Archive | September 5, 2010

Letter to the Self # 18: Insecurities

Letter to the Self # 18: Insecurities
Ramadhan Day 17

By Jeewan Chanicka

Self, today, I remind you to let go of the insecurities that cause you to see less in people. Instead, see your own beauty and actively search for the beauty in others. In so doing, you will allow light into your soul and encourage beauty to adorn your path. The path to God is wide; respect differences, learn from them and leave judgement to God alone.

Dear Self,

I always wonder why you want everyone to be like you sometimes, do what you do; believe what you believe.
You see Self, the only way to be the best you, is to acknowledge the gifts and talents of others. If all we think about is us and what we want, we will never be able to see the beauty that exists in others around us. We are so quick to invent boxes, to label people. In our community- Sufi, Salafi, Tablighi, Wahabi…the list is long and extensive. Is it really necessary? Can we not agree that the path to God is wide and that each soul’s journey along it is different but we are walking towards the same goal? Can we not build a foundation upon the beauty of our diverse perspectives?
It is disheartening that there are so many people with so much time to sit and talk about other Muslims, expose their flaws and try to show how they are “bad Muslims”. I often wonder why we cannot unite on the principle- “Work together on what we agree and excuse each other on what we disagree”? Shouldn’t we be humble because we know we are not perfect and despite others’ flaws and mistakes, they may actually be better than us in some ways? Or is it the fear that others may be excelling in some areas or be better than us in some ways, the reason for your judgements?
I am not talking about the beauty in Muslims alone; I am talking about the beauty in ALL of God’s creation. After all, it is God WHO ordained diversity, painted us in different colours, graced us the ability to speak in different tongues. Who are we as people to sit as judge and jury on His Divine Decree. Is there a need to judge people who don’t believe what you do? Who understand life differently? Shouldn’t we be humble enough to see the good in those around us and leave judgement to God alone? If you know already, that in the end, we go back to Him, why do you need to put in your “two-cents”?

The last time I checked, God did not need our assistance nor did He need a partnership. You can really keep your judgement to yourself.

Walking on the earth with humility does not mean denying your gifts and talents because you should. However, it also means to open your heart to include the talents and gifts of others. This paves a path for Love, Respect and Brotherhood instead of sowing seeds of Hatred, Intolerance and Arrogance.

So Self, today, I remind you to let go of the insecurities that cause you to see less in people. Instead, see your own beauty and actively search for the beauty in others. In so doing, you will allow light into your soul and encourage beauty to adorn your path.

Beauty and Light attracts more Beauty and more Light.

Love,
Me

Diary Series:
Letter to the Self # 17: Backbiting
Letter to the Self # 16: Knowledge or Just Information?
Letter to the Self # 15: Beyond the Limited Self
Letter to the Self # 14: A Better Way
Letter to the Self # 13: The Spoken Word
Letter to the Self # 12: A Blessing or a Curse?
Letter to the Self # 11: PurposeLetter to the Self #10: Let’s Partey
Letter to the Self #9: Looking Good
Letter to the Self #8: Worship
Letter to the Self #7: Rights of the Body
Letter to the Self#6: Time
Letter to the Self #5: Gratitude
Letter to the Self #4: Laziness
Letter to the Self #3: Arrogance
Letter to the Self #2: Ego
Shaban: Letters to the Self

Related Topics:
Distractions of Life vs. God

Distractions of Life vs. God

Distractions of Life vs. God

By Hwaa Irfan

Sometimes when we are in the throes of getting on with life, and we do not take the time out to If one reflects one might notice a pattern because in the moment we do not often see what is in front of our eyes. We assume God is far from our lives like those we know who distance themselves from us because a change in our lifestyle is not in keeping with theirs. But He is always present, and He couldn’t have made things easier when we remember Him. Suddenly, we find it is easier to carry out our acts of worship. Life becomes easier, as we become less distracted by the illusions of this earth. Ramadhan reminds us how much easier it can become, because our mindset is in line with His mindset. But when we become distracted, more mindful of the past and the future instead of the present, we miss the tools, the opportunities, and the solutions we need, and more things are likely to go wrong. When we listen to our lower selves, we get caught up with the machinations of thoughts, making them more real than reality, more real than our the reasoning heart, and we miss the ease that comes with remembrance of Allah (SWT) and living in the present. Then when we are back on track, we miss the temporary pleasures of the haram, i.e. that which is against our souls.

We become used to ease, and not effort, and so we turn our weaknesses into virtues in order to feel not so bad about it. We might attend lectures, seminars, and workshops, but these only serve provide more information, and not the knowledge that leads to action. This of course is helpful to the lower self, because we have actually made no effort to understand our self more, and to increase that understanding for the sake of Allah, which in turn is for the sake of all that is form Him Creation. Like a perfume, the scent becomes accustomed to until the smell of the perfume can no longer be smelt by the wearer, while others can smell it, the wearer cannot, and so we want more!

In Islam, acts of worship take many forms. The obligatory ones like prayer we are aware of, but then it transforms into everyday life when one lives one’s life as prayer. For some people, the obligatory acts of worship remain just that, and take them nowhere, for some, obligatory acts of worship can take them further because their hearts are open enough to translate some if not all what they learn from those acts of worship into everyday life. For others, life is the teacher that will lead them to a fuller and more appreciative relationship with the obligatory acts of worship – in other words, some people can only learn through experience.

Experience presents a lesson, but are we awake enough in the present to take the necessary step understand what that lesson means in relation to us?

If one can step outside of ourselves for one moment, in others words if one can just forget about the perception of self for one moment, and look at someone whom one may have passed by in the street, who is less fortunate than one, then reflect, one might discover that the next lesson is through others. Not everyone can learn from a lecture. Look at our neighbourhoods, and see who is doing what, are there any charities that are helping others? If one could visit one of these charities, and see what they do, could one consider giving some of one’s spare time to that charity to help others? This may very well be the act of worship that one needs, the vehicle of learning that in turn can improve on one’s relationship with our Creator, Allah (SWT).

As much as we have been led to believe that we are born into this world for ourselves alone, and to serve our own interests, Allah (SWT) created us for each other. So far your life has been for yourself. Maybe now it is time for it to be for someone else. Working with those in need, not only benefits those in need, but also nurtures ones capacity to give, to understand. To have compassion, to be responsible, and to not judge. It takes us outside of ourselves enough to realize that there is a large undiscovered part of ourselves to whom Allah (SWT) presents Himself in so many ways. It is only for us to realize that, insha-Allah.

    Said Prophet Muhammad (SAW) “… O My slaves! If the first and last of you, all the jinn and all the men among you, possessed the heart of the most evil man among you, that would not decrease My kingdom in any way. O My slaves! If the first and last of you, all the jinn and all the men among you, were to stand in a single place and ask of Me, I could give to every man what he asks without that decreasing what I have any more than a needle when it enters the sea. O My servants! It is your actions for which I call you to account and then repay you in full. So anyone who finds good should praise Allah and anyone who finds something else should blame none but himself.” (Riyad As Salihin Chapter 11 #111)

Make wu`dhu (ablutions), and pray two rakats (rounds), and sit in silence for a while. Any thoughts that come, let them go, do not dwindle on them. More thoughts will keep coming, but let them go, until one comes to a point of silence is reached. This might not happen in the first sitting, because one’s mind has become accustomed to the monkey chatter, but with regular attempts, it will become easier like exercise. In this way you silence your conscious, and allow your subconscious to be heard, insha-Allah!

From Him we come, and to Him we shall return….

Related Topics:
Ramadhan Re-Runs With Baba ‘Ali
Avoiding the Silence!
Can You Just Change Your Mind Just Like That!
The Echo of Life

Letter to the Self # 17: Backbiting

Letter to the Self # 17: Backbiting
Ramadhan Day 16

By Jeewan Chanicka

Dear Self,

I listened to you yesterday as you sat and talked to others at an iftar (break fast). Your conversations were good, reminding each other of God and the importance to be involved in doing good, for all people. Yet, there were moments in between where people took liberties to mention other people.

True or not, you should not talk about others behind their backs. It is only when people feel badly about themselves that they seek the flaws in others and use their time speaking about others so that they may make themselves feel better.
Just remember with each word, your good deeds drop from your scales like the leaves on a dying tree. A soul that is at peace with itself will not seek out the flaws of others, or make it public. Instead, they will be able to see goodness when it is not apparent to others.

On the day of Judgement, you will be held accountable for what you said and what you listened to. If you must say something, let it be positive otherwise, be quiet and remember that the appreciation and thanks is for God.
So Self, to put it simply this Ramadhan, stay away from talking about others!

Love,
Me

Diary Series:
Letter to the Self # 16: Knowledge or Just Information?
Letter to the Self # 15: Beyond the Limited Self
Letter to the Self # 14: A Better Way
Letter to the Self # 13: The Spoken Word
Letter to the Self # 12: A Blessing or a Curse?
Letter to the Self # 11: PurposeLetter to the Self #10: Let’s Partey
Letter to the Self #9: Looking Good
Letter to the Self #8: Worship
Letter to the Self #7: Rights of the Body
Letter to the Self#6: Time
Letter to the Self #5: Gratitude
Letter to the Self #4: Laziness
Letter to the Self #3: Arrogance
Letter to the Self #2: Ego
Shaban: Letters to the Self

Related Topics:
Self-Love is a Journey
From the Symbolic Ascension to the Ascension of Our Lives
Climbing the Mountain
The Law of Three: Concealment and Attraction
Taking Control of Your Family Home

Letter to the Self # 16: Knowledge or Just Information?

Letter to the Self # 16: Knowledge or Just Information?
Ramadhan Day 15

By Jeewan Chanicka

The purpose of seeking knowledge is self-improvement and then action. Not knowledge for the sake of knowledge only.
If you are to truly attain your potential, it can only be done from a place of humility and literacy as opposed to arrogance and ignorance.

Dear Self,

We know so much, but sometimes I think we have only really learnt a little. It’s as if we learn things to satisfy our egos, that we are studying Islam and “know” more than we did before.

Yet, Self, what do we do with what we know? What have you done with what you learnt?

If you want to attain a higher level of being, you need to be more conscious of the One who put you on this earth and the only way to do so is to learn. We have heard time and time again that knowledge is the

    right

of a Muslim. That s/he should seek it wherever it takes them, even as far as China, but why is that? Why should we seek knowledge?
Today, we spend so much time trying to memorize the Qur’an- is that wrong? I don’t think so…but I often wonder if people spend time reflecting on the fact that the Sahabahs (Companions of Prophet Muhammed)didn’t spend time “memorizing” the Qur’an. In fact, their understanding of “memorization” was to commit some verses to memory and then act on them. When they became good at doing so, THEN they would memorize some more.

Additionally, in the Qur’an, the words, “ilm” and “amal” are always coupled- knowledge and action. It is because knowledge is supposed to lead to action.

So Self, the questions you really have to ask are- what do you know? How have you used each day to improve what you know? and what have you done with what you know?

You see, if you are to truly attain your potential, it can only be done from a place of humility and literacy as opposed to arrogance and ignorance.

During this month, please, try to find one thing each day that you can learn and use it to improve yourself and to be of benefit to those around you.

Love,
Me

Diary Series:
Letter to the Self # 15: Beyond the Limited Self
Letter to the Self # 14: A Better Way
Letter to the Self # 13: The Spoken Word
Letter to the Self # 12: A Blessing or a Curse?
Letter to the Self # 11: PurposeLetter to the Self #10: Let’s Partey
Letter to the Self #9: Looking Good
Letter to the Self #8: Worship
Letter to the Self #7: Rights of the Body
Letter to the Self#6: Time
Letter to the Self #5: Gratitude
Letter to the Self #4: Laziness
Letter to the Self #3: Arrogance
Letter to the Self #2: Ego
Shaban: Letters to the Self

Related Topics:
How Not to Master a Skill!
Finding the Real You!
Climbing the Mountain
The Law of Three: Concealment and Attraction
The Sieve

Letter to the Self # 15: Beyond the Limited Self

Letter to the Self # 15: Beyond the Limited Self
Ramadan Day 14

By Jeewan Chanicka

Dear Self,

We are half way through this spiritual journey and I wonder if you are taking advantage of the blessings that are in front of you? Time continues to elude us, after it is gone, we cannot find it again, so keep working hard.

As you continue to work hard, difficulties will arise, I want you to remember to find your strength within. Your purpose is to change yourself, to tame your ego and to realize your true potential. Only in so doing, will you truly find your purpose before your Creator. It is He, who created you to bring light and mercy to those you touch. Do not allow your mistakes, the errors of the past and the misguided words of people to take you away from your path to enlightened ascension. It is only in finding your purpose in your relationship with Him will you find true inner peace.

While all of creation turned down the weight of the responsibility of being Allah’s ambassador, you were amongst those who stood up to fill that role.

So, Self, when you face difficulties, anchor yourself down and find your inner strength. Turn to Allah and make du’aa (supplication) and do not let doubt creep into your being. Instead be patient and know that His Perfect Plan unfolds in the way that it must and with patience, you too shall discover its beauty and perfection.

We don’t always recognize the goodness that can come from hardship, but your Lord, is Most Compassionate and ever Present in your life. He will not abandon you, so do not abandon Him by losing hope or giving up.

Today, Self, remember that when things get difficult, even if you are at the lowest you’ve ever been, Allah will never let you go. Be Patient and be constant in your du’aa – that my friend is a sign of strength not a sign of weakness.

Love,
me

The Prophet pbuh said, “ Allah likes a strong believer more than the weak one. Out of all good things, ask for that which may be the most beneficial to you. Keep imploring Allah for help and do not give up. Should you come across some mishap, do not say: Had I only done this and that things would have turned out so and so; instead say, only Allah so determines and did as He willed; because this phrase, “ Had I….” only opens the gates of evil conduct. – Muslim

Diary Series:
Letter to the Self # 14: A Better Way
Letter to the Self # 13: The Spoken Word
Letter to the Self # 12: A Blessing or a Curse?
Letter to the Self # 11: PurposeLetter to the Self #10: Let’s Partey
Letter to the Self #9: Looking Good
Letter to the Self #8: Worship
Letter to the Self #7: Rights of the Body
Letter to the Self#6: Time
Letter to the Self #5: Gratitude
Letter to the Self #4: Laziness
Letter to the Self #3: Arrogance
Letter to the Self #2: Ego
Shaban: Letters to the Self

Related Topics:
Happiness Doesn’t Grow on Trees!
Discovering Your Emotional Intelligence
Developing the Muslim Self Through Martial Arts
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
Prosperity and Abundance Now!

Letter to the Self # 14: A Better Way

Letter to the Self # 14: A Better Way
Ramadan Day 13

By Jeewan Chanicka

Almost at the half-way mark of Ramadhan – this next week and a half is the best time to do any last minute shopping (for ‘Eid) and heavy cleaning…this way you don’t waste your time, efforts and energy in the last ten days with that…you want to save all your energy for those blessed nights!

Dear Self

As you continue to understand living with purpose and achieving your higher potential, have you stopped to really think about what you “want” for yourself? So we are born to worship God, but apart from the rituals, which all Muslims are obligated to do, what in your worship is special? What sets you apart from everyone else? How do you use your unique talents and capabilities to give back? After all, you are as unique to this world as a snowflake from the heavens and a fingerprint etched in the landscape of time.
When you think about your life and think about your goals and final destination- what do you want to achieve with what you’ve been blessed? The other important question to answer is: do your actions match those desires you have for yourself?
Sometimes we like to think that our actions do; like a parent who says they are working for the good of their family and although they are financially comfortable, they spend more of their time at work and less with their children, losing all the time with the ones they claim to be working for OR like those who say they are busy doing community work and they are out doing everything for everyone else while their family or closest friends or neighbours are suffering.

In short, Self, I am asking you to think through these things to see if you are living a contradiction and to remember that you have to make sure your actions are aligned with your goals and even more importantly, that your goals will earn you God’s Pleasure.

Remember if you don’t start by choosing what you want to achieve, praying for it, working for it, you will never achieve it. God waits and listens for the prayer of those who seek His help, just so He can answer it.
But we have to work for what we want. Along the way, we have to continue to evaluate to see what progress we are making and if there is anything we need to change in order to be the best.

Self, you’ve done a good job over the past few years but don’t become complacent.
Keep working; a diamond only shines after much work and pressure.
Keep working to be the best YOU that you can be.

Love,
Me

Remember: One who desires chastity, Allah makes him chaste; One who wants contentment, Allah makes him contented; and the person who aspires for steadfastness, Allah bestows steadfastness upon him. No one has been awarded a blessing better than patience and submission. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Diary Series:

Letter to the Self # 13: The Spoken Word
Letter to the Self # 12: A Blessing or a Curse?
Letter to the Self # 11: PurposeLetter to the Self #10: Let’s Partey
Letter to the Self #9: Looking Good
Letter to the Self #8: Worship
Letter to the Self #7: Rights of the Body
Letter to the Self#6: Time
Letter to the Self #5: Gratitude
Letter to the Self #4: Laziness
Letter to the Self #3: Arrogance
Letter to the Self #2: Ego
Shaban: Letters to the Self

Letter to the Self # 13: The Spoken Word

Letter to the Self # 13: The Spoken Word
Ramadan Day 12

Dear Self,

I read this ahadith, “ Cleanliness is equal to half of faith and to say ‘Al hamdu Lillah’ (all Praise is due to God) helps the scale of actions to become heavy; the utterance of ‘Subhan Allah’ (Glory be to God) and Al hamdu Lillah are good enough to fill the space between the heavens and the earth with blessings. The Salat (prayer) is light; Giving Charity is proof of one’s faith; and to be patient is as good as light and the Qur’an is a plea in your favour or against you (depending on what you do with what you know). Everyone begins their morning ready to bargain for his soul and either frees it or loses it!”

Today Self, let your tongue be moist with the remembrance of God. Fill the time while you are driving, standing in line, waiting for someone with the words that will bring light and remove the obscenities and idle talk that you often want to fill it with. It’s funny how easy it is to waste our time, use bad language, talk about others and not want to try and replace something we know is negative with something that can bring us so much benefit.

What you say is a reflection of what is within and what is in you is what you have put in. Today, start the process of filling your being with goodness and His remembrance.

When you fill your soul with light, you will illuminate the path you walk upon and it will also fill the lives of those you touch with it’s goodness.

Love,
Me

Diary Series:
Letter to the Self # 12: A Blessing or a Curse?
Letter to the Self # 11: Purpose
Letter to the Self #10: Let’s Partey
Letter to the Self #9: Looking Good
Letter to the Self #8: Worship
Letter to the Self #7: Rights of the Body
Letter to the Self#6: Time
Letter to the Self #5: Gratitude
Letter to the Self #4: Laziness
Letter to the Self #3: Arrogance
Letter to the Self #2: Ego
Shaban: Letters to the Self