The Blink of an Eye

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The only way to conceive of the tragedy that surrounds us in this world is to understand that this dunya (this mortal life) is like a dream … and all that really matters about that dream is what state we are in when we wake up. The time spent in this dream is like the blink of an eye.

Where did I come from and what am I supposed to do here? My soul is from elsewhere, of that I am sure… And I intend to end up there

Meanwhile I am like a bird from another continent, sitting here in this aviary… The day is soon coming when I will fly off

– Jalaluddin Rumi

Today I found myself stressing out over a crystal ornament that had been broken.  I came home from work and found it shattered into pieces on the coffee table.  As I sat down and as I felt tears welling up in my eyes my son came in and apologized for breaking it and then asked me why I was so sad.  I looked at him, thankful that he had not cut himself on the shards …. and as I prepared to respond, I realized that I had no answer.   It wasn’t a memorable keepsake from my travels or a handmade gift or family heirloom with any sentimental value?  It was just a trinket… albeit an expensive one… But still just a trinket, and nothing more.

I often find myself blinded by the glitter and sparkle of this dunya and find that I can not see what is really important.  We spend all of our waking time chasing after expensive toys,  cars, money, social status ….  Without realizing that it is all in vain.  All of these things disappear after we die.  And what stays with us?  The intentions we hold in our hearts and the deeds we have done,, good or bad.

God willing, I am able to focus less on improving my status and comfort in this Dunya and instead focus more on improving myself and building in preparation for the Akhirah (the hereafter) because no amount of glitter can substitute for feeling the Nour (the true radiant light) of our God shining upon my face when I depart this world.   And unlike glitter, Nour does not blind … it illuminates all.

Our time spent here wandering this Dunya is so short in comparison with what is to follow.  As inhabitants of this world we are as significant and insignificant as a teardrop falling into the vast ocean. This life is nothing but fleeting and transient — merely a ladder towards the next world…. I will never get anywhere if i continue to desperately cling to each rung along the way.  When will I learn to simply let go… and ascend?

Woe to every scorner and mocker

who collects wealth and continuously  counts it

For he thinks his possessions will make him immortal.

-Surat al Humazah

May the Peace, Blessings and Mercy of God be with us all and His Light Illuminate our lowly existence. God Willing.

-Shams Al Ghayeb

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The Grasses

The same wind that uproots the trees, makes the grasses shine.

The lordly wind loves the weakness and the lowliness of the grasses.

The axe doesnt worry how thick the branches are.  It cuts them to pieces… but not the leaves.  It leaves the leaves alone.

The motion of the body, the inhaling and exhaling, comes from the spirit… now angry… now peaceful.  Wind destroys and wind protects.

“There is no reality but God”  says the completely surrendered sheikh, who is an ocean for all beings.  The levels of creation are straws in that ocean.

The movement of the straws comes from agitation in the water.  When the ocean wants the straws calm, it sends them close to shore,  When it wants them back in the deep surge, it does with them as the wind does with the grasses.

A Sin That Humbles You

“Perhaps a sin that humbles you is better than a good deed that makes you arrogant.”

– Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

While I was on the subway today on my way to work there was an homeless man who entered the train at one point and made his way to sit on the bench in the middle of the car.  As I sat there with my headphones on listening to Azam Ali, I watched as many of the other passengers got up and went to move to the other end… some even moving to the next car to get away from him.  I remembered a story I once heard.

One day a seeker of knowledge in Yemen walked along the streets beautifully dressed with his shawl, turban and clean impeccable set of robes. The student passed by an old man carrying a cart full of waste upon his shoulder and a thought of disgust occurred in the mind of the student.  The man turned to him and said, “Verily! this is nothing compared to that thought you harbor in your mind!”

Imagine– If whatever ill-thoughts and intentions we hold inside our hearts were manifested upon our faces and bodies?  How would we appear to the others?  Just some food for thought… chew on that.

Our Lord! You truly know all that we may hide in our hearts,  as well as all that we bring into the open,  for nothing whatever,  be it on earth or in heaven,  remains hidden from Allah

رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ تَعْلَمُ مَا نُخْفِي وَمَا نُعْلِنُ وَمَا يَخْفَى عَلَى اللّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ فَي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاء

Surat al-Ibrahim 38

– Shams Al-Ghayeb

What Kind Of Heart Do You Have?

Dear Lord … I seek refuge from the evil of my own self.

If you want to know what kind of heart you have — reflect on these three questions:

What makes you happy?  What makes you sad?  What makes you angry?

I reflected on what makes me happy, and I found that it was, being given.  I saw that I am selfish.   I reflected on what makes me sad, and I found that it was, being deprived.   I saw that I am needy and dependent.   I reflected on what makes me angry, and I found that it was, being insulted.   I saw that I am arrogant.  Astaghfir Allah.

Harithah Ibn Wahb Al-Khuzai tells how he heard the Prophet say,

“Have I not taught you how the inhabitants of Paradise will be all the humble and the weak, whose oaths God will accept when they swear to be faithful? Have I not taught you how the inhabitants of Hell will be all the cruel beings, strong of body and arrogant ?”

Sahih Al-Bukhari

– Shams Al-Ghayeb