Monday, 23 April 2012

Musings :)

We're still here, MashaAllah, in the city that is ever so quiet and serene. There isn't a sigh to be heard....
I've been unwell. Caught on to a bad through thanks to blueberry slush. It was due I suppose, had been having the E.N.T. symptoms since we reached Saudi. I've been resting cause of the fever, being near the Haram over all is pretty sweet. It makes you reflect and think, not just about your deeds but tracking back to history's footsteps... you know the hard times, the grueling hardships... the miracles... and of course... the spiritual happenings. I don't expect everyone to understand, relate or even agree... but I've gone into this phase thinking all the time about what I can give, to receive... and not in regard to people, but my Rabb. He is so Kind, so Forgiving and so Loving, what might I have to deserve His Mercy? Everyone strives to do good to make Jannah their destination. Isn't that secondary? Our purpose is to serve Him. To make Him pleased with us. 

When I contemplate, my line of work comes in front of me every time. Today, there's a plathora of businesses that now cash in on the idea of 'spreading smiles' or 'sentiments'. Alhamdulillah to that! May Allah Kareem give everyone their Just share and give them Barakah in what they do.... I try keeping my aim to bring smiles to those around me, and funnily enough, I receive comments and feedback being told I'm gaining ajar by spreading smiles. It's sunnah to smile, bringing a smile to someone or livening up someone's life too is a good deed, neh?

Every year during the month of Rabi ul Awwal, our home gets lit up with fairy lights, and my little sister and I get outfits made for the 12th, like the real Eid... we even apply Henna in the evening and carry bags of candy to distribute in the mehfil to little children... it's just something that is strongly a part of us. Alhamdulillah! it is in the month of Rabi ul Awwal that I've also had to choose between submissions for schools, exams, get togethers with friends, family picnics and just about everything one could imagine to steal me away for a few hours so I don't attend the mehfil... mama and baba always give me the choice... and before going I feel a little low about what others have said to me in response to not showing up or opting out of an activity, but when I go... everything changes. I've been written to attend it and my evening time has been written there, in the ibadah of Allah Kareem and in praise of Aaqa Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam.

Over the last few years, my mind has been synced with my beliefs greatly... and I believe souls that are of the same lot, as assembled above in heaven before being sent down in bodies do gel together or find each others company in this dunya. Whether it's through work, school, community, family or just ibadah. SubhanAllah.

*break here.... I'm sitting in front of the window which faces the Haram, and those canopies that provide shade during the day just closed. It was so COOL!* :D

Back to what we were talking about... Two years ago, my mum used to drill after me, to write a few nice quotes or hadith prettied up and share them... and I just never used to get to it, for some reason or another. Last year though, out of the blue, I asked my fiance for help in gathering Quranic Ayah's and Ahadith to do the Pearls of Wisdom series while I designed them. We worked on them for the entire month and even kept a back up plan, where he would upload the Wisdom of the Day if I couldn't. It felt great doing so! And everyone that visited Firefly benefit from it by reading, learning and responding to it. Pretty amazing right? Mum was overwhelmed as it is something she wished I had done for a long time, and out of no where I had the motivation to...

And that is life? Allah Kareem says spend in my way, and I will return it to you in ten times greater the amount. Completely agree! So Allah Kareem, I humbly request, you accept my ibadah, and the time I put into encouraging good, in preparing supplications, or in sharing the mention of Your name and Your Beloved's. Please forgive me for the wrongs I may have unknowingly crossed. The success I have is from You, and the barakah in my work, too comes from You! Alhamdulillah!

There are those who find me negative, and those who see whatever that's good in the light less appealing, at times I ask myself why... then a little voice says. Do what you are for your Rabb and His Beloved, and everything will be just fine. :) Nothing good, pious or true in life comes easy, there are hurdles, not calamities, but just trials and tribulations set forth by the devious doings of Shaytaan. He obviously can't stand good, can he? So he who triumphs, is surely the winner.. or at least.. is attempting to remain steadfast to his/her beliefs.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Labaik! Quba Sharif and Abu Karb As'ad Hamiri

Hope all those that stop by and visit my little Firefly today are doing well and are keeping happy thoughts as there is so much fear and sorrow in our midst. Over a hundred passengers lost their lives today and this threatening and devastating news came close to home as my own Baba was going to board that plane... at the last minute he switched to a flight by PIA at 7 pm. He is carrying with him the passports of all those who will be coming to Saudi for Umra as part of our yearly 'kafla'. We travel with our shaykh every year for 20 days... lodging in the blessed courts of Aaqa Rasool Allah and then travel to Baitulllah in Makkah Shareef for Hazri.  We spoke to Baba, and he wouldn't speak. Such a grave responsibility on his shoulders... and it is amazing how souls are connected, even across thousands of miles. The time of the crash, we were out for Ziyarah of sacred places near the city of Madinah tul Munawarrah. We were wrapping up and trying to find a place to lunch... and somehow every place we went, there was some eerie form of rukawat, a quiet fear... and just an outright negative feeling.

We gave up and reached home to find out there has been a crash... and we tried talking to Baba, he was going to take the flight that went down and SubhanAllah, Allah Kareem kept him safe... Due to the crash, the airport was sealed, and instead of Islamabad, Baba got off at Lahore... It's been a shaking experience... an it is saddening. We really don't know how much time we have written in this dunya, we want to live forever and reap the fruits of our lives here... everyone wants to go to Jannah, but really.. what have we done to prepare for it? I am not holy, I am not saintly... I am indeed very sinful. It is the Karam of my Rabb that has cloaked my deeds and blessed me to attempt a stroll on the right path. *Alhamdulillah!*

If you are following these words, please spare a moment to recite a prayer for the lives lost today, that their journey thereon is easy and that Allah Kareem gives utmost sabar to the families of those now deceased. We haven't the right to question why or exclaim that they were too young! or they weren't meant to go! Allah is Great and He writes the Master Plan. A friend lost her cousin and a one year old baby, sad and sorrow filled... May Allah Kareem grant the infant the sweetest abode in Jannah as he hasn't yet lived a life to sin in.

Transitioning away, we have Alhamdulillah performed our Umra. I still feel it is surreal... I still cannot believe it. I visited this holy place after 5 years. Calling this bulawa an honor does not do justice at all. Mama says, beta it isn't always because you've been good, sometimes it's so that Allah Kareem can pull your ears and remind you that you need to straighten yourself up :) Allah Kareem knows best, and I pray that my ibadah is accepted and that I return to remain cleansed and on the right path. InshaAllah.

We are in Madina Pak now, and it's so soothing MashaAllah... there's this quietness... this peace... everyone is at ease.. everyone is at a height of 'sukoon'... The blessings of our Aaqa Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam!

Mama is here getting her preparations finalized, as her team prepares the food for 300 guests that travel with the kafla. I keep looking at her wondering how it'll happen. It's a tedious task! I've come after a long time... I don't recall very much. I even expressed to Mama, that I feel I understand more, that I experience more and I probably hold in more... everything is clearer, everything is more refreshing and everything is meaningful. Mashaallah. My little sister is blessed, she's performed Umra thrice now.. and she's going to be 5 in May. She's growing up learning about the Adab and Ikhlaq of traveling in the sacred courts, we tell her stories about Uhud Sharif, we tell her stories about Masjid e Quba, we tell her about the creations of Allah, and she's learning.. and she's grasping... and inshaallah she will continue to understand better. It's better to mold a child when he/she is young rather than imposing hijaab and salaat when they're in their 20's... it's not something you impose or inforce, you guide.. teach... and let the hidaya come. Tarbiyah... blessed to have my mama raise me the way she did!

I'm a little under the weather here, I suppose I'm cleansing myself of bad deeds :) blessing in disguise yes?

I wanted to share something with all of you, which is inspiring, moving and takes a bit of belief in miracles. It is an article my mother wrote, and there are references for it for those who need them :) I remembered this today as we visited Masjid e Quba today, the first Masjid/Musallah in Madina Pak at the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam's time...

Ruhi Fidaka, Fidaka Abi Wa Ummi, Ya Rasool Allah SalAllahi Alaihe Wasallam!

Alhamdolillahe Rabil A’alameen, WasSalato WasSalaamo Aala Khatemin Nabiyyeen Wa Ala A’alehi Wa AsHabehil Ajma’een, 

وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ

"Wa Rafa’ana Laka Dhikrak (Al-Inshirah: 4)
SadaqAllah ul Adheem Wa Sadaqa Rasoolohul Kareem!

As Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala has Graciously stated in this Beautiful Verse of Quraan-e-Kareem:“And We have Exalted your Rememberance for you, O’ Beloved SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam!" Nations after nations, the message is constantly passed on from generation to generations and the true believers anxiously await the physical Blessed Arrival of Beloved Muhammad SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam.

This is an incredible story of the king who sent a letter to our Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam approximately a thousand & fifty years before the physical birth, seeking his Blessed Intercession! 

In Quraan-e-Kareem, there is an Aayat-e-Kareema in Juz 25, Surah Dukkhan, Ayah #37 referring to a tribe, Tub’ba.  The incident is narrated in detail in ‘Al Mustazarf’, ‘Hajatullah alal Alamin’, ‘Tareekhe Damashq by Shaykh ibne Asakir’, Shaykh Ibn Ishaq in “Al Mubteda”, Iltejan by Shaykh Ibne Hasham, Rooh-ul Bayaan, Diya’a-un-Nabi SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam, are just a few mentioned here.

About 2500 years ago, a Tub’ba king of Yemen, Abu Karb As’ ad Hamiri, went on a tour of his country and those surrounding it. He was a very rich king indeed and in his entourage he had 12,000 Aalims, physicians and learned men in addition to his army of 113,000 soldiers (1). Wherever they went, the procession of these men and soldiers, which marched with much pomp and ceremony, people gathered and lined the roadsides to watch and welcome them.

When the entourage reached the outskirts of MAKKATUL MUKARRAMA, no one came to see them or welcome them to the town. This came as a great surprise to the king. He asked his chief minister, that wherever they’ve gone the people gathered in such droves to see and welcome them, but not in Makkatul Mukarrama, why and what could be the reason?

The minister then told him that there is a house in this town called BAITULLAH SHAREEF. The people of this town and its Khaadim have great respect for it; the king’s entourage has no comparison to it and people in large numbers from places far and near come for pilgrimage to this House. In this town no one will heed the king or give any importance. They respect the Holy House more than kings.

Upon hearing this king was furious and in his anger, he swore and declared his bad intentions regarding the Holy Ka’aba. No sooner had the king uttered the words, the blood started pouring from his mouth, nose and eyes. The blood smelt so foul that his companions moved away from him and no one would come near him. He called upon his physicians and doctors for treatment but nobody could help or cure him. His condition worsened, could not sleep at night and kept tossing and turning with restlessness. He wanted to get treated and cured at any cost.

Amongst his entourage was a physician, who was also a Almighty Allah fearing Aalim. He came to the king, inspected him, and then told the king his illness is spiritual. Medicines will not work on him and inquired if he intended to do something bad or evil? If he did then he should ask for forgiveness, HE, Rabbe Kareem will pardon him and relieve him of his misery and illness if He wishes, HE MUST REPENT!

Taking the Physicians advice, the king immediately changed his evil plan. No sooner had he repented the foul smelling blood stopped spurting from his eyes, mouth and nose. He became completely cured. He was very happy at his recovery and accepted the religion of Sayyedna Ibraheem Alaihe Salaam. 

He was the first king who ordered a silk covering for the Holy Kaa’ba, which became a tradition later and which is followed till today. And he is also the first one, to put a door on Holy Ka’aba and locked it with a padlock. He gave a gift of seven gold sovereigns and seven pieces of silk clothing for each resident of Makkatul Mukarrama (2).

Having recovered, he continued his tour. The entourage next reached Yathrab (Madina-Al- Munawwara). The Aalims in this group had studied THE BOOKS that had been revealed to the Prophets Alaihemas Salaam, who had come before them. They took the blessed soil of Madina-Al-Munawwara in their hands, smelt it and looked around at the features of this Holy Land. The signs of the blessed place, where the last Messenger SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam of Allah Kareem, would make his Hijra to, as indicated in the Books, were all present here. These Aalims were overjoyed and made a commitment to stay put in this town. They refused to go back to their homeland with the king and wished to live in Madina-Al-Munawwara stating if they were fortunate, one day they would meet the Beloved Prophet Salla Allahu Ta'ala Alayhe Wasallam, but if not, then the holy dust of the Holy Sandals of the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam would land on their graves. This at least they thought, would bring Blessings and Salvation to them and their generations to come. 
Allahu Akbar Kabeerah!!!

The King, having heard Aalims and counselors, agreed to build 400 homes for them as well as a two storyed house for the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam. He also made those Aalims marry his freed slave women and awaited the Blessed Arrival of the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam along with his Aalims. After a year or so he left instructions that when the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam comes to Madina-Al-Munawwara, Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam should stay in the comfort of the double storied house. The king then dictated a letter to his Chief Aalim with a gold seal on it and requested him to present it to the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam when he comes to Madina-Al-Munawwara. He further requested should he die before that meeting, the letter should be treasured and passed onto his children and their descendents and should be presented to the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam on his behalf. He also left enough money to be provided for the needs of the 400 Aalims, who were staying behind.

The letter is then passed down from generation to generation from the Chief Aalim to his descendents. After more than a thousand years or so, the number of children from 400 Aalims had greatly increased and comprised a large percentage of the inhabitants of the population of Madina-Al-Munawwara. The letter after all this time came to be in the possession of Sayyedna Abu Ayyub Ansari RadiAllahu Ta’ala Anhu, who had given it to his chief slave Abu Laila for safe keeping. (3) SubhanAllah!

When the people heard that RasulAllah SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam is coming to Madina-Al-Munawwara from Makkatul Mukarrama on Hijra, they start making the preparations for the great historical moment of the blessed arrival. The inhabitants decorated their houses and cleaned the streets. Each of them wanted the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam to grace their house with the blessed presence, but to overcome the problem Beloved Aaqa SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam suggests a proposal to let the blessed she-camel reins go free and see where it stops, that is where the Royal Guest, SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallm would bestow the honor to the owners of the house.

The blessed she-camel is let loose. It goes down the street, stops close to the two storyed house, which the king of Yemen had built, then moves forward and after a few strides, turns around, comes back again and sits near the house of Sayyedna Abu Ayyub Ansari RadiAllahu Ta’ala Anhu (4). The Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam and the people come closer to this house and the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam asks the approaching servant, if he is Abu Laila? (5) Abu Laila is surprised, having his name mentioned by the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam, who has just come from Makkatul Mukarrama but already knows his name, the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam then says that he is Muhammad, Rasulullah SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam and will have his Amanah, the king of Yemen’s letter. The Beloved Prophet Sayyidina Muhammad SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam is presented with the letter; Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam gives it Sayyedna Ali Karam Allahu Wajhu to read it aloud and then speaks the Blessed Words three times, “Congratulations to my pious servant Tub’ba Awwal Hamiri RadiAllahu Anhu”.(6)

The letter from King Hamiri RadiAllahu Anhu stated: (7) “O Beloved Rasulullah SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam! I pledge my faith in you and in the Book that will be revealed to you and I follow the path of your religion. If I am fortunate enough to see you, it will be with great pleasure. However, if this is not possible, I would request you to intercede for me and not to forget me on the Day of Judgment. I believe in your Risaalah (Prophet Hood). I seek your Bay’t in advance of your arrival. I swear that there is only one Allah and that Muhammad SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam is his true Prophet “.
(Mizanul Adyan)
Allahu Akbar Kabeerah!!!

The famous incident of the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam letting loose the reins of his blessed she-camel on arrival in Madina-Al-Munawwara, which then stops near Sayyedna Abu Ayyub Ansari RadiAllahu Anhu’s house is known to many, but the reason why it did so, may not be known. 

The incident illustrates the fact that the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam has knowledge of the Ghaib and the authority to Intercede for all people, even for those before his physical birth and Prophet Hood. And to decorate houses in celebration and Honor of the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam is not Bida’a. The Congratulatory words uttered by the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam would seem to have been directed to those he knows would come later, but would not believe in his Intercession. 

1. The exact number of Aalim and soldiers may differ in various books.
2. Here also, some books have mentioned the visit to Makkatul Mukarrama after the visit to Madina Al Munawwara.
3. The blessed she-camel stops at a place, where the first Masjid, Al Quba Shareef in Islam has been built by the blessed hands of Beloved Aaqa SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam. InshaAllah, will mention the details in another article on Hijra.
4. Name Abu Laila is mentioned in majority of the books but in some narrations, it is mentioned as a name of a learned man, who meets with the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam outside the town. 
5. As to my research, I have found out that Sayyedna Abu Ayyub Ansari RadiAllahu Ta’ala Anhu was inside his house, his eyes were hurting very badly and he was praying to Allah Kareem to be blessed with the Honor of serving the Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasaalam. Later when, the blessed she- camel chose to sit outside his house, Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam entered the house and rubbed some of his Sacred Saliva from the Blessed Mouth to cure the eyes of Sayyedna Abu Ayyub Ansari RadiAllahu Ta’ala Anhu. This is another one of the Blessed Miracles of our Beloved Prophet SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam. (Narrated by Shaykh Lathani Pak RehmatAllahe Ta’ala of Eidgah Shareef to his Daughter to the writer)
6. In another narration, word my brother is mentioned and not my slave.
7. In the history, the king Hamiri is also the first poet, who wrote the first couplets in the Glory of our Beloved Master SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam, 1050 years or so before the physical blessed arrival of our Beloved Master, Prophet Muhammaed SalAllahu Alaihe Wasallam!

Wama Alaina Illal Balaghul Mubeen! 

I request all those I may have hurt or disappointed, really. Forgive me. 

Sunday, 1 April 2012

one of them...

Today, is just a little one of those I don't know kind of days. Only because there's so much to do and well.. so little time! My wedding is in less than 2 months. We inshaAllah set foot to travel to Saudi inshaAllah in two weeks. I wanted to wrap up orders before traveling, as I won't be available to commit time to all this in the coming months...

In recent weeks, Alhamdulilah.. I've received so much from Allahu Rabbi. I cannot begin to express how that makes me feel. I'm truly blessed beyond words. MashaALLAH :)

We conducted the first ever Ultimate Crafter's Workshop Series in the month of March, which coincidentally happened to be National Crafts Month abroad. :D It worked our perfectly. *wink* I had 30 students.. aged 17-35. It was amazing! We went over some basic techniques, introduced them to different tools and crafting supplies. They tried some DIY at home jugaars as well. Loved every bit of it. I'd say it was an overwhelming feeling because so many of them skipped other important commitments to make it to the workshop. They gave their time and energy and of course.. it paid off Alhamdulillah! After the success of these two sessions, I will inshaAllah be conducting more workshops. The purpose of them is not to 'teach' but to create an awareness, and I strongly believe I was able to do that at the first shot. Alhamdulillah! :D 

Firefly turned two this march, on the 25th and we had a whimsical celebration for it in the form of specials all month long. I wasn't in town last year around this date to couldn't celebrate, but this year I was over the moon. Alhamdulillah! We had Studio Cupcakes work some magic with our doodles onto yummy cupcakes. PS: if you ever want to gift me something, little love notes count... and white cake is bliss ;)

We MashaAllah, received approval from manufacturers abroad to be their authorized retailers in Pakistan... that's a first for our country! woot! We are looking into purchasing from Pink Paislee, Bo Bunny, Basic Grey, Graphic 45 and Prima Marketing. Each one has their requirements and minimum order range... so we'll be taking one at a time to stock here in Pakistan :) inshaAllah.

Firefly participated at the ASEAN Bingo and Food Fiesta, while the experience that day wasn't completely fab, I was super happy to spend some time catching up with others there :D

Orders recently have been haywire because our city went under distress again for political reasons, while I don't have a view on our country's politics.. I do believe we're Muslims before anything else. And if we really live up to our religion in terms of our actions and beliefs, we really wouldn't be in these 'situations'... these are all moments for us to turn to Allah instead of the next big lawn exhibition or weekend party. *this doesn't mean I am against lawn or weekend parties, please don't misread this :)

In recent weeks I've also realized who and what matters most in life. Alhamdulillah. First comes my family... inclusive of my other half. Then come those who genuinely care and are with you on your good days as well as low ones. I care for everyone around me... and just because I put my faith first or am committed with work, does not mean I don't feel... miss.. or care. Everyone has different roles and everyone's life is different. 

I was feeling slightly low earlier today... thinking about some things... I remembered something very important that my parents have always told me. When something good is in focus or in process... Shaytaan does try to intervene. Nothing good is achieved easily... Everything has behtri.. and those in your life or the things you are being given are there with a reason :) If something's taken away, is because it wasn't right for you in the first place, and you're being groomed for the better in the process.

Allah Kareem writes the Master Plan... and I am very very fortunate to be who I am and where I am. My family goes every year around this time of the year with our Shaykh.. due to University, I never got a leave.
Can't wait for Haazri inshaAllah.. must must visit the courts of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam and of course, give thanks and express my gratitude with duas in front of the House of Allah Kareem. inshaAllah.  I haven't been in 5 years so the expectations and hopes are just mounting now. :)

Last process date... Tuesday. Need time to get everything sorted and ready before I travel inshaAllah :) so busy busy week ahead. 

I wanted to say thank you to everyone that has been sending in duas my way... and appreciating not just my work, but me. Alhamdulillah, it is all because of the blessings from the One above.

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