Thursday, January 30, 2014

Human beings have amazing potential

Yesterday it dawned on me that in actuality human beings are amazing, SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah)! There are so many complex processes occurring all at once, in our bodies as well as our minds and hearts. Take our thinking processes for instance. We think at different levels, from conscious thinking to unconscious thinking. Then there’s our emotions, we have the ability to shift from one emotion to another in just a matter of time. What about the biology of our bodies, we can never fully understand this! Truly Allah, Exalted is He, is a perfect Creator!

However, it also sadly dawned on me that while we were created in such perfection, we are so far away from reaching our true potential. Most of us simply drift through life, unaware and oblivious, working hard to attain material happiness that we don’t even bother taking the time to reflect on the things that matter.

I am certain that if we spent more time contemplating, reflecting and simply paying attention, to our own processes as well as other people’s then we will have a much better quality of life, with better relationships and true peace. What do I mean by this? Well for instance, say we had to focus more on our own thoughts and feelings, if we took time out to reflect before we spoke, to work through our confusing emotions and jumbled thoughts instead of haphazardly communicating, then we would ease a lot of the tension which tends to exist. Moreover, if we had to actually pay attention to the people we communicate with. If we focused more on their feelings, and actually truly listened to what they are saying to us (verbally and non-verbally) then we would be able to naturally be more compassionate and understanding, bringing about far better connections with others.

But of course, the big problem is that living according to our true potential as humans means that we have to work much harder at things. We have to actually live on a higher level, reflect more, speak less, listen much, much more and become more understanding. And I guess it’s much easier to dwell in a semi-conscious state, unmindful of our words and actions and nonchalant about the repercussions of what we do and the effects it has on others.

The thing that hit me the most yesterday was that the ideal human being is actually a reality, and this person is none other than our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). He lived in perfection, his life is a true model. He took time to understand people and he made everyone feel special. His relationships were of such a high quality that even his enemies couldn’t point out flaws in his character and interactions. In short, if you want to know what true human potential is, then you have the perfect model in Our Beloved Prophet (pbuh). Does this mean that we can never achieve these sort of high standards? Of course it doesn't.

You see, we have everything that we need to be human beings of high quality (for lack of a better term). We have the perfect example, a complete and detailed manual so to speak, if we follow the Glorious Quraan and the Sunnah (way of life) of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in completion. We also therefore have the tools we need and the method to go about changing. So we have no excuse to be excellent people, with great relationships and positive interaction with others. The only catch is that we have to work hard to become excellent. So the life of those who want to achieve their true potential as holistic and complete human beings, will be a life of toil and sacrifice, a life of striving and searching, yearning and seeking, falling and standing, but it will be a life defined by meaning.

I would like to invite you all on this quest to reach our true potential. Allah Almighty created human beings as the best of his creation, yet we wish to be like the lower creations (something I was reminded of when I heard an old song the other day in which the singer boldly sings, “I want to be like animals, careless and free”). It’s ridiculous really, to have all this potential and do nothing with it. To have the ability to be amazing, yet settle to be average. It doesn't make sense, does it? So let’s go on this quest, and the first step is to become more aware, to take time to reflect and to pay attention. That doesn't sound too difficult, does it?  After all, Allah, Exalted is He, has called us the “Best of all Creations” for a reason. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Review- ‘Reclaim your heart’, by Yasmin Mogahed

It is said that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I have found a book which is as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. The yellow autumn leaves and the sun shining through reminding us that through the changes of life, through happiness, grief, loss and even in death, there is hope shining through, that hope is the connection to the One Creator, that hope is undeniable and for me this book echoes this above anything else.

What was deceiving however, was the fact that it looks like a book that you can read very quickly. A thin book of 168 pages shouldn’t take that long to read, this was my initial thoughts. Yet I was wrong in this regard, because the topics of discussion and the way in which it is discussed is so intense that it requires reflection and contemplation, thus taking me much longer to finish the book.

The book in a way promises the reader a journey of enlightenment, where the heart will be set free from the shackles of life, and it has indeed kept its promise. The only thing left to do is to implement the wonderful principles mentioned here in.

I particularly enjoyed the style of writing. It’s the type of writing that does not confuse the reader, nor do the words get lost. Instead, it’s written in a straightforward and conversational manner, easy for anyone to grasp. It begins with discussing the attachments or rather false attachments that we so easily form and it tells you how to go about forming a real and everlasting attachment with Allah (exalted is He). Similarly, the reality of issues such as Love or Hardships or even our relationship with the Creator is discussed in a manner which allows the reader to reflect on what the reality is, as opposed to all the false illusion in our lives. The book ends off beautifully with poetry, but it is not just any poetry, it is poetry which speaks of true connection to the Lord, connection as a spiritual being, and this in itself is extremely moving.

The words in this book are not meagre words, they are words that have the ability to elicit tears, tears which come from knowing and recognizing the truth and then attempting to find this truth within yourself. Each time I picked up this book to read, I looked forward to crying as much as I did to reading, because the words, coupled with tears led to some sort of real understanding of my true purpose as a human being in this temporary world.

As humans we have many questions, and I believe that this book provides the answers to most of those questions. If you are not willing to face the truth though, and if you are reluctant to introspect and work through the illusion in your own life, then this book will not be of benefit to you.

I commend Yasmin Mogahed for writing a book which is a real treasure. In the book she urges people to ‘Reclaim their hearts’, to move it away from everything that is false and direct it towards that which is real. This book is an eye opener and a reminder at the same time, and it speaks more to the heart than anything else. It’s taken me a while to read, but I hope that this means I have been able to implement these lessons in my life, and moreover, I hope that I can continue to work on reclaiming my heart, because one day I will have to return ‘home’ to a place better than this earth as Sister Yasmin reminds us, and I truly wish that my return home will be a joyous one, In sha Allah! 


To read more from Yasmin Mogahed's check out her website:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Superiority of Knowledge over wealth

It is related that once ten learned men approached Hadrat Ali (r.a.) and wanted to know how knowledge was better than wealth. They requested that each one of them be given a separate answer. Hadrat Ali (r.a.) answered them as follows:

1.      Knowledge is the legacy of the Prophets; wealth is the inheritance of the Pharaohs. As the Prophets are superior to the Pharaohs, so knowledge is better than wealth.

2.      You have to guard your wealth, but knowledge guards you. Therefore knowledge is better than wealth.

   3.      When knowledge is distributed it increases. When wealth is distributed it decreases. As such knowledge is better than wealth.

4.      A man of wealth has many enemies, while a man of knowledge has many friends. Therefore knowledge is better than wealth.

    5.      A learned man because of his wider outlook is apt to be generous while a rich man because of his love for money is apt to be miserly. As such knowledge is better than wealth.

   6.      Knowledge cannot be stolen, while wealth is constantly exposed to the danger of being stolen. Accordingly knowledge is better than wealth.

   7.      With the lapse of time knowledge gains in depth and dimensions. Hoarded coins get rusty, or cease to be legal tender. Therefore knowledge is better than wealth.

      8.      You can keep account of wealth because it is limited, but you cannot keep account of knowledge because it is boundless. That is why knowledge is better than wealth.

      9.      Knowledge illuminates the mind, while wealth is apt to blacken it. Therefore knowledge is better than wealth.

10.  Knowledge is better than wealth because knowledge induced the humanity in the Holy prophet (saw) to say to God; “We worship Thee as we are Thine servants”, while wealth engendered in Pharaoh and Nimrod the vanity which made them claim Godhead.

Taken from: Hadrat Ali Murtada (r.a,) by Prof. Masud-ul-Hasan, p.343, 2008. Kitab Bhavan

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Learn while you can!

The other night my grandmother asked me to explain something to her, and the more I tried, the more difficult and confusing it seemed to become for her. I even tried explaining it in the simplest of ways, but she still struggled. This drove home a very important point for me. That we should learn while we can, as much as we can, when we have the chance, because someday (and believe me that day will come sooner than we all think), we too are going to be old, and then it will be very difficult to learn new things.

See the things that you've learnt in your youth stay with you and it sets the scene for what you will know when you are older. If you've spent your youth reading fashion magazines, or watching TV shows for instance, then that’s what you’ll know when you are older. Likewise, if you've spent your youth learning different things, reading a variety of books, understanding how to do different things, then these things will be easy for you in your old age.

So, what are we waiting for? Time is short and there’s still so much that we need to learn. Besides, one day we will be answerable to Allah (Exalted is He) for what we have done with our time. I don’t know about you, but this thought always scares me. Will I really be able to say I used my time in a good way and made the most of it? The way things stand, I don’t think so. My list of what I end up doing and what I want to do does not match up, and this is a problem, especially because things are so easy nowadays.

We don’t even need to leave our homes if we want to learn something. We have learning material at our fingertips. From books, to online courses, lectures and even webinars. There’s like a multitude of valuable information, just waiting for people to make use of it. The problem is that most of us put it off, because we believe we still have a lot of time.

I’m sure if my grandmother could go back and learn the things she always wanted to she would do that, but she can’t, and neither will we one day when we are old. So, I guess I should be asking you why are you still here reading this. You should be making a schedule of what to learn, or pulling that book off the shelf that you've been meaning to read for ages. You should be planning what course you can do and how you can go about gaining beneficial knowledge. After all, there’s a reason that they say knowledge is power!  

It has been reported that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:
“Acquire the knowledge of revelation.
It enableth its possessor to distinguish right from wrong;
It lighteth the way to heaven;
It is our friend in the desert,
Our society in solitude,
And our companion when friendless;
It guideth us to happiness;
It sustaineth us in misery;
It is an ornament amongst friends,
And an armour against enemies.”

Look out for my next post on the Superiority of Knowledge over Wealth according to Ali (May Allah be pleased with him), In-sha-Allah! 

Image 1 from here

Image 2 from here

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tribute Awards- Winners and Announcements

So after a week of excitement it is finally over. I have to say that I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of votes that we received, I really didn't expect it. It's been an interesting race between the first two winners as we all waited eagerly to see the final outcome!

A big thanks goes out to:

-All the nominees- thanks for sharing of yourselves with your words, opening the doors to criticism and complaints and of course for participating in this competition. 

- All the Voters- You guys have amazed me, obviously we would have no competition if there weren't any voters. 
Before I post the winning three, I have some announcements to make:

- Ok so you know the 1st Place Winner will be getting a signed copy of my book " Butterfly Wings". I hope you guys enjoy reading it, and of course all feedback (positive and negative) is welcome!

- We have received a sponsor for the 2nd and 3rd Prize Winners, so you don't go away with nothing. 2nd Prize winner will be getting a hand painted canvas (A3 size, frame excluded), and 3rd Prize winner will be getting an A4 size hand painted canvas (frame excluded). 

The 2nd and 3rd Prizes will be sponsored by Islamic Artworks- Please check out their site for samples of hand painted, personalized frames. 

- The rest of the nominees, you also don't go away empty handed. All the nominees will receive a Special E-Gift and electronic certificate of Participation In Shaa Allah. 





So now that all that is out of the way, here are the winners for The Tribute Awards-2014. Congratulations and I wish you all the best in future!

1st Place Winner- Rich Girlz Closet FS

2nd Place Winner- Diary of a Guji Girl

3rd Place Winner- My journey into the unknown

That's all for now, please don't forget to send me those e-mail addresses and postal addresses!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tribute Awards-Voting will be closing soon

I have to say that the voting for the Tribute Awards has been quite exciting and I'm sure you have all enjoyed it.

This is just to tell you all that voting will be closing soon.

Unfortunately I cannot give you an exact time that it will close because I'm uncertain about the time zone used by blogger. I can tell you that the poll will close automatically some time tomorrow.

So please to be safe get all your fans and readers to vote before it closes!

To the top two blogs going head to head against each other, I wish you both the best!

To all the nominees, I hope that this has brought some more exposure to your blogs.

Keep writing and stay positive!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tribute Awards- Voting is Now Open!!!

Here is the final list of blogs which have been nominated for the Tribute Awards.

The motivations received make all these blogs sound very interesting and it may be hard to decide which one to vote for.

In any case, I would like to thank everyone who has sent in nominations. I think it's great to see that people are actively getting involved in discussing important issues and bringing about awareness. May Allah Almighty accept all of our efforts and reward us accordingly.

Without further ado and before I bore people, here are the nominees for the Tribute Awards... 




Behind these Hazel Eyes

I nominate this fictional blog because it is aimed at youth at University and in that age group. The blog aims not only to entertain but also to raise issues often seen in the Muslim community. It has a discussion area where the readers are able to voice their opinions and possible solutions to the problems which occur in our everyday lives. 


conceitedvixen's Blog

I would like to Nominate Yasmin Sadar, her blog A life Voyage is inspiring, not just to Muslim women, but to all women, to take a stand and fight against domestic violence and abuse. 

Her blog is about her life story and how she maintained a facade of a happy marriage while dealing with a violent and abusive husband in the confines of her home. 

Her story will bring tears to your eyes as you go through the seven years of torture with her. Her will to empower women with tools to deal with these situations is amazing and inspiring.

Confessions in a nappy bag

Even though the story being told is entirely fictional, this blog has constant reminders of the type of Muslimah we should try to be. The challenges that we might face if not daily but at some points in our life and the message of being a strong Muslim is strong throughout.
It's a different and entertaining story that teaches patience, goodness and love for Allah even during the hardest of times.

Here’s what readers have to say;

“Exciting and sad read. Lots of life lessons about marriage and love for the Almighty.”

“Inspiring and spiritually uplifting, motivates you to always turn to the Almighty no matter how difficult a situation you are in. The twists and turns of life... And getting through it.

“It has been a great read thus far and the story brings to light many issues... A must read!

“I think this is a great blog with some amazing posts! Some really great food for thought!

Diary of a guji girl

I would like to nominate Sister Qaanitah Hunter for her inspiring blog. ‘Diary of a Guji Girl’.
Even though her posts might not come in, she tries to inspire and educate Muslim women, especially young Muslim women about many trials and tribulations that one goes through. Through her posts subjects such as dating, casual friendships between men and woman are highlighted and it really opens up one’s eyes about what is right and what is wrong. I truly hope and believe that inshaAllah many woman who find themselves at such crossroads will find and answer through her posts.

Not only does she highlight the issue of dating, but issues such as culture, cultural norms, and the old age idea that some races are better than others are discussed. This is done with the intention to "solve" these issues and practice what Islam teaches us, that one cannot judge another.

These are just a few examples of what her posts are about.

May Allah reward her for her work and always make it easy for her to educate and inspire others. ameen

Dodging Dad

This blog is a real life account, written in a humorous-serious story mode. There are some very important lessons that are wished to be conveyed and the aim is to bring awareness to others about issues that relate to many people.

The thing I like about this blog is that it emphasizes the strength of women, whether it does this intentionally or unintentionally is not certain, but it reminds us that a woman has a crucial role to play and that her reactions to things can change situations and relationships.

In Every Heart

Although this blog is new, the posts which have been written is deep and inspiring. The author talks about spiritual connection and a deeper purpose for living. This blog reminds us that our actions should be with the purpose of gaining the pleasure of Allah Almighty and it reminds us that we have the ability to better ourselves and become true role models for others.

In my own world

Blog author Fatima Haffejee discusses a variety of issues that relate directly and sometimes indirectly to South African Muslim women. Her writing style is quirky and interesting and her take on different issues is interesting. The constant addition of a variety of book reviews gives us motivation to read more, something which seems to be declining in today’s time. This blog is a good read and a worthwhile learning experience.

Me against society

‘Me against society’ is a fictional humorous blog aimed at the younger sisters. It details the life of a girl that does not want to get married. It is a deviation from the norm of what most young sisters covert. The main character portrays a strong, independent woman, who is not the typical fair thin and pretty girl. She is strong and motivated and most importantly she's a hijaabi. She stands for what she believes and is not influenced by others. The blog aims to show the young sisters that marriage is not the be all and end all and it is a pick me up for the sisters that want to get married yet cannot find suitable spouses.

My journey into the unknown

My journey into the unknown is a fictional blog about a woman who goes through trials and tribulations with her children. She details her life story and many women can relate to what she goes through. She mentions things such as divorce, death, Islam's wisdom behind why brother-in-law and sister-in-law should avoid each other, dressing modestly etc. 

Raeesa's Journey

A blog based on real-life events and experiences of a first year student at University. The purpose is to shed the reality behind campus. The author was writing for Seventeen Magazine South Africa about her experiences. She is currently doing Dentistry and wants to help young Muslimahs who are planning to enter the world of university. 

Rich Girlz Closet FS

Follow the life of a snobbish rich 16 year old girl that faces many true 
life obstacles. Teenage pregnancy, No Respect for her parents, Lies, 
Deceit, Understanding And Forgetting the Almighty.

Read our blog to learn that no matter how hard life is, if you remember 
Allah every step of the way, life could turn out the way you expect it to.
Our main aim is to get the youth to read our blog, we've created an 
exciting story along with the lessons so that youngsters would be 
interested in reading further. With the youth reading the blog they will 
understand that living the right way will always make you succeed but it 
also means if you do wrong it's not the end of the road.

Silent living

This blog is a true story with the true identity of the author withheld.

Author: “I have been through the rollercoaster of life and believe that much of my experiences, hardships, difficulties and trials could serve and many lessons to people of all ages and categories. All I want is for my blog to be read by more people every day so that hopefully it can make a difference to someone’s life out there. To know that many are suffering silently, and they are actually not alone!

This blog aims to teach the kids to be strong and know that they are appreciated for all the effort they make. To teach the youth that there's so much more to life than what we actually see before us, that the fun of this world is actually temporary and that our pasts haunt us for the rest of our teach the newlyweds to have patience as marriage is a bed of roses with many thorns in it. To teach mothers that their children’s future depends on the way they bring them up and to teach older woman that everything doesn't depend on tradition. Everybody’s different and nobody has the right to judge…