Monday, May 23, 2011

Our Life Plan: Allah is the Best Planner

Assalamualaikum, readers (May the peace and mercy of Allah be upon you). Alhamdulillah (All praise be to Allah) for His endless mercy that He bestows upon me so that I can still enjoy every passing breath that I take. Normally, we always take for granted some of the things that seem so small but actually very important for us. Many of us often spend time everyday complaining over some tiny bumps we have in everyday life. Yet we, most of the time, forget to be grateful with what we already have right before our eyes. That’s what happened to me.

Lately, I have been experiencing a lot of life challenges (especially at school and lab). Things didn’t work out the exact way I wanted. Of course as a human being, complaints sometimes came out from my mouth and disillusionment shadowed my judgment. Then all other silly thoughts started to creep in my mind. Obviously I was defeated by those evil tricks and they got the better of me.

As time went by, I started to realize that all these events happened for a reason. Allah has been trying to teach me lessons of life in a mysterious way. He lets me experience hardships for me to learn comforts. He lets me experience sadness for me to learn happiness. He lets me experience poverty for me to learn affluence. He lets me experience loneliness for me to learn friendship. And he lets me experience hatred for me to learn love. All these humanly feelings are like dots in my life. I cannot understand them if I want to see them forward (look into the future). Yet they make all the sense in the world if I see them backward (walk down the memory lane). Everything just falls into its right place. That’s how I learn the lessons.

As the chosen creatures created by Allah, we must believe that everything that we own, experience and get will have significant effects later down the road. Allah has already planned everything for us. We just need to have faith in Him. The best thing to do is to supplicate invocations to Him, asking for help and guidance. Remember when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. By doing so, we can change something that used to be sour (in life) to something that can quench thirst on a hot day (in your difficult times). Lastly, we plan and Allah also plans; And He is the Best Planner.

"It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness." - Eleanor Roosevelt

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Spreading Peace: Not Everything is a Competition.

Assalamualaikum, readers (May the peace and mercy of Allah be upon you). Alhamdulillah (All praise be to Allah) for this free time and useful energy that are bestowed upon me. I hope I can take this chance to write a piece of my thoughts. Most of the time in life, we have to make some tough choices and painful sacrifices to make sure people around us not hurt and sometimes safe from dangers caused from external forces and occasionally themselves.

In life, there will be a situation when people try to put themselves in a bad position and we are the only ones that know how to help them. To make the situation worse, those people don’t let us help them and insist to be in that difficult position which in no time turns into a nightmare.  The situation may be a lot harder when those people are people who we care for dearly. This kind of dilemma is not strange to people who deal with broken families and damaged friendship.

When two parties are quarreling, we should ask help from Allah and then look for a third party to mitigate the problem. We have to pray invocations to Allah asking for His help and guidance. The third party should take action and jump into the situation discretely using his/her wisdom. Trying to agree on a side is not going to help making the situation better. What a third party should do is intelligently suggest that both parties are looking for a common ground that is too far to see from the current position. Controlling and conquering the flaming anger is actually learnable art. The third party also must find words that include both parties of interest and at the same time confirming that they are on the right track to reach the ultimate goal that they may perceive different yet identical in the end.

By abolishing the anger, the establishment of rationale and agreements cannot be much nearer than that. The third party may propose a series of sound and convincing solutions to the raised problem. This probably takes leadership and a set of skills. Giving the disputing parties just a rigid solution may not be a good idea since they may think they are cornered and betrayed. By giving multiple solutions which in the end result in same outcomes provide them more room to breathe. Complimenting the parties several times along the way in the discussion-making process makes them feel heard and important.

I hope we can take more active roles in our society in order to spread great Islamic values in humans’ heart. May Allah grant us wisdom and wiseness in our lives to do so. Insyaallah (With Allah’s will)

"Indeed the faithful are brothers (to each other). Therefore make peace between your brothers and be wary of Allah (SWT), so that you may receive His mercy."
(Al Quran: Al-Hujurat – The Rooms ||49:10)

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Life is a Moving Target: Storms in a Coffee Cup.

     Assalamualaikum, readers (May the peace and mercy of Allah be upon you). Subahanallah (Glory be to Allah). As I look through one of the library windows, I can’t describe how magnificent creations of Allah are- the evening sun is setting, the clouds are floating in the sky, the red and white rays of light are perfectly blending and most of all, the heart in my body is still beating strong. Alhamdulillah (All praise be to Allah).

     In the hustles and bustles of life, we humans always forget to realize other great things that Allah bestows on us and we tend to focus on the bad things and unfortunate events that are happening in our own lives. As we cruise through our lives, we learn many new things- some are pleasant and some are not. That’s life. Ever-changing challenges keep raining on us. They can make us or break us. Life lets us choose who we want to be. That’s why we better consider life as a moving target and not a stationary one. Don’t ridiculously stick to a stationary goal without considering to amend it. Learn to adapt with current situations and events that you are right into.

    When time gets rough, I always try to imagine problems that I experience as storms in a coffee cup. No matter how big they are, the biggest and scariest storms they can be just as big as my coffee cup. Yet we cannot deny that life often try to swallow us whole. If you feel your storms are too big for your coffee cup, find “real” friends to talk about them and let them out. Don’t bottle up till you may go haywire one day. Among all the best friends that you have, always believe Allah is the best One. Seek His guidance and help. After all, Allah is the Most Powerful and Omniscient. The best way to supplicate to Allah is through invocations (du’a). Below I list a couple of invocations that are good to be practiced by us again evil forces out there.

Invocation against an enemy

What to say if you fear people may harm you

May Allah protect us from any evil intentions and deeds of humans. 
Insyaallah (With Allah’s will).

p/s: The invocations were quoted from a book entitled 
Fortress of the Muslim by Said bin Wahf Al-Qahtani 
and published by Darussalam

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Spring Semester 2011: A New Beginning…

   Assalamualaikum, readers (May the peace and mercy of Allah be upon you). Alhamdulillah (All Praises be to Allah) I just started my spring semester. As usual, everything moves slowly in the beginning of the semester since there aren’t many things to do and deadlines pushing. So my adrenaline is kind of extremely low. Spending my time in the library at 1 am in morning seems to be the weirdest thing ever in the world right now since the mid-terms and exams are still light-years away. I guess this is the life of a doctoral student, devoting life for the sake of knowledge. Many know that a life of a PhD student is so unilateral and has no volume at all. Everything is predictable and normal. No hot news, whatsoever.

    Even though many people devote their lives for the sake of knowledge and human development, they tend to forget about what they really are fighting for in life and why they are doing this and that. A big portion of us fail to answer the most fundamental question, “What makes us wants to devote our lives to this seemingly boring lifestyle?” Why don’t we take a couple of minutes to honestly think about this matter. Yeah… The answer is easy, it is our passion and we do it because we love it. We love everything that has to do with it. No matter how lame outside people may think, we proudly stick with it and whole-heartedly work towards the end.

     Yet the previous answer does not totally cover all the ground that needs to be covered. We cannot explain what will happen to all the knowledge and hard work you put when you die. Those discoveries of knowledge and piles of hard work probably will be continued by others or sometimes just left behind and forgotten in the passage of time. Believe it or not, it all comes down to the relationship between you and your Creator. He is the only one that justly counts every drop of sweats you produce and every ounce of hard work you put. Everything is counted unmissed.

     In the world of technology that we are living in right now, the society gages good work by looking at results and outcomes without particularly heed the unfruitful efforts. The unfruitful efforts are considered nothing but just uncherished wastes. What a sad, sad situation. That’s why Islam is the best way of life. In the situation where the work and efforts we put bear no fruits and results; they are still being weighed the way it should be from Allah’s perspective - as long as they are not wrong from Shariah’s viewpoints (Islamic jurisprudence). So let’s re-new our intentions in finding the light of knowledge and, at the same time, seeking the “redha” (pleasure) of Allah. InsyaAllah (With Allah’s will).

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Travel: Rediscovering a New Dimension of Ourselves.

     Assalamualaikum (May peace and mercy of Allah be upon you). I just got back from a Muktamar (Islamic Conference and Discussion) in Missouri. To be honest it was nothing like I imagined. Before going I thought it couldn't be that good but everything changed, when I first listened to the very first parallel room session. Alhamdullillah (Praise be to Allah). My prejudice was totally wrong. It opened my eyes on how entertaining this kind of Islamic fulfillment could be. The event was worth all the sweats and efforts I put to get there.

     There were a bunch of great speakers lectured and a lot of new dimensions I discovered in Islam. When I spent time hearing to the talks, the experience put me to shame because of my “jumud” (close mindedness). As a Muslim, I already knew that Islam is perfect in every aspect of life. Yet, like most Muslims, I didn’t know where the line is, where to stop thinking, where to keep going and where to try discovering realm of possibilities. Now the borders are expanding. Thanks Allah for your hidayah (signs).

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