. Of course at the time I couldn’t appreciate it as much because I lived there. Looking back on it now, I must be considered so lucky be able to have done that because I know many who are so envious of other people’s journeys to the holy city. When I hear about it I’m like girll, been there done that. x1000
But in all seriousness, I miss every moment about it. And what shocks me the most is finding out how much the city has changed. It’s become more modernised…there’s a hotel over-towering the mosque…and there are SHOPS! In my time…there were no such thing as clothing stores, just kebab shops and ice cream stalls. The public toilets were dreaded places and there was no air con. Of course 2005 onwards we started to see some changes but not as vast as the ones I’m hearing about it now. To be honest, it almost gives me mixed feelings. The Makkah and Madinah I knew was unchanged back then and now if I return I’ll for sure have a good shock. Not that that’s a bad thing. Change is good, and it’s refreshing. But I can’t help but feel like…wow, so much has changed.
And yes I miss it. The feeling of peace and serenity that dawns upon you when you pray is amazing. Listening to the Imam’s beautiful voice. Performing the Tawaf around the Kaabah and feeling like you cannot get any closer (ok, except for going inside which my dad did. Jealous!) Ironically one is not left without trials and tribulations and this comes in the form of the hot blazing sun/heat, persisting beggars and thefts when you find out your shoes are missing. What is any religion without its tests really? Despite it all, I’ve never embraced peace within as much as I did when I visited Makkah and Medinah. I last visited it in 2008 when my parents were still there. Hope I can push the idea of another trip soon! I can’t wait to go back again. There’s always so much to pray for and nothing beats the feeling of praying in front of the house of your God.
Mashaallah, missing my Makkah moments so much tonight.
Ramadhan is no doubt my favourite month of the Muslim calendar year; it’s more than just abstaining from food really, it’s about cleansing your soul and bringing yourself closer to Islam and God. Only if you want to that is. And for me, every year as I grow older, it is an opportunity for me to get closer to my religion; to embrace the wonders and good deeds God has to offer. Such a blessed month really :)
So we’re down to the final 10 days and it’s these exciting 10 days ahead that sees the presence of Lailatul Qadar. It’s exciting for us all Muslims because we may take this opportunity to double our rewards through waking up in the night to pray. And what follows is also another exciting period because it’s going to be Eid-al-Fitr and we know how long that lasts for in Malaysia! :D
Happy fasting everyone :)