Sore wings

I just realized that the cause of evil in this world is that people don’t want to be on the receiving end of others evil, so in defending their frail sense of self, they become the monsters they were fearing. 
Wallaahi, Allaah is my witness, I’d rather be dragged on my face, have my name obliterated, have my back stabbed, than to live for even a moment in this world anticipating such evil. What’s the absolute worst people can do to me? Reject me? Attempt to kill me? Slander me? Falsely accuse me? Unjustly incarcerate me? 

Yet, all that happened to Yusuf calayhissalaam, and in the end Allaah elevated him above his suffering. Why? Because he never became like the monsters who hurt him. Even after all his brothers did to him, when he became the financial minister of Egypt, and his brothers travelled from Jerusalem due to severe famine, he was forgiving. Forbearing. No trace of bitterness in his heart. No victimization. No blaming. 
When it was alleged that a stolen golden bowl was found in the bag of Benjamin, who was the only full brother of Yusuf, the other half brothers didn’t miss a beat to slander their brother Yusuf they presumed to have died some 30 odd years prior to this meeting. And even then Yusuf calayhissalaam didn’t lose his composure 
They [Yusuf’s  brothers] said: “If he steals, there was a brother of his [Yusuf] who did steal before (him).” But these things did Yusuf keep in himself, revealing not the secrets to them. He said (within himself): “You are in worst case, and Allaah is the Best Knower of that which you describe!” 

(Yusuf 12:77)
He could have punished them. He could have gloated and rubbed his status in their faces. He could have punished them. But no, he refused to become like them. 
And his father, when word got back that Benjamin, his second favourite, was detained in Egypt, he lost his sight due to extreme sorrow. He lost Yusuf whilst in the care of the brothers, and now he lost Benjamin to the same fate. He was beside himself. Yet he didn’t allow frustration and anger and sadness and hopelessness cloud his judgement. He expected good, always, even when it seemed impossible. 
“They said: “By Allaah! You will never cease remembering Yusuf  until you become weak with old age, or until you be of the dead.” 
He said: “I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allaah, and I know from Allaah that which you know not.”
 (Yusuf 12:85-86)
Even when people told him to give up and become realistic, he refused. Even after all these years, he kept feeling the pain. He didn’t shut himself down. He didn’t numb his feelings. He let that sorrow surge through him till he lost his sight because numbing the heart to pain would mean putting one’s intuition on mute.
“O my sons! Go you and enquire about Yusuf and his brother, and never give up hope of Allâh’s Mercy. Certainly no one despairs of Allaah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” 
( Yusuf 12:87) 

Why did he say only the disbelievers despair of Allaah’s mercy? Because the mercy of Allaah is from the realms of uncertainty, of what we don’t know. A realm that can’t be broached by logic or reason. A realm that is outside that, and can only be accessed through a vulnerable heart trembling with fear of the unknown, but able to transcend all of that through faith. And what is faith if not the belief in something for which one has no immediate proof of? 

So, Yacqub was eventually reunited with all of his sons – as he had hoped. And Yusuf calayhissalaam was cleared of the accusations, and the dream he had as a young boy before he was thrown in the well, it came true. 
And something interesting about dreams. Dreams was one of the ways Allaah sent revelations to the prophets. For instance, Ibraahiim calayhissalaam saw in a dream that he was to slaughter his son, Ismaaciil. And he knew that it was a direct command, because all the dreams of the prophets were direct revelations.  But even after the cessation of the final prophethood, dreams remain one way Allaah inspires the truthful individual. The more honest and authentic the person is, the stronger and clearer one’s dreams and intuition. Why? Because dreams and intuition come from the heart, from the subconscious, and lies and deception clouds one’s heart. 
The prophet sallAllaahu calayhi wasallam said about this:
وأصدقكم رؤيا أصدقكم حديثا
“The truthfulness of the dream is related to the sincerity of the dreamer. Those who have the most truthful dreams are those who are the most truthful in speech.”
 (Muslim)

Going back to what I mentioned about Yusuf keeping his heart clean – it’s what enabled the dream to actualize. And indeed, his honesty and authenticity is what made him one of Allaah’s chosen ones, those He gives special protection and guidance. 
When the wife tried to seduce Yusuf, this is what Allaah said 
 وَلَقَدْ هَمَّتْ بِهِ وَهَمَّ بِهَا لَوْلا أَن رَّأَى بُرْهَانَ رَبِّهِ كَذَلِكَ لِنَصْرِفَ عَنْهُ السُّوءَ وَالْفَحْشَاء إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُخْلَصِينَ
“And indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire, had he not seen the evidence of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves.”
 (Yusuf 12:24)
The point I want to draw your attention to is the word translated to mean chosen: الْمُخْلَصِينَ
It’s the passive participle ( اسم مفعول)  ofأخلَصَ  ( to make/be sincere) . So the one who does the act of ikhlaas is called
Mukhlis   مُخلِص with a kasra 
But the ayah says Mukhlas مُخلَص with a fatxa 

which means that the person changes from being the doer to the subject. So due to someone’s consistent sincerity, Allaah becomes ‘sincere’ towards them by choosing them and protecting them. 
الجزاء من جنس العمل

And it was this that Iblees was referring to when he said, as Allaah mentioned in the Qur’aan 
قَالَ فَبِعِزَّتِكَ لَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ الْمُخْلَصِينَ
[Iblees ] said: “By Your Might, then I will surely mislead them all, 

Except Your chosen slaves amongst them ”
Saad 38:82-83

Take a moment to think about this : Iblees will only be able to mislead the inauthentic individuals. Not insincere. Insincerity doesn’t necessarily connote a constant trait. It can be a one time thing or it can be a habit. But when someone portrays a deceiving disparity between their mask and their real self, that’s inauthenticity. When someone’s default is to ‘mislead’ others perception of one. And those are the ones who Iblees befriends. 
In other words; we can be more evil than Iblees when we are inauthentic. We invite him. We show him around. Not him. We like to blame him. But really, when you deceive others you deceive yourself. And when you deceive yourself, Iblees will have a field day deceiving you. 
And the degree of inauthenticity in one’s heart is the degree to which one is distant from Allaah and the truth and one’s real self.

We ARE supposed to feel pain. Pain tells us when something is wrong, when we need to change something. Numbing the pain numbs all other sensations of the heart ; joy, creativity, empathy, curiosity, tranquility, intuition. 
Defense mechanisms don’t protect us, they imprison us. It shackles us to a corner. Vulnerability is like flying; you might crash, get struck by lightening. And if those are your concerns then, sure, you’re safer shackled. But we weren’t created for safety. We were created to soar. And become sore 🙂 

And Still I Rise

Being a (hijabi) Muslim black woman is the lowest rung of the Western society. My very existence is the embodiment of everything society shits on. I’ve never known the connotation of the proverbial a walk in the park. Even the walk in a park feels like I’m being scrutinized. My skin colour, my dress, my womanhood are screaming car alarms in a funeral, or snow storm on a June wedding day. I’ve never had the luxury of being relaxed. I feel like a thug when I walk into department stores. I feel like a terrorist in the airports, with a ticking bomb in my shoulder bag that ironically holds a  copy of ‘1984′ by George Orwell, a pack of gum and the latest edition of the New Scientist. I try to keep eye contact, smile, think happy thoughts in case the NSA are sitting somewhere reading my thoughts. I watch my words when I’m on the phone so I don’t say stuff like ‘ man you’re the bomb’ and have my ass scooped off to a blacksite by the FBI.I feel like I’m at a pageant every time I walk outside. And being a native of Sweden where up until maybe 35 years ago, the only blacks that stepped a foot here were the travelling circus of Somali niggers in the early 20th century, things are even worse! Much worse. The racism isn’t as institutionalized as in the states, but the general opinion of blacks is rather primitive.

However.

All that just made sure that I had to be alert, that I had to learn to defend justice for any human. It taught me to not give racist whites the power by making me believe the system is rigged against me. It taught me to take what’s mine, and keep trying until I chip away at the old system. It taught me to not accept a dirtbag’s imbecile thinking. It taught me that humanity has always been prone to oppression and resisting progress. I get it; it’s not a personal thing. Governments need their scapegoats, people need their bogeyman. Today it’s me, tomorrow it’s someone else, just like in yesteryears there were others in my place. The rotating axes of human vices.

The true enemy isn’t the evil man who’s doing reflexively what’s imbedded in his rotten heart. It’s the apathetic bystander who lets him.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.


– Maya Angelou ( Still I Rise)

Social responsibility

Shit gets messed up when we rely on a handful socially aware individuals to curate relevant news and tragedies. This is a naive outlook on the world, to think that news outlets and online activists prioritize the truth and humanitarian disasters. There’s no cop-out to being engaged. Everyone has an individual responsibility and accountability to create an awareness of what hits close to home. If you’re a Somali, you can’t expect ‘the world’ to take note of the atrocities perpetuated by the likes of AMISOM or the recent maritime boundary dispute between Somalia and Kenya if you’re not engaged yourself.
If you ever ask yourself why nobody is doing anything about an issue, know that it’s because you aren’t.

It’s tough and tedious to self-educate, analyze,discuss,write,ask, petition, and therefore it’s easier and more comfortable to convince oneself that there’s nothing one can do. It’s cowardice and the worst kind of deception is deceiving yourself.
Even if you don’t have the energy or will to be engaged, at least don’t deflect responsibility from yourself by putting the blame on someone else.

Yes, you can’t do everything, but don’t let that make you lose sight of the things you can do, however minute.

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