August 8

Please Send My Son Back!

A poor couple who lived in a small village in Pakistan. They had only one son, so they gave him the best education. The son graduated as an Engineer in the nearby city.

Eventually, he got married to a rich girl. Initially, they lived with his parents in the village. Soon the wife got tired of village life and persuaded the husband to move to the city leaving the old parents in the village.

As time went, the husband saw an advert in the newspaper about a vacancy in Jeddah. He applied and was successful. He lived in Jeddah for years with his wife. Regularly he used to send money to parents. Eventually with time he stopped and forgot about his parents ever existed.

Every year, he performed Hajj, but immediately after that he used to see someone telling him in a dream that his Hajj is not accepted.

One day he related the story to a pious Aalim who advised him to go back to Pakistan to visit his parents. The man flew to Pakistan and reached the boundary of the village. Everything had changed. He could not find his house.

He asked a small boy about the whereabouts of so and so. The little boy directed the man to a house and said: “In this house lives an old blind lady who lost her husband a few months ago. She has a son who migrated to Saudi Arabia years back and never came back again. What an unfortunate man?”

The son enters the home and finds his mother on the bed. He tip-toed as not to wake her up. He hears the mother whispering or mumbling something. He gets closer to hear her voice. This is what the mother was saying:

“Ya Allah! I am now very old and blind. My husband just died. There is no Mahram (near relative) to lower me in my grave when I die. So please send my son back to fulfill my last wish”.

The moral of this dua is that the sincere DUA of a every mother is accepted.

“O Son, love your mom till the end of your life. The lady who suffered so much pain just to give you a beautiful life!”

August 3

15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

Here is a list of 15 things that can make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – we cling on to them instead of letting them all go, depriving ourselves to be stress free and happy. Embrace change by:

1. GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO ALWAYS BE RIGHT-

There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

2. GIVE UP YOUR NEED FOR CONTROL-

Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu

3. GIVE UP ON BLAME-

Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.

4. GIVE UP YOUR SELF-DEFEATING SELF-TALK-

Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle

5. GIVE UP YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS-

About what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!

“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle

6. GIVE UP COMPLAINING-

Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, many things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

7. GIVE UP THE LUXURY OF CRITICISM-

Give up your need to criticise things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.

8. GIVE UP YOUR NEED TO IMPRESS OTHERS-

Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.

9. GIVE UP YOUR RESISTANCE TO CHANGE-

Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” Joseph Campbell

10. GIVE UP LABELS-

Stop labelling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer

11. GIVE UP ON YOUR FEARS-

Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

12. GIVE UP YOUR EXCUSES-

Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.

13. GIVE UP THE PAST-

I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.

14. GIVE UP ATTACHMENT-

This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another, attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.

15. GIVE UP LIVING YOUR LIFE TO OTHER PEOPLE’S EXPECTATIONS-

Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves. You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

Reference:

http://www.klove.com/blog/jd/post/2012/05/15/15-Things-You-Should-Give-Up-To-Be-Happy.aspx

July 25

Reflections:

He sends down water from the clouds, then valleys flow (with water) according to their measure, and the torrent bears along the swelling foam, and from what they melt in the fire for making ornaments or apparatus arises a similar scum; thus does Allah compare truth and falsehood; then as for the scum, it passes away as a worthless thing, and as for that which profits people, it stays on the earth, thus does Allah set forth parables. (13:17)

This fascinating verse of the Holy Qur’an is full of meaning and depth. The example that Allah gives in this verse is that of the rain which falls on the earth. Different parts of the earth accept it according to their capacity. The water then flows along, with foam forming on top. This foam is similar to the scum produced when metal is melted. Allah likens the foam and the scum to falsehood, while the water that remains and is beneficial to human beings is likened to truth.

Pondering over this verse reveals many hidden meanings. Through this parable Almighty Allah wants us to realise the difference between truth and falsehood. Using an example that everyone can see, the Almighty points out simple facts that we often overlook and ignore. How many of us have seen the foam forming over water, and dismissed it as just worthless dirt! To us nature is to be seen and enjoyed, and perhaps seen as a proof of the existence of a Creator. But in this verse Allah asks us to go beyond that. He wants us to derive insights from observing the foam and scum produced in nature.

One teacher of the Holy Qur’an described his fascination with this verse in a lesson saying that he actually went out once when it was raining, and observed as the water fell on the earth. He followed the path of the water as it flowed, and watched as the foam began to swell. He had never observed the phenomena with such thoughtful eyes before. He saw the foam rise and gush forward, but saw it settle down as the water flowed to flatter surfaces. Eventually the foam disappeared and the water calmed down. Such, he realised, was the transient nature of falsehood.

Commentators of the Holy Qur’an have given many points when talking about this verse. Some of these points are summarised below:

  1. The rain falls equally on the surfaces of the earth, but the acceptance and absorption by the ground depends on the ground quality. Some soil will absorb enough water for growth, and the water turns it into a fertile place. Other types of soil will not have the capacity to absorb much, and will remain barren. Such is the example of Divine revelation and the human heart. The wisdom and guidance from the Almighty comes for everyone, but each human being accepts and derives benefit from it according to his capacity.

  2. Truth and falsehood are sometimes difficult to distinguish. Often, falsehood is disguised as a form of truth, and has many advocates who will vouch for it. This point is especially true in today’s modern world, where truth and falsehood in moral and ethical issues are often indistinguishable. In the verse above, the Almighty gives us the following signs to identify truth and falsehood:

a) Truth is always useful and beneficial. Like the flowing water that is a source of life, truth gives life and spirit to everything it comes into contact with. Falsehood on the other hand, is useless and superfluous. The foam on top of the water does not quench any thirst, nor cause any greenery to grow. It has no benefit for the human being.

b) Falsehood is always on top, making a lot of noise and movement. It invites attention and seems large, but like the foam is empty inside. Truth is humble, quiet, and content to stay at the bottom. It has weight and value, and does not need to attract attention to be worthy. Imam Ali (a) says: Truth is heavy and wholesome, while falsehood is light and bitter.

c) Truth is strong and always depends on itself. It is often used as a support. Imam Ali (a) says: Truth is the strongest support. Falsehood depends on others to exist. It tries to disguise itself in the dress of truth, and use it to support itself.

  1. Truth will always overcome falsehood, even if it takes some time. Those who have neither patience nor wisdom to know that this will eventually be the outcome are deceived by falsehood. Wise people however, are content to wait. They know that truth will ultimately emerge the winner. Almighty Allah says in Surat al-Anbiya: Nay! We cast the truth against the falsehood, so that it breaks its head, and lo! It vanishes. (21:18). The foam may be strong for a while, but will eventually disappear.

  2. When the water calms down and enters a flat area, the foam subsides and soon disappears. Clear and pure water then becomes visible. When human beings become tranquil and are ready to see the truth, the falsehood on top of the truth subsides and disappears. Truth, in all its purity, is then recognised and accepted.

The above verse of the Holy Qur’an is a beautiful example of how human beings can learn much from nature. It is an eye-opener, reminding us to walk on earth with eyes and ears open for understanding. It is a great loss if we pass by such wonderful lessons of nature, seeing them but not really understanding them. That is why the Almighty reminds us often in the Holy Qur’an to ponder over creation; Surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alteration of the night and the day, there are signs for a people who understand. (3:190)

Sources

Ayatullah Nasir Makarim Shirazi (ed.), Tafsire Namune

Agha Muhsin Qara’ati Kashani, Tafsire Noor

Muhammad al-Ray Shahree, Mizanul Hikmah

The Academy for learning Islam

Reflections: Issue # 16 April 2012

January 29

Coffee Bean

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, she was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil.

In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘Tell me, what do you see?’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.

The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked,
‘What does it mean, mother?’

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting.

However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavour.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?