Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Part 2 of Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed seminar

You cannot enjoy something which you are dependent on. When we are starving emotionally , we are willing to put up with abusive relations. We will put up with anything. Because we are in a desperate situation. We won't survive without it. Ustadha gave us a good example. Imagine you haven't had food for few days and someone gives you a cheese cake. How would you eat it? Can you enjoy every bite of it or are you going to gobble it up as soon as possible because of hunger? Now imagine someone who just had a proper meal half an hour ago and you serve the cheesecake to her. She can enjoy the cheesecake , every bite of it as she is having it for pleasure not out of sheer hunger. Imagine giving a mouldy cheesecake to the very hungry person. Would he deny it? Of course not, because he is very hungry. What about the person who just had a proper meal? No doubt, she won't touch it. 

It is very dangerous to be in a state of desperation as your choice become very limited. You are willing to settle for anything. Never take your desperation to anyone but Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Only He is capable of helping us. When we desperately ask the other human beings (who are essentially beggars too) to help us, fix us, we are bound to suffer. We are poor and Allah is Al-Ghani the Rich. We are His slaves and in constant need of His help. We are completely dependant on Him. Why should we beg the beggars when Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is the One who loves to hear us beg and is capable of answering us. 

Someone in the audience asked about how to deal with parents who are so worried for their daughters that they try to force them to get married to people who are not really suitable as spouses. Ustadha told us, "Don't settle for mouldy cheesecake!" I am glad she said that. From my personal experience, I would say that don't lower your standard. Have patience and tawakkul. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala knows your situation. He has already created a mate for you. Make lots of dua. Beg Him with desperation. One of my favourite dua before getting married was “Rabbanaa hablanaa min azwaajinaa wa dhurriyyatina qurrata a’yun(iw), wa ‘j’alnaa li’l muttaqiina imaaman.” And who say: Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring, the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaquun (pious).” - (part of Qur’an Surah 25:74) I did that dua a lot while at hajj in 2006 specially during the day of Arafa'. I found my soulmate alhamdulillah just after a month I came back from pilgrimage. That dua is still one of my favourite as it is such a comprehensive dua alhamdulillah. What else can you ask for? So please don't settle for a mouldy cheesecake! You will get married when it is perfect for you. Allah is the best of planners.

Dua is essentially begging our Rabb. Just visualise how we raise our hands when we supplicate to Him. When we beg Allah, we are elevated. But when we beg His creation, we are humiliated. When we make dua saying Rabbana hablana min ajwazina ...hablana comes from the root word hiba which means gift. So we are asking Allah to gift us. Gift in essence is undeserved, unexpected. These gifts mention in this particular dua (spouses and children) are described as coolness of our eyes. But notice they are not mentioned as air for our lungs. Why? Because they are gifts, gifts are not deserved or expected. It's great to have them but without these gifts you can still survive. Alhamdulillah Allah gives us gifts through out our life. He decides what gifts to give us. Not all of us are gifted with same things. But we tend to look down on someone who may not be gifted like us. Sometimes we take credit for the gifts. If I have done well academically and I start to believe that it is due to my own hard work, I will be guilty of taking credit for something Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has gifted me with. We must be very careful of this mindset. It is arrogance, it is showing ungratefulness to our Lord. So don't take credit for Allah's gifts. Qarun did that by being arrogant and taking credit for all the wealth Allah gifted him with. His story is in the Qur'an. His wealth was swallowed by the earth as a punishment . So beware of taking credit for your education, career, spouse, children, wealth and so on. 

Sometimes due to arrogance, we start judging others. When someone's not married, we keep asking them why. When someone is married, we keep asking when are they going to become parents. Everyone's gifts and tests are unique. Just because someone's test is different than yours don't think you are better than them or you are worthy of your gifts. We are tried by our unique gifts. We must be grateful for them and try our best to use them to get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. 

She mentioned a Hadith about a guy who came to to the prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam and asked him how can we gain Allah's love and the love of the people. He Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam said not to get attached to this earth , the Dunya and Allah will love you. And don't attach yourself to people, don't be in their need and people will love you. The more we run for peoples' love, approval, attention, validation, the more they will dislike you and will run away from you. The more you run after people, the more they will run from you. Remember, no body likes a beggar. 

Why do we like FaceBook so much? Because it gives us validation. We put our rants as status and we keep checking for notification to see how many people liked it. Search for that very important validation from Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Fulfil the needs, love, self-worth, confidence by approaching Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. You cannot get respect by begging for it. Be firm and have confidence as a Muslim. When you are proud of who you are, only then people will respect you. When we are a minority in a non-Muslim country, we can't get their approval of us by begging to accept us. We can't just behave like the mainstream population, wearing our hijab as a fashion statement, singing, dancing with the tune of "happy song" , desperately begging them, urging them to like us, asking them to believe that there is no difference between us. Respect is never earned through mimicking others. 

Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is Al-Wadud. He is the source of love. Why should we run to people for love, affection, validation when Allah is the only One who can provide us with what we want. Instead of running to people let us run to the Source. Allah is the source of love. We should never think that we love Allah first and because of that Allah loves us. He is the one Who loves us first and put that love and yearning for Him in our hearts. And that is why we love Him. The hadith below confirms this fact.

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "If Allah loves a person, He calls Gabriel saying, 'Allah loves so and-so; O Gabriel! Love him.' Gabriel would love him and make an announcement amongst the inhabitants of the Heaven. 'Allah loves so-and-so, therefore you should love him also,' and so all the inhabitants of the Heaven would love him, and then he is granted the pleasure of the people on the earth." So Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is the source of love.

Building a strong foundation with our Rabb can enable us to serve others. If you build a solid roots just like a good tree , no matter what kind of storm comes, it will not break you. As a believer we need to have firm roots of relation with Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala, so that nothing can destroy you. Constant Remembrance of Allah, Zikr, Istighfar will help us to build that firm roots in shaa Allah.

Someone asked whether we are responsible for the quality of worship of our spouse and children. She said we must remember we are not responsible for results, but our efforts. Because Allah is the One who is in control of everything. Nuh Alaihis Salam (Noah) did his part , but guidance comes from Allah. Nuh Alaihis Salam has worked hard for 950 years but only handful of people become believers. His own son didn't listen to him. Our beloved last prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam did his job for 23 years to invite people to Islam. The results are different for these two prophets. But they both are successful because of their efforts. If you as a parent or a child, doing your best in terms of efforts and still it is not working for you, it is not your fault. It doesn't mean Allah is not pleased with you. Do your best but never lose hope. Allah is aware of our situation. Results are in His control.

In search of good spouse....

Look for good character i.e akhlaq. Character is deeper than just looking at what sort of cloth someone wears. Just because someone wears a long beard and white thobe doesn't make him a religious guy. Just because someone wears a jilbab , abaya and niqab doesn't make her a pious woman. The true mark of Deen is in the character and action. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is the Gentle and loves gentleness. We can't afford to have arrogance. We should never look down on others. 

Spiritual but not religious...

Some people claim that they are very spiritual i.e they love Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala but they don't follow the rituals so they are not religious . Ustadha argued that the phrase is a contradiction to the claim of love. It is like a mother who claims she loves her child but don't want to express/show her love through feeding him, taking care of him. If you truly love Allah, then you need to express it (mawadda- expressed love) through following His last prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. If you really love someone, you always think about them. If you love Allah, obedience becomes a natural consequence. When He subhanahu wa ta'ala says jump, you say, how high? If we truly love Allah, our greatest fear will be to displease Him. We will be scared of getting disconnected from Him. 

Istikhara - a special dua to guide us the right path

Istikhara is a prayer to approach Allah to ask Him to guide us to the right direction. It has been highly ritualised. Now a days we tend to do istikhara the night before our wedding. However, it is essentially a dua. You acknowledge that you don't know and you ask Allah to show you the way. It is a perfect dua to ask for khair i.e goodness. When you are going through any sort of hardship, you should keep doing this beautiful prayer until Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala opens a door for you. 

Sometimes people think there will be some sort of dream after they did the prayer. But having a dream is not necessarily the result of doing the istikhara. There are three sources of dream: 
1. Ru'iya true dreams: Prophets' dreams are true dreams.
2. Dreams inspired by my own nafs which is more likely because of what I have been thinking through out the day.
3. Dreams by Satan 
Most f the time, it is impossible to figure out what sort of dream we had. 
After doing the istikhara, if things are working out quite smoothly, that means Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is guiding you to the best direction. 

To be continued in shaa Allah... 

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