Between Dusk and Dawn…

Some *scribble* *scribble* by Ameera

Monthly Archives: September 2010

Just because I smile…

… does not mean I have nothing to frown about.

It is often assumed that a person who is smiling and generally appearing cheerful to people, has no worries or concerns. It is assumed life is always rosy for such an individual and thus, why would he or she ever need to frown or cry?

Oh, how wrong that assumption is!

I generally go about the internet with a lot of ‘hehe’, ‘Lol’ and smiley faces. Whether it is a status update on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter, if I say something, I keep it either neutral or something with cheery undertones. That’s because, I don’t like sharing my troubles and worries on the internet where there are many strangers around. I also don’t like the idea of crying my heart out in public, getting sympathetic replies and exchanges… basically, letting everyone on my social network know about my personal issues.

There have been rare exceptions to this, though. I once tweeted several tweets from a night-shift during my Obstetrics posting at the hospital. It was during the small hours of the morning; I was exhausted after running around for various jobs with the ever present cries of pain from expecting mothers ringing in my ears. Having access to Twitter, I posted several tweets full of sadness, asking no-one in particular why I felt so ‘depressed’. Later, I didn’t like that at all and vowed not to tweet or say much at all when in a bad or depressed mood.

I know people say venting frustrations helps and that someone might be able to cheer you up. True, but to say it on a public forum and want sympathy from complete strangers, is just not right. Ask a friend,  sms them or call them up… that’s okay, but to do it without any particular reason and to just put it out there, is not a good idea, in my humble opinion.

There are drawbacks to this, though! People start assuming I have no concerns of my own while it is they have all the problems in the world. If I say ‘Alhumdulillah’ when asked, ‘how are you?’, it doesn’t mean I have no issues or that I wasn’t crying five minutes ago. It just means I’m looking beyond that and I don’t wish to make you upset by sharing it with you. I feel sad just like you do, I worry, I cry, I get upset but I don’t show it to you. I don’t post status updates on Facebook about how ‘horrible’ my day is going or tweet about about a sudden sink in my mood – but trust me, I do feel that way many times, just like any other human being.

This was something I always wanted to write about but never got around to it. Lately, though, I began to wonder if I should indeed let more people know that I consciously avoid sharing my ‘down’ times. It might help people see I don’t just say ‘Alhumdulillah’ because Allah(swt) put no tests on the paths of my life or that appearing cheerful means I am too ‘pious’ to be stung by life’s petty issues. I have a heart too and when it hurts, it hurts just as bad as any other human being’s heart does. The whole point is to know that patience means trying to smile through the pain and not throw a tantrum at the slightest challenge that Allah(swt) tests me with.

It’s difficult, yes – phenomenally difficult – to put on a smiling face for the world while it hurts inside… but then, I try and that, I hope, will help me pass the tests Allah(swt) has destined for me.

“And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard thing except for the humble ones.” (Qur’an 2:45)

(There are times I fail badly at showing any patience but there’s much to learn from those occassions too! More on this another day, Insha’Allah.)

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I miss Ramadan

I miss Ramadan.

I miss everything about it.

I miss waking up early when it’s still dark and quiet outside.

I miss the simple joy of making Suhoor… keeping the meal light yet bringing in some variation from one day to another.

I miss listening to the Fajr adhaan at the awwal time and praying there and then!

I miss the carefree nap after Fajr while morning light began to filter in through the curtains.

I miss the sound of Qur’an being recited by several people at home.

I miss not having to care about food or water during the day, doing other activities instead.

I miss the special foods I’d look forward to making for Iftaar – and especially to focus on keeping it light and healthy.

I miss the fun of sending special Iftaar foods to our neighbors and then receiving their own traditional dishes in return!

I miss the last few moments before Iftaar when I enjoyed making my most precious dua’s!

I miss the joy of biting into a succulent date at the call of the Maghrib adhaan.

I miss how awesome water tasted at Iftaar, more than at any other time of the day.

I miss watching the live Taraweeh transmission from Madinah and Makkah.

I miss the satisfaction of having prayed all twenty Rak’ah with the Imam in Taraweeh, during the nights that I was able to go for it.

I miss listening to the awesome dua’s made my Imams at the end of Taraweeh!

I miss crying during my dua’s.

I miss staying up all night during the odd-nights of the last ten days.

I miss the pleasure of giving Sadaqah while fasting.

I miss the wholesome joy of Eid.

I miss how Ramadan made me feel.

Now that it’s gone, I can only hope and pray that I am able to witness it again. Insha’Allah.

I miss Ramadan.

Failing Plans and Allah(swt)’s Mercy

Today, my mother and I watched an aircrash investigation program on TV. The accident under investigation was a highly fatal one – an Air France Concorde had caught fire during takeoff on 25th July, 2000 and crashed within two minutes. There were no survivors. What caused it? A tiny scrap of metal that had broken off another airplane, ripped into one of the engines, cutting electrical cables and thus creating a spark sufficient to ignite the fuel tanks. The plane could not gain height and crashed just beyond the airport’s boundary.

What really struck me as I was watching the documentary, was the story of one couple aboard that plane. Teachers by profession, they had been saving up for twenty long years for a dream vacation that included flying on the Concorde. I wondered how they must have painstakingly set aside money for the trip, imagining all the fun they’d have. They must have had high hopes and made many plans. Could they have ever imagined they were heading not towards the culmination of a dream but the very final moments of their lives?

It made me wonder how we make plans for the future, dreaming up the perfect scenario how we want things to turn out. And then, if we come across a “glitch” in our grand scheme – a delay, an unexpected problem or a “failure” altogether – despair rules the day. Suddenly, it’s fate that is blamed for ruining those beautiful dreams. How pathetic it seems then! And yet… do we pause to wonder if maybe, just maybe, that failure was actually a great blessing in disguise? What if something much more terrible was around the corner and it was nothing but Allah(swt)’s Mercy that had averted it?

Of course, this does not mean we stop making plans for the future altogether! That’s missing the point entirely. Rather, we must definitely make plans while praying and having solid faith in Allah(swt) that the outcome will be according to His Will, and that would be the best result possible! I do not know how people can find flaw with such a positive and forward-looking approach? Don’t they see how liberating it is to put your hopes in the best outcome and then patiently persevere with gratitude, even if the outcome is not exactly as initially planned? It’s a win-win situation, if you really understand what it’s all about. 🙂

The Prophet (peace be upon him) stated:

“Wondrous are the believer’s affairs. For him there is good in all his affairs, and this is so only for the believer. When something pleasing happens to him, he is grateful, and that is good for him; and when something displeasing happens to him, he is patient, and that is good for him.”

(Narrated in Sahih Muslim)

This is why it’s so important to be thankful to Allah(swt) in whichever state you are… and whatever the outcome is. Only Allah(swt) has Full Knowledge of what goes on in the heavens and the earth and what will happen in the future. How, then, can we even think of turning away, instead of towards, such an All-Powerful and Merciful Creator for all our hopes and dreams?

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