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Fadhilah Wahid

Ruminations
Refined

1
Fadhilah Wahid
Ruminations
Refined

2016
In the name of God
The Beneficient
The Merciful
Peace, blessings & salutations
Be upon our
Prophet Muhammad

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To my mum, whose sacrifice and love I can never repay
And to all the countless #mashaAllahladiesinmylife who have entered
my life and taught me a million things about myself, and about God.

May Allah swt gather us again with all those we love and those
beloved to Him, if not in this world, then the next.

Words: Nur Fadhilah Wahid (fadhilah.wahid@gmail.com)


Photos: Nur Fadhilah Wahid
Book Design: Amni Sham (amnishm@gmail.com)

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T
Beautiful Experiences he thing is, my friends, my stories, while they
originate from my experiences, are never
about me.

I write simply because I am a writer, and I have been trained as


a journalist. I chose not to work for the media because I do not
want to preserve some political film, or some personal drama
that will make the 7 o’clock news.

Instead, I need my writings to preserve something I truly,


deeply believe in. I want to carve words that matter, that
changes people’s lives for the better. Allah swt has given all
of us innumerable gifts, and the only way of showing syukr
towards these gifts are by using them for Him.

And this is why I preserve my beautiful experiences with pure


souls through my writings.

Because these souls - these souls who are hidden like pearls
in the bottom of the ocean blue - these souls are reflections
of God’s Love and Mercy, of Rasulullah’s selflessness and
tenderness salla Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam. And these reflections
are more worthy to be preserved than all else.

I write what I write, because I truly believe that when our soul
stands witness to souls that are closer to Him, the declaration
we made to our Rabb before we entered this world echoes in
our chest - Yes, Ya Rabb, You are our Lord!

I am not “MashaAllah”. Far from it. You don’t think the journalist
as a genius when she writes a story about a prodigy. The subject
of the story - that’s who the true genius is.

I am but a writer, a storyteller. Someone who - purely by God’s


Grace - stumbled upon pearls whilst diving in the ocean, swims
back up, and calls people to jump in and see these pearls for
themselves.

Hoping - even though I may never be like pearls in the ocean -


that I’ll be around them so much in my work, that they too will
ask of me when the day comes that I am unable to make that
dive again.

May He Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala gather us all with the ones that


we love, and the ones beloved to Him. Ameen

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“How do you feel?”

I closed my eyes as I listened to the chirping of the birds


and the soft humm of the freezer. With the cold air, my
breath came out as wheezes, and small clouds of vapour
appear as the air escaped my mouth. “How do you feel?”,
the shaykh’s voice brought me home.

“Quiet. Peaceful.”

“That, Fadhilah, is who you are. Everything you have that’s


occupying you are just noise from the past and worries
from your future. Silent them with dhikrullah, and just... be.”

Contrasts

Isn’t it interesting that you can be amongst an ocean of


people and yet still feel lonely?

And in contrast, you also can be physically all alone, but


feel like the entire world is beating to the rhythm of your
heartbeat.

He is closer to you than your jugular vein. He is in each


breath, in the gush of air that enters you and flows through
your body, in every expansion and contraction of the lump

I
of flesh in your chest. f you have too many conversations with others and
dialogues with yourself, how will you listen to what
Allah Hu. Allah Hayy. He has to say to you?

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The Road

We’re all on a journey to Him. Sometimes the road is


smooth, sometimes it’s bumpy, sometimes you meet so
many roadblocks and detours, or the directions are so
confusing, you just feel like giving up and turning back.

Don’t.

I was sitting alone, reflecting, when I noticed Wooky leave Because as long as your engine is running and you’re moving
The Call

his seat and approach me. “Off, Wooky! I have my wudhu’!” with the Intent of reaching Him, then you’ll find that He is
Wooky looked at me for a moment, positioned himself a with you every inch of the way :) Alhamdulillah for blessings
few inches next to me and sat, his head lying on his paws. and trials, alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli hal.
For a while we sat in silence, enjoying the sunset and the
evening stillness on the farm. I was grateful that he came; I
was longing for some company.

Ten or so minutes later, the Mu’azin started reciting the


call to prayer. Wooky looked at me as if to say goodbye,
promptly got up, stood close to the Mu’azin, and began
howling in response to each line of the Azan.

Perhaps that’s how we are supposed to be in this world - to


serve and bring joy to the lives of others, and then leave
everything, even the people we love, at His call, without a
moment’s hesistation.

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What the World Needs

I attended a wedding yesterday, one where the kompang group


suddenly broke into a couple of popular Selawat and qasaid.

My brother turned to me and commented that he had been


to a past majlis where the kompang group had members that
had tattoos and piercings, and yet they too recited the selawat
with much soul. Then he nudged me to look at a toddler who
was in his parent’s arms, following along the Selawat with much
zest and cuteness.

I smiled and teared a little as a thought entered my head. In


the Qur’an, the Prophet Salla Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam was
described as a Mercy to the Worlds. He touched the lives of
men and women, of the rich and the poor, of the scholars and
the ignorant, of the old and the young.

A friend told me yesterday that what the world is in most


need of is love. The Prophet Salla Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam
taught that -- Love. True, eternal Love that transcends all our
differences and our opinions. A Love that connects all of us at
the core of our souls, a Love whose seed is already within us,
waiting to be discovered.

A Hadith mentions that when we send 1 Selawat upon the


Prophet Salla Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam, Allah Subhanahu Wa
Ta’Ala sends 10 selawats upon us; is that not but from Love?

Allahumma solli ‘ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa-’ala alihi wa-


sohbihi wa-sallam!

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Experiences of The Path

Watching a video of a hadrah in Syria reminds me of my trip


to South Africa. For a long time I’ve wanted to experience
the hadrahs of the Sufis, and in my trip I got a sip from the
waters of the different turuqs, all by the grace of Allah swt;
I made the intention to meet these wonderful people, and
He carried my feet to where they needed to be.

I stood with Qadiri-Rifais, bowed with the Naqshbandis,


held hands with the Shadhilis, sat side by side with the
Ba’Alawis, and cried hot tears as my heart could no longer
contain its immense joy amongst the Darqawis.

We often see Islam as a monolithic whole... But the truth is


that Islam is as colorful as it comes. The sooner we realize
that, stop having a “holier-than-thou” attitude, and embrace
one another as brothers who are all in need of La illaha ila
Allah, then can Muslims be as they were once before. We
need to judge less (within reason) and love more.

P/s. I’m not a Sufi :) Now

“I used to live in a shack, with coconut


leaves being the only barrier between
my head and the sky, but I was happy,
I was contented. I had my zikr, I had
my wird, I had all the contentment in
the world,” said the Imam, creases
forming on his forehead, “Now, I see
that everyone in my village live in
proper houses, but they are always
worrying, always running around
unsure and fearful about this and that,


and it’s all because they have left the
It’s quiet here, Ma. I feel lonely sometimes.” remembrance of Allah swt; When you
run away from your Robb, He runs
“Fadhilah, Allah is there with you all the time.” away from you.”

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Conversations

#selfreminder In every gathering of remembrance, ‘ilm, and selawat


I attend, I recall a long hadith that explains how Allah
Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala sends teams of angels who go about
We are all complex beings. We have days with high imaan on the roads seeking those who remember Him.
and days with low Imaan. Some days we sob listening to a
single hadith, and in others we laugh a little too much. With When they find some people remembering Allah Subhanahu
certain people we share the depths of our soul, and with Wa Ta’Ala, they call to one another and say, “Come to what
others, we joke and fool around to keep the conversation you are looking for,” and they surround them with their
light. wings till the space between them and the lowest sky is
fully covered. A conversation between Allah Subhanahu
If we understand and see that we are all complex beings, Wa Ta’Ala and the angels then occurs, ending with Allah
that we are not perfect, that we have flaws that tend to Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala saying, “I call you to witness that I
surface at one time or another, then we’ll realize that we are hereby grant pardon to them and confer upon them what
only doing ourselves a disservice when we flatten others they ask for; and grant them protection against what they
and judge them even before truly getting to know them. seek protection from”

To be kind to others, you have to be kind to yourself. And to One of the angels, however, remarks: “Our Rabb, there is
be kind to yourself, you have to be kind to others. amongst them such and such slave who does not belong
to the assembly of those who are participating in Your
remembrance. He passed by them and sat down with them”

Because He is the most Merciful, all-Forgiving, He


Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala then replies, “I also grant him pardon
because they are the people by virtue of whom their
associates will not be unfortunate.”

At which point I find tears in my eyes, praying that He


Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala forgives me by virtue of all the people


I find myself sitting with... Allah....
You see beauty in things and you
see beauty in people, and you
can see beauty only because
you yourself are.”

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Cracks

It’s painful to discover cracks in yourself; to be exposed to


your own shortcomings, sins and mistakes. To see broken
dreams and withdrawn hopes, to see incompleteness and
imperfection.

The short-sighted man sees his cracks as the end of it all.


He sees himself of no use, he sees his life as a waste, he
sees himself as unworthy of love, and of life.

The wise man sees his cracks, and he is thankful. For he


knows that while everyone is imperfect, not everyone is
given the ability to notice their own cracks; and if they don’t
see them, how can they fix them?

The broken man is despondent because in his cracks he is


unable to see beyond himself. The wise man, on the other
hand, sees his cracks and is immensely grateful, because in
them, he sees God’s loving, moulding hands.

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Their conversation hung in mid air, soliloquys in each thought.

Internal Safar
“Can I tell you a secret, habibty? Would you promise not
to judge?” the girl asked her companion. A nod, came the
response.

The girl cleared her throat, “My heart has been hard for a
long while. I stand in prayer, I read the Qur’an, and yet, I
feel thirsty and empty. I feel like a corpse going through the
motions, devoid of soul, devoid of the sweetness of imaan.”
Her companion gazed at her tenderly, “Is that why you’ve been
traveling all over attending all these Qiyam or other majalees?”
The girl nodded, defeated.

The cursor blinked: one message received. “My life’s in a mess,” Her companion smiled, reaching out for her hand, “Maybe
Land Ahead

she finally said, finding the voice she had for so long silenced, “I you need not travel everywhere to seek God. Maybe God is
feel lost.” Her words trailed off once again, perhaps submerged there in your room alone with you, on your prayer mat when
under her thoughts. there is no one else around you. There is great blessings in the
congregation, but maybe what your soul requires of you right
I smiled, grateful to Him for such an opening, “Perhaps you now is to be alone with Him. You have been so busy traveling
feeling lost is good because it means you’re aware of the state everywhere, habibty, that perhaps you forgot to travel within.”
of your affairs, love.

Like the captain of a ship lost at sea, you can make one of two
decisions:

One, you can just let go of the ship’s controls, and let the winds,
currents, or whatever external factors push and pull you. You
might move - maybe forwards, maybe backwards - or maybe
even find yourself back at where you began, or

Two, you can look at the map, decide a destination, plot


a journey, power your ship with determination, du’as and
tawakkul, and set sail.

Sure, you might end up changing courses if something happens


along the way, but at least you’re moving somewhere.

And once you’re moving towards a destination, you’re not lost


anymore, aren’t you?”
I’ve been travelling the world and what it made me
realise is that I can’t change anything; the world is
too messed up!”

“But I think that’s the whole point of the world. For you to
realize that you’re not in control of anything, and that the
only true change you can ever do is that of yourself.”

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On Intentions

Ustaz Muhsin said something amazing the other day, a subtle piece of information
that I perhaps knew on a subconscious level, but never did give attention to.
“Why do we have to make our intentions before we pray?” he asked. “To make
it known what prayer we are offering?” Someone suggested. Ustaz smiled, “To
make known to whom? Allah?” His face turned serious as he scanned our faces;
perhaps he saw “yes” bubbles hovering above us.

He continued, “Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala already knows that. He knows what


you are going to pray, what you will pray, and even whether your prayer is valid!
No, no, students. You make your intentions to let it be known to YOU.

For it is you who are heedless and in need of a reminder to be present.” Ya Allah!

T
he Reality of True Knowledge
is that it breaks the nafs - the
desires of the Self - in order
for the self to gain the Redha of
Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala.
In fact, all that we do is a means by
which we strive to gain the Redha of
Allah; without which all that we do is
in reality, meaningless.

Redha Ya Allah, Redha.

Make our intentions, thoughts,


and actions only for You.

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The term “barakah” is defined as the flow of Allah’s blessings
The Barakah of Time

to whomsoever Allah wishes, onto whatever matter He wishes.

Barakah itself manifests in different ways. When used in the


context of marriage, having a marriage with barakah would
mean for Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala to preserve the marriage
till the hereafter. To have barakah in knowledge would mean
for Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala to protect the knowledge in
the seeker’s mind and heart forever. To have barakah in wealth
would mean for Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala to increase a
person’s wealth manifold; Sayyidina Muadh’s radhi Allahu anhu
plantations would bear fruit twice a year whilst others’ only
bore fruit once, due to a du’a the Prophet Muhammad Salla
Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam made for his wealth!

Recently, an ustadhah visiting Singapore remarked that our


country is blessed with wealth, but lack the barakah of time.
“In Indonesia I would attend much more majalees than in
Singapore, and yet end the day by 10pm. It’s 2am now, and still
we’re only leaving the last majlis,” she commented.

I remembered - whilst doing the Mass Musollah Cleanup - a


sister who just migrated here, standing over all the excess
donated items, perplexed. “You mean,” she asked, her face in
a frown, “All of these are extras AFTER you have distributed
to all the musollahs and masajids on your list?” I nodded. She
continued, “I’ve been around the world a bit, and Singapore is
the only country where people can give so much of their money,
but so little of their time!” Ya Allah, that was an awakening!

Why is it that Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala has stripped the


barakah of time from us? Why do we always feel like we’re in a
rush, like we’re so busy, like we don’t even have time to be with
Him exclusively? Why do we find it so hard to sit and read His
words everyday?

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Brokenness

From the talk Still in Yemen // “Habib Abdullah bin Hussain Bin-Taher had La
ilaha illa Allah in his blood. He would recite La ilaha illa Allah, Ya Allah Ya Allah
and send Selawat upon the Prophet Muhammad Salla Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam
25,000 times each. 25 000, 25 000, 25 000, every day,” Zain began his sharing
session on the scholars of Tareem. “When he prayed Dhuha, he would read 8 Juz
of the Qur’an, and when he prayed tahajjud he would complete another 10 Juz.
And yet, he wrote the qasidah “Ya Arhama Rahimeen”! It was very clear that he
felt himself as a slave full of sin, and that he hopes...” Here, Zain fell silent.

The audience looked down as we felt him struggling to find his words, tears
forming in his eyes. He tried to speak again, only to find that his words have
failed him. There was silence in the room as the traffic roared outside, masking
the many thoughts running through everyone’s hearts in the presence of a single
story of the great ulama.

Zain cleared his throat, “So despite the amount of Ibadah he has done... He is
praying that he be admitted to Jannah based on Allah’s mercy, and not his many
acts of Ibadah. He was clear that he would not be admitted if it was on account
of what he has done. This was someone who has done so much of Ibadah, and
yet he prays for Allah’s mercy that he doesn’t end up in the hellfire”

In the silence that followed his statement, a tiny - yet crystal clear - voice filled
my conscious.

What about me?

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Opening
W
e sat in silence, fingers
interlocking as we both
gazed into the distance.
One by one the girls stood up, giving their impromptu “I knew you would choose a non-
speech as requested by Sis Dora. “Da’wah is not all about traditional path after graduation.
preparing a speech ahead to speak in front of a crowd of I just did not expect it to be this,”
hundreds and thousands. It’s about continuously spreading she said.
the message through our actions and words. You need to
always be ready,” she said, noting that the Dar az-Zahra’ Warm tears threatened to spill onto
girls were made to do the same back in Tareem. my cheeks once again. “Neither did
I. I think this path was chosen for me
When the turn got to the final person in the group, she because of what I am within: broken-
hesitantly got up, smoothing out the creases in her prayer hearted.” I felt her squeeze my
garb. After offering the basmalah, hamdalah and salutations hand, pulling me back to safety from
upon the Prophet Salla Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam, she the ocean of disappointments and
cleared her throat and began, “When I’m nervous I forget regrets I was about to fall into.
my Qur’anic memorizations.” - the room broke into giggles
- “So please correct me if I’m wrong.” She held my gaze, a soft smile on her
lips as she strung pearls of comfort
Quivering (and tearing, though she herself did not for her companion, “Did He not
understand why), the girl began to recite one of her promise that He is with those whose
favourite verses from surah al-Fajr: But as for man, hearts are broken for His sake?”
whenever his Sustainer tries him by His generosity by
letting him enjoy a life of ease, he says, “My Sustainer has
been generous towards me”, whereas, whenever He tries
him by straitening his means of livelihood, he says, “My
Sustainer has disgraced me!” // At this, the girl broke down
in sobs.

Collecting herself as much as she could, she continued, “I’m


crying because it struck me only now why my heart has not
felt closeness to Allah in a long while. When He Subhanahu
Wa Ta’Ala gifts me ease, I tell everyone how amazing He
is. But when He tries me, I subtly say He has forsaken me
through all my complaining and whining!

Ya Allah! And if I am already complaining and whining about


the smallest of trials, how can I be ready for the bigger trials
that are needed to break my heart so as to remove all but
Him?”

Rumi: If the lamp is irritated by every rub, how will it get


polished?

30 31
Real Love calls you all the way in It’s about being kind to yourself, love. It’s about understanding

4am conversations
all the way back that Allah swt put you through all those experiences in your
past to make you wiser, to make your life more colorful, to
to answer this call make your experience with Him more profound. It is through
lovers would, opposites that we feel the beauty of His Mercy.
if they could,
tear off not just their clothes Find it in you to love yourself once again, so that you may learn
but also their skin to be thankful for the countless blessings He has given you.
their muscle
their bone Your family. Your husband. Your friends. Me. Your past. Your
present. All of us are tools. Just tools to help you make your
anything that binds way to Him.
holds them together
Perhaps it is time to offload your anchors, love. Leave them in
because every cell the depths of the oceans, and sail your way to God.
in their bodies
yearns to answer It’s an hour to Fajr. He beckons. Resist not the currents that
the call of Love push you home.

is desperate
to be free
of solid separation
so it can experience the
everything! everything! everything!
it is

-Shahbano Aliani, Set My Heart on Fire

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Mum & Him

My mum gets a lot of flak with regards to the choices I’ve made
the past two years. “She has a good degree already; shouldn’t
she just get a job?” “What? Studying again? But she already
took a leap year!” “You’re crazy allowing her to leave to study
in such a place!” And so on.

Yet, not once did she convey to me who said those hurtful
words to her. And while those words have been floating around
for a while, only recently did they reach my ears.

I asked, genuinely curious, “So how did you respond?” “I smile


and brush their comments off; Since you were a child I’ve had
the intentions for you to study in a madrasah [but couldn’t
apply for various reasons], and I’ve prayed ever since for
Him to return you to His Path. Now that He has answered my
prayers, how can I deny His plans? Allah knows better than
both them and us of what’s good for you. And so I just pray to
Allah to guide all of us to what is best, and be grateful to all
that He places in our way.” Ah, MashaAllah.
& He is Love
How beautiful the soul that lives in His light? How beautiful “There is no one way to God, habibty. Some people find their
His plans, turning sincere intention into fruition 20 years later? way in solitude, while others find their path filled with khidmah.
Not one is better than other, except by which their sincerity
lay,” she reflected, “He created us in different colors so that
we may know one another, so that others may assist us in
what we ourselves lack. But we are too quick to position these
differences as leverage to compete whose status is higher.

Habibty, Allah is All Loving; from Him all Love eminates. He is


just as capable of loving you - with all your silence and solitude
- as He is capable of loving another, whose colorful character is
the opposite of all that you believe a good Muslimah should be.

Perhaps a Muslimah’s struggle to be good and to do good is


more beloved to Him than the self-righteousness of someone
who feels herself as already good.

No matter the path, habibty, sincerity is the key.”

34 35
The Drive Home

On the drive home from the Jenazah Workshop, I turned


to RS, “You know, I couldn’t watch them put on the burial
shroud for you without tears in my eyes. I had to look away.
I can’t imagine if you’re really gone, habibty.”

RS let out a small chuckle, “But Kak Fad, when they were
putting the shroud on me, all I wanted was for it to be real.
I cannot explain the feeling, but I wish I was really returning
to Him”

Every living soul will taste death - but the taste of death
itself varies from person to person, as according to her
relationship with her Rabb.

A person who loves the dunya and all that is in it - including


her wealth, status, family etc -, will find death an immensely
terrifying affair for it is a cause of separation between her
and that which she loves.

A person who on the other hand, loves Allah and His


Messenger Salla Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam, will find death - as
painful an experience as it still is - a happy affair for it is the
last barrier to be removed, one that has been preventing
her from meeting with her beloved.

May we be of the people who embrace death when it


knocks on our door. May we be of the people who are
granted a good end. May we be of the people whose souls
the Angels are eager to present to their Rabb. May we be
of the people whose deeds are sincere and accepted. May
we be of the people to whom Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala
says, “O soul at rest, return to your Lord, well-pleased and
pleasing to Him. Enter then with my true servants, enter
then to My Paradise.” Ameen!

36 37
Of Turning Hearts The past several days I’ve been bumping into and meeting
some people from my not so Islamic past.

A mother, the mark of a gang’s ink still on her skin, with her
hijab-clad 2 year old in her arms.

A lady, who used to be a regular at clubs and pubs, who had just
completed her foundational Islamic studies and can actually
now teach at madrasahs.

A man, who used to treat women as playthings, now a constant


face at Islamic classes and events. “The pain of longing
The ache in your heart
The heart is named as Qalb because it is subjected to changes Filled to the brim
in states all the time. The most pious man you see today could Overflowing
very well fall into sin tomorrow, and the biggest sinner today And you realise
could very well be brought to light in a single command of kun You weren’t made for shallow waters
fayakun! Your heart is an ocean”

The very fact that imaan is His to decide should always remind - By NR
us that we are to constantly fly on the wings of hope and fear;
to always remember not to take our “goodness” for granted,
and to always remember not to give up even as our sins are
like mountains.

Be, and it is. Regardless of who we are, and who we once were.

O Mover of hearts, please keep our hearts on Your Deen and


in obedience to You. Ameen!

38 39
Getting it Right

I watched Ayah Roslan as he arranged his desk, both of us


silent as the muezzin called for Zuhr prayers. He has shed
some weight since the last time I saw him, and I could see
that work has taken its toll.

When the azan trailed off, he smiled, “You miss that don’t
you?” I nodded in affirmation; just minutes before I had
shared with AO how the azan echoing off the mountains
was something I really missed during my time in UIA. That,
and my times with my lecturer, Ayah Roslan, amongst
others.

He continued the conversation we had before the azan, “So


Fadhilah, it doesn’t matter what your position is or who you
are, if you cannot have husn zhonn towards others.

Get that right - and it isn’t easy - and inshaAllah your


relationships with everyone will improve despite of you and
despite of them.

I
stroked Freckles gently, the strength
And better and more importantly, have husn zhonn towards of her muscles apparent underneath
Allah. Because someone who only thinks that Allah wishes her beautiful winter coat. As I do
nothing but goodness for them despite of what is apparent, with most animals I get acquainted
will see that this entire life as a gift; nothing will burden him! with, I began to recite the selawat
with the intention of gifting her the
It will all just be about love for Him and for Rasulullah Salla sweetness of listening to the name of
Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam” the Prophet saw.

And then there it was, for a moment, what I miss most Perhaps it was my wishful thinking, or
about my conversations with him: his eyes welling up, and perhaps it was just from an irritation,
etched on his face a look of longing, of hope, a desperate but as I continued, I saw Freckles’ eyes
plead to be loved by the Beloved and to be reunited with began to well up, and a lone tear slid
him Salla Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam. down to the grass below.

May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala forgive and reward all of I looked into her eyes, and for that
our teachers, from East to West, and grant them all that moment, Freckles and I, we were one
their heart longs for. Ameen. - part of a unity witnessing the love for
our beloved Rasulullah saw.

Sollu ‘alaih!

40 41
#pujukhati

We often get too attached too fast to the dunya - to the


habits we have, to the people we meet, to the things we
own. We get ourselves so intertwined with them that when
they are taken away from us, we feel at best, a heaviness in
our hearts, and at worst, a gaping hole that we are unable
to climb out of for months and years on end.

But it is a losing game to be attached to anything or anyone,


for nothing and no one lasts for eternity... and nothing and
no one are ever ours in the first place.

The friend who embarked on a spiritual journey with


you might be called to a different route. The spouse who
promises to be with you has a promise to His Creator that
he cannot withdraw from. The dreams and hopes you aspire
towards might fall away just as the tips of your fingers graze
its beginnings.

So what do you do when your heart breaks as the people


and things you get attached to are pried away from you?

You hurt, you cry, and you turn to your Rabb. You console
your heart that this pain you feel is a reminder that the
only existence that lasts forever is Him. That everything
happens by His will. That His qada’ and qadar are written
specifically to break your illusions and attachments, so that
all that is left for you is Him.


Of all the things you can buy with your heart, love can And that all the heartbreak and struggle in this dunya will
cost the most. Yet it is a bargain for what it brings. So be nothing - not an atom’s worth - compared to being in
I hope you have a big heart. I hope your heart is rich.” His and His Beloved’s presence when even time parts ways
from life as we know it.

Love, and form relationships. But know that His Love is far
more deserving and demanding than any other.

42 43
Do not fall trap

“But I think she struggles so much with him! He turns the


other cheek when she wakes him up for tahajjud, shrugs
and brushes her aside when she coaxes him to pray early,
and he refuses to attend classes together, choosing instead
to sit at home. How can their marriage be a satisfying one?”
I asked my lecturer - Ayah Roslan -, both appalled and
amused by what he said seconds before.

Ayah Roslan raised his eyebrows, a hint of surprise splashed


across his face, “Does he pray his five prayers and does his
other fardh obligations?” “Yes... But...” I stuttered, flustered.
“Then you have no right to judge him, for his one fardh
prayer, though simple as it may be, may be worth more
in the eyes of Allah than all of his wife’s Tahajjud prayers
combined,” Ayah Roslan warned, “Don’t fall into the trap
of judging someone based on external actions when Allah
Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala sees the hearts, Fadhilah. Allah
Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala sees your heart.”

The finger that Ayah Roslan raised to drive his point home
might as well be a slap to my face. Tears clouded my sight
as I hung my head low in shame.

Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala judges us by our hearts, and


if the thoughts contained in my mind are reflective of the
heart I carry in my chest… Allah. May He Subhanahu Wa Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep
Ta’Ala purify our hearts, fill it up with love and husnuzhonn your heart open through everything, your pain can
towards one another, and cover us from one another with a become your greatest ally in your life’s search for
beautiful covering. Ameen. love and wisdom.” - Mawlana Rumi

44 45
A Little Voice

One of the problems I face is that I tend to overthink and in


the process, squash the voice in my heart.

Yesterday was one of those days. I was at the bus station,


and a little voice told me to walk home, a 20-30 min
distance. My brain (ok nafs? Haha) balked at the idea: “It’s
been a long exhausting day! You have work to do! There will
“Be patient. be class tonight!” So I - as per my normal routine - started
Be generous. walking to the bus queue.
Take it slow.
But halfway through, that little voice said again: walk home.
It’s not about getting “there” I suddenly remembered Shaykh Ebrahim saying that often,
It’s about the path you are on we have so much noise in our heads that we are unable to
And the company you have on the listen to His voice. Maybe, I thought, Maybe He is trying to
path. gift me something?

You have immense power and beauty And so I did an about turn, and I started walking home... And
There is a light within you surprise surprise, I crossed paths with a teacher from when
That shines bright. I was 10 whom I’ve been wanting to meet since I returned to
Singapore a year ago. Alhamdulillah! I was so happy I smiled
The only way for you to abandon that while walking the remaining journey, MashaAllah.
power
Is to think you have none. Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala is amazing, no?

The only way you can hide your light May our inner dialogues be silent so we can always listen to
under a bushel His messages, ameen!
Is to occupy yourself with decisions
that are the task of a lifetime.

Breathe,
My friends,
Be kind to one another
And to your own selves
Hold each others’ hands
And let’s walk together
Never alone
No, never alone.

There is a light within you.”

- Omid Safi

46 47
You are not Alone

You will continue being unhappy with yourself (on and off)
unless you make a change in your life, and keep to it. There
is no magic pill that anyone can give you, there is no magic
formula for change.

You’re struggling to change because that is how it is


supposed to be - a struggle; not a walk in the park. That
want to change must come from within you, it must be
strong and it must spur you to make tough decisions and
relook at your priorities and your self.

Change is painful because you’re being molded by Allah


swt into someone better than the person you are today;
should change be easy than the whole world will be sugar
and spice and everything nice.. which we know it is not.

You’re not alone in your struggle. I know, because I too


struggle, and I receive emails from countless other sisters
and brothers from around the world - Russia to Africa to
Malaysia - who are struggling as well.

Our heart and souls are striving to be on the right path,


even as nafs and syaitaan are always trying to pull us the
other way. So we try, we fail, we try, we fail, and sometimes
- by His will - we succeed, and we thank Him for allowing us
to change, and we thank Him for looking at our struggle and
our sincerity to change, instead of the change itself.

Why thank Him? Because He has promised that if we are


grateful, then He will increase us in that which we are
grateful for. And so by His will, change will come to us.

48 49
Life Lessons

Parting advise from Shaykh Dr


Mustafa al-Bugha:

1) Obey Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala in


all that you do

2) Treat one another with kindness


and goodness

3) Obey His commands and leave His


prohibitions; practice what you learn

4) Seclude yourself in remembrance


of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala

5) Always make du’a for guidance and


seek protection from misguidance

And my take-home lesson: Everything,


everything, everything - from ibadah
to seeking knowledge - becomes zilch
with the presence of pride in one’s
heart. Sincerity and humility are the
keys to Allah’s Redha and acceptance
of our deeds.

50 51
End Goals

“Some people complain that when they returned to Allah


and made the intentions to turn over a new leaf, life
suddenly becomes a struggle for them.

One hardship after another, one trial after another, one


loss after another; everyday becomes an exhausting
jihad to continue what they had embarked on. Some
feel themselves losing faith, but in actuality all of these
tribulations are supposed to bring you greater faith!

Why? Because when you return to Allah, the end goal is


Allah. And when the end goal is Allah, the criteria is to have
a clean and pure heart. And when the criteria is to have a
clean and pure heart, then the means to which are trials
and tribulations.

Afterall, trials and tribulations are the very agents that will
erase your past sins and teach you all you need to know
about yourself and your Rabb.”

Paraphrased from Ustazah Halimah Latiff’s class on


Etiquette of the Seekers of Knowledge.


Perhaps, Fa, the reason why I’m so restless in
Singapore is because since I returned to the Deen, He
Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala has placed me on one spiritual
high after another that returning to the cycle of normal
life is... Mundane in comparison. My heart struggles here,
trying to remain as I was before,” I watched as the leaves
rustle outside the window, scratching against the glass.

My friend nodded and smiled, offering a hint of


understanding, “Perhaps it’s time for you to understand that
He Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala is in the everyday, not in just the
spiritual highs you get from experiences. Be just as thankful
for the gift of “normal” life, as you have been thankful for
the journeys He placed you on. That is true thankfulness.”

52 53
you, you, You

In Johannesburg, it is pretty common to find beggars at


road junctions. When the lights turn red, they emerge from
Who are we?
pavements and knock on car windows. Some sell papers,
others just want spare change. As we were in the middle
of a conversation, a man - looking as if he was high on “It is never about anyone deserving
something - knocks. anything, habibty. None of us deserves
an ounce of the blessings we receive on
Without hesitation, Shaykh rolled down his window. He a daily basis. We forget Him, we fall into
reached for some change he had ready in the dashboard. sin, we overlook the rights of others, we
He knew the man; the short conversation that ensued attribute His gifts to ourselves. How can
showed that much. The lights turn green, Shaykh bode we ever deserve anything?
farewell, and we went our way. It struck me how Shaykh
treated the man as if nothing was amiss. Instead, it is - everything is - about Him.
His Mercy, His Generosity, His Love.
As the car sped across the highway, our conversation began Him giving and giving despite our lack of
revolving around the concept of charitable giving. At that gratefulness, our lack of thankfulness, our
time, I was half-hearted in giving strangers on the streets, lack of awareness of Him.
due to the many suuzhonn I held.
Ya Allah! We are undeserving, habibty, we
Shaykh then said something which stuck with me still a year are bankrupts who think again and again
on: “When someone comes to you for help, it is not they that we are lord of our lives, and yet He,
who need help - it is you. For Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala He whom we turn our backs to, He gives
sent that person to you, so that YOU may do a good deed. and gives and gives, even when He can do
We think we are so high and mighty when we help someone, whatever He wills to us!
when actually it is us who should thank that person. They
are the ones helping us, for we are the ones in poverty.” We don’t deserve anything. Not you, not
I. Not the big things, not even the small
May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala bless Shaykh Ebrahim and things.
his family, and the fuqara’.
Allah Kareem. To Him belong all Praise
and Thanks, and to Him belong all
Favours and Grace. It is He who eases
every difficulty, and who heals the broken
one. It is He who is the companion to
every solitary soul, the Enricher of the
poor, the Strengthener of the weak, and
the Comforter of the frightened.

Allah is everything, habibty, while we... we


are nothing.”

54 55
T
Life Lessons Too here are two kinds of lessons that can be learned
from a gathering of knowledge: a general lesson
that everyone has access to (i.e. the content of the
lecture that the teacher taught), and a personal lesson that
is meant only for one’s self (i.e. something which a person
notices, realizes, understands, or experiences that others
may not necessarily do)

The general lessons we derived from Habib Umar’s limited


time with us are many - as reflected in the many gems shared
across social media -, touching on the topic of repentance.

One of my favourites is the story of Imam Junayd ibn


Muhammad who spent years in taubah for uttering
“Alhamdulillah” when his shop was saved from a fire that
razed all the other shops around it. “Why are you repenting
about saying Alhamdulillah when that is a good thing to
say?” someone asked him. Imam Junayd’s response? That it
was not the right place to say Alhamdulillah seeing that his
neighbours were affected by the fire! Subhanallah.

In this short anecdote shared by Habib, we realize that the


yardstick of what is good (or bad) is spread across a huge
spectrum: what may be considered good to the public,
may not necessarily be good for the seeker. And what may
be good for the seeker, may not be good for the friends
of Allah. Habib too mentioned that the people closest to
Allah and who truly know Allah are the ones doing the most
repentance, even when their sins are few. While the people
furthest from Allah and who do not know Allah are the ones
whose repentance are few, even when their sins are many.

As for the personal lessons I’ve learned, one particularly


sticks out: that no matter how sinful or insignificant you are,
and no matter how terrible your state is, Allah Subhanahu
Wa Ta’Ala listens to all of your du’as.

And if you truly firmly believe that He is able to do anything


and everything He wishes to - even if these things you make
du’a for seem so unattainable and unrealistic - then have
faith that He Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala will grant you these
du’as you make (and more), despite of you, if they are good
for you in this world and the next, biidhnillah :)

Alhamdulillah!

56 57
True Success

True success is not reflected in tall


buildings nor in beautifully designed
homes, but in the quality of the hearts
living within their walls.

The past few days has been nothing short


of amazing, and not to mention, terribly,
Our measure of what is good is limited to our knowledge of terribly humbling.
False Limitations

what is good.
In tiny modest homes, women with
A person dining in a restaurant might find the dish served on wonderfully large hearts welcomed
her table Instagram-worthy and finger-lickin’ good, but the us with open arms, sincere smiles,
waiter who enters the kitchen might think less of the dish freshly brewed ginger coffee, and gems
because he knows the [terrible] condition of the kitchen. of reminders I will hold dear forever,
inshaAllah.
Likewise, the chef who cooks the food might think even lesser
of the food than the waiter, for he knows where the ingredients We, women of the city, are so caught up
come from. with our dunya. However, it is a reality
that we will never realize until we meet
And the CEO of the farm distributing the ingredients may not the women who live only for the akhirah.
even touch the livestock he sells, for he knows the kind of stuff We might think that such women no
he injects into his livestock. (An unaware CEO is a different longer exist, but oh they do, yes they do.
matter altogether)
And when we do meet them, only then
Sah? will we see how much we have short-
changed ourselves, and how much more
work there needs to be done.


A hundred years learning in a blessed place won’t do you any good at all
if you do not have adab,” he paused, “You can study all over the world and
come home an ‘alim, but if you have not learned and displayed adab when
you return, then your so-called knowledge is worth nothing. It is far better
to be unknown amongst the people of the world, than to be unknown by those
in the heavens.”

58 59
Distinguished Guests

The more I listened to stories of the ulama and awliya, the


more I saw how crucial one’s upbringing is in setting one’s
course in life.

Hubabah Huda al-Jailani once said that it is in the culture of


the people of Tareem to wake up their 3 year olds at 3am
just for them to say “La illaha ilaAllah”. It might seem such
an odd thing - to wake a sleeping child for that - but in the
long run it is actually to train them to wake up for tahajjud.
Is it not then obvious the kind of men and women that are
produced from a community as such?

Similarly, when Hubabah Khadijah greeted us at her home


in Surabaya, she exuded such happiness, thankfulness and
sincerity in receiving us. Food and drinks aplenty, gems after
gems, and a gift of a du’a penned on paper for everyone
present. As we bode farewell, the aged Hubabah said, “I’m
sorry I haven’t given you the best treatment for a guest”;
a perplexing statement considering we were treated like
kings!

And then I remembered who her parents were, and how she
was brought up. The daughter of a great ‘ulama, Hubabah
Khadijah was brought up in a household where she often
served distinguished guests of her father. Imagine the kind
of adab and knowledge one learns from those experiences.


They say an apple seldom falls far from a tree. Many of us
today - Alhamdulillah - even as we were raised in perhaps Live your life as if it’s a work of art. Pay attention to what
“normal” families, we have understood the need for change. is before you in every moment. Stop trying to get through
It is much harder to change one’s habits and upbringing as life, stop trying to get somewhere. All of us, our final
opposed to already being brought up in that way, but hey destination is death. Here, now, this very moment, this
- Allah knows our struggles and He knows we’re trying to is our life. Whatever you are doing, give it its due attention,
break from a cycle, from society’s norm. even if it’s brushing your teeth or polishing your shoes. The
most mundane of actions can become wonderful if you pay
Who knows if He might choose us to be the seeds of a attention and look at it with curiosity.”
whole future generation of people of the Deen? Ameen! - Shaykh Ebrahim (rephrased)

60 61
Saints

Working with Schuitema has introduced me to numerous


devout seekers from different religions. David, is a Catholic
and also the co-partner of Schuitema. In the many hours
we’ve chatted together in the office and in the car, I’ve
learned so many things about spirituality from him,
subhanallah.

One of the things we talked about was about a book “The


Dark Night of the Soul” by a Christian Saint (which I first
heard about from a Christian CEO I was interviewing).
It speaks about how all of us have to go through a dark
period of our life before we eventually find solace in God.
When I told David how I sometimes miss being through
trials because that’s when I feel most connected to Him,
David replied, “But that experience is not meant for you
to dwell in. It is meant to teach you and grow you, so that
when others go through the dark night, you can light the
way for them.” Allah...

H
ari demi hari aku lebih tertarik kepada mereka
yang berat merantaikan kata, tetapi ringan
tubuh berkhidmah. Yang tidak menonjolkan diri,
tetapi diselubungi pancaran Nur dari Illahi. Yang lembut
menegur tanpa membuat yang lain terkecil hati.

Ya Allah. Berikanlah ku sedikit Cinta yang Kau tanam


di hati kekasih-kekasihMu ini. Cinta yang bukan hanya
dilafaz, tetapi mengalir dari ubun rambut ke hujung kaki.
Kerana sungguh, Cinta itu perlukan bukti.

62 63
Ocean of Knowledge

At RubatSingapura, one of the teaching methods of the


asatizah is to go through traditional texts word by word,
expounding the meaning and essence of each word. My
fiqh textbook “Ar-Risalat al-Jami’ah”, for example, is a tiny
book at only 11.5cm x 8cm (that’s smaller than my palm),
containing only 33 pages. I’ve already had six months of
daily school, and yet we’re only at page 15!

It’s mind-blowing for me each day when I get asked the


most simplest of questions which I thought I already knew
the answers to, only to realise that I don’t.

For instance, when we say “Alhamdulillah”, what does it


really mean? Sure, it translates to “all praise be to Allah”,
but “all praise”? What does “all praise” mean? What about
when we make “selawat”? What does that word mean?
When we say Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala sends selawat
to the Prophet Muhammad Salla Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam,
is that the same as angels making selawat to us? (Short
answer: No.) When we wear tote bags screen printed with
“I love Allah”, do we even know what that “love” means and
what it entails?

O
Ya Allah!
ur concept of time is a fraction of a fraction of
a second vis-a-vis the eternal timeline of God.
And Ar-Risalat al-Jami’ah is but the summary of summaries
When it slips between the cracks of our grasps,
of fiqh; a kindergarten-level textbook.
all that we leave behind are memories; stories captured
in the hearts of others, and in the many lines written and
Truly if the oceans were used as ink to write the knowledge
kept under the Arsh of God.
of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala, they would all dry up and
Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala would still have much, much
What stories will we leave behind for our children? What
more to teach us.
stories will future generations hear about us? And most
importantly, what stories of ourselves will be read to us
May we always be learning and seeking the light. Ameen!
on the Day of Judgement?

Ya Ghaffar, grant us an easy accounting. Ya Rasulullah,


grant us your intercession.

64 65
Unexpected Doors Looking back, I cannot begin to count the number of times
Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala has provided me with Rezqi in ways
I could have never imagined.

When I got accepted to uni, my mother and I had to travel


around the country to seek financial help. We got none. I
wanted to give up. “Just go,” Mom said, “Allah will provide.”
A couple of months into my degree, He introduced generous
Nothing is Random
souls who paid for my entire degree and monthly expenditures.

When I was sourcing for a place to do my internship, I got really She stood in front of her books, her fingers tracing their spines. Some books felt
disheartened because I had a set of criterion that the offering the tips of her fingers glaze over them, whilst others warranted a lingering touch,
news outlets didn’t meet. “Should I just take the offers?” I a smile, a cornerstone of a memory suddenly replaying itself in the recesses of
asked mom, disappointed. “Just make Solat Hajat, Allah will her mind.
provide,” she replied. Nearing the deadline, I was introduced
to someone who worked in Shaykh Ebrahim’s consultancy. This book - bought in Malaysia, read first on the crisp covers of her IKEA
Weeks later, I was aboard the plane to South Africa, having an bedsheets back in her dorm. The sun was shining brightly as leaves rustled,
invaluable experience I will never ever forget. dancing outside her window. The tears that slid down her cheeks as she flipped
from page to page were still warm in her memory, and so was the smile she gave
A few days into the Mass Masjid and Musollahs cleanup, Him as she held the book close to her heart.
we were short of a couple of thousand dollars, and half the
manpower we needed. Du’as after du’as were made, and Allah That book - bought at that cozy Sufi bookstore along Arab Street, a safe haven
sent all that we needed at the eleventh hour. in a midst of bustling tourists and hustling waiters. That book was her best friend
in the winters of South Africa, a bearer of warm words in the harshest of cold
Alhamdulillah thumma Alhamdulillah! nights. She remembers - in the oracle-like method of reading the book - how
amazed she felt at its ability to address the issues lost in her heart. So often has
Often we are so preoccupied with worrying where our next she made du’a for the writer; what pure intentions he must have had writing it,
meal will come from. Imam al-Haddad says that a proof of the that its barakah is just so... obvious?
ruin of the heart is when a man is preoccupied by what he may
need in a future as yet non-existent, when he says, “When this Her fingers finally rested on a tucked-away book: a beautiful purple-covered
runs out, where shall I be able to find more? If provisions do not tome with silver trimmings that glinted in the glow of her bedroom light. Bought
come in this manner, how else can they come?” Subhanallah! three years ago, never once read, tonight the book suddenly appealed to her.
Don’t many of us have this dialogue often? Allah Subhanahu She wiped off the thin dust that had made home, and turned to a random page.
Wa Ta’Ala says in the Qur’an: “We will surely provide for you.”
It said, “When you are joyous, look deep in your heart and you shall find that
And truly, His promises are true. it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are
sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are
weeping for that which has been your delight.” She felt a lump in her throat as
her eyes began to sting.

Perhaps the book was bought three years ago, for this moment, for those two
lines that she desperately needed to be reminded of. With Him, after all, there
is no randomness, only a masterful storytelling that no names on any spines, on
any shelves, can compare.

Subhanallah.

66 67
Life is a Lesson, no?

Every event that happens in our life is a lesson to be learnt, one that Allah swt
has arranged for us so perfectly at the exact moments of our life where we are
best equipped to learn it. This is the meaning of “la yukallifullahu nafsan illa
wus’aha” - that no soul is given more that what it can bear.

The problem with man is that we tend to focus too much on our problems. Even
small trivial issues, when zoomed in on, tend to look big.

Thousands drown in waters because they panic and struggle in an effort to stay
afloat. What they don’t realize is that Allah swt has equppied man with an innate
ability to float on water if he would just relax. Likewise, we tend to isolate events
and drown ourselves in seeking solutions to breathe again, when all we need to
do is to stop relying on ourselves, and to begin relying on Allah.

Submission to Him is to be content with all that He wills. To not resist, to place
Where should we go? great faith that He gives us situations that are cut out perfectly for us such that
we would come out of it a better servant.

I remember my heart sinking as I listened to the testimonials You see, He did not create the trees, the sea, the sky, the sun, the moon, the
the juniors did for me - driven, go-getter, focused. On their animals, everything on this earth in submission to us for play. He did not create
own they sound like compliments, but when laid side US in vain. He did not create us to torture us with neverending tests, to give us
by side with the testimonials of others - helpful, caring, sadness and darkness.
listening ear - it was a slap to my face; in my pursuit of
personal excellence and my dreams, I had forgotten those No.
around me.
He created us here to return to Him.
I went to bed curled up, sobbing the night away. A thousand
and one questions swirled in my mind that night, the most What else can be said about Him who deposited all that man needed on earth
prominent one being - If I were to die today, would I be to live before creating man himself? He would likewise, by His mercy, present
happy with what I leave behind in the hearts and memories situations in our life only when He knows that we are equipped to handle them!
of others?
Often when faced with problems, we forget that the life we have here in this
The question sticks with me till today. It’s something I think dunya is but a place where we are educated and nurtured by Him to prepare
about, it’s something I ask myself when I make any decisions. us for the paradise that waits ahead. Can coal ever be of the same value as
Too often we go about our lives on auto, forgetting to really diamonds? It is what coal goes through that makes it a diamond, that makes it
see where we’re heading, forgetting to check the map if valuable.
we’re on the path to where we should be going.
The point is, do not fight against Allah’s will, for events that pains us, that break
May we always be able to see our faults, may we always us, that cause us to shed tears upon tears on our sajdah, are the best kind of
be open to being molded by Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala, events as they bring us closer to Him.
and may we be made lights that help others find their way,
always, inshaAllah. Relax. Let go. And let Him carry you back to the open skies.

68 69

True Magic If you have Allah, what then do you not have?”
- Ustazah Zulaikha

I sat next to her, silent as I listened to her finish reciting her


traveling litanies. In my hands I held the Khulasah, thumbing
the pages, my eyes tailing closely behind her recitation.

When she was done, she turned to me, “Fadhilah, have


you made your intentions for this trip?” I laughed. “What
intentions?” I was traveling to Kuala Lumpur for some errands;
she was my company.

She smiled, “Yes, we’re running errands. But Allah Subhanahu


Wa Ta’Ala gifts a person as according to her intentions. So we
should make as many good intentions as possible whenever we
embark on anything.” I nodded, understanding.

Upon our return home, I began to look back at the many


intentions we made, and MashaAllah Allah Subhanahu Wa
Ta’Ala has granted us all of them! Even those I thought were
impossible.

Alhamdulillah, since then this practice of making many


intentions before any trip (or action) has been something I try
to remember often; I truly believe that Project Pesantren 2015
from the #SurabayaWithUstazahZ trip was a gift from Allah
Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala due to the good intentions of one of us
in the group.

One of the keys to acceptance of worship is Intention. Washing


the dishes becomes worship when proper intentions are
made. Going to work becomes a jihad when proper intentions
are made. Even eating becomes a blessing of both dunia and
akhirah when proper intentions are made!

With proper intentions, even the mundane gets lifted into the
realm of the Magical.

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Ana tak faham kenapa kita boleh rapat sangat ni.
Enti baca apa?” aku tertawa menyakat temanku.

Setahun berteman, namun bermacam telah kami lalui


bersama di jalanNya. Senyum dan tangis, manis dan pahit.
Ukhuwwah yang terjalin atas mencari mardhatillah.

Si dia tersenyum, “Kerana dalam ramai-ramai teman,


nama enti yang selalu di bibir dalam du’a-du’a ana.”

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I was going through the timeline of Sayyidatina Fatimah Az-

Merely Dust
Zahra radhiAllahu ‘anha’s life for the Flowers Of Fatimah
event this 27th March, when it struck me that the Leader of all
Women in Paradise passed away at the age of 27.

Twenty Seven.

The age I’ve crossed a year ago.

And yet, here I am. Mere dust of dust at her feet, what more
The People her father’s Salla Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam.

Why have I not known you all my life, Ya Hubabatiy? Why


“The people of La ilaaha illa Allah are those who are so have I insisted on taking other role models besides you, Ya
madly in love with the remembrance of their Rabb that Sayyidatiy? Why did I shun all that you revere, when you lead
others call them mad. us to Paradise whilst our so-called idols lead us to hellfire, Ya
Binta Rasulillah?
People like Sayyidina Abu Bakr as-Siddique who gave up all
his wealth for His Messenger leaving nothing behind even Where has all of that ignorance and pride led me to after all
for his children. these years? Broken, and in pieces. Until He picked me up and
placed me at your door.
People like Sayyidina Uways al-Qarni who allowed children
to throw pellets of rocks at him in the name of play, only To heal, to be given strength, and to fall in love with what is
asking that they don’t hit his knees so that he can perform True.
his beloved night prayers.
May Allah’s perfect and complete salutations and peace be
And people like Sayyidina Dhul Bijadain who spent all his upon your father, your mother, you, your husband, your two
time in the prophet’s masjid so engrossed in zikrullah, that sons, and all those who follow you for the sake of Allah.
people began to accuse him of being riya’. But Rasulullah,
Rasulullah would tell them that he was no mura’y (show off), And may Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala allow all of us broken (and
but a muhibb (lover) of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala and His unbroken) women the ultimate gift of being amongst them.
Messenger Salla Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam!
Ameen
How are we compared to the people of La ilaaha illa Allah?”
- Ustazah Zulaikha

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Circular motions

Life is not a straight line destination where one aims to get


from point A to point B.

It is a circle - Inna lillah wa inna ilaihi rajiuun. A circle that


begins from Allah, and returns to Allah. An inevitable
A moment is a Moment destination, whether one likes it or not.

Shaykh Etsko #Schuitema says that the extent to which


one welcomes the homecoming (i.e. The return to Allah) is
“... But dear, I always hold on to this principle: Ask Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala proportionate to one’s intentions.
for everything.
We were born into this world as babies who have no
You need the motivation and zest for ‘ibadah? Ask Allah. intention (nor capability) to give to others. Instead, we ask,
and we get, and get, and get.
You crave the sweetness of ‘ibadah? Ask Allah.
As we grow older and move along the circular journey
From the small things to the big things, ask Allah, habibty. of life, all the experiences we go through and knowledge
we learn have a goal: to mature our intent. Ya’ni, change
When you feel that you’re full of shortcomings and most in need, that’s when you our intentions from people who are out to get and get, to
should quickly grab the opportunity to ask of Him, to plant your good intentions. people who intend to give and give.
Because habibty, that moment is a moment in which Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala Each day is an exercise of the maturation of our intent.
is actually making you see what you’re realizing. It is not from you, but from Him. How much of our selves can we contribute? How much can
we give?
That moment is a moment where Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala is gazing upon you.
For in the end, when Izrael the Angel of Death approaches,
So don’t give up, habibty. whether one agrees or not, one has to give up all of one’s
life. All. Everything. Without exception.
Ask.
And thus, there, at that crucial moment, lies the final
Du’a. question: Are you able to let go, give it all up and return
to where you once came from in the state that you were
In truth, it is He Subhanahu Wa Ta’Ala who wants you to do so.” born... with nothing?

Or will you fight and struggle and look at Izrael with despair
and agony for so much of this world has rooted itself in
your heart that you are just not able to give it all up?

Ya Rabb! Grant us a good ending, and make the value


of this dunya, to us, as it was for Your beloved Prophet
Muhammad Salla Allahu ‘alay-hi wa-sallam. Ameen.

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T
he foremost question to ask the self, the deciding
factor for every action, and the determination of
its likeliest outcome:

What are your intentions?

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The Ultimate Gathering “In these gatherings we have, when you sit at the very first row,
it may be that someone put you there, or that you yourself
placed yourself there,” Ustazah Amirah Jindan pointed out,
her gaze following each of us sitting in the first few rows.

I looked down, ashamed, unable to look at her directly. The


past few days we have been treated like VIPs, sitting knee to
knee with various hubabahs and asatizahs, and sharing meals
with MashaAllah women, whilst hundreds of attendees sat
behind us.

Ustazah Amirah continued, “And so it is as such as well in our


society and in our workplaces; people get to the top by either
forcing their way up there, or by others placing them there.

But know, o women, that on the Day of Judgment, it may very


be that the master finds his slave ruling over him. ‘Aren’t you
my slave?’ He asks, only to realize that on that Day, it is not him
who decides who is master and who is slave.

It is Allah.

It is Allah who decides who sits where in the Ultimate Gathering.


It is Allah who decides who sits in front with His Beloved. It is
Allah who decides who stands at the back, unable to see even
anything at all.

And so if you sit here, today, thinking you’re something just


because you’re sitting in front, know that on the only gathering
that matters, this seat is not reserved for you. This seat is

D
reserved for those who are beloved to Him. o not confuse popularity with
correctness. A popular person
There is no use in lying to yourself, or in deceiving others, to or opinion does not necessarily
get a place in His Gathering, for He knows you. He knows the say the right things/be the right
reality of your Self, and by that Truth is where you will find opinion.
yourself with Him.”
Do not confuse a good writer/speaker
as a knowledgable person. A person
with a flair for writing or speaking
does not necessarily possess true
knowledge.

Do not confuse silence with ignorance.


For everyone might know when to
speak, but only the wise knows when
to answer with silence.

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