A Ramadan Letter

In the Name of Allah, the Exceedingly Merciful, the Most Appreciative

Allahumma salli ‘ala Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ wa ‘ala aalihi wa as’haabihi ajama’een.

I pray that your Ramadan is going well by the Will of Allah.

We all have our ups and downs in Ramadan so I was looking for some inspiration and came across this article on one of my favourite websites Virtual Mosque. It’s truly so beautiful I just had to re-post it. Hopefully you can benefit from it too, In Sha Allah.

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To the heart that is numb,

Standing in taraweeh (Ramadan night prayers) while everyone is weeping – except you. Your friends talk about how exhilarating fasting is for them – but all you feel is irritation; and that is if you feel anything at all. Your du`as (supplications) are just words you repeat — without heart.

What is the point of all of it? Your actions are robotic. Monotone. Without soul.

You wish you could be like that person praying next to you in taraweeh who sobs during every prostration. You want to be the one passionately pleading with Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) with humility. Your hope is that you can be that person whose heart is broken before God.

You know what, though? You, too, are special to Allah (swt).

You who recites the Qur’an because you know it is good.

You who prays because Allah (swt) commanded you to.

You who attends lectures on Islam because you want to feel closer to Him.

The Prophet ﷺ told us that the person who recites the Qur’an and struggles with the recitation receives twice the reward: for their recitation and for their effort and struggle. Ibn Al-Qayyim used this hadith (tradition of the Prophet ﷺ) as the basis for his statement that the person who struggles to be devoted in prayer gets twice the reward: for the parts that he was devoted, and for his struggle to stay focused.

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The fact that you get up to pray qiyaam (night prayer) even though you feel nothing is appreciated by Allah (swt). When you mouth the words to your du`a even when your heart is numb, Allah (swt) knows how you feel. And you are rewarded for that. Do not think that this will go to waste. Allah (swt) gets it.

Because you are not worshiping a feeling. You do not bow down solely for that ‘high’. You prostrate only to the Lord of the feelings and the One who is the Most High. You submit to Him – through your prayers, fasting and supplication – because you know you have a Merciful, Just, Appreciative, Forgiving God, Who has the power to give life to everything that is dead.

Including your heart.

You know you have a Nurturing, Patient, Generous, Subtle and Kind Lord who is can bring back whatever is lost.

He can bring you back.

So to the heart that is numb: Do not give up just yet. Your heart is on a journey. You are first and foremost worshiping your Lord. And He has promised you:

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As long as you are doing good, Allah (swt) will guide you and He is with you. Do you know what that means?

Imam Ash-Shawkani stated that Allah (swt) being with someone means more care, honouring and preference for the person.

And you what else? Allah loves what you do. He tells us:

“Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection.” (Qur’an, 19:96)

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Allah will not only love you, but He will show that love for you. He will bestow His affection upon you, and your heart will feel it.

So keep trekking. Your heart will open – He is, after all, al-Fattah. Al-Fattah is He who opens whatever is closed; your heart included. You might wonder when and how, but just know that it will happen. It could be on the last night of Ramadan or it could be a month after Ramadan – your heart will open, God willing. The daily exercise you do might not look like much, but you will inevitably see the results if you persevere. Similarly, your good actions slowly chip away at what has been hardening your heart and, eventually, you will feel.

And if it gets too much, just talk to Allah (swt). Tell Him how you feel, and tell Him how you want to feel. Do it every night, and every time you feel empty. God is there; never underestimate your turning to Him. ‘Turning to Him’ does not just mean prayers and supplications; you can just tell Him what is in your heart.

On the Day of Judgment, you will be grateful for your perseverance and your hope in Him, because it will matter more than you will ever know. So push yourself and exert all the effort you can muster. The tiniest ray of light can brighten the darkest of places.

Love,

A fellow heart that is* numb

(*was).

Counting Blessings

In the Name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful

Allahumma salli ‘ala Sayyidina Muhammad ﷺ wa ‘ala aalihi wa as’haabihi ajama’een.

This blog post was inspired by something I read under one of Sh Wisam Sharieff’s Instagram posts. He wrote:

“A wonderful mind-challenge: Instead of thinking of all the stuff that you want that will supposedly make you happy when you get it, write down three things you wanted 12-24 months ago and now have. Sit in that thought for a moment and feel happy. Repeat☺.”

This really hit me because majority of the time I tend to look more at my “wants” list rather than looking back at what Allah already blessed me with. Bad habit, I know. So when I read the above quote it made me realise how many of my du’as have been answered. SubhanAllah.

 

I chose to blog about three people who had a positive influence on me in different aspects of my life, and whom I made du’a to meet and was granted that blessing, Alhamdulillah.

*Side note: Each and every one of my teachers, family & friends contributed to the positivity as well. May Allah bless them all. I just wish to highlight these three as meeting them is a rare opportunity. (LOL).

1.) Allah (SWT) and His creation(s):
Mufti Ismail Menk
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I’ve been listening to Mufti Menk’s lectures for years and since then I had an urge to meet him. I wanted to tell him what an inspiration he is even though he probably knows that, LOL. Listening to him made me learn more about Who Allah (SWT) is and how to establish a link with Allah (SWT). I also learned from him how to handle day life ‘crises’ and how to have a better relationship with Allah (SWT)’s creations. All the advice that he gives comes directly from the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Anyway, in one of his lectures in the month of Ramadan 2015, he mentioned something about even if things seem impossible, we should still ask Allah for it. At that very moment just the thought of meeting him occurred in my mind and I thought “that seems impossible but I’ll give it a shot”.

Long story short, a month after Ramadan I met him. SubhanAllah. From that experience I no longer believe in impossibilities. Mufti Menk’s aura is overwhelming, in a good way of course. And he’s got a special Nur which emanates from him. I’m so jealous. Haha, only kidding. Ma Sha Allah.

 

Something I remember from our convo:

MM: May Allah bless you with a miracle and always keep you smiling and optimistic.
Me: [crying emoji] Aameen. (I really cried BTW).
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9th August 2015
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2.) My relationship with understanding the deeper meanings & gems of the Qur’an and general life motivation:
Ust. Nouman Ali Khan
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Seeing how passionate he is about the Qur’an and Arabic language made me become passionate about it too. I didn’t want to miss out! He is so good at what he does it’s truly mind blowing. No wonder he has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world. Ma Sha Allah! I was suuuper excited when I heard NAK was coming to Cape Town last year. Since I heard the news I made dua that I get to meet him …and meeting him was an incredible experience. His contribution to the Deen of Allah in our day and age is incredible. His nur, humility and awesomeness is also unbelievable. We need more people like him in the world. I had sooo much to say to him but being the shy person that I am, only ten words came out 😑. Oh well, Alhamdulillah.

Something I remember from our convo:

NAK: Oh here you are! Asalaamu Alaykum. Nice to meet you! Did you want to ask me something or..?

Me: *nervous* haha no I just wanted you to sign my book please.
NAK: of course! Here you go.
Me: JazakAllah khairan!
NAK: wa iyaakum
Me:
NAK:
Me:
NAK:

Uhmm.. Why am I like this?😑😑😑

The one time I get to take a pic with NAK and my eyes are half closed :))))

[9 December 2016]

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3.) Loving the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ:

Ust. Mostafa Atef

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Mostafa Atef is a student at Al-Azhar University in Egypt. He is also a Haafidh, a Qari, a Khateeb, a Shaykh/Ustaadh, a Munshid..(am I leaving something out?). At just 26 years of age it’s really admirable to see how much he has accomplished and how much Allah has blessed him with. Ma Sha Allah!

 

Allah (SWT) has also blessed him with a majestic voice which he uses to travel the world aiming to spread the love of Rasūlullāh ﷺ and praising him, as well as the beauty of Islam and its values.

I watched a couple of videos of him on YouTube and I could see his love for the Messenger ﷺ is on another level of passionate. Ma Sha Allah. I make dua to reach that level ..and beyond. Aameen. Even in real I was really amazed by the way he spoke about the Messenger ﷺ. Whenever he said ‘Muhammad’ he pronounced SalAllahu Alahyi Wasallam with a heart full of sincerity and his eyes were starry. Very cute, LOL. It was as if Rasūlullāh ﷺ was there. As if he was actually seeing him, ﷺ.

The story of how I met Mostafa is actually VERY long and unbelievable. I still cannot fathom what had happened. SubhanAllah. But I shall be giving the summarised version:
When I heard that he was coming to Cape Town, I didn’t have enough money purchase tickets to see his live nasheed show. I made du’a and asked Allah to grant me the opportunity to see him, even if it was from a distance. I just wanted to be in his presence when he spoke about the Prophet ﷺ so that I could let and feel my love for him ﷺ grow. It’s different feeling that you get watching someone speak through a screen VS actually being there.

So anyway, to summarize:

I was invited to have lunch with him after Jumu’ah, he gave me two free tickets to his show and he dedicated one of my fave nasheeds to me. Please don’t ask me how that happened because I still don’t know😭😭. Allahu Akbar is the only answer I can give. I am ever so grateful. He is extremely humble, he’s got good character, so friendly and also a beautiful Nur on his face. Ma Sha Allah💚.

What I can remember from our convo:

M: which nasheed would you like to hear?

Me: Qamarun please. 
M: *starts singing while looking straight at me*
Me: *sweating and blushing and nearly fainting from shyness*

[9 December 2016]

“What He chooses for you, that’s an honour. When you mention Allah, Allah mentions you” —Mostafa Atef

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Initially I didn’t want to post about my experiences because I used to think that speaking about good things happening to you is a form of ‘boasting’ until a dear friend of mine reminded me in a talk she gave that:

وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ 
“As for the favour of your Lord, so speak (about it)” [93:11]

So Alhamdulillah for all the numerous blessings that Allah bestow upon us. That which we know about and that which we don’t know about. That which we remember and that which we have forgotten.

Wishing you a blessed, productive & accepted Ramadan!

With L♡ve, 

Ayesha xx

Ps. I got this really cool diary which I bought from @crystalbowtique_modestwear on instagram.
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Some beneficial advice I once got:

Write down 3 blessings every night before you sleep. Keep adding to the list. Thank Allah for each blessing and watch how He increases you.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

39 Benefits of sending blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ by Ibn Qayyim

This is a re-post from Imam Yahya Adel Ibrahim, the original post is here

Ubai bin Ka’ab (may Allah be pleased with him) said; ‘I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I supplicate often, so how much of my supplication should I devote to you?’
He replied, ‘as you desire’. I said, ‘a quarter of it?’ He said ‘as you desire, but if you were to increase upon this, it would be better for you.’ I said, ‘half of it?’

He said, ‘as you desire, but if you were to increase upon this, it would be better for you.’ I said, ‘two-thirds of it?’ He said again, ‘as you desire, but if you were to increase upon this, it would be better for you.’

Finally I said, ‘and if I dedicate my supplication in its entirety to you?’ He said, ‘then your needs will be satisfied, and your sins forgiven.’ (Sahih Imam Ahmed and others).

Shaykhul Islam Ibnul-Qayyim collects 39 benefits, in his amazing book Jalaa ul Afhaam, regarding invoking Allah to Bless Muhammed. All of the points are based on authentic evidence from the Quran and Sunnah.

[قال الله تعالى: إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيماً]

  1. Responding to the order of Allah, Exalted and Magnificent.
  2. Following the order of Allah, Exalted and Magnificent in the sending of blessings upon His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم), although the blessings (requesting Blessings) differ, being from us supplication and request, and being from Allah exaltation and ennoblement.
  3. Following the Angels in invocation of the Messenger ﷺ, also.
  4. The attainment of ten blessings from Allah for every one blessing upon the Messenger ﷺ
  5. He who sends blessing upon the Prophet ﷺ, Allah raises him by ten levels.
  6. He also has written for him ten good deeds.
  7. He also has erased from his record ten bad deeds.
  8. The invocation increases the chance of one’s supplication being answered if it follows the supplication, as the invocation of blessings upon the Prophet ﷺ raises those supplications up to the Lord of the Worlds which were stalled between the heavens and the earth.
  9. It is a means to receive the intercession of the Prophet ﷺ, whether or not a specific intercession is sought.
  10. It is a means to have one’s sins forgiven.
  11. It is a means for Allah to satisfy his servant’s worldly needs.
  12. It is a means to draw near to the Prophet ﷺ on the Day of Resurrection.
  13. It compensates for giving charity for those who are too poor to give it.
  14. It is a means of fulfilling one’s needs (Qada’ al-Haajah)
  15. It is a means to receive the Prophet’s ﷺ blessings, and the Angels likewise.
  16. It is a means of purification for he who invokes it.
  17. For one who sends blessings on him ﷺ it is glad tidings in his life that he has been granted his place in Paradise
  18. It is a means of salvation from the terror of the Day of Resurrection
  19. It is a means for the Prophet ﷺ to return the blessings and greeting upon he who invokes it.
  20. It is a means of purifies a meeting or gathering and is a means to prevent any ill talk or conduct occurring therein
  21. It is a means to remember something which has been forgotten by some.
  22. It is a safeguard against poverty.
  23. It saves one from being branded a miser or stingy
  24. It saves one from being cursed and disgraced because the one who neglects the blessings and prayers upon hearing the Prophet’s name ﷺ risks receiving Allah’s anger.
  25. It keeps the one who invokes it steadfast upon the path to Paradise, and keeps he who neglects it from travelling the path.
  26. It safeguards a believer on the Siraat (bridge over Hell-fire) and makes their feet firm
  27. It is a cause for the perfection of any speech which begins with the praise of Allah the Exalted and the blessings of His Messenger ﷺ
  28. It is a cause for the slave to find light cast in abundance in his life to guide him on the Straight Path.
  29. It refines the worshipper’s character and manners.
  30. It is a means for Allah to preserve those in the heavens and the earth praising and commending he who invokes it.
  31. It is a means of the worshipper to obtain blessing for himself in his work, life and provision.
  32. It is a means of obtaining the mercy of Allah.
  33. It sustains, increases and multiplies love for the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, which is among the core bases of Faith, without which faith cannot be complete.
  34. It earns the Prophet’s ﷺ love for the servant of Allah.
  35. It is a means of the worshipper’s guidance, and a source of vitality for his heart.
  36. It causes the worshipper’s name to be shown to the Prophet, and the mention of the worshipper to him ﷺ.
  37. It is a means for the worshipper to find ease upon crossing the pass over the Hell-fire.
  38. Invoking blessing and peace upon the Prophet ﷺ is his right upon us.
  39. Invoking blessing and peace upon the Prophet  ﷺin itself contains remembrance of Allah the Exalted, and is an expression of thanks to Him and a recognition of His immense favour upon His slaves by sending him to us ﷺ

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ، وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، كَمَا صَلَّيْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ، اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ، وَعَلَى آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، كَمَا بَارَكْتَ عَلَى آلِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ، إِنَّكَ حَمِيدٌ مَجِيدٌ ‏

“O Allah, exalt the mention of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as you exalted the family of Ibrahim. You are Praised and Glorious. O Allah, bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You blessed the family of Ibrahim. You are Praised and Glorious.”

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

In the Name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful

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I have been nominated by Wasfeeya. Please do check out her blog! It is truly inspirational, Ma Sha Allah. Thank you for the nomination, Wasfeeya.

The Rules:

 • Thank the person/persons who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.

 • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.

 • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

 • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

 

My 11 questions and answers:

Why do you blog?

I’ve always found reading other people’s blogs interesting/fascinating because I love reading about other people’s thoughts, experiences, etc.

I have many thoughts in my head so my intention for starting a blog was to put those thoughts into words. It is something that I’ve always struggled with. I thought that blogging would be a great challenge and help me overcome this obstacle.

I love getting inspiration from people and my main aim is to hopefully inspire others too, In sha Allah.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Everything that I have accomplished throughout my life is not by my own doings, but rather by the Mercy of Allah (SWT). However, if I had to choose.. I would say that learning the Arabic language and being able to speak it (a bit) is a great accomplishment for me because I’ve always found Arabic extremely hard. Now that I have a Himma (desire) to learn it, it has become sooo much easier, Alhamdulillah.

What do you believe is your personal mission on this earth?

Besides worshipping Allah (SWT), I also believe that we have two other missions.

1.) The Prophet ﷺ has said that,

“The best of people are those who are most beneficial to mankind.”

And

2.) “This life is about gaining as much ‘fuel’ as we can in order to carry us over the Sirāt into Jannah” — Ml Zahir Parker

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Every single word that came out of the blessed mouth of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was of the most excellent advice. If I had to choose one piece, I would say,

“Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death.”

What is your favourite quote?
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Where would you love to be right now?

In Medina or Makkah. Aameen. Or chilling on the beach in Bora-Bora. Or traveling the world.

What was the greatest challenge you’ve faced and overcame?

I was bullied throughout my school career and that knocked my confidence down completely. It really had a huge negative impact on my life. But Alhamdulillah, Allah put people in my life and granted me things which helped me overcome it. I am now slowly gaining my confidence back.

Are you left-brain or right-brain oriented?

Uhmm.. *googles*

I think I’m more right-brain orientated.

What is your dream destination and why?

Jannah (Aameen). Do I really need to say why? (LOL).

Pick an all time favorite book that you think we should all read.

Unleash the Power of Allah Almighty within you” by Ismail A. Kalla

If you’re looking for motivation to change your life then this is the book (besides the Qur’an) to read.

What piece of advice would you share as your last words before you pass away?

Another great piece of advice by one of my beloved teachers, Ml Zahir Parker:

Invest in your Ākhirah as much as you can

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My 11 nominations:

  1. Embodying Islam
  2. La’eeqa Khan
  3. Mudassira Fareed
  4. Tayyibaat
  5. CoolDudeInHijab
  6. Haafidha Files
  7. BeyondHijab
  8. Muneeba Rahim
  9. Dureyah Abrahams
  10. TamTam
  11. Aisha

My 11 questions:

  1. What inspired you to blog?
  2. What was one of your most defining moments in life?
  3. What is the first thing you notice about people when you first meet them?
  4. How do you spend your free time?
  5. What, in your view, is the most important quality a person should have and why?
  6. What are your top three favourite books and why?
  7. What was your most embarrassing moment?
  8. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
  9. Which moment in life would you like to relive and why?
  10. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
  11. What is your current goal at the moment?

Looking forward to reading your answers ☺

Lots of l♡ve,

Ayesha

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Be So Close

Be so close to the Qur’an that with every turn of its page, your heart also turns. You undergo a change of character; and come out better. You come closer to Allah and you understand your religion more.

Be so close to the Qur’an that not only do you consider it to be your companion in life, but it also considers YOU to be its companion both here and on Yawm al-Qiyamah (Day of Resurrection).

Be so close to the Qur’an that whenever you open to read it, it draws you in deeply and takes you on amazing journeys through power concepts and thought-provoking dialogue, through history and the undisputed facts of the future and Hereafter; learning life lessons and learning about yourself. The journey doesn’t end until you end it (by closing the Book).

Be so close to the Qur’an that you make it your first point of judgement and guidance when you quarrel or fall out with a relative, spouse, friend or stranger. You place it before you with the sincerity to resolve matters and follow the causes for peace.

Be so close to the Qur’an that if you happen to miss your daily portion of it, it preoccupies your mind and you are not at peace until you take your regular nourishment from it.

Be so close to the Qur’an that just hearing the words, “O you who believe…” strikes something within your heart. You are all ears and attentive; ready to respond.

Be so close to the Qur’an that you truly feel its blessings in your life.

Be so close to the Qur’an that while many love listening to music and lyrical tunes, for you nothing can beat the melodious recital of your favourite Surah (chapter).

Be so close to the Qur’an that you actually walk F E A R L E S S. In every place, at all times, and every stage of your life. Your fear is only from One Being, and He is above His Throne, `azza wa jall.

Be so close to the Qur’an that the mere contemplation of a verse brings tears to your eyes.

Be so close to the Qur’an that after a long and tiring day, all you want to do is make wudhu’ (ablution) and sit down with a cuppa tea in a cosy spot for some heartwarming reading and reflection.

Be so close to the Qur’an that it becomes the first companion you turn to when you need to hear comforting words, or a shoulder to lean on in difficult times, or guidance in times of confusion. It becomes your first point of contact alongside salah (prayer) and du’a (supplication).

Be so close to the Qur’an that its melodious verses drown away the meaningless chatter of this world and you prefer listening to it instead of listening to much of Mankind…

Be so close to the Qur’an that you become recognised for it; in your character and the way you carry yourself through life.

Be so close to the Qur’an that being in its company makes you feel like you are in the best company; the most serene, thought-provoking, heart-warming, and tranquil of gatherings. People think you are alone… but you are anything but alone.

Be so close to the Qur’an that you can’t fathom the idea of dying without having memorised it. You can’t see yourself standing in front of Allah in complete ignorance of His Book, His Verses, His Words.

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Revive Yourself This Ramadan

In the Name of Allah, the Originator, the Giver of Life

Sometimes I wish I could have my heart washed and purified with zamzam water like the Prophet’s ﷺ heart was. Make that my brain too. I think about this a lot. The state of my heart and my mind. And I’m not satisfied with it. At all.

There comes a time at night when you’re finally done with a hectic day and you’re in bed alone with your thoughts. That moment, right before you close your eyes when you think “How am I feeling?”, “Was I good today?”, “Will I ever find what I’m looking for?”. That honest moment when the distractions drown away and you listen to the one voice in your head and all the questions it has for you.

Anyway, I’ve been extra excited for Ramadan this year since many of my teachers motivated us to prepare for this auspicious month months in advance. Also, since it was going to be my first Ramadan since completing my Tafsīr course. Alhamdulillah.

Sadly, somehow since Ramadan has dawned upon us (Alhamdulillah) I’m not feeling as ‘awesome’ as I thought I was going to feel. This has been bothering me since Ramadan has started. I keep asking myself

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!???!!?!?

I have been feeling extremely unmotivated. I’m procrastinating like never before. I’m making lists and lists of goals but not achieving anything. If you were to measure the level of my imaan on the ‘imaan’ graph, mine would probably be below zero. LOL. Okay, no. Jokes aside.

So I was scrolling through the pics on my phone and came across this quote which I totally forgot about

According to Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-`Uthaymeen رحمه الله he said,

“If you find yourself relapse/deteriorate, pick yourself up by repenting and seeking Allah’s forgiveness and by asking Him to keep you firm, and don’t become careless, and neither say, “in shaa Allah, my imaan will become stronger,” [without doing anything about it], instead from right now — from the moment you feel that you are ill — you must implement the cure”

— Tafseer Surah an-Nisaa, Vol. 2, P. 53.

I guess I knew all along that was the problem. I was careless about working on my imaan. I just didn’t want to admit it. I let my nafs overpower me and I wasn’t even bothered to do anything about it. EVEN IN RAMADAN. Seriously? I’m much stronger than that, how could I allow this to happen?

If you are in the same boat as me, do not fear! I have researched a few tips on how to increase your imaan. First of all:

  • Seek Allah’s forgiveness and ask Him to keep you firm (as the quote above states).

Then try the following:

  • Know that you are not alone. Allah is always and was always there so ask Him for help and vow to be better tomorrow.
  •  Ask Allah for more genuine faith. Acknowledge your own weakness – i.e. that you alone cannot succeed in this, and that you are dependent on His Mercy and help. Repeat that dua regularly, and try to make the dua at the times of acceptance.
  • Make a sincere intention to work on your imaan, and as you go along, remember to renew that intention regularly (because intentions can become confused and contaminated over time).
  • Recognise your sins and cut it down. While imaan can be boosted by doing good actions, it’s equally important to stop doing the bad ones that hamper our imaan. Think of it as a bucket with holes in it: you want to fill your bucket with water, but if you don’t patch up those holes, your water is just going to keep draining away, so you’ll not really succeed in filling the bucket. Sins are like that; they drain the barakah from your life, slowly or quickly, whether you notice it or not. So, when you’re feeling low in terms of imaan, look at what your sins or bad habits are, then try to reduce or eliminate them. Remember that in many cases, you won’t be able to just stop instantly, so break things down into small but consistent steps. Each day, try to reduce your indulgence in that action, and slowly but surely, In sha Allah, you will patch up those holes.
  • Protect your senses: When you do find yourself in an environment of sin, protect your senses from ‘spiritual filth’: stay away from sights and sounds that would corrupt your heart, and if you do see or hear them, immediately try to erase their effects by replacing those experiences with something better. For example, if you hear dirty music around you, recite or listen to Qur’an immediately and let that push the music out of your memory.
  • Prioritize salah: As mentioned by our Prophet ﷺ, salah is a critical part of our deen. If you aren’t already keeping all your compulsory prayers, try to build up to that. If you are making them all, try to get them on time and in the masjid (for males). If concentration (khushu’) is an issue, work on it. Practice salah the way people practice meditation. Pause your mind, open your heart and submit your soul to the One and Only Lord . Prayers are not aerobics, they’re the pillars of your faith. If you pray right then everything else in your life becomes right. Whatever is on your mind at that time can wait.

I wish we had some kind of 9D glasses to see just how positive of an effect praying has in cleansing our inner beings. No matter what level our imaan is, there will always be work to do in terms of improving our salah. So work on that and In sha Allah one aspect of your iman-boosting plan will come into place.

  • Along with salah, another majorly essential aspect of the deen is the Word of Allah, the guidance, mercy and cure which Allah has sent to us, to you personally. Do not see the Qur’an as some abstract religious text which is far from you. Consider it as a message, a personal message from the Lord of all the worlds to you. It’s there to guide you; to cure you of your troubles; to give you comfort in your times of need and your times of ease; to remind you of the purpose of your life. So, no matter how your current relationship with the Qur’an is, try to improve it – again, slowly but surely. Through the barakah of prioritizing the Word of Allah? In sha Allah your iman will receive continuous and immense boosts.

[For more tips visit productivemuslim.com]

I am 101% positive if we try at least one of these tips our hearts will be cleansed by the Will of Allah (swt). With each action, think of it as your heart being washed with zamzam water. 🙂

May Allah help us to fight the demons within ourselves, may He cover our faults with His grace and turn us into slaves that He is pleased with. Aameen.

That’s all for now folks. Wishing you a beautifully blessed Ramadan! And please remember me in your duas.

Love,

Ayesha xx

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Poverty of the Soul

Poverty of the Soul by Yasmin Mogahed:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Poverty:

“When speaking about poverty, we need to understand that there is external poverty and there is internal poverty. However, one is far more dangerous than the other. One form determines how we live temporarily whilst the other determines how we live eternally – the poverty of the soul. The unmoved soul. It is the soul that has been created but fails to understand why. It is the soul that lives a purposeless life. The heart that beats but has already died. The heart beats for material things but the soul remains untouched. There is only one thing that can cut or stab the soul, that is to deprive it from its only true need: To be near its Originator, to be near God. (Spiritual deprivation).

One day the Prophet ﷺ asked his companions to describe the poor person. They said the poor person is one who has no money or property. The Prophet ﷺ replied: the poor person from among my Ummah is the one who will come on the Day of Judgement with a good record of prayers, fasts and zakkah, but also has abused somebody, slandered somebody, stolen the wealth of another, has killed or beaten somebody. Then all of the oppressors will receive a portion of this person’s good deeds. If his good deeds fall short, he will be thrown into the fire of Jahannam. The Prophet ﷺ is saying in this hadith that true poverty is not being poor in this world, it is standing poor on the Day of Judgement without any good deeds left.

Despite the reality, we continue to live this life, feeding our bodies, but starving our souls. The sad irony of this focus is the body we tend to is only temporary, while the soul that we neglect is eternal.

When a body dies, we cry. But the death of a body is not true death. It is only the removal of a shell, and the movement from one realm to a truer realm. We weep for the departing bodies but our hearts remain unmoved by those bodies who are alive but whose hearts and souls have died because of the alienation of that which gives them life: God.

What impoverishes and kills the heart? It is allowing the heart to love anything as it should only love God. See, the heart was created with a very particular nature for a very particular use. When you fail to use anything for the purpose which is was created, it breaks, it drowns, it dies. The heart was created by and for God. The heart was created to know and love God. The heart was to be given to God, to be filled with God. The heart that is filled with any other thing suffers the most painful impoverishment and death.

The human heart is like a boat in the ocean of Dunya. The boat that allows the ocean water to enter breaks and then drowns. The human heart that allows the Dunya to enter the heart also breaks and drowns. And it becomes owned. Owned by this life. Owned by our gadgets, our facebook, our jobs, the distractions, the fashion trends, the marketing tools. The money, the power, the status. The heart that is owned by this life is a prisoner of the worst kind. The heart that is owned by any other master than the Master of masters is the weakest of all slaves. That is true oppression. True death. True poverty. As human beings we enslave ourselves to different things. Some of us are enslaved to money. Some of us are enslaved to other people. We love them as we should only love Allah. Some of us are enslaved to status, to our careers. I tell you to ask yourself: what do you love most? Most of the people will say with their tongues that they love God most. We say this with our tongues and our minds, but our hearts and actions say otherwise. How do you know? Ask yourself: what is your refuge? When you’re most broken, where do you go? When you’re afraid, where do you hide? When you need, who do you ask? What do you fear most? What do you stay up at night worrying about? Who? What makes you cry most? What do you think about most? What occupies your mind in salah? Is it really God? Is it really Allah on your mind most? Is it really your fear of standing before Him that makes you cry in your bed at night? No, probably not. It’s the person who left you, the money you lost, the career you couldn’t have, the raise you didn’t get. What are you afraid of most? Just the thought of losing that one thing that causes you so much anxiety, that you feel it physically. Is it your husband? Is it your wife? Is it your money? Is it your job? Is it your image? Is it your figure? What is it?

When you’re given a choice, what do you do? When Allah says to dress and act a certain way, and society says the opposite. Who do you choose? Who defines beauty for you? Who defines success? When Allah says interest is haraam, but your financial ambitions command otherwise. When society’s standards for the size of your home or the brand of your car command otherwise. What do you choose? Who defines richness? Who defines poverty? What type of poverty are you most afraid of? The truth is we choose what we love most. When we love money most, that’s what we choose. When we love people more, they fill our hearts. We think of them most. Our life loses center. We leave the orbit of the Creator, and we enter the orbit of the creation. A painful and unstable orbit. In the orbit of the creation, we rise and fall with the creation. The waves of praise and criticism. Our standards for success and failure come from the creation, from society. The standard for richness. The standard for poverty. Comes from creation. Comes from society.

But the Prophet ﷺ gives us a different standard. He says: “richness is not having many possessions. Rather, true richness is the richness of the soul.” But how do we avoid true impoverishment of the soul? No one likes to fall, and few people would ever choose to drown. But in struggling through the ocean of this life, sometimes it’s so hard not to let the world in. Sometimes the ocean does enter us, the ocean does seep into our hearts. And like the boat that breaks, when Dunya enters it shatters our hearts. It shatters the boat. If you allow this life to own your heart, you will sink down to the depths of the sea. You will touch the ocean floor, and you will feel as though you are at your lowest point. Entrapped by your sins and the love of this life. You will feel broken, surrounded by darkness. That’s the amazing thing about the floor of the ocean – no light enters it. But this dark place is not the end. Remember the darkness of the night precedes the dawn. And as long as your heart still beats, there is still hope. This is not the end. You don’t have to die here. Sometimes the ocean floor is only a stop in your journey. And it’s when you’re at your lowest point when you have to make a choice: you can stay there at the bottom until you drown, or you can gather pearls and rise back up. Stronger from the swim and richer from the jewels. If you seek Him, God can raise you up, and replace the darkness of the ocean with the lightness of His sun. He can transform what was one of your greatness weakness, into your greatest strength. And a means of growth, purification and redemption. Know that transformation sometimes begin with a fall. So never curse the floor. The ground is where humility lives. Take it, learn it, breathe it in, and then come back stronger, humbler and more aware of your need for Him. Come back having seen your own nothingness and His Greatness. Know that if you have seen that reality, you have seen much. For the one who is truly deceived is the one who sees himself, but not Him. Truly deprived is the one who has never witnessed his own desperate need for God. Reliant on his own needs, he forgets that the means, his own soul, and everything else in existence are His creation.

Seek God to bring you back, for when He does, He will rebuild your ship. The heart that you thought was forever damaged will be mended. What was shattered will be whole again. Know that only He can do this, so seek Him. And when He saves you, beg forgiveness for the fall. Feel remorse over it, but not despair.

As Ibn Qayyim (RahimAllah) says:
Shaytaan rejoiced when Adam (as) came out of Paradise, but he did not know that when a diver sinks into the sea, he collects pearls and then rises again.

There is a powerful and amazing thing about Toubah/repentance. And turning back to Allah. We are told that it polishes the heart. What’s amazing about a polish is that a polish does not just clean, it makes the object that was cleaned even shiner than it was before it got dirty.

If you come back to God seek His forgiveness and refocus your life on Him. You have the potential to be richer, as if you have never fallen before. Sometimes coming back gives you wisdom and humility that you may never otherwise had had.

Ibn Qayyim writes, one of the Salaf (pious predecessors) said:
“Indeed a servant commits a sin by which he enters Paradise, and another does a good deed by which he enters the Hellfire.” It was asked how is that, so he replied “the one who committed the sin constantly thinks about it, which causes him to fear it, regret it, weep over it, and feel ashamed over it in front of his Lord, the Most High, due to it. He stands before Allah, broken and with his head in humility. So this sin is more beneficial to him than doing many acts of obedience. Since it caused him to have humbleness and humility which leads the servant to happiness and success. To the extent that this sin becomes the cause of him entering into Paradise.
As for the doer of good. He does not consider the good deed as a favour of his Lord upon him. Rather, he becomes arrogant and amazed with himself saying “I have achieved such and such.” So this further increases him in self admiration, pride and arrogance. Such as this becomes his means of destruction.”

Allah reminds us in the Quran never to lose hope. He says: O My servants who has transgressed against their souls, despair not in the Mercy of Allah. For Allah forgives all sins. For He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

But how can we fill our hearts with the true richness? How do we escape the constant bombardment from every direction to worship other things? Commanding us to take idols to our hearts and loving them as we should love Him. How do we escape true poverty of allowing any competitor of entering into our hearts. How do we escape the poverty of enslaving ourselves to another deity, which Allah speaks about in the Quran when he says: There are men who take for worship others besides Allah, as equal with Him. They love them as they should only love Allah. But those of faith are overflowing in their love for Allah.

To escape true poverty we need to be overflowing in our love for Allah. Your strongest love should be for God. But you can’t love someone you don’t know. You need to know Him. You don’t know someone that you don’t speak to. Speak to Him. Ask of Him. And you can’t love someone you don’t remember. Remember Him. And remember Him often.

And so this is a call for all those who have been enslaved by the tyranny of the self and imprisoned in the dungeon of the nafs and desires. It’s a call to all those who have entered into the ocean of Dunya. Who have sunk into its depths and became trapped in its crushing waves. Rise up. Rise up to the air. To the real world above the prison of this ocean.  Rise up to your freedom. Rise up to the light of this life. And leave the death of your soul behind you. Your heart can still live and be stronger and purer than it ever was. Remember that the polish of toubah makes the heart more beautiful than it ever was. Remove the veil that you have sewn with your sins. Remove the veil between you and life. Between you and freedom. Between you and light. Between you and God. Remove the veil and rise up. Come back to yourself before it’s too late. Because many of us think we can live our lives however we want and then at the time of death say “La illaha ilAllah”. But at the time of death the tongue cannot speak except what the heart commands. Whatever is in the heart, will come out of the tongue. The impoverished heart will have nothing but love of Dunya to speak of on that day. If our heart is empty of Allah during our life, how can it be full of Allah during our death. If our heart is full of this life. Love of status. Love of wealth. Love of the creation over the Creator.  It is that that will speak at the time of death. If the heart was full of grudges, jealousy, hatred, that will speak. But if it was full of the love of Allah – that will speak. If in your life your heart only carried La illaha ilAllah” truly no shelter, no refuge, no deity worthy of worship except Him. Then, and only then will the tongue be given permission to say La illaha ilAllah Muhammadu Rasūllullāh”

Allahumma ja’alnā minhum. Aameen Ya Rabbal Alameen.

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2015 Experience

Assalamu `Alaikum (Peace be upon you)!!

I thought I would start this whole ‘blogging’ thing but I don’t really know what I’m doing to be honest (LOL). I never knew it would be this confusing and complicated to create one, but oh well, here we are!

I recently wrote an article for the Muslim Woman Magazine which was published in the March edition.

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In the Name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said to one of his Companions:

“Verily, to get up and gain knowledge of ONE verse of the Book of Allah is better for you than to perform one hundred raka’at of prayer, and to get up and learn a chapter of knowledge, whether it be practiced or not, is better for you than to perform one thousand raka’at of prayer” [Ibn Majah]

Assalamu Alaikum. My name is Ayesha and although I may look 12 to many people, I am actually 22 years of age.

I was born with a condition called ‘Congenital Muscular Dystrophy’. Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, or CMD for short, results in overall muscle weakness, which does not make it possible for me to walk, and therefore I am and have been in a wheelchair all my life.

Despite my disability, I lead quite a very normal life to some extent. Alhamdulillah. Through all the challenges I have faced, I somehow always found the patience and positivity in every situation. It’s probably something got to do with the sabr and contentment that Allah has instilled in my heart which cannot be explained.

Ever since I can remember, my parents were always strict when it came to Deen, so there was always this sense of longing to learn more about it in me – I just didn’t know it! After I graduated from high school in 2011, I applied at university, got accepted, but never ended up going. Probably because Allah had planned something better for me.

Most of my school career I went through bullying. Due to that, throughout my life I have always felt this emptiness and anxiety within me. I constantly made dua asking Allah to fill up the hole in my heart and to cure my anxiety. As I did not attend university, Allah guided me to take a gap year by studying the Deen. Well, that gap year turned into 4 gap years, and hopefully it will carry on much longer too In sha Allah.

Alhamdulillah, last year (2015) I was chosen by Allah to do a cover to cover Tafsir of His (swt) Book: my daily dose of soul nourishment.

Like many Muslims from non-Arab countries, all my life I could not understand the Arabic language and the text of the Qur’an. Even when I read the translation I was unable to comprehend the in-depth meaning of the ayahs (verses). But having said that, the recitation of Qur’an is always a source of hope and tranquility for the Believer and so it was with me.

However, now that I Alhamdulillah, became a full-time student of the Qur’an, it is almost as if doors to another realm of existence have opened up to me! After going through the translation, word analysis and Tafsir of a surah, listening to its recitation takes on a new meaning in the true sense of the word. I can now understand majority of what is being recited, why the qari (recitor) is repeating certain verses and why he would even weep at some verses.Masha’Allah, after the lessons, the recitation can really be heartfelt.

During this course, I was tested severely. There were ups and several downs in my life as is the case with all those who resolve to undertake this journey. I saw people come and go, seats being emptied and being filled with newer faces. But I was blessed with the biggest of favours – the Qur’an remained with me. I remained a student. Alhamdulillah.

The Qur’an has brought out the positive in me and removed confusion and fear of this Dunya. Now I fully realise the things that I would just be uttering before, without understanding. I have become grateful for the blessings I would often feel insecure about, and my desire to use these to please Allah has increased, instilling a renewed confidence in me. I have become quite grateful even for the difficult times; not that I enjoy them but I appreciate the after-effect. The Qur’an has helped me break the shell that often forms over my heart.

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Ya Allah, heal us with Your Words, Aameen.

Holding onto the Qur’an does not mean you will be the happiest person in the world but it means that even at the lowest of times you will at the very least be patient, content and hopeful for Allah’s Mercy. It keeps you afloat, doesn’t let you drown in self-pity and guides you through hard times. As the Prophet (pbuh) said,

“Indeed this Qur’an is a rope one end of it is in the Hand of Allah and the other end is in your hands. So hold firmly to it that you would never go astray and never be destroyed.”

I have come to the realisation that the friendships you make in the way of Allah (swt) are better than any other kind of friendship.

Through Ayaat ul Kursi I realised the extent of Allah Who put things into a better perspective for me. I wanted a best friend since childhood, someone I could trust fully; but no one quite lived up to my expectations. During this journey of learning the Qur’an, I realised that Allah (swt) is that best friend and I if I want to talk to Him regularly in the Hereafter, then I must make Him my best friend in this life. No human can fit that criterion of a perfect friend.

I often enjoy being alone but there are always moments where you wish you were with someone. Knowing Allah (swt) is always there, gaining this realisation of Him as a friend, solved this problem completely. I prefer no one else’s company. All I have to do is open the Qur’an and He would speak to me. I still have a very long way to go, and a lot to improve, but I have strengthened hope now that I will get closer and closer to Allah (swt), In sha Allah.

I often think about how I could have been somewhere else right now, missing out on all this knowledge, not learning the Kalam of Allah (swt). I could have been completely misled.Alhamdulillah that Allah guided me to the Qur’an and may He continue to guide us all, Ameen!

When you reach the end of the Qur’an you realise that there is still so much that you don’t know and so much that you have forgotten. When you think you have “completed” the Qu’ran you open it up again to read it as if you have never gone through it. It is most definitely a life changing experience.

I am still far away from true Taqwa (fearing Allah swt) where my eyes should weep when I read about the horrors of hell and the wrath of Allah. And when the affairs of the world test me and I am in despair, the ayahs of Qur’an should become my true strength. But I pray to reach this level, Ameen.

So now when I think about my life I am amazed how Allah (swt) made changes in my life without me even noticing. This journey is a journey like no other. I cannot explain it in words to you. It’s like trying to explain to someone how water tastes: you have to taste it yourself. And when you taste it, you never want to stop drinking.

All praise and thanks to Allah (swt) for bestowing this blessing upon me. I am humbled by this opportunity and I am so grateful for my teachers and especially to Allah (swt) for choosing me.

Anything good you have read in this article is from Allah, and anything bad is from my own shortcomings. Please forgive me.

May Allah (swt) help us implement all that we have learned and give us ways to stay connected. Ameen.

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