Rays of Splendour

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Being positive is a blessing

I just completed a presentation this morning and I found myself giving a huge sigh of relief after that was done. As soon as I headed home, I did nothing but to literally just sleep.

It feels so good to be typing this with a clear and fresh mind. Those are something I have not felt in the past few days as I have been sleeping for about 2 hours nightly in my bid to clear some school-related stuff.

I was speaking to one of my classmates while walking home today who asked me what I intended to do now that my presentation was over. Her response to my answer when I told her that I wanted to catch up on sleep struck a chord in me. She said:

“Yes, you really need to catch up on sleep. Not good to be missing out on sleep you know. You will become very negative.”

To be specific, the last part of her response on how sleep deprivation can induce negative feelings and thoughts was the one that I could relate to very well.

Due to the lack of sleep in the past few days, it seemed like I’m living in an entirely different body. I am unsure of myself and my decisions in life. I see myself to be lacking in many aspects and am convinced that my presence does nothing to lift or be of benefit to the people in my life. I perceived things to be looking so bleak and have no chance of being completed or working out while at the same time, I had no desire to ensure things go right. I felt irritation or get unnecessarily worried over the slightest and minutest of things.

Suffice to say, never have I felt far removed from my normal self than I had been during the earlier part of the week and it’s all due to sleep. Of course it doesn’t help that not only was I sleep deprived but I was also having the time of the month in the past few days.

So, sleep deprived + monthly hormonal changes = magnified negativity

Honestly, it’s exhausting and saps a lot of your energy. It’s true when they say that negativity is connected to bad energy.

I’m comparing that with the present situation where I am feeling very well-rested and body’s back to the normal cycle. It’s a world of a difference. Being positive connects a person to good energy that enables them to embrace the world from a position of hope that things will be completed, it can work out, that you can do things and that your efforts to be a blessing to others will materialize into something.

If there is one thing that the conversation I had with the classmate as well as the experiences of the past few days had revealed to me, it’s that the state of being positive is one of the huge blessings in life that I tend to overlook.

See, we all pray for many things in life. Some of the things that we typically pray for is for God to grant us good health, to keep our loved ones safe, to be granted with infinite abundance in life and many more. But to ask God to grant us continued positivity in the way we embrace life? I had definitely overlooked that!

I end this entry with prayers that Allah grants goodness to me and my loved ones and that one of the goodness is the blessing of embracing life with a positive spirit. Amin.

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All affairs of the believer are good

New week and the temperatures here have begun to slowly climb up to reach the 8 Degrees Celsius region on some days.

See, plants usually begin to produce chlorophyll that is responsible for colours on their leaves at 6 Degrees Celsius. So for some days to reach a temperature higher than that means that soon, the trees will start to grow their leaves again and we will get to see spring in its full glory! *excited* Really praying hard that Allah allows me to witness this, amin!

That said, I’d like to begin this new week on a positive note. It’s a hadith that I really love and I feel sets right our attitude towards Life. One of the greatest reminders for me is that every single thing that happens to us is all good.

“Amazing is the affair of the believer, verily all of his affair is good and this is not for no one except the believer. If something of good/happiness befalls him he is grateful and that is good for him. If something of harm befalls him he is patient and that is good for him.”
(Saheeh Muslim #2999)

The Prophet pbuh is such an inspiring man isn’t he?

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What makes you, You?

I’ve always believed that our jobs shouldn’t define us. That is, if someone were to ask me to introduce myself, then the following sentence “I’m an educator” shouldn’t form the first and main part of my introduction. While our jobs take up a huge part of our daily existence and we sometimes spend more time with our colleagues and jobs than the people who truly matter, I still firmly believe that it should not entirely define us. Our jobs are what we are at that point in time but take away that role from ourselves, then these questions remain: Who are you? What makes you, You?

Those were the questions that I found myself grappling with during these first three of January. Frankly, I didn’t expect this aspect to feature itself in this transitional phase I’m experiencing. However as I stripped away the labels of an educator and a working professional – identities that had assumed a huge part of myself during the past few years – I found other parts of myself making itself more prominent than ever.

If I’m not defined by my job, then what are the aspects that makes me, Me, no matter what stage in life I am in? Some of the things I’ve ascertained so far:

My role as a Muslim, a daughter and a sister forms 100% of my identity. These identities and its accompanying responsibilities occupy all of my daily existence. This a huge reminder for me regarding the priorities in life and which aspects to never compromise no matter how preoccupied I can get with work, school or other matters.

The Quran is a book I need to connect with everyday. With God’s grace, I was re-introduced to this Book back in my teens, fell in love with it and since then, it has been a book I read on a daily basis. During those days when I’m unable to read or touch it, I feel as though something isn’t right and that a huge part of me is missing. The Quran forms a huge part of who I am and I pray that He continues blessing me with a love and opportunities to connect with it always.

Striving to achieve a better version of myself forms a huge part of my life purpose. The motivation to continuously seek to be a better version of myself stems from the belief that as a Muslim, one should seek to be progressive and to excel in whatever we do. Those are the traits that this faith inculcates through its teachings and core tenets. At the end of the day, this aspect of myself plays a huge influence on the choices I make in life as well as how I interact with the people around me.

Three things for now but that took me three weeks to truly uncover. Nevertheless, it’s been a pretty exciting three weeks of getting to know myself better and it seems like the next two years are set to raise the bar even higher.

So, what else makes me, Me?

And, what makes you, You?

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If you were to die today, how much belongings will you leave behind?

About two years ago, I made the resolve to declutter my life.

Over the course of these two years, I managed to progressively let go of a lot of non-material (won’t be discussing this in this entry) and material possessions – especially those of historical and sentimental value. Yet, I kept falling back to my old habits too. Each shelf or wardrobe space that becomes available will soon be occupied by new books or clothes – manifestations of the materialistic indulgence I tend to concede to without much fight.

I’m ashamed to admit this but the resolve to declutter remains an ongoing challenge even till today and it represents the ongoing tussle between success and failure in overcoming one of the vices in my life.

In recent times as I slowly made mental checklists of the items I would need to bring with me insyaAllah, I also found myself grappling with the following morbid (yet not entirely impossible) thought:

“If I were to pass away now, just how will the family clear all of my belongings in this room?”

(I’d also like to admit at this point in time that the thought of the people at work clearing my workstation if I were to die while I’m still employed in the workplace is one of the factors that drives me to keep my table clutter-free. Anything can happen in the world but I truly pray that this thing is not one of them, insyaAllah amin.)

This sparked off a series of introspection within me and one of them revolves around the fact that I’m spending on things I do not need.

Beyond the issues related to materialism and consumerism aside, I found it unsettling that I’m preoccupied with spending. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why I sometimes feel unfulfilled inside – it’s because I’m feeding my nafs as opposed to my soul. Despite the gratitude I feel towards the Lord for allowing me the means to purchase the items, I do acknowledge that the joy I experienced when I received a parcel for an item I bought online or offline is fleeting at best.

It seems like decluttering might not be the solution anymore and that perhaps after I’ve cleared a portion of my material possessions back then, it had ceased to be the issue even.

Rather, it is now the battle against the nafs and the answers to the following question:

“What are the things that are essential to my life whose importance I placed on it will concurrently nourish my soul and bring me closer to Him?”


What have you done with your time?

Chapter 103: Al-‘Asr
By (the Token of) Time (through the Ages),Verily Man is in loss,
Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy

Lately, I’ve been asking myself whether I’ve been utilizing my time fully. Whenever I think of time, I’ll recall the above chapter from the Quran and start feeling so ashamed of myself. Though I try to fill up my time with useful endeavours, I’m aware that I’ve given in to vices that does not add value to my life nor shape me into a better person at all.

I attended a talk some time ago (it was such a while back and I’ve truly forgotten the name of the speaker!) where the speaker mentioned several salient points pertaining to how we use our time. One of the points he mentioned which struck me was this: Man wants to be productive and master the art of managing their time however we tend to give ourselves lots of excuses so that we can procrastinate.

Take the example of a student who needs to complete his assignments. More often than not, phrases like “I’m too tired”, “There’s always tomorrow”, “This is boring” and many more are often heard. Instead of completing the assignment soon and use the rest of the time in pursuit of valuable knowledge and skills, what do our youths do? They procrastinate!

Student Syndrome

Even if a student is on task, their aim in completing the assignment (what ever happened to treating the assignment as a learning experience as opposed to one that is done just because the teacher required it?) is so that they can continue engaging in unbeneficial pursuits with an ‘ease of mind’. Our youths who are replete with vibrancy and energy are sadly wasting their time by spending hours watching shows online, playing games and many more. The same goes for working adults, parents and others too. Amid our daily responsibilities, we will always be able to ‘successfully’ come up with a ‘sensible excuse’ not to devote even 15 minutes (exercise, anyone?) to something meaningful. It’s no wonder that our youths are wasting time – they are emulating us adults too.

The Prophet s.a.w. once said that “There are two blessings that most people lose: Health and spare time” (Bukhari, 8/421). These are extremely wise words. How many of us takes good care of our health and use our time wisely when we are healthy? Did you spend that 2 hours of free time you had earlier in the day doing something meaningful or did you spend it chatting or laughing in front of the black box?

I was just thinking to myself the other day that I’m currently 29. I’ll be 30 in my next birthday. What exactly have I done with my time which I could be proud of? Have I taken care of my body? Spent time to know more about this world? Acquired a valuable skill? Done righteous deeds? Used time for Allah swt? If I were to pass away today and God asks how I had spent my time on Earth, will I stand shamefully before Him with my head lying low knowing that I’d not appreciated the time He had given me or would it be otherwise?