Between Dusk and Dawn…

Some *scribble* *scribble* by Ameera

Monthly Archives: April 2011

Enlightened

Every time I wonder how Allah(swt) has been so gracious on me that I cannot even imagine being able to thank Him for a fraction of what He has given me… I find myself blessed with much more than before.

Very recently, Allah(swt) set my heart at ease in all the ways that only He could. He responded to my dua’s so beautifully that I still cannot comprehend something so amazing and so nice could ever be mine to experience and cherish. It gave me one more reason to submit before His Will, even if I do not understand the wisdom behind a certain happening, because He’ll always guide me only to what is the best outcome.

What I am talking about here, right now, is marriage. I’m not married yet but I finally know who it’s going to be, Insha’Allah… and, even if it was humanly possible to say all the right words to thank Allah(swt) for this tremendous blessing, I’d still be unable to do so. Truly, Alhumdulillah is the most I can say… nothing more could ever do justice to how I feel about this.

It isn’t possible to say much, even on my personal blog, but I will share some of my thoughts, that I’ve been wanting to…

In this whole journey towards finding the ‘right one’, with all the up’s and down’s that only life’s most valuable and tender aspects are accompanied by, there was nothing more powerful than dua… praying earnestly to Allah(swt) for what I wanted. It seemed difficult… very difficult… and at times, I found myself doubting more than believing… but He responded, and when He did… everything made perfect sense.

Honestly, all the apprehension, the worrying for who it will be, where he’ll come from, what the family would be like, whether or not we’ll get along, how things will proceed… that became meaningless when Allah(swt) lifted the veil, ending all the mystery in one stroke. F (as he shall be known on this blog) and his family are all and more than I’d ever imagined… Alhumdulillah. =) Now, it seems as if every moment I had spent worrying about a future I had no control over, was indeed spent in futility. But perhaps… this realization that Allah(swt) will only do what is best for me, was only possible once I had known a time when I worried all I could and it didn’t change anything. That’s a realization that allows me to accept the ‘wasted moments’ too as part of the bigger learning process.

Then, there’s also the whole question of what’s really right for me. For years, I had a certain kind of image in mind of whom I’d like to marry. With that image, I felt I was looking for all the right things and that would ensure a happy union. Instead, I learned that just because I had build up that image with all the ‘good’ qualities I knew, that didn’t necessarily mean they had to come together in that way for me to find real joy. Even I didn’t know what would really bring me satisfaction and happiness in all the different aspects of married life. So, when the ‘right one’ came along and he was really nice but quite different from what I had initially imagined him to be, I prayed to Allah(swt) for guidance… and put my trust in Him. If He had brought me to this point, without any glaring reason to say ‘no’ (and of course, many reasons to say ‘yes’), this must be the best for me, without a doubt. Preconceived notions thus become meaningless and it’s taught me to always pray for the best, and not stick, inflexibly, to what I think is right for me.

Lastly… but most importantly… I have only just begun to understand why there is so much emphasis on marriage in Islam. According to one Hadith, getting married is ‘completing half your Deen’. I now begin to see why the Prophet(pbuh) said that about marriage. Even though I’m only engaged right now, I have suddenly started to notice things about my personality, my weakness, all the areas I need to improve on in my worship, that I was’t focusing on earlier. I don’t mean to imply that it’s only being engaged or married that makes you think along these lines, but it is such a big turning point in life that it makes you pause, reflect and try to fix things before the bigger challenges ahead. I try to read up all I can, to learn, to improve myself and to know how to avoid pitfalls many people find themselves in when starting out in a new relationship. Here too, I’m blessed with sisters in Islam who inspire me through their experiences and advice on how two imperfect human beings can still learn to lead a happily married life. =) Alhumdulillah.

I can go on about this… but later, Insha’Allah. The difficult part was figuring out how to write all this… and since that’s done, I can look forward to sharing much more… soon, Insha’Allah. =) I end this post with the sincere dua that may Allah(swt) grant the singles amongst us, spouses that will please them and be the best for them, for this world and the next. Ameen. My dua is also for Allah(swt) to make you happy the way He has made me happy… ameen… and all this is according to what He Knows is the best for us, at the best time and in the best way. Your dua’s would be very kind and valuable… JazaakAllahu khayran katheera. =)

Ethereal Melodies

For several years now, I’ve been listening to certain nasheeds that really inspire me. Right now, I’m listening to a particular favorite, ‘Naseem Al Shawq’ by Ahmed Bukhatir. The words are so deep and show the beauty and richness of the Arabic language. If you really focus on the simple advice, given in a poetic style, it’s hard to walk away without feeling inspired to change.

When I first began to ease off the regular kind of music, which I was very, very, very much into, I was surprised to discover there were many Muslims who were actually producing simple songs and poetry, while staying within what was permissible in Islam. I don’t intend to go into the fiqh details here on the position of music in Islam and what is, or isn’t allowed. What I learned, though, and tried to adopt for myself was that there shouldn’t be ‘string instruments’ used and of course, it should be good poetry. I remember there was this very popular Indian song from the movie ‘Taal’ that actually contained incredibly blasphemous lyrics that we all hummed or sang without giving a second thought to it. Sometimes, I’d just skip on that part but still, the song would go on…

At first, it wasn’t easy moving away from the titillating melodies I was so addicted to. I admit, one Ramadan, there were many nights I would fall asleep with the earphones plugged in and woke for Suhoor to the the same sounds. The reason I say it now is to show how deep I was into it, yet, today… Alhumdulillah, I am not. And that shows nothing is difficult or impossible to imagine, if you really want to do it for Allah(swt)… and He takes you through. Sure, it isn’t that easy to begin with… the first step was pretty hard. I loved some of the songs, their lyrics and how they made me forget everything else and disappear into another world… but, there was something wrong with that picture. And I learned that only after I discovered there was something much, much higher than that… more satisfying, peace-giving… over-and-beyond more precious than all I had ever experienced with Sting or Bryan Adams’ melodies.

There were several nasheeds that I discovered over time, in both Arabic and English. The ones I love the most are the Arabic ones, almost all of them by Sharjah-based Ahmed Bukhatir, the younger brother of the widely known Qari Salah Bukhatir. The reason I love his nasheeds, despite them being in a language that I just understand to get by, is because of the beauty of that language. His poetry is very full of meaning and thought-provoking, in fact, I like it even better than his own English nasheeds. And this is what shouldn’t be forgotten – that the reason behind a person listening to such poetry isn’t to ‘pass time’ or just entertain themselves… it’s the message that’s important. What was the point of leaving the other kind of music then if one is still looking for a ‘pass time’, although with a kind of ‘Halal’ label?

I know, in some ways, nasheeds still aren’t the best alternative and many people point out flaws in them too. However, they’re definitely worlds apart, even diametrically opposite, to much of what today’s generation calls ‘music’ and goes gaga over. I try to remind myself why I listen to nasheeds in the first place (this blog post is a reminder too) and also that I shouldn’t get so involved that they become like ‘background music’ that I cannot go without. And the most important thing is that, however nice the nasheed be in terms of the poetry it contains, it cannot, and never should be allowed to, take the place of the Qur’an in the heart. This is something I personally see as a struggle and an issue, which makes me refrain from listening to new singers or popular groups so that there’s less to be distracted by.

As far as the outcome goes… I can’t describe the difference between how I used to feel when I was deep into music, and how I’ve felt and still feel ever since I gave it up some years ago. I definitely wouldn’t blame music for all the personal issues I had back then, but it definitely wasn’t helping and the peace I feel today, the tranquility within, that I always sought to seek with music but never attained… it’s priceless and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. Sometimes, people look at me as if pitying me for not being able to listen to music, but they don’t know how I willfully gave it up and, if I do get to hear a favorite from yesteryear playing somewhere, it barely registers as more than a distant memory. Yes, I might miss the odd lyric or so… and hum it to myself  for a few moments if it pops up in my mind… but to go back to it when I am so much better without it (even if we were to leave aside the ruling on music for a second) is just not what I want. And I thank Allah(swt) for allowing me to experience a higher standard of existence… a happier life, within and around myself too… where I derive joy from all the simple things that remind me of Him and the highest example. Alhumdulillah.

I’ll end by sharing what I have just been listening to…

A translation can never do justice to Arabic poetry but here it is… 🙂

“Longing runs through the veins
Love of giving is the best trait
Be generous and you will live gracefully
And will find happiness in the after world
Be generous and noble
These are among the finest attributes
And let not shadow sway you from light
Be patient if the end nears
Life is dear, however dearer
Is the blessing of Almighty Allah
Life is only a mirage
And this is one of the obvious situations
Do not hold it dear, and
Ensure it has no place in your heart
Soar gracefully like a full moon
And reflect light everywhere
And let wise advice adorn your sayings
For this is the best you can offer
Stay away from the impudent, and
Avoid gazing at women’s charms
Cheap is the unveiled beauty, and
Cheaper are the remaining covered parts
With faith comes the real truth, and
Save yourself the embarrassment
Adhere to true faith, and
Treasure it deep at heart
Be a man of defiance, and
Refrain from spreading secrets…”

(Ethereal Melodies, the title of this post, was also the name of my first blog, back in 2005.)

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