Quran Weekly – Nouman Ali Khan Transcript here or download here.
A beautiful message for those still waiting for that special someone. Spoken word poem by brother Kamal Saleh.
The following was written mostly after last Friday’s Jumuah. It’s more a personal reminder for me than for others – but if you can take something from it, I hope it will be a source of great benefit for you.
“Remember frequently the destroyer of pleasures” – goes the reported hadith (reported in Tirmidhi, Nasaa’i, Ibn Maajah).
There was a funeral prayer after Jumuah, and it got me thinking of the fragility of life. I thought of how literally it can be ‘one moment here, the next moment gone’.
How I expect to keep living – yet no such guarantee is given to me.
Why is that? Why do I just have this over-confidence that I won’t die at any moment? I could…I could go any time.
Yet I don’t remember that. And when I do, the impact of that thought doesn’t last long.
What about all the plans I have, or things I want to do?
What about Hajj?
What about the upcoming holiday I’m so looking forward to?
Why do I always assume I’ll have years – until maybe 60-odd – to live my life and improve?
The truth is, an instant, I could be gone. The end of my road. The beginning of my qiyammah – all within a second.
And I leave behind a mourning wife and daughter. My parents and brother. My family.
This work, which I try to do well, but struggle with so often in some ways.
My Islamic knowledge and books, lectures, ideas; and volunteer work.
The home that my wife and I have with our child.
The pieces I still want to write, and the impact I want to have on others.
The prayers I have yet to make; along with the fasting.
The moments I’ll regret – spent on too much luxury or leisure. Too much ‘relaxing’ non-beneficial, artificial things; and not enough time sitting alone – in nature, or just reflecting quietly – trying to gain that solitude I used to yearn so much for.
If I knew I was to die in a week, I think I’d spend my time much more wisely.
But now – knowing I could die any moment – why does that not inspire me to live better NOW? Why will I forget all these thoughts soon after I stop writing – and get back to work, and life?
Before I get to real taqwa – consciousness of Allah – isn’t a great starting step to have consciousness of death at all times?
Because I know that the moment I die – my book is closed (except for the few actions whose rewards go on). Do I want to die with regrets?
I pray for the help to truly live that hadith – ‘the destroyer of pleasures’ …I need to remember those words; and that phrase especially – because much of my life is ‘pleasures’ – which I justify indulgence in because of the responsibilities that so greatly fill my life. Like I need these things as a ‘break’….but Allah knows what is legitimate and what isn’t. While I often delude myself, and know – when it’s over – that those things cannot bring real happiness.
I wish, and pray, that I could live my life remembering my death. Because that seems the surest way for me to live a more conscious life.
Do you know those times when you have something to say / write / post – but you just don’t get round to it?
Well, this is one of those times for me. I have many ideas floating for this here blog. Picture posts to go up; and stories to tell; plus some new links to bloggers that have captured my imagination of late.
But all of that has to wait for now – since time is short, and opportunities few.
Please welcome a very special (to me) new blogger, and visit her site: http://kukumom.wordpress.com/
Thank you 🙂
When I was very young, from what I remember, I used to love to write. Creative writing was a passion in my earliest school years. I remember silly stories about a Monster Party where the partygoers played “Pass the person,” and a Time Machine story where victorious German soldiers (during World War 2) used spears in their battle.
My teachers would encourage me to write at home, as an extra-curricular activity. But I don’t think I ever did.
Although I loved to write at that age (roughly seven years old), I didn’t see it as a viable career choice. I worried about writers’ block. I decided, way back then, that I couldn’t base a career on creativity – because there was no guarantee that the stories and words would come. I couldn’t take creativity for granted – because this was my future livelihood on the line.
I grew up, going through junior school, thoroughly enjoying reading the stories of others – because fiction opened my mind to other worlds, and excited my imagination beyond the ordinary confines of normal life. As time passed, my teenage years saw this reading disappear altogether; and my writing, which was done only for schoolwork, became relatively dull and uninspired. There was so much else that took my attention in those years, and the never-ending slew of futile occupations that consumed my time ensured that my creativity remained subdued – a thing forgotten.
This stage continued into university, until I reached the turning point in my life: a series of events that brought my spirit back to life – woke me up and inspired in me perhaps the greatest change I’ll ever encounter. And from that point on, the introspective side of me began its journey to a path of self-expression – a state of being where I was free to let loose what I held inside, without fearing my innermost thoughts being discovered by prying eyes.
Although this state of being was in the works for some time, it was an online acquaintance that first encouraged me to express myself in writing. And, over time, I began to do that, and the feelings, thoughts, dreams, and fears therapeutically poured out of me into what seemed* like well-crafted poems and pieces that reflected who I was, who I wanted to be, and what was most important to me.
(*I say “seemed” because the words and structures just came across as if they were well thought out. But, in reality, I didn’t plan much at all. I favoured the free-flow method: where I would just write as it came – without giving much thought to stopping, thinking, or editing. Natural was best, in my eyes – because I didn’t want my self-expression to be stifled by the left-brain processes which, I thought, would only hamper what I was writing).
In terms of my career, I had, up till that point, been in an IT position that wasn’t really conducive to interesting writing – because it was pretty much business and technical-related. I then moved into another IT role, but this time one that centred around technical writing and communications. Although this role was, again, business and technical-related, it somehow opened up new doors to me – showing me that I could use my writing skill for my career.
It was also in this period that I began blogging, starting this blog in 2006. My blog began with just photos, because I wasn’t confident enough to post my writings yet. But, over time, I became more comfortable, and introduced written pieces to the blog.
For a long while, this blog served as a great comfort to me: a place where I could post my self-expressions (both visual and written), and get feedback and encouragement from those of you who took the time to visit and comment.
With regard to writing, I also branched out into other forms of writing – applying myself to Islamic-related articles. When I finished the communications job, I ventured into the field of volunteering – doing communications work at two Muslim organisations. I enjoyed this work immensely – because I was getting to do what I loved to do (i.e. write), and apply the skills and knowledge I had learned (i.e. communications) – all in the field that was most important to me: Islam. And, of course, when you work in that kind of organisation, even mundane tasks can earn you Divine rewards – if you do it with the right intention.
I’ve continued to work with one of these organisations up to this year, and I’ve been blessed to be part of some great projects over the last few years. At one point, when they were thinking about appointing a full-time staff member, I considered applying – because I would dearly love to do that kind of work as a full-time career.
Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. And, as I came to see, there aren’t many opportunities for full-time work in that field. At least, not opportunities that pay market-related rates.
It’s a difficult position for Islamic organisations, because they do such great work, and they could probably do so much better – but many of them don’t have the proper support: financially, structurally, and in terms of high-quality professionals that are dedicated to the organisation on a full-time basis.
Many of these organisations struggle to survive; and they just cannot afford to pay the rates that professionals can earn in the corporate or even academic worlds.
So I saw that, if I wanted to work in that field, it would take financial sacrifice. But, being newly-married and newly-financially independent, I didn’t feel it was a sacrifice I could make at that time.
My current job – which I’ve been in for almost two years – makes use of my writing ability, in subjects that are not technical or IT-related (for the most part). Because of this, I enjoy the content of my current work more than any previous jobs.
Yet, I still sometimes find myself frustrated; believing wholeheartedly that I could perform so much better if I were writing about the things that were most important to me. I strongly believe that, if I were given the opportunity to use my abilities for subject matters that resonate strongly within me, I could, insha-Allah, be so much more productive, and hopefully produce work that could be beneficial to those who read / see it (not that my current work is not beneficial…because it hopefully is).
Undoubtedly, one field that this can be achieved in is media – and specifically, Islamic media. However, although I’ve had a few pieces published in printed publications over the last few years, my most recent attempts to break into this field have failed.
So, then, there’s always the Internet. And, of course, blogging – because blogging is really the ultimate personal medium: it’s a platform where you can write about what’s most important to you; hopefully have a positive influence on people; and receive feedback from the readers.
Lately, I’ve been thinking again about my career – wondering if I’ll ever get to do what I love doing as a full-time, decently-paid job. (Note that the financial-sacrifice thing is even less realistic at this point – because I now have a wife and baby to support.)
Not many people get to do what they love as a career. But for those that do – you can see the passion in them, and you can feel the energy that they have in carrying out a ‘job’ which they do out of love – and not just for the money.
Going forward, I wonder what the future holds for me in terms of getting to that career goal. I know I could probably do with some further studies, because:
- I lack journalistic training (which is actually fine by me, because I don’t want to be a journalist. I’ve heard that it’s a field I would not enjoy).
- I don’t have formal communications training (despite almost 2 years in a largely communications-based role).
- Other than my professional training, I haven’t taken any further courses in any kind of writing – be it feature writing, creative writing, or anything else.
Other than that, opportunity is the big issue. Part-time freelancing doesn’t seem like an option right now, because I just don’t have the time for other projects. I don’t even have time to write the things I want to write.
But I do want to try to keep writing – so that that part of me remains active, and hopefully sticks around for the time when, insha-Allah, a proper, full-time opportunity presents itself.
Where that opportunity would come from, I don’t know. I guess the key is to find a way that I can add value to an organisation – an organisation that does the kind of work I want to be involved in; an organisation where I can have the platform to advance their work as well as my own ambitions.
Anyway, like the title of the post says: “Do what you love…love what you do.” That, really, is my ultimate career ambition.
I just wanted to share that here. Any feedback, ideas, or offers would be much appreciated.
Hey everyone, hope you’re having a good new year. This is just a short note to update you on some maintenance stuff, since this blog has undergone some changes in the last few months.
1. Updated links:
I’ve updated the links section, which I’d neglected for most of the last 2 years. So you’ll find some of the links gone, as well as some new ones added. Among those are 2 of my most loyal readers (Zahera and Prixie – thanx for still visiting after all this time, even though the posts are coming way slower than before), a new blog my wife and I started last year, as well as the site of the President of Iran, who seems to be quite adept at the blogging thing. I’m not one for politics, but the man has impressed me, and he writes very well – so check out his blog and see if you learn anything new about his country, other than the negative propoganda going round in the news. (Thanks to Shafinaaz for the link – found it on her blog).
2. Subscribe by email:
I also added a subscription link, which you’ll find at the bottom of the right hand column. If you’d like to be updated whenever there’s something new on this blog, you can click on that to find out more.
3. Theme changes:
You may have noticed this blog turned green late last year. That’s not because it got ripe (I know…corny. But I love making corny jokes 😉 ) – but because I’ve wanted to make a big change in the look for a long time. I tried some of the other WordPress themes, but nothing caught my fancy (I’m very particular – so that’s not surprising). Because I know almost nothing about the visual side of blogs, I can’t design my own theme – nor do I want to. But if anyone has a good 3-column theme that would work with WordPress, let me know.
Anyway, hope you’re all good, and hope you’ll stick with the blog in 2009.
Although this blog is getting rather lethargic of late, I hope you still come by once in a while to see what’s new.
But I’d also like to invite you to check out http://palmsofwisdom.wordpress.com
It’s a new project we’re starting, and I hope it’ll take off and be of much benefit to us all.
He remembered his grandmother’s warning about praying on time: “My son, you shouldn’t leave prayer to this late time”. His grandmother’s age was 70 but whenever she heard the Adhan, she got up like an arrow and performed Salah. He, however, could never win over his ego to get up and pray. Whatever he did, his Salah was always the last to be offered and he prayed it quickly to get it in on time.
Thinking of this, he got up and realized that there were only 15 minutes left before Salat-ul Isha. He quickly made Wudhu and performed Salat-ul Maghrib. While making Tasbih, he again remembered his grandmother and was embarrassed by how he had prayed. His grandmother prayed with such tranquility and peace.
He began making Dua and went down to make Sajdah and stayed like that for a while. He had been at school all day and was tired, so tired.
He awoke abruptly to the sound of noise and shouting. He was sweating profusely. He looked around. It was very crowded. Every direction he looked in was filled with people. Some stood frozen looking around, some were running left and right and some were on their knees with their heads in their hands just waiting.
Pure fear and apprehension filled him as he realized where he was. His heart was about to burst. It was the Day of Judgement. When he was alive, he had heard many things about the questioning on the Day of Judgement, but that seemed so long ago. Could this be something his mind made up? No, the wait and the fear were so great that he could not have imagined this.
The interrogation was still going on. He began moving frantically from people to people to ask if his name had been called. No one could answer him. All of a sudden his name was called and the crowd split into two and made a passageway for him.
Two angels grabbed his arms and led him forward. He walked with unknowing eyes through the crowd. The angels brought him to the center and left him there. His head was bent down and his whole life was passing in front of his eyes like a movie. He opened his eyes but saw only another world.
The people were all helping others. He saw his father running from one lecture to the other, spending his wealth in the way of Islam. His mother invited guests to their house and one table was being set while the other was being cleared. He pleaded his case, “I too was always on this path. I helped others. I spread the word of Allah. I performed my Salah. I fasted in the month of Ramadan. Whatever Allah ordered us to do, I did. Whatever he ordered us not to do, I did not.” He began to cry and think about how much he loved Allah.
He knew that whatever he had done in life would be less than what Allah deserved and his only protector was Allah.
He was sweating like never before and was shaking all over. His eyes were fixed on the scale, waiting for the final decision. At last, the decision was made. The two angels with sheets of paper in their hands, turned to the crowd. His legs felt like they were going to collapse. He closed his eyes as they began to read the names of those people who were to enter Jahannam.
His name was read first.
He fell on his knees and yelled that this couldn’t be, “How could I go to Jahannam? I served others all my life, I spread the word of Allah to others”. His eyes had become blurry and he was shaking with sweat.
The two angels took him by the arms. As his feet dragged, they went through the crowd and advanced toward the blazing flames of Jahannam.
He was yelling and wondered if there was any person who was going to help him. He was yelling of all the good deeds he had done, how he had helped his father, his fasts, prayers, the Qur’an that he read, he was asking if none of them would help him. The Jahannam angels continued to drag him.
They had gotten closer to the Hellfire. He looked back and these were his last pleas. Had not Rasulullah [saw] said, “How clean would a person be who bathes in a river five times a day, so too does the Salah performed five times cleanse someone of their sins”?
He began yelling, “My prayers? my prayers? my prayers.” The two angels did not stop, and they came to the edge of the abyss of Jahannam. The flames of the fire were burning his face. He looked back one last time, but his eyes were dry of hope and he had nothing left in him.
One of the angels pushed him in. He found himself in the air and falling towards the flames. He had just fallen five or six feet when a hand grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back.
He lifted his head and saw an old man with a long white beard. He wiped some dust off himself and asked him, “Who are you?” The old man replied, “I am your prayers”. “Why are you so late! I was almost in the Fire! You rescued me at the last minute before I fell in”.
The old man smiled and shook his head, “You always performed me at the last minute, did you forget?”
At that instant, he blinked and lifted his head from Sajdah. He was in a sweat. He listened to the voices coming from outside. He heard the adhan for Salat-ul Isha. He got up quickly and went to perform Wudhu.
Pass this on to ur friends and family, and maybe u can help someone open their eyes…….. and who knows?? maybe this is a good deed that can help you during the day of Judgement…
Over the last few weeks, I’ve added some new links on the right hand side – the blogs of some really interesting people.
One of the new folks, Maryam, tagged me with the topic “5 things you didn’t know about me”.
So, here goes:
- I cannot ride a bike (unless its got training wheels 😉 )
- At one point, “Terminator 2” was my favourite movie of all time – I had seen it about 15 times and knew every scene and line.
- I used to be a sleepwalker, and reportedly did a Steve Urkel impression in my sleep.
- I do not like plugs being left on, when there’s nothing plugged in. It’s dangerous. I switch these plugs off.
- Since yesterday, I have a black spot on the inside of my cheek. It may be a blood clot; or it may be a beauty spot (if u get those inside your mouth)…or it may be something else. I don’t know what it is. But its new. Up until yesterday, that was something I didn’t even know about me 😉 )
That’s 5. And now, I tag: