I sold my macbook today, after five years of owning it. It wasn’t  very difficult to say goodbye, as we kept having internal arguments every day because of its speed. Next in line is my smartphone, and this too will not be a difficult ending. What will be is rather saying goodbye to whatsapp and taking pictures. From now on I will have to look up how to get somewhere before I leave the house and check my emails max two times a day. I can’t wait. Simple, natural lifestyle, here I come!

One hour before 2014

Bismillah,

A new year has as much meaning in my eyes as a new day, week or month. Not all that special in other words, and I wasn’t planning to write anything but somehow it turned out to be a quite special last day of the year.

A sister picked me up to attend our weekly class in another town nearby. As she was driving we noticed how dark it was, and started to talk about how nature affects one’s mood and general way of thinking. When we entered the town we realised that the electricity was down in the whole town and after a half an hour wait our teacher decided that we would still have class, without lights, speakers and a microphone (for the sisters). I loved this idea as I love everything that’s done the old way ๐Ÿ™‚ The teacher started talking about the importance of knowledge. The salaf used to say that knowledge has pride and honour, and doesn’t give itself to anyone just like that. They used to sleep on the doorstep of the scholars, so as to not miss any goodness that comes from them. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbaas told his friend, when they were still young, let us seek knowledge. His friend didn’t understand the importance of this, so he left his friend and went to seek knowledge on his own, and after all the time that passed between him and us we can all testify to the vastness of his knowledge and wisdom. So that was quite an inspiring beginning of the lesson.

From fiqh we just reached the book of prayer and so we started with learning the timings of the prayers. And this was simply the perfect topic for tonight, since the lights were off and we were much more aware of the laws of nature than we would have been with a bright artificial light above us. Actually it never occurred to me that I didn’t have electricity for more than 5 minutes (except in our village in Turkey).

It was as if every prayer time had a different feel to it. Starting with dhuhr, when the sun has just passed its highest point, I longed for a place where there’s actually a clear sun and shadows even during winter, because I have been deprived of it for too long!! Same for salat al-‘asr, when the shadow has the same length as an object. The end of ‘asr is actually at two times, first when the sun is about to turn orange, that’s when you should stop praying. But in emergency cases you can pray till maghrib, which is when the sun has went down, and you see a red gleam in the sky. That’s all those beautiful pictures of sunset. When this red gleam disappears isha time starts. ‘Isha has two times as well, the first is the half of the night, and the second the start of fajr. I started to calculate the length of the night to know when half of it is over, and that’s roughly from 5 pm to 7 am, 14 hours of darkness every day :O that’s like more than half of every day! No wonder why everyone seems so gloomy. As I was thinking these ungrateful thoughts my teacher said he met brothers from Norway who came from a place where it’s light during day and night for three months and then dark for three months. So shocking subhanAllah, they are praying dhuhr in the dark and isha during what seems day time. See, things can always be worse. And then, fajr time. After darkness comes light, yes, very dim over here but undeniable. I wish to live in a place where I’m closer to nature, since it reminds me of Allah and gives a different experience to prayer. Imagine reading the prayer times directly off from the sun, being reminded that Allah should be worshipped at all times, not just at 7 a, 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm, 7 pm ๐Ÿ˜€ and that the day and night belong to Him. Until that time it might be a good idea to disconnect from technology every now and then, and realise there’s still life, and a beautiful one as well, away from artificial things.

It’s 11:30 pm now, and I either fall asleep within 15 minutes, or after two hours when people finally realise how much money they wasted on fireworks. So see you next year in sha Allah ๐Ÿ˜€

Why I don’t want to do a masters degree (yet)..

Bismillah,

The title of this post could as well be “why I’m not what you think I am”. But more on that later.

Since there’s only 6 months left of my undergraduate life (in sha Allah!!!) people have started to ask me if I’m going to do a masters degree and which one. And every time I tell them I’m not thinking of doing a masters degree any time soon I get reactions of surprise, unbelief and sometimes even clear disapproval. Especially my classmates tell me that I must be crazy for choosing not to continue my studies while I have the capability to do so. They think I’m not making a wise choice, that I’m wasting my intellect. Sometimes I feel bad about me not being motivated to do any more studying and consider a masters degree. But this is not a decision I made overnight, it’s actually got to do with my view on life which has changed quite a lot in the last few years.. This is for me and all those who feel pressurized by society.

So they say that it’s such a pity that I’ve come this far and refuse to study further and get a higher degree. There are tons of answers I would like to give to these people. First of all, I have absolutely nothing against studying, my religion has made it compulsory for me to study matters of religion and encourages me to acquire all other kinds of beneficial knowledge. For your info, the first thing I do when I’m bored is not to grab the remote control but rather open a book and read. Some of my most beautiful memories are from spending time in the library reading, at the mosque studying islam and Arabic, and at secondary school learning Spanish. I’ve also come to realise how much there’s to learn in this world, how little all of us actually know. But seriously, uni is not the only place where you can acquire knowledge. A diploma says so little about how much you know, but much more importantly: it says absolutely nothing about who you are! The day I receive my diploma I will not feel like a different person, true I have changed a lot during uni days, but that’s not because of the things I learned during lectures or seminars. I couldn’t let the knowledge get deep to me, because this is not really something I’m passionate about (linguistics a little, English language not at all) and to be completely honest with you, I hate everything that has to do with academic life. I remember the joy I felt when I wrote my last lab report a few years ago – poor me, I didn’t know that uni was all about learning how to do experiments and report on them. I respect those who have the patience and strength to do these things, I was simply not made for it. Same with writing essays, I will be frustrated and scared and depressed for days on end because a deadline is approaching. In every sense of the word, it makes me SUFFER. And I’m not exaggerating when I’m telling you that since the beginning of this year I’ve been worried about having to write my final paper next semester. And no it’s not only due to my personality, I’m quite a relaxed person in other areas of life, but ever since I left primary school education equals suffering to me. Okay okay I know that it has a lot to do with my personality, but if some things had been just a little different the whole experience would have been much less nightmarish.

I’m also being told that a masters degree will increase my chances to get a job. The only job I actually like is teaching, and I started doing that at the age of 15 without a degree (getting paid for it as well). What’s more, I don’t think any of us will easily find a job that suits your interests and your degree. We have to start looking at things differently, and not expect everything to stay the same while so many things are changing.

Finally coming to an end, I think my attitude to university is greatly shaped by my personality. I mean the combination of fear of failure and perfectionism were the things that actually made my learning process such a hard one, besides the fact that current education is so result oriented and therefore makes everyone feel like a loser whenever they fail to get high grades. That’s why I say that one day I might consider doing a masters degree, but I need time to work on myself. Get a brainwash, realise that others’ opinions of me don’t reflect who I really am. This realisation itself makes me want to take a looong break from formal education and turn back only when I’m ready to take it all with love. Maybe you shouldn’t take this post too seriously, but take one thing from me: you are more than what others think of you!

Saudade..

“…a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist… a turning towards the past or towards the future.”
I have this feeling very often, how comforting to know that at least in another language (Portugese) there’s a word to describe this, meaning that I’m not the only one..

Moreee thoughts

Bismillah,

This week was even worse in terms of the amount of thoughts in my head, but this time it actually changed the course of my mind. I remember thinking last week: if I survive next week I can survive almost everything.

On friday I had an exam of a subject called “brain in trouble” so I was all into the brain, but not the way I should’ve been studying for it. I thought it was a good idea to watch educational video’s on youtube but me and technology have never been good study mates.

The weekend was actually the real bomb that exploded in my head. On sunday I organized a fundraiser for Syria with my friend, where we sold secondhand clothes and food. We actually worked the whole day on saturday so I had no time to think at all and forgot who I was and my usual worries. Sunday was the summit of my stress levels ๐Ÿ™‚ During the day it was actually not very stressful, it only got really bad when we had to clean up everything. I can’t remember how many traffic rules I broke, driving way too fast and filling the car so much that I could actually see nothing from the rear mirror and on my right side. Besides my problem with chaos I had also promised a friend to go to a movie with her in the evening. Thinking about the stupid things I did and said on that day makes me feel so ashamed but well hopefully I will manage my stress better next time. I was on time for the movie, which was about a Canadian doctor who went to Israel to work in a village in the West Bank. I couldn’t believe that after such a long and eventful day I would have to go through so many more adventures (in my mind) and think about so many things, and in the beginning I was almost going to give up and just close my eyes. But after a while I got totally lost in the movie and was really moved by it. At the end I felt like a zombie bursting with energy. I had to do something with what I had seen, and with what I know about the world. I have to stop wasting time and start making use of my life, and not let my breath be wasted. I feel a very strong urge to move to the Middle East and never look back, but I have to be productive wherever I may be. It’s just temporary..

Thoughts

Thoughts. I have plenty of them. So much so that I sometimes think my head is going to blow up. Everywhere I look I see words, I hear them inside of me. People look at me and think I’m calm, composed and peaceful. Well that might be said about my posture maybe. But my brain is a roller coaster where my mind likes to stay, 24/7. I force myself to go to bed at night, and to wake up in the morning, and to take the train, and to do whatever, because the only thing that requires no effort, the only thing that’s intrinsic to me, is…….. thinking ๐Ÿ™‚ or rather ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

It’s amazing how smoothly the thoughts run through me, and how painful it is to express these feelings. Even while writing my fingers stutter over the keyboard. Speaking – I don’t even want to talk about it. Hearing other people’s mouths utter thoughtless words just drives me crazy, and then they expect me to say something nonsensical in return. I realize more and more every day that there are actually very few people on the surface of the earth who are keen to listen to thoughtful words. Who are truly interested in another’s thoughts and feelings. The sad thing is that people drowning in their thoughts can’t usually swim up to the surface and meet others like them. Only in their thoughts they have long and deep conversations, a mere monologue with different voices.ย 

My mind is an interesting place. It has many colours and shades. But the more I stay in it the more I’m forced to find a safe place where I can dwell forever. It is as if my whole person is defined by this small place. I can’t think about that many things anymore, although the same thoughts keep repeating themselves tirelessly. I want all the facets of my being to flourish, I want to give to others and to receive. I am a thought-machine, but I don’t want that to be all that I am, because I know that I’m more. But who am I? Who am I?

Loss

Bismillah,
Every dag brings new memories.. good and bad things that shape our lives and leave their traces.
With gain comes loss, every single experience, joy, sadness, anger or happiness, love and hate, is gone from us as soon as it had reached perfection.
The pain that comes with this realization is one unbearable. Often I think about all the things that have happened and even those things I once used to hate are now only a memory and will never be anything beyond that. And when I realise this I even yearn to go back in time and relive the same miserable life that I once used to hate.
The same amount of pain takes hold of me when I realize that tomorrow today will also be part of the past. And whether I show gratefulness for this day tomorrow I will wish I could go back even one day and set things straight.
I can’t imagine how great will be my regret when I realize I’m dying, and I will not be given another day to regret the past days. No, there will soon come a day when all hopes in a better me in the future will end. And I will be left to face the trials of my new life being the person I am on that day, a product of every single day of mine..
I realized however, that there’s actually no need to yearn back to days past. For if I obeyed Allah during those days, I will remember it on the day of judgment with great joy. In paradise I will tell others about it, and maybe even experience the same things and feel the same way only much much better and so much more intense.
As for bad days, they will be a source of sadness, as they were in this world a burden on my heart they will burden me on the day of judgment. So what is the use of yearning for those days, when they have given me no good. And how great would it be if I could repent to Allah and add to my scale of good news? I would have gained a great deal from such a tiny loss. What has he lost who has found Allah? And what has he found who has lost Allah?
1. By Al-‘Asr (the time).
2. Verily! Man is in loss,
3. Except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth, and recommend one another to patience.

My first janaza prayer

Bismillah,
Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
Today I was in a very emotional mood and crying about random things. I had planned to go to university with a sister to pray jumu’ah there and had to meet her at the train station. But first I went to my Arabic teacher for a lesson and her nice naseehah ma sha Allah. Time flew while I was listening to her and out of shyness I couldn’t interrupt her to tell her that I had to leave. When she realized that we were well over time I had already missed the train. I was feeling very guilty for letting my friend go on her own but there was nothing that I could do about it at that point. So I went and took the next train that went to another place that has a big masjid.
I had never been at that masjid and so was taken by surprise when I saw how packed it was subhanAllah. The khutba was about raising pious children and parents’ mistakes in the process. Little did I know that a young brother aged 20 (just like me) was shot dead and we would be offering the funeral prayers for him. So I was sitting and wondering while all these old aunties were staying where they were while the khutba was being translating. Then the imam announced that we would pray janaza and everybody stood up. OH OH!
I had wanted to attend a janaza for quite a long time but never had the chance. To be honest I hadn’t even learned the ad’iyah to be recited. And here I was standing to pray janaza at a mosque where I hadn’t planned to be.. so unexpectedly. Just like death. I will leave out the details about my state during the prayer :p you can just imagine me there: packed masjid, emotional mood, unexpected situation..
I don’t know what to say.. right after leaving the masjid I had to teach English so I had to change my focus again. It was also a pity that I didn’t know what dua to recite so I just kept saying “Allahumma ghfir li akhina” and I don’t even know if that’s correct Arabic :$ but it certainly was a good reminder.. especially since I hadn’t expected to find myself praying at that masjid today let alone witness a janaza subhanAllah.
Also the fact that he was only 20 years old.. death can come any time. Seeing his mother and many other people cry.. I was just looking at it as an outsider but it’s a crazy thought that this was their reality.
May Allah wake our hearts up before it’s too late..

When you’re let down..

Yesterday somebody did something to someone very dear to me. It felt like what was done to her was also done to me and I was left thinking: is there anyone that I can trust in this world?? When our hearts are broken we tend to overgeneralize the things we experienced with one person to everyone else in this universe.
It reminds me of a fb-update I wrote last year:

“They say that you should have no expectations in order to avoid disappointments, but are respect and kindness such an exceptional characteristic of the people that we cant even expect that??”
The same goes for trust. It has become so rare.. but not so surprisingly, trust is a characteristic of a piety, and as there are very few people left who are pious there’s also a scarcity of reliable people.
Imagine this, would a righteous scholar ever break your trust, or would your trust for him/her increase everytime you met?

Anyways, let’s go back to reality, as none of us (who’s reading this) is a righteous scholar and we have ALL let down someone whether knowingly or unknowingly.

How many times did we hide things from our family, friends and teachers? And what happened when they found out? They had exactly the same feeling as you and I are having at this moment. They had never expected this from us, sounds familiar doesn’t it?

So we accept that breaking people’s trust is what every human being does.. Allah says in surah al-i imran, verse 134:

“Those who spend (benevolently) in ease as well as in straitness, and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of good (to others).”

Don’t you want Allah to love you? Every time you are let down by someone you have the choice to forgive them and in return you get the love of Allah. How great is that! Surely anyone’s love is worth giving up if we can get Allah’s love through this.

Alhamdulillah Allah wants to love us and He wants us to love and trust Him more than anyone.

But He also wants us to love and forgive each other, this is the condition that Allah gives us to be of the muhsineen. Why is it so important to forgive others? Just imagine how our ummah would be if nobody forgave each other, if no parent forgave their child, if no man forgave his brother and no woman her sister in islam? Unfortunately we don’t even have to imagine because anywhere we look we see people holding grudges against each other to the point where families have fallen apart and communities are at unrest.
And if you do not forgive people and forsake their mistakes, who will also suffer? YOU, because you’re heart contains bad feelings towards another muslim, how will it be received on the day of judgment?

Allah says in surah al-‘adiyaat, verses 9-11:

“Does he not then know when what is in the graves is raised, and what is in the breasts is made apparent? Most surely their Lord that day shall be fully aware of them.”

We have the choice to come on the day of judgment with a clean heart, one like that of the sahabi who would enter jannah because he didn’t hold any grudges against any muslim. Or we can come with a filthy heart, filled with feelings that will be of no benefit to us.

Our time in this world is limited and will come to an end very soon. Let’s make the best of our lives and see the best in each other. Let’s forgive, trust and love each other again, not out of naivety, but of good intention and humility. Let’s recognize our own faults and remember that nobody is perfect..

There are many great articles about this topic that you can read like:

http://productivemuslim.com/forgiving-others-enhancing-personal-productivity/

http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=articles&id=170839

And my last words are:

ู„ุง ูŠูƒู„ู ุงู„ู„ู‡ ู†ูุณุง ุฅู„ุง ูˆุณุนู‡ุง
Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.
Surah al-baqarah:286

Living in the past

Bismillah,

I can’t believe that it’s been 5 months since my last post! I have just been very busy studying and teaching and quite passive with other things, unfortunately. Right now I’m in an exam week as well but when I feel the need to write I just have to do it! These are special moments that I can’t take for granted ๐Ÿ™‚

In these 5 months I got 20 years old, my sister got engaged, I took driving lessonsย and passed my test and I went to an Arabic winter school. I had the two best weeks of my life there alhamdulillah. It was a great feeling to know that I really made progress in my Arabic, especially speaking and writing. I also received a certificate for Madinah book 1 and 2 which I had been studying on my own before, this might turn out useful for my further education in Arabic in sha Allah. I hope I can do something like this again, it really made me taste the sweetness of imaan, studying Arabic and Islam every single day, surrounded with the loveliest sisters in the world and tasty Moroccan food ๐Ÿ˜€

Coming back to real life was quite depressing, especially the weather made me feel down. But I could enjoy the snow alhamdulillah, it’s so beautiful!

This place is 5 minutes away from my house!
I still can’t believe how quickly the days passed, and how they continue to pass us by so rapidly… I hardly have time to even think! And ponder on life, how the days go and what’s happening to me and around me. Traveling always helps me to see things from a different perspective. It inspires me to write poems, and although I’m an amateur it does help me to express my emotions, which I often seem to suppress..
This one I call “Living in the past”
Every time I do something new,
I do something old.
I see old, I smell old, I hear old,
I feel old.
What was of old stays alive inside,
It’s like my mind refuses to compromise
the feelings and thoughts of long ago,
Long ago they became old.
Should I let go and find
something in new as I did in old?
I try and try to live my life
While I’m present in time.
But time and time again I feel,
this world is not that real.
It will never be real, never new,
I feel like I always knew.
My soul knew this place was to be,
where it could never be free.
Sometimes all it wishes is to rest
But it was always meant to be a test.
The pen, the first thing He created,
with His order every single thing was dated.
Your life and mine, fully described,
In honoured records it was scribed.
It is reported on the authority of `Ubadah Ibn As-Samit (ra) that he said to his son: “Oh, son! You will never taste true faith until you know that whatever afflicts you would not have missed you, and whatever has missed you would never have come to you. I heard the Messenger of Allah say: “The first thing Allah created was the pen; He commanded it to write. It said: “My Rabb! What shall I write?” He said: “Write down what has been ordained for all things until the establishment of the Hour.” Oh, my son! I heard Allah’s Messenger say: “Whoever dies believing something other than this does not belong to me.”