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Photo taken in the sacred town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun in northern Morocco. Photographed by me (Armaan Siddiqi) during a recent trip!

Photo taken in the sacred town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun in northern Morocco. Photographed by Armaan Siddiqi during a recent trip using a digital camera. 

“O Beginninglessly Eternal! O Endlessly Everlasting! O Formlessly Manifest! O Apparently Hidden! Hear my call as You heard the call of Your servant, Zachary; grant me victory through You, for You; support me through You, for You; join me to You; come between myself and anything other than You…”

Excerpt from as-salat-al-mashishiyya, the sublime benediction upon the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), by the venerable Moroccan saint Abd al-Salam ibn Mashish–student of Sidi Abu Madyan and shaykh of Abul-Hasan al-Shadhili–may Allah sanctify their secrets. One scholar has written that in this prayer “the believer calls upon Allah to bless the Prophet as if to thank him for having received Islam through him.”

You can hear the full prayer here

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“You must be patient.  Even if the pains of waiting and wishing and praying tire you, be patient. Even when long periods of time pass by and others are blessed with what they’ve been praying for while you still wait, be patient. For Allah does not waste the effort of the doers of good. He delays His response only to hear you call to Him more. Be patient. For what awaits you is sweeter than the bitterness of longing” 

Sunrise in Dubai. November 2014. Photo taken using an iPhone 6 by Sidra Mushtaq

Sunrise in Dubai. November 2014. Photo taken using an iPhone 6 by Sidra Mushtaq

” Good architecture is to promote thankfulness” ~Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad

The Dome of the Rock Mosque, Jerusalem, 2013. Photo taken with  A SLR by Sidra Mushtaq

The Dome of the Rock Mosque, Jerusalem, 2013. Photo taken with
A SLR by Sidra Mushtaq

“Remembrance is the cornerstone of the Path, the key to realisation, the weapon of the seeker, and the authentication of sainthood.” Habib Ahmad Mashur al-Haddad

Photo taken on Canon EOS 40D by Muhammad Atif   www.sacredfootsteps.org

Photo taken on Canon EOS 40D by Muhammad Atif http://www.sacredfootsteps.org

Altered reality…..

Photo taken using a Nikon D70s with Lightroom adjustments by Mas'ud Ahmed Khan. Instagram ID: masud.a.khan

Photo taken using a Nikon D70s with Lightroom adjustments by Mas’ud Ahmed Khan. Instagram ID: masud.a.khan

“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

 

1st Bowl. Southend-on-End Photo taken using an iPhone 5s by: Ahqib Hussain. Instagram ID: iamclarkkent23

1st Bowl. Southend-on-End
Photo taken using an iPhone 5s by: Ahqib Hussain. Instagram ID: iamclarkkent23

Everything you see has its roots
in the Unseen world.
The forms may change,
yet the essence remains the same.

Every wondrous sight will vanish,
Every sweet word will fade.
But do not be disheartened,
The Source they come from is eternal –
Growing, branching out,
giving new life and new joy.

Why do you weep? –
That Source is within you,
And this whole world
is springing up from it.

The Source is full,
Its waters are ever-flowing;
Do not grieve,
drink your fill!
Don’t think it will ever run dry –
This is the endless Ocean.

From the moment you came into this world
A ladder was place in front of you
that you might escape.

From earth you became a plant,
from plant you became animal.
Afterwards you became a human being,
Endowed with knowledge, intellect, and faith.

Behold the body, born of dust-
How perfect it has become!

Why should you fear its end?
When were you ever made less by dying?

When you pass beyond this human form,
No doubt you will become an angel
And soar through the heavens!

But don’t stop there,
Even heavenly bodies grow old.

Pass again from the heavenly realm
and plunge into the vast ocean of Consciousness.
Le the drop of water that is you
become a hundred mighty seas.

But do not think that the drop alone
Becomes the Ocean –
the Ocean, too, becomes the drop!

~ Mevlana Rumi 

Autumn trees in England, UK. Photo taken using an iPhone by: Sidra Mushtaq

Autumn trees in England, UK. Photo taken using an iPhone by: Sidra Mushtaq

Actions always speak louder than words, and with one small gesture we can change a person’s life, as the story below tells us…..

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.” I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friend the following afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.

My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him, and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, I saw a tear in his eye.
I handed him his glasses and said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.
He looked at me and said, “Hey, thanks!” There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. It turned out he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before coming to this school.

I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes. We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him. And my friends thought the same of him. Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Damn boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!”. He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends.

When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class.

I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.

Graduation day arrived – I saw Kyle and he looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than me and all the girls loved him!

Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!”

He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said. As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began. “Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach… but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.”

I stared at my friend in disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.”

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life. For better or for worse. God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.

“Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.”

A short anecdote which is very relevant to the times we are currently living in. We have so many remarkable individuals in our ummah who not only possess an incredible amount of knowledge and wisdom, but also exemplify the sunnah of the Prophet sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasalam in their teachings and demeanor. However, we constantly find ourselves questioning them, and fail to grasp and learn the wisdom which they are actually teaching us, despite being in their company for years or even decades!

Read on…..

The Stone and The Tree

There was once a dervish in Abadan, whose cell was always surrounded by disciples, people who had come from far and near to hear his wisdom and try to achieve knowledge and spiritual fulfillment. Sometimes he spoke to them, sometimes he did not. Sometimes he read from books, and sometimes he made them perform various tasks.

The disciples tried for decades to understand the purport of his words, to fathom the depth of his signs and symbols, and in every way possible to get closer to his wisdom. Those who understood what he taught were the ones who did not spend time trying to puzzle out things. They cultivated patience and attention, and refrained from looking for verbal associations from books and from what others had told them.

The majority, however, as is the way of the world, were sometimes elated, sometimes sad, and always covetous, even if it was only for wisdom and their well-being. They had all kinds of explanations for this way of thinking except the real ones.

At long last, after many years had passed, one of these disciples plucked up enough courage to approach the master directly and said: ‘There are a number of us, o wise one, who have been trying to follow the path of knowledge for most of our lives. Now, as some are old and others are getting older, we feel that we have to open our hearts to you, saying that we need a further indication of how we should proceed’.

The dervish gave a long sigh and answered: ‘Come with me to the seashore and I’ll show you something which tells you everything, if you can only hear it’.

At the pebble-strewn beach, the dervish took a stone from the water and asked a disciple: ‘How long has this stone been here?’

The man said: ‘It is worn smooth, so it must have been rolled back and forth, under the surf, for perhaps several thousand years’.

‘Now’, said the dervish: ‘Take this wet stone and crack it open, then tell me what you find’. They smashed the stone and saw that it was rough from the inside.

‘You observe’, said the dervish, ‘that although submerged in the sea for accounted ages, the innermost part of this stone is as dry as if it had never been near water. You people are like the stone. Surrounded by wisdom, you do not allow it to penetrate. Unlike the stone, there is a talisman, which will let the transforming quality suffuse you, to your innermost being. That quality is patience, forbearance and openness, things which you call three qualities, but which are in reality only one’.

Next the dervish took his followers onto a hill overlooking the sea, where in spite of the aridity of the place, a magnificent tree grew.

‘This tree’, he said, ‘can live and grow tall and fruitful where nothing else can. This is possible to it only because it has made worthy efforts, signaled by the inner quality of the seed which gave it birth, to penetrate deep into the earth to find water.

(Source:unknown)

A heart-warming story which conveys a message of maintaining hope and trust in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

shipwreck

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and to store his few possessions.

But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost! He was stunned with grief and anger.

“Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, how could you do this to me!” he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

“How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers.

“We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

It is easy to get discouraged when things are going badly. But we shouldn’t lose heart, because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering.

Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground, it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Jazaka’llahu khayran to the beautiful sister who e-mailed me and shared this story!

©pic taken from ocean adventures 

 

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