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“…..Human beings have irrational elements. Why do you fall in love? Is there anything rational about falling in love? And yet a large part of my life has been affected by the fact that I fell in love with a woman, and it was a completely irrational event. I couldn’t tell you why it happened. I couldn’t even tell you how it happened, but it happened and I’ve got some children running around as a result. It was irrational. But it was one of the best things that I ever did. So we do do irrational things. And we shouldn’t be ashamed of those irrational things that we do if there is some type of satisfaction that comes out of it, if there is some meaningful event, if there is some purpose, if it fulfills something necessary to our humanity, to our being, then we cannot say it’s irrational…..” ~ Shaykh Hamza Yusuf
A few months ago, one of my best friends Nausheen and her husband Vaseem were blessed with their second child, a beautiful baby girl whom they named Hafsa. The meaning of the name Hafsa in Arabic means “young lioness”, and she has been quite a fighter masha’Allah. Baby Hafsa was born with a unique heart condition and was kept in intensive care for the first month of her life. For any parent, having to witness your child in such a condition is an immense tribulation and a complete test of faith. Although my friend will not agree with this when I say it, but despite the magnitude of her trial, she has shown an incredible amount of forbearance. As a way of expressing her anguish, she penned a beautiful poem dedicated to her daughter.
After seeking her permission, I’m sharing her poem on here in the hope that it inspires and brings much solace, comfort and healing to all those other parents who may also be dealing with tribulation relating to children.
It’s true how real love, tribulation, the loss of someone dear, yearning for something or someone is the natural driver to poetry. You have to be inspired by something significant that has happened, or is happening to you in order to write deep, meaningful and heartfelt poems. Just as Mevlana Rumi wrote his poems after being separated from Shams, Imam al- Būsīrī wrote the Burdah in loving memory and longing for our Rasul sallaAllahu alayhi wasalam. Poetry is a powerful expression of the human experience.
Baby Hafsa has a operation in the next few months. Please keep her and the parents in your prayers.
Born on the edge, on a blade, on a thread.
Born with a time bomb, between life and death.
Born into love, born of passion and heat.
In the home that is built between two hearts that meet.
Born on a hope, based on trust and on faith.
Born with acceptance, yielding to fate.
Born into battle, born of pain and relief.
In the arms of two people who chose joy not grief.
From the depths of your eyes,
To the depths of our love,
To the boundless Mercy above.
From the fervour of prayers,
To the watchful eyes,
To the blood that makes these unbreakable ties.
It takes everything,
And takes nothing at all,
The sage and scientist,
To make your chest rise and fall.
Life fills your body,
My heart fills with pride,
A thousand whispered pleas fill the sky.
Wires fill your body,
We take it in stride,
These are your lifelines, we cannot cry.
The statistics aren’t wrong,
But your grip is so strong,
You want to stay with us,
Your fingers hold on.
I’m awestruck, there’s barely a sound,
Despite all their poking and prodding around.
I’m moved, the blessings abound,
Love of strangers and family through you we’ve found.
From holding on tight, we’ve learnt letting go.
From reading and reading ’til there’s nothing to know.
From keeping feet grounded we’ve learnt how to fly.
From trusting God’s wisdom we’ve learnt not to ask why.
He made you, He shaped you with the simple word Be.
He made you perfect, rare, unique,
I’m honoured, so honoured, He entrusted you to me.
” The tree does not withdraw its shade from the woodcutter. So, love even those who hurt. They’ll realise your worth someday.”
A beautiful friend sent me the above quote which really made me think and reflect. To still love those who hurt us takes a lot and very often its easier said than done. It reminds me of our beloved Prophet salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam and how some of his loved ones really hurt him and chose to reject him as a Messenger of Allah. The hurt and grieve they gave him salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam, didn’t deter him from his mission. Just like the tree who does not withdraw its shade from the woodcutter, the Prophet salla’Allahu ‘alayhi wasalam still gave and showed love, compassion, mercy and kindness to all those who hurt, ridiculed and harmed him. These noble qualities which he demonstrated in his conduct, softened the hearts of those who opposed him; they realised his worth and his uniqueness, thus accepted Islam. Those unfortunate souls who did not realise his worth during his lifetime will realise his worth on the day of judgement. Loving those who hurt us is a prophetic characteristic, and may we all aspire to achieve this; whether those who hurt us realise our worth in this life or not, Allah does and that’s all that really matters at the end of the day….
“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.”
~ Brian Tracy
I recently came across the following blog, which had an amazing story narrated by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf at the RIS 2008 programme in Canada. It’s a beautiful story and as usual, Shaykh Hamza (may Allah continue to elevate his rank) adds inspiration…..
Taken from: Kuhlsnotes
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf told one of the most beautiful stories on love, unrequited love and shifa during the RIS Knowledge Retreat last winter in Toronto, Canada –
Speaking of the generosity of ‘Aisha (Rd.) –
“… she also was very generous – Bareerah was a woman that ‘Aisha (Rd.) purchased and then set free, and the famous story about Bareerah was that she was married to someone named Mugheeth. Now if two slaves were married and then the woman was freed, then she can leave/divorce her husband if she wants to because now she’s free and the husband is not, so there is no parity between them.
So Bareerah wanted to leave Mugheeth, but Mugheeth loved her. He went into total distress, and he literally was walking behind her around Madina begging her to take him back.
Abbas (Rd.) was with the Prophet (saw) one day and they saw Bareerah and the Prophet (saw) said: “Isn’t it strange how much Mugheeth loves Bareerah and how much Bareerah dislikes Mugheeth?”
And the Ulema say when the Prophet (saw) said “Isn’t it strange”, the Arabs use the word “strange” only when the means/cause (sabaab, lit. ‘door’) of/to something is unknown – and that there is no need for something to be called “strange” if the cause is known.
So the Prophet (saw) was calling him to the point the strangeness of love. Love is very strange.
Why do people fall in love?
Why are our hearts are attracted to some people and not other people?
Why love is sometime unrequited (un-returned)?
Because the worst type of love is unrequited love: when you love somebody and they don’t love you – there is nothing worst than that in the world, unrequited love. And obviously the worst type of unrequited love is with God, because we want the Love of God. That’s why Abu’l-Hasan ash-Shadhili (teacher of Ibn ‘Ata’ Illah al-Iskandari ) use to say:
“Oh Allah –
make my wrong actions, the wrong actions of people whom You Love, and
don’t make my good actions, the good actions of people whom You do not Love.”
In other words – I would rather have wrong actions and be someone who You Love, than have good actions and be someone who You don’t Love.
So the Prophet (saw) went to Bareerah, who was the freed slave of ‘Aisha, and he said: “Won’t you reconsider Mugheeth?” And she said: “are you telling me to do this, because if you are telling me to, then I have to do it.” He (saw) replied: “I am only interceding on his behalf”.
And that’s his Shifa – ‘he finds it difficult things you find difficult’. The Prophet (saw) saw Mugheeth suffering and he wanted to help him. That shows you his shafaaqa, even in love he wanted to help this poor man who was suffering from the loss of his love.
So when the Prophet (saw) replied that he was only interceding, Bareerah replied: “I don’t have any need for him”. So there was something arrogant in her answer, as she was free and he was still a slave – there was something there from her nafs.
Now when Mugheeth saw that Bareerah rejected intercession from the one that even God had given intercession, Mugheeth suddenly lost all desire for her – it was just taken out of his heart.
And at that point when he lost all desire for Bareerah, suddenly she fell madly in love with him – like a punishment for rejecting the intercession of the Prophet (saw) – he did not want anything to do with her, yet she was now begging him to take her back now!”
– Shaykh Hamza Yusuf,
RIS Knowledge Retreat 2008, Toronto, Canada
I received a text message from a special friend a couple of weeks ago. Within the text message, my friend mentioned to me that if you have love for the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam in your heart, then calamities are purification for you and not punishment. This poignant reminder really moved me so I asked my friend to elaborate on this. She wrote the following out for me, and with her permission, I am posting it here for everyone to benefit from insha’Allah ta’ala:
Whenever time caused me any distress and I took refuge in him.
I received shelter from him, which was not misused.
I did not ask for the wealth of the two worlds from his hand.
But I received a great gift from the best hand that was ever kissed.
There are certain verses from the burdah that keep coming back to me and this is one of them. It seems to come forth in times of calamities and brings peace and tranquillity to the heart. For he sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam is the key to our happiness. He is there for us and he feels our pain. When we remember him it removes our sadness and replaces it with peace. He is the key to Allah and he is the centre of our lives.
Recently I sat in a dars about the 20 benefits of salawat. It was a most blessed gathering and there was not one single eye that didn’t stream with tears.
One of the most poignant things that was said that day for me was that Allah will never punish a heart that contains the love of the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam within it. If you suffer calamities or difficulties then know it is purification for you and not punishment. For Allah will never punish you if you have love for his Beloved sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam.
Loving him is better than going for jihad or setting a slave free, and making salawat has more effect than when water is put on a fire.
The other main point taken was that one of the benefits of making salawat is that your name will be mentioned to the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam. A special angel on the grave of the shareef will give the names of all of creation. There is no one person who gives salaam without this angel telling the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam. He will know you and your father (I think this is something great to think about especially for reverts) as the angel will mention so and so, son or daughter of so and so gives salaams.
It is enough to know that Allah and His beloved know your name. If he mentions your name or remembers you then surely you will go steps towards Allah.
So we undergo distress, sadness, loss and calamities but our shelter is him. To know him, remember him and love him. For some of us reading this, may at one time in our life not even known his name but it is true to say ‘we received a great gift from the best hand that was ever kissed’ when we entered into Islam.
Whilst on the topic of loving the Beloved Prophet sallaAllahu alayhi wasalam, I would also like to share something which Dr. Asim Yusuf (aka Talib al-Habib) narrated to us at the al-Ghazali retreat in Spain last week. Dr. Asim mentioned how when the time came to leave his Shaykh (may Allah elevate his rank) in South Africa, he was feeling really anxious. He said to his Shaykh that he doesn’t know what he will do without him now that he will be going back to the UK, and how they will be so far apart. His Shaykh advised to carry the Beloved sallaAllahu a’alayhi wasalam in your heart wherever you go, and you’ll never be alone. Subhan’Allah! This was a very strong and moving reminder for all of us sat in that gathering. It reminded us of how at times when we feel alone or are going through trials/tribulations, we should only have to look inside our hearts and find RasulAllah sallaAllahu alayhi wasalam to guide and comfort us; for he sallaAllahu alayhi wasalam is our key to the Lord, and it’s only the Lord who can move us from one state to another.
May the Beloved sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam never leave our hearts. May we seek comfort with him in this life and the akhirah; may he be our companion in hardship and ease and may we sincerely humble ourselves in thanks to Allah. Allahumma Amin ya Rabb!
Please may I request you recite al-Fatiha and make du’a for my friend who took time out to share and write the above, and also for Dr. Asim.
Something which I found in my inbox today…..
Love & Time
Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others, including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all constructed boats and left, except for Love.
Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to hold out until the last possible moment.
When the island had almost sunk, Love decided to ask for help.
Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said,
“Richness, can you take me with you?”
Richness answered, “No, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you.”
Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel. “Vanity, please help me!”
“I can’t help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,” Vanity answered.
Sadness was close by so Love asked, “Sadness, let me go with you.”
“Oh . . . Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!”
Happiness passed by Love, too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her.
Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come, Love, I will take you.” It was an elder. So blessed and overjoyed, Love even forgot to ask the elder where they were going. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way. Realizing how much was owed to the elder, Love asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who Helped me?”
“It was Time,” Knowledge answered.
“Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me?”
Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how valuable Love is.”
“The whole world is a marketplace for Love,
For naught that is, from Love remains remote.
The Eternal Wisdom made all things in Love.
On Love they all depend, to Love all turn.
The earth, the heavens, the sun, the moon, the stars
The center of their orbit find in Love.
By Love are all bewildered, stupefied,
Intoxicated by the Wine of Love.
From each, Love demands a mystic silence.
What do all seek so earnestly? ‘Tis Love.
Love is the subject of their inmost thoughts,
In Love no longer “Thou” and “I” exist,
For self has passed away in the Beloved.
Now will I draw aside the veil from Love,
And in the temple of mine inmost soul
Behold the Friend, Incomparable Love.
He who would know the secret of both worlds
Will find that the secret of them both is Love.”
~ Farid Ud Din Attar (may Allah be pleased with him)
“Oh my heart,
Don’t become discouraged so easily.
In the hidden world, there are many mysteries,
Even if the whole planet threatens your life,
don’t let go of the Beloved’s robe
for even a breath.”
Sayyidah Rabi’a al-‘Adawiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her and elevate her rank) was an incredible figure in Islamic spirituality. Her love for the Divine and poetry is truly captivating. Thought I’d share some of her amazing poetry here, as she is a great inspiration for many of us no doubt.
” O God the stars are shining;
All eyes have closed in sleep;
The kings have locked their doors,
Each lover is alone, in secret, with the one he loves,
And I am here too; alone, hidden from all of them – With You”
“The true knower looks for a heart that comes from God alone.
As soon as it is given to him, he gives it back again
So that God can hold it hidden in His Mystery,
Safe from the tampering of human hands”
“Your hope in my heart is the rarest treasure
Your Name on my tongue is the sweetest word
My choicest hours
Are the hours I spend with You —
O Allah, I can’t live in this world
Without remembering You–
How can I endure the next world
Without seeing Your face?
I am a stranger in Your country
And lonely among Your worshippers:
This is the substance of my complaint.”
“In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.
Speech is born out of longing,
True description from the real taste.
The one who tastes, knows;
the one who explains, lies.
How can you describe the true form of Something
In whose presence you are blotted out?
And in whose being you still exist?
And who lives as a sign for your journey?”
“Let me hide in You
From everything that distracts me from You,
From everything that comes in my way
When I want to run to You.”
Subhan’Allah, may we aspire to be like Sayyida Rabi’a and follow in her footsteps by increasing our devotion and love for the Divine!