Thursday, September 28, 2006
Hilye Book on Sale in UK!
Alhamdulila it has finally arrived to the residents of this little island!
135 copies are available for the lucky dwellers...
What better Eid gift!
And it's yours for just £75 [+p&p]
More info & purchase:
1 Boyne Hill Road
Hilye-i Serife Official Website
More info on the Hilye by Calligrapher Sidi M. Zakariya
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Imam Zaid's Ramadan Message
The Month of Ramadan is upon us. During this special time, we should all reflect on the many blessings God has bestowed upon us. Those of us who live here in the West have been blessed with many material bounties that are unimaginable to many of our coreligionists in the East. The amount of food we enjoy and unfortunately the amount that many of us waste, the expansiveness of most of our homes, our ready ability to own cars, trucks, and vans, our easy access to higher education, our ability to marry at a young age, all of these blessings and many others are incomprehensible to many Muslims in faraway lands struggling to live from day to day.
Perhaps the greatest blessing we enjoy is the blessing of security. This is a great blessing that many people take for granted. The ability to be safe in ones home, to walk the streets without fear of assault, to travel freely down the highways and byways without fear of brigandage or harm to our person or loved ones, the ability to rest comfortably at night without fearing a sudden deadly intrusion, or a violent explosion as a projectile tears through the roof or walls of our dwelling visiting us with hell on earth. This is a great, expansive blessing.
God mentions that security is one of the great blessings He bestowed upon the Quraysh, the people of our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God upon him. He mentions in the Qur'an:
Therefore, let them worship the Lord of this [Sacred] House; he who has fed them, warding off from them hunger; the one who has made them secure from fear. (106:3-4)
This latter blessing, the great blessing of security, the blessing that allows us to enjoy all other blessings, should never be taken for granted, for it can be taken away at any moment, and we could be cast into the throes of terrible tribulation with sudden swiftness. One of the ways to perpetuate the blessing of security and the many other blessings we enjoy is to express our deep thanks for them. That expression of thanks lies in our being good productive citizens, it lies in our faithful devotion to our Lord, and it lies in our demonstrating to people the good of our religion through our actions before we endeavor to do so with our words. It lies in our endeavoring to share our blessings with those who are less fortunate that ourselves.
The details relating to how we do these things are known to all of us and are as numerous as each and every one of our individual lives. Those details are revealed to us by God when we endeavor to be sincere in our service, true in our devotion, honest in our conviction to assist our fellow human beings. Ramadan is an excellent time to start for those of us who have been limping down the road of life oblivious to the blessings we enjoy; lacking any consciousness of the obligations those blessings impose on us. Ramadan focuses our appreciation of the food and other material blessing we enjoy by allowing us to experience at a personal level the reality of deprivation. Ramadan focuses our devotion to God by facilitating heightened levels of devotional acts by couching them in a communal manifestation. Ramadan focuses our sincerity to God, for it is centered around fasting, the one act of worship it is impossible to "show off" with before other human beings, for at the end of the day, God alone knows if we are truly fasting. Ramadan, if we allow it to do so, focuses our spiritual energies by reintroducing the great blessing of the Qur'an into our lives. Finally, Ramadan focuses our attention on the centrality of charity in our lives, by encouraging us to greater levels and acts of charity during this time, a time when our beloved Prophet, peace and blessings of God upon him, the most generous of all people ordinarily, was excessively generous.
Let us translate that heightened focus on God, and our appreciation for His blessings into heightened levels of servitude to Him and to our fellow human beings. If we can do that as an entire community, with ample conviction, God will continue to shower His blessings down upon us and to He will bless us to be secure in our lives and property, just as He has blessed us to be secure from material want. Such blessings are commensurate with "the best community raised up to serve humanity (3:110)." However, for the manifestation of those blessings to be real, our service to God and to our fellow humans has to be real. So let us proceed through this blessed month with consciousness, willing devotion, and sincerity. By doing so we will express our appreciation to our Lord, and work to perpetuate the many blessings He has bestowed upon us.
Your Brother in Islam
Imam Zaid Shakir
Imam Zaids' Website
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Sunday, September 24, 2006
Ramadhan Greetings x x x
You are here once again!
And Bint greets thee with full brace -
Do you sense mine angelic wings?
Which were not before -
But have become so now -
After being aquainted with the Sacred -
Now here I stand -
So proudly -
To welcome my Guest!
Last Years' Ode
This Ramadhan please pray for those who are not in the ease that we are in:
There are those who are in war-zones or those undergoing political oppression.
There are those littered on the streets with no shelter, food or clothing.
There are those in prison or camps.
There are those who had no crop this harvest or those whose crop was washed away with floods.
Those who have been seperated by death and will never share another Suhur or Iftar with their beloveds.
Those whose loved ones are in prison.
Those who are the relatives of a 'missing person' and who have no idea whether their beloved is safe or not.
Those who will be using Ramadhan to visit their loved ones in hospital rather than attend Iftar gatherings with their friends.
And pray duas for all those around the world who were forced out of their homes and are now either refugees or asylum seekers.
May God Almighty bring out the goodness in our conduct during this Ramadhan. And may He keep everyone Safe from the wrong actions of our hands and our tongue.
Dua taken from Deenport Khatams thread.
Check out the Ramadhan Thoughts next door :-) & loads of Ramadhan URLs!
Peace & Prayers x x
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Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Coping With Losing Children
Iram Khan from Rowley Regis tells her story about her faith helped her, and is still helping, through the toughest time in her life. Losing two children to a terminal illness, Iram called upon Islam for strength, peace and hope.
And for those who read my Thank You list last year - this is the woman who prayed on my hand shortly after losing her second child when I met her at the Mosque.
May the blessings of God Almighty forever remain upon her household. Ameen.
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Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Update From Camel-Land!
Here we go ;-)
Salam x x x
Greetings of Peace from the depths of my heart, mind and soul. From each part of me echoes a warm salute wishing serenity upon you all!
Since the last update about 7 weeks ago alot has happened. It's amazing that the number of weeks seem so less but it feels like 7 months have passed since that time! The concept of time again eh?!
Well the long-awaited meeting took place a couple weeks ago and I got the decision last week. After 19 months of sick leave we have decided to call it a day. STOP.
I have had the most loving colleagues one could desire; who throughout this period have sent me text messages, emails, letters, cards and flowers. It is not the best of circumstances to leave work in, but then I think of the fact that it is really nobodys' fault; this is how it was written for me. Yes, I do believe that it is all written.
I need to return my work fone, and a few books which belong to one of the centres. My manager will arrange their collection and complete the formalities. I think we will be having a get-together..
We were meant to meet in this manner, work as a team, deal with the challenges given to us and then depart in this way. It was 2 years in early September since I started that post. Our professional relationship as colleagues was meant to transform into a deeper one of caring for another human being and their wellbeing; surely we entered into friendship without even realising? And now it is times for bye-byes? But the acts of kindness and words of support by my colleagues will forever be cherished by my being. And they have taught me alot about myself which I will endeavour to practise.
I had a very good spell of health from when we got back up until the first week of September.. although I had a lot of vertigo (mainly as a side-effect to the homeopathic medicine I have been taking) and alot of fluid retention in the fingers.
Doc said the fluid build-up was natural in warm climates :-/ But mine was kinda accompanied with pangs of pain. Thankfully Ginger aided me :-)
From the first week of this month up until last Friday I had a mild episode of stiffness in my right hand. But all is OK now.
I realised last week, how the limitations of these episodes are nothing to be ashamed of.. Indeed 'shame' is one of those negative feelings just like guilt which really should not be used to base our actions upon. Although each plays a part in defining the human being .. each should be used as a learning tool as opposed to a self-inflicting weapon.
It is only once we submit to our challenges in life that we are able to move forward: oh yeah - this is a blog entry in the making!
I have also managed to get a referral to the Rheumatologist late next month. Lets see if they can offer me anything better than steroids..
She is a good woman; originally from a nursing background, then went into health visiting and now a homeopath. I didn't tell you guys we had our meeting one fine July afternoon. I feel at transparency and ease with her. Furthermore she is a woman. Certain expressions of attitude we behold to are only understood by other women.
Although some modern docs have called into question the benefits of homeopathy and some have termed it the "modern form of witchcraft" - I will continue to see her. The medicine has really helped 'calm' me down: something very important when one has many decisions which need seeing to.
Oh did I mention this to you:
Someone else has actually been paying for this treatment?
People and their acts of kindness continue to put me to shame :')
Alhamdulila Wa'l Shukar Allah.
Alot lot better now.
And it is one less thing to worry about. I could actually focus on getting myself back up on my feet rather than worry about finding myself in debt.
Now I believe that God really is The Provider.
I feel like a school-leaver all over again :-)
Yes, I do.
I feel relieved but apprehensive ¦ happy but nervous ¦ joyful but frozen.
I have so many emotions within me to deal with, all at the same time. Furthermore I have for the first time in all these months been excited about life. Yes about Life.
Life Life Life -
I am due to see the Disability Employment Advisor in the upcoming weeks.
I am trying my best to get out the house but can't seem to manage it more than twice a week: as and when is necessary for a few hours. I know, I should try to literally "get out more often" but I guess I have found it important to use my comfort-zone to reflect some things about the Rihla.
And no I haven't forgotten - I will very soon pop up the Rihla entry I promised I would!
Yes! Not long to go now.
I won't be fasting again this year.
My Ramadhan Thoughts will be up for all to partake from.
But it's really nice to come back from the Sacred and then greet the Guest.
MY BIG BIRTHDAY
Yeah folks - I was born this fine year.
Turning 30 after Eid is what I was dreading a week or so ago. Although I still feel like spending my day in bed I must admit I'm very calm about it after Epoppie told me I had actually turned 30 alot sooner!
..I was born in 1396 ;-)
But what does 30 tell me eh?
That I have spent thirty years on Planet Earth according to solar calculations? Or over 31 according to lunar ones?
I know what I had dreamt of having by this age. And I know I don't have that..
But what I do have is something I never ever dreamt of -
And I am glad, for I enjoy pleasant surprises :-)
erm.. this is another entry folks - after Eid!
I feel my Slate has been wiped clean for me to start all over again.
Undoubtedly I know there will be periods of gloom and darkness up ahead - but I also know that God Almighty has answered many of my doubts in these last several weeks. I know that His Promise is True.
Life will continue to give us challenges.
But these are to fine-tune us and prepare us for the next phase in this earthly existence, and not a sign that God Almighty has abandoned us.
Peace & Prayers
Bint-eh Adam x x x
PS - do you like the new 'expandable' posties? I know, they are a bit of a mess in some places but hey gone are the days I used to use DreamWeaver and the code-know-how era! :-P
Dancing For Palestine * Al Asria folk dance performance at BM&AG 9/7/05 Courtesy of Abbas & Sara Shah / Illuminating Faith.
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Sunday, September 17, 2006
The Two Pots
God Bless x
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Sunday, September 03, 2006
Extending The Rihla Experience
I don’t agree that the good feelings we get from the good experiences which life blesses us with are restricted to a fixed time-scale. To believe so, is to ascertain that goodness is limited to a certain set of circumstances or incidences. This is contradictory to the teachings which direct us towards trying to recognise goodness in our troublesome times and periods of life where we undergo much uncertainty.
I write this as I see my fellow Rihla buddies very much saddened at leaving the presence of our Prophet, our Teachers and the most angelic of places. I was chatting to one of the sisters who was very upset Friday and I felt a deep pinch within me: I felt something hurt. And I asked myself: are the good experiences we have in life only limited in their effect to those circumstantial moments? I knew in my heart of hearts that they couldn’t be because if they were, then I think that would be unfair, and I was taught that God is Fair and Just.
I’m unsure how much consolation this write-up will be for my Rihla companions or how much it would make sense, and my apologies now if it doesn’t make anyone feel any more at peace. Soz folks. Having had to leave the Sacred Lands for the second time I personally feel a lot more calmer this time. I remember crying for months after our Hajj return; when the following Hajj came: the loss really hit home.
But today I don’t feel like that. And when I ask myself why, the reply comes:
“It’s because when you went the first time, you didn’t ever think you’d go again. Now that you’ve been again – you know it can happen any time God wants!”
As odd as it reads – it is true. And what is even odd is that today I have a conviction to return; the conviction that did not exist over 3 years ago. Moreover I went during the most bizarre of circumstances this time; I’d never thought I’d visit in this state – But this is a promised blog for next time.
Firstly, before I lose most of the readers due to the length of this entry, quickly take from my pragmatist side:
- each one of us should strive to purify a dormant quality within us which is in need of revival; we will find that this will have a domino-effect on the rest of our self: so that bit by bit our life will mimic itself in goodness.
- we live in an age where we have access to our teachers online, via audio and publications: we should not see their lack of physical presence as a hindrance to our learning – rather we should set aside time to work through materials they have produced. In this manner our learning curve will become steeper. As was advised by the teachers we should re-visit our notes after a few months: I suggest we do this with other buddies in the locality. Filling the gaps in our notes will ensure we have some decent foundational background for building intermediary and then advanced studies on top of.
- loving those whom we know can be done when we know those we claim to love: reading the Seerah and reflecting upon the various stages of the life of the Prophet Alaislam will ensure that we are ever-closer to him. Further reading the Sham’ail and Shifaa of Qadi Iyad would deepen the love of the Prophet Alaislam. Finally, knowledge of the history of Islam e.g. (Karen Armstrongs’ book is a fine read) and how the various aspects of the empire contributed to society will enable us all to foresee a positive future. Remember although there is no future in history – the reality is that our future is based on our history.
- keep in touch with your Rihla buddies: today we are not confined to the constraints in communication during the times of the Companions where letters were sent which took months to arrive via the noble camel :-) Email, telephone and instant messaging are all good enough tools for folk to keep alive the familiarity of good experiences. For those who could: I suggest letter-writing as nothing quite matches this beautiful method of communication.
- I believe the entire world is littered with advice for us: and here's some I echo from my Nurse ages ago: now that you are back from the Rihla – think back again to the day when you made the application.. What hopes did you have? Why did you apply? What did you wish to address within your world? And then, think to the day when you received your acceptance email.. How did you feel? And why did you feel that way? Where is that feeling? Where are those hopes you had to implement change in your life? Often we need to re-visit the starting points to many of our current situations and we will find that they provide a lot of the answers we beseech. For sure our answers are within us.
Getting back to the point: I believe that our good (Rihla) experience is not limited in timescale. And I believe it is us who limit the goodness of what comes through (this and other spiritually-rewarding) experiences.
Sometimes we set before ourselves the false barriers of guilt where we believe we are not worthy to receive the gifts of goodness, and at other times we fail to notice our human nature and that we won’t become overtly saintly in one instance.
With this in mind, we should further believe that we are not the same as we were prior to the Rihla. Physiologically we know that many cells in our body would have been replaced since yesterday and our (internal) state is different to how it was a few hours ago. We should allow change to manifest itself naturally; how it often does, and not hasten to see sudden transformations. Remember the tranquilart butterfly: not only is change possible – but to deny it is denying a wonderful part of our existence.
Each one of us is living a life which is tailor-made to perfection; the fact that we were chosen for this Rihla from the millions who share the same air as us is indicative that a lot of goodness awaits to illuminate our worlds further. Many stations anticipate our arrival.
In the words of our Beloved Imam Al-Ghazzali:
That man was not created in jest or at random,
But marvellously made for some great end.”
Our experiences are ever-leading us near this reality. Every time I read this I recognise that the angels bowed before our Father Adam; and how man was honoured above other creation. And that if he reflects sincerely – he would realise that his rank is one not given to others.
Staying on this wavelength of words; we know that
(The Garden: a subject of much interest for tranquilart in these last two years..) Yes! It was here that we used to reside; in the company of angels and all things celestial.
No doubt we felt most secure and protected in the Sacred cities; for these are the only other places where we find much resemblance to our celestial roots. These are the cities which elevate the human spirit so it feels it is at it’s heavenly home; rested and in peace.
Therefore it is natural for us to feel frightened when we leave these two cities to re-enter a world where we are in constant doubt about those celestial origins.
Hold this thought of ‘home’ and let me divert your attention to another place.
In the last 18 months I have learnt that there is a premise in our worldview: that we are in Safe Hands.
That everything which is unfolding is doing so in our best interest.
That we are being cared for by the Best of Care-Providers.
Remember I said that our lives have been tailor-made to perfection; we can only believe this if we believe that we are in Safe Hands. (Otherwise it is pointless living a life where so much negativity, disharmony and imbalance exist: for this is what our physical eye sees and what our senses grasp hold of).
If we learn to live by this philosophy, we come to realise that no experience will leave us if we live by the spirit of that experience. Because in reality all these incidences are the physical manifestation of this premise [i.e. our Rihla clearly dictated to us that we were in Safe Hands and being cared for as guests of both the Prophet (in Medina) and then by the Divine in the House of God (Mecca).]
Pilgrimages are futile if we fail to live by them. And no learning bears relevance so long as we don’t put it into practise. For it is only once we practise that we see the teachings infiltrate our world.
It would be wrong to assume that
Our experiences hold more meaning when we return to our communities just as the Messenger returned to his world after Gabriel’s angelic embrace in Cave Hira. Our environment will speak a language to our favour because we are taught that the world mirrors us.
But if those teachings have not set themselves firmly within our beings – then we will continue to feel the loss of the Sacred.
It is us who hinder the establishment of those teachings by our inability to go beyond the good experience itself. We don’t realise that we have the potential to take the goodness we feel to any corner of the world. To feel the refuge we felt in
Working towards a reality where we liberate ourselves from our own disgruntled way of thinking and acting is attainable. I believe it is. By honouring our experiences we realise that the world is a great big opportunity for us to demonstrate our goodness in.
The world awaits interaction with what came out of the Prophetic furnace.
If we live in the memory of the Rihla, then we will come to learn something very powerful about life’s many great experiences: that these are tools we are given to enable us to live on earth, so that we never ever feel that God Almighty left us without His Help.
And don’t forget noble people: there are angels all around us.. wherever we go :’)
Peace and Prayers
Bint-eh Adam x
Rihla Blog 2005
Rihla Blog 2006
The Magic Wand Theory
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Saturday, September 02, 2006
Back in Rainy England :-)
Got back over a week ago.
Blissful time - lots to think about and lots to reflect about. Praises to God Alone - Alhamdulila.
I have a busy fortnight ahead (the usual dose of appointments), thus will blog my update thereafter before our Beloved Ramadhan comes our way again!
Alot of you asked me when I will be blogging about the Rihla - my deepest of apologies folks - I won't. Simply because I am not ready to blog anything yet. For those who can remember; I wrote my Hajj experiences about 18 months later: one morning after I rose from bed.. it was 2 years when I submitted it to the BBC for their Hajj feature. I believe that experiences which are entreched in alot of depth require a generous amount of time for digestion; at times it takes our entire life to appreciate the true meaning of a certain encounter.
I humbly request time. Soz.
However, I did write one piece which I will blog in due time (with you readers in mind: my noble band of followers ;-) I owed it to you for all your support and prayers of goodness. It's in the traditional hard-to-read tranquilarty way that you guys are so used to - come on, did you expect anything less from me?!
Alot of folk from the Rihla are quite sad at coming back and so I thought I'd write a little piece up for them and others; about how the 'good experiences' we have in life are not limited in their timescale. Rather it is us who limit the goodness of these experiences and in reality we can maximise their effects in our life. InshaAllah.
I'm working on that - so pray I can complete it soon.
Peace & Prayers Oh Noble People x x x