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The Human Psyche

Siblings & Love

When you’re little, your whole world is the home you know. Your parents, your siblings-your family. You cannot imagine a world or time without them. They are, as essential to you as your own limbs.

I remember when i was in 3rd grade maybe, i asked my mom who she loves more us(her children) or her siblings? Cz for me, little me could not understand how my mom was surviving without her siblings with her. My siblings were the whole world to me.

My mom, wise woman that she is, said i love both.

But i pressed on! I said but what if you had to make a choice, she said without hesitation that if it came to that then i would choose my children.

I looked at her in awe. My world view momentarily jarred. I couldn’t make sense of it.

As you grow older, you have no choice, you move apart, sometimes physically and sometimes emotionally because of the choices you make. But you’ll always be a part of the whole. As if limbs of a single body. And being pulled apart hurts just as it would hurt the body to have it’s limbs be pulled at.

Yet, like all pain, this too is necessary. Sometimes in order for more relationships to form, those of spouses and children. Some times for our own personal growth. Some times for financial reasons. You follow the path laid out for you. Maktub. It is all pre-written, by the Hand that sent you here and loves you in ways you cannot fathom.

And as you grow even older, children leave, spouses leave, sometimes you end up in the same places you started off from or sometimes in far flung places you never imagined.

The older you grow, the heavier the heart gets. For it has now loved and lost many times. Only to love again, eventually. All earthly love, though beautiful is ephemeral, temporary, and hence painful.

There’s only one love that’s Divine, eternal and constant. His love. And a permanent abode, to which we will return and have all our little loves returned to us for our hearts to be whole again.

Till then, we must dredge on. Weary, tired yes. But content in the reminder of His love. The One, True love!

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DISCOVER ISLAM The Human Psyche

Competition-I Want That Too!

It is interesting to observe in traditional cultures, especially in the Muslim world, that the marketplaces are comprised of rows of businesses dealing with the same product. In America, it would be considered foolish to open a business in proximity to a business already selling the same product. In Damascus, everyone knows where the marketplace for clothing is. There are dozens of stores strung together selling virtually the same material and fashions. Not only are the stores together, but when the time for prayer comes the merchants pray together.

They often attend the same study circles, have the same shaykhs, and are best friends. It used to be that when one person sold enough for the day, he would shut down and go home and allow others to get what they need. This is not make-believe or part of a Utopian world. It happened. It is hard to believe that there were people like that on the planet. And they exist to this day, but to a lesser extent. They are now old, and their sons have not embraced the beauty of that way of doing business. Today’s business culture glorifies cut-throat strategies, in which it is not enough to do well; destroying the competition is encouraged and celebrated.

This is covetousness puffed up to an obscene degree. As a result, whole societies are wounded spiritually; for the business culture is never contained among the merchants, but flows through the veins of a nation. The Imam says that for this reason we need to purify ourselves of these vile characteristics like covetousness. What makes the process difficult is living in a time when the abnormal is made to seem normal. The Quran warns that Satan seeks to adorn things before human eyes, so that we do not see things for what they are. As such, even covetousness is adorned. It is stripped of the stigma it so rightly deserves; it has now been placed under the rubric of “smart business.”

The terminology changes, though the essence survives shamelessly. The Prophet said that “competition is the disease of civilizations.” The propagation of the philosophy of “us against them” will spare no one, neither “us” nor “them.” According to that world view, everyone is considered “them” to someone else. Unnecessary competition grows into animosity. That’s how deep and insidious this disease is. Covetousness leaves one with the feeling of desiring more, which leads to a culture that can never be satisfied.

The Greeks differentiated between types of desire. They had a concept called eros, which is a longing for something which is never really fulfilled—wanting more and more. The Prophet said, “Nothing will fill the mouth of the son of Adam except the soil of his own grave. If he had one mountain of gold, he would only desire a second.” The Prophet also said, “Two people will never be satiated: seekers of knowledge and seekers of the world.” Covetousness, if it is not for God and His religion, will be for worldly things.

Imam al Mawlud next personifies desire and says “If you could ask desire about his trade” it will answer “earning humiliation!”. As for its father, it would say : “Doubt concerning the divine apportioning [of provision],” meaning being skeptical about how material provisions are allotted to different people.

Excerpt from the English Translation of Imam Al-Mawlud`a Matharat al-Qulub (Purification of the Heart).

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DISCOVER ISLAM The Human Psyche

Dear Sister!

“So flee to Allah...”
“So flee to Allah…”

Dedicated to a Very Dear Friend, You Know Who You Are.

My dear sister! Know that you leave me distressed, that my heart weeps for you! Know that when you cry, I cry!  Oh my sister! We may be far but know that I feel your hurt, your pain is mine! That your tears fall not just on your cheeks but on mine too!

Dear sister, take heart! Be strong! Remember that this too shall pass!
“Verily, with hardship, there is relief ” (Quran 94:6)

Remember also that people are placed in our path by Allah Ta`ala, Our Rab, He who is Ar-Rehman, Ar-Raheem to mold us, to bring us closer to Him. Look at them my sister but look beyond! They are only here to teach us a lesson from the Almighty. They are for our own tarrbiyyah. To show us the error in our ways.

Look within my dear sister, look within. For there-in you`ll find the solution.

My dear sister, Know that the path is straight, yet we are lost! And He in His infinite mercy puts these obstacles in our life to bring us back to the path.  To remind us that there is but only ONE objective in life and ALL else is just a means to an end. Know my dear sister that all this, is JUST to bring us back to Him. “So flee to Allah…” (Surah Thariyat).

For He is Allah s.w.t, He takes us back, though we may repeatedly sin.  Say: “O Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Az-Zumar, 53)

Know my sister that words are after all just that, words. And that we are Naqis. We are needy of our Rab. So my sister return to Him! For only in Him, there is peace. He is As-Salam.  (Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.) (Qur’an 13: 28).

My sister, KNOW that His mercy engulfs you. That HIS love is the ONLY love.  That there is ONLY HIM and all else is a delusion. He, ALONE is the truth!  “…And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion?” (Qur’an, 57:20)

Finally my beloved sister, Know that every being, every particle, every pint of blood, each strand of hair, every blade of grass, every hill, every mountain, each drop in the oceans, every single thing in the land and the skies Glorifies Him.  Pay heed, my dear sister! Glorify Him! Be like them!  Be in sync, in harmony with the universe. Be at peace.

“So flee to Allah...”
“So flee to Allah…”
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DISCOVER ISLAM The Human Psyche

Such Are the Days…

It appears it`s been ages since I have had this urge. This urge to write, to feel the swish of the pen flowing across a page, a page that only moments ago was blank. Oh the smell of paper and the feel of ideas just flowing out of an ink pen! And these winter nights! The sound of rain on my window and the pitter patter of those tiny droplets flowing from the heavens up above. Ah memories and these bitter-sweet reminiscences. Of shadows and the people that were there. Of presences and the warmth they bring and as suddenly take away too.

...وَتِلْكَ الْأَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيْنَ النَّاسِ …
…. And such are the days, We alternate them between the people…Surah Aal-e-Imran:3

Its funny how the events in your life are designed to teach you and help you grow as a person, as a Muslim and to reach the Ultimate Goal, that of being in His presence. Not funny actually when you think of who designed them. Your Rabb, He who is the best of teachers, He who loves you more than you can conceive. Even in your pain you can feel THAT warmth, HE is ALWAYS there. People come and they go, it is Allah s.w.t that is ALWAYS, always there. People love you and disappoint you but Allah, Allah s.w.t will ALWAYS love you, will ALWAYS be there. It is not that people are bad, but you have to remember that they are after all human, imperfect, temporary. It is Allah who is the Divine, the Eternal, The Source of Peace. He is Al-Wadud (الودود) -The Loving One.

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DISCOVER ISLAM The Human Psyche

Green with Envy

You may manage your subscription options from your profile. You may manage your subscription options from your profile. Dedicated to Fatima Altaf. (no she`s not green, we promise:P ) Be Warned! This will probably be a very mathematical post. Hasad: The worst of the diseases of the heart, The first of sins in the skies and the first of sins on Earth. (Dramatic much? Soaps tend to agree with us on this, judging by the number of envious women they show, out to destroy homes. AND we rest our case:P) “(I seek refuge)…..From the evil of the envious one when he envies” (Surah Al-Falaq 5) “Beware of jealousy, for verily it destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood.” [ Abu Dawood] What Makes Hasad: Miserliness + Greed + Narcissm/Self-obsession + Arrogance => Hasad Stages Of Hasad: Stage 1: Feeling of Deprivation Stage 2: Self-Pity Stage 3: Why me? Stage 4: Why THEM? (Snow White`s step-mom people? Poison all those “fair-er” then me.) The problem with Hasad is that it reeks of bigger problems. Discontentment being one of them. Wanting what others have is a sign that: 1. One is displeased of one`s lot in life (The “Why me?!” Attitude). 2. One places too much importance on the Dunya. Allah, the Exalted, has therefore forbidden us from desiring what other have, “Do not wish for what we have favored some of you over others.” [Soorah an-Nisa (4): 32] According to Ibn Taimiya (r) , hasad is always accompanied by hatred. This is one of the evils of hasad. First the person is envious of the other person. After some time, this envy develops into hatred. When the Prophet (S) was asked who are the best of people? He replied: “the one with a clean heart and truthful tongue.” They asked: ‘We understand a truthful tongue, but what does a clean heart mean?’ he answered: ‘It is the heart of one that is pious, pure, and is free of sin, transgressions, hatred and Hasad.” [Ibn Majah] Signs of Hasad-How to Look for it WITHIN (NOT in others Bushra:P) According to Ibn Uthaymin, one of the strong signs that a person is inflicted with the disease of hasad is that he always tries to conceal the virtues and goodness of others. He does not like it when others talk about the good that a person has done. He remains silent and pretends like he does not know of the good that the other one has done. [Ibn Uthaymin, Sharh Riyadh, vol. 4, p. 707.] Tariq (to wife) : Your mother Shahida na? She`s such a graceful woman. Bushra: Look for the signs. If hearing others being praised annoys you, then its time for some action honey! Cures: 1. Recite Surah Fatiha (cz it teaches one to grateful about one`s lot in life. It helps us to see the bigger picture i.e “All praise is For Him”. Hence why be envious when others are being praised?) 2. Make du`a for the person you feel envy for. 3. If you feel that you are jealous of a specific person, then buy him a gift, shake hands with him and give him salaams for Hasad is the result of hatred and the Prophet (s) said: “Shake hands, for this will dispel rancor, and exchange gifts and love one another, for this will dispel hatred.” [Narrated by Maalik in al-Muwatta (1413)] 4. Make du`a for yourself. Allah s.w.t said in the Qur’aan: “And those who came after them say: ‘Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in Faith and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful.” [Soorah al-Hashr (59): 10] Permissible Envy=Islam permits Ghibtah “Envy is allowed in two cases, in case of a man whom Allah has given the Qur’aan and who recites it throughout night and day; and a man on whom Allah has bestowed wealth who gives it away throughout night and day.” [Bukhari, Muslim] The Sinister Workings of Bushra`s Heart And Mind: Scenario 1 (Hurt By Shahida) : Hurt by Shahida > angered > malice > urge for revenge > desires harm for Shahida> feelings of glee when Shahida is facing problems and feeling JUSTIFIED (“Meray jesa suit ban alia na, bohat acha hua maasi ne jala dia.Allah ki lathi be-awaz hai”) Tch Tch Scenario 2 (When Shahida Is Happy) Shahida got an awesome deal at a Lawn exhibition> Bushra goes green with envy > torturing self with negative thoughts whilst Shahida blissfully unaware enjoys her new dress. Discontentment comes from the slave’s ignorance of his Lord. If he recognizes his Lord with the attributes of Perfection, All-Knowledgeable and All-Just to his slaves, he would not be discontent and as a result would not develop Hasad. Imam Ibn Qayyim (r) said: “It (contentment) opens the door of peace and security for the slave.” A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” — Roald Dahl Oh that Bushra would understand! Because: Wealth is not in having vast riches, it is in contentment. (Bukhari, Muslim) *Adapted from the lectures of Ustadha Mahwish Zafar, Huma Najm ul Hassan and Various Sources on the Internet.*”