A pearl in the Oyster

Lulu was applying her dark brown mascara which matched her golden brown dyed hair.  She then checks if her beige shirt is neatly tucked into her brown skirt. As she wraps her Italian printed brown scarf around her neck she wonders if she could get cash award.

Lulu was working as a science teacher in a primary school for girls. The teacher, whose students got maximum A grades was to be awarded 1000 Dhs/- at the end of the year. Lulu had always wanted to be a teacher. She had won several awards for her speeches and presentation during her high school and college days. Though inexperienced, getting this job was a piece of cake.

As she walks to school with a branded handbag she thinks, “May be I could be the winner.  Students just love me. I get showered by roses from students every day. I am sure they should have done well in exams. Thanks to computerization of exams, we can have unbiased report. “

She meets Mubeena, the other science teacher on her way.  Covered from head to toe in dark colored Abhaya , Mubeena greets, “Assalam alikum”.  Lulu returns greeting, “walikum salam dear.”  Mubeena was also selected along with Lulu to work as science teacher. Lulu had never seen Mubeena with any makeup except some moisturizer during winter; neither was she interested in shoe or handbag sale. She had had same handbag for last one year!

Lulu, “ Excited about award?”

Mubeena, “ Not really.  I just wish they didn’t have to hand awards on a holiday .I had to postpone my trip to visit my grandparents due to this. “

After few minutes of socializing with other teachers at school, principle ascended the stage and announced. “ Bismillah hirrahman Nirraheem. Allahu akbar, It had been great year.  Thanks to Allah, and then to your efforts our school is one of the most sought of school in this area.  As an encouragement and to inspire teachers we will be awarding 1000 Dhs/- to teacher who helped maximum number of grade 5 students excel with A grade.  This year we were surprised to see a new inexperienced teacher help 90% of her students get A grade. Mubeena please come up to collect your award.”

Everybody seemed shocked.  Mubeena appeared most shocked.  Having handed award to Mubeena on stage; Principal takes out paper and announces, “We had asked grade 5 students to comment on every teacher who had taught them. These are remarks about Mubeena.

‘Madam made scary water cycle friendly with a drawing. ‘

‘New text book appears like old story book…. Thanks to madam. ‘

‘I never knew growing plants could be so much fun. Now I have my own herb garden at home!’

‘Stable, neutral and unstable state is an absolute must for an artist. Now I know why my clay models toppled. Center of gravity is to be blamed..’…..

These are just some of the comments.”

Principal addresses Mubeena, “Several parents were surprised to see their kids excel in science and wanted me to thank you on their behalf. What prompted you to become a teacher?”

Mubeena, “Well… I loved science and I loved to teach.  I didn’t want kids to just memorize few definitions to score well in exam. I wanted them to remember what I taught and apply it in their life. In this way, I could reap reward in hear after as well. Alhamdulillah, Allah has rewarded me here as well.  May Allah safe guard my intentions and keep them pure.”

Principal proclaimed, “You are an asset to our school. We request you to train our other new faculty members.  Dear teachers, please collect your remark sheet before leaving.”

Lulu was very upset.  Only 40% of her class got A grade.  At the earliest opportunity, she slips away from teachers; collects her remark sheet and rushes home. The question paper was very easy. Now she was most likely to be trained by Mubeena as well. She wondered what could have gone wrong. Her students were so enthusiastic to meet her! She decides to read the remark sheet.

  • Miss lulu is the prettiest teacher around. I like seeing her glossy lips smile. – sarah
  • I like to see her wear rose in her broach. We gifted her roses to see whose rose she selected for the broach. Roses from my garden often adored her.  J – jasmeen
  • She is the only teacher with good fashion sense. Her handbag, belt and scarf always match. I want to dress just like her. – Jameela

“ Ya Allah ! What is this none of the comments refer to what I had taught!!! I had wanted them to be inspired by science not my beauty. After all being beautiful is not a sin.”, Lulu thought.  Half heartedly she continued reading.

  • Artist! Perfect makeup artist. Looks always fresh. – Shaistha
  • Oh she is adorable. She could put models to shame. My father says, she should try her luck in modelling.  – Suzane

Lulu throws the remark sheet away in anger. “What?!! How can my student’s father comment about me? I am here to teach and not to model. “.. Lulu recollected how often she had walked past parents; and how some of the men used to grin at her.  “What a fool I had been? Mubeena is almost as old as me and could be as pretty as me.  Still, all the people appreciate her for her teaching skill overlooking her beauty. We had taught the same subject. We had even given speech to one another and helped one another with the lessons. Then, what happened?”

Lulu recollected Mubeena’s speech on stage, “She had intended to get reward from Allah by teaching. What was the hadith about intention which our Islamic teacher used to say “ She opens the book islamic teacher had gifted her and reads…

Narrated ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.” Sahih al-Bukhari

sprout-leaves-intention

“My intention had been to teach well too. But what am I being appreciated for? Make up, bags and skin. I want to be portrayed by my work not outer cover. How could that be done? Like Mubeena… should I practice hijab?”, she thought. She realized she despised wearing hijab. She loved being fashionable… Alas this required showing off her collection of designer clothes, shoes, jewelry and handbags.  Her well groomed hair and flawless complexion can’t be seen through thick hijab. “Yah Allah! What had been my true intention while taking this job? It wasn’t to glorify my blessed youth.  This had distracted even girls as young as 10 from listening to what I had to teach. ”

Still bit skeptic about hijab..  she turns pages to read about hijab. She read…

And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of women’s nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed. [Quran an-Noor 24:31]

Lulu shivered a bit as she read again, ‘And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.’ It had become clear to her that she had opted vain desires over commandment of Allah. Allah the all Wise knows what’s best for us. The verse was calling her to turn back towards obedience of Allah so that she may succeed. Real Success is attaining safety from Hell in comfort of heaven. With right intention every day activities can turn into pathway to heaven.

She sobs as she prays, “Forgive me for my ignorance.  Yah Muhaymin (Guardian of faith) save me from getting eluded from purpose of life – to please you. My remark sheet at school has opened my eyes. It has made me fear the day when we’ll be handed book of deeds.  I beg of You  to save me from being amidst those who are handed their book of deeds on their left hand.  Guide me Yah Hadi  (Guider) to be amidst those who show their book deeds proudly to others on the day of reckoning.  Help me adhere to Your commands. Ameen.”

She hears her phone beep. Mubeena had sent her message. “ Join me for Lunch at home. Your presence would increase my happiness double fold.”  Lulu searches for her mother’s jilbab (long covering coat) to wear on her way to Mubeena’s home.

Of all the precious stones pearls are most likely to get tarnished when left exposed. We women are like pearls. our veils would serve us as oysters serve the pearl. Remain precious.

Prepublished in 1newleaf.

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PRIME PROPERTY

Have you ever longed to visit some place? Do you crave to spend time relaxing in a peaceful resort? Where and how would you like your home to be? Let me share with you, what I desire. My college was in the outskirts of the city and I used to start early to avoid traffic. While most of the passengers used this trip to catch up on sleep, I used to struggle to remain awake to catch a glimpse of a 5-star hotel on the way! This hotel sat majestically along the highway. The cream color building had glossy blue-green windows which reflected the sun’s rays. In contrast to its walls, it was crowned with a red roof, studded with green flowing creepers. I hoped that someday, I would enter this building as a professional to present a seminar. I never did.

Instead, after my nikkah (marriage), I shifted to a city where every building had similar glowing windows. I myself ended up living in one such building! Most of the tall buildings here were entirely covered in flawless glass. The tall buildings besides corniche reflected a shimmering sea. The raised coastal bank had beautiful lawns and well-maintained colorful flowers surrounding date trees, laden with fruit. The walls of adjacent buildings were entirely made of glass. I wondered how nice it would be to see the garden from these fine buildings with see-through walls. I expressed my desire to shift there in the future and left my hubby worried. J With time, I saw more beautiful buildings and gardens…

Now, I aim for something much higher. The buildings I have seen are no match for what I desire. I have to work hard and save for it. Insha’Allah, I aim to attain it. Trust me, the deal is in my best interest and there couldn’t be a better place to reside. I am working towards that which is best for me. Are you interested in living in a place far better than anything you have seen or heard or dreamt of? Would you care to invest in it? Have you guessed where it is? I am speaking about a house in Jannah (paradise).

We are travelers sent here to earn for a place in heaven. This trip of life sure seems long and there is plenty to keep us distracted. Yet, the trip will surely come to an end. I just hope we are not of those who ended up wasting their lives in worldly pleasures with nothing left to save us from the Fire, a wretched place with people there requesting for one more chance to do good! Indeed I need to be greedy for my own sake. Let’s accumulate good before it’s too late. And let’s aim high for the One who provides us with everything, the One who is the Most Generous and the Most Merciful. Insha’Allah, we will be pampered in heaven in a way far better than the services of worldly hotels. Indeed, there are gardens flowing with rivers of milk and honey! Most of us struggle to build a home in this world. It’s more befitting that we do something to ensure that Allah (SWT) blesses us with a home in heaven too. Here are some lucrative offers to build a home which is far better than our heart’s desire!!

Contribute towards Building a Masjid

Umar bin Khattab said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah () say: “Whoever builds a mosque in which the Name of Allah is mentioned, Allah will build a house for him in Paradise.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Money spent on this does not qualify as zakat as per the majority opinion of scholars (however, it must be noted that there is an opinion allowing this). Yet, it is an easy way to ensure a home in Jannah for us! Not everyone has enough to finance an entire masjid! Even limited contribution would prove to be a wise investment. The following hadith also shows that nothing is belittled by Allah (SWT). Alhamdulillah.

The Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever builds a mosque for the sake of Allah, like a sparrow’s nest for Allah or even smaller, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

Praying Nawaafil (Additional) Salah

Umm Habibah narrated that the Prophet () said: “If anyone prays in a day and a night twelve rak’ahs voluntarily (supererogatory prayer), a house will be built from him in Paradise on account of these (rak’ahs).” (Sunan Abi Dawud)

We work hard to earn extra in dunya. We are ready to sacrifice our free hours to save enough to purchase a better home here. Even our cars and clothes are custom designed. But, when it comes to salah we are satisfied with the bare minimum. Just 12 extra rakahs a day can serve as our savings for house in Jannah! A few extra nawaafil prayers at times of obligatory prayers could get us a custom designed home in Jannah. Allahu’akbar.

It was narrated that ‘Aishah (RA) said that the Messenger of Allah () said: “Whoever persists in performing twelve Rak’ah from the Sunnah, a house will be built for him in Paradise: four before the Zuhr, two Rak’ah after Zuhr, two Rak’ah after Maghrib, two Rak’ah after the ‘Isha’ and two Rak’ah before Fajr.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

 

Reciting Surat ul Ikhlaas

This is probably the easiest way to grab an abode in paradise. Reciting a surah which is equivalent to one-third of Quran has additional benefits.

The Prophet () said: “Whoever recites Qul huwa Allaahu ahad ten times, Allah will build for him a house in Paradise.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer).

Insha’Allah incorporating this into our lives should be easy.  How about reciting this surah in addition to other surahs in every rakat?

 

Adopt Good Manners

 

Where would you like to reside? While booking a flat in a gated community, we would prefer higher floors of a building located in the center of the community (close to the park/pool). With a little self-control and better manners, we can acquire a home in the best regions of Jannah too!

 

Abu Umamah Al-Bahili (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah () said: “I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.” (Abu Dawud)

This requires fighting our ego and pride, even when we think we are right. But even then, it’s a small prize when compared to the reward we get in return!

 

Additional Tip: Dhikr!

Would you like to fill your Jannah with plants and treasures? Who wouldn’t? Well, Dhikr serves this purpose:

Ibn Mas’ud (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah () said: “I met Ibrahim (ES) on the Night of Ascension (Al-Isra), and he said to me: ‘O Muhammad, convey my greetings to your Ummah, and tell them that Jannah has a vast plain of pure soil and sweet water. It is a plain levelled land. The plants grow there by uttering: Subhan-Allah, Al-hamdu lillah, La ilaha illallah and Allahu Akbar (Allah is free from imperfection; praise be to Allah; there is no true god except Allah; and Allah is Greatest).’” (At- Tirmidhi)

Jabir (RA) reported that The Prophet () said: “For him who says: ‘Subhan-Allahi wa bi hamdihi (Allah is free from imperfection, and I begin with praising Him, and to Him),’ a palm-tree will be planted in Jannah.” (At- Tirmidhi)

Abu Musa (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah () said to me: “Shall I not guide you to a treasure from the treasures of Jannah?” I said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah!” Thereupon he () said, “(Recite) ‘La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah’ (There is no change of a condition nor power except by Allah).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Through dhikr after salah, we can be assured that our Jannah is being covered with lush gardens and marvelous treasures! If we can train our tongue to praise Allah more often, we can have exotic gardens laden with treasures waiting for us to explore! Ahhhh! I can’t think of a better holiday! And, this will last for eternity!

 

Indeed, my sins are many and my Rabb’s favors on me are countless and they surpass what little I do to please Him. There is no way I could earn Jannah because of what I do,  He is the Most Merciful and I plead to Him to save me from torment of Hellfire and enter me into Jannat-ul-Firdous. Do not lose hope of Allah’s mercy. Allah is generous even towards one who would enter heaven last!

Abdullah bin Mas’ud (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah () said, “I know of the last of the inhabitants of the Hell to be taken out from there and the last one to enter Jannah. He is a man who will come out of the Fire, crawling on all fours. Allah, the Rabb of glory and honour will say to him: ‘Go and enter Jannah.’ He will go to it and think that it is filled up. He will then come back and say: ‘O my Rabb, it is filled up.’ Allah will say to him: ‘Go and enter Jannah.’ He will again go to it and think that it is filled up. So he will turn back. Allah will again say: ‘Go and enter Jannah. For you have what is equal to ten times the world.’ He will say: ‘Are You making fun of me while You are the King?” At this I (i.e., the narrator) saw the Messenger of Allah () laugh till his premolars were visible and he said, “Such man will be the last dweller of Jannah in its lowest rank.”  (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Subahan’Allah, Allah (SWT) will most certainly bless us with bounty beyond our wildest imagination in Jannah. So why should I long for trivial things on earth. Indeed, we should aim and work for that which is everlasting and most profitable. I hope you too are greedy to acquire a notable property in Jannah. Let us be patient here; let us open our heart to Allah – There is no speck of doubt that Allah is happy to hear our plea, and He is the only One who can satisfy our desires! But, don’t forget to get the right entry pass to Jannah. With wrong aqeedah, our dream of Jannah is nothing more than an illusion.  So stick to Tawheed!

Mu`âdh bin Jabal (RA) relates that the Prophet () said to him: “O Mu`âdh! Do you know what is Allah’s right over His servants and what their right is over Him?” I said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said: “Allah’s right over His servants is that they worship Him without associating any partner with Him in worship, and their right over Him is that He does not punish anyone who worships Him without associating any partner with Him in worship.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Insha’Allah soon (if we remain righteous) in Heaven, we will enjoy the company of the righteous and praise Allah who took us into His mercy. الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

And those who kept their duty to their Lord will be led to Paradise in groups, till, when they reach it, and its gates will be opened (before their arrival for their reception) and its keepers will say: Salâmun ‘Alaikum (peace be upon you)! You have done well, so enter here to abide therein.” And they will say: “All the praises and thanks are to Allâh Who has fulfilled His Promise to us and has made us inherit (this) land. We can dwell in Paradise where we will; how excellent a reward for the (pious good) workers!”  

(Al Qur’an; Chapter 39: Verse 73-74)

I hope you are convinced that no sacrifice is too great when it comes to fetching an everlasting home in Jannah, where even a twig is better than the entire world! Still, the things I mentioned are nothing in comparision to the best blessing of Jannah. Yes, there is more! Insha Allah, we will get to see Allah (SWT) without any barrier. Subahan Allah. Let us work and pray for the best:

رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِنْدَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ

“My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise.”

(Al Quran; Chapter 66: Verse 11)

Aameen.

Pre published in  Hidayahmagazine

Balloons!

image
Balloons. Ready to burst.

Balloons!
Bundle of air, just enough to make one smile.
Good enough to keep mom free for a while.
Be prepared for tears to come..
For all it takes is a single prick.

We like balloons, have inflated ourselves with dreams, pride, ego and all things vain.
We are no better than those who have perished.
Let’s take heed before the final prick.
Let’s be prepared to face what we have done.

The Blessed Land

History was etched in the bones of the city. Photo credit Sonny Spencer
/*picture not taken in jerusalam*/

I’m land beloved by children of Ibraham.

I’m considered blessed and promised.

Best of the people, both rich and piteous

– Have set foot on me!?

I’ve seen battles, losses and victory

I remain silent in face of injustice and celebrations.

I remember the day when,

Yusuff saw his destiny in a dream and his father-

Yacoob, patiently bore Yusuff’s separation;

Moosa urged free slaves to fight for me – they denied!

Dawood turned face of battle with a slingshot;

Sulaiman, ruler of the best kingdom built magnificent temple!

Zakaria remained speechless as a foresight of Yahya

Maryam, the virgin was decreed with Isa;

Isa cured blind and leper, gave life to death with permission of Allah;

Muhammed prayed here – leading the prophets.

May Peace be upon them all.

I had been –Land of olives;

Direction of prayer – prior to command of change(to Mecca).

I had seen children of Ibrahim pray in harmony;

I still hold holly sanctuaries of Jews Christians and Muslims;

And I see  “piteous” lust over me. Their greed –

has caused rivers of blood to flow around me.

I remain calm amidst screams of pain

As I know The Most Merciful Lord will not let injustice prevail for long.

I’m Jerusalem, al-quds, al-aqsa.

Old street in Jerusalem wallpaper
old street in Jerusalem

Prepublished in wolfpublisher

For the list of other posts please click here.

ENOUGH

Trails of Lava

Darkness of injustice had spread. Oppression and exploitation had no end. Prayers for dawn went
unanswered. It was time to work for change. A lonely mountain had been dormant for ages. Her
patience was taken for granted. Breaking the silence, she bursts out violently. Throws out all the pain
she had harbored for ages.  Her oppressors are horrified, but find no place to run.  She threw out her
anger high into the heavens.  It falls back on her burning most of the life out of her. She is too glad to
see her oppressors burn, to feel her life drain. The lava of revolt flows down her veins. These veins had
earlier been blessings of nourishment and left unappreciated.  Darkness of injustice is finally torn by
colors of revenge, burning even those who had failed to help her. The trail of her light reaches far
beyond her nation – warning us of the consequences of injustice.

There are several others waiting to burst. A mother has to decide between her kids to be carried to food
camp for food. Why should we care when our bins have more food than their dreams? A deserted father
in a boat throws his dead son into sea, as he is not given asylum in any country. Why should we care
when we are not in the same boat? A child was too busy saving his life to mourn his parent’s death.
Why should we care when our country is free of internal conflict? It’s not long before they would say –
Enough. Why should they then care about their trials of their lava reaching our home?

Let’s stand against injustice. Let’s be the dawn they are hoping for.

Prepublished in wolfpublisher

For the list of other posts please click here.

WELCOME

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Dear readers,

Welcome to the world of stories, stories that portray women in different stages of life.

Life is full of unexpected turns, some sweet and pleasant while others not so pleasant. Did you ever wonder in spite of your best efforts why things don’t go as you had planned? Is someone else manipulating you?! You are right in a way!  He is the best of the planners, Wise and extremely Powerful. You guessed right. He is the Almighty Allah. Every blessing and trial could be a step towards paradise, if we are thankful and patient. Unfortunately, we are not always grateful and obedient. Let us learn from our past mistakes  to make most of our future.

Stories here are inspired by incidents in our life or some person we know.  I hope these help you to turn over a new leaf and see things in different perspective. Remember, Allah knows everything. Even our slightest effort to change could get rewarded.

May peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you.

   HAYA

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