Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Announcing Sins - Comment From A Reader

In my last entry a reader writes..

"Assalamualaikum bro

May Allah grant you goodness in this life and the next...

bro i dont know...maybe you are writing this to help others take heed ...since Islam is about naseeha/sincere advice, i wanted to say that it's better to keep your sins to yourself and turn in repentance to Allah.. i dont know maybe im wrong but this is what came to my mind when i read some of your entries especially this one
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: All the people of my Ummah would get pardon for their sins except those who publicise them. And (it means) that a servant should do a deed during the night and tell the people in the morning that he has done so and so, whereas Allah has concealed it. And he does a deed during the day and when it is night he tells the people, whereas Allah has concealed it. Zuhair has used the word hijar for publicising.
Sahih Muslim"

Walaikum Salaam Warahmatullah,
I'm glad somebody raised this. Glad because we still have people here that are willing to speak for the good. Glad because our thoughts and actions are reflections of one another. Before I begin, May Allah reward the brother with his good intentions. As that's what they are.

However, there's a small problem. 

"i wanted to say that it's better to keep your sins to yourself"

I haven't in this post nor any other talked about my sins nor have I glorified them in any way.

"i dont know maybe im wrong but this is what came to my mind when i read some of your entries especially this one"

I would be interested to hear 'what these other entries' are. As always, I'm always open minded to discussion and debate. Especially Naseeha anybody has to share. 

Here's my irk. As a more generalised point. We have a become a nation of people that point fingers. And we lack the core qualities of Muslims in this process. A reminder to myself. We point without confirming evidence. More importantly we point without listening.  

Without listening?! Who needs to listen? That's stuff normal people do. We need to get our point in first.

I didn't finish my entry off. To call what I've done a sin, lets be careful when we say things like this. I haven't  finished off what happened. To make that assumption based upon key words such as sex, women, tight dress and curvy is just nonsense. These words are not a sin. The context is not a sin.

Here's the crack. As Muslims we pretend like these things don't happen. Maybe in some people's world, it doesn't. I hate to break it to you, but this is real. And so is the context. Perhaps the next part might bring some more light. 

A super important reminder for us all to keep brotherhood and relationships intact as believers:

Hamdun al-Qassar said, “If a friend among your friends errs, make seventy excuses for them. If your hearts are unable to do this, then know that the shortcoming is in your own selves.” [Imam Bayhaqi, Shu`ab al-Iman, 7.522]

We struggle to make one excuse. +69 more please? 

“A believer is a mirror of the believer.” [Abu Dawud]

What you see in someone is reflection of what is within yourself. Super important. Especially in a marriage. A spouse reflects the qualities of their other half. If there's something wrong, look at yourself.

“None of you believes until they wish for others as they wish for themselves.” [Tirmidhi]

And not forgetting directly from the all wise, the all knowing himself:

“Believers! Leave much doubt, for most doubt is sinful.” [Qur'an, 49.12]

Why? Because we all have assumptions based on people. Even on those people that we may not even know. We may sometimes either:
  1. Look for mistakes.
  2. By default, assume they are sound and free of error. 
Both dangerous. 

If we are looking to find something wrong, we can win this game all day long. Why? Humans are by definition imperfect. Fallible and prone to making many mistakes.

By doing the opposite -In assuming they're perfect, we're opening ourselves up for doubt. We'll be sure to find something that leaves room for doubts. Allah has commanded us above to leave doubts. 

Take the middle path and remember that success alone, is from Allah.

I want to finish off with a reminder for ourselves from Surat At-Tur. In the earlier ayahs Allah (swt) talks about the proofs of qiyamah, describing the day. He continues by giving glad tidings to the believers and he talks of the rewards the believers will have in Jannah. The place of all things happy and full of smiles.
From V23 to V27 here's the low down. 

All the dwellers will be handed cups of pure white wine. Cheers everyone! However, it will be very different from what we know. This won't be branded nor will it be made by yukky human beings. This will be from creation of Allah. It won't contain any intoxicants nor will it make the dwellers tipsy, drunk or hungover. This will be a drink of pure pleasure. Yum! There will be servants, lots of them. These guys will be clean in appearance and beautiful like untouched pearls. Perfection.

The believers are going to gather and speak to each other. "Yo, remember the time we did [...] on the dunya" and they will continue talking about those things they did in the life of this world, and within our families. Then they will say that they were afraid of Allah and fearful of his punishment whilst they were here.

فَمَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا وَوَقَـنَا عَذَابَ السَّمُومِ
"So Allah has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire."

He did us a favour. A favour from his compassion and his mercy. He saved us from what we feared. 

Happy place, is it not? Ah, I can't stop smiling. It makes me smile because that should be our goal insha'Allah but if we want in, we need to start reflecting. Change starts here. Change starts today. And change starts now. Time for us all to start looking within.

Truly, Allah knows best. 


Sunday, 12 June 2011

Introducing New Tests And Rewards

Part 2

I needed that awakening, that reminder of making peace with imperfection.

The need of dependency, perfection and the desire for inner tranquillity. Right there? That's a conflict. In my mind, I always expected things to happen in a certain way and somewhere along the line... I expected it to be better than it should; by definition, it was a losing battle. Earlier, I discovered that when you rely on people, you set yourself out to be disappointed. I made peace with this idea. I also made peace with the idea that some people have it worse. I started to appreciate all those things we all take for granted. A sense of gratitude started flooding in. I was grateful for having the gift of life. The ability to think independently. A 20/20 vision. All my limbs intact. And that invincible determination to succeed.

It was time to play. I was feeling all game.

I started checking out different organisations. There were a number of  new companies. One caught my eye. "The best premium car manufacturer in the world." Those words struck a melodic chord. I wanted in, at all costs. It seemed every other male in UK wanted it too. But I wanted it more than all of them. This was my ticket out of everything.

There's that point in Uni life where every brown person makes good friends with a white person, at some point of their course. Then there may come a time where like every other friend... they step out of line.

[Cue a lame discussion..] - "SoulSeek, I didn't apply there. Like you've got a chance?" The words wasn't the issue. It was the condescending tone. No one has ever spoken to me like that. It was insulting. I thought about it. And I thought about it some more. It stung.

I let it slide, just like that. Why? Afterall, he became the person that gave me the push I needed.
I wasn't wrong when I thought the competition would be somewhat ridiculous. Everyone was getting rejected. Left, right and centre. Their rejection emails notified them that over 1400 people had applied for the position. My confidence quivered but I kept faith. So what if it doesn't work out? I felt confident that my skillset and people skills would be competative. But I needed to be more. I had to somehow put that in my application form. I put in some serious hours and effort. I completed my application form. I needed to seal the deal.

I made a promise to Allah. A promise that later defined our relationship. One of trust and love. 

I waited patiently and I continued dealing with my other issues. I didn't get back anything from the company. It had been a while, so I took it as a rejection. I was then invited for an interview at another company in Cambridge. It was just me and another student. It was one of the highest paid placements in the University, arguably in the country. The preparation had put my competition game up, a wise investment. I accepted the interview.

New year came. It was stupid o'clock in the and I received an email about 2am.

"SoulSeek, accept my apologies for not getting back to you. The competition has been fierce for this one position. There's been over 1400 candidates who applied. Are you still interested in this position?" 

When I read this. I had a feeling that I hadn't felt in a long time. It was a warm, warm feeling. A feeling of hope. You know when you see something and even before knowing more about it, you make that decision in pouring every ounce of effort into it. This was it, this was the one. The one that I would give my all. After exchanging a few emails we arranged a telephone interview. I had 2 days to prepare. In front of a panel of 3.

Prep wasn't going well. My confidence was about as convincing as a boy breaking his voice during puberty. Doubts kept flooding in. Like what are the chances of a muslim getting in or a street boy?

I locked myself up in my room for the 2 days. I prepared intensively. More than any exam I've prepared for.

Came interview day. It was more serious than I had imagined. The 3 interviewees meant serious business. First was an expat from a European country who was in charge of the department for the whole of UK for 3 big car brands. Second, a logistical technology manager. Third, the guy who I would be worker under - A pro in my field. Crap, my chances of blagging would have no place. I was interrogated and I was interrogated hard from all three of them. They picked my CV apart. I talked about some of developments. I was honest and I was transparent. Answers just kept confidently flowing.

It was finally over. And I was put on hold.

"Hello.... SoulSeek?" the third guy said. "Yes?" I answered. "We like you. We would like to spend the day with you. To see if the company is for you and whether you're for us. How does that sound?"

I felt a silent breeze. "Are you [..] Are you offering me the job?" I asked. "Pretty much, we just need to sort out the budgeting and get you on the systems and see your capabilities in action. From our discussion, I think you can do it." Lights started flashing in front of my eyes, and before I knew it: *this* kicked off in my head.

I went to the interview. 150 miles away from home. I remember that feeling, when I arrived at the plant. It was humongously ginormous! 5,000 associates. Cars being made by funky robots. I felt like a kid. I now knew what the children felt like when they won the golden ticket to Willy Wonkas' factory. It was everything I had hoped for it to be. I aced the challenges put in front of me. And strangely enough, it seemed that my ability to speak German paid off.

I got the call. And the job was mine. The trump card was mine. Oh, It was all so worth it.

Meanwhile at uni, things were turning around. I remember the bounce slowly starting to come back into my step. Scraping passes became a thing of the past. On one of the largest final projects, I received 95%.  "You bloody deserve this and congrats on the job. Do yourself proud." said the module leader

That's exactly what I did.  

Moving away. For the first time in 19 years of my life. Seriously fun times were ahead. My car took us through some crazy adventures. I made up for those years I missed out on. Everything was about to go uphill from here.

Learning how to fend for myself was absolutely essential. You don't really ever know who you are until you have struggled. You have to feel hunger. You have to get on with difficult people. You have to sleep on the floor. You have to cook. You have to clean the toilet for the first time in your life. You have to get on with strangers. You have to run colours in the wash and ruin your favourite tops. You have to mix with people to survive in unthinkable situations - To lose that innocence and naivety. To learn what its like "out there" and you can only achieve that by throwing yourself in uncomfortable places and learning to get by without support.

These difficulties taught me to appreciate small things. My love for my family increased. My dislikes decreased. I was becoming an all round better person.It was lovely to be around people who loved me and supported me regardless but it was important for me to know that I could get by without that.

I LOVED Season 1 of Prison Break. Russel Crowe's The Next Three Days was a great movie. Albeit both being somewhat far fetched, they both have something in common. They're both about a guy setting out to do something with conviction and doing it with an unshaken sense of will. Bravo. They do what many great men before our times have done.

In reality, life isn't that much different. We're in control of making our choices. We choose to be great people.

I was becoming more intelligent. My wisdom was increasing. My development was going through that golden era. I started making a lot of decision. Things, I never thought of. It was crazy, scary, wild - I couldn't decide which one took precedence. I decided to test my philosophy of having the ability to do a-n-y-thing I want. Anything. I took on many new challenges. I acquired a number of talents. One of the challenges I set out to accomplish was to take up a sport that I was always intrigued by.

Remember the part when I let my self go? I was fat. I looked hideous. Appearance? Non-existent. Sex rank? A generous 4. Saying it feels horrible.

I boxed for 8 years in my earlier years. It was a giant disappointment. Just looking at myself. How can anyone let their self go so bad? This had to change.

So, I set out to educate myself.  I wanted to be good at this sport. I gave it a shot. Left my ego and pride at the door. I started training.

In a year I got rid of 4 stones of fat. Even things like waiting in a que at a groceries store would feel different. When you aimlessly look around the magazine's shelf, see the front cover of a men's training magazine and smile. Smile because you look like that too. Out with the old and in with the new.

The hair changed.  Stylish.
New wardrobe. Check.
Dress sense. Class.
Body. Guys looking and commenting, creepy but strangely flattering. 
Beard. Masha'Allah.
Appearance. Looking sharp.
Almost everyone would fail to recognise me. As for the sport? I continued. I was getting good. It never crossed my mind that in the future... I could be competing for Britain this year.

My sex appeal was starting to rocket. However, I had no idea that something so good and positive was about to become one of my biggest tests. It be wouldn't long before man's greatest desire would present itself, at force.
Then, it happened. The day Zina walked through my door. Super tight dress. She was dressed to impress. And every single part in my body was physically attracted to her.


That, I could NOT control.

Part 4

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Believe In Yourself

When you're looking through prospects. You could be one of the unfortunate few where nothing is happening. Perhaps through no fault of your own. Confidence and self-esteem will naturally drop.

You will get knocked down. Time and time again. If it isn't in looking for a suitor, it will be in another part of your life.

Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself because only you can pick yourself back up and get right back in there. Persistence and a strong sense of determination are the key ingredients.

Do your part. Then kick back and watch the fireworks kick off. Success is from Allah. And don't you forget that.

Take it from this kid... (for extra lols change 'ride a bike' to 'find a wife') 

Hahahaha! Seriously, everything he said right there? Magic! That's how you succeed in life and finding a wife. (I know you liked that line ;o) )


P.S. I will finish the introduction. A lot has been happening. I'll be sure to report back when time permits.