Rays of Splendour


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What would I do without Him?

Before I embark full steam ahead with the presentations, term papers and exams in the next two weeks, I figured it will be good to take some time to pen down moments when I felt His presence more than I usually do. These past few weeks, I felt His presence so strongly and I pray that this feeling continues.

For many months now, I knew that my money would not last till end-November. No matter how many times I re-calculated my budget, the numbers kept telling me that no matter how much I cut down on my expenses, I just would not have any money left to pay for the rent, food, transport, and any another expenses for December.

For a few weeks and as November finally rolled along, I found myself getting worried. I prayed so hard for God to give me some miracle, to help me in some way…. ANY way. There were many moments when I found myself reduced to tears for I felt helpless.

Yet, I kept telling myself over and over again not to give in, that Allah is all-merciful and things could change for the better. Concurrently, Surah Ar-Rahman and Al-A’la were the two chapters from the Quran that kept calling to me. They were my staple reads for the past few weeks for reading these two surahs gave me a sense of calmness inside and made me remember how Allah is the most Merciful, Generous, and Most-High. That with Him lies the start and end to all Creations. That He can create something from nothing. That all Miracle lies in His Hands. That no one lifts the heart better than He does and He lifts the heart of those who remembers Him.

It was during one such moment back in November when I felt Him create for me something from nowhere and lifted my heart tremendously in the process. On that Tuesday November morning, I accessed my school email only to be greeted with an email from the people at the dormitory that a vacancy for a double room. Apparently, the vacancy has opened up and I could move in during that week once I’ve settled the payment and health checks.

I kept re-reading the email thinking that I’d understood wrongly but nope, I didn’t! The email was indeed an announcement for a space at the dormitory! It’s a Godsent email: moving into the dormitory meant that the previous financial worries I had would be gone. I would now have the money to pay for the December expenses! Alhamdulillah!

Hence, I accepted it even though the concept of living with a roommate, having the toilet in a separate location from the shower room, and a shared kitchen with the whole level of students living in the dorm did not really appeal to me. I told myself that I do not have a choice if I still wanted a roof over my head during the cold December winter, that Allah must’ve given the room to me because He knew I could live in it.

Keeping a positive frame of mind helped tremendously and before I knew it, I had already done my first round of moving into the dorm. Since I could live in the apartment I’ve been living in for the past few months till 2 December, I do not intend to move into the dorm until my lease is over. Thus, I had merely been slowly moving my things to the dorm bit-my-bit.

However, no matter how much I tried to psyche myself up for dorm life, I am still uncomfortable with it. I still remembered vividly that Monday afternoon last week when I was texting my family telling them how unhappy I was with the shared living arrangements, how difficult it was to cook as it’s a non-halal kitchen, how I had to go outside to get my laundry done, how I’ll have to store away at the Dorm Office all my appliances like the rice cooker and heater, how small the space I had left for prayers was, and how I would not be able to recite the Quran for I would not want to disturb the roommate.

It was then that I experienced another miracle. Another email came in and this time from the people at the graduate student apartment telling me that they have a vacancy and I could move in from 2 December onwards.

MasyaAllah! This was the apartment that I had applied back in August 2015 before I even started school and have been on the waiting list forever. It has it’s own kitchen, toilet, washing machine, fridge, … everything I need to live comfortable. For a vacancy to open up now and for me to be able to move in only on 2 December which was when the lease to my previous apartment was up…. MasyaAllah. The timing.

I’m really blown away by His perfect timing.

Most of all, I’m made to realize yet again that He’s there. He’s always there listening, looking out for us and planning the best for us. It’s just that us, being the ungrateful slave that we are, tend to be heedless of Him.

This is a reminder for myself first that others: What would I do without Him?


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Thanking Him for the health

I’ve been puzzled over how I’ve not been feeling my best physically over the past few weeks. I’ve always been one of those people who are up and about as soon as I wake up in the morning and only giving in to rest after I have ended the day.

However these few weeks, I just feel physically different inside. For someone who usually wakes up from sleep before fajr and have been doing so for years, I find that it’s a bit challenging for me to wake up so early these days. It’s like the sleep – which coincidentally would be filled with lots of dreaming and this again is unlike my usual sleep where I hardly ever dream – did nothing to recharge my body.

When I’m finally up, it’s like there is a spark that seemed to be missing inside me that usually gets me all excited and brimming with unbridled energy to face the day ahead. Instead, I feel a relative sense of physical weakness at the prospect of getting through the day.

Like, what gives? Is it because of the lack of exercise? Is it due to something lacking in my diet (for now, the only thing missing from my diet is meat and I’ve been sustaining only on veggies and seafood)? Must I start taking some vitamins now? Is it some change in hormones? Or could it just be due to the change in seasons that had affected even the change in the body?

Anyway tonight while surfing, I came across the following which I felt resonates with what I’ve been thinking about. It’s true isn’t it? Only when you don’t have it – and in my case, not feeling in the best condition as before – that one starts realizing how blessed we’ve been health-wise all this while.

“The best that you have to thank Allah (swt) day and night for, and we are not thinking about it, and we are not thanking, and those who did not get it, still have to thank Allah (swt), but for us who are the majority, we have to thank Him every moment, shukr, shukr, thank Him for the health that He gave to us!

If you cut your finger you feel pain, and you cannot take that pain so you take so many medicines to stop it. And Allah (swt) gave human beings health, there are so many that don’t have it. Go to hospital and look, see the difference between what Allah (swt) gave you and what He gave to them. O Muslims thank Allah!”
Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

That said, I still feel utter gratitude for my current state of health. For at least, I’m able to do numerous things and to do them very comfortably. Alhamdulillah. Those are huge blessings already.


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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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Wk 12/104

“Oh Allah, provide me with Your love and the love of those whose love will benefit with You. Oh Allah, whatever you provided to me of the things I love, make them a source of strength for me in pursuing what You love. Oh Allah, and whatever you kept away from me of the things that I crave, make their absence free up time that I can devote to whatever You love.”
Sunan at-Tirmidhi, #3413

Unlike the previous Seoul Weekly Highlights, Week 12’s will be slightly different. Though I found myself engaged in several activities that formed the highlights of my week, I won’t be blogging about that. This is because I feel that they’re all connected to the dua above and this seems to have overwhelmed all the small little activities I’ve been occupying myself with during the week.

Upon retrospection, it seemed like I started and ended Week 12 with that dua. It was during one of those mornings spent on the prayer mat that I found myself thinking to God and asking Him why He created the love in the first place if it makes the heart feel such void when the people you love are absent from your life.

As I thought and ruminated over that, my mind got reminded of this prayer I read at one point in my life. While the context where this prayer is now made is different than previously, the core of the issue remains the same: What are the role of people in our lives if they are going to be absent after leaving an impact in it?

Armed with this prayer, I found Week 12 unfolding in a different manner from previous weeks. It is a week that saw me engaging in lots of activities that seemed to fill a portion of the void left by the absence of people who mean a lot to me.

By the end of the week, I do still feel the void. However, I also found myself at a point where I’m reaching a level of acceptance about that. This is because through the time I spent engaging with the world outside me, I am somehow led to some conclusions about why God places and removes people from your life, whether temporarily or permanently.

In its essence, people are never meant to stay in your life. At any point in our lives, people would leave either through their own volition or involuntarily like in the instance of death. For every moment when a person ceased to be part of your life, the contrasting message – that God remains – seems to be conveyed loud and clear and I feel that this is part of the mercy of Allah. Through their absence, it gives a person ample opportunities to realize and turn to the One whom by His will, existence came into being. It is also in that moment that a person realizes that the one hand he should hold firmly at all times is God’s.

I read in a hadith once that Allah divides His mercy into 100 parts. Out of this 100, He has kept 99 parts to Himself and sent down one part of the mercy to Earth. It is because of this 1/100 part that He has sent to all the creations on earth that mercy and other feelings associated to it like love, compassion, generosity, kindness and many more exists between us.

So that love we have for our parents, grandparents, siblings and friends; the love between a mother and her child, or the one between a husband and his wife; even the love one has for His other creations like towards the animals or plants. All these are manifestations of that part of the mercy which He has blessed us with.

With that in mind, I figured that perhaps at the end of the day, the point is not to question why we felt the love in the first place but rather, to embrace that feeling as one which insyaAllah, comes from Him. Afterall at its core, that feeling is one borne out of the mercy of Allah.

So on that note, will end this entry here. At the end of the day and despite the theme of this entry, I’m allright. I’m still looking at things positively for I believe, all affairs of a believer are good. 🙂


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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

7_10

“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:

6_103
“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.