January 25, 2010

Greet those you know and those you don't

OK, so this is getting pretty funny. So i was shopping yesterday when i came across a Muslim woman. Now I've been on this mission lately to incorporate greeting strangers into my life. I have decided that when i see a Muslim woman that i will try to make it a point to bid her a warm 'assalamu-alaikum'. Ive started doing it too and let me tell you, it feels pretty good. So anyway, yesterday when i saw this woman i smiled at her and then proceeded to greet her. She returned the greeting and then asked me: "Hows your mother?" i must have looked baffled because she then asked me if i knew who she was and then realized that she had actually made a mistake and i was not the person that she was thinking of. So here's the question right, do we live in  a world where if you greet strangers they automatically assume that they know you from somewhere??? OK, to be fair, I must have looked like the person she was thinking of since that's what she said to me when she realized her mistake. But you know what, its happened before. Yip, on another occasion when i greeted another woman she flat out asked me if i was friends of her children- automatically assuming that for me to greet her i must have known her. The worst part is that we are all guilty of it. We have forgotten the advice of our Prophet (S.A.W) to greet those we know AND those we don't- so much so that when you greet strangers, they think you know them! Beyond the laughter (well i find it funny when people try to figure out who I am every time i greet them) I think its really very sad. Greeting brings about unity and love for your fellow sisters. And conveying salaams is not just mere words, but rather a beautiful dua that you wish upon your fellow Muslims. So lets all make a resolution to be more friendly to our Muslim sisters and to greet them every time we can- you'll see what a difference it makes!

January 23, 2010

A Good Reminder

I gotta say, sometimes I forget to remember that Allah has control over everything. Oh, I know it sounds fairly obvious- but sometimes when it comes to everyday life I tend to take it for granted. Do you know what I mean?

The other day I baked my chocolate cake. I call it mine because even though it’s a recipe that we got from a tin way back when, according my family the way I make it is the best. Thus, it is with utmost confidence that I usually bake this cake, knowing that it’ll turn out great (like it has a 1000 times before) and knowing that it is a family favourite. Now when I usually make something for the first time and I’m not very confident about it I tend to be extra cautious, recite extra ‘bismillahs’ with every ingredient and make extra dua that the thing will turn out great (after all, who likes a flop anyway???)

But when it comes to the chocolate cake its like because of the confidence I invest in myself, I forget to ask Allah to help me, and as we all know Allah (SWT) is in control of everything.

This time around I got a little reminder when my chocolate cake, my golden oldie chocolate cake, flopped. Ok, so it didn’t really flop but rather over flowed. I used the exact same pan I always use but for some reason the cake overflowed. (Well I don’t need to tell anyone how disappointing that is!) The contents toppled out and began burning at the bottom of the oven and the cake, usually fluffy and tip top beautiful was disfigured. And that’s when my mind told me that I had mistakenly put confidence in myself and my experience and not in Allah (SWT).

So of course I sincerely repented, thanked Allah for the reminder, made extra dua that the cake was still enjoyable and did not get wasted, and proceeded to frost my disfigured cake with a rich chocolate icing. And you know what, despite the mess, the cake still turned out to be absolutely delicious. My Merciful Almighty Creator (SWT), despite my pride and confidence in myself, still accepted my dua and still mercifully willed for the cake to be even more delicious than other times.

So instead of just an ordinary day baking an ordinary cake, this day provided me with a reminder that I should never, under any circumstances, forget that anything and everything only occurs with the will of Allah(SWT) and that I should always put my confidence and trust in Him. Alhamdulillah.

January 21, 2010

Why does mother ALWAYS know best?

Have you ever noticed how mothers always seem to be right? I mean even when you think that something will be a certain way, even when you think your idea is the right idea, they always have to turn out to be right. I've come to the conclusion that it is absolutely pointless to argue with my mother because at the end of the day she will still be right. Whether its a problem in the kitchen, a discussion on my nieces and nephews or any general issue- she is always right. (ok, ok, sometimes she is wrong- but it happens so seldom that its too insignificant to count) I think its some secretive mother-code thing that i don't get because I'm not a mother. My brother says its experience and i guess he's right. We tend to forget that our mothers have had more than enough of their fair share of experience, and with all that experience comes insurmountable knowledge. I guess we should be really grateful that our first and last teachers will always be our mothers. Because even though i can hit my fists against the table (like really- am i wrong again!!!), I'm really grateful that my mother is still around to guide, teach and love me. Alhamdulillah.

January 18, 2010

Mourning a mouse

Have you ever had moments in life that have left with you with the aftertaste of a lesson well-learnt? You know, when things happen and then a short while later you say: "Aah,that taught me a lesson". well this is one of those moments.

For the past few weeks i have been terrorised by a mouse, yip- you heard me right, a mouse. Fast, small, furry- seriously they creep me out. Anyway, i kept on just wishing that the thing would die already; that he'd swallow the poison, or get caught in the trap. Well this morning he eventually died- the poison turned out to be his undoing.

Now instead of being pleased that he was gone, i was, wait for it... sad! I was really sad to see that the little thing had died, because i had poisoned it. So i kept on reassuring myself- he's unhealthy, unsanitary, etc... Yes, i had reason to get rid of him but my emotions got the better of me and left me feeling sorrow and sadness.

When I thought about it further i realised that in this lied a very important life lesson. I had gotten rid of him, I was nasty and cruel, irrational and emotional, simply because i was afraid, and because he was different. Sure he was a dirty rodent- i had to get rid of him, but how many times in life have we rejected other things due to fear or ignorance?

Think about it, how many times in life have we rejected people or even ideas, simply because they are different from our own? How many times have we been cruel and nasty to others just because we found them annoying? If they were to die (hopefully not due to poison) wouldn't we feel sorrow for the way we behaved? If they were to die, wouldn't we feel regret and guilt?
Sure, I'm taking this incident out of context- i mean you can't really compare mice to people, but the whole incident just spurred these thoughts and made me realise that while people are around we need to work extra hard to make sure we treat them well. They wont always be around to irritate and annoy us so maybe we should just try to hang in there, exercise patience and make sincere dua to Allah(SWT) to make us better people. I'm gonna try it out, will you...?

January 9, 2010

Its hard to say I'm sorry

Ever noticed how difficult it is to say "Im sorry". Two little words, you'd think it would be sooo easy. Now hurting people, thats easy. Saying whats on your mind, offending others, gossiping- it seems like it all comes so naturally. Then when you have to say you sorry, its like the hardest thing in the world.

I recently decided to embark on a journey of repentence, trying to seek the forgiveness of those that i thought i might have hurt in the past. The coward in me took the easy way out, sending an email instead of actual confrontation, but after gaining their forgiveness, i felt truly renewed.There's nothing like a good dose of forgiveness and acceptance of the past...

Try it yourself. Apologise, make amends and then see how good you feel.

January 6, 2010

Love and Marriage

We live in a world and a society that demands that we get married, and get married young. As women, the older we get, the more undesirable we become. But what of those who cannot get married, what of those who do not have anyone to marry?

It has become embarassing to admit that we do indeed want to marry because, should we be unable to find a suitable man, we would be left feeling rejected. The truth, however, is that everybody wants to get married. At some point everybody wants to settle down with a partner who they can share their lives with. So we shouldn't feel embarassed to proudly proclaim that we do indeed want marriage because after all, marriage IS half of our faith.

We shouldn't keep making excuses 'I'm studying', 'I'm working', 'I'm looking for mr Right', but should rather be open and honest and approach marriage in a wise and thoughtful manner. Forget Prince Charming and everlasting love, it doesn't exist. Instead let's approach marriage as if we were approaching a job: Is it right for me? Is it a good fit? Is it what I'm looking for? Let's ask the right questions and search for the right and best qualities. Easier said than done, I know, I'm on the same road sisters. But let's be a little wiser and try a little harder. Maybe it will make a difference...
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