Not this time

Just like all of earth is a masjid, all of life is deen. Even the trivial, seemingly non-religious aspects. There is no delineation of religion in Islaam because true religion is spiritual. It’s not a distinction between the “worldly” and the “religious”. If you’re heart based, you’ll see Allaah’s intentions and plans everywhere.

E V E R Y W H E R E

This world is a fractal of everything in existence. It’s perfectly sequenced. Nothing is out of place. Nothing needs your control, just surrender. Reflect.

So many Muslims are afraid of reflecting because they think the deen is a tightrope. That’s very bizarre and inverted because the deen isn’t something we can possess or retain by virtue. It’s an endowment and a grace that isn’t merit based. Nothing we do ensures that we receive anything or lose anything. Allaah is the Most Generous and He has imbued this cosmos with abundance, but it is our egos that block the access to that abundance through mental contraptions.

You only need to come to Allaah with vulnerability at all times, at all costs. Which means showing up with your inner reality being congruent with what you display. And if there are ideals you wish to embody, don’t do it cosmetically by forcing it. Take all of you, wherever you go. Or else you’ll snap back like a rubber band. And you’ll seriously fragment your psyche. How do you think people apostate? It’s usually the most zealous too.

The reason why the prophet sallAllaahu calayhi wasallam said the most beloved of actions to Allaah are the most consistent even if they be little, is because it’s not about goal orientation because this is a gig that’ll last until the grave. It’s about balance. And balance fluctuates based on where you are, with a fixed baseline of course ( 5 daily prayers, integrity, hijab,etc). It’s about maintaining a spiritual homeostasis, keeping your psyche intact and not shattering yourself in the process of trying to attain some unattainable, perfectionistic ideal that’s an extension of the neurosis that has poisoned your spirit. The ebbs and flows of life is challenging enough without you straining yourself with things that threaten to break you.

Allaah is opposite to how others (parents, society, friends) interacted with you. You don’t need to prove your worth. Your connection isn’t based on how useful you are. You are unconditionally accepted, meaning you can come to Allaah as you are, based on where you are. The whole point is to let Allaah accompany you through your personal struggles and unique journey. There is no limit to what you can ask and seek help in. Literally,your imagination is the limit. He is forgiving, present, loving, powerful, aware, attentive, rich, caring. Nothing you do is a qualifier for His Mercy. It’s a birthright He’s given you by creating you.

أَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ وَهُوَ اللَّطِيفُ الْخَبِيرُ

{Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous, (to His slaves) All-Aware (of everything).}

(Al-Mulk :14)

Animus dispossession

I was watching the interview of Russell and Jordan, and Jordan said something that made me think :

religious ideas are different from ideologies in that there’s a representation and balance of the positive and negative aspects of what occurs naturally in the individual and society.

(paraphrase)

It had me thinking that in that vein, hijaab is the equivalent – and therefore balance to – of a man’s social responsibilities and duties that he’s obligated to perform.

And that’s my gripe with millennial Muslim women’s sometimes shallow dissection of the gender politics that has gotten entangled in the complex system that is Islaam. You can’t just remove concepts from the whole and see if it’ll hold or not like a game of Jenga. It’s a very reductivist way of assessing things precisely because it’s the masculine Logos that picks things apart and discriminates and analyses.

When women use the Logos it’s usually at the expense of the powerful feminine perception, what Neumann coined diffuse awareness as opposed to focused awareness. The Eros that brings things together, holds space for the opposites, finds the harmony. That has been discarded and judged as weak by women, because we’ve come to associate it with being a doormat and a pushover. But that’s only the case when it’s unconscious and imbalanced.

I reckon that the world is in desperate need of the return of the feminine energy, the so-called divine feminine, because it’s that energy that would take the technology available and apply it on humanitarian issues. And it would take the wealth and channel it to where it’s needed. It’d take the scientific breakthroughs and expertise and heal the world.

And by divine feminine I don’t mean that it’s specific to women, but women are the emanators of that energy and men the recipients. No man can bring about that energy unless it comes from a transformed, balanced woman. Just like no man can bring about a pregnancy. She takes what’s dispersed and coalesces it into a whole. But she has to first return to her innate wholeness that she’s been fragmented from by a highly masculine world.

Emaan clout

Becoming a more religious Muslim should never cause you more anxiety. If it does, there’s something warped about your perception of Allaah. Your mental construct of what you should do or be is preventing your heart from directly connecting to Him. It’s creating resistance instead of resonance.

Don’t get lost in semantics. Emaan is a feeling. Let it flow. You don’t need to be perfect. You’ll pick up the pace eventually. But that won’t happen if you’re stagnant.


Maybe the problem with the hive mind of stereotypical religious Muslims is that there’s a delineation of practicing and piety?

I mean, who’s to say who’s ‘on’ or ‘off’ if purification of the self is a continuous cycle? Who’s keeping tabs? Do our deeds define us? Why do we need definition? Isn’t that an attempt at standing out? Wouldn’t Allaah be able to pick out your intentions from the crowd? Why then is there an emphasis on idiosyncrasies and nonessential mannerisms under the guise of ‘the sunnah’ ? It’s like this uncomfortably unnatural glitch where the person’s natural disposition is overlaid with what is deemed the proper way to act. The problem becomes that the acting effectively shuts out the person’s psyche, ensuring that the change in demeanor is nothing but superficial. And you’ll find plenty of examples in people who’ve gone from one extreme in practicing to the complete other of being morally depraved and heinous. Acting a certain way is actually counterintuitive because it doesn’t allow space for the person to organically get in touch with different facets of their being that would then spark the desire for transformation. There has to be a genuine interaction with the self in a non-judgmental and nonperfectionistic way.

To be clear, I’m not talking about ’deen is in the heart, you don’t need to wear it on your sleeve’. I believe that the deen is an integration of the spiritual and the pragmatic. But when the spiritual is stripped of its mystic nature and individuality, that’s when dogma becomes a real contender. Because it’s like the focus becomes to avoid slip-ups which leads to stagnation and fear. No matter how we try, we’ll always slip up because we’re innately ignorant. It’s how we learn and in fact, we’ve been given license to slip up so that we don’t let that be an obstacle. Instead we’re told to focus on restoration and authentic reformation (inaabah).

When we don’t interact with ourselves, we can’t relate to others too. And therein lies the problem that is so ubiquitous in the Muslim communities, that once someone becomes religious they effectively become elitist and interact with people like an authoritarian school master.

I think knowing the deen is the easy part. To try to implement the principles oneself while interacting harmoniously with others is the real crux..

أُخْبِرُكُمْ بِمَنْ يَحْرُمُ عَلَى النَّارِ أَوْ بِمَنْ تَحْرُمُ عَلَيْهِ النَّارُ عَلَى كُلِّ قَرِيبٍ هَيِّنٍ سَهْلٍ

Shall I not tell you for whom the Hellfire is forbidden? It is every person accessible, polite, and mild.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi, graded Hasan

Life’s already serious enough

People really be twisting Islaam. It’s not hierarchical, it’s not transactional, it’s not reductivist, it’s not punitive, it’s not puritan, it’s not conservative. So if you rely on planting seeds of doubt in someone’s understanding or shaming them under the guise of correcting when your intention is misaligned with the ethos of Islaam which is لاضرر و لا ضرار (no instigating harm and no retaliating harm) – then please know that all your ocd- like behaviour won’t save you any reckoning and won’t ensure tazkiyyah (purification of soul).

If you think there’s a station to be reached, please check yourself. This journey is long and difficult precisely because it’s not static and it’s not stagnant. It’s not about detached principles but about integrating what you know when your wounds are fresh and your fear overwhelming. It’s not about perfecting it nor is it about not slipping up because again, it’s not about what we learn in the masajid or the xalaqaat, but it’s what Allaah tests our 3 am minds with and what He triggers our hearts by. It’s meant to be lived, not theorized.

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

› Say (O Muhammad sallAllaahu calayhi wasallam ): “Verily, my Salât (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists).‹

(Al-An’am 6:162)

Because when push comes to shove, it’s about how you hold up when your back is against the wall. It’s about how honest you’re willing to get about your incongruencies. It’s about what keeps you going when you can’t continue.

In other words, it’s the istiqama (steadfastness) of the heart. And no amount of policing and refuting and micromanaging can earn you steadfastness. Steadfastness is different from rigidity and fear of the unknown. If anything, the test aren’t external. Allaah always adapts the tests to your blindspots and weaknesses, no matter how much you try to fortify yourself. But don’t worry. It’s not because He’s not pleased with you or because He’s punishing you. No. He’s giving you an opportunity to expand, to let light in, to do the very thing you were created for: self-actualize.

So, trust your intuition and keep your heart open. Trust it more than you trust any religious figure, especially in this age of distortions. Get familiar with how the truth feels, because it can’t be feigned or faked.

I slam phobias

​Whilst the rise in islamophobic violence is disconcerting, this is not the time to indulge hysteria. Violence is something we’re blessed not to witness on a consistent basis in the West. People in Somalia, Yemen, Congo, Palestine, Syria, Venezuela, Myanmar can’t say the same. Does our distress impact us more than their distress impacts them? Yes, but only because of our perception.
I understand that what I’m proposing is antithetical to the lulling affirmations floating around on social media, but hear me out when I say that these incidents are wake-up calls. This is not the time to sleep.

This is a time for expansion, not contraction.
This is a time for idealism, not ideologies.
This is a time for transcending evil, not resisting it.
This is a time for bold hope, not defiant despair.

These are isolated incidents. Please don’t spread hysteria by making it seem like every Muslim is a marked person. That is not only false, but it’s anti-Islaamic to spread despair. That’s not the ethos of our religion. We believe that nothing happens except by the permission of Allaah and that everyone was born with a limited time on earth, according to His perfect wisdom. No one will escape what has been decreed for them. No one. So to inspire fear won’t keep death at bay, only joy.
Furthermore, the prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wasallam has taught us that these times will come and he has taught us to reflect on ourselves when tragedies strike.
We’ve been given heads up so as to find solace in patience, knowing that this world was nothing but a test. Whether in prosperity or adversity, we’re always being tested.
Falling into despair and lashing out at non-Muslims, blaming them as a collective and wanting their sympathy, is pathetic. They didn’t cause this. This is a test from Allaah. They are merely the means through which we’re tested. We’ve abandoned ourselves and practicing the truth of Islaam. People are either using it as a cover for their totalitarianism or being nihilistic about it.
The world needs Muslims to wake tf up. We’re being affected by the same evil that affects those oppressed and undermined elsewhere: the degradation of humanity and loss of the empathetic bond that tie us all. Our existence isn’t atomized; our apathy has returned to haunt us. For 16 years, the West led by the US has been terrorizing the world and it’s only now that we’re realizing that a monster doesn’t have loyalty; its tyranny will be extended to the poor and minorities. It will be extended to blacks and refugees and the working class. Don’t you see? It’s come full circle, and all the while we trusted that they’d keep us safe. But alas, they were saving the best for last.

So, check yourselves. You have a duty towards yourself: to not despair, towards Allaah: to be cognizant of the fact that most of the time we enjoy stability and peace, and towards others: to not take out your anger or frustration on them.

إِنَّمَا ذَٰلِكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ يُخَوِّفُ أَوْلِيَاءَهُ فَلَا تَخَافُوهُمْ وَخَافُونِ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

{It is only Shaitaan (Satan) that suggests to you the fear of his Auliyaa [supporters and friends] so fear them not, but fear Me, if you are (true) believers. }
(Aali Imran 3:175)

 

مَّا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَذَرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَىٰ مَا أَنتُمْ عَلَيْهِ حَتَّىٰ يَمِيزَ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُطْلِعَكُمْ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَجْتَبِي مِن رُّسُلِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ۚ وَإِن تُؤْمِنُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَلَكُمْ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ

{Allaah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. Nor will Allaah disclose to you the secrets of the Ghaib (unseen), but Allaah chooses of His Messengers whom He pleases. So believe in Allaah and His Messengers. And if you believe and fear Allaah, then for you there is a great reward. }
(Aali Imran 3:179)

أَوَلَمَّا أَصَابَتْكُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَدْ أَصَبْتُم مِّثْلَيْهَا قُلْتُمْ أَنَّىٰ هَٰذَا قُلْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ أَنفُسِكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

{(What is the matter with you?) When a single disaster smites you, although you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, you say: “From where does this come to us?” Say (to them), “It is from yourselves (because of your evil deeds).” And Allaah has power over all things.}
(Aali Imran 3:165)

إِن يَنصُرْكُمُ اللَّهُ فَلَا غَالِبَ لَكُمْ وَإِن يَخْذُلْكُمْ فَمَن ذَا الَّذِي يَنصُرُكُم مِّن بَعْدِهِ وَعَلَى اللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

{If Allaah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allaah (Alone) let believers put their trust. }
(Aali Imran 3:160)

وَلَئِن قُتِلْتُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَوْ مُتُّمْ لَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرَحْمَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ

{And if you are killed or die in the Way of Allaah, forgiveness and mercy from Allaah are far better than all that they amass (of worldly wealths, etc.).}
(Aali Imran 3:157)

 

وَلَئِن مُّتُّمْ أَوْ قُتِلْتُمْ لَإِلَى اللَّهِ تُحْشَرُونَ

{And whether you die, or are killed, verily, unto Allaah you shall be gathered. }
(Aali Imran 3:158)

وَلَا تَهِنُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

{So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers.}
(Aali Imran 3:139)

 

أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَن تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِكُم مَّثَلُ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلِكُم ۖ مَّسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا حَتَّىٰ يَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ مَتَىٰ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ أَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ

{Or think you that you will enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those who believed along with him said, “When (will come) the Help of Allaah?” Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allaah is near! }

(Al-Baqarah 2:214)

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