{ Relearning loneliness }

Maybe Allah SW tests us with loneliness until we learn how to be alone: whole on our own, in a habit of speaking to Him with no distractions, maybe it is His way of calling us so we’re in the habit of remembering a hard truth; we were born alone and we will die alone, and we are nothing without Allah.

Loneliness is defined as, “sad because one has no friends or company.” Being alone on the other hand, “having no one else present.” But aren’t both a little misunderstood?

Maybe it’s difficult to pray sometimes because you feel ‘lonely’ - there’s no concentration nor connection, so doesn’t that make sense? When a person is not in the habit of knowing how to be by themselves, it feels uncomfortable. They need noise to fill in the gaps, silence is too self reflective, another uncomfortable feeling. 

Perhaps those He blesses us to share our paths with are on the same journey, learning to recognise the states our hearts are in which can only be when in a state of quiet.

Maybe loneliness is just the process of learning how to be alone. Because being alone is powerful, an ability not easily gained and it doesn’t mean you are lonely. It means you feel whole no matter where you are, no matter how you feel, it means you have learnt how to be there for yourself by first turning to Him. 

Allah wants us to be in our best states before we depart this life. To purify us, He tests us. Is that not the best form of love? Wanting us to be ready for our final destination, so getting there can be easy once we are in our graves? Allah doesn’t want us to be lonely, but to have our conversations with Him, we have to learn how to be alone so we recognise another ultimate truth: 

“And We are closer to them than their jugular vein.” - Surah Qaf, verse 16.

Even when ‘alone’ we never truly are, because that is Who our Lord is. He is with us wherever we are, whatever state we are in, He is closer to us than anyone could ever be. And isn’t that just so beautiful?

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{ How much are you giving to what really matters? }

Imagine a scale, so large and so empty once upon a time. Beautifully inviting, a statement of opportunity to do good. To fill it with goodness can only result in a win, and every second is offered to you as a means of filling it.  

This scale is so sensitive to all actions, big and small. Nothing goes unnoticed, nothing goes amiss. On the other hand, this scale is also susceptible to feeling where and when we've gone wrong. Every day is a day to outweigh what good we have gathered, every day a competition against ourselves.

We are but an accumulation of hours, minutes and seconds - when you ask yourself, 'who am I?' follow it with, 'how do I spend my time?' Today you are older than you were yesterday, perhaps a little wiser - should that not be the goal?

How do I strive to gain more wisdom by the minute, to ensure I keep up with the seconds of myself that go by? Yesterday I was a student and a teacher to myself; learning from my mistakes yet ensuring I have a lesson plan for tomorrow.

How much am I giving to what really matters?

There's a constant rhythm of growth present, high harsh waves of self-reproach and low steady ones of tiredness. Sometimes a calmness of self-acceptance, 'I am only human' either followed by excuses or 'and that's why I can rise and fall.' Growth is a rhythm, human beings being its accordion.

I suppose in a way, we most certainly have a responsibility upon ourselves. And as a whole - to each other. Imagine a room of individuals all striving and fighting, trying to perfect what is inherently imperfect. Surely the effort in doing so, so constantly, no - most certainly is rewarding. This scale, susceptible and sensitive to all actions, is filled according to our efforts - not just the results. 

That silent moment of severely focusing on the why is so heavily counted, when done for the right reasons. Your Niyah - intention. You are what you intend, not what unravels. Day to day and night by night, you fight yes, but you also ask. Ask and ask, and ask. 

The One Who is the Purest can be the only One to purify, and that is all this is. Purification to pray, and praying for purification.

So next time you feel you forget who you really are, ask yourself: how much am I giving to what really matters? Because isn't our final destination the place we will be in one state forever? 

Which state do you want to live in perpetually? 

We pray for peace and perfection, and only there will we attain it. 


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{ Moments of measure }

There is a level of honesty that we sometimes neglect ourselves of. And that honesty is solely to do with ourselves and nobody else. The honesty of being completely yourself with yourself can be difficult to do all the time. We mould, bend, reshape and redraw ourselves as we grow day by day. For the sake of something, but rarely for the sake of ourselves. 

It’s usually for the sake of others, our reflection matters so much because of what someone else sees. What about what you see? 

It is a common belief that the journey each of us is on is a very independent one. That there have to be moments where we are required to grow, sit, and ponder completely alone. Then there are moments when we come out of this confinement to rejoice in each other’s company - a little more healed and a little more ourselves. 

I suppose there is a level of truth in that, in the sense that going away metaphorically and spending time with yourself definitely can do us good. But where we go wrong, is in the belief that we have done it alone. 

Sometimes, it can feel almost hypocritical to speak about your relationship with God, because of how imperfect it is and how imperfect you are. But in those moments of seclusion, it’s so important for us to be each other’s reminders that no, this is not a time to take a few moments to feel lonely. That you are simply going to take some time to nurture the relationship that stands before anyone or anything else. And that’s completely okay.  

And so in those moments, when you find yourself shapeshifting, people-pleasing and feeling less like you, remember to ask the One Who created you to ground you. After all, He created those around you too. So how can He not know you better than not only them, but better than yourself?

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{ Hearts & glass shards }

I think it’s all about not allowing your heart to get attached. Literally not allowing it, manoeuvring yourself in life in a way that doesn’t give it a chance to. Because if it was allowed, it would attach itself to anything and everything, not filtering what’s good for it and what is detrimental.

Don’t get me wrong, life isn’t well lived if we’ve never loved. We’re created to love, but to do so in the right way. There’s a right way and wrong way of doing everything, we’re here to find a balance. And human beings are not beings of balance, because we’re not perfect. 

Our hearts are more fragile than we think, it’s only when they’re put to the test that we realise this. But what a risk, don’t you think? Would you throw a diamond into the ocean to test if it could float? What are the odds? 

We try to turn what is temporary into an eternity; we do so with mostly everything in this life. From how we work and make our money to how we love - we try to make everything last. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting something to last, but figuring out why we want it to is so important.

Imagine you were given a golden apple, pure gold yet still able to rot. That’s the condition of owning the only golden apple to ever exist. How would you try to make it last, knowing it will rot? You’d plant it, right? That way, years later, you’d have a tree that grows golden apples. You’re in a better place than you were when all you had is one...but what if you’re not even there to see it?

Apple trees can take years to grow, who’s to know? 

But you planted your little piece of eternity, or what you thought it to be. You tried to make something precious last, but all you could manage was extending it.

That’s literally everything in life.

But what if the reason for your planting the golden apple tree wasn’t just for your own sake? What if, you had planted it with the intention of giving every apple that fell to an orphan? What if you had a selfless reason for wanting something so precious to last forever, if not through the actual fruit, through the love in those orphans hearts?

I think that nothing physical here last forever because it’s not worth being eternal. Money, fame, beauty etc.  We’re taught in our beautiful religion that there is an eternity, and we’re even taught how to attain it. 

We’re taught to first look within ourselves and at everything created. Because by seeing what doesn’t last forever, we’re able to ponder on Who made it all in the first replace. 

The Ever Living, the One who never dies. Allah Subhaana wa ta’aalah. And in making Him our purpose and reason for desiring eternity, life suddenly becomes all the more worth living.

May we all be blessed with remembering such realities and reminding one another of them - Ameen ~

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{ Believing, grieving & receiving }

Sometimes I find myself so sad about praying for something that makes me happy. Whether it be about people who are dear to me, moments and memories or something in life that I truly appreciate. And until today I couldn’t really put my finger on it.

Today is the 20th of September 2020. The world is panicking about possibly going into another lockdown after experiencing it for 6 months. Even though children have just began back at school, there’s no mistaking the worry and uncertainty in the atmosphere. It’s during these times that that sad feeling about happy things has visited me more often. And today, after trying to sit with it I finally understood it.

I think about the end of things more often these days; simply because of how we’re constantly being shown how temporary everything is. We savour the good moments where we’re not thinking about the strange and uncomfortable air. We appreciate a cup of coffee in hand, peering out the window and remembering the times none of us were wearing masks. Where we could ignorantly wonder and ponder after and about people, carelessly sipping away.

But today something occurred to me; for as long as I can remember that’s how I’ve ever really thought about the end; everything ending. I was raised upon the belief in the afterlife but we don’t fully comprehend what we can’t see. And that’s why I would become sad about the happy things. Because I aways felt like I was in a state, or that I had to be in a state of bidding farewell. That whenever I felt so much love for or from something or someone, I had to remind myself it would someday end. But I’ve been wrong for so long, subconsciously ignoring knowledge I already have.

Anything that ends here only ends to start again there, but this time with an even better beginning. And this time, with no ending. And to have faith is to believe and so, to believe is to receive such an incredible reward. Can you even begin to imagine? We have to start trying to, because we can. And do so makes you realise that there’s no limit to what you could wish for. 

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{ Sands & seconds }

Do you remember that feeling when you would stand in the shallow end of the sea? You’d feel the sand beneath your feet, the salt in that fresh wound caused by a cracked shell. The waves brush up against your ankles causing a strange illusion. It’s as though your feet are standing on the very sands of shifting time. You can feel it in your sway, you can sense it in the water. It’s such a mesmerising and almost hypnotising feeling, you’re completely immersed within it. Time is just a concept in that moment.

You’ve been looking at the waves for what seems like an immeasurable amount of time. It’s still so beautiful, just as beautiful as it was when it first caught your eye. You’re really swept away by it. Until you remember to look up. To realise the sea has literally and not only metaphorically swept you away. You’re now thigh deep in this unpredictable territory. And it’s terrifying.

What was it that caused you to look up again? What broke the spell? You’re now so far away from the shore, you didn’t even hear your loved ones calling you. Who saved you?

This Dunya is that very ocean, it’s the same almost identical illusion. It’s so beautiful, so mesmerising. And sometimes, a lot of the time, we forget to look up. And what happens when we don’t? We drown.
Allah saved you, He caused you to remember to look up and beyond what lies right in-front of you. He broke the spell for you, you didn’t do it on your own. The very beauty that entrapped you, He created. He knows what dosage of this life is good for us, the same way He knows how much of it will destroy us. How it can drown us. 

Always remember to look up. It’s important we don’t forget where we are. Time is still shifting beneath our feet, embedded in that soft, silky sand. But we have to remember to remind ourselves; time is the biggest illusion.

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{ Glittery gashes, secret scars }

If life was such a way, that our words were more than just floating invisible feathers. If they wove one another’s features, determined how our hearts were tethered. If life was like that, what would each of us look like?

If our words were pens, our actions knives, and every piece of artwork or gash caused had its own colour. Our colour - I wonder how many scars we would be responsible for?

If life was a way in which you could see laughter, shiny smooth vibrations, which ripple across our skin. All the bumps and lumps from anxieties flattened by it’s contagion.

Because if life was like that, we’d be able to see each other’s secrets. The things our souls seal away supposedly more safely, within us.

Heartbreak would look like lines, up and down your body, like a nail drew all over you. Abandonment - patches, harsh ones, as though you’ve been bruised all at once.

Every emotion, with it’s own motion drawing on your skin. What would we look like? If our pain was really shown? And would we be kinder?

Who’s to know though? When we keep it inside, because we think we have to abide by this systemic societal desensitised manner? Who’s to know though - when we’re losing sight of what really matters?

I guess it shouldn’t matter.

~ U.B ~

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{ Spaces & places & what lies within them }

You associate what you know with an action. We associate whatever comes out of our hearts in that moment with the event, even if what our hearts had said in that moment seemed completely unrelated. It’s funny how we work, really. We’re so unpredictable yet incredibly so.

We have to polish ourselves over and over, it’s an on going process. Even if you don’t realise it, we’re under an obligation to ensure we’re at least striving to be our best selves. Because who are not to even try? 

But what about when what our hearts have poured out was entirely painful in a moment of true solace? Because that makes perfect sense, surely? To have found a place where you feel safe to release what you’ve been holding too tightly inside you. How can we blame our hearts for seizing such a moment to be entirely authentic; unapologetically vulnerable. 

You’re mistaken in thinking this moment, soon to be memory, is forever tarnished. That this safe space can never be returned to because of the pain it has known, the pain that you endured. But you’re most certainly right in feeling like it can never be the same again. Because what is known cannot be unknown, and our hearts know that better than anyone. 

What’s to be done when the shadow of your heart’s ails still sit on your prayer mat? How do you ask your previous pain to politely move over for a happier moment? I suppose as it always does, the answer too lies on that very mat. 

You pray for it.

It matters less where you are than who you are talking to. God knows before you do, He always has.

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{ Sacred sweetness }

Nothing other than goodness should be allowed within you. 

Do you know why?

You contain something so incredibly delicate inside, so precious that you should risk nothing with it.  

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace & blessings be upon him) said:  “There is a piece of flesh in the body if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt and that is the heart.” [ Sahih Bukhari 52 ]

We only have one heart, and sometimes deciding what is best for it can be difficult. Our hearts may not want us to block something out that it has grown attached to. Sometimes our hearts grow so attached to something, it begins to think this thing is actually a part of it. And when we try to detach it from this obsession, it can be extremely painful. It can almost feel like severing one of your limbs, emotionally. 

The truth is this: you have to do what’s best for yourself, for your heart. Otherwise you’ll lose it and getting it back will be harder than anything you have ever experienced.

A lost heart doesn’t necessarily know it’s lost, you see. Because it’s blinded. 

Allah (The Most Glorified, The Most High) speaks about blind hearts in the Quran: “Have they not travelled through the land, and have they hearts wherewith to understand and ears wherewith to hear? Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind.” [22:46]

You absolutely must be who you needed when you were younger; whether it be 10 years ago or 10 seconds ago. We are delicate pieces of the most transparent crystal, wrapped in the thinnest piece of silk. 

You deserve a good heart, you deserve only good things entering it and adding to it. You deserve to be there for yourself. And I promise you, it all starts with you.

~ U.B ~

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