I am a blender.

photo-110

I received this as a gift and it’s basically a bunch of prompts for you to start writing…

You can purchase one here.

One of the prompts:

Think of an object that describes you.  Describe it.

I am like a blender.  It stands there not doing anything until you plug it in and put the contents inside.  Once it is covered with a lid and  the button is pushed, it will keep spinning, and spinning, going, and going.  It will continue to mush up and blend the contents, repetitively.  It needs someone to push the “stop” button in order for it to actually stop.  If not, it will either keep going until the machine dies and it needs an outside source to save it from destruction.

Now that I read this it may seem dark, low, and depressing snippet but apparently that was how I felt at the moment.  That is the neat thing about the book…you write on the spot without too much thinking and it’s focus is about just actually doing it, writing, without stressing.  It is the act of doing and not thinking.  I guess it can be as impulsive and fragmented as one would like or as thought out as an essay but whatever  how the person chooses to answer the prompt, it gets the person writing and having something on paper.

What object describes you?  

Blessings

Blessings.  We all possess them.  Sometimes we notice them like a hair on a sweater and in other moments, our eye does not catch a particular blessing even though the sun’s rays are piercing right through it.

Blessings are sometimes physical, like overcoming cancer or becoming someone’s new friend.  They are at times mental and emotional, where we have learned a life lesson or gained a new insight, an experience, and an epiphany.

Our hearts naturally turn warm and serene when the word blessing is uttered.  But the problem most of us have is grasping onto the belief that blessings are newborn babies, yellow voile curtains, or a halo cautiously hanging over a specific event or happening.

Many blessings are actually cold, burdensome, dark, and musty. 

They sometimes give us an aftertaste.  It may be when a life is lost to the one we have loved.  It may be realizing a flaw about someone or ourselves we care about and the pedestal we had put the person on or the pedestal we were sitting on has crumbled- rarely do we give perspective a chance and view such instances as blessings.

This package, this gift called a “blessing” may not be the gift we want or are aspiring to have but it is the water that we need in order for us to grow and prosper in our lives.

What are your thoughts on blessings?

Fear (finale)

Fear (part I)

At the same time, we should not be suffocated into thinking of hopelessness and dread so much so that it deters our way of life but to use fear as a guide and scale for our priorities and goals: to serve and do what Allah wants us to do, and maintain as much distance from things that mislead us into the flaming pits.

Being afraid of the Fire and trying to abstain from actions and thoughts that lead to its door is part of our faith and ibaada

Ibaada is worshipping Allah and one form of this is by abstaining from things that Allah does not like.

This Fire is reserved for the disbelievers and Allah does not want us to be residing amongst them.

Our fear should be primarily consumed with Allah and His greatness; His overall power on us as servants, as He is Al-Mulk of the worlds and universe.

“The Sovereign of mankind.” (114:2)

We worry much for what others say and do.  Our minds are all entwined with what books dictate and what the media wants us to think.

Everything in this life is perishable except our intentions and deeds but how little time we spend on spinning this concept into our minds.

Punishments and hell are things that we need to contain our thoughts with.

In Surah Al-Baqarah, ayah 281: “And fear a Day when you will be returned to Allah. Then every soul will be compensated for what it earned, and they will not be treated unjustly.”

Allah is an All-Just ruler and everyone will be treated for what they deserve.

Our Lord wants us fear the Day of Judgment so we can be the best Muslims we can be.

This fear is not a negative attribute but something that is required for us in our deen if we are to be successful and be one of the righteous. 

To be a believer, one must lose the fear in this dunya with its lures and deceits and place that fear where it belongs.

It is Allah’s property and we should return it to Him with conviction and have an unwavering desire to submit to His commands.

Let the swirling abyss be made up of worldly goods, speech, emotions, and evil.

“But yes, whoever fulfills his commitment and fears Allah – then indeed, Allah loves those who fear Him.” (3:76)

Fear (part I)

We fear so many things.  We forget to fear the most important thing we should fear and that is Allah.  Why is it so important to have our hearts quiver in His remembrance?

Image courtesy of Tim Jarosz

INFOCUS NEWS JULY 2010

written by Mariam Al-Kalby

Fear is an emotion lurking in each of us whenever we feel threatened. 

We fear of losing our jobs, our families, and our homes.

Scared of dying alone, of being paralyzed, of being ostracized.

But how many of us actually sincerely fear Allah and His punishments? 

As humans, we are created for fear because it prevents us from committing wrong actions or thoughts and it creates a barrier from approaching things that can hurt us.

We see evidence of this when we first took our wobbly steps.  We reached out for the teakettle and got our fingers licked with fire and from then we fear the heat.

As we got older, we feared losing the soccer game or getting our parents disappointed when we got a lesser grade then we had hoped for on our chemistry test.

Then there is the time to find someone to marry.  Our worries swallow that ticking clock, creating a ringing that time is escaping and all the marriageable types are taken.

And there is the time when we will have wrinkles of days, weeks, and years etched into our skin. 

Lips drooping at the sides of our mouth, wondering and fearing that we didn’t make enough money to make a big house for the grandkids, and that we didn’t hold the best Ramadan iftar.

These worries are tears for the dunya and not the akhirah.

Life is a sailboat floating to its destination towards the hereafter. 

This feeling of alarm and angst should be steered towards the punishments that come if we anger Allah.

“And fear the Fire, which has been prepared for the disbelievers.” (3:131)

Of course it is normal to feel fear of worldly situations and events but we have drenched all of our worries in this obsession and have forgotten to have fear in our hearts for the trials and the day we will be judged for our intentions and actions.

Before the Sun Rises and Before it Sleeps (finale)

Before the Sun Rises and Before it Sleeps (part I)

This should encourage us to perform them because they differentiate us from the hypocrites and prove we are truly believers; to forgo our sleep and worldly affairs to press our heads on the floor in thanks is beneficial and loved by Allah (swt).

How lazy and unthankful we are if we think about it: we complain about cold water dripping from our faces, the sleepiness that blinds our eyes, and the aches in our body yearning to lie and rest, and we, as believers, need to be ashamed of ourselves.

Allah (swt) has all authority and power. 

He is the One that knows us the best. 

Yet, He has made things accessible and easy for us to accomplish and yet we still cry and moan about it.

He could have made Fajr prayer four and not two but that is not enough for the sons of Adam (pbuh).

We are willing to rush to our jobs at the crack of dawn, comfort our babies at all hours of darkness, stay up late to study but when it comes to prostrate to the One who has provided everything for us slaves, we are an ungrateful bunch of creations.

Allah is Ar-Rahim and Al-Ghaffur; we sometimes oversleep, or are too sick to make it on time and there are exceptions and Allah’s (swt) ultimate mercy.  But we overstep the bounds when we step all over our deen and regard our prayers as something to do when we have time.

How do we feel when we have appointments with others and people do not appear at their appointed time?  We feel that they are rude, lazy, or think that they did not take the meeting seriously. 

Sometimes we are stubborn enough to not forgive for this behavior.

Who are we to behave like this to Allah (swt), miss our appointed times to pray and disrespect Allah (swt) and His Messenger?

But we are lucky enough that Allah (swt) knows us, what is in our hearts, and forgives those He wants.

The irony of it all as believers is that Allah (swt) does need not anything and surely nothing from us.  We are reluctant and slow to praying and this act only benefits us and no one else.  Allah (swt) has ordered us to do good for our own benefit but we sometimes look the other way.

We are humans and we are weak, and Allah (swt) knows this.

Let us forsake our beds, sleep, and work and seek Allah’s (swt) pleasure into the gardens of Jannah.

Before the Sun Rises and Before it Sleeps (part I)

I have some new recipes coming up, so be on the look out!  For now I have posted an article and want you to think about what makes us do the things we do?  What motivates us?  What motivates you to pray on time?

Image courtesy of David Pasillas

Originally featured in IFN December 2010

Where the birds stir from their nests of twigs and yarn and fly out in search of filling their bellies, between the dawn and the rising of the sun kissing the sky, and where the careless burrow further beneath the covers of sleep and warmth, and where they work till their hands bleed, Fajr and Asr are the hours where the most pious congregate.

They are two of the most missed fard prayers that have swallowed our ummah.

This is unfortunate because these are prayers that separate a believer from a hypocrite.

What person awakens from their deep slumber to splash cold water to make ablution and perform a prayer whilst others sleep?

A devoted and strong believer.

Abu Zuhair ‘Umarah Ruwaibah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying: “He who performs Salat (prayers) before the rising of the sun and before its setting will not enter Hell.”
 (Muslim)

This does not mean that this is the only condition to enter Jannah.

One who dutifully cares and observes these particular important prayers (Fajr and Asr), demonstrates that the believer also practices in observing other religious obligations and follows the sunnah.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “There are angels who take turns in visiting you by night and by day, and they all assemble at the dawn (Fajr) and the afternoon (‘Asr) prayers. Those who have spent the night with you ascend to the heavens and their Rab, Who knows better about them, asks: ‘In what condition did you leave My slaves?’ They reply: ‘We left them while they were performing Salat and we went to them while they were performing Salat.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Praying these two specific prayers are important and when we are steadfast and reliable in performing them, they surely go unnoticed by the angels and Allah (swt).

How great is it to have angels scribbling and reporting away to our Creator that we are prostrating for Him every time the angels descend upon us?

Fajr and Asr prayers are important prayers because of their difficulty to maintain them and to do them in their short prescribed time is an accomplishment and a break for us from toiling away in work and play.