When the going gets tough, what are you gonna do?

You are always at war within yourself…
Many people may not realize how much there is in them that fights off what prevents one from actually living, and living to the very fullest.

The fight within could be anxiety, or loneliness, fear, tension or grief- for everyone- there is a fear that keeps us alive and there is a fear that keeps us from living. The fear that keeps us alive, and that gives us the drive and the push or shove to do something or to do what it takes is: taqwa or fear in Allah. The fear of Allah keeps us alive because no human can live without a fear else such a being is careless, undaunted or unconcerned of anyone or anything- which may lead to arrogance or pride; a destructive emotion that overwhelms and overpowers the entire being from sanity and humility. Why we as Muslims prostrate ourselves before the King of kings, Allah? Why is it that we prostrate with our forehead and our nose? It is due to those parts of our face, that is the resemblance and symbol of pride and self-importance, or aloofness and superiority and why would Allah create us with our a nose on our face or a forehead high? If He so Willed, He could’ve fashioned us with a nose elsewhere…But this is impossible because Allah has created us in the best of moulds and designs and we as human-beings- WE are the preferred and the best of mankind, of creations. So, to humbly prostrate our dignity: the top-most of us are the nose and the forehead as it is held high up and not way down, for example near our feet, no. So, to humbly prostrate ourselves before Allah and press the ground with our nose and forehead in clear submission- we are humbling and degrading ourselves before Allah so we can be reminded at the same time of the importance it is to distinguish our position before Allah. We are not our own man as they would put it, we are not our own god but Allah is our Lord and King and we are His Servants. This is the exact reason why Iblis forgot himself completely as pride and arrogance consumed him, that when he were commanded to bow and prostrate before Allah the Creator- he clearly refused and even became distastefully envious of Adam, he did not want to humble himself before his Creator and the same Creator Who created Adam (AS). Why? Due to pride and arrogance, his self-importance destroyed him.

There is a war in every man and woman, a fight within to overcome the Iblis or the evil in ourselves. Loneliness is not evil, or grief or anxiety- it is part of human nature…But we need to feel ourselves close to nature and how do we come close to nature? How can we bond and ‘befriend’ nature? Nature is not our remedy here but Allah because Allah is revealed and is found through nature too. The answer is simple as to “how” He is so: when we prostrate to Allah in our five prayers or in duaa, we as close to the ground or earth as possible. There is no way you can get any “down-to-earth” as the prostration to Allah. This is also why we prostrate to NO-ONE other than Allah because we all know that Allah is greater than mankind and He is greater than humans or any other creature. Greater than the “king of the jungle: the lion”, and because of His Power and Majesty and His Greatness, we feel humbled during our prostration and we lower ourselves touching the ground: our knees, hands, nose and forehead and our toes. There is a wisdom why we prostrate with such specific joints of our body, there is a wisdom behind that and in many ways I cannot begin by explaining how so it is.

So, what do we do when the going gets tough or when there is a fight we’re having to put up with within? Prostrate yourself before Allah and just see what happens, as it is better than one-hundred times of practicing the yoga or “meditating”- as we are reminded that WE are servants to serve only Allah the Greatest, the Majestic who is more merciful to His servants than a mother is to her own child.

Part II will explain Inshaa’Allah what the fear is that keeps us from living, a fear most people possess and do not think to eliminate.


Just a window to her world…

in this same prim way she ponders

In the rather short span of my life, I’d always kept some room in my time and day to look at the smallest things in life and enjoy, experience and understand it all…In the same way a little girl would do when a small garden-snail is seen on th cobbled, wet ground.  I found one interesting thing, an animal, which turned my life around and changed the big world of my own. Nora was her name: a cat of tortishell colour and she was a stray cat, I would always find her in our building. Unlike many strays she was not timid or rabid, in fact, I later soon found myself to be so! As I had accidentally slammed the door and it’d hit her small, furry face…I never forgave myself after that day.

There are many things you can tell about a cat, some cats would appear like any other ordinary cat but it takes a real, special furry feline to captivate your heart and enchant your vision and mind. This little cat, Nora, did exactly that and more! She was always by my side as I would go on my way to the usual language-lessons I’d attended early every morning, as if meeting me at the door and then bidding farewell as she merely sits upright, tail curled neatly around her prim cuddled-together fore and hindlegs.

…I just want to make mention that such a cat- being a cat– appeared to have a rather human intellect and understanding. I would never know if she ever had previous owners but she certainly had a good pedigree and bloodline, as  I later learnt to fight against all odds and brave the struggles you face in life and that it is part of Life, normal; in the same way the most difficult time for her was when she struggled during pregnancy, Nora gave birth behind a rusty old gate, and a pack of stray, dirty dogs came rushing upstairs hungrily. This wise, old mother-cat only sat primly behind and intelligently looked up in the dark as two, three or four snouts with big wolf-like teeth appeared now and then.

I could’ve died to keep Nora as a pet, this cat who understood me well in an amazing sense, in a manner as if she begged everyday to be let in. I could not have kept her as my family and I were always on the move- being travellers and all- and we could hardly afford the time or even effort or money to sort the cat out let alone ourselves! But Al-Hamdullilah praise is to god, the day we moved from that flat and I saw her totter upstairs with a queer expression on her face…I gingerly stroked her and petted her back (because I’d have to wash my hands after) but thankfully- she was more curious and interested about what went on in the flat than of me! Obviously we’d emptied out the flat, no furniture,nothing.

This is just a short article or a window to her world but in my minds’ eye- the world she showed me cannot be described, or explained.

Every animal has a story, and like Dewey the famous library cat these are just one of many, unique understanding animals that can behave like a strange, warped or rusted key to your heart or presence as a human…And *chink* it unlocks like unbolting an old wood-oak door to a mysterious, secret garden. The garden Nora showed me was like taking another great big breath of life, realistically or not, I know when I’ve come across a diamond in the rough.

You will always be remembered, Nora, wherever you are, dead or alive. You even won over my mothers’ heart- a heart difficult to capture and win over as we all know how hygenic and fussy she is! (no offense, mother!) when Nora is mentioned on our lips or in our hearts or mind it would moisten my eyes; to go back and walk through Memory Lane and just reflect on the past can be -for some people in this world- it is just too difficult and rather emotional.