Tuesday, November 26, 2019

What Day Is It?

On days when the shoulders may get too burdened or the heart may feel too anxious, it might be a good idea to relive the trajectory of Musa's journey from one escape to another. 

Musa escaped Egypt twice. 

The first time he escaped as a fugitive from a crime scene, with nothing but a pair of clothes on his body. In his desolate forlorn state he offered a prayer which Quran fondly recounts as:

”So he watered [their flock] for them: and when he withdrew into the shade and prayed: “O my Sustainer! Verily, in dire need am I of any good which Thou mayest bestow upon me!” 
The second time he's documented to be escaping Egypt, he's a Prophet accompanied by an army of the faithful.
This time, Musa is the leader of a prosecuted nation challenging the greatest monarch and his military might. Quran proudly shares the khutba he gave to his followers:

"And [remember the time] when your Sustainer made [this promise] known: 'If you are grateful [to Me], I shall most certainly give you more and more" 
- 14:7
Life, on any given day, is an event somewhere on the line connecting these two points. A day to be grateful, or a day to be grateful!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Faith Begets Joy ... That's How The Dynamics Work

A couple of weeks ago I had posted the above image somewhere with the following caption: 

Abu Sa‘id al-Kharraz (d. 899) in his Book of Truthfulness writes: “When a man is truthful in his love (of God), there emerges between him and God, most High, a partnership of surrender … he has trust in the excellent choice of the one whom He loves. He abides in his excellent direction, and tastes the food of existence through Him.” As a consequence, “his heart is filled with joy, bliss, and happiness.” 
When Abu ‘Uthman al-Ḥiri (d. 910) declared, “During the last forty years God has never placed me in a state that I disliked, or transferred me to another state which I resented,” Hujwiri indicated that his words signified “continual satisfaction and perfect love.” It was such an intense experience of love that allowed Rabi‘a, famous for her role in the development of the love tradition to state that the aspirant must find equal joy in both the tribulations and the blessings, because they both have their origin in the Beloved.

Someone who happened to follow the online space, and wasn't a personal acquaintance, recently wrote to me asking clarity over this. 

The person wrote:

I have a question In reference to this post.
How can one achieve the truthfulness, the trust  that you mention. So far all I can manage is forcing myself not to think negatively that is I'll tell myself k though it hurts me it bothers me but He knows the best it's for the ultimate good, that this is taking me to where I am destined to be but I can't shake the feeling that I am faking it because I have read that this is how I should feel. I  can feel that my submission is fake or halfhearted. I used to complaint to Allah before you know tell him k aap ne acha nahi Kia now I can't do that because I know otherwise.

I wrote back to the person.

MashaAllah... do you see that journey you've made? Notice that, and just keep at that.
Being 'aware' of "faking" it is a faithful's ultimate gift. :)
You've been working on a transition of heart, as long as you're not sure of it's perfection, you'll keep working to make it better. Allah, very kindly, promises that HIS standards of evaluation are based on our strengths of niyyah, and not on the wholensomeess of our acts. Do you notice how that puts you in the good quadrant of graph documenting performance of people?

The problem we all actually encounter is, we think of learning/adopting behaviours as a single act that we perform in a single go - like ringing a door bell: press the button and DING DONG.
Nothing is farther from truth.
Learning/adopting behaviours is a continuous process. You're learning a whole new love language. You'll learn the vocabulary, the semantics, the pronunciation, the nuisance of expressions... it's a journey.
And you're at it.
Congratulate your heart putting in all that effort. :)
And be kind to it please. It's a long walk. 

Putting it up here as a reminder to every heart, including my own, in their dark night of faith. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019


*Theme for the personal writings post at my readers club this week was Smog*

I met a friend after 15 years and he asked if I still crafted greeting notes brimming with love that only Qabbani's verses could bring; or wrote the letters that painted bright skies on sunlit beaches.

I smiled and stayed quiet. In his eyes I saw the trajectory that traced that past to this present. I witnessed the exact moment understanding and acceptance dawned there. His eyes dimmed.

I don't talk about it ... (there's no point either, to be honest) ... But every morning, the memory of you rises from my side to meet me with an engulfing embrace. I inhale the scent of it, feel the absence of you. My throat burns. My hand crawls on the cold sheet beside and I blink my eyes trying to will you into existence in this precise coordinate of space and time. The effort is futile. My eyes sting.

I leave the bed, step inside the shower and feel growing around me, like vines of a blooming bougainvillea, the thorny tentacles of your absence.

I dress and try to look at my form through your eyes. I see a faceless cemetery. In the hollow of chest now filled with toxic fumes of rancor, nothing grows. There's an unending season of a suffocating loss.

I leave home. Outside the car window the world is exactly like it is inside me. It is smog.

Image credits: @ell_enn at instagram.