Reflections

Assalamu Alaikum

Qadr of Allah my grandfather on my father’s side just passed away at the age of 96.  He lived in in the Guangzhou Province in Southern China, in a very poor village with most of my father’s side of the family living there as well.  When I went to China a few summers ago, I was going to meet him for the first time.  Qadr of Allah I never made it to Guangzhou – I was extra sad because this is also where the first Masjid in China was built by Saad ibn Abi Waqqas (radiy Allahu anhu) and I really wanted to visit it with my father.  Next time Insha’Allah.

When I phoned my father to ask how he was doing, he told me he would be flying to China in 2 weeks for the burial.  When I asked why they were waiting 2 weeks to bury him, he replied, they had to look at the calendar for the best day (there are “good luck days” and “bad luck days” to perform certain actions like getting married, moving, burying a deceased, etc), and then everyone attending would go and make certain ritual prayers to the gods.  Subhan’Allah – these are but 2 common cultural traditions, totally based on shirk, that I grew up with almost ALL my life.  By Allah’s favor He has taken me far away from it to the point where I even forgot about them.  So when I was reminded about it from my father, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I used to live and follow these types of beliefs as if they were mere instructions in a manual, without even thinking twice about them. without even thinking that anything was even wrong with it.  Now Alhamdulillah I realize the magnitude of these baseless, DARK practices, and the great harm in them.  On one hand I was so grateful to reflect on where I was and how Allah SWT took me from that darkness into light, and how Allah SWT has guided me to Tawheed, for my son and myself Alhamdulillah.  Then on the other hand I listened to my father speaking and became very sad, because I understood my family’s mentality very well as I was raised by them with the same exact mentality.

I understood how my family sees there is nothing wrong with these things, as they are just cultural traditions.  I understand and greatly appreciate how Allah freed me from those shackles and guided me to Islam.  As much as I am thankful, I am also sad that my family is still in that state of darkness.  Hediya is from Allah SWT, and He will guide only those whom He wills.  I will not stop making du’aa for them and trying with them, as anyone can be guided at any moment if Allah wills – and I do not question His Qadr either way.  But this whole incident was a huge reminder to me on how temporary life is in this Dunya.  The means to Jannah are spelled out for us and through His mercy we can attain it, yet there are so many internal and external deterrances that distract us from our purpose here.  We fight so many demons and weaknesses on a daily basis, and without Allah’s mercy we would be losers.  Allah SWT gives us so many favors.  Although I am grateful for them, I personally feel I fall short in many ways and can do much more to show my appreciation.  May Allah SWT help us all to thank Him, remember Him and worship Him in the best way.  Subhan’Allah things can change in a person’s life in a split second, but when the angel of death comes, there is no turning back.  Whatever we have done in this life will earn us punishment or reward by His mercy, but our ending is what counts.  Death is always a reminder especially for the believers, and this was particularly a big reminder for me, as I reflected on my family and my personal path, by Allah’s will.  May Allah keep us all firm on the Deen and help us all to die in a state of Islam, leaving this Dunya with a good ending.  Please make du’aa for me and all of our Ummah.  Please, also make a du’aa for my family’s guidance Insha’Allah, as well as all of our families.  You are all in my du’aa as well.

Jazaka Allah Khayran

Reflections of the Hijra

With the start of the Islamic new year a few weeks ago, there are many bounties and lessons to be reflected on.    Although we do not take the Islamic New Year as a holiday or celebrate it, we should reflect on what led to the development of the Islamic Calendar – which is the greatest event during the prophethood of Rasulullah (sallAllahu alayhi wasallam) – The HIJRA.  It is so important in many aspects, and today we can see the fruits of this major event and efforts of the Prophet, the Sahaba, and the Ansar – as there are Muslims literally in every corner of the earth united under the banner of La ilaha illa Allah.
 
It is just as important to instill these lessons in our children, who will be our future leaders in Islam.  With the state of our Ummah now, and at the same time with how much Islam is growing, it is crucial that we remember the great efforts taken to unite this Ummah, and to try and renew these efforts.  As I tried to convey these points to my son, I wrote a poem for children about the Hijra that I wanted to share.
 
Al-Hijra
A Celebration of Light and Unity
 
My hero, my Prophet, I strive to be like him
He changed the entire Ummah, with the migration
He travelled across the desert, from Makkah to Yathrib
In search for peace and unity, for our Ummah this he did
 
The only thing he fought for, and wanted to preserve
Was the religion of al-Islam, so Allah alone we could serve 
For 13 years he taught Tawheed, until the hearts were firm
With knowing Allah is the Only God, to worship, love and yearn
 
The time had come to leave Makkah, under Allah’s command
Then the Prophet and his followers, migrated to a new land
A place where they could establish, the laws set by Allah
The Ummah was small but united, in Madinah al-Munawarrah
 
The migrants went with happiness, leaving all their wealth behind
Being with the Prophet, was the only thing on their mind
The Ansar or the “helpers”, welcomed the Prophet to their land
To him they pledged allegiance, for Islam they took a stand
 
They all sang songs of welcome – Men, women, and the youth,
For Islam brought to humanity – Justice, Peace and Truth
And from that trip in 622, Islam spread far and near
To every corner on the earth, to every hemisphere
 
Muslims standing together, with no cultural boundaries
It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, Arab or Chinese
The only thing that unites us, so beautiful and strong
Is the belief in the Shahadatain, and you cannot go wrong
 
The year is now 1429, after the Hijri year
And still we continue to grow in size – O Muslims listen here
Smile for this Ummah – Be proud of our Deen
The stronger we will stand, and more united we will be
 
Here’s a special message from our family
We’re thankful for the Hijra, a celebration of light and unity!

~ Um Yusuf as-Siddiq