Connect with us

#Life

A Ribbon of Mercy

Drama Mama

I believe in the divine plan. I do. I have read up on Islamic eschatology. I know that the current climate of strife and warfare and persecution of Muslims is a central part of the narrative around the end of times. For all that to happen, I believe all this has to happen. I believe in His wisdom and His mercy. I believe, ultimately, justice will prevail.

And so, no, I’m not feeling hopeless. I don’t belong to the caravan of despair. But, sitting in my little corner of the universe, caring for my three children, as the news comes in from all quarters, I am feeling many other things. Confused. Frustrated. Grieving. Overwhelmed. Lonely.

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

I know Allah is ever Watchful, ever Present. He is watching all this unfold but the controlly human part of me kind of sometimes wishes He would let me in on the Plan. It’s lonely not knowing what’s going to happen next. “Come on!” I think indignantly…only to be immediately awash with shame, “I’m sorry. Thank you, thank you. Forgive me.”

Every morning, as soon as I wake up I check alternative sources of news to bring myself up to speed with  Syria. And Palestine. Kashmir. Paris. The list is endless but I can’t bring myself not to know. I can’t look away. I look and then I am struck with the urge to do something, anything. But what is a non-activist, non-scholar, stay at home mom like me to do?

During lighter moments, I consider going on a total sugar detox because it seems like a nice little exercise in self discipline, just the kind of thing a young mother living in Dubai should be engaging in to deal with the anarchy overtaking mankind, but then I realize that it’s the chocolate that gets me through the day and I need to get through the day. The two little Kisses I eat with my afternoon coffee.

Little pleasures, little rituals, little comforts, little mercies, so necessary for survival.

Do you remember in that film The Last Samurai, how Tom Cruise was so impressed with the disciplined immersion the Japanese gave to their every task. So that making tea was a ceremony. Writing out the alphabet was a solemn affair. It was because when you are so immersed in carrying out a ritual, you comfort yourself and you lose yourself. I thought of that this morning as I spent an inordinate amount of time decorating the children’s French toasts with strawberries and whipped cream. This was after reading an update on Paris and feeling frustrated that yet another nuclear-bomb proof passport had been discovered. French toasts felt appropriate…they are the closest I get to honoring France and they aren’t even french. Yikes.

Such is the state of mind then: Muddled.

But, you know what I like? I like that we can be muddled! We can be ridiculously expansive and shamelessly small in our conversations with Him. So that I can plead for the betterment of humanity and in the next breath pray that I not get any more chin hairs. I like that there is no enforced hierarchy in the expression of our desires. We are free to be as random and lost and confused as we want. Furthermore, I like that being totally random and lost and confused is a God-approved state to be in.
Confusion and not understanding what’s going on is part of the package called mankind. God has said this to us so often, one could be forgiven for imagining His loving exasperation: I know. You do not know. I’m All Wise. You are most certainly not. I’m the Best Planner. You are not. In a nutshell: You just won’t get it so don’t try.

See? God-approved confusion.

But, even if you’re totally lost and confused or BECAUSE you’re totally lost and confused, there’s plenty to do:

Take care of yourself.  Self-care is God-ordered and God-approved. Thread little ribbons of mercy through the holes of your day. Take a walk under the open sky. Use fresh bedsheets as frequently as possible. Read. Smile when you make eye contact with someone. Make eye contact. Hug people you like, and hug them properly. Buy a box of raspberries and eat it all in one go. Say the word “home” at least once a day. Go without saying the word “tired” for a whole day. Rub peppermint cream on your feet. Laugh. Breathe properly cuz that will revive you. Say thank you. That’s just good manners. Remove your chin hair. That’s just good sense.

Take care of others. Hold the door open. Pick up the litter. Pay for the coffee of the person behind you. Send a box of cupcakes just because. Put your phone down and really listen. Extend a hand. Offer a ride. Go out of your way. Say sorry. Forgive. Try to understand. See the effort. Celebrate the journey. Help.

shutterstock_315681173

Eleven years ago, when my niece was just learning to walk, she would tightly grip the hands of her parents on both sides of her and stumble forward as best as she could. In a few days, she graduated to holding on to their pinkies. After that, she only needed to hold someone on the one side and her other hand swung free. Soon, we began to suspect that she could walk all by herself, so steady was she on her feet, but she refused to try and promptly sat down if we took away the security finger. My sister, in an effort to bring a little distance between her and her need for an outward source of stability took a 10 inch piece of ribbon. The idea was that the baby would hold one end of the ribbon, Mumma would hold the other end and provide support as needed. My niece took to the idea and continued to try to walk. Soon, we took a longer piece of ribbon, putting more distance between us and her, meaning she was increasingly walking using her own balance. (she was the first grandchild, so yes, we were all quite invested in these little things of her babydom). Then we took longer and longer pieces. Eventually, the ribbon was long enough that it was trailing on the ground and so focussed was my little niece on carefully studying the ribbon as she walked, that my sister let her end drop. And to our delight, my niece walked across the whole length of our home by her very own self, solemnly clutching the ribbon that was “helping” her to walk.

I love this story. I love how it’s a perfect metaphor for the little mercies we need to give ourselves and each other. How a little mercy can mean the difference between walking and not walking on our paths. Between courage and fear. Between hope and hopelessness.

The philosopher Ram Das said that we are all here on this Earth to walk each other home. If global or local circumstances are leaving you feeling lost and confused, remember that you are not alone, everyone else is just as lost and confused. Give yourself a 10 inch piece of ribbon. Give someone else a 10 inch piece of ribbon. Walk yourself home. Walk them home.

Kindness is also, and always, God-approved.

Everything that’s happening is happening because of His wisdom, we know that, but because we’re humans we’re still going to need to take every little bit of His mercy along with us to cope. Which is maybe what He’s trying to open our eyes to anyways. Little mercies, everywhere. Everywhere. All the time. Everywhere.

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Hiba Masood is a writer living in Karachi, Pakistan. She is the author of Drummer Girl, the founder of Ramadan Moon and is known online as Drama Mama. To read more of her work daily, follow her on Instagram @hibamasood.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Lylah

    November 18, 2015 at 10:57 PM

    You are a really good writer Mashallah and i am very happy that you wrote about this.
    Its so true how you said the list is never ending but your right, the small things get us through,
    my sister is the source from which i hear about terrorist attacks and such because she
    spends most of her time online, and its only a matter of time before she lets out a gasp
    while she’s looking at her phone and i know something terrible has happened, being
    sexually assaulted for many years thought that no good was left in this world
    but you have made me realize that being happy and seeing everything in a positive way is up to ourselves.
    This article was light, fun and inspiring.

  2. Avatar

    saadi

    November 19, 2015 at 1:25 AM

    Ma sha Allah. Excellent writting. Thanks a lot.

  3. Avatar

    Aafia

    November 19, 2015 at 9:56 AM

    I really like you concept of Passing Ribbons.

  4. Avatar

    Faisal

    November 19, 2015 at 4:12 PM

    Salaam sister,
    Yrsterday I saw a piece on YouTube about the complete destruction of the beautiful and historic city of Aleppo in Syria. So many prople have left this once vibrant city, as they’re homes and businesses have been destroyed. But still many people have stayed and are trying to rebuild their lives among all the chaos around them. I salute those people, what strong characters they have. I look at myself, how small I feel compared to them, and even their children who have seen much more pain and suffering than any child should. I cried more than I’ve cried for a long time after watching this documentary, my heart bleeds for the people of Aleppo and Syria as a whole. I pray that Allah can bring peace to their lives.

    We don’t see the acute level of destruction that the war in Syria has reaped on its citizens. Such a culturally rich and beautiful country left in ruins.

    I feel frustrated that I can’t do much to help the Syrian people. I also feel sad how badly Syrian refugees have been treated at European borders, shamefully disgraced and dishonoured.

    Now post Paris attacks, Western governments are seeing Syrian refugees as potential terrorists that may be ISIS members or sympathisers. Several governers in the US have written to Obama saying they will not take any refugees from Syria. Where’s their humanity gone?

  5. Avatar

    Hena

    November 20, 2015 at 6:20 AM

    SubhanAllah, just what I needed to hear today! I LOL’d at chin hairs. Basically … kill em with kindness ;-) JazakAllah khair for your candor and insightful words.

  6. Avatar

    Uzma Saqib

    November 20, 2015 at 11:57 AM

    so good…… you are a very good writer…

  7. Avatar

    Ismail

    November 24, 2015 at 11:07 AM

    MashaAllah. An uplifting article in what is most definitely a confusing, troubled time.

  8. Avatar

    Alex

    November 30, 2015 at 1:55 PM

    Of course, you delete divergent opinions, just as you kill apostates! Killing and pressing DEL with the same ease!

  9. Avatar

    Wael Abdelgawad

    December 16, 2015 at 1:00 AM

    What a sweet and comforting essay. Good insights (confusion is God-approved). The ribbon story made me chuckle. Thank you sister.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Life

What Repentance Can Teach You About Success

When losing weight, one piece of advice you’ll hear often is the following – if you fall off your eating plan one day, pick yourself back up and think of the next day as a fresh start.

Annoying, isn’t it?

You’ll hear this advice from people who have “made it” – they’ve lost a lot of weight, their lives have changed, and they’ll tell you to stick through it, and you’ll be like, yeah, I have, I tried, and I keep failing. I keep trying, I can’t sustain the motivation, I have life factors, I have stuff going on that makes this difficult.

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

And you’re right.

You don’t have millions of dollars, a dedicated personal trainer and chef, the free time and lack of commitments others do, the lack of sleep, the injuries, or personal life circumstances that advantage others, nor do they have those that disadvantage you.

That’s not the point.

When you make a mistake, if you run through the process of regret, repentance, and retrying to do the right thing, Allah (swt) is pleased with you. And if you keep failing, repenting, and trying again, and again, and again, until you die, Allah keeps forgiving you.

The process of both recognizing your weakness, of getting out of denial, and humbling yourself and not thinking yourself so high and mighty has its own sobering effect. Not only does it help you in dealing with that atom’s weight of arrogance you don’t want to meet Allah (swt) with on the Day of Judgment, it helps make you a better human being, a more compassionate one, a more empathetic one, when calling others away from mistakes.

I’m not perfect, and you’re not perfect. Perfection is only for Allah (swt). But we’re trying. And the process of recognizing your weakness and at least attempting to rectify it means that maybe you’ll sin a little less, maybe you’ll still not invent excuses for mistakes and you’ll teach others, “Hey man, I know this is a sin, I know this is wrong, I hope you can do better than me.” And maybe they do change, and you’re both better for it.

Maybe in trying and failing again and again, what you end up doing is coming a little bit closer to success, and that process of trying and failing is the teacher you needed to get you out of your weakness and to then help others do likewise. Maybe that learning process serves you in succeeding elsewhere down the road in other treacherous turns and trials of life.

Whether it’s in losing weight, fixing broken relationships, pulling away from a heavy nafs addiction (eg pornography), don’t ever put yourself mentally in a position where “you’ve lost” and “you may as well give up” because “there’s no hope for me”. Don’t identify yourself by your failures.

So then, what is the point?

The point isn’t that you hit your goal perfectly. The point is that give your best, even with the little that you have, and that is good enough for you and for all of us. Ask Allah (swt) to help you better yourself, and in these 10 Days of Dhul-Hijjah, increase in your du’a, cry to Him for help, in whatever area of life it is you’re trying to improve.

And whatever you fail at, don’t fall off for weeks on end. Acknowledge your mistake, own it completely and take full responsibility. Try to figure out where you went wrong in your process, get help from others if you need to. Forgive yourself, and don’t resign yourself to an identity based on your mistakes.

Never get tired of failing, getting knocked down, and picking yourself back up and trying to do and be better again.

It’s always a brand new day tomorrow.

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Continue Reading

#Islam

30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 19: My Mercy Encompasses All Things

Now that we have learnt about when the angels surround us, let’s now talk about how Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy encompasses all things.

We say بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ  (bismillah Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem) a lot, right? It means ‘in the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.’ 

We say it when we pray, before we eat, and we’re encouraged to say it before we begin any new task. But do we really understand what rahma (mercy) means? 

Question: What do you think rahma means?

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Do you know that the word rahma comes from the root word, رحم (rahim), which means womb? 

Question: Who can tell me what a womb is?

That’s right. A baby is usually in their mommy’s womb for 40 weeks. The baby gets all the nourishment it requires; the temperature in the womb is perfect, the nutrients are always administered, it is safe and warm. All the baby has to do is grow, and alhamdulillah all its needs are being met. 

Question: How do you think the womb relates to Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy?

Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy is constantly surrounding us like a safety net. That doesn’t mean that we’ll never experience any pain, but Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is constantly showing us mercy with every breath we take. Even blinking is a mercy from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that we don’t even have to think about. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even has more mercy for us than a mother has for her own child! 

One day the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was walking with a group of his companions, and they passed by a woman who was frantically looking for her child. She would take any child to her breast and try to feed him/her. Then the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said to the companions: “Do you think that this lady can throw her son in the fire?” We replied, “No, if she has the power not to throw it (in the fire).” The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) then said, “Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is more merciful to His slaves than this lady to her son.”

And guess what? There’s even more mercy in the hereafter than we’re experiencing right now. 

Salman al-Farisi reported: The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Verily, on the day Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) created the heavens and earth, He created one hundred parts of mercy. Each part can fill what is between heaven and earth. He made one part of mercy for the earth, from it a mother has compassion for her child, animals and birds have compassion for each other. On the Day of Resurrection, He will perfect this mercy.” [Sahih Muslim]

99 parts of mercy on the Day of Judgment! That is one reason why it’s so important to have a good opinion of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)! Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even tells us in Surat Al-A’raaf:

وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ ۚ

“My mercy encompasses all things” (Surat Al-A’raaf; 156]

And you all, my dears, are all encompassed by Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy, alhamdulillah. 

 

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Continue Reading

#Islam

30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 18: When the Angels Surround Us

Now that we have learnt about Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and her sa’i, let’s now talk about when the angels surround us.

Do you know that every time we sit together and remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we are not alone in our meeting? We have very special visitors, and these visitors love to hear us praising Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)and thanking Him. 

Question: Who can tell me who these visitors are?

Yes! They are angels! Can anyone name some angels for me?

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

We have Angel Jibril 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) who has delivered every message to every Prophet since the beginning of time. We also have our angels on our left and right who write down our deeds.

Question: Does anyone know the name of the angel that is in control of the weather? 

His name is Angel Mikai’l. 

There are so many gifts that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) grants us when we gather together and remember him. Four things happen every single time! I want you to pay close attention to this hadith, because I’m going to ask you what those four things are after I read it. 

Are you ready?

‏لا يقعد قوم يذكرون الله عز وجل إلا حفتهم الملائكة، وغشيتهم الرحمة ونزلت عليهم السكينة، وذكرهم الله فيمن عنده‏

The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “When a group of people assemble for the remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), the angels surround them (with their wings), (Allah’s) mercy envelops them, tranquility descends upon them, and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes a mention of them before those who are near Him.”

Question: Can you believe that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) makes mention of your name when you make mention of His? What do you think it means when “tranquility descends upon us?” Do you feel how calm your heart is? 

That is a gift from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and He tells us that our hearts find rest in His remembrance:

أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“…Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured” [Surah Ar-Ra’d; 28] 

 

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Continue Reading
.
Ads by Muslim Ad Network
.
.
.
.
.

MuslimMatters NewsLetter in Your Inbox

Sign up below to get started

.
Ads by Muslim Ad Network
.

Trending

you're currently offline