Rays of Splendour


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Owner of calmness and tranquility

“It is He who sent down the calmness and tranquility into the hearts of believers, that they may grow more in faith, from their (present) Faith. The forces of the heavens and earth belong to Allah; He is All-knowing, All-wise.”
Al-Fath, 48:4

One of the things I try to do every morning and pray that Allah makes it easy for me to do is to start my day with the Quran.  Typically, I’d read one of the surahs that is said to grant us ease in our provisions throughout the day, insyaAllah. These would namely be either Surah Al-Waqiah, Surah Al-Fajr, Surah Asy-Syams or Surah Ad-Dhuha.

Sometimes due to reasons unknown to me, my heart would be compelled to read another surah to start my morning. Today was one such day. As I sat holding my Quran and pondering which of the four surahs to read, I found my heart being led to Surah Al-Fath (The Opening). I didn’t think much of the deviation from the usual morning reads, went ahead to locate the surah in my Quran and proceeded to read it. Though I felt the need to go through the transliteration so I’d sort of know what I had read, I did not do that as I had to get ready for school.

Then tonight (and I believe this is His hands working behind the scenes and guiding me to it), I was guided to an Instagram posting that highlighted one of the verses from Surah Al-Fath as stated at the beginning of this blog entry.

To put things into context, moments before being led to that transliteration of the verse, I had been asking myself what I could do to cheer someone up. How do I help to uplift a person’s spirit when his heart and mind is not at ease?

The verse is a huge reminder for me that in asking that question and no matter how pure my intentions were, I had forgotten that calmness and tranquility belongs to God and it is He who grants it. At the end of the day, our efforts to help a person uplift himself simply represents nothing more than the medium that facilitates God’s giving of calmness and tranquility into the hearts of His people.

From guiding my heart to read the surah this morning, to presenting right before my eyes the verse that I was supposed to note even when I had neglected to make the effort to read the transliteration, and then planting the seeds of realization within me on how any matters of the heart is within His purview… MasyaAllah. How generous He has been!

With regard to my earlier question on how I could help uplift a person who needs lots of cheering? I’ve found my answer. It is as simple as to ask the Creator who created the heart and all the feelings it possessed to, by His Will insyaAllah, grant calmness and tranquility into it.

And to you dear soul who needs that peace of mind and heart with everything that’s going on in your life right now? That verse is for you too. Keep asking the One who owns calmness and tranquility to grant those in your life. Have faith also that whatever you’re going through right now is His way to elevate you towards a higher station in His eyes. That’s the promise from the All-knowing and All-wise. Hold on to that.


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Right where you’re meant to be

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Al-Imran, 3:191

I’d like to begin this last published entry for 2015 with a verse that I deemed to be my verse of the year. Sometimes there is that one surah that demands and commands all my attention. It’s all my heart beats for and something I can relate to on both the spiritual and non-spiritual levels. Sometimes it is that one verse that keeps tugging at my heart.  This year for some unknown reason, Surah Furqan (The Criterion) as well as the last ten verses of Surah Al-Imran seem to reach out to me more than normal and they’re the ones I keep reading and going back to over and over again.

In the latter, the above verse is one of the last 10 verses of this surah that stands out for me due to the great reminder it offers me.

See, along the course of this one year, I had asked God so many why-s. Why did He make me go through this? Why did he make me experience that? Why, why why?

Don’t get me wrong. The reason for asking so many “why-s” isn’t because I was angry at God or unable to accept His decree. Rather, it is because I firmly believe that everything that happens has a purpose and my endless “why-s” are simply a way in which I essentially wonder the purpose behind something that had occured.

In verse 191, He mentions that “Men who celebrate the praises of Allah standing sitting and lying down on their sides and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth (with the thought): “Our Lord! Not for naught have You created (all) this! Glory to You! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire“.

“Not for naught have You created this”. That is a powerful reminder for me that He has created everything with a purpose. Every event and experience that we encounter has a purpose. Our failures, any denials, any rewards, from the big to the small things, anyone that you lost, anyone that came into your life, the sadness, the happiness, anything.  There is purpose in everything.

As I am blogging this I’m thinking to myself that regardless of the purpose, I hope I always remember that I’m right where I needed to be and it is exactly as He planned it to be.

And sometimes, that’s all that matters – to accept that we’re right where we’re meant to be.


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It started with 2 Euros

Ever since a trip I made to Italy about two years back, I found myself developing a thing for bracelets/bangles.

During that trip, I bought my first bracelet in Venice. It cost only 2 Euros and frankly speaking, I don’t even know why I bought it.

That 2 Euros bracelet somehow sealed the deal. For when I returned from Italy and after wearing that bracelet out for the first time, I saw how a simple accessory can transform the look of an outfit from plain (my default look) to one that looks more presentable. Since then, my collection of bracelets/bangles have slowly increased.

Then recently, I find myself having a thing for these statement pieces. The fact that it adds a twinge of difference from the normal bracelets/bangles aside, the words on these statement pieces serve as a reminder for me (especially the one on “Be Present”!) on some of the values I hold dear as the daily life unfurl.

Not for the first time, I’m thinking this: At the end of the day once we’ve stripped away the layers of complexities (for example, your definition of success, how human relationships should pan out, the notion of Power, etc) that we’ve somehow created for ourselves when it comes to Life, Life essentially has some core tenets attached to it. Tenets that, if we remember, will anchor us firmly even through the toughest of times.

For me at the present stage in my life, these core tenets to Life are gratitude, being present in Life and to recognize that Allah is central to every aspect of Life.

In the latter, I find that during those quiet times when I ruminate about the blessings He has given me – both good and bad – I realize that I am nothing and have not created anything. Everything happened and was created because He allows it to. Even the ibadah. It’s humbling, truly, to realize that the prayer you made was only possible because He had made you remember that it’s time to pray, willed it in your heart that you want to pray, and also to create the conditions that enabled the prayer to be completed. MasyaAllah.

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His grand design

Recently, I read through some of the entries I had posted in this blog. One of the entries I made in March 2013 caused me to pause and reflect a bit.

In that entry, I had blogged about how I suddenly had the intention to perform the umrah. I hadn’t known it back then but more than a year later in December 2014, Allah swt had arranged for me to spend a small portion of my life towards performing the umrah.

As I recalled the events leading up to the umrah, the pilgrimage itself and its end (alhamdulillah), I find myself being floored by the precision in which He enabled all these. His arrangement had encapsulated many aspects – ensuring the provision to pay for the umrah, granting the good health, knowledge as well as time to complete the journey, assigning the parents who are the best companions I could have for the small pilgrimage, and according me with experienced people to guide me on my first umrah at every step of the way. These are just some examples that went into His grand design of things but truly if I were to enumerate it all, I’ll be unable to do so.

The thing is that, I didn’t realize the precision behind His planning till only recently. Though I often tout that Allah swt is the best of planners, it only occurred to me in recent times that I had never stopped to properly analyse and be awed by His artful manoeuvrings in Life.

But masyaAllah, once you start analysing that one significant event that occurred in your life, you will realize the mind-blowing complexities and detail that underlie His grand design. Importantly, I realize that Allah swt does not set your life in motion without first bestowing you with the necessary provisions to get through it.

However as the participant in His plans, most times we tend to overlook the instruments that He has equipped us with. In some cases we do not just overlook but in fact, fail to recognise their existence and end up fumbling through the journey quite unsure how to proceed or worse, the destination we’re headed.

As I’m writing this, I hope that it serves as a reminder to myself that as a participant in His design, I might not be able to see the macro picture. I acknowledge that there are countless instances in which I even failed to recognise the tools He has provided me. However if I were to exercise patience as Life unfolds and let myself be guided by the course that He has set out for me, then perhaps I’ll be more cognizant of things and hopefully once a particular scheme is completed will I then get to see a better picture as opposed to the constant “why-s” and “how-s” that dogged the journey as it unravels.

And currently as questions of “How do I support myself for two years if I’m not working” and “Where do I get the money if I don’t work for two years” increasingly becomes a loud chatter and as doubt starts to creep into my mind regarding the rationality of my decision every time I think about starting school yet again, I think it is high time I give myself these two reminders as well:

  1. He does not create without first giving His creations all the provisions they need in order to survive
  2. He is the best of planners


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Ramadan Day 2: Everything is from Him

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“It is We who have placed you with authority on earth, and provided you therein with means for the fulfillment of your life: small are the thanks that you give!”

Al-A’raf, Chapter 7, Verse 10

Reading this verse took me back to a time back when I was a teenager. I vividly recalled being 14-years-old at that time and grappling with the question of “Why am I here?“.

Back then and without the light of faith guiding me, I had questioned the purpose of my existence. I couldn’t conceive of the logic behind being born (Why me? Why was I born in Singapore, as a girl, a Muslim, to this particular family, at this particular time and not as say, a boy, a British, a non-Muslim, or even back in the 1700s? Why this identity, why this life and at this time? Is it all a coincidence?), going through the normal life cycle of growing up, earning a living, getting married, having children, growing old and then to die.

In retrospect, I’m quite thankful that Allah swt protected me from going astray with those questions because based on what I’ve seen of life thus far, it is precisely these questions that could potentially establish deep cynicism of the existence of God and push someone away from Him.

Now almost two decades later and when I came across the aforementioned verse again, I realized that the answers to my questions reside in this particular verse.

I’m here because He has placed the authority for me to be here. Perhaps the wisdom behind it is still too complex for me to comprehend but that aside and if I were to look at the larger picture, I would realize that He has placed me here with everything that I need in order to live.

The point is to be grateful for this life and His blessings. It is the only thing that we have and it is our responsibility to navigate it so that we can be the best person we can be for Him, our Creator, given the things that He has equipped us with and the term in life each of us have been appointed.

Sometimes, we tend to question things. That’s allright as long as at the end of the day, our questions lead us to the realization of the immense mercy and blessings that He has endowed upon us without us even asking for it instead of driving us towards heedlessness. And that at the end of the day, everything that we are and have right now – including the life whose purpose we question over and over again – comes from Him for if He hasn’t allowed it in the first place, we wouldn’t even be here right now.


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Ramadan Day 1: How well do you know Him?

Whenever the month of Ramadan approaches, it’s been a habit of mine to do the following things:

  1. Make lots of doa that Allah swt will grant me the opportunity to experience yet another Ramadan
  2. To ponder upon a goal(s) that I want to achieve during the month of Ramadan

With respect to point number two, I found that I still couldn’t pinpoint an exact thing that truly captures my heart even when Ramadan officially started yesterday. It was only after I was done with the fajr prayers that I found it.

‘It‘ being to write my reflections on a verse(s) that struck a chord in me as I read the Quran this Ramadan. I figured that for this month, it would be good to do this as a step-up from what I usually do – to simply read the Quran and its transliteration but only dedicating a minute portion of time contemplating its Messages which is technically more important.

I’d like to clarify from the onset that these contemplations would be on how the verses reach my consciousness based on merely its transliteration and not on the more appropriate means like considering the occasion of revelation, the usage of a certain word as opposed to others, and many more. The latter is something I’m not qualified to do.

As I start to embark on this particular goal, I’m also aware that I may not be able to commit fully for 30 days straight. It is a tall order to jump from blogging sporadically and only when I felt like it to suddenly doing it everyday for a month!

Hence, I’ve since lowered my expectations for this particular goal and decided to merely blog about the verse on days when I really do not feel like writing a reflection on it and, should I feel like writing one, it would be something that is concise As long as there is an archive of the verses that struck a chord with me this Ramadan or a short reflection of a few sentences stored somewhere for me to read in future, I guess that is sufficient for now.

And so to end off this blog entry and to kick-start the journey towards achieving this Ramadan goal, I’m going to share one verse which caused me to pause, ponder and left me humbled for a while today:

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“No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet He is acquainted with all things.”

Al-An’am, Chapter 6, Verse 103

This verse reminds me of how Allah has the absolute power and reigns supreme in this universe. It also reminds me of how whatever knowledge I have about Him – or rather, what I thought I knew and understood of Him – is only what He has allowed to be unveiled to me.

This then begs the questions: What/Who is God to me? How else can I seek to know Him better?

This consequently made me realize how much effort I had spent on understanding and getting to know my family, close friends, acquaintances, colleagues and others but not Allah swt.

My priorities are totally skewed. Instead of spending more time to know Allah swt on a more intimate level daily, I’ve instead spent a disproportionate amount of time to aggravate myself emotionally as well as mentally on understanding others (whose relationship with me are, at the end of the day, transient in nature) but Him (whose relationship with me will endure even after my death). There should hence be more balance when it comes to forging a relationship between these two aspects.

I pray that Allah swt eases our effort and lifts these veils so that we will be able to get to know Him on a deeper level, amin.


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If you left Earth to meet God, would you come back?

This afternoon, I received an email with the subject line that says ‘If you left Earth to meet God, would you come back?‘. That header left me stumped for a while as it offered me a new perspective that I hadn’t considered before.

To put things into context, that email was actually an advertisement for an upcoming public lecture by Shaykh Ahmad Saad on the phenomenon of the Prophet’s pbuh night journey and ascent to Heaven. That journey, commonly known as the Isra’ Mi’raj, is observed on 27 Rejab (27th day of the seventh month in the Islamic calendar) and it marks an event where Allah swt takes the Prophet pbuh on a journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and eventually, Heaven.

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I’ve been related the story and the circumstances that led to this miraculous journey for quite a fair bit and each time I hear it being told again, I’m still as awed as I was the previous time I heard it. For now, I’m not going to go into the whole varying opinions of scholars on whether it is a physical journey or a spiritual experience. I feel that the technicalities aside, one should focus on the core messages and learning behind the journey which are far more important and enduring than debates on the nature of the journey.

For instance, one of the most moving lessons I derived from this journey is how loving and merciful the Lord is. The journey occurred at a time when the Prophet pbuh faced extreme adversity and hardship. During that year, the Prophet’s pbuh saw the passing of his beloved wife, Khadijah, as well as uncle, Abu Talib. It was also the year when the Muslim community in Makkah faced increasing harassment and oppression. Thereafter while seeking asylum at a nearby city, the Prophet pbuh received mockery for preaching the Message and was even driven out of that place.

Thus in light of these events, one of the most profound effects that the miraculous night journey had on the Prophet pbuh was to comfort and lift his heart. I don’t know about you but when I try to envision the situation from the Prophet’s perspective where I’m in a position where I faced the personal loss of people whom I love and concurrently, having to also deal with the oppression, resentment and negativities for preaching the Message, I would definitely feel very lousy inside. Then if in that moment when I’m feeling truly down, God Himself – the one whose Message I’m conveying to the people – lets me see the true beauty of the Message and all it entails as well as having the previous Prophets before me giving me advice, I’ll be motivated and uplifted. Hence in this aspect, the loving and merciful nature of God is one I gleaned from the journey. Of course I can never begin to even feel 1% of the emotions the Prophet pbuh must be feeling but the point I’m trying to make here is that the Lord comforts.

This journey is also a reminder of how we should place our reliance only on Allah swt alone. In moments when we are down or weak, we should have faith that He will come to rescue us from that condition; that with God, there is always a way out. Like how the Prophet pbuh exercised great patience and unfailing belief in Allah swt in the face of adversity, that too should be something we emulate in our lives.

Very often in the throes of our sadness or disappointment or when we face one challenge after another, we forget that the only One who can lift us again like none other could is Him. Sometimes, we get so lost in our emotions and the situation that we have difficulties getting back up again. However the reality is that not only is He able to lift us again, He also knows the exact thing to do to comfort and help us.

There are many other messages and learning as well however I realized that the one aspect which I’d neglected to consider out of this whole journey is this: After being taken to Heaven, how did the Prophet pbuh feel at the prospect of having to come back to Earth?

I wondered about myself too: If I left Earth to meet God, would I come back? This question speaks to me on two levels.

1) What is the degree of my attachment to this world?
2) How prepared am I for the eventual meeting with Him – that is, death?

It is at these moments that I start to realize just how inadequate I am in terms of obedience and submission to Him. It’s humbling, really, to reflect and realize these inadequacies.

Regardless, it’s better to realize this now then later, right? Realizing it now also means we can then take immediate steps to correct and improve ourselves in our journey to Him.

I pray that Allah keeps us in the shade of His faith, love and mercy always. Amin.

P.S. If you are keen to attend the public lecture mentioned earlier, below is more information about it:

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