Saturday, 25 May 2013

I'm back! I think...

Subhan'Allah! It's been a long, long time and so much has happened since I stopped writing! Its been a shame really that I've had about three years of writer's block and still don't know if I'll be able to get anything down, but I do need to try.

Insha'Allah with Allah's help, I will be able to bounce back...just need to start practicing and I suppose here's a good start.

Monday, 19 October 2009

The Final Touch

After completing the last touches, I sat down on a cushioned straight back chair, with coffee in hand, analysing the work I had finally done. The room now dazzled with displays, reds, oranges, purples, yellows and blues. And everywhere the colour brought life and comfort to my classroom. It had been splashed with colour before, but suddenly, with the addition of my personal touch, ‘the’ classroom had become ‘my’ classroom. A place where I could now feel at home, and hence teach with more ease and clarity. I understood where I wanted things to go, and had created an ambiance of colour that suited my needs as a teacher, as well as directly relating to the learning needs of my children. A smile lit up my face despite the feeling of absolute fatigue in my bones. My body was exhausted, but my mind was more alert than ever. I was finally happy, for my efforts had paid off, and though I would only be in this classroom for the rest of the academic year, I could now spend it in a secure and joyful environment with a décor that best represented me.
It was with these thoughts, that my mind suddenly carried to something far more relevant. A time in my life where deciding the décor of my surroundings would have to be far deeper grounded than this. An environment that would require such detailed planning and architectural genius in order to provide the most creative and comfortable of environments.

As I contemplated this room, and its bare walls, I felt the jolt of reality hit me. I sat upright in my chair, splashing the coffee over my work jilbaab and gasped. Subhan’Allah! What a thought! I who found living or working in any environment so difficult, if it wasn’t suited to my needs. I who struggled living within an environment that didn’t represent me, concentrating in a room that distracted me because I felt uncomfortable. How would I feel when I would have to move to this new, unknown place?
As I thought about my own needs, I suddenly realised how it wasn’t just me that felt this way. Most people wanted to create an environment for themselves where they felt comfortable. Why then did we not instantly feel at home in a hotel room? Why did we always feel awkward in someone else’s home? In a friend’s room? The answer, as I pondered, became clear. It was simply because we all wanted to create an atmosphere where we felt at home – a place that we could be ourselves, express ourselves and be happy and content with who we were. So what of the grave?!
This question was soon so deeply engrained in my mind, that I struggled with the wave of guilt that spread throughout me. I had spent days and nights, sleepless hours, thinking, planning, and then finally decorating and creating a perfect ambiance of colour, and contentment in my classroom, but what amount of time and effort had I actually put into decorating my grave? How many hours of toil and trouble, had I actually put myself through in order to get hold of bits of furnishings, display papers, and laminating sheets to leave my classroom looking as splendid as it was? How long had I then spent on worshipping Allah swt? In all my toil for my classroom, how many hours had I actually spent concentrating on my ibaadah and remembering Allah swt with sincere devotion, instead of thinking about my décor ideas?
For indeed, I suddenly realised, indeed, the only resources I could ever get hold of to décor the plain walls of my grave, were the actual essence of the ibaadah, the sincerest worship of my Lord swt. The realisation that I had in actual fact spent so much time, effort and money, on a temporary environment, now seemed completely wasted. How could I live with the guilt of knowing that I had intentionally given so much time to my temporary classroom, and yet neglected so many of the duties that would have in fact beautified the interiors of my grave. Was the compromise really worth it? I didn’t even understand the sense in asking myself that question, for indeed no amount of justification would take away the deep feeling of guilt that penetrated and permeated my heart and perhaps more importantly my soul.
It was a time of clear and sincere reflection for me. I had to take hold of my life at present if I wanted to achieve success in the hereafter. I had to work hard now, in order to collect possessions and treasures for my barzakh, beautiful lights to enlighten my grave, and trinkets to put on the walls. I had to worship my Rabb swt and glorify Him if I wanted to be blessed with fresh breezes from Jannah. For indeed, it would only be through perfect dedication and sincere worship of my Rabb swt that I would be able to achieve the final touch in my transitory resting place, and wherefrom, my future for eternity would stem.

It is said in a hadith, that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Verily the grave is the first stopping place for the Hereafter; so if he is saved therein, then what comes after is easier than it. And if he is not saved therefrom, then that which comes after is harder." (HASAN: At-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah, al-Haakim: from 'Uthmaan).

No doubt we must spend time and effort on our life in this world, but let us take a moment to reflect on our lives in the hereafter and see how much time we give for it’s preparation. Let us give both our lives, the amount of importance they deserve, so that we will not have to regret our time spent in frivolous activities, and instead benefit from the fruits of our toil, when no other entertainment will be had but that which we have prepared for.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Deep Remembrance

When tears flow they come suddenly
Invoking The Diety who understands reality
Such is their power, as they flow smoothly
Down tarnished cheeks, filled-up inconsolably

Years of grieving and lack of understanding
Bring heaving chestfuls of absolute confusion
So thorough do their words rise with mission
So eager their thoughts bearing submission

When one finally is submerged with remembrance
Forgetting life's temporary miseries is instantaneous
Bearing graciously the 'burden' of mystery
Brings a sudden fusion of complete tranquility.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The Little Fig Tree

As she gazed deeply into the gently flowing river, she smiled, a smile I hardly remember seeing. And suddenly her beauty struck me like the beauty of the enchanted forest that lay ahead of me. She hummed a tune as soft as the hair that cradled her face, and her sweet voice rose and fell with the wind. I watched bedazzled. This woman, this enchanting woman was a beauty, her smile, her hands, her face, everything shone of purity, and genuine care. I understood her smile but found her forbearance which I had watched for too many years hard to bear. She was a woman with an iron will, one which had enabled her to withstand the trials of a hard life. But today, today she was happy. I sat back further shading my eyes from the relentless sun with the apple tree that stood tall by my side, which smelt of the sweet apples that had fallen to the ground, with the coming of autumn.

Her smile, wide and content spread across her pretty face, enlightening it and enhancing her sincere character. She moved around her forest with an ease today. A ripple of sheer bliss ran through me and I wondered what it was that had made her so happy. A part of me wanted to ask. Wanted to hold out my arms to her and embrace her. I wanted to smell the scent of strong, fresh cardamom in her clothes and the smell of apples in her hair. But she was still some distance from me and I would have to wait. Wait for her to approach me and tell me her news.

Her movement was now slowed, slower than I had ever seen it. But her smile today compensated for that. Her happy tune, as she moved about filling water and bathing her little children, some of whom were now almost her height, made me happier. She was a woman of genuine character. One with the hope to make everyone’s lives better, even if it meant risking her own. I loved her for her selflessness, for her ability to put her own needs after the needs of everyone else.

And I remembered the days she hadn’t visited. Of course, she always had a good reason why she did not visit. She was away in another country, or she had to visit someone further away from home, like her mother. She always told me when she came to bid me farewell. I ached for her on those days, with a pain that felt strong enough to tear my hairs from their roots. And even so, I knew she thought of me, thought of all the loved ones she had left at home.

As soon as she would return from her travels, she would visit us first. And my heart would pound with love and pride, such that I could feel my blood run through my veins faster than water from her waterfall. And she would have tears in her eyes - happy tears, tears that made the joy in the deepest recess of her eyes glow. Yet today, there was an added glow, an exuberant light that shone, from the growing, tender smile on her face.

On those days too I wanted to hold her and wipe her tears away. Tell her that I was happier than she, that we were together again. I wanted to tell her that nobody knew how to take care of me the way she did. No one looked at me with such love as she did. But the unspoken words always remained the way they were in my mind, because the moment she would look at me, I would be dumbstruck, and could not formulate any of the soothing words that lay in waiting for her.

I saw a swift movement suddenly, and knew she was close. I sucked in my breath…she was near, very near. What if she went right past me and forgot to tell me her news. What if she forgot about me as I hid in the shade of the tree. Perhaps I would need to prop myself up a little bit so that I would stand out. So, that she could see how the squirrel had bitten my fruit, and made a nasty mess around my feet. Yes that would definitely attract her attention. I knew she hated it when the squirrel harmed me. I was her precious, her beloved.

Within a moment, she was beside me, and I felt the water splash all over me. I was cleaned and for a split second, I panicked. She had just washed the dirt away around my feet without noticing the mess the squirrel had left behind. She hadn’t seen my fruit.

‘Ma, Ma!’ someone was shouting as they came running out from the kitchen into the garden. ‘They’re here!! Come quick!’ It was her granddaughter. The granddaughter that I liked. The one that looked exactly like my beloved.
She turned and smiled at me, the twinkle in her eye. ‘They’re here…’ she breathed. ‘My little fig tree, I’m going to be so happy insha’Allah!’

And my squirrel-bitten fruit no longer mattered. My smile spread as far as hers, and though my heart had been torn between wanting her attention and seeing her content, I felt settled knowing I was happy as long as she was.

© August 2008 Quratul Ayn

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The Transition

I open my eyes
It’s beautiful
Something shining
I close them again
It’s just a dream
A dream
Slowly I try
They peek
And see
It’s still there
Not a dream
I breathe deep
I open
And I see
The world
A brilliant shade of green
Something still shining
Calling me
Inviting to a place
Still unknown
But splendid
Beyond compare
I scan the horizon
In splendour
It must be a dream
I don’t close my eyes
I don’t want to leave
And I scan the horizon again
Before my soul is beckoned
For the last time
And I slip into the place
Happier than ever

© Quratul Ayn 2008

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Intricacies of the Imperialised Word

I’ve lost touch I suppose with the kind of words that once flowed
From my mouth, my heart and my soul
It seems that timeless eternity has engulfed, my imperious ability
To grasp and hold colonially in my grip, the poor words that once had meaning
Perhaps today I have deprived their downfall by my sincere wish
That they would return and I with empresses kiss
Would return their once favoured and glorious worth back to them
For deserveth they do, though I no longer can restore what I did take
For I am now wounded in this cell of theirs
Unbound by love, hate or fear of any kind
Only numb to the intricate details of their minds
Had I missed something less divine, I would not now be so lost and forlorn
But surely, my deepest regret lies in that I didn’t see beyond this ambiguity
With metaphors and paradoxes have they finally caught me,
And what I knew so well has now become simple fallacy
How sad that I should be here today, at peril and far from harms way
In a web of words caught between sense and irony

The power of words has had its glorious victory!

© Quratul Ayn 2008

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

I was just thinking...about blessings

I was just thinking…

‘Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinns and men) deny?’
(Surah Ar-Rahman, Ayah 13)

Subhan’Allah, this ayah is such a reminder. I was thinking about the unfairness of a situation, when this ayah suddenly came to mind. Almost immediately I felt a jolt back to reality. How often did I actually value what I had rather than what I didn’t? What I possessed rather than what I could still obtain? What I valued rather than what blessings I missed?

Truly our Rabb swt is Most Merciful, for how often do we miss thanking Him for the things He has blessed us with and instead complain about what we don’t have. Reflecting on this aspect I came to the slow but painful realisation that I had indeed ceased to be grateful to my Master. The Only One who cared enough to give me life, endow me with my sense of sight, smell, and touch, gave me ears to hear with, legs to walk with and a heart to feel the deepest of emotions with. Subhan’Allah, and this isn’t even an outline of a minute number of the blessings we take forgranted daily.

With a sudden zeal, and with the very close approach of Ramadhan, I decide to make a sincere intention to be grateful for all that I have been gifted with…the most important and most beautiful gift being that of Imaan. The next time I want to complain about something, I need to think twice before I say something that I might regret. And with this, the hadith of the Prophet SAW comes to mind,

Allah’s Messenger, (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘How wonderful the believer’s lot is! His lot is all good. Nobody save the believer is as such. If bestowed with pleasant occurrence, he would thank (God) and that would be good for him; and if afflicted with a misfortune, he would keep patient and that would be good for him’

Subhan’Allah…how merciful our Rabb swt is. He does not even afflict us with a calamity unless it is to grant us something beneficial in return. All we have to do is remain patient. Another blessing! Alhamdulillah!

So, with the coming of the greatest month of our year, let us all strive to be grateful to Allah swt for ALL that He has blessed us with and strive to please Him swt, for truly who can love us more than One who constantly blesses us with His gracious gifts even when we give Him nothing in return?
© August 2008 Quratul Ayn