The first ‘Amaanah’…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful. 

As a young father, I recall the feeling of maturity and a sense of responsibility at the birth of our 2 kids. It’s a scary yet amazing emotion I experienced when I held my son for the first time almost 4 years ago. The emotion was even more intense and brought me to tears at the birth of our daughter earlier this year. The father-daughter relationship is probably the best understanding of the concept of ‘Amaanah’. 

I was reminded at Jumuah this week of another Amaanah… One that we often take for granted and can so easily forget. A man’s first Amaanah… He’s wife! 

As the Imam spoke out against violence against women, he emphasized the fact that when we marry our wives, they too are a trust from their parents and indeed from the Almighty. 

Marriage moves quickly from the honeymoon period into the daily grind and though children often remind you of a trust we have with the Almighty, it’s not fair to simply overlook our first Amaanah. 

It’s only when you realize the importance of the relationship with your wife can you truly appreciate the value of her as the mother of your children and the means through which Allah has entrusted you with so much more. 

Something very often neglected. A reminder to myself before anyone. Our wives were and remain entrusted to us… This is something we need to remember! 

I pray that our wives too, are the coolness of our eyes.

Advertisements

A gift from the Almighty… a sacred trust!

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

By the grace of Allah, we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl over the weekend. Despite being a 2nd child and having to wait almost 9 months for her, nothing can prepare you for the excitement, nervousness and emotions of child birth. 

Alhamdulillah it went well and after a few (long) hours, we were holding our little baby girl. Occassions like these are filled with emotions and bring back so many memories. It’s almost as if you can feel the chemical reactions in your body and if you’re not careful, you’ll feel some of the liquids drip down your cheeks 😉

In the months and weeks leading up to the birth, I took an interest in all things baby related and began doing some reading to recap on some of the information I had learnt with our first child. After various articles, google searches and lectures on the topic, there was one statement that caught my attention and resonated over time… that Children are a sacred trust from the Almighty entrusted unto parents. 

We were intrigued with the simplicity yet profoundness of this statement which also made naming her very easy… Amaanah! Sacred Trust or Entrusted in English. I hope that her name will always serve as a reminder to us that she is indeed an Amaanah from Allah. 

Perhaps this is the inspiartion I’ve been seeking. 

A new chapter In Sha Allah.

Mid-day reflections…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful. 

There’s something very fulfilling about praying Dhur at the Mosque, something I missed when I worked in an office and something I took for granted when I started working from home. Today was a wet, blue day and the congregation was small, I’ve found that rainy days and a the silence of the mosque are quite soothing and thought provoking. 

I thought about how satisfying it feels when you simply drop anything and everything you’re doing to answer the call to prayer… an indescribable feeling that unfortunately  the modern lifestyle often deprives us off.  It’s a sad reality but for most of us, it’s something we can overcome with a slight change in mindset. 

When prayer is a chore or something we have to do at a certain time and certain place, it’ll always feel like a chore, something we do without too much thought or reflection with a goal of simply doing it. I’ve had Salaah on my chore list at times, though I’m grateful for the awareness and consciousness of prayer embedded in my upbringing, the attitude towards it makes a huge difference and can be the difference between ritual and spiritual. 

Image

Let prayer be a break from work or routine, not because you have to do it, but because it makes for a good break. The mistake we make is that we work, briefly stop to pray so we get it done and then take the break… which often involves some sort of mainstream leisure activity like watching tv or going for coffee. 

A small change in mindset can make all the difference. Work hard, have fun, set priorities, develop efficiencies but let cleaning, banking, changing light bulbs and gardening be chores… Salaah is the break you need from a busy schedule and a hectic lifestyle. 

For me personally, it means the difference between a 5 minute break in my office to pray and a 20 minute break to pray at the mosque, in congregation with a change in environment, some fresh air and an opportunity for reflection. 

The reward is greater, the break is better and what you may lose in time, you make up for in contentment, piece of mind and a greater sense of purpose. 

Start with one, Dhur is a perfect mid-day break to try out… then move on. Take a break 5 times a day and you’ll work better, feel better and live better. 

A blue Tuesday and the day after tomorrow!

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful. 

News channels this morning look like a scene out of a Hollywood blockbuster. Images flashing across the screen remind me of movies like The Day after Tomorrow and 2012. We hear of these severe weather events every year and in some ways it’s become a normal occurrence. It’s a sad fact that we sometimes watch these stories as if they are in fact just movies.

This year it became slightly less movie-like because my sister now lives in Buffalo and had to prepare for some severe weather as a result of the hurricane. While they weren’t in the direct path of the hurricane, the thought of having loved ones anywhere near such a disaster was scary enough. Alhamdulillah everything is ok so far and I pray it stays that way, but it changes the way I feel about it. It’s so easy to pass it off as just another natural disaster but when it becomes personal and emotional, your perception changes all together. 

I pray for every person affected by this weather, I pray for protection from these disasters and I am grateful for the peaceful, blue weather in Brisbane this morning. 

Australia’s 1st prime time tv ad…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

 

There’s been growing emphasis on the separation of Religion from schools, government and other public sectors. I read an article recently that proposed an overhaul of the regulation surrounding religious celebrations in public schools including banning Easter and Christmas celebrations. We now have a Prime Minister who doesn’t believe in God, it seems Religion has taken a back seat in the public eye and only creeps up on Current Affair shows. Until a few weeks ago, the thought of religious propagation through mainstream media was a pipe dream.

The first Mormon ads aired on local TV recently and I recall my wife asking me if I thought we’d ever witness Islamic ads on TV in the future, my response was pessimistic with a slight hint of hope. With the media coverage Islam currently gets, to me, an ad promoting the Religion seemed far-fetched. The Mormon ads were done well, very simple and effective. A few years back, I probably wouldn’t have thought much of the ads as I didn’t have any knowledge of the Mormon faith. Having worked with people of the Mormon faith for over a year now, the ads appealed to me because I could relate to both, the people and the faith. I thought to myself, if there ever were Islamic TV ads, they should be done the way the Mormon ads were done – steering away for traditional preaching and text book Da’wah.

To my amazement, a few weeks later the first Islamic TV ad aired on local television. The ad itself is 30 seconds long and consists of 3 key points based on Quran & Sunnah. The message is one of peace and understanding, promoting aspects of Islam that the average person wouldn’t even consider.

The ad promotes awareness of Islam and emphasises the similarities between “Australian” and “Islamic” values. The voice-over creates the perfect dramatic overlay to a subtle yet concise message. A message of Religious tolerance and understanding!

As an Australian Muslim, I don’t believe the ad could have been done any better. I was impressed when I read about it online and I was amazed when it aired on TV a few weeks later. It will take more than a 30 second TV ad to address the misconceptions of Islam but I believe this is a great start. The campaign makes me proud to be an Australian Muslim.

Bite size Dhikr…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

I remember having to memorise theses dua’s throughout my childhood to avoid embarrassment in case the Imam quizzed me on it. I must admit, at the time I simply memorised them to comply with the teachings of the Madrassah but didn’t understand the wisdom behind them so it became a mere ritual, something that remained at the back of my mind and surfaced only when and if I was quizzed on it.

That changed when my parents explained the reason’s behind such supplications and I understood that it was more than just something you say or something you read. It’s about showing gratitude and appreciation for the things we have, it’s about humility, respect and the constant remembrance of Allah. My dad always reminded me to recite the dua before eating and it became a habit. I still remember the dua and Insha Allah, I will do the same with my children.

Dua before eating:

بسم الله وبركة الله

Bismillahi wa baraka-tillah.
Translation: With Allah’s name and upon the blessings granted by Allah (do we eat).

Dua after eating:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِى أَطْعَمَنَا وَسَقَانَا وَجَعَلَنَا مُسْلِمِينَ

Alham do lillah hilla-thee At Amana wa saqana waja ‘alana minal Muslimeen.
Translation: All praise is due to Allah who gave us food and drink and who made us Muslims.

Remember the wisdom behind such supplications, they’re not meant to be or become rituals. There is great reward in thanking and remembering Allah so don’t waste the opportunity. These dua’s are short and simple, remember them, practise them and teach them to your family and friends.

Remember Allah at snack time too, not just when you gather for a big meal… enjoy some bite size Dhikr.

…and remember… “The deeds most loved by Allah are those done regularly, even if they are small.” 

Reading Quran…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

I am grateful to Allah for making me among those who are able to read the Quran and for allowing me to recite it everyday. I have never doubted the benefits of reading Quran despite not understanding the Arabic language. I have always felt the positive influence the Quran has on my life and is something I pray I can always feel.

The idea of reading a book without understanding the language in which it’s written is very strange. How would you justify the importance of reading the Quran without understanding what you are reading. I came across an interesting story that puts this into perspective…

An old American Muslim lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading his Quran. His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could.

One day the grandson asked, “Grandpa! I try to read the Quran just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Qur’an do?”

The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water.

The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You’ll have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again. This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead.

The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try in.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house. The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Grandpa, it’s useless!”“So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.”

The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and out.

Son, that’s what happens when you read the Qur’an. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be changed, inside and out. That is the work of Allah in our lives.”