Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Sea, the Boat, and the Governers

Bismillahi walhamdulillahi 'alaa rasulillah,

Imagine you are a boat, and the dunya is the sea. Far off in the distance, is land -- the akhira.

"You are a boat. You sail the waters of the dunya towards the lands of Jannah."

What happens if the sea floods into the boat? You sink.

So be like the best Muslim leaders: they ditched the dunya for the akhira.

In particular, I refer to the governers in the time of the Khulafa Rashideen (i.e. in the first 30 years after the death of the Prophet sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam.

In the time of 'Umar RA, he looked at the list of people to give zakaah to (because they were poor), and at the top on the list was one of his own governers. Subhanallah, how little did they love the dunya--not like today's presidents and government officials, who live in golden houses, glut themselves on rich foods, and own expensive trifles.

So 'Umar gave them the zakaah money, and the governer came home one day to tell his wife. Their conversation went (to the approximate meaning of):

Him: Something bad happened.

Her: What? What happened? Did the Khalifa die?

Him: No, worse. A fitnah has come upon us. Will you help me get rid of it?

Her: Yes.

So they took the money and gave it away fisabillillah (in the path of Allah, the Most High).

That's eiman. May Allah enter them, and us, into Jannah, and guide us from their outstanding examples of selflessness, ameen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Four Empowering Beliefs from ibn Al-Khattab

Bismillahi walhamdulillahi 'alaa rasulillah,

Brothers and sisters rahimakumullah,

'Umar ibn al-Khattab RA, the second khalifa, had four beliefs that made it easier for him to bear calamities:

1. The situation could have been worse.
2. It didn’t strike him in his religion.
3. Allah will reward him with Jannah in return inshallah.
4. When he remembered the hardship of losing the Prophet sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam everything else faded away.

Subhanallah, these are profound beliefs from the second khalifa that we can all benefit from! Reflect on them often inshallah in times of ease and hardship, until they spring to mind automatically.

One more thing that might relate to the story of ibn Al-Khattab above, just try to take a look around you, we can see that all people on Earth seek happiness--whether it's through wealth, or love, or piety. Few realize that perfect happiness does not exist in the dunya.

When you think about it, you'll find that hardship and pain exist with moments of great happiness. For example, you ate your favourite meal after a long time, but you feel over-full and you become tired and lazy. Or, you enjoy a wonderful hike through the woods, minus the insect bites and that bee that flew into your ear.

So be aware, and aim for higher than dunya happiness.

This is a mercy of Allah, if you found the perfect happiness, and subhanallah, someone talked to you about paradise, you might say "who cares? I've found the perfect happiness here."

Brothers and sisters rahimakumullah, true happiness exists ONLY in Jannah.

May Allah unite us all in Jannah and grant us all al-Firdaus, out of His mercy...ameen ya rabbal 'alameen ;-)

ps : the picture above, was my beloved 'umar... may he be like 'umar ibn al khattab RA, inshaAllah ameen ..:)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Divine Light Emanating From The Sanctified Oil

bismillahi walhamdulillahi 'alaa rasulillah,

according to my other half, my name perhaps came from this verse of Quran, but the real thing is its a wrong-typo. it was supposed to be NURBAITI - light of our house :)

anyways, i think he explained that very well, too, jazakallahu wa khairan katheera :)

*** *** *** *** ***

One of the first things that attracted my attention (besides the gun) was the name Nurzaiti. My mind (as I suppose any Arabic knowing person familiar with Quran would have) straight away went to this Aayat.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم....

الله نور السماوات والارض مثل نوره كمشكاة فيها مصباح المصباح في زجاجة الزجاجة كانها كوكب دري يوقد من شجرة مباركة زيتونة لا شرقية ولا غربية يكاد زيتها يضيء ولو لم تمسسه نار نور على نور يهدي الله لنوره من يشاء ويضرب الله الامثال للناس والله بكل شيء عليم.

(النور: 35) صدق الله العظيم

Allah is the Light (Nur) of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as it were a shining star. (This lamp is) kindled from a blessed tree, an olive neither of the East nor of the West, whose oil (zait) would almost glow forth (of itself) though no fire touched it. Light upon light. Allah guideth unto His light whom He will. And Allah speaketh to mankind in allegories, for Allah is Knower of all things.

So, in brief (نُوْرُ زَيْت) is the divine light emanating from the sanctified oil of the blessed tree. In other words I could imagine that this name must have been coined by a person well versed in the Quran and dreamed this baby become the source of the divine light.

It could be that you were given this name by chance or as you said by typo mistake, but Arabs say رب رمية من غير رام (many times a right shot is shot by someone who does not know shooting). The also say: رب صدفة خير من ألف ميعاد (many times a coincidental meeting is better than thousand appointments).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Complain Only To Allah!

Bismillahi walhamdulillahi 'alaa rasulillah

Asalamu'alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatahu,

I start by asking a very simple question: Where does patience stand within our lives today?

SubhanAllah, what a beautiful trait it is yet we rarely see the implementation of it. Such a beautiful tree by which the sweetest of fruits cultivate and bless our lives, yet we just let it slip away as a "thing of the past".

Sabr (patience) comes from a root word meaning to detain, refrain, and stop. Applying this to our lives as Muslims, it means to stop ourselves from despairing and panicking and to stop our tongues from complaining. O Slave of Allah! Why do you despair when you know your Lord is the Most Merciful? Why do you panic when you know Allah is your Protector? O Slave of Allah! Why do you complain to the people, when your Lord is All-Hearing and is able to do all things? O Slave of Ar-Rahman! Be like Yaqub 'alaihi salam when he said:

He said: "I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah, and I know from Allah that which you know not."

(Surah Yusuf Verse 86)

Or be like Musa 'alaihi salam who prayed to Allah saying:

"O Allah! All praise is due to You, and complaint is made only to You, and You are the only One from whom we seek help and in whom we put our trust, and there is no power except by Your help"

Or be like our beloved Prophet sallalahu 'alaihi wasalam:

"O Allah! I complain to You of my weakness and helplessness"

These were the greatest of people that ever stepped foot on this earth and they were a people who only complained to the Lord of all the worlds. Why? Because complaining to Allah is of great benefit while complaining to people is of no benefit. Complaining to Allah is a form of true patience, worship, and great reward while complaining to the people is the opposite.

May we CAN implement the 'ibrah of those stories to truly come closer to Allah by practicing true patience.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Abu Bakr RA and his request

Bismillahi walhamdulillahi 'alaa rasulillah,

What do you make of the amazing incident when the best of the sahabaa RA came to the best of the Prophets sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam to ask for a du'aa to make in his prayers?

عن عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنهماـ أن
أبا بكر الصديقـ رضي الله عنهـ قال للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: يا رسول الله علمني دعاء أدعو به في صلاتي قال: «قل اللهم إني ظلمت نفسي ظلما كثيرا ولا يغفر الذنوب إلا أنت فاغفر لي من عندك مغفرة إنك أنت الغفور الرحيم»
رواه البخاري-

Narrated Abu Bakr As-Siddiq RA

I asked Allah's Apostle sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam to teach me an invocation so that I may invoke Allah with it in my prayer. He told me to say,

Allahumma inni zhalamtu nafsi zhulman katheera
Wa laa yaghfiru dzunuba illa anta faghfirlii

Maghfiratam min 'indika war-hamni innaka

Antaghafurur raheem

[saheeh bukhari]

So? what's so special about this du'aa?

For starters, the one who requested the du'aa is the best of all the companions of the Prophet sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam - Abu Bakr RA. The one who entertained the request is the seal of the Prophets and the leader of mankind sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam. So this du'aa was given to the best, by the best…and what is the content of the du'aa?

"Oh Allah! I have wronged myself greatly!"

Subhan Allah! If Muhammad sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam and Abu Bakr RA have wronged themselves greatly, where do we stand? If the two of the finest of Allah’s creation: the first being the leader of mankind sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam, the other whose eiman is heavier than the eiman of the entire ummah combined RA. If they have wronged themselves and they were so adamant in seeking the forgiveness of Allah and begging for the mercy of Allah then really, where do we stand?

How much more have we wronged ourselves in comparison to Rasulullah sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam and Abu Bakr RA, yet we don’t have the same drive to ask Allah’s forgiveness and Allah’s mercy!

We should make it a habit of making this du'aa in our prayers after tashahhud (i.e. when sitting at the end of the prayer), and at other times too. May Allah forgive us our sins and bestow upon us His Mercy, ameen.

ps : credits goes to beloved zauj for the hadeeth - jazakallahu wa khairan kathira :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Six Days of Shawal

Now that Ramadhan's over, many of us feel sad--we miss the spirituality, the eiman rush, the amazing strength that we all demonstrate in Ramadhan. So what can you do to bring those feelings back?

One thing is to keep performing the deeds you performed in Ramadhan--and this is one of the signs that Allah accepted your deeds.

Another act you can perform is to fast six days of Shawal, the month right after Ramadhan. Check this hadith out:

Abu Ayyub al-Ansari RA reported Allah's Messenger sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam said: He who observed the fast of Ramadhan and then followed it with six (fasts) of Shawal. it would be as if he fasted perpetually (the whole year, every year).

[narrated by Muslim ]

Why perpetually? Well, we know the reward for good deeds counts as at least ten. Ramadhan is one month, so we get the reward of ten months of fasting. Plus six days (times ten; sixty days, or two months), that equals a whole year!

And remember, if you missed completing Ramadhan, you need to make those days up first, before you fast any optional fasts. Because Ramadhan fasts are fardh --they take precedance over mustahab fasts.

May Allah accept all our good deeds from Ramadhan and year-round and help make us to make ourselves strong all year around, not just once a year. ..ameen!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Parable of Garments

Bismillahi walhamdulillahi 'alaa rasulillah,

I always amazed how Allah uses amazing parables in the Quran that strike fear, awe and amazement in the hearts of the believers. Throughout the Qur'an, Allah draws parables for us to convey the importance of certain topics, to extract lessons from them and so that we may ponder and reflect over them. We hear many times of the examples of the hypocrites, the mushrikeen (pagans) and the believers. But there is one parable that Allah puts forth that increases the love and mercy between a husband and wife, and this parable is one of the most eloquent and striking in the Qur'an. Allah describes the spousal relationship in Surah Al-Baqarah, when He says:

هن لباس لكم وأنتم لباس لهن

"They are your garments and you are their garments."

[Surah Baqarah, verse 187]

SubhanAllah, Allah compares the relationship between a husband and wife as clothing. Allah says that both the husband and wife are "libaas", garments, for each other. This shows the equality that Allah places between spouses and how each partner has a role in the relationship.

Remember again that Allah puts parables in the Qur'an so that we may ponder, so let's ponder on how a spouse compares to clothes:

1. Clothes are close to you, behind your clothes is your bare skin. A spouse is close to you in that manner, emotionally and physically.

2. Clothes protect your skin from the outside. A husband is the maintainer of his wife and the wife protects her husband's home and property.

3. Clothes beautify you. A husband and wife compliment eachother, in this life and the next.

4. Clothes are comfortable. When one is around their spouse, they feel at ease and their hearts are at rest. One can relax around their spouse and find comfort in them and their words when they are in difficulty.

5. Clothes hide and screen you. A husband and wife should not discuss each other's faults to the outside or complain to others about their spouse.

SubhanAllah, indeed our Lord is Ar-Ra'uf (the extremely Compassionate) for placing this tranquility between spouses. Many may feel embarrassed that this verse is mentioned in the Qur'an, but subhanAllah, this is just another beautiful example which shows that our deen is truly complete and that Allah have given us guidance through His Book for every aspect of our lives, and for this we should be thankful alhamdulillah.

This parable between a spouse and a garment is one of the many parables in the Qur'an that we should ponder and reflect over, and this is from the Ultimate Wisdom and Mercy of Allah that He explains His verses and signs to us in a manner that is most fitting to our intellect.

Wa lillahil hamd.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Build us a Jannat!

Bismillahi walhamdulillahi 'alaa rasulillah..

One of the things that I’m trying to do to maintain a steadily increasing level of eiman is making a habit of praying my sunnah prayers regularly...(and i am still trying!) Here’s why - The Messenger of Allah sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam said,

“Allah will build a house in Paradise for whoever is diligent in observing 12 sunnah rakaat (as follows):
4 rakaat before and 2 after the Zuhr Prayer, 2 after the Maghrib, 2 after the Isha Prayer, and 2 before the Fajr Prayer.”

[Reported by Tirmidhi and others]

We all know that if we miss a sunnah prayer, then there is no sin. But what do we lose as a result of missing sunnah prayers regularly?

an easy way to earn a house in Jannah and a means of earning Allah’s love..!!!

“My slave does not draw near to Me with anything I love more than what I have made obligatory on him. And my slave continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory actions (e.g. the sunnah prayers) until I love him.”

(click here for the complete hadith)

a means of closeness to RasulAllah sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam in Paradise :

“I ask for your companionship in Paradise”, said Rabiaah ibn Kaab RA

“Is there anything else?”, said RasulAllah sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam

“That is all”, said Rabiaah ibn Kaab RA

“Then help me with respect to yourself by multiplying your prostrations (i.e. increase your prayers)”, said the Beloved of Allah sallalahu 'alaihi wassalam

(click here for complete hadith)

a strong shield against shaitaan - the reason for establishing prayer is the remembrance of Allah as stated in Suratu Thaha verse14, and the best shield against shaitaan is the remembrance of Allah. Therefore, establishing prayer is a sheild against shaitaan.

Bottom line - if we don’t have a really, really good reason, then there is NO reason to miss the sunnah prayers! So let’s be diligent in observing the sunnah prayers, inshaAllah. Just look at all that we’re missing out on!

Now thats a mortgage deal that you cannot beat (and halal too!). Funny how much sacrifice we make to get a house on earth (i.e. busting our backs to pay haram mortgage!) but simple things like this we dont do.

and Allah knows best ;)

Monday, October 6, 2008

he is "kalimatan tayyibah" :)

bismillahi walhamdulillahi 'alaa rasulillah,

each and every night, i eagerly wait for him to have a conversation even a short one because he always reminded me of the "tree of eiman". a tree that has a firm foundation, trunk is very straight, and the branches and leaves tower up into the sky.

"Do you not see how Allah makes a metaphor of a good word (kalimatan tayyibah): A good tree whose roots are firm and whose branches are in heaven? It bears fruit regularly by its Lord’s permission. Allah makes metaphors for people so that hopefully they will pay heed. The metaphor of a corrupt word is that of a rotten tree, uprooted on the surface of the earth. It has no staying power."
[suratu Ibrahim verse 24-26]

Talking to him in a our online halaqah, learning about the deen of Allah – he become my eiman-rush, my heart just flutters with tranquility. With satisfaction. With humility. With peace.

Why do I only feel this way in our "gatherings"?

surely Allah subhana wa ta'ala provides the answer in Suratu Ra’d verse 28:

"Those who have believed and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, it is the remembrance of Allah which provides tranquility to hearts."

** ** ** **

(Adapted from an audio lecture: The Fruits of Eiman by Yasir Qadhi)

The kalimatan tayyibah in this ayah is a beautiful phrase. The phrase of La illaha illa Allah that there is no deity worthy of worship except for Allah. The phrase of eiman. The example of the kalimatan tayyibah is like a beautiful tree. The foundations of this tree will be firmly established. The branches of this tree will tower in the skies. The tree of eiman has firmly established roots and its branches tower up in the skies.

This tree, the tree of eiman, gives its fruits at all times by the permission of its Lord. And Allah makes parables for mankind so that they can ponder over them.
A beautiful, tall, glorious, noble, and majestic tree whose foundations and roots are firm. And so too is eiman. Once eiman enters the heart, it is firmly established in the heart, and it will never leave after that.

And this is the way of the believer…
The branches of this tree of eiman tower in the skies as does eiman once it exists in the heart then it cannot remain hidden. It will be seen by everyone, just like a tall tree is a landmark for everyone around it. Everyone can see it towering in the skies. So too is eiman when it exists in the heart it will be seen in the actions. It will be seen in the characteristics, the akhlaaq, in the muamalat, how you treat one another, in the worship to Allah subhana wa ta ala, it will not remain hidden.

This tree of eiman gives it fruits at all times by the permission of its Lord. You can always pluck fruits from this tree of eiman wherever you are. At any time and at every occasion. This is in contrast to other trees because all other trees give their fruits once a year, twice a year, or maybe once every two years. But they never give their fruits year round. But the tree of eiman is different. Wherever you are, in any situation, in any circumstance, anytime if you have this tree of eiman, you can pluck fruits from this tree. You can benefit from this tree of eiman. And this is example that Allah subhanahu wa ta ala gives of eiman so that we can ponder of this parable.

And Allah knows best ;)

gift from my beloved ;-)

bismillahi walhamdulillahi 'alaa rasulillah,

this was today's gift from my other half..may He rewards you for all good deeds you gave me with the highest Jannat....ameen..truly, this gift was soooooo precious, even mountains couldnt hold that!! mashaAllah...;-)

*** *** *** *** ***

Dr. Syed Bashir Ahmad to me

This is the reward for your love:

دعاء مرتب حسب ترتيب المصحف الشريف

الرقم الاول هو رقم السورة والرقم الثانى هو رقم الاية

ربنا تقبل منا انك انت السميع العليم (2/127) ، وتب علينا انك انت التواب الرحيم (2/128)، ربنا اتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الاخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار (2/201) ، ربنا افرغ علينا صبرا وثبت اقدامنا وانصرنا على القوم الكافرين (2/250) ، ربنا لاتؤاخذنا ان نسينا او اخطانا (2/286) ، ربنا ولا تحمل علينا اصرا كما حملته على الذين من قبلنا (2/286) ، ربنا ولا تحملنا ما لا طاقة لنا به واعف عنا واغفر لنا وارحمنا انت مولانا فانصرنا على القوم الكافرين (2/286) ، ربنا لا تزغ قلوبنا بعد اذ هديتنا وهب لنا من لدنك رحمة انك انت الوهاب (3/8)، ربنا انك جامع الناس ليوم لا ريب فيه ان الله لا يخلف الميعاد (3/9)، ربنا اننا امنا فاغفر لنا ذنوبنا وقنا عذاب النار (3/16)، اللهم مالك الملك تؤتي الملك من تشاء وتنزع الملك ممن تشاء وتعز من تشاء وتذل من تشاء بيدك الخير انك على كل شيء قدير (3/27) ، تولج الليل في النهار وتولج النهار في الليل وتخرج الحي من الميت وتخرج الميت من الحي وترزق من تشاء بغير حساب (3/27) ، رب هب لي من لدنك ذرية طيبة انك سميع الدعاء (3/38)، ربنا امنا بما انزلت واتبعنا الرسول فاكتبنا مع الشاهدين (3/53)، ربنا اغفر لنا ذنوبنا واسرافنا في امرنا وثبت اقدامنا وانصرنا على القوم الكافرين (3/147)، ربنا ما خلقت هذا باطلا سبحانك فقنا عذاب النار (3/191)، ربنا انك من تدخل النار فقد اخزيته وما للظالمين من انصار (3/192)، ربنا اننا سمعنا مناديا ينادي للايمان ان امنوا بربكم فامنا (3/193)ربنا فاغفر لنا ذنوبنا وكفر عنا سيئاتنا وتوفنا مع الابرار (3/193) ، ربنا واتنا ما وعدتنا على رسلك ولا تخزنا يوم القيامة انك لا تخلف الميعاد (3/194)، ربنا اخرجنا من هذه القرية الظالم اهلها واجعل لنا من لدنك وليا واجعل لنا من لدنك نصيرا (4/75) ، ربنا ظلمنا انفسنا وان لم تغفر لنا وترحمنا لنكونن من الخاسرين (7/23) ربنا افتح بيننا وبين قومنا بالحق وانت خير الفاتحين (7/89)، ربنا افرغ علينا صبرا وتوفنا مسلمين (7/126) ، انت ولينا فاغفر لنا وارحمنا وانت خير الغافرين (7/155) ربنا لا تجعلنا فتنة للقوم الظالمين ونجنا برحمتك من القوم الكافرين (10/86) ، رب اني اعوذ بك ان اسالك ما ليس لي به علم والا تغفر لي وترحمني اكن من الخاسرين (11/47) ، انت وليي في الدنيا والاخرة توفني مسلما والحقني بالصالحين (12/101)، ربنا انك تعلم ما نخفي وما نعلن وما يخفى على الله من شيء في الارض ولا في السماء (14/38) ، رب اجعلني مقيم الصلاة ومن ذريتي ربنا وتقبل دعاء (14/40) ربنا اغفر لي ولوالدي وللمؤمنين يوم يقوم الحساب (14/41) رب ادخلني مدخل صدق واخرجني مخرج صدق واجعل لي من لدنك سلطانا نصيرا (17/80)، ربنا اتنا من لدنك رحمة وهيئ لنا من امرنا رشدا (18/10)، رب انى وهن العظم منى واشتعل الراس شيبا ولم اكن بدعائك رب شقيا (19/4) ، رب اشرح لي صدري ويسر لي امري واحلل عقدة من لساني يفقهوا قولي (20/25)، رب زدني علما (20/114)، لا اله الا انت سبحانك انى كنت من الظالمين (21/87) ، رب لا تذرنى فردا وانت خير الوارثين (21/89) ، أني مسني الضر وانت ارحم الراحمين (21/83)، رب انزلنى منزلا مباركا وانت خير المنزلين (23/29)، رب اعوذ بك من همزات الشياطين واعوذ بك رب ان يحضرون (23/98)، ربنا امنا فاغفر لنا وارحمنا وانت خير الراحمين (33/109)، ربنا اصرف عنا عذاب جهنم ان عذابها كان غراما انها ساءت مستقرا ومقاما (25/65)، ربنا هب لنا من ازواجنا وذرياتنا قرة اعين واجعلنا للمتقين اماما (25/74) ، رب هب لى حكما والحقنى بالصالحين واجعل لى لسان صدق فى الاخرين واجعلنى من ورثة جنة النعيم (26/89) ولا تخزنى يوم يبعثون يوم لا ينفع مال ولا بنون الا من اتى الله بقلب سليم (26/89) ، رب نجني واهلي مما يعملون (26/169)، رب اوزعنى ان اشكر نعمتك التى انعمت على وعلى والدى وان اعمل صالحا ترضاه وادخلنى برحمتك فى عبادك الصالحين (27/19) ، رب انى ظلمت نفسى فاغفرلى (28/16) ، رب انصرنى على القوم المفسدين (29 /30)، ربنا وسعت كل شيء رحمة وعلما فاغفر للذين تابوا واتبعوا سبيلك وقهم عذاب الجحيم (40/9) ، ربنا وادخلهم جنات عدن التي وعدتهم ومن صلح من ابائهم وازواجهم وذرياتهم انك انت العزيز الحكيم وقهم السيئات ومن تق السيئات يومئذ فقد رحمته وذلك هو الفوز العظيم (40/9)، ربنا اكشف عنا العذاب انا مؤمنون (44/12) ، رب اوزعني ان اشكر نعمتك على وعلى والدي وان اعمل صالحا ترضاه واصلح لي فى ذريتى انى تبت اليك وانى من المسلمين (46/15) ، ربنا اغفر لنا ولاخواننا الذين سبقونا بالايمان ولا تجعل في قلوبنا غلا للذين امنوا ربنا انك رءوف رحيم (59/10) ، ربنا عليك توكلنا واليك انبنا واليك المصير (60/4)، ربنا لا تجعلنا فتنة للذين كفروا واغفر لنا ربنا انك انت العزيز الحكيم (60/5)، ربنا اتمم لنا نورنا واغفر لنا انك على كل شيء قدير (66/8)، رب ابن لي عندك بيتا فى الجنة (66/11) ، ونجني من القوم الظالمين (66/11) ، رب لا تذر على الارض من الكافرين ديارا انك ان تذرهم يضلوا عبادك ولا يلدوا الا فاجرا كفارا (71/27) ، رب اغفرلى ولوالدي ولمن دخل بيتى مؤمنا وللمؤمنين والمؤمنات ولا تزد الظالمين الا تبارا (71/28) .

صدق الله العظيم

There Is No "I" Or "You"

There Is No "I" Or "You"

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no "I" or "You",
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

... Pablo Neruda

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Eid celebrations in Oman and worldwide

Although there are similarities between all Muslim cultures world over, in the form of festivity, cheerfulness, paying of Zakat al Fitr, wearing of the best affordable dresses and preparing the best possible cuisine, Eid in the Sultanate of Oman has its own colours and aroma, according to Dr Syed Bashir Ahmed, who translated Sergey Plekhanov’s famous book A Reformer on the Throne. Towards the final days of the month of Ramadhan, all major towns witness fervour around the “Habtah” markets, wherein people make purchases of their requirements for their celebration — from clothes to livestock and gifts to perfumes and Halwa to Bukhoor.

The atmosphere of celebration becomes euphoric when the new moon of the month of Shawwal is sighted. It is the time to bid farewell to the blessed month of Ramadhan and to get ready for the great day of celebration. During the three days of Eid people relish special Eid delicacies like Shawa, Mashaakeek, Mafoor, Harees and Thareed. Elders distribute monetary gifts called Ayood to juniors and especially to the children. The social and collective aspect of the Omani life reverberates most during the Eid. The hustle and bustle of family visits and social gatherings is everywhere in the air.

Collectively people organise chaste traditional dances and other forms of folklore, which vary in their format from region to region. The most popular among these are Razha, Haboot, Aazi, Meedan and Raboobah. The most outstanding among the celebrations is the much awaited occasion of catching a glance of His Majesty the Sultan participating with his faithful subjects in offering the congregational Eid Prayers in open. A curiously watched event is a wonderful occasion for all and an astounding gesture by His Majesty by being amongst the common folk. Certainly that is one of the inspiring occasions of life in Oman — when the ruler of Oman gives a practical lesson of simplicity in the simplest form.

Message of Eid
“Eid” means “recurring happiness” and “Fitr” means “alms” for needy and oppressed people. Every member of a Muslim household is under religious obligation to give alms to needy people before proceeding to join the Eid prayer. The head of the family pays this amount on behalf of each person in the family. If a person cannot fast permanently in the month of Ramadhan (for instance, because of illness) they have to pay alms for each fasting day. The essential constituents of Eid Al Fitr are “paying of Zakat al Fitr, offering Eid prayers, Chanting Takbeer and being happy for graduating from the seminary of Ramadhan”.

Eid is a thanksgiving festival for having efficiently refrained from food and drink and abstained from otherwise legitimate conjugal intimacy (during the fasting time); for having tamed the self to the service of Allah, the Most Exalted and Glorified, for having cared for the poor and the needy; for having strengthened the ties of kinship with the near and the dear ones; for having gained synergy between the mind, the body and the soul; for having triumphed with buoyancy and a cleaner conscience; for being invigorated with a sense of integrity and courage to carry forward with a positive attitude aspiring for higher levels of attainment and ultimate salvation.

This is reflected through continuous chanting of Takbir on the day of Eid: Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, la illaha illaAllah, wa Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar wa lillahilhamd, which means Allah is the Greatest, ….., There is none worthy of worship except Allah, ………; and to Allah goes all praise” Eid al Fitr is never a time of dance and music or drinking of intoxicants. Upon completing the rigorous training throughout the blessed month, the faithful do not indulge in permissive deeds or lax celebrations, says Dr Bashir. Instead, early in the morning of Eid, on the first day of Shawwaal (the month following Ramadhan), they collectively turn to Allah, to offer prayers of gratitude to the Almighty. Dressed in the best available costumes, men, women and children, without any exception, head to the special Eid prayer congregations chanting the mesmerising Takbir of the day of Eid.

After the Eid prayers, greeting and pleasantries are exchanged. People embrace each other. This is the time to forgive and forget the grudges and bitterness of the past. All enmities and bitter feelings are let gone. From there people proceed to visit the elders and the loved ones and this continues for three days. Bonds of kinship are strengthened; neighbours exchange sweets and delicacies. No intermediaries are sought to reconcile in the atmosphere of spontaneity of goodwill brought by Eid. This is the occasion when the ears keep hearing, Kullum ‘Aamin Wa-Antum Bi-Khair (may this occasion return every year with your welfare); Asaakum min Awadihi (May you live till the next return of this festival); Eid Mubark (blessed be the Eid for you).

One of the underlying aims of all Islamic festivals is to build the bonds of brotherhood, strengthen the foundations of unity and create goodwill in society. Eid al Fitr embodies Islam’s message of love, peace and unity. On this special day, the faithful also remember the departed souls by visiting the tombs of their near and dear ones and offering prayers for their souls. They remember the needy by extending a hand of help to them, the grieved by showing sympathy and consolation, the sick by cheerful visits and utterances of good wishes, the absentees by sending colourful greeting cards and email messages.

Eid is worldwide festival. Thanks to the growing appeal of Islam to world masses, every third country and every fourth persons on Earth is Muslim. Eid al Fitr is also the celebration of cultural identity and diversity. The people attending Eid prayers in Oman and celebrating the festival include almost all the tribes, races, complexions and every skin hue from Siberian white to African ebony and every dialect, nationality and language.