Monday, 31 December 2012

Do You Even Lift?

Why are the majority of our ulema, brothers, shuyookh, sisters overweight? Too many somosa chaat's I think. I don't blame them, they're bloody nice.

The messenger of Allah (saw) fought all the battles over 40 years old. He participated in at least 17 major battles. Carrying thick, heavy armour in scorching heat of around 40 degrees, up and down mountains, fighting with the sahabah's.

Imagine at the battle of badr; Rasoolallah (saw), Hamza ibn abd al-mutallib, Ali ibn abi talib, Umar ibn al-khattab on the front line as the commanders of their divisions. Can you imagine a side shot of them lining up. I for one certainly don't see them with bellies spilling over.

If we don't look after the amaanah that Allah has entrusted us with, we will become lazy and fall sooner than we should. We will breed a generation of inactive, couch lovin' children.

Strength, discipline goes hand in hand with imaan and taqwa. These are the qualities of all our prophets.

The majority of sisters I've pursued don't look after themselves physically. Why?! The majority of cities have female only gyms. Many use it as an excuse that they don't have one near them. You can exercise at home and simply watch what you eat. Some are gifted with attractive and slender bodies but that's not an excuse not to make an active effort in keeping fit. It's not just about the appearance.

Please don't comment with it's in your heart bakwaas. This needs to stop. And it starts with us.

Training builds discipline and discipline is what we should all strive for.

What do you do to keep fit? Are you in the process of making any changes or have you made any changes?

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Post Surah Ar-Rahman


I had an opportunity to speak to brother Nouman and I have nothing but love and duas for this dear brother. I asked him a question, he looked at me and he smiled. "I'm going to answer your question, bear with me." 2 hours later towards the end of Surah Ar-Rahman Nouman looked at me and spent 10 minutes answering my question.

Allah was talking to me. He showed me in infinite ways that he is Ar-Rahman. The most glorious, who needs no praise from any creation.

I guess I always did have the tools to achieve my goals but the master piece, the final push it was always there. I just never caught it.

It was all about baraka. Goodness with a greater return than expected. What name is injected with baraka?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

That's all I ever needed. To truly understand it.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Surah Ar-Rahman Tafsir - NAK @ Birmingham 29th Dec 2012

Surah Ar-Rahman is one of my favourite Surah's in the qur'an. It's stonkingly good! I have a beautiful memory of Sheikh Salah-Al Budair killing it for Fajr in Madinah Aug '10.

For the good times..

Nouman Ali Khan is coming the UK and he'll be covering it (albeit a succinct 5 hours). to enroll.

I'll be the fine looking desi guy at the front.

Catch you there!

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Aftermath

In light of the half glass full approach, I thought I'd share something.

Remember I went for Umrah 2 years ago for 6 weeks? The old folks I was looking after? I'm not sure what exactly happened but I had some shoulder pain whilst I was there. Upon returning, I got back in to serious competitive sports. Cleaning and pressing over 110KG at a light bodyweight, it reopened an injury. I stopped serious shoulder training and I visited the doctors. I was fobbed off several times. I got an x-ray some months back and it turns out I cracked my ACJ and I was showing signs of Acromioclavicular Joint Arthritis.

I spoke with the consultant it sounded a lot scarier than I thought it was. The way she put it across was that it's degenerative, so it could get worse if I don't opt for surgery.

I returned to work after my father's death  and after about 5 weeks in Mid- October, I opted for surgery. The surgery involved in excision (shaving) of the cracked bone. It ended up being a lot more painful than I imagined. I was bed bound for 2 weeks and forced off work/life for 5 weeks.

I returned to work on Monday a few weeks back. On Wednesday, I was informed that I would have the good 'ol return to work procedure. Before being called in, whilst  walking to the glass board room, I noticed the MD was sitting in. Odd.

The MD is also a full time politician for Labour, he has a nack with putting things across, as politicians do. Urgh.

I walked in and took a seat. "Right, there's no easy way to say this any other way but I'll just say it.. You will no longer be working with us." There was a part in of me waiting for him to say "ta-dahhh" I'm strange like that.

 There was nothing to suggest anything like that would happen. I have a quality track record. No redundancy, nada, nothing, finito.

"Do you have any questions?" he asked. I responded with "nope".

"I can't even begin to imagine what you've been through recently but I can assure you that you will have excellent references. You're very talented and you will do very well" He said.

My supervisor stepped in "do you need some time to let things sink in?" "I'm fine, when do I finish?" I asked. We talked and I agreed to finish on Friday. "How would you like to inform everyone?" The MD asked. "Call them here." I said.

He explained to everyone that things weren't going great and they were downsizing but because of my developments they would want me in as soon as their financial situation changed as the company needed to focus on other things. No one had anything to say other than looks of sorrow.

I don't think he was honest with me.

But half glass full. Na'am? 

Half Glass Full

Right, so we have this expression for optimism (half full) and pessimism (half empty).

I think Muslims have a real positivity problem. Actually not just Muslims but humans in general. Even when we're perfectly good we're so used to saying we're 'not bad' or 'could be better'. Ya'ani, what's going on? Heck, even I am embarrassed at myself for being so grumpy most of the time despite the fact that I rarely feel pessimistic and certainly have very few confidence issues. I try my best to be positive because surely happiness, a smile and giving positive vibes is something which is seen and expressed and transmitted to those around you in your manner and character and speech. It's Sunnah to smile for a reason folks.

Allah tells us in the qur'an that he wants us to be 'half-glass full' kinda folks. I was scrawling though my tafsir notes and this has been on my mind lately.

I love the versatility of the Qur'an, the lessons and understanding are purely limited by insaan. Let's take a look at this ayah:

"Remember (O Prophet (saw)) when Allah made you see them in your sleep as few: if He had shown them to you all as many, you would certainly have lost heart and argued about it, but Allah saved you." [8:45]

Okay lets put aside the specific reasons of revelation aside for a moment, which in Al-Anfal (spoils of war) this ayah happens to be about the battle of badr and being seriously out numbered by the mushriks. Lets read into the understanding behind the words. The message is: 'Listen up, these dudes have a serious army coming your way. So bloody what?! They ain't nothing compared to you guys. Go for it and don't look back!'

Allah explains in the verse is that if He had shown all the believers the true numbers and strength of the enemy, they would have started to doubt themselves and get anxious, nervous, and be divided. If you look at half a glass of water and think of nothing but what you've missed out on, you'll achieve nothing but misery and be wasting your time. But if you see opportunity, hope and happiness in whatever is in front of you, be it a half a glass of water or just a difficult, what seems irretrievable situation, then your positivity will bring you results that you can never have imagined.

There so much negative vibes in the air and around but it's not hard to see why - We're surrounded by negativity 24/7: Poverty, war, hijaab banned, war, OMG don't let the American shooter be a Muslim, poverty, dude just killed his daughter for marrying outside caste, war, terrorism, OMG he's that 'kind' of muslim, haraam police, ramadhaan and eid moon fitnah, beard police, war, famine etc.

The prophet (saw) was an incredibly positive man. Y'all know what happened in ta'if. At times when the sahabah's saw things as 'half-glass empty' the prophet remained to see it as 'half-glass full'. He saw opportunity when others saw disaster. History bears witness to how the prophet's positivity has changed the world forever. Me, you.. Makkah we're all a part of that. Epic legacy.

In life, when the odds seem insanely stacked up against you - You're in control. Leaders are created under these circumstances. Going back to my father's death, when everyone thought this was it, I made the challenge manageable in their eyes even though I was struggling myself. We've gotta make the mountain ahead just a series of small paths and slopes. Make those under feel bigger and better than they are, then the chances are that your people will surprise you and surprise themselves as well. This is what the prophet did and he is the best of examples.

Listen up, you know how Allah made the enemy look few? The believers went and smashed it. They destroyed hardship. When you're put up with an insane bunch of problems - go and smash that badboy 'cause you have Allah on your side.

He promises you that he will not burden you with what you cannot bear.

The Burial

Mid July and it was a warm and sunny day in sunny England. I rushed to the masjid and I entered ghusl room to wash my father.

The room was dark and dingy. To the right there was a small kitchen unit with buckets and jugs, the floor was made from beige tiles and the walls were aged. There was a steel station to load the body on which was slapped in the centre of this small room. Something about this room felt awfully cold.

It had been a long time since me and all my brothers were together. It took a death for us to be here.

I removed my thawb and I put some latex gloves. I aligned the steel station to load the body on, we all proceeded to lift the body on my count. When I lifted my father, the remains of blood from the post-mortem ran across my arms. It ran across my arms because I was lifting the core of the body, my brothers were in some other place on the edges. Blank faces across all of them, they were afraid and unsure what to do. I too felt afraid. Although I was the youngest of all my siblings, I had to step up and stay there.

I walked over to the sink and I washed the blood off my skin. I looked at my brothers and I told them "It is our opportunity to cleanse our father. Our last moment in privacy. This is our time now to spend with dad, lets make the most of it."

I lead the ghusl. I can't quite explain this now but there is something strangely peaceful and intimate about preparing your loved father for his journey.
After the janazah, we arrived to the graveyard. We lowered the coffin down. As the most physically abled, I went down alone. Although there were over a hundred people talking and some giving instruction, I zoned out and felt nothing but silence. Time slowed down. "His journey is about to begin" I thought.

I was brought back to reality when the large concrete slabs were being passed to me. I covered all the gaps and I climbed out in my bare white socks or what remained of them.   

The burial began. I ensured every attendee participated. Ajar and a reminder all round. 

In times of death and discomfort families come together to seek comfort, console and help one another. In theory that's what should happen. Ours happened to cause us grief, lie, spread fitna and make it the worst possible experience for us. I've never come across so many wretched vultures in one day. May Allah save us all from such people.

Our people are bent on following their forefathers which happens to have bidah, kufr and shirk. Have we not learnt any lessons from the qur'an?

Pakistani folks are ya'aani.. crazy.

Alhamdulillah, I'm one of them.