Post-Hajj Reflections

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The return journey is always bittersweet; the anticipation of seeing loved ones back home, and yet the heart becomes restless as the airport slowly looms in the horizon.

Will I come back?
Is this my last visit here?
Are all of my sins forgiven?
Are all of my deeds accepted?
Have I truly tried and done enough?

And with each question, the heart responds with a sense of longing, hoping, and worrying. For the fact of the matter is, nobody knows, and nobody can claim piety upon oneself. So we place our hope with Ash-Shakoor, the One who accepts imperfections from those who are imperfect, if He wills.

But the most important question that the Hujjaj should ask is: Will I remain istiqamah after this?

Hajj Mabrur does not necessarily mean it’s attained just by completing the manasik, but it means to remain true and consistent on Tawhid, on the Sunnah, in Taqwa, in righteous good deeds, in obeying what has been commanded and what has been prohibited, and in the removal of everything that gets in the way between your relationship with your Rabb – just like your father, Ibrahim AS.

Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk.
Here I am (I commit myself to serve You and worship You), O Allah, here I am.

The talbiyah reminds us of our focus – and that is Allah, and Allah alone.

So will we leave Makkah with our lives changed? Because living by this statement means we’ve committed ourselves to Allah, we’ve intended everything for Allah, in every moment of our lives, in everything that we do – our work, family relations, friends, what or where we choose to work, to live. Everything.

Hajj is not about getting the title ‘Pak Haji’.
Hajj is not about striking it off on your To-Do-List.
Hajj is not just about completing the manasik.
Hajj is not about returning home and to our old ways – be it of immodest fashion and lifestyle, to haram relationships, to unguarded gaze, to unrestrained tongue, to be lazy in ibadah, to be impatient when tested, to be immersed in entertainment, to each and every single bad habit and bad character that we have vouched that we will never return to.

You were a guest of Ar-Rahman, you were invited by your Rabb, you did not arrive there by your own. So will you repay the honour and kindness by returning to your sins?

O Hujjaj, remember how patient you were, so continue to be patient!
Remember how steadfast you were, so continue to be steadfast!

Hajj is about being consistent. This is why I personally feel that the Hujjaj have a greater amanah towards their Rabb upon their shoulders.

Allahumma, grant us all Hajj Mabrur, and allow us to return again and again to the Haramain, and help us remain istiqamah until the last of our breath.

Allahumma, there is now a distance between us and Your House, but do not make our hearts distant from You, for you are the same Rabb that we worship, and the same Rabb that we will return to. The heart yearns to return, so make our hearts yearn to return to You in the best state that is most pleasing to You.

Allahumma ameen!

(Photo taken at Masjid An-Nabawi, 2017)

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Ramadhan Thoughts

 

“The heart that loves Allah,
loves being exhausted and exerting itself for Allah;
surely, Allah’s love is not acquired through comfort!”
– Ibn Rajab, Majmoo’ ar-Rasaa’il

 

Many of us have really picked up the pace as we’re inching closer towards end of Ramadhan. But in that effort, perhaps many of us have also started to feel really tired and exhausted and struggling to keep up.

To the one who is struggling to read another page of the Qur’an, or forcing yourself to pray Taraweeh for one more night, or struggling to wake up to pray that extra raka’ats of Tahajjud, or whatever good deed that you’ve been striving to do – I ask you to turn your hearts to Allah SWT and say a heartfelt ‘Alhamdulillah’.

Alhamdulillah that our limbs and bodies are tired from fasting, from praying, from reciting the Qur’an and dhikr. Alhamdulillah that your very essence is exhausted from those charity work, or from those house chores that nobody wants to do. Alhamdulillah that some return to their beds for the night exhausted from misdeeds, but you return to your bed exhausted from good deeds with anticipation to do better tomorrow. Alhamdulillah that Allah SWT has enabled you to do all these things because there is no greater satisfaction than being exhausted from working for the sake of Allah.

It’s an indication of Iman to keep on striving these last few days and nights of Ramadhan.
If you have been doing well, then do well and do better.
If you haven’t had a chance to pray taraweeh at the masjid, then pray at home.
If you haven’t had a chance of a private moment due to obligations, then wake up earlier before your suhoor and have that moment of privacy with your Rabb.
The point is: Keep on working, keep on going.

May Allah SWT grant us physical and spiritual strength to keep on going until end of Ramadhan, and then beyond.

May Allah SWT accept all our good deeds and enable us to do more, for indeed we could not have done any single one of them without His help.

And may Allah SWT forgive all of our sins, for indeed we would be utterly destroyed if there’s even one single sin left unforgiven.

#KeepOnGoing

True Independence

My wise husband once said: “Kemerdekaan yang sebenar ialah merdeka daripada mengharap kepada makhluk.” As us Malaysians celebrated Independence Day, remind ourselves what true merdeka really is.

All the praises and thanks are to Allah [Alhamdulillah], Who has sent down to His slave (Muhammad SAW) the Book (the Qur’an), and has not placed therein any crookedness.
[Al-Kahf 18:1]

The word [Alhamdulillah] means all praise & gratitude to Allah s.w.t. for everything. But sometimes Allah s.w.t. highlights a specific matter in the Qur’an for us to reflect upon, and upon that reflection, the word that should come out from our mouth is Alhamdulillah.

In this ayah, Allah s.w.t. says there is no room for any deviation in the Qur’an. What it means is that no matter how political, ideology, economy, technology, fashion, or culture changes – one thing will not change – and that is the Qur’an. Its values, principles & truth are straight and clear as how it was first revealed.

Because when humanity itself dictates what is normal, common standard will always deviate. What was used to be detested or unacceptable by the society several years ago, have been accepted as normal today. If we are blind consumers, we will follow whatever and however the society defines what “normal” is. But Allah s.w.t. says: “If you obey the majority of those on earth, they will make you lose the way of Allah…” [Al-An’aam 6:116]

So alhamdulillah, the Qur’an teaches us that we are not those who keep changing our standards when the world changes.
Alhamdulillah, we are freed from slavery to fashions & trends, from wanting to become popular, from being like anyone else.
Alhamdulillah, Allah s.w.t. has removed these unnecessary pressures from us.
Alhamdulillah, our Deen teaches us that true merdeka is freedom from all false attachments, but to rely on Allah s.w.t. solely.
And because of that
and more than we can possible imagine, we say:
Alhamdulillah.

The Ultimate Seclusion from the Outside Storm

Most of the time, the ocean of the dunya hits us, where we constantly find ourselves thinking of that stressful project we’re working on, of that problem with family or friends, of that particular work that went wrong. But at least 5 times a day, you’re allowed to forget all of those problems. You’re allowed to give yourself a break. Not only that, you are REQUIRED to forget everything. Except the One that you’re standing for.

Truly that is indeed a blessing.

Remember that Allah s.w.t. is Ar-Razzaq, the Provider, the Constant Giver of gifts. Remember that everything that had happened, has happened and will happen are all the simple results of Allah’s [كُن فَيَكُونُ]. Then in that same sentiment, what makes us think that our simple problem cannot be solved by the King of all kings?

So cherish when you enter solah, it’s not a burden. It’s our seclusion that gives tremendous tranquility from the outside storm.

Post-Ramadhan Musing

Taqabbal Allahu minna wa minkum! ❤

May Allah reward us with the gift of taqwa,
And may we all emerge from Ramadhan cleansed of our sins and our hearts healed.

Indeed, all good things come to an end except Jannah. And the pursuit of Jannah doesn’t end in Ramadhan. Allah s.w.t. says: “And worship your Rabb until there comes to you the certainty (i.e. death).” [Al-Hijr 15:99]

As Sheikh Omar Suleiman once said, Ramadhan is only mentioned once in the Quran, yet the other 11 months of the year revolve around it. Jumah is only mentioned once as well, yet the other 6 days revolve around it. Of the many lessons we take from this is that the life of a believer should revolve around Allah no matter what day of the week it is, or what month of the year it is. Ramadan and Jumah are simply two means of realizing that ultimate reality.

 

Positivity in the Midst of Negativity

Reading the news at times make us feel depressed, useless. How do we, as believers, deal with the tragedies around the world? The first step is by realizing that nothing happens except that Allah s.w.t. has ordained it.

“No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz), before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allah.” [Al-Hadid 57:22]

Indeed, negativity is a contagious disease that cripples the individual, and through that individual, the ummah – and this is especially true for the one who constantly complains. Remember in the battle of Uhud, when the false rumour that Rasulallah s.a.w. had been killed was spread among the sahabah – causing so much panic and confusion – remember Anas ibn an-Nadr who shouted words of encouragement to continue to fight amidst the chaos. He was an exemplary role model of positivity in the midst of negativity.

Be like Anas r.a. And realize that your du’a and patience are your weapons. Rasulallah s.a.w. said: “Indeed victory and provisions are granted through your weak.” [Bukhari] And in another narration under the chapter of seeking the support of Allah by the supplications of the weak: “Allah support this Ummah because of their supplication, their Salah, and their sincerity.” [Sunan An-Nasa’i]

The profound lessons from these ahadeeth is that no single individual in the Ummah should be looked down upon. Everyone can help contribute towards its success, everyone has a role, and everyone should do their part. The real question is: How often have we really made du’a for the Ummah? Please don’t reduce your du’as to a mere ‪#‎prayfor‬ hashtags. Make those du’as in our sujood, in the last third of the night, constantly on a DAILY basis. And persevere, be patient, and have faith that Allah will respond.

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