When I picked up this book, I was in a bad place. I felt spiritually empty and I desperately needed to fill my cup again. It took a toll on my relationship with my loved ones and my heart felt diseased. Now, I’m not saying this book is the answer to my problems. But it sure did gave me the push I needed to start purifying my heart. @officialmizznina wrote about her hijrah journey and how she became the amazing masha Allah person she is today. She wrote many wonderful gems and tips (some in this post when you scroll through) and they are practical to follow. Her hijrah journey resonated with me because it took a big change in my life to set things in motion. For me, it was the birth of my son and the need to be a better mother to be able to care for and teach my son Islamic values. Throughout this book, she frequently reminds us to hold on to Qur’an and sunnah. And my favorite part of this book is when she wrote about verse 21 in surah Al-Hashr where the mountains would crumble if they were sent the down the Qur’an, but imagine that our hearts could hold it and remain intact and in fact become stronger with it. Subhanallah. Amazing stuff.
While recording our latest podcast, I got reminded of this story in this book, With The Heart In Mind by Sh. Mikaeel Smith. It was a beautiful story of the Prophet (saw) and Aisha (ra) and the way our Beloved Prophet (saw) reacted is such a big takeaway for me. The Prophet (saw) identified the cause of her behavior and then reacted accordingly, but that doesn’t mean that He (saw) left the behavior unchecked. Sh. Mikaeel says that when you understand the cause of the behavior, you will be more likely to develop a deeper tolerance for it. You can rationalize and justify. I’m still learning everyday and I guess in marriage, a lot of understanding is needed. He also touched on parenting and how developing your emotional intelligence would benefit those around you. This book is content heavy so I recommend reading and re-reading it for maximum benefit. The first chapter may be a little dry but the contents are 💯 This unassuming (I may not have picked it up if not for a few recommendation from friends) book is really packed with gems and it makes you want to learn further about the character of our Prophet (saw) and to strive to apply it to our daily lives.
I first heard of this verse in a webinar with Mizznina and Ustaz Mizi Wahid about istiqamah. How is it related? I’ll get to that in a bit. This verse is called ayat al-Nur, verse of light. Rightfully so, as it describes Allah’s light.
In this verse, Allah gave a parable of His light, where He said:
“The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp…”
Qur’an, Surah An-Nur, verse 35
From this part above, we can understand two things.
The Light of Allah Itself
Allah likens His light to that of a niche with a lamp. A niche is a hole in a wall, like a indent and arched. So when the light hits it, the whole room will be lit up. Allah also mentions that that lamp is lit with the oil of a blessed olive tree that is either eastern nor western and is a metaphor to describe perfection and brilliance of the lamp. It would require the most pure of oils and most refined to give off a good, strong light. So why does Allah make this comparison? It’s because it is what our human minds can comprehend, or relate to. Personally I thought that this highlighted another layer of Allah’s mercy and love, in wanting for us to be able to understand it.
When I heard of the tafseer for this, I immediate thought the light of Allah is indeed very much like the verse describes. When we have Allah present in our lives, we feel a certain sense of calm that even when the world seems to be a dark place in that moment, we still have Allah’s light and it radiates to every corner. And that brings me to the second point.
The Light of Allah in Our Hearts
In his lecture, Ust. Nouman compared the metaphor to our hearts. The rib cage is like a niche, and the heart is the lamp. He described our ruh (and in Sh Yasir’s lecture, our iman) as the light that Allah has put in every heart and referenced to the olive oil that Allah says is neither eastern nor western, signifying it has it’s own illumination already. This light, when it meets with the light of revelation and guidance would result in the entire entity of human being to be lit up. Allah calls that nurun ala nur, light upon light. Subhanallah, how amazing! It gave me goosebumps when I listened to the lectures.
In order for the light to meet the lamp that is our heart, must be clean. Could you imagine if the lamp was dirty? It wouldn’t be easy for light to pass through. It’s such a great reminder to us to constantly seek to cleanse and purify our hearts in order to receive light (guidance and Qu’ran). Sh. Yasir also mentioned that pure hearts will always find Islam and therefore he urges us to practice Islam in its totality.
Istiqamah means to be consistent. Now that we know all about the amazing nur that Allah has blessed us with, would we want to lose it? Make Allah’s love and light your motivation to continue your ibadahs. It’s worth remembering that Allah will give guidance to those who works hard towards it.
In the talk that I attended (mentioned above), Ust. Mizi Wahid mentioned to purify our hearts from unwanted things like ego, envy, and the likes. I finally understood the importance of doing this in order to maintain istiqamah.
Here are some tips to maintain istiqamah:
Start with fardhu prayers. Consistently try to pray on time. After that, work towards understanding what you are reading. This will help you to attain khusyuk. Perfect your salah and wudhu’.
Develop a deeper sense of humility – would you fidget a lot when meeting with someone respected? This is how you measure khusyuk.
Plan your day around salah, everything else will then fall into place
Purify your heart – get rid of ego, envy and unwanted ill feelings Avoid arguments and have husnuzon billah.
May we always be surrounded by Allah’s light and may we be a means of Allah’s light to others. Ameen.
Gratitude has been something that I struggle with from time to time and it is even more apparent in times of crisis. It’s difficult to be thankful for when whatever we’re facing feels like there is no way out. Previously when I hit a setback or face some difficult situation, I’ve always felt like what is there to be grateful for? I didn’t know any better then and I certainly couldn’t see the wisdom behind it.
While watching the lecture by Ust Nouman Ali Khan, I was gifted a new perspective of things and I invite you to listen to the following lecture as well:
The Story of Prophet Musa (a.s) and Pharoah
The verse is in context of this particular story of Prophet Musa (a.s.) and Pharoah. To put briefly, it was a difficult time for the Bani Israil. The Pharoah as we all know was a tyrant and life was difficult under his rule. The Bani Israil was often oppressed and male babies were ordered to be killed. Prophet Musa (a.s) made du’a and brought the Bani Israil to escape from the Pharoah. Allah told Prophet Musa (a.s) to strike the sea with his staff and Allah parted the sea for them to pass through. Upon passing through, they realized that they had nothing (to start life over with). Prophet Musa (a.s.) gave a sermon that Allah wants to remind them that if they are grateful, Allah will surely give them more. After all, Allah did see them through to safety from the oppressor.
Shift your Focus
Ust Nouman says to shift your focus on something that you are grateful for when times are hard.
“And ˹remember˺ when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will certainly give you more.”
Allah says that if we are grateful, He will increase us. Increase us in what exactly? Well, it can be anything – rizq, peace, blessings but only at His time. It takes a lot to find things to be grateful for when facing hardships, but when we practice it we can be sure that Allah will reward us. Shifting your focus also helps you to deal with your hardship better.
A believer thinking positive is to be grateful to Allah. The more I think about it, the more it made sense! When you shift your focus to be grateful for something, even if it’s for past hardships that Allah took you out of you are already moving towards positive thinking. When you are grateful for what Allah has blessed you with despite the situation, you will feel some sort of peace and calm flooding into your heart and mind. And truly, when you are grateful, Allah will give you more, because you know He will bring you through whatever hardships that you are facing again and again. When we don’t have a sense of gratitude, the only harm we do is to ourselves and we may even start to feel vengeful.
I remember listening to a lecture (I apologize, I cannot remember from where) that Allah’s mercy comes in layers and what we are experiencing right now is jut 1/100 of the mercy that Allah has. Subhanallah! I cannot imagine the rest, and even now the thought of Allah’s infinite mercy could make me tear up. How loving Allah is, how nice Allah is.
Ustaz Nouman mentioned we should also take note of the language used here. Allah used “if” and “then” which means if we are grateful, the direct consequence is an increase (in blessings).
“But if you are ungrateful, surely My punishment is severe.”
In the second sentence, it serves as a warning or a reminder that the punishment for being ungrateful is severe. Allah wants to only remind us to not go down that path towards your own destruction. He is saying that the punishment severe but He does not want that to happen to us.
Subhanallah. How loving Allah is towards us.
Gratitude has to be constant. It has to be a way of life and not something you say once in a while just for the sake of. Gratitude isn’t just lip service. Gratitude comes from your heart and you need to feel it sincerely. I intend to start practicing gratitude by first remembering all those times that I didn’t have what I have now, and the countless times that Allah rescued me from my own crisis/bad days/hardships/unsavory situations in ways that I couldn’t imagine. He made it all better and that was His favour to me. Having gratitude shapes our attitude and actions. When we live in a state of gratitude, we will start to see the blessings of Allah.
Gratitude Journal (Action Plan)
Several weeks ago, I tuned in to Sumi’s seerah sharing and she mentioned gratitude journal. I decided to try it for myself and this is also one of the things that changed my perspective and made me more grateful for even the littlest things daily. I bought a notebook with gratitude prompts and made sure I wrote at least one thing I was grateful for daily. I remember writing down about being able to buy bubble tea even, because this rizq is indeed from Allah! I recommend you try it too. 🙂
This book by Martin Lings was a recommendation by Ustaz Nouman Ali Khan that someone shared on Instagram. It’s an easy read for a beginner of seerah studies, despite 300+ pages (as a FTWM, it’s a struggle sometimes!).
It’s a great feeling to finally read and know about our beloved Prophet’s ﷺ life story and to understand his character and how he handled different situations. I find myself going through a whole spectrum of emotions while reading the book – amazement, anger, sadness.
At the beginning, the author wrote about the Prophet’s ﷺ lineage starting from his great grandfather and I find that you may easily feel lost or not be able to remember all the names. It’s best if you read the book several more times (recommended 3 times) in order to truly understand the contents. It’s not easy to go through the same book many times but it makes the book purchase worthwhile! I do recommend asking or learning from a Ustaz/Ustazah if you are unsure, or to follow a seerah class. For starters you could listen in to Al-Qudwah Academy’s sessions on Mondays. AQA uses Fiqh Us Seerah, but Ustaz explains it all the same. This book is available for purchase from our favourite bookstore – Wardah Books. Happy reading! May Allah swt gifts us the gift of time to increase our knowledge and may the knowledge be beneficial for us.
“Know that the treatment of anger and disciplining it are a religious obligation, for it carries most people off to hell and from it many are sins born.” I became curious about Imam Al Ghazali’s books and teachings after I listened to Ustazah Farhana’s (sisters only) podcast about guided reading of his book – The Beginning of Guidance. Ustazah said that imam had a way of telling you what went wrong in your face, but he also provided solutions and that piqued my interest. This book is one of the many selections from Alchemy of Happiness and I find that it’s easier to digest in smaller breakdowns. On envy, he says it isn’t healthy and we shouldn’t be hateful of others blessings. Basically, problem + remedy. I struggle a lot with this three things and this is a means to help me through this journey of trying to keep myself in check. There are a lot of books sold at @wardahbooks on Al Ghazali’s works and all the titles look pretty amazing.