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Zale Navi

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In many motivational speeches or writings, one thing the speaker or author encourages his/her audience to do is answer this question: “What is my purpose in life?”
It is as simple and complex as it is. The question automatically brings about more question to mind. Like; why am I doing what I’m doing? Is it what I was meant to do? Do i benefit from it? Are my loved ones benefiting from it? Does it make the world a better place? Etcetera etcetera.

But when we come back to the book of Allah, He states clearly;
“And I created not the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (alone)”
When you look at it this way doesn’t it seem easier? Well it does when you look at “worship” only in terms of the five daily prayers, fasting, zakat and hajj. But in addition to the latter there are numerous way of worshipping Allah. Isn’t it in the same Qur’an that Allah reminds us that He has given us minds and challenges us to actually think? That we should go out and explore the world? That we shoud seek knowledge? Thus personally, I define worship as that which pleases Allah. In this way , I easily find my purpose in life and be able to broaden it from the five pillars of islam to much more.

Still, the question is not what is your purpose in life? The real question is why aren’t you after it? If the main reason I am in this world is to please Allah then why am I not doing that?

Fear… it holds us back in achieving our purpose of living. I am not going to be the one to initiate peace between my arguing friends because I fear I might get caught up in the middle of it. I am not going to write the book because I fear they might not like it. I won’t be a public speaker because I fear I might lose my words. I am not going to start that business because I fear the risks and loss that I might encounter…and it goes on and on.

Most of us already know what we ought to be doing in order to please our Creator, to leave behind a great legacy, to create a better world but we let fear prevent us from acting. May be if we start thinking about our purpose in life being directly linked to pleasing our Creator, it will help us fight our fears. At the end of it all, Allah does not look at how great you did what you did, He is more interested in the struggle and intention of your actions. So, stop worrying about being good, being enough or being good enough and just be. Be among those who pleases their Creator.

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Do you remember your first Ramadhan? I am talking about those days when fasting to you was for mum and dad’s sake. That is to say; if mum or dad and of course the “reporter” sibling in the family did not see you break the fast, your fast is still valid. You can deny it and I can, but Allah saw you every time you drunk half the water meant for rinsing your mouth while taking wudhu. But of course it was not a big deal, we were young and the thought of staying the whole day without food or water to drink either seemed torturous or mission impossible. I remember thinking to myself that even the adults sneak a sip or two of water when no one is watching because there is no way anyone can stay that long without water. At the age of 7 to 10 years Ramadhan to me was to be able to convince the people around me that I have stayed the whole day with neither food nor water.

Imam Siraj Wahaj puts it nicely when he says, Islam means progress. Right now I can look back at those years and see the progress in my Ramadhan. Maybe the adults around me understood it too and that is why they did not punish me when I broke my fast two hours to Magharib adhan (too dumb, I know that now). I was on training and it was okay to slip here and there, my relation with Ramadhan was still being nurtured. However, I never cease to enjoy the holy month. Apart from the hunger and thirst torture, there was the joy of having the extended family meeting up almost every day and excessive playing with friends (no wonder the unbearable thirst). Having the masjids full during all the swalahs, cooking the best foods and being able to witness the amount of blessings increase in the month. Till date, Ramadhan at my home is known as the month of barkah; not because we were taught so but because we saw the blessings. And then there was the ultimate joy that was Eid. So, in a nutshell, Ramadhan to most of us at that young age was torture from hunger and thirst, good food, friends and family.

When you do something wrong and you know it is wrong but no one reprimands you for it and they all act like it was okay for you to do what you have done, your conscious kills you. Or at least that’s what happens to me. At the age of 11-12 years, during Ramadhan all I could think about is that I got to do better. I have to see to it that I stay true to my fasting. It was a real struggle, reminding myself when it got hard that I can do it, I can stay the whole day with no water. Accomplishing this would make me happier than ever during the time of breaking fast and whenever I failed the enthusiasm of breaking the fast was lost all together. Ramadhan to me then was to be able to stay with no food or water the whole day; and it was enough.

Whenever I speak about Sheikh Khalifa, some people look at me with that eye of “oh she is at it again”. The truth is that given a chance to speak about my high school, I would not shut up. I love my high school. Not because it is the best high school in the Coastal province, though it is a bonus, but because of the role it played in building me as a young Muslimah. It was there that I also learnt that finishing the recitation of the whole Qur’an was highly recommended during Ramadhan. I still remember how people would struggle to finish the Qur’an at least twice while I would be struggling with my one khatm. I admit, I would be disappointed when I could not meet my one khatm goal, knowing that most of my friends had two khatms and others even three. All the Ramadhans in Sheikh Khalifa, my goal was that one khatm. I think I realized it once though I’m not so sure.

One of my biggest dream is to speak Arabic. I once told my friend that the day I would be able to speak Arabic fluently, I would not stop talking. He said that is the reason why I have not learnt Arabic till now. I am sure he is wrong. Being outside sheikh Khalifa my thirst for Arabic became intense; not just so as to be able to speak but I really wanted to understand the message in the Qur’an. My recitation was fluent but apart from a few surahs, I didn’t understand most of it’s message. So I asked one of the local ustadh to teach me Arabic at the same time I found myself a mushaf with the translation. And if you thought finishing a khatm was hard try doing it with the translation. Truth be told, I’m yet to accomplish it and I am disturbed by it. Still I was glad that I not only got to recite the qur’an fluently but I could also understand what it was saying to me.

Every Ramadhan has been different to me with different meanings. I have studied specific surahs, I have used Ramadhan to quit some sins. I have done memorizations of specific surahs, supplications and hadith. I have struggled to make each Ramadhan mean something to me. And it all comes back to; Islam means progress. I have seen my progress in my meaning of this beloved Holy month, and if Allah enables me to see more Ramadhans, I pray that I find more meaning to it.

Now as a 25 year old lady I ask myself what does Ramadhan mean to me and my mind goes back to the verses of the Qur’an that I memorized a long time ago due to how much they would be repeated during this month;
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous” (2:183)
In them I get my answer. This month was meant for me to attain Taqwa. To build the strongest bond possible with my creator and as Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (Rahimatullah) said ;
“Taqwa is not praying long into the night and fasting long into the day but it is to abandon the obstacles between you and Allah (SWT).”
In other words, it is to abandon sin.

Ramadhan was meant for me to have that ultimate connection with the Qur’an. Not only by finishing multiple khatms or memorization but to be able to gain the guidance that Allah talks about when he says;
“Ramadhan is the (month) in which the Qur’an was sent down, as a guide to mankind and a clear guidance and judgement” (2:185)
So yes, Ramadhan is meant for sharing, showing love and compassion to each and every one of us, for the ummah to be united more than ever, but at an individual level, What does Ramadhan mean to you?

RAMADHAN MUBARAK. WA KULLU 3AMUN WA ANTUM BI KHEYR

By: Zale Navi

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My friends believe I will be single forever, they are not mean, don’t judge them too early. They have a reason to believe so. The check list of my dream guy, is quite surreal. I made it that way intentionally. The unrealistic check list helps me to dodge their nagging. You see, when most of your friends are married or are in some sort of a relationship and you’re not, they tend to try to give you options of a possible match for you. And so to discourage them from doing so, I make it impossible for the option to exist within their reach, at least until when I would want to find him. Sometimes, I think the reason why they would want me to be in a relationship so bad is so that I would understand them. But I do understand, I understand how it feels like to love someone more than you love yourself. This is what I feel for you.

Everyday you arrive at school at intervals of 8:20 a.m – 8:25 a.m. I arrive five minutes earlier than you, just so that I would be the first person you say hi to. I can only imagine you thinking it is a daily coincidence. Sorry for blowing up your bubble but it is more of a created, calculated and worked hard for coincidence. I pray everyday for a good day and I think The Guy Upstairs already knows, a good day for me means a glimpse of your face.

My friends would probably call me a hypocrite when they find out you are not tall, dark and handsome. They might beat me up for falling for a guy with unkempt hair. They would not understand that I am crazy for that hair and I day dream about entangling my fingers in them. They might not appreciate your smile; the reason for my accelerated heart beat, making me wonder are you the reason for my living or will you be the reason for my death. After all tachys (tachycardia) are not to be taken lightly. In your deep voice my favorite character from Avengers is brought to life, Thor. I don’t know the reason behind your dressing style, whether it is to express or depress, you never fail to impress me.


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Though creepy and absolutely crazy, I sometimes do eavesdrop into your conversations with your friends. Your witty-fullness makes me wish I was one of them. Still, I’m grateful to be among the few under your leadership; which by the way, you make it seem simple. I am in awe of how you manage to maintain respect and peace in the group. Looking at the world in our times, maintaining peace and respect is a great a accomplishment. Convincing me further that you will be the perfect companion in leading my life.

The highlight of my day is when you turn to me after explaining a concept in our group discussions and ask if I have understood. You leave me with a tingling feeling in my heart whenever you say “see you tomorrow or nice weekend” at the end of the day. And the onset for the anticipation for another chance to see you kicks in.
I have had many conversations with you in my head. Don’t worry, I have already done my research on cars; at least now I can differentiate them by other factors than colors. I however didn’t go into engines. I would rather listen to you explain that part to me. I wish you could see yourself while speaking about your love for cars. The excitement in your voice, the light in your eyes, sometimes I get jealous over it. And I hope, one day you will have a brighter glow when speaking about me.

You make thinking seem fun as you throw your pen up and catch it between your fingers in continuous motion. I don’t know if you notice it, but you have an annoying habit of smacking your lips. Well it used to disturb me, until it didn’t anymore. Now I find it cute. Whenever you are having a hard time to understand something and you mumble incoherent statements to yourself and the creases on your forehead increases twice the number, during such moments I wish I could tell you to take it slow and that it is okay to not get it sometimes.

Buddha said, and I’m paraphrasing; when you find ‘the one’, you will feel calm inside. Mostly that is how I feel whenever I’m around you. Serenity, no worries. May be it is because you’re constantly looking out for me, being the silent one in our group. I never stress over what I did not hear nor understand because you have always made sure none of us leave the discussion group empty headed. You care, and that is important trait for any human being.

It is strange and arguably unrealistic to fall in love with someone you know nothing about. To feel so strongly towards someone you only see and hardly talk to except for exchange of few words formally. May be that is so because we think of love as being hard and complicated. But love is not a vocabulary to be looked up in Oxford Dictionary; love is simple, when you see it, you know it, you feel it and most importantly want to be with the one you love.