slip-sliding away…..

The green, green grass of home

Posted by Yacoob on December 25, 2006

Some pictures from a drive through the Natal Midlands:

   

   

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Howick Falls:

   

                   

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The open road                    Great big signal towers, on top of great big hills

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Marianhill Plaza: a welcome sight after a long, long drive home :)

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14 Responses to “The green, green grass of home”

  1. Zahera said

    SubhanAllah :-) beautiful pictures.

  2. alia said

    as salaam to you on this exceptionally great day. oh by the way beautiful pics especially the black n white ones.
    was just wondering what your feelings were about today-being friday and day of arafat? it’s amazing i woke up with the most peaceful feeling ever. to the sound of rain!! how great our Lord is. His mercy was manifest all around me, and well, i just feel like shouting to the world “HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE!!”

    Anyway hope you hav/had a fulfilling day.may He SWT grant us all forgiveness from HIs mercy, aamien
    oh and jumuah mubarak.
    peace, al

  3. saaleha said

    what a beautiful drive.

  4. Dreamlife said

    Salaams evryone

    Alia – i’m only checking mail now, so didn’t see your message till today (Tuesday). To be honest, I wasn’t really that aware of the Hajj this year – though i did remember (and was reminded too, of course) on Friday. i hope your day was fulfilling too – as was mine. i had the most perfect time these last 10 or so days, and though it was sad to come back to my other life (the one with routine and work and stuff that weighs me down sometimes) , i realise that the goodness from these last days do not have to end; and, inshAllah, it can stay on – in ways i’ll never understand, but will certainly feel…thats my great hope.

    Anyway, about Arafat and Haj: i was reading someone relating their experience of how they’ve changed since Hajj, and they said such a beautiful thing – which was that they learnt how to *enjoy* their salaah. I hope some day i’ll get to go; and i really hope – like, one of those ‘ultimate ambition’ type things – that someday i too will enjoy, really *enjoy* every salaah and every ibadah. it may sound a crazy thought if you think of it in the sense of hobbies and things we do to ‘enjoy’ ourselves – but i guess what i’m getting at is to love salaah that much, to enjoy it – is to have complete inner peace and contentment and be in complete awe while making salaah. and thats something i know is pretty much impossible to achieve if its a ‘goal’ approached like a ‘goal’ – meaning something you work at ‘achieving’. i believe that the intention must be there, and you must keep striving – but ultimately, its not your efforts that chip away and eventually cause it to become reality. its the miracle that you’re blessed with, to be granted something so profound. and thats something i hope we’ll all experience in our lifetime – even if it can never be every time.

    yup, the rain is lovely. it was beautiful on Eid day, where we were at a Qurbani and near the end of being there it started pouring. was just amazing :)

    Saaleha – yup, it is a beautiful drive. it was lovely to go again, with my parents. we used to go to the Drakensberg a lot in the school holidays, and we’d always drive through these areas. Although Cape Town has so much beauty, it doesn’t have the hills that Natal does – and i suppose a person will always remain inclined towards the place they grew up in.

    its nice to revisit places that were so much a part of childhood – not just for the nostalgia, but just for that sense of belonging.

  5. bb-aisha said

    I love the Natal Midlands. Lived in Ixopo for a few years, and theres nothing like the rolling green hills. Too beautiful, Subhanallah!

  6. alia said

    slms. its so funny when i read your post yesterday ijust came from teh salaah rm at work (yes we have one thank goodness) and it was like revelation dawning upon me!! you always seem to inspire us (speaking for the minority blog-readers!). as i was making salaah it was so hard fo rme to concentrate, which is the case whenevr im at work, as its always rushed due to deadlines. yesterday b4 reading your reply i was just thinking how i use to love making salaah as it was a peaceful time for me-that was my time. it was like my get-away-from-life time. but since iv started working its become so hard for me to concentrate to the extent that sometyms ill give myself a headache trying to.

  7. alia said

    (i decided to separate my posts as long ones always get lost)

    anyway… like i was saying my salaah at wrk is not a peaceful experience, its quick, its rushed and its not spiritually uplifting anymore and its really sad. the only thing tht keeps me going is the fact that im trying and that Allah’s promise to those who try is that after every hardship comes ease-its something i need to go thru to realise the worth of each salaah-so i take my scarf off (in the privacy of my home lol!!) to that dudey who has begun to enjoy salaah
    insha Allah me and all those striving will reach that pinnacle of faith

  8. alia said

    oh and just to reiterate the reason for this post-after reading your post my efforts were doubled and i really felt that it was a God-send so keep posting and i so know what u mean when u say >>that its sad to come back to life

  9. alia said

    there goes another post up in smoke or should i say free-radicals eminating from this outdated piece of crappy computer wait let me calm down these ppl at work ar egiving me the eye!! lol
    anyway i just wanna wish u all the best im not going to rant as apparently ur blog refuses to publish it!
    keep well, keep smiling and keep trying oh and keep me in your duas
    peace al

  10. alia said

    hey i found my lost piece–!!!:)

    yes goodness doesnt have to end but it does get much much harder to achieve. seclusion is bliss but the one who is at home will never be like the one who leaves his/her home and still has faith. its a task to bear but my dua for both of us and all those with us is that we do it with stamina and never, like u say, give up hope.
    so are you back at varsity this year? totally side-tracked i kno!)
    anyway keep well, keep making dua (for me too plz) and kp smiling whilst in distress
    peace, al

  11. alia said

    am i flooding your blog?? heheh he

  12. Dreamlife said

    haha…a little comment-flooding never hurt anyone…unless its spam ;) even that though, doesn’t hurt – just irritates.

    anyway, will reply 2 this 2moro, inshAllah.

    the work ur referring to, by the way, its at the radio station? is it a temp job / internship, or are u graduated and now permanently in the world of the working folk?

  13. al said

    slms and jumuah mubarak.
    yip im afraid its a permi job. im done studying technically but need to pay my fees b4 i graduate-hence the job. i work as a journalist for a radio station-mostly do internet right-ups and compile news. nothing exciting. but hey its paying the bills-never thought id say that anytime soon!! lol wont mention which station tho as im forced to do news reading and well, its quite embarrasing and i wuldnt want the word to get out.;)
    anyway waiting for your reply…
    peace al

  14. Dreamlife said

    BB-Aisha: I was actually thinking about using “green hills of Natal” as the title of the post. that was part of our school song in junior school.

    i do wonder what it’d be like to live out in that area – wide open spaces, hills, farms, small towns and cows and horses….alternatively, i wonder what it’d be like to live by the sea. i love the mountains AND the sea, and it’d be intresting to live in both places and see what they’re like.

    Alia: well, thank u for the kind words. i don’t try to inspire, and don’t think too hard about what i write. inspiration – whether its to the author, or to the reader, comes from a Higher source. we all just fit into each others’ lives at different moments, and sometimes our words connect with another person in a beautiful way :)

    about long posts (and emails for that matter): fortunately, that hasn’t happened to me much (losing what i wrote due to computer error). easy way to beat the computer probs is, whenever you’ve got something important (or long), write it in Notepad or a word processor beforehand and save it. then just paste it into the email/website. that way u don’t lose it, if the website has an error.

    u know, the concentration thing is also a problem for me too. and what u were saying reminded me that just the fact that you’re trying, sometimes to the point of great great struggle, is something to be happy about and draw strength from.

    as you know, we aren’t responsible for the results of things. we don’t control the outcomes. all we are responsible for is our intentions and our efforts.

    now, what u were saying helped me because when i realise how out of control things may seem – when i know i need to concentrate, but i just can’t – mind racing, easily distracted, all kinds of niggling little thoughts and irritations ‘attacking’ my mind…at times like that, i realise that truly, i’m not in control of even my mind. i can’t say: “mind, be quiet and at peace now,” and expect it to happen.

    Allah grants that peace and that calmness – its not the person that is capable of suddenly bringing that peace and calmness to their mind.

    so, what i took from your words was that its important to remember that you’re making the effort. and its your effort that matters. even if u don’t succeed – even if your mind is polluted, veering off in different directions when you want it to be still…the fact that you’re TRYING is whats important.

    (and u shud try to be intelligent in your efforts – i.e. if something you’re trying to calm yourself isn’t working, try to find something that will work)

    also realised that all those things i mentioned – the ‘thought attacks’ – they are, really, evils and distractions from the devil; all of which are trying to get you to NOT make your salaah. they’re trying to disturb you so much that you just give up and say, “this is too hard. i can’t do this. i quit.”

    and thats exactly what the devil wants. he wants u to give up. he wants you to stop trying, and feel like you can’t defeat the distractions and disturbances.

    in reality – for me – its a war thats on; and before each salaah (usually before, but sometimes even during) it can be a battle to try and get yourself calm enough to begin.

    but i also came to see that thats not a good thing to focus on – u can’t keep thinking about that; and u can’t keep fighting off distractions and worries. i mean, i’m not saying give in to them. not at all.

    i’m saying: if u keep thinking about “i’ve gotta stop this. i’ve gotta fight this” – then you’re constantly in a state of fighting; a state of trying to ‘defend’ yourself. and that condition – a condition of fighting – isn’t really one which is conducive to inner peace.

    so, i think the thing to do each and every time is make dua BEFORE you even try to begin; to ask for calmness of mind and peace in your mind and heart, and inshAllah you’ll be granted that.

    but even if u don’t *feel* that peace, and its still a struggle, just keep trying, cos as u say, “with hardship comes ease”. (the tafsir i’ve heard is “with” – not “after”; implying that the ease comes *while* you’re facing the hardship).

    there’s other things u should try to do also, to try and make sure u go into each salaah with calmness. we’re told to “guard” our salaah – and to me that means being pro-active in ensuring that, when its salaah time, we’re in as close to a calm mindset as we can be.

    the mind is hard to control – we can’t, at will, bring about a peaceful mind. so, the internal is not something we have control over.

    but our outward actions and environment is something we do have some power over: meaning that we can stop everything, stop working, stop running around, stop DOING things – for a few minutes; which calms our bodies.

    now, i think that by doing that – by consciously being outwardly at rest; inshAllah that has an effect on your inward state.

    so, before each salaah, try to take 5 or 10 minutes (time length depends on the individual) to just be still. stop working, get away from the working environment and people and phones and everything; and just try to have a good, quiet few minutes to pull yourself off “busy mode”. and forget about deadlines and pressure and the clock and what you need to do. forget all of that; because none of it is more important than what you’re about to do.

    then go and make your salaah.

    i realise that that extra time may be a luxury in a work environment. but if u have to make up the time by working 10 or 20 minutes later in the afternoon (or earlier in the morning) – it really is worth it.

    salaah is not something that you treat like everything else in a working day: i.e. its in a schedule: you stop doing this task, go read salaah for this amount of time, go back and do another task.

    our salaah must be guarded. and that means we should regard it as much, much higher than any worldly concern that we’d have in the workplace (or wherever we are at the time).

    so the point is to try and re-arrange your time so that you’ve got a bit of a buffer before salaah; and maybe even a small buffer afterwards.

    if u just go straight from “busy mode” at work, to salaah, obviously you may face difficulty in being at peace.

    u know, thinking about salaah at work; and Jumah as well – i kinda feel sorry for non-Muslims. they go to work, do their work, have their breaks between work, then go home.

    its such tremendous Wisdom, the way we have 5 salaahs at the different times of the day. its like an enforced break for us, an enforced reminder that whatever it is that occupies our time in the day, Allah is always with us, and we have these 5 regular times every day that we leave every task and action and stress of the world and go to make our ibadah.

    that, in itself, is a great mercy – and i feel sorry for those who don’t have that in their lives.

    Salaah is a gift, and if we can get our minds around that – truly understand that, then inshAllah we’ll appreciate this gift.

    as for me, i’m at varsity for another 2 and a half months – till the end of March. after that, i have no idea where i’ll be. but i do plan on starting looking for another job soon. and – since we’re talking about salaah in the workplace – i’m really, really hoping it’ll be in a place that they have a salaah room or a Masjid nearby – because i’ve worked in places that didn’t, and its not nice having to work a whole day and then at the end of the day u’ve still got all the salaahs from the day to make up. it also takes away from that mercy of the 5 scheduled times – we have those specific times for a reason; and having to read everything in one go at the end of the day deprives us of that mercy.

    very true what u said, about the one who is at home and the one who leaves their home. when you’re out of your home, you have all these outside things entering your consciousness – and so it is more of a challenge while you’re outside. but, if we couldn’t handle it, then we wouldn’t get that challenge – because no soul is burdened beyond what it can bear.

    so that should give us strength: to know that we CAN bear the challenges we face – wherever they may be.

    all the best to you too; and happy graduation for when you graduate :) don’t worry much about the work not being exciting. you’ve gotta start somewhere, and the way you view your work – how u think of it – is how u’ll feel about it. so try to see the positives in it.

    keep well
    Y

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